May 18, 2008

Fighting the winter slump

Despite wanting to make an effort in updating this journal, it seems I’ve once again let it stagnate for a while as life churns on. Unfortunately I’ve been strapped for energy the last week or two and this is shown in my level of creative output in all areas.

Part of this has been due to the tutoring and lab demonstrating I’ve been doing the last couple of months, but that’s now all but over bar the marking. It’s been a pretty good run, although I felt I didn’t have as firm a grasp of the material as I’d hoped. Fourth year subjects are always a bit like that; I prefer first or second year where you know the subject well enough to focus on the actual teaching methods rather than understanding the material yourself.

The tutoring ran on a one week on, one week off basis, which meant every other week I’d have time to focus on my own thesis write-up. But the weeks on tended to be dominated by the teaching, and on the days where I’d take a three hour lab class in the evening I wouldn’t have energy to do much more than watch DVDs or sleep.

Plus there’s always winter to factor in. My metabolism always seems to switch into hibernation mode when the weather gets too cold. It didn’t help that the season just seemed to toggle from a particularly warm autumn overnight; the maximum temperatures seemed to drop by 15 degrees Celsius.

The upshot of the winter months is that if I’m not careful I tend to spend the bulk of my time daydreaming or idling surfing Wikipedia or TV Tropes for hours if not days at a time (TV Tropes is particularly bad for this). Sometimes hours seem to pass me by without me noticing them go. It’s a dangerous habit to get into, and it’s something I’ll need to force myself to break if I’m going to get anything done.

This week I’m going to attempt to break the winter slump by forcing myself to remain active and productive despite a lack of energy, even if this just involves writing posts for my blog like I am now. It beats passively reading wiki pages!

I’m also going to spend a little bit of time putting in some preparation work for my webcomic project. To recap: I’ve pledged to myself to start a webcomic some time this year as an outlet for improving my own drawing and writing skills. I tend to idly doodle cartoon while I’m watching DVDs, but without some project to give me direction I haven’t really improved much in the last couple of years. Due to my lack of focus the last week I’ve churned out dozens of pages of sketches that are all pretty terrible, so I mean to start putting some of that time into actual improvement.

I’ll also start posting more entries here about webcomics in general to help me put my thoughts together. Part of my problem at the moment is that I haven’t made up my mind what kind of webcomic I should be aiming for. I’ve got a bunch of conflicting goals, desires and time constraints for this. Putting some time into writing this down will be a good way to put things into focus.

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May 10, 2008

Trialling MacJournal

Sorry for the lack of posts here. I haven?t had a lot to post lately. However since I should be using this journal more I?ll make an effort to do more post-worthy things.

I?m currently trialling out a piece of Mac software called ?MacJournal? to see how it goes. It?s basically a word processor for journals, with organisational abilities like folders and tags. It?s pretty lean but it?s the sort of thing I need for organising small articles and other documents. I also have a paid copy of VoodooPad, a personal wiki software, but that?s more useful for my own reference notes and less so for complete documents.

MacJournal also has the capability to interface with WordPress blogs, or at least it claims to - this post is my first test to see how well the system works. If this seems to go smoothly, I?ll start typing up more of these things off-line rather than in the WordPress editor. And I?ll strongly consider buying a licence to MacJournal in a few days time.

Edit: Additional

Well, looking at the entry above it seems like it gets through smoothly enough, but something is eating up my apostrophes. I’ll have to see what I can do to fix that next time…

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