As we all know
(or have heard), college is a seriously hands-on-deck, time consuming
experience, no matter what you study. That’s not to say that it’s all
stress-inducing, all the time, but it requires a different kind of time
management and focus than what you’re used to in high school. The difficulty of
it all can sometimes be a little overwhelming/disheartening, which is why it is
always important to find different ways to stay motivated and on-task. Here are
some of the ways I keep myself going when I’m so close to quitting:
1. Picture the end-game: this is a classic. Whenever I’ve
studied so much that I’m close to tears, I remember my goals. Short-term first,
then long-term. I think, “Okay, no, you can’t give up because you told yourself
at the beginning of this semester that you wanted all A’s. You have to keep going
for those A’s.” and afterwards I follow it up with, “And why is it that you
want those A’s? Because you want to get into a kickass med school!”
2. Think about others/build expectations: sometimes, just thinking about yourself
isn’t enough. I have my slacker periods when I think “So what if I don’t do
well in this test? I’ve done well enough in others”, or “I’ll do better in the
next one”. I try to remember that I’m trying to build a relationship with the
professor during this class; it gives me an extra ‘oomph’. I may exaggerate that relationship sometimes, but
it helps to think that the professor is used to work of high caliber from you,
and that he/she expects you to do well. This one works well for me because I
don’t like disappointing people, and I take meeting expectations as a personal
3. Be competitive…with
yourself: don’t, I repeat, don’t compare yourself to others. You get
nothing out of it. If there’s something you learn from the studyblr community,
it’s that everybody learns and executes in a different way. Personally I’ve
found that competition in classrooms does not motivate me, because it’ll just end up making me feel bad whether I do
better or worse than others. But competing against myself? Much better. I try
to push myself to do a little better than I did last time, or start revising a little
earlier for the next test. When I compare my new results with older ones, it’s
a learning experience even if I don’t do better. It helps me understand myself
and my needs a little more.
4. Take a break: when people tell you that you can’t
stop or you won’t get everything done? THAT IS A LIE. A breather is necessary
as heck!!! If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, you won’t learn as well or
be as productive than if you’re dedicated to your work. Sometimes I’m okay with
just a few minutes of closing my eyes and listening to a favorite piece
of music, other times I need something a little longer like a 20-minute episode
of The Office. I try not to let it extend much more than that though, because
from personal experience, the longer you put off starting up again, the harder it
Pro tip: I’ve been talking to first year medical students recently
to get advice for next August (for those of you who don’t know, I’ll be
beginning my medical studies then), and one of them told me, “Listen. Everyone
has their relaxation thing. I love hanging out and being with people, and
sometimes I’m so fixated on the fact that I can’t go out and have fun with my
friends because I’m stuck studying that I throw 3 hours away just staring at my
book. I’ve learned that it’s better to just get that thing you want to do out
of the way, and then go back and study. You’ll be happier and feel a lot better
than you did before.” (WITH DISCRETION, OBVIOUSLY)
5. Stationery: ah, yes, like most of you, I am
obsessed. Sometimes all it takes is just finding the perfect pen and paper for
what I have in mind to keep myself going.
6. Get involved in the studyblr community: at first, just observing to get ideas
about things you want to try is enough to give you an extra boost of
motivation, but when you feel like you’re starting to slack off again, try
getting involved. Try posting some of your own revision notes or stationery
pics! Honestly this community is one of the most warm and welcoming ones out
there, and it is super inspiring to get notes and messages from people all over
the world who encourage you to run that extra mile, do that extra work to reach
I hope this
serves as useful, and good luck studying to each and everyone of you. Aim high
and keep going!
I’ve been to
an international in-house PR summit hosted by one of my clients this week and
nearly fell off my chair when one of the guest speakers was a VERY important
person from Sony Music Entertainment. Let’s call him John. I won’t disclose his
function and real name because I don’t want to reveal where I was, but based on
his title he definitely knows what he‘s saying and has a lot of industry experience.
was mainly about how to engage with a variety
of different target audiences. Of bloody course one of the first slides he
showed was a picture of 1D engaging with fans which was supposed to drive the
point home that there are some audiences who are more passionate about a brand
than others.He mentioned then that he’s worked with 1D on their albums which drove me into a bit of a freeze.
Because I’m embarrassing,
I recorded parts of his speech on my phone and wrote the most important things
down to share some interesting insights he gave about how Sony manages
their artists’ target audiences, crafts their artists’ social media actions and deals with the
fact that at the end of the day they always need
to get people to buy music.
HOW DOES SONY UNDERSTAND AND MONITOR
AUDIENCES (like fandoms for instance)?
According to John, they have
their very own data-driven digital tool that helps them identify and manage
different target groups for an artist (it’s not perfected yet but has been
rolled out a lot of countries, I think he said 50?) and see where there might
be connections to other artists, who the influencers are, what the specific
target groups are or will be interested in and to identify collaboration
Target groups are being split into four categories: Fanatics, enthusiasts,
casuals, indifferents. These segments are being broken down into even smaller
groups defined by age, genre preference, gender and country. They found that
the older you get, the less likely you’ll be a fanatic or enthusiast.
How does Sony find this stuff out? Well, they survey polled music audiences of every
age in a way that covers either nationally representatives or represent one of
the major top tier cities. People shared their music preferences, consumption
habits, lifestyle, media habits etc. Sony gathered all that information,
analysed the insights and created their
own audience understanding tool.
John, that way everyone at Sony has access to an interactive map of the world of
Sony that looks into segmentations and audiences for every artist while being searchable
in a number of different ways. The tool is pulling from real data, but they are
also adding to that „with things like analytics of platforms like Spotify where
we are able to gather lots of informations about user behaviours and reference
that against things that we do“.
STRATEGICALLY SHAPES PR STORIES
John gave the
example of Snoop Doggy Dog who had launched a new album (song? Idk) around that
time: „There was a week-long debate in parliament around the legalization of
Marihuana, so we just jumped on this conversation and did lots of social
marketing around Snoop with his rolling papers and his spliffs… so maybe that’s
bad taste, I’ll allow you to judge that for yourselves. The point is though that
you are also marketing into a wider
cultural context. [You need] an understanding how that works and where you can
have a conversation that is seamless and not fake, genuineness is quite
“The way you can get people to
connect is: You’ve got a lot of stuff that you want to say. Start under the
assumption that people actually don’t give a shit about 95 percent of it. And
then see which are the bits that might overlap. This is where the
understanding of the audience really comes into its own. It forces us to think before
we jump to execution. The quest for relevance is vitally important.”
Why are people
to connect with a brand/band though? John thinks this is one of the most
underused questions when planning an approach. Why is it that they do specific things? He gave an
example: „We would normally take a
record to radio because we always believe that radio is the thing that breaks
the record. But if my core audience,
my phase one audience – the people that are gonna give that band its first lift
– are on Spotify, what am I doing on radio??“
ENGAGEMENT AROUND ARTIST IS KEY
„The thing is
that you don’t start with a conversation around a product. The consumption of the
product is the end point of a journey where you built an engagement and a fan.
So again, for us that means that when we
sit down and do our plan around our next Robbie Williams album, we start with „How
are we gonna maximize the engagement around Robbie Williams“? because that will
then sell us albums. Not „Okay, we’ll be releasing in a week in November,
eight weeks out we need to be here, here and here“. So we’re not doing product
launches anymore unless [it is suitable for the target demographic]. We have to built a tension and an engagement
around an artist.“
ABOUT THEIR ARTISTS‘ SOCIAL MEDIA
„We run most
of our artists social media channels or at least their official pages, so we are involved in all of those conversations.“
Shocking, I know.
