no post production

I shouldn’t post a WIP but this is a WIP of some Louis-centered thing I’m working on & I couldn’t stop myself from sharing a sneak peek (this is like 15% of it??) because IDK when will I finish the whole thing & this had been sitting in my folder for a while so xD.

(btw should I let him have his facial hair or not i couldn’t decide)

41/100 | 2.26.17

Studying on the road is tough but we make it happen! Won my class Saturday and then my pretty nice horse for the second show came up limping, so I had to ride the alternate which was a PISSED OFF pony… He kicked out and ran around with his head in the air and we were dead last but hey, it was totally hilarious!

11:46 // 1/26/2016

pretty sure I burned my hand at least three times while taking this picture

also, I would definitely recommend the book i’m reading. it’s called “the intellectual devotional” and it consists of a one page lesson per day and the lessons alternate between literature, science, visual art, religion, philosophy, music and history.

it’s such a good way to learn a little more and be well rounded plus it’s super interesting!!

How to Annotate Literature

Many times language and literature classes require students to annotate the books that are given to them, but in many cases tips and advice on how to do so is lacking. I will be sharing my personal strategy for efficient and successful annotating that will not only help your understanding of the text but also gain the love of your teachers!

The tips have been divided into 5 components, each with their own explanation.

Sticky Tabs are Your Best Friend

I don’t know how I would manage to annotate without my sticky tabs. They help me organize and navigate the book before the reading, remind me what to look for while i’m going through the text and help me find whatever I may need once I get to further analysis for the class. 

Create a key for your tabs, personally I use five colors each having a few specific purposes based on where I place them in the book. Most stickies are accompanied by a specific note that will remind me of what I wanted to point out, these stick out of the right margin. 

  • Pink- Anything to do with characters, be it development or certain traits to remember. It can also be used for when you have questions about character related aspects of the text.
  • Orange- Refers to setting, in plays it is also applicable for stage directions.
  • Yellow- Is used for literary devices and use of language (tone, diction, patterns) and syntax, if there is a particular word the author used or a structure you want to take note of, this is the color to use. 
  • Green- Applicable to any important plot events, notable scenes or things that you think will be significant later in the story.
  • Blue- Themes and context of said ideas, anything to do with time, place and space in which the text takes place. It can also relate to how your context (a student reading a book for a literature course) impacts your perception of the text.

These are the things teachers usually look out for and it is certainly useful in any kind of further task! 

The top and bottom margins can be used to divide the book in to sections, such as chapters or scenes, mark the most important pages and to also highlight text to text connections. These colors you can pick yourself!

I do not recommend having more than 5 sticky tabs per page, otherwise it gets too crowded and they lose their purpose! (but you will still need to buy aaa lloootttt)

This is my key for the book I am currently annotating, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. 

Don’t Overdo it With the Highlighter

Find one color highlighter that you like the most and use it to mark explicit words or phrases that catch your attention, you can also use them in correlation with you sticky tabs! 

I prefer to use a yellow highlighter because it seems to bleed the least, and I usually use it in relation to the the yellow and blue tabs because those are the ones that relate to the most detailed and minute parts of the text. Once again you can find your own preference! But don’t overdo it, otherwise, like the tabs, the highlighter will lose its function to highlight important points. 

This is an example of how much highlighting I usually do. For non-fictional texts or parts of a book (like in the introduction you see here) I reserved highlighter for dates and names. 

Have a Conversation With the Author

This is one of the first tips that my high school teacher gave me and it’s really one of the most important ones to remember. And I know, it may sound kinda silly, but I find that it really helps me in developing my ideas and remembering exactly how I felt about a certain aspect of part of the text. 

Whether the text is fiction of non fiction, anything in between, you can always do these few things

  • Ask questions- As if you were going to get an answer, ask questions, write them down and write down as many as you want. Writing things down helps people remember so then it is more likely that in a class discussion you will be able to recall your queries or wonders. 
  • If you don’t like something, or you’re surprised by something, write it down! Use exclamation marks, use words that you would use in a regular conversation. I always write ‘WOW!!’ or ‘OMG’ when i’m especially impressed, and having such vocal- well written vocally- emotions will bring you closer to the subject of the text. 
  • Talk to the characters as well, if you are questioning a character’s actions ask them and provide an explanation as to why you speculate they may have acted a certain way. Not only does that further contribute to your involvement (also making things more entertaining) but it also deepens your thought!

