Instagram Hiatus

I deactivated my Instagram over a week ago. I haven’t missed it since.

On Instagram, deactivating is not the same as deleting. Deleting gets rid of the account entirely; deactivating simply hides it and any likes and comments you’ve made. Once you log in again, everything reappears as if you never left.

I love taking hiatuses from social media. I took a Twitter hiatus last week. I went back on this weekend, though I haven’t been on that much as of late.

But Instagram stresses me out in a way that no other social media site does—except Facebook. Granted, Instagram isn’t quite as bad, but there’s still that whole “show every perfect moment of my life to demonstrate how I’m doing it all, all the time” aspect to Instagram. I don’t want to single anyone out, but a friend of mine posted a picture of her feet with the Pacific Ocean in the background. It was a nice photo and got a ton of likes and comments. But the whole time I looked at it, I kept thinking of how miserable she actually is because she’s on a career path her parents forced on her and she works twelve hours a day, if not more, and is generally unhappy with her life.

I’m just rambling now. My point is social media posturing makes me stressed. I’ll probably be back on Instagram at some point… but I’m so enjoying my absence I think I’ll stay off another week, at least.

P.S. I wrote this whole post on my phone! I hope there aren’t any typos.

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Inaccurate Knowledge Is Worse Than No Knowledge

I hate bad nonfiction books—by bad, I don’t specifically mean boring (though I’m not fond of boring books, either), but books that contain major inaccuracies. I also hate it when people condescend to women, especially when it comes to finance. Unfortunately, I encountered both inaccuracies and condescension in a book I read recently. I had to trash it on Goodreads, but I’m sure there are many of you out there who don’t follow my Goodreads review. (I don’t follow most of the blogger I read on Goodreads, so I certainly don’t blame you!) Therefore, I just had to post this review on here in all its ranty glory. Enjoy!

The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner's Guide to Getting Good with MoneyThe Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money by Chelsea Fagan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

If this book were simply useless to me, I could have given it two stars. I know it’s marketed towards young women who don’t know much about money. And that’s fine, because there are people who don’t know much and everyone’s got to start somewhere. I get that.

What made me give this book one star (i.e. the lowest rating allowed—I’d give it negative stars if I could!) was how some of the information was just plain wrong. Like criminally wrong. So wrong that if you followed it, other poor fellow unfortunate readers, you’d find yourself in deep trouble.

The first major error I’m going to talk about comes in chapter 5. Do not, do not, DO NOT ever buy a house with a down payment of less than 20%. One of the so-called “experts” “interviewed” (I use both those terms, experts and interviewed, loosely) says you can put 3.5% down for your house. NO. Do not ever do that. PMI (private mortgage insurance) will eat you alive. Your finances will be so messed up it isn’t even funny. I will note that other reviewers pointed this out, too, so it makes me feel a bit better that this mistake did not go unnoticed.

The next, and in some ways more egregious error (because you probably start investing before buying a house) occurs in chapter 2, the chapter about investing. This quote is so misguided that it’s obvious the author, Chelsea Fagan, has zero idea what she’s talking about:

Explore other low-risk investment options, such as mutual funds and index funds.

Continue reading “Inaccurate Knowledge Is Worse Than No Knowledge”

48 Pages Per Day

I’m reading again in Russian, everyone. This is a Big Deal because for the past two (or three?) months, I have not read much in Russian. I haven’t read many Russian websites and I definitely haven’t read any books in Russian. I honestly haven’t done much with the Russian language at all as of late.

This is what I’m currently reading:

Соавторы
“Coauthors” by Alexandra Marinina

It’s a long book, but I’ve calculated that if I read just forty-eight pages per day, I’ll finish it in ten days. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Reading in Russian is a struggle for me. I can’t go as fast as I do in English and my vocabulary isn’t as good. So, the whole time I’m reading, I’m struggling with the idea that I could be reading in English. Not only that, but I could be reading science fiction in English. There are Star Wars books to be read, for goodness sakes!

But I’ve got to read this. I need to read more in Russian and I’m trying to work my way through my book stash. I don’t own a ton of Russian books, but at the pace I read, it’ll take me a while to get through them!

Even The Best Intentions…

…are sometimes thwarted. I had planned to blog every day this month, but that’s not happening now since I missed all of last week!

I’d planned on using the WordPress app on my phone to blog during some downtime at work (it was during lunch, I promise!) but then the cell service was out. AT&T, a company that must be rolling in money from all the customers paying for cell phones plans, landline service, internet, TV, and so on, can’t manage to keep its network reliably up. This is the second major outage we’ve had in 2018. I am not regretting buying an unlocked cell phone at all because if AT&T doesn’t get their act together, I can leave.

Also, another intention I had that was thwarted was knitting. This was a long weekend—today’s a bank holiday and I work in a bank, so most of us were able to take a paid holiday—and I’d planned to knit. But nope, that hasn’t happened. All I’ve done is clean, organize, buy food, cook food, pay bills, go over my budget spreadsheet, and do a ton of other things I didn’t really want to do but had to do. As a result: no knitting. Not a single bit on any of the three projects I’m working on.