Based on the
situation we face in this fandom,with this band, feel free to draw your own
conclusions about what this information means.
HERE ARE MY KEY TAKEAWAYS:
It’s not news at all, but the existence of their
own audience understandig tool confirms it: the 1D fandom is being monitored, segmented and analyzed. Sony’s strategies
are tightly tied to that fact. Collaborations or artist interactions such as
Louis/James Arthur or One Direction/ Little Mix are most likely the result of a
data-driven analysis of whose fan groups are similar and whose are likely to be
open towards that particular other artist too.
Again no news, but the example of Snoop Doggy
Dog shows that there are strategies behind even the most random photos. Often placements of specific
pictures or stories serve a wider purpose. Hello pap walks, hello
b**ygate, hello Louis Twitter, hello
Liam visibly being linked to L.A.‘s cool singer/songwriter crowd before his
first album drop.
decision to not promote Louis‘ song could very well have been a logical outcome
of the team asking themselves the question „Why?“: Why should we promote
his song with huge effort when we KNOW his own fans are going to do it passionately,
especially if they think we don’t give a
shit? Why not playing that game in order to make them promo it the hardest way
they can?“ Why indeed??
is a huge deal for Sony. John was talking about a lot of bands during his
speech but whenever he was talking about major acts, he always listed One
Direction amongst them (along with gems like Beyonce, David Bowie, Adele). He name-dropped
them at least 5 -6 times in a 60 minute speech. He really didn’t have to
because the audience was in no way whatsoever a target audience. So yes, they clearly
have been and are a very huge deal for them.
Here are 5 productivity-boosting behaviours I’ve picked up over the last 2 years from some of the most successful people in the world. Since implementing these behaviours into my life I’ve seen progress beyond belief and I wish the same for you too.
1. Wake up early. This used to be the hardest thing for me to do, but I’ve found one enormous hack - sleep with the curtains open. Waking up early gives you more hours in the day to spend working on your craft and get more done. When I wake up at 5am I feel like I’ve gained an extra day and this is why it’s first on the list.
2. One thing at a time. Don’t spread your focus across 6 things at the same time - do one thing well and then move onto the next. When you try to get multiple tasks done at the same time they are done with a fraction of your attention and this leads to mistakes. It’s better to do it right the first time around than to have to come back and start again later on.
3. Take breaks. Working yourself too hard for too long will result in you having to take a long break later down the road. It’s better for your productivity to take short, regular breaks throughout the day to remain energised mentally and physically. The best breaks are ones you take for exercise and relaxing in nature as they will rejuvenate your mind and body so you can come back fresh.
4. Don’t waste time on your “competition”. My role model in business is Gary Vee - he says he wants to build the biggest building (business) in town by actually building it rather than tearing down everyone else’s buildings. He knows that the time he spends trying to bad mouth others is time he could be investing into building his own business.
5. Be grateful. There are going to be challenges along the way, but staying grateful for what you have and for the problems you don’t have is a great way to push past the difficult times. When you value the health and wellbeing of yourself and those around you - every other problem becomes minor in comparison. Having perspective on challenges and problems is key to not getting overwhelmed in these situations.
Hi Emma! What can I do to have a productive summer? I usually just melt away in the heat and become an unorganized mess (more so than usual) when school starts again.
Hey! I have a break coming up too so I’ll list some things that I’ll be doing during the holiday and then some other random ideas:
clear out my desk - I’ll usually do this properly every holiday. I’ll tidy up all my drawers, organise used/unused stationery, collect things that can be stored. I’ll go through my pens/highlighters/etc and throw out ones that don’t work. I’ll make a note of things I need to replace for the new semester too. I will recycle any bits of paper I don’t need any more as well.
organise my computer - I’ve become a bit of a clean freak with my laptop and like everything to be filed, in place, or deleted if unnecessary. I’ll clear my desktop. Refile or rename documents that are randomly placed. Things I definitely don’t need I’ll either trash or put onto an external hard drive. I also will go through my history, clear that and any additional caches/cookies/web data that doesn’t need to be there. Another one is going through all your emails, social media, etc and deleting or unsubscribing from things you are no longer interested.
back up my (old) computer - this is on my list because I recently got a new laptop. I’m planning to back up all my files from my other laptop and transfer anything I need to my new one. I’m going to make some note of all my login information, etc. I’ll make sure to back up my phone too.
sort out my bedroom - I’m in the process of designing how I want my bedroom to look so that something I’ll be sorting. Whilst this happens, I’ll be going through all my drawers, boxes, magazines, etc. I really need to just part with things I’m never going to use. I’m a bit of a sentimental hoarder with things so I need to be ruthless :’-)
clear my wardrobe - since I’m redoing my wardrobe too I’ll be going through that. Probably just donate some of the things I never wear or don’t want any more. I’m planning on doing an eBay sale of some unworn/unused things! Otherwise, I’ll donate them!
work on my hobbies - blogging is my hobby so I’m planning to do that. Hopefully getting my YouTube up and running (if I tell enough people, I’ll be forced to do it and get over my nervousness haha!). You could spend the holidays doing something you enjoy, or learning a skill.
prepare for the next school term/year - obviously holidays are the perfect time to organise the previous term and get organised to start again. Go through your files/stationery/etc, make a list of what you need! It’s best to make a list that you can add to and cross off once you’ve purchased it. It will also prompt you to get things before it’s too late. For each semester, I’d type out my timetable and place it in my notebook. I’d print binder covers for each of my subjects. Next term, I’m going to do a semester outline as @bookishandbright did, as seen here. It will show my weekly readings, when things are due, reminders, etc. I’m debating whether to print and bind all my readings at my local Officeworks so I don’t have to print them myself each week.
find out a planning method that works for you - this is probably a good time to switch between planning/organisation methods if you’re not happy with your current one. You can test out bullet journaling for a few weeks, using a time planner for a week or a digital calendar/bullet journal. You can see which one holds you most accountable and improves your efficiency.
boost your resume - see if you can volunteer somewhere, work with your parents for a little bit, get a part time job at the local store, or work experience/internship in a field you’d enjoy. This obviously isn’t necessary - especially if you’re very young - but if the opportunity arises, it’s a great place to start!
read something - this could be a book that you’ve had your eye on, the next one in a series you’ve read, or just something that might help in another way. I recently read ‘13 Reasons Why’ and enjoyed it! I’m thinking of reading either ‘It’ or ‘Before I Fall’ over the holiday. I was given the career code by Katherine Power/Hilary Kerr for Christmas since I was interning for their company but in Australia and thought it would be really interesting. My dad has recommended ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen for years so I’ll maybe read that too.
relax - the biggest thing to do in the summer!!! You’re allowed to have days where you sit around and do nothing. That is what holidays are for, right? Take time to do things you don’t always get round to when school is on. Catch up with some friends. Go to the movies. Spend the day exploring somewhere new. Start and binge a series (I can recommend loads if you want!).
Constantly losing focus while you study be frustrating. We will go through some of the top study tips that can allow you to focus and study effectively.
Remind yourself why One of the key things that help us maintain focus no matter what, is by getting really interested in whatever we are doing. So find a way to make your topic interesting, relatable and practical in your life.
Remind yourself that you want to study to expand your worldly knowledge, to graduate, get into a field that you can flourish in, and provide some value to the world with your awesomeness. Also try thinking in metaphors and whatifs. It’s your mind, no one else has access to it, so think of wondrous things to make yourself want to devote the next few hours of your life to the task at hand.