What i’m trying to say is write down anything that comes to mind, your first response is your true response, and it is a valuable addition to your notes! And if you want to write a whole essay in between the lines… Actually, i’ll come back to that later! 

Pens, not Pencils 

I used to make notes completely in pencil but my approach changed when I realized that overtime the pencil would rub off and get illegible. I think it was because I used my book so much, but having switched to pen I realized that it helps me in quite a few other things as well. 

The good thing about pen is that you can’t erase it and let’s say you started writing down a note, scan down the page and realize what you are taking a note of is completely wrong. That’s ok! That’s actually really good! Don’t scribble out what you just wrote down, but instead continue and explain why you may have thought a certain way and what your understanding is now. That relates really closely to the previous note. 

Evidently pen also appears darker on the page, then there’s no possibility of it ever disappearing. It also won’t smudge or bleed as long as it’s ballpoint! That’s a good thing when drawing arrows between lines, underlining in addition to your highlights and circling/boxing whatever you deem necessary.

Time, Effort and Commitment

It’s clear that this post took me a while to make, and it took me a while to develop this system with all of the things that I have considered. So it must be self evident that using this type of annotation won’t be quick. It might get tiring at some times, and for me it really does, but at the end I find that it always pays off! You have to stay committed to this technique, you have to put in the same amount of effort for every page, which means you need time. So here are a few final general tips I will leave you with.

  • Don’t procrastinate! As goes for any task, and this one more than any, don’t waste time getting to it! I advice you check how many pages you have in total and make sure that you do a certain amount per day (usually 5-10 pages a day is good!)
  • If you go off on massive tangents in the side bars, make sure that you don’t get too distracted by them because they will take up a lot of your time. But one now and then may be good! Be sure to mark it for later reference!
  • Play mind games with yourself. This one is actually pretty interesting but it personally gets me a long way. If you have 20 pages left, don’t look at it as 20 pages but instead as 4 times 5, then the amount will seem a lot more manageable! It’s a kind of self encouragement!
  • That can also be said by looking now and then at how far your bookmark has moved through the book and giving yourself a pat on the back for all of you hard work!

That’s all I have for now! If you have any further questions for advice or explanation please message me and I will be more than happy to help! And I hope that this helps some people out too! (I’m counting this as 21/100 days of productivity as all I did today was related to annotating.)

What to do when you really don’t want to study.

I think we’ve all been there - the class is important and you know you need to study but when you sit down you end up feeling grOSS AND YOU don’t want to. So here are some tips to overcoming that:

 Take a deep breath and reevaluate why you need to study. Try to stay positive.

  • When I’m not motivated I keep saying things like “what if I just don’t do it?” And then - surprise! - I end up not studying and suffer/regret it later. When coming up with reasons to study, try to keep it positive. Don’t say things like “if I don’t study I’ll fail the class.” Instead, say things like “if I study, I have a better chance at doing well on the exam. Future-me will be so proud of current-me.”
  • If you truly cannot find a single reason to study, set your studying aside for later and do another productive activity or take a long break.

Drill it into your mind that you really don’t need motivation to do well.

  • Even if you find the reason to study, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are very motivated. Sometimes we feel like no motivation = unable to study. This isn’t true.
  • Make a deal with yourself. Try studying for ten minutes. And actually try to study. If by the end of ten minutes you feel like you can continue studying, great! Keep going! If not, then you can take a break and do something else.

Choose a study scheduling method that works for you.

  • Some people feel great studying for hours on end once they get in "the zone.” Others feel the need to take quick breaks every half hour. Studying and scheduling methods are different for everybody! Play around with scheduling to find out what works for you.
  • In high-stress times, work (studying, assignments, etc.) can feel pretty overwhelming. To organize all the stuff you have to do, write it down! This takes some of the stress of remembering tasks off from your brain, so that your brain can focus on the more crucial things.
    • If you’re making a to-do list, keep the general list short. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed by too many tasks. (You can keep sub-lists on separate paper/sticky notes to break down each task.)
    • If you’re making a time-table, keep your schedule loose. Give yourself buffer time to complete each task, just in case you overestimated your efficiency.
    • It’s totally okay to overestimate efficiency! - ifyou do, you learn more about yourself and how you study best.

