Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Plans

I've been off my blogging game lately, probably because real life intruded upon my creative process and practice. But this will be the longest summer of my life (three and a half months) and I intend to use it well.

Because I am me, I made a Google Doc with all my goals, mind-flooded it, and then went through methodically breaking it down into monthly and weekly goals. I'll discuss more specifics lower down, but the gist is that I want to learn a lot and I want to create a lot. Most summers I get a deep sense of discontent around the four week mark because I don't think I've done anything. I want to avoid that this summer by having clearly identified goals toward which my task is to work substantially every week.

Some of those goals, for no other purpose than to keep me honest here:
  • Read a lot.

To start, here are the books that I've bought or that friends have lent me/teachers given me. The Three Books mailing will, as expected, add three more books to that pile--though hopefully by that time I'll have polished off a few of these. At least they all look interesting. Hopefully I can finish them all in enough time to work my way through a bunch of science/fantasy/poetry books at my library.

  • Deepen my knowledge and practice of programming.
I want to learn how to make simple scripts to automate some of the tasks I slog through every month with backing up my files. Also, I created a Bitbucket account ages and ages ago and still don't know what Git is, so it's high time I learned.

  • Relearn calculus and physics.
I haven't had a real technical class (by high school standards) in a year, and as an engineering calc and phys are going to be absolutely essential. Since I got a 5 on the Calc BC exam, technically I could take the honors track of calculus, which includes more multivariable calculus and is generally more difficult. I want to do this, but since I haven't had calc for a year I need to prepare myself.

  • Improve languages.
On Sunday I downloaded the Duolingo app (first app I've ever downloaded, if you can believe it) and am using it to learn German and keep my Italian. I'm quite pleased with how little my Italian has deteriorated; good job to junior year me for making it a habit of writing my journal in Italian. Sadly I have awful Chinese language skills, so the next two weeks in the motherland I'll have to force myself to try, embarrass myself in front of my relatives, and hopefully improve a little.

  • Research and write a lot in Ubermadchen.
Work on Ubermadchen has been consistently inconsistent this year. I don't know exactly why, or else I'd take measures to fix it, but I think it's because it is a long project that involves a lot of research. As such there is a lot more friction acting on UM than there was on Orsolya, and even though I'm aware of that I still compare my progress with the two. Also, since I like the characters a lot, it's easy for me to slip and write dialogue scenes that don't do anything; thus, this summer my goal is that every day I'm not on vacation, I will write two pages that move the story forward. The story hasn't quite built up enough momentum yet, but it is a story that leans forward--and I must honor that.

  • Refine social media presence.
I'm planning to redesign this blog after I get back from China, since I am after all entering a new era of my life (college). Also, I made a bunch of what I'm calling story box Tumblrs, and I'd like to integrate those facets as well.

  • Practice trombone.
I can make sounds come out and sound not horrible, but the slide is a bit tricky. My practice time is being cut short by the fact that I have to return the trombone at the beginning of band camp, but hopefully I can make a lot of improvements in the intervening two months.

There you have it. These are a lot of goals, though less than I could accomplish if I was more disciplined and more than will be feasible if I'm not prepared to work hard. But I have twelve weeks even taking out vacation; I'd better be able to make something of myself in all that time.

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