Plan out what you want to accomplish and give yourself a timelimit. For example, I will read 10 pages from my psych textbook in 30 minutes, or I will spend 1 hour researching the key words for my report.
Get enough sleep. Ideally around 7-9 hours. If you sleep earlier, you may need less sleep, but please never do less than 6. Constant sleep deprivation is deteriorating for the brain and body.
Eat foods that help you focus. Which include blueberries, green tea, avocados, spinach, kale, salmon, nuts and seeds. I often have a spinach, banana & kale smoothie with matcha green tea powder, but you can combine some of the ingredients in a quick sandwich if you like.
Your brain mainly works on sugar, but you need to temper it with a protein or something with low GI, to reduce any blood-sugar problems which can lead to sudden tiredness. A quick way to find a a balance is to opt for a fruit or healthy smoothie.
Be aware that if you study right after having a heavy meal the blood circulating around your brain reduces and goes to help with digestion, so you may feel less alert. Smaller meals can help.
Take supplements that help you focus: fish oil, omega 3, Ginko Biloba, vitamin B12, Co-Enzyme Q10, and iron.
Identify whatever distracts you and find a way to minimise it. So perhaps you can go to a non-distracting environment, if that is an issue. I prefer libraries or coffeeshops.
Surround yourself with motivated people. If you can befriend the top few students in your class, or at least be on nicer terms with them, hopefully their studiousness will rub off on you.
Have all the stationary and materials you need at hand.
Set up a reward system, but avoid food as a reward as it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead try a relaxing activity, or hobby. Pretty much any incentive you can think of that will help you cross the finish line.
Prime - Spend 2 minutes skimming or figuring out what you will be going through.
Drinking game - Keep a bottle of water or two next to you. Drink a cup or a half cup worth every time you get distracted for more than 5 seconds.
Put distractions in their place - Write down any distracting thoughts in a small notebook. But remember it’s not supposed to act as your pretty bullet journal, but you can make another spread for if it you like. I made a small notebook the other day to write down quick thoughts that I would otherwise dwell on. It helps me direct my thoughts appropriately to what I’m studying, and still have those important ideas to refer to later.
Motivate yourself - Write out exactly why you want to be a [insert awesome career position] in detail with examples. Keep that page or post-it on hand and look at it when you feel yourself losing focus. It can give you a motivational boost and can inspire you to keep going. Sometimes I like to visualise specific scenarios of how I could help people once my finish my studies.
Take strategic breaks - Remove yourself from your study space and think of something else for a few minutes. You can get a snack, walk around, do a quick workout, look outside, and notice nature. Practice being present in the moment. Listen to of the world around you and get out of your head.
If you feel you can not sustain your concentration on a task for too long, you may switch between two different yet equally important tasks. But try to do a big task for at least 20 minutes, you never know, by then you might like it. Some studies show, it takes 20 minutes to really get into concentrating on something.
Reduce as many distractions as you can, including turning off notifications and wifi, putting you phone on do not disturb or airplane mode, and try blocking apps.
Track how you use your time. I like the apps ‘Now and Then’ and ‘Moment’ for iOS. So you can see how much you have accomplished or slacked off.
Write draft first. Edit and prettify later.
If you’re in the final stage, focus on the fact that you have made it this far and that you’re almost done.
Try to make it fun somehow, perhaps with strategies you used when you were a kid.
Use as many senses as you can.
Record your voice and say whatever you are reading or writing in different accents.
Draw quick doodles next to whoever you are doing to help you remember it better.
As long it’s not your first draft, feel free to use colourful pens, highlights and tape to keep you engaged.
Revise whatever you have accomplished just before your break, by quickly skimming through your most recent notes or readings.
Consequent revision schedule. The best way to remember what you have worked on is to revise it in specific intervals, after you have studying it. So after five minutes, in that evening before bed, the next day, at the end of the week and then in three weeks.
Reward yourself, as long as you feel like you ended up accomplishing something you couldn’t before.
You can try out each step for two days each to see which strategies work best for you.
I hope these tips can help you, and feel free message me if you would like more details for one of the points :)
what are your sexuality headcanons for the paladins?
Ehhhhhh, hmmmm, let’s see… I mean, I support all kinds of ships in the fandom that probably break my headcanons, so this in no way implies that I disagree with other ships. These are just my, personal, headcanons for sexuality and… other things. Because I went overboard, as usual -
Lance - Bisexual (obv). Biromantic. I think he probably has some issues expressing his attraction to men, however. Not because he’s unaware of it, but because he has a “Han Solo” type image he wants to portray to those he wants to impress and so it’s easier to stick to only flirting with ladies. That is, until he’s confident and comfortable enough to express how he really feels to his new “family.” Lance is, in my opinion, a very, very secretive person that uses his typical attitude as a sort of smoke and mirrors idea to convince those he meets otherwise. Because insecurity. Also, I think Lance kind of shifts between being quite masculine and quite feminine when he feels comfortable in doing so. I don’t think he suffers from gender dysphoria, but I don’t think he allows his gender to dictate how he presents himself (again, once he feels comfortable enough with the people around him. Dat insecurity and desire to impress be gettin’ in the way). For example, back home with his family and in his neighborhood and where he’s most at ease, he’s more than happy to wear makeup. Or, say, during Cuban festivals like the Havana Carnival, you know damn well he’s wearing one of those more revealing getups with the fancy headdresses and all the beaded decorations and flashy sleeves and feathers, etc, etc. YOU CANNOT TAKE THIS HEADCANON AWAY FROM ME! GIVE ME HAVANA CARNIVAL LANCE! NOW!
Keith - Gay. Super gay. As gay as they come. SO gay. Homoromantic. I also headcanon Keith as being somewhat hyper-romantic, meaning that he really, really desires a romantic relationship (far more so than anything sexual). Like, he’s the type that forms feelings hard and fast and without mercy, and so he tries really, really hard not to give in, but it never works. He’s more apt to keep such things bottled up tight than ever express them, however–too afraid of rejection.
Pidge - Asexual.Aromantic. Pidge is far more interested in platonic bonds and values her family/friends more than anything. Which is why it’s so important that she find her family. I’d imagine she has a hard time making friends as well, so what strong bonds she does have are very, very important to her support system. She has anti-social tendencies, but is very dependent on the people she does love to be there and love her in return. I also imagine she suffers from gender dysphoria, and that–though it’s something that doesn’t really affect her position as part of Voltron any–it wears on her a bit. It’s clear from the space mall episode, when she couldn’t decide which bathroom to go in, that how she’s presenting herself–at least in public–is stressing her a bit. I think she’s comfortable enough with Team Voltron not to worry about it, but something inside her is uncertain. Whether this leads to her making a transition or identifying as gender fluid isn’t something I’ve decided yet, however.
Hunk - Panromantic and asexual. I dunno why I love the idea of asexual Hunk so much–maybe because it’s interesting to headcanon both him and Pidge that way due to how different they are. I like the idea of romantically distant Pidge, who still needs all her platonic relationships, while Hunk loves romance and wants it and all the frills that come along with it. But he’s also patient and doesn’t really go looking for it? Like, he knows it’ll come someday and he’s just waiting for that perfect person(s). Until then, he’s more than happy to give cuddles and love to his friends. I also think Hunk would do very well with polyamorous relationships and would be more than willing to be in one/want one. And though he has no active interest in sex himself, he’d be more than happy to participate if it made his partner happy. He’s not sex-repulsed (as Pidge probably is), he just doesn’t care one way or another.