Small (pomodoro) breaks

  • Pomodoro technique in a nutshell: 25 minute blocks of working with 5 minute breaks in between. Feel free to change the length of the blocks according to your preferences! During your breaks, you can
    • Get more water
    • Get snacks
    • Make tea/coffee
    • Stretch
    • Do a tiny bit of yoga
    • Walk around the room/building
    • Stretch
    • Five-minute meditation
    • Head massage
  • Try to avoid looking at a screen. When you look at a screen, you stimulate your brain and it won’t get its rest. Also, the internet might suck you in and your break could last longer than intended. (cough tumblr)

Long breaks

  • Sometimes I really really really really reALLY don’t want to study. Or do anything. And I feel kind of gross and am on the verge of a mental breakdown. If you feel this way, stop.
  • Take a hella deep breath. And another one. One more. Aaaaand one more just for good measure.
  • Get away from your desk. I associate desk with studying, so getting away from it helps me relax. Lie down on a bed, or move to a different room if you can. If you can get near a window, try looking into the distance to relax your brain and eyes.
  • Breathe for a couple of minutes, then evaluate how you feel. Again, try to stay positive. Instead of “I feel shitty and I don’t want to do anything,” try “I feel tired right now and resting can help me feel better.”
  • Based on this evaluation, estimate the amount of time you need to rest. If you have a lot of studying to do, try to keep it under an hour. Set a timer for the amount of time you have decided on. (remember to include buffer time!) Getting back to work on time can make you feel more productive, which conduct better productivity!
  • During a long break, do an activity that makes you feel good and takes your mind off studying. You can
    • Take a long walk. If you live near a park or a trail, try strolling around in it.
    • Eat healthy food. Junky comfort food can make you feel groggy, especially foods that are fried. Instead, try eating some fruits or nuts.
    • Take a shower/bath
    • Talk with a friend
    • Make some art
    • Enjoy a long coffee break. (avoid caffeine if you feel anxious/panicky, though)
    • Play with a pet
    • Take a power nap
    • Longer meditation/yoga
  • Again, try to avoid looking at screens. Also, avoid thinking about studying. Let yourself have the luxury of NOT THINKING ABOUT STUDYING for a while, so you can return to it with a fresh mind.

Mental health days

  • Sometimes everything is just too much and you might feel the need to stop everything for a day. If so, take a mental health day!
  • Think of mental health days as physical health days. If your body isn’t feeling well, you are allowed to stay in bed and sleep/not do anything for a day. Similarly, if your mind isn’t feeling well, you are also allowed to stay in bed and sleep/not do anything for a day.
  • Let your parents and teachers know that you don’t feel well and can’t go to school. From my experience, most teachers are pretty understanding and will let you have the day off. (You might have some work to make up later, though.)
  • Do not study on mental health days. Don’t even think about studying on mental health days. Instead, just focus on getting better. You can
    • Sleep in
    • Clean your room
    • Take a super long bath, complete with bath bombs and candles
    • Watch a good movie
    • Read a good book
    • Sing your favorite songs really loudly
    • Literally anything that (IS HEALTHY and) makes you feel good about yourself.

Study groups can keep you going, even when you kind of don’t want to

  • Setting up a time (like a date!) can keep you on track
  • Study with someone you trust to keep you accountable. Don’t study with someone you know you’re going to gossip or watch cat videos with.
  • If you really feel the need to cancel a study date, it’s ok! Just like canceling any kind of date, it’s 100% okay to back out if you feel uncomfortable.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and happy studying!

Can you imagine tho, if when you went to the bathroom you had to use quarters to get toilet paper? Like if businesses just decided, nah, it costs too much to make it free, wouldn’t that be horrible? But people think it’s completely reasonable that half the population is having to pay for menstrual products so they don’t bleed through their pants.