New – Last – Semester of Classes

In just under two weeks, I start my last two classes.  When this semester is done, I will have earned my second degree.  I’m both excited for this and a little sad.  I won’t be crazy busy all the time once I’m done with this degree. 

I looked at master’s programs and none of them sold me.  I think the next thing for me will be to spend a lot of time writing.  Whether I get the grant I put in for or not, I have two books ready for publishing.  I am in the process of editing two other books.  I have a third one I’m working on writing – whether it will finish the story or not I don’t know. 

My writing has been on the back burner since I started school again.  I never feel like I have time to just sit at the computer and write.  Once I get started, the words just flow so I am looking forward to spending more time writing. 

One of my goals after I graduate is to spend more time submitting my work for publication and contests.  It is always good to put my work out there to see who likes what and what needs more work.

This semester I have a grammar class.  I know many of you are groaning over that but I’m actually looking forward to it.  I have already started reading the book.  My second class is a publications class.  It is with my favorite instructor so I’m sure I’ll get something out of it. 

Before classes start, I am going to enjoy a short visit from Stephanie, crochet time, and as much down time as I can cram into the next few days.  Stephanie will be home for a long weekend.  We are going to get two very short visits from her this fall.  It will be fun to have her here by herself and get a bit of one on one time.

One more semester and then on to other things.  It will be good to move forward and focus back on my writing but I’m going to get the most out of the last semester.   

First Week

The first week back with all the faculty and students was, in a word, chaotic.  It was exhausting just trying to keep up with all the people and I still had to go to classes. 

This semester I have two classes Manuscript Editing and Topics in Technical Writing – Grant Writing.  The Grant Writing class is interesting and I’m excited for.  The Manuscript Editing class is a lot of technique I think – grammar, punctuation, and technical information.  I think I will learn some from it but I’ll see how I feel about it as the class goes on.  After class on Tuesday, I’m going to have a conversation with the instructor to see how things go. 

Being a non-traditional student, I fall outside the norm in most things and I think this will be another class where that is the case.  I’ll see how it goes and hopefully it will help me be a better editor. 

The interesting thing is I’ve always said I don’t want to master anything but as I do more of the editing I find I do want to master this.  Is there a master’s degree down the line for me?  I don’t know.  I know that I enjoy – yup I said enjoy – learning about the grammatical part of writing. 

For me, though, I have to be careful about becoming too technically correct in my writing (for fiction)  because when you are extremely proper in your writing it sounds very formal.  This makes it less reader friendly. 

It is a matter of balancing things.  For the articles and non-fiction writing I want that correctness and formality but for fiction I want it more reader friendly.  Focusing on the end product is key and that will help me produce the best possible product. 

Geekdom

Yesterday I worked on a formal project proposal.  I surrounded myself with grammar books and word origins books.  I looked on line for these types of books – not to borrow from the library but to add to my collection.  I’m currently reading a grammar book – partly to refresh my memory but also because I’m enjoying it.  I think it is official – I’m a word / grammar geek.
I finished my proposal and sent it off to my professor tonight.  Hopefully he reads it and will allow me to do it.  I have no idea if it is what he is looking for but I think it will be interesting. 
In my linguistics class, I’m not doing well.  There are a couple of concepts that I’m struggling with.  I am not one to give up lightly so I’m reading articles on one of the topics which I’m hoping will clarify it for me.  No, these weren’t assigned by the professor – I just don’t like not understanding. 
I emailed my creative writing professor thinking the grade she gave me on my story was a bit low.  Her response reminded me I’m good but I’m not perfect.  I definitely learned a lot from the response and it helped me to clarify a few writing issues. 
School is going okay despite my grumbling and frustration.  I have to remember that I can think and do the things asked of me.  It won’t necessarily be a cake walk.  If I don’t like an assignment then I have to work harder to make it my own. 
Ultimately the goal is to be the best damn writer and editor I can be.  These classes and degree are going to help me along that path so long as I stay out of my own way.

Irony

Everyone can laugh at me now.  Last night after whining about how hard my homework was, I played on the computer some more and just before I went to bed, I picked up another grammar type book (what can I say I like words) and found the information I needed to make things click.  I laughed at myself because I’d looked in the book already and had dismissed it.  I just picked it up again on a fluke.  Now I have three pages to read that will I think clarify the problems I was having. 
I’m a dork I know.  I just needed to walk away from it instead of letting it overwhelm me.  Now I’m sure today I’ll be able to put the pieces together and figure out what I need to – i.e. connect the theory to actual practice.  Then I’ll move on to my other homework. 
This is a good lesson for me – I can’t do homework non-stop and have it make sense.  At some point my brain shuts down and my frustrations reach critical levels.  (Scotty from the Enterprise is in my head saying ‘Captain she cannot take much more of this’.) 
School is just going to take more getting used to than I thought apparently.  I just need to have patience with myself and remember to breathe.