Shiro - Demisexual and demiromantic. Shiro partially takes a while to warm up to people because of the trauma he’s been through, but also because he’s always been very focused elsewhere and so he’s never thinking about romance or sex at the forefront. When it does hit him, though, it’s deep and burning and certain. He’s the kind of person that loves someone his whole life, even if they don’t love him in return, and so even though he may not end up with that person, a flame for them will always exist inside him, even if it is subdued. That’s just how deeply he feels things–it leaves that much of an impact on him. But, like I said, it does take a special kind of person and a lot of time to get him to that point.
Allura - Gray-sexual and demiromantic. Allura has a lot more important things to worry about than sex and relationships. I also kind of headcanon that sex wasn’t a huge part of Altean culture anyway. Allura feels sexual attraction sometimes, but it’s not hard for her to control, nor is it distracting. That doesn’t mean she can’t be a sexual person, just that it’s not something that’s overpowering unless she lets it overpower her at her own volition. I would also imagine that she takes a while to romantically warm up to people, even if she’s platonically very friendly. If she’s going to enter into a romantic relationship, it needs to be with someone she’s partners with–both romantically and otherwise. Someone she can work with, but who can also manage themselves and offer things productive to the relationship. Allura would need–I think above anything–an efficient relationship. Which is why this determination would have to be solidified before romance was introduced or even considered.
Coran - I… don’t know, lol. I usually headcanon Coran as being very dedicated to the royal family and so his personal life wasn’t something he considered important. Which I guess would make him a kind of asexual and aromantic. But I also imagine that Alteans are very good at compartmentalizing, so even if he was attracted to someone/in love, he wouldn’t allow it to get in the way of his duties. Therefore, I consider Coran’s personal life to, well, be none of my business, hahahaha!
“Isn’t in kind of unrealistic, statistically, that all the Voltron members be part of the LGBTQ+ community?”
No. If it weren’t for the gender and sexual stereotypes that permeate human society, I theorize that diversity among such things would be far more wide-spread. Not only that, but each lion represents a different type of person and I think it’s perfectly reasonable, therefore, that each paladin show variances all over the spectrum, not just in their personalities. They are five pieces that come together to make a whole, so like they represent different races and personality types, other things about them should show differences as well. Which means that, yes, I do get slightly annoyed at the lack of female representation on the team. What little representation women have isn’t enough, and Hunk or Shiro would have made really good female characters without it altering the story one bit.
THAT THING WHEN KIDS POINT AT YOU YELLING QUESTIONS
WHEN YOU ARE VISIBLY DISABLED
It kinda sucks. It really sucks. I like
kids and I work with kids and I’m totally used to it
and it still sucks. It hurts my feelings.
I didn’t become disabled and get an
instant magical free training in how to teach kids about disability
and diversity. I also didn’t sign up for a delicate unpaid
education-and-outreach job every time I go to the frickin’ grocery
store. (I actually don’t have time for that).
BUT. And this is a big butt.
I am actually learning to love it, this
stupid important unpaid job that I didn’t even get to choose.
I know I know, I have an unfair
advantage because I already thought kids were ridiculous and
hilarious to begin with. And I worked with them before I started
using a wheelchair. But working with kids and having to have the
disability conversation in so many iterations so many times over is
teaching me a whole lot about this whole situation! And it got much
less stressful after I realized this helpful key secret:
kids don’t actually have a problem with
Especially compared to the adults you
encounter who will or won’t ask about it and will or won’t hire you
or date you or what-have-you, so many kids have absolutely no problem with disability. Unless the media // the
adults around them have gotten to their brains before you, this whole
conversation might be alarmingly simple, quick, and painless:
“hey why are you on that?” [“on
that” refers to my wheelchair].
(whenever possible I put down what
I’m doing in order to smile and make eye contact for this. It will
probably be less than 20 seconds).
“oh my wheelchair? Great question!
I have a disability that makes my bones crack easily, so it’s safer
and faster for me to use a wheelchair sometimes. It’s just how I
help my body be at its best!”
“did you have any other questions?”
[I only throw that in on good days]
[kid goes to play]
My advice is to expect Scenario One. All you gotta do to prepare is have a one-sentence explanation of your assistive device / disability that you
feel comfortable with. Kids do not give a shit about your diagnosis, and you don’t need to prove anything to them. All they need from you is a simple,
I * always * explicitly use the word disability
for a few reasons. I used to just casually say “I fractured my leg”
which was also true, but kids learn really early on to feel pity
for someone who has an injury, so they would say things like “ohh I
feel bad for you” or “oh when will you get better” which always made the conversation longer and more uncomfortable. Then I realized
I had a lot of power in shaping their interaction with disability
(and their response to it) in these brief encounters, and also I GET
TO DECIDE HOW I ANSWER! So I revised my answer to frame my injuries
(and my wheels), as a normal, casual part of my life. Feel free to
use my exact wording if it helps you:
“oh my wheelchair? Great question!
I have a disability that (very basic explanation)
so it’s safer and faster for me to use a wheelchair
sometimes. It’s just how I help my body be at its best!”
Okay I studied sociolinguistics in
college so here’s my geeky little break-down:
“oh my wheelchair?” ←
gives a nice nonchalant “oh this old thing” vibe and sends the
message that it’s okay and normal to talk about wheelchairs.
“great question!” ←
teaches the child that disability is not shameful
“I have a disability that
___” ← addresses the taboo right away, deflating any
tension, awkwardness, and curiosity in the rest of the conversation.
Suddenly you have all the power here, since there’s no
“so it’s safer and faster for
me to use a wheelchair” ← emphasizes the positive attributes
of assistive devices. You could also say “it helps me do
everything I want to do” or “my wheels are faster than my feet”
or whatever you want. Again, simplicity works for you in this.
“It’s just how I help my body
be at its best!” ← hopefully kids are already getting some
messaging about taking care of their bodies: brushing their teeth,
eating a snack, sleeping enough, etc. This line should be relatable
to them and also caps the conversation in a helpful way: it’s almost
like saying “this is just how it is” and creates a sense of gentle, positive closure.
My personal opinion on the matter of disclosure is
that the vast majority of kids don’t care at all about the fancy name
of your disability. I don’t emphasize simplicity because I think kids need to be talked down to, I emphasize simplicity because it keeps the conversation clear, casual, and quick. In the adult world, disclosure is practically
demanded of disabled people: even if they don’t ask, everyone wants
to know what, exactly, is “wrong” with you. So my choice in not
naming my specific disability in these conversations with kids is
conscious and political. Not disclosing my diagnosis keeps our
conversation out of the medical sphere (disabled people are so
over-medicalized anyway) and gives us a chance to connect
human-to-human. Some people feel that sharing a diagnosis will raise
“awareness” for their illness or disability but I’m not sure that awareness is what I
need from kids. I don’t need them to be aware that my bod has wonky
collagen production, I need them to know how to interact with me
respectfully. I’m not adamantly against specific diagnosis
disclosure, (again, YOU GET TO CHOOSE what you say in these
situations!) but I also don’t think it’s necessary or important and I
think more often than not, it derails the conversation. Especially if you already didn’t have time
for this to begin with. Guaranteed, a diagnosis
disclosure will add time to this convo.
Often kids will ask what happened
to you, assuming that you’ve had some kind of accident. I have a
congenital disability, so even when I * have * fractured and had an
‘accident’ and that is why I’m wheeling instead of walking, I usually
just casually say: “oh, nothing happened! Same old me. I have a
disability…” and continue my spiel from there.
They will also ask
what’s wrong with you (which is the hardest to stomach) and I
do the same thing: “oh, nothing’s wrong! I just have a
disability…” etc. If I’m just absolutely not in the mood or if a
kid seems weirdly aggressive (which is almost never the case, but it does happen), I’ll cheerfully say “oh nothing’s wrong, but thank you so
much for asking!” and that usually shuts down the conversation.