I really hope I have time to knit later tonight. I think I’ve finished up everything. Knowing my luck, something else will come up, though…

A Vow

I have a vow: I want to blog every day this month, even if it’s just a short little post without much to say. So here we go for the first day. Since October is here, I found a nice picture of some autumn leaves to share.

From here

When Your Novel Is A Mess…

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty good about my editing. I’ve been editing this novel for a while and while it’s been slow going, it is coming along. And that’s a good thing!

Then, tonight I looked at the first part as a whole and I think it’s just to dang long. I need to have the first plot point come sooner—a lot sooner. Conventionally, it should be at around the twenty-five percent mark and mine comes a lot later.

I don’t know if this means moving scenes from the first act into the second act, or cutting them altogether. I’ll probably need a combination of both.

Why does editing have to be so incredibly hard?! Also, why couldn’t I have learned anything useful about editing in school? Seriously, despite all the writing I learned over the years, I don’t think I learned a single useful thing about editing my own writing. But that’s a story for another time.

Summer 2018 Writing Report

Apparently, I have been so remiss in posting my writing reports that the last one was in April of this year! That’s crazy! I knew I’d missed posting June and July and obviously August just ended, so that one isn’t up, either, but I thought I’d done May.

Therefore, I decided to do a massive writing report for the four months of May, June, July, and August. September will (hopefully) be by itself, assuming I remember to post it!

May

May was… not the best month for writing—in my defense, I did take a vacation! Vacation is an excellent excuse not to write. I was editing that month, too, which brings down the total words produced. Vomiting words onto the page for a first draft and editing those words are two completely different stages of writing. It’s way easier to get high word counts with the former than the latter. Anyway, I wrote a total of only 1,683 words that month. That’s an average of 54 per day. I only wrote on ten days during the month, though, so it makes sense my word count would be lower.

June

June wasn’t much better, at least according to the writing log. I wrote a total of 3,877 words that month, which is an average of 129 per day. However, I was outlining a future novel with pen and paper, so those words did not get counted in the log. Counting words by hand is very tedious! Including those days I was outlining, I wrote on sixteen days during the month, which isn’t too bad.

July

July was a bit better. I wrote 6,243 words total, which makes for an average of 201 words per day. I also did some outlining that didn’t make it into the log. I went back to editing that month (in June, when I realized the structure of my novel wasn’t working, I took a temporary break from editing because I was so overwhelmed—I really, really, really wish they took the time to teach proper editing in school, as that would be a useful skill to have been taught). Including the days I outlined, I wrote on sixteen days, just like in June.

August

August was a very good month. In fact, it was the best I’ve had in a while, writing-wise. I wrote a total of 18,337 words, which is an average of 591 per day. Not too bad, if I don’t say so myself! And how did I accomplish this? I started writing every day. Since August 12, I have written every day. I wrote for twenty-seven days in August.

I was so tired of not writing and not having the motivation to write, so I vowed I would start doing it again every day. My only two rules are: 1) I have to work on something every day and produce at least 500 new words, and 2) I have to finish what I start. I was having trouble editing my novel, so I wrote some short stories instead, which was fun. Now I’m back to editing the novel. I may take another break, if necessary—but I’ll be working on short stories if I decide to pause my editing again.

And I just realized that I’ve only written about 300 words today, so I need to go write 200 more so I don’t break my streak!

A Very Knitty Day

I had an excellent day today, dear readers. I spent nearly the whole day knitting. When I wasn’t knitting, I was cleaning (no fun!), walking outside (definitely fun), and trying a new recipe (it tastes great, so that was fun too). All in all, it was a supremely satisfying day. I’m actually considering just not going online that much anymore and redirecting that time towards knitting. Doing crafts is a lot more fun than seeing tweets pop up in my Twitter timeline about the latest inane controversy, or seeing people post photos on Instagram of how amazing their lives are, even when I know that behind the Instagram facade, they’re miserable.

What is not so excellent is my neglect of this blog… I meant to write some posts but didn’t. At least I’m on a big fiction writing streak right now. I have written at least five hundred words every day since August 12. It may not seem like much, but all that consistency adds up. I’ve written two short stories since then! They’re both science fiction and set in the same universe. One of them leaves off on a huge cliffhanger, so I need to write the sequel soon. I have no idea what’s going to happen, so I’m in suspense, too. Sometimes my characters really surprise me.

To Continue? Or Not To Continue?

…that is the question.

No, dear readers, I’m not talking whether to continue writing this blog or not. I’m talking about a book I checked out of the library last week.

Do I like this book? Or don’t I? That is (also) the question.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ve probably gathered I’m a fast reader. I actually have to force myself to slow down and enjoy books sometimes, as opposed to completely inhaling them. That’s why it’s surprising that this book, The Madagaskar Plan by Guy Saville, is taking me forever to get through. I’ve had it for a whole five days now and I’m maybe a third of the way through, if that.

It’s odd because though I don’t dislike the book, I also don’t love it. I feel completely neutral about it. It is an odd book because though it’s supposed to be a sequel to The Afrika Reich, which I also read, you don’t really need to have read the first book to read this book.

I have yet to decide whether to finish it or not. I keep reading bits and pieces of it sporadically. By the time I do decide whether it’s worth finishing, I’ll probably already be done and there won’t be a decision to make then.