Lovelies, I know how fucking painful this is. Ugh it sucks so much. But it does get easier and gentler and sometimes kids say really goofy things that you get to laugh about later. This conversation is yours. You get to do as you please with it. Have fun. If you want, for little ones throw in an afterthought: “plus it gives me magical powers. But don’t tell anyone.” Having someone look at you like you could be legitimately fucking magical might make your day.
Hell, you ARE legitimately fucking magical. Go you for reading this and thinking about this and doing you.
So, I’m new to this studyblr thing, but I haven’t seen something like this before. Studying can be hard while you go on and off with with your illness, and I believe the most important is bending your way of thinking. It’s hard word. But recovery is such a gratifying hard work.
You just can’t study sometimes, and that doesn’t mean you’re not being productive. Treat yourself, your body needs rest, food, exercise, relaxing. Everytime you do one of this, you can congratulate yourself. Congratulate yourself, even if it seems so small. In my bad days, texting my best friend is hard. And I let myself feel good when I do it. When I think that only if I’m studying I’m being productive, I tend to loose motivation, and get into the vicious circle of feeling bad brcause I don’t study and not studying cause I feel bad. So I find other ways to feel productive, and increase them until I can put small studies - and them increase them! This might take a few days, or weeks. But remember that you’re trying and that already is remarkable, so do congratulate yourself and do be proud that you got out of bad to brush your teeth.
You can try:
Taking care of yourself
Watching a TV show.
Baking something! I love this one
Stretching and walking. It can be just around your room, but it will wake your body up.
Cuddle and playing with a pet if you have one.
Reading anything. It can be the dumbest fanfic ever, but it will help you concentrate, so nice one!
Playing a game.
Sketching drawings or random quotes. And this ain’t meant to look pretty, just to be fun.
Making yourself some tea.
“But others are so productive”. You know what is AWSOME? Living when your mind is fighting against you. You’re already formidable for anything you can accomplish because of this. Remember that you’re not to blame on how your brain works, and allow yourself bad days. And every time you do study, don’t ever think “finally, I lost so many times already” but be SUPER proud of you. I am. You’re doing great if you’re searching so much to find helpful tips already.
Planing is great, but breaking schedules is ok. This happens to everyone, I promise. You wouldn’t blame yourself if you got stuck in the rain, or had to help a friend, right? So why do if you can’t get out if bed? You can’t always control it. So what I do is planing, and instead of feeling bad about what I haven’t done, I feel good about what I have done. Sometimes, looking at lost dates is hard. So I close my agenda and just make a to-do list, crossing the items when I get to them, and never following orders. And remember to put small tasks in your list as well!
Have a routine before studying, and have a routine before studying when you’re not feeling good. This helps your brain associate that it needs to concentrate.
I have three routines, for example:
In my normal days, I just stretch, drink cold water and put some music I like and get straight to studying hard. On my sad days, I take a cold shower, eat a snack and play some concentration games. Only then I get to studying, and I start with baby steps - I tend to watching videos or listening to poadcasts first. It takes a while, but anything you can do you need to feel proud about.
On my hipomaniac days, I go for walks or even runs. I need to tire my body a bit or I can’t focus. Then I take two glasses of water and a shower. Only THEN I study, and usually start with reading, to remind myself that while I have a lot of energy and feel good, it won’t do anything without discipline.
Find out what works for you. On bad days it will take a while, but if it gets you going, it is more than worth it.
Exercise. And again, it is okay when you can’t - and not a privilege of us neuroatypicals. But exercises are good ways to control your body chemistry. I have three exercise routines - again, for normal days in which I have energy, for days when I have less energy and for days in which I have WAY too much energy. You also don’t need to do this everyday, this is me, but have a schedule. And never fear to break schedules. Also, eat healthy.
Remember: mental illness is all about chemistry, which is frustrating, but also means you can hack it. And not just with medication.
Talk about your feelings, and not only when they’re bad. If you can afford a therapist, great. If you don’t, regularly talk to hotlines or trustworthy persons. Or just write about it. It really works to reduce your number of crises.
Power posing. Talking about hacking brain chemistry! I learnt this from a lecture called Our Body Language Shapes Who We Are, from psychologist
Amy Cuddy - you can find it at TED. And it changed my life. Posing like Wonder Woman or all star spread for two minutes gets your cortisol (stress hormone) levels down, and your testosterone levels up! Sounds silly, but it does work. Also, it does look kinda silly so you can laugh and have fun while at it.
Have safety plans for every bad emotion you feel. I make lists I can look at when an emotion is overwhelming and pick something to do. Things like anxiety crises, sadness, anger, apathy and self destructive thoughts. This will help you reduce the times of this bad emotions and refrain it from growing into worse things, such as episodes.
Motivation. Motivation is important to anyone. I love lists - especially because I can hide them if they’re making me feel bad - so I have one for this as well. Things such as:
I love learning
Studying is a way of having control over my brain
I want to be a teacher that makes a difference
I also love listening to Sia’s The Greatest, it’s kinda of my fighting song. If you have one, blast it and perform it ridiculously around your room until your dog is staring at you like you bring dishonor to the family - or is it just my life.
Find your motivation and keep it to your chest. ]
Try out different study methods in different states. Look at posts at studying tips - always remembering that some might not work for you, and that’s not (just) because of your illness, and that’s ok, that’s why they are so many - and use them to build your study routines. Routines are great because they bring safety and help you when you’re lost.
Sometimes you can’t control your sleep. It is important to try, however, don’t blame yourself if your brain just make it impossible some days.
This is to the folks that are on the bipolar spectrum and like me can go 5 days straight with a maximum of 4 hours of daily sleep. If you know you can’t control it, don’t force it. It will make you feel anxious and you get MORE enrgy and impulsiveness. Tiring your body and brain helps.
There are days when it is three a.m. and I just can’t sleep but am not feeling bad. On those days, I work for a maximum of two hours. It is a nice moment for putting your reading in day. But never do this for many consecutive days, you’ll feel like a zombie later. However, it can help with getting something done. And it is especially calming for unrest.
Remember that bad days happen and you’re allowed to feel, to cry and rest. And that you’re never a burden when you need help or talk about your feelings. You are only human. Have routines, break routines. Do crazy wishes like decorating a Christmas tree in the middle of June. Pamper yourself. And just never give up.
My list of favorite shows (other than sense8) includes things like Torchwood and Agent Carter, so clearly I have a thing for doomed TV shows and I’m not new to the feeling of betrayal and lost that comes with your average cancellation, but I believe that sense8 is not your average situation and that’s why it has been trending worldwide on twitter for 8+ hours and it made so many people deeply upset.
Sense8 being cancelled is the entertainment industry equivalent of Trump winning the elections. In Freema Agyeman’s words: ‘A real kick in the teeth for everyone who is striving to make TV more representational & inclusive’. And, because that’s the way media works, a direct reflection of what’s going on in the rest of world right now. And it happened in the fucking first day of pride month, no less.
I got sad. A doctor recommended that I go off my anxiety meds because they might be interfering with a bunch of other health issues. I did. It wasn’t good.
I tapered off for months and dealt with the withdrawal symptoms. When they were gone, I felt ok for a few weeks. Then I was easily irritated and sometimes angry. Then weird feelings started to creep in. I guess it was just dread. Maybe it was weird to just be feeling anything after being numbed on meds for so long. I started crying watching movies sometimes or thinking about whatever the fuck. I started getting really sad. Eventually I would cry everyday, sometimes for multiple sessions. It’s strange to think back on that now that I’m safely numbed to fuck again.
My grandfather had died about 8 months earlier and I thought I had emotionally exhausted that, but now it was back and I dwelt on it constantly. I thought of dying with an urgency that I couldn’t distract myself from. I thought of everyone I knew dying. It felt like time was an illusion and it wouldn’t be long until I’m standing beside their open coffins, reflecting on how quickly time had passed and now they’re gone and I’d wasted time not spending more time with them.
Most days I’d just wake up and lie there for hours. I’d try to look at things on my phone to try to distract myself. Snapchat was fun for that. Christ, so was Miitomo. I wouldn’t get any work done. It was difficult to focus and overcome the feeling in my gut of being pulled down and the constant present terror feelings of death and knowing this whole experience will be gone some day, but before that, I’ll watch everyone I know leave too. For a long time, I don’t think I really connected that it was my absence of meds that was doing this to me. I thought maybe it was just circumstances and some kind of Holmes-Rahe scale thing where a bunch of life events happening at once were stacking and compounding my depression feelings. There was no way to win against it and this kind of thing encourages you to not to the things that will typically pull you out of a depression. It makes you want to seclude yourself more and work on further diminishing your self-worth mentally. Instead of seeing friends or doing activities you enjoy, you convince yourself that you’re a burden to them, they don’t really want to see you anyway, and that something bad is going to happen if you go out and do anything. For so many fucking days I just laid there. That makes your depression even worse; your lack of productivity frustrates you and makes you hate yourself. All that wasted time boils your living asshole. It’s a paralysis and you don’t know why you can’t break out of it. You can’t just go into the other room and sit at your computer and do your work. Brains are incredible. Just a bit of absence from a certain chemical changes everything. Of course, you tell yourself things like this, that it’s not really you and that it’s just a biological ineptitude temporarily and that everything will be fine soon enough, but that doesn’t help at all.
That’s the other thing: you don’t feel like this will ever end. This is who you are now. A fucking shrivelled terrified cryhole. I did feel terror quite a few times during all this. It usually gets you when you wake up or try to go to sleep. Everything is still and You are going to fucking die someday, sooner than you think and You have wasted every moment of your life so far blast in your mind and your heart pounds, you can barely breathe, and you might even suddenly groan as panic waves hit your brain in an instant. There’s a terror in knowing there’s no relief from this; that all of these things are true and for some reason you believed the illusion your whole life and weren’t always in the perfect terror about it that you are now. Still, you beg for that trick to come back, to be able to put this mindset away and believe in the stupid shit we tell ourselves just to keep existing in some kind of calm. All these thoughts keep assaulting you with some kind of biological urgency, like you need to figure this problem out immediately or you die. This is what being on chemicals to help your brain for years and then suddenly going off them is like. Your body doesn’t know what the fuck. It’s weird to not give a shit about any of this and then suddenly imperatively have to give a shit about it and be unable to escape it. Even now when I’m in the clear, I still feel its background noise. Maybe I always will from now on. This whole thing has been a Paul on the road to Damascus type ordeal.
I fucking cried watching the new X-Files episodes, my dude. Probably during each one. That’s what it was fucking like. Imagine being in your late ass twenties and something in the X-Files makes you cry because you think of a squandered opportunity, or what you should or shouldn’t have done as a kid, or wishing you had put more effort into certain relationships with family or friends. It just finds anything to grab onto and get you with. You just have a dragging feeling constantly present and looking for things to attach to and convince you you’re sad about. Frankly, it’s fucking annoying. I cried one time because a nintendo phone app was enthusiastic about sharing my character’s picture with others. Just the fact that someone would have an interest in who I am and treat me like a normal person and want to share something about me with other terrible avatars made me cry as I was playing this thing and trying to take a shit. It made me think about my own self-worth and how long I thought there was no reason anyone should give a fuck. Cripe, one time I was almost screaming crying about my best friend who died when we were 11. It was like a fresh wound again and I was lying facedown on my bed wailing like an asshole. Depression can fuck with you.
So, this got pretty bad and I decided I had to see my GP about it. This can become a battle in itself, because past a certain point, you are convinced you aren’t worth the effort and that you’re a burden to have to deal with, and someone else could use that time to see the doctor instead. It gives you any reason to turn yourself down. I cried right away talking to my doctor. All this is really weird to reflect on; I was an entirely different person then. It was like a frantic sadness, an inability to just hold your shit together for even a few minutes. The impending terror was really pressing; a constant urgent anxiety that something bad is going to happen really soon, or that I’m about to get a call that someone I know just died. The doctor recommended seeing a therapist and going back on meds. Now I remember that the reason I finally did something was because my neighbour’s son killed himself. Fuck, that really bothered me. Hearing about any death at all was bad enough, but I think that week I was reading about Edgar Allan Poe’s death and then Vincent Van Gogh’s, and I just got really fixated on vividly imagining their final moments. I think there were others, too. See? Just a stupid thing to waste your time on but in the moment, you think this will help for some reason. Maybe the gravity of that kind of thing hooks you and you can’t help but look into it. So when my neighbour’s son also committed suicide, that was a pretty strong blow. I hadn’t even talked to the guy in over ten years, but I couldn’t help but fixate on having seen his father maybe 3 days prior as he joked in my mom’s backyard and borrowed a ladder. Now his life was ruined and the son he struggled to try to get mental help his whole life had killed himself. He was only 37 and he had a son. I think I spent a few days of weeping out my stupid ass over this, then made the decision to see my doctor.
I started seeing my therapist and cried within 6 minutes of entering his office. I wish I went to see a talk doctor when I was recommended it as a teenager. It’s good shit. Beyond that, I started seeing my friends again. Before this, I think 2 years had passed between us spending time together. I had talked myself into feeling like they were better off without me anyway and had their own real friends and lives that I didn’t have anything to do with. I started to exercise and even just take walks around the block. Sometimes, if I was just lying awake staring at the ceiling, I’d get up and go for a run. I started being able to work on videos again and looked forward to it. Thinking back on it now, I realize I kept streaming during the whole time. That would become the only thing I’d do or look forward to for most of this stretch. SO THANKS IF YOU LOOKED AT MY TERRIBLE STREAMS DURING THIS ERA I WAS QUITE WOUNDED AND I’M HOPEFUL THAT I WASN’T TREMENDOUSLY OBVIOUS ABOUT THIS, YOU HELPED KEEP ME STABLE WATCHING ME PLAY WITH CHILDREN’S TOYS. Beyond this, I’d just sleep until the afternoon and try to find a way to kill time until the streams started. This is why there were even less videos than usual. I was sad.
So, these things helped pull me out of the shit. A lot of it is self-examination and discovering why you feel this way in the first place. I’ve talked to my therapist about whether or not this whole thing was because of being on meds for so long and then going off them and feeling a withdrawal, or if that’s who I am underneath the medication. He said that it is probably both, but more that that’s who I am. Fuck. He categorized this as a major depressive episode. It was weird to just hear the words. That is the kind of thing that happens to people in their mid-30s in office jobs who are getting shit on by everything in their lives. I guess it can also make you feel like a diva asshole; that you feel you’re so important that you had to have this major crisis about yourself. Writing this makes me realize how stupid it is to think like this, but that’s the kind of trap you get put into. Anyway, let me emphasize how important it is to see a therapist if you are depressed. Do it. It can change everything. Also talk to a doctor and see if meds are part of your solution. See a doctor. Do not just let it go. This is like if you had cancer and you just wanted to wait it out or hoped it would get better on its own. A lot of people let it go until it’s overwhelming and consumes them completely and just kill themselves to end the pain. Don’t!
I got better. I went on meds and in just a few weeks I made a drastic improvement. Plus the therapy, and plus feeling like I was doing anything with my life again. I hear a lot about hesitation to go on meds because you feel like they may change the foundation of who you ever are. This doesn’t happen. For me, it made me feel more free to be who I felt like I really was. That said, it may numb your emotions if you are a person who typically feels a lot of things. Just talk to a doctor about any concerns you have and don’t let these build up and become reasons you don’t get help for yourself. You are worth it. The doctor isn’t angry to have to deal with you. If it will cost what you can’t afford, don’t let that become an excuse not to do it. Save up or find a way to make it work. Again, it’s like if you couldn’t afford cancer treatments so you just let it kill you instead of finding out how you can make the situation work financially. What you’re dealing with is serious! Do something about it!
I almost forgot to mention that a lot of getting better was having something to look forward to. Knowing I’d see my friends and we’d have a good time was part of it. Another was spending all of my fucking money to go to as many conventions as I could. They were something I enjoyed in the past but didn’t bother with much anymore, so I decided to get back into them. It was the best choice. Thanks for coming to drink a lot of beers and talk shit if I saw you at a PAX or TwitchCon or Magfest! They were sincerely some of the best times of my life. Knowing that it wouldn’t be long until I’d be at another convention helped a lot with otherwise feeling complete dread. The power of giving yourself something great to look forward to is really strong! Do it! Find things you like and make time for them. Reward yourself! At one point, I got into a really unbalanced lifestyle and would spend maybe 60 or 70 hours a week editing videos and I burned myself out to shit. All I would think about was the job and let my health and relationships go to shit. You’re not supposed to do that. Give yourself good things and make it a habit. Anyway, PAX East soon, my man.
When I wrote my last crypost, a lot of people responded it it. I was in a daze for the rest of that day as I heard from a mountain of individuals. A lot of you deal with issues like this and a lot of you feel hopeless about it. It’s fucked up! This is your life! You’re entitled to a good one! Doing something about it will take a lot less than you may think, and will help you in a lot more ways and probably faster than you may think. A lot of you also said since that you’ve decided to finally get help. So yeah motherfucker I had a cool cry about your messages several times. What was also helpful was anonymous tumblr questions saying they got help so others could see your experiences and know I’m not just yelling out my dick about this. Thanks! You helped people!
Ok I think I have to cut this short now, it got late and I try not to stay awake until fucking 7 AM these days. I feel like I missed a few of the main points I wanted to make but by now I think you get the point that you can feel like you are going to face total annihilation within the next few moments and still get back to normal in very little time. I almost just wrote “Hopefully talking about my own cringe-ass experience helped you with…” and so forth to end this on a light-hearted self-shitting, but that again is part of the problem. Feeling as if your issues are embarrassing, not worthy, juvenile, or to be written off as not serious is no good. I know we joke about this kind of thing to help deal with it, but don’t feel that way for real. AGAIN, YOU’RE WORTH IT. YOU’RE GOOD! YOU’RE WORTH DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO FEEL NOT FUCKED UP! GO!
It was Ladybug who paid attention to the akuma victims’ stories, not Felix. He usually liked focusing on winning the battle with minimum damage done, focusing on the victim’s general background.
For example, this victim had been heartbroken and now turned love to hate. Fairly easy to guess, and no need to elaborate.
It also should have been an easy battle; he was not afraid when the akuma appeared in front of him since there was hardly any love in him to turn to hate in the first place. He’d pretend to get struck, then run off, transform, and distract the akuma until Ladybug arrived so they could take down the villain together.
He did not count on Bridgette Cheng shoving him to the ground, the arrow lodging itself in her chest before dissolving in an array of red and black sparkles.
What kinds of scenes could I include in my story that would involve developing character relationships? I have this problem of having characters seemingly pop into the plot when the scene calls for it, but then they disappear for long periods of time, and these characters SHOULD be seen more often than they are. What can I do to involve my characters more?
Involving Minor Characters More
I will apologize in advance because this post is a bit metaphor heavy, but I think the metaphors really help in explaining the involvement of “minor” characters. So the question here is: How do I develop character relationships when one character only appears sporadically?
DON’T use the characters merely as “coffee breaks” from the main plot.
If these characters are popping up routinely following major action sequences or plot movements, you might be guilty of doing this. Scenes like this are often seen as “filler” because they act as a reprieve from the intensity of the plot. These scenes are often stretches of dialogue that have no bearing on the main conflict of the story, and may even include bantering and humor. Scenes like this are often forgiven in stories because they serve to develop relationships between characters or even explore subplots or character backstories, but if your character is only popping up in these instances, then their presence starts to become awkward.
Imagine you worked in an office, and all morning everyone is milling about, working hard, making deadlines. One worker finishes up a task and decides to take a coffee break and hits up the staff lounge. And regardless of when they take this break, every time they go in there, there’s some joker just sitting in a comfy chair, chilling out and waiting for the actual workers to come by and see them.
This person engages the workers in mindless chatter to give them a break from the mental and sometimes physical strain of their jobs, and then when everyone goes back to work, they’re still just sitting there, waiting. Until someone else finishes up a rough assignment and comes by for a break. This whole setup is a bit odd.
These characters can still be part of the “coffee breaks” of your story, especially if the conversations they have help to define their relationships with others and explore their pasts. But for them to be important characters to your story, they should accompany the main characters back to the office, or at the very least head up to their own floor to do some productive work of their own. Otherwise they shouldn’t even be in the workplace (the story) to begin with.
DO increase their involvement in the plot.
What is the main conflict of your story? If you’re not sure how to answer this question, then work on figuring that out before you worry about how you’ll develop their relationships. They need to have reasons to interact, and if you feel as though you don’t have very many of those reasons as of now, then it’s possible that this disappearing character doesn’t have much stake in your story’s conflict.
Think about all possible outcomes of your conflict - both the potential happy endings or sad endings, and then ask yourself how these outcomes affect this disappearing character. What is at stake for them? If they have no personal interest in what is going on with the main character, then you’ll want to give them a reason to care. Give them something to lose (or something to win, assuming a positive outcome).
Think of it this way. If your story’s conflict were a sporting event, your main cast of characters should all be players on at least one of the teams. Your secondary, or minor, characters can be spectators, but they should have something at stake in the game, such as a bet on the outcome, or even just a strong allegiance to one of the teams. If they have a stake, they’re not going to just Google the score later. They’ll want to be there to see what happens, to yell their outrage or cheer their joy. To show their support, or possibly heckle the opposing side in hopes that they’ll screw up.
Give them a motivation that’s related to all the stuff you’ve got going on in your scenes. If these disappearing characters are absent from many of the scenes, you have to ask why? If they’re not involved, then make them involved. Give them a role, or remove them from the story entirely.
DO imagine their lives apart from the protagonist.
If you’re struggling to find a role for the character in the conflict, then try thinking about what they’re doing in all that time off screen. Brainstorm their own personal journeys. What are they working towards? What are their obstacles? Thinking about these questions in the context of the world or story universe you’ve created may trigger something that ultimately ties back to the main conflict.
Thinking about this also creates some depth for your character. Going back to my very first example (our joker in the staff lounge), it’s possible that this joker is actually working while everyone is coming in and out. Maybe they’re tidying up, preparing snacks for everyone, working on projects in a notepad, making phone calls, or fixing a broken microwave or refrigerator. Maybe there’s more to this character, but we never know because they drop everything the moment a worker (or main character) stops by.
And let’s keep going: imagine that this habit causes their work to suffer, because they’re sacrificing their own needs for the needs of the staff that come by seeking their company. How does that affect them, and can you think of ways to bring it to the forefront? Could the workers notice? Could the disappearing character disappear at a moment the MC relies on them to be there the most? What happens as a result?
If you consider the character important enough that developing their relationship with an MC is of concern to you, then they should be important enough to work into the main plot in some form or another.
I hope my lengthy metaphors were helpful! Good luck and happy writing :)
1. Understand that we’ve been on our feet all day and probably dealing with shitty customers and bullies since we clocked in. Most of us as students trying to make extra money, and we’re stressed enough as it is without shitty customers making us feel like we fell out of a dog’s ass.
2. Say hello. We’re not servants. We’re people, and we like to be respected. Don’t just throw your shit on the counter and expect complete servitude.
3. Don’t come to us when you’re talking on the phone. That’s the height of rudeness.
4. If you’ve made a reservation or a booking, don’t tell me your phone died, or you lost the letter or email, or give some other excuse which is going to make it impossible to complete your order. If we sent you information on your order, write it down.
5. If you want to complain, do not complain to the person on the till/shop floor/bar/tables. 99% of the time, the fuck-up was caused by a failed delivery, a system error, a stock error or a similar diablos ex machina in the narrative that is retail, and we can’t do anything about it.
6. If we DO fuck up, and it’s easily fixed, LET US FIX IT. Don’t start insulting someone because we forgot one item or some other asinine bullshit that can be fixed in a few minutes.
7. Don’t ask for the manager. Ever. Unless I’m being rude or offensive, don’t ask for the manager. This is peak dickhead behaviour. You ESPECIALLY do not ask for the manager if YOU were being difficult or rude in the first place and I was reacting in my defence (i.e., not letting you walk all over me), or if I’m not performing my job to “your standard”.
8a. If you’re a customer at an establishment where leaving a tip is optional, leave a tip.
8b. If the employee tells you we can’t accept tips, don’t try and force a tip on us. It will fuck up our till and the manager will shout at us because it will be assumed that we stole from the customer, or we didn’t give a customer the right change.
9. Not everyone who works here is fully 100% trained. People come and go every few months in retail and we’re not all at the same level of training. So don’t get pissed off when the new guy doesn’t come zooming out of the stock room with your 11-item order and twelve coupons.
10. If I’m on my break, I’m on my break. End of discussion.
11. We’re only going to be well-mannered if you are. You’re not above us.
12. And on that note, you’re not above other customers as well. There’s a line for a reason. Wait in it.
13. And if you see me on the shop floor and ask me to put through an order for you because you don’t want to wait in the line, you’re the worst.
14. Don’t try to “bond” with me by making fun of other customers I’ve been serving.
15. Don’t say “I can see the item behind you!” if I tell you we have zero in stock. There’s so many different reasons why we might not be able to sell it, including reservations, stock adjustments, recalls, display, or just because the item is unavailable for sale until a certain date.
16. If I say we can’t do something, we can’t do it. No amount of harassing me or my manager will do anything to change that.
17. Complaining that you’ve been waiting for a long time in the store won’t change anything either. We’re busy, we’re working hard, and we’re trying our best to get you in and out of the store as fast as we can.
18. If you snitch on one of my coworkers, I literally won’t give a shit. We’re all together, even the people who hate each other.
19. You have to wait. It’s part of shopping. You wait in line, you wait your turn, you wait for your card to be accepted, you wait for your change, you wait for your item being scanned, you wait for your food/drink/item being brought out, and you wait when I have to walk across the store to help you. Don’t be rude when your order isn’t complete within seconds because it’s entirely unfeasible.
20. Don’t be sleazy to my female coworkers. They’re not interested in you, and they weren’t interested in the five married men who hit on them before you.
21. If it’s out of stock, it’s out of stock. If the store allows you to order in, we can order it in. If the store makes it available for delivery, we can have it delivered. But nothing we can do will make your item appear in the store for you to take home right now, so don’t be difficult.
22. Don’t come in as soon as the store opens or as the store is closing. Honestly. Every single person in the store hates you. We’re exhausted, we aren’t getting paid for the extra minutes we have to serve you, and we want to go home. This is the biggest dick move you can pull as a customer, apart from screaming and asking for the manager.
23. Don’t be rude when we suggest a store card/special offer/product insurance policy. We have to offer this to everyone or we get yelled at. Just wait until we’re done talking so our managers can hear that we’re offering it, then politely decline. We don’t want to sell overpriced shit that will get you into debt, and we know you don’t want it, but managers still force our hand.
24. “If it doesn’t scan that means I get it for free hahaha” We have heard this joke literally more times than we can count so please stop.
25. “It says it’s cheaper on the shelf over there.” Okay, BUT - the tills reflect the current price of the item, and customers LITERALLY come in and switch price tags around so they can cause trouble and get shit for cheaper than they should, which gets US into trouble because our tills don’t have the right amount in them. If there’s an offer or a deal on at the time of purchase and we haven’t changed the price tags, then by all means let us know. But if there’s an obviously easily removed price tag on an item and you’re trying to get it for cheaper, chances are, you’re not getting it for that price.
26. Don’t come into the store with 50 gift vouchers or coupons and don’t try and use some complicated wireless payment if we don’t accept it.
27. I personally work in a store with over 20,000 items in stock. It’s basically a warehouse with tills. I don’t know jack shit about anything we sell other than games and computers. So don’t shout at me when I don’t know if the snooker table you’ve ordered is collapsable or not. No, I shouldn’t “have to know this stuff” because it’s literally impossible for any human being to know the specifics of thousands of products.
28. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave milkshake cups and crumbs all over the store, because the people who have to clean that shit is US, and it’s NOT in our job description, but we’re made to do it anyway.
29. Don’t shop while you’re drunk or high. I shouldn’t even have to say this but for fuck sake it needs to be said, apparently.
30. Don’t vape in my face when I’m serving you. I have an e-cigarette too, which I use heavily because I’m so stressed out from working in fucking retail, and if I can wait five hours for my break to use it, you can wait five minutes to use yours.
31. I’m so sorry because this one is total bullshit but please don’t bring your dog into the store if you can. WE get shouted at because our managers are the ones who don’t want them in the store, and WE are the ones expected to be total dicks to dog owners.
32. Don’t complain to me if someone brought a crying baby into the store. Don’t complain to them either. Babies cry. That’s what they do. They cry when they’re hungry, tired, sick, dirty or scared. And babies scare easily. It’s not easy being a parent of a baby so cut them slack and don’t cause a damn scene over it.
33. This goes for disabled customers, customers who use mobility scooters, and senior customers with walking canes or Zimmer frames. They’ll take as long as they need and you wait your damn turn. This should go without saying too, but I’ve had customers complain to ME about how we’re “too slow” because the customer before them was using a mobility/support device of some kind. That’s none of your fucking business and it’s NOT something you have the right to complain about.
34. If you’re shopping in a store with displays that are easily messed up (like clothes), don’t just mess it up and leave it there. If you’re taking a shirt out, fold it at least SOMEWHAT neatly before you put it back. And if you can’t, let us know so we can keep the place tidy.
35. Stop giving prank names to baristas. They don’t give a shit. None of us give a shit. It’s not funny.
36. Bring your cups/trays back to the counter/disposal area otherwise mama didn’t raise you right.
37. If your coupon is expired. It’s expired. We can’t turn back time.
38. Nor can we teleport, so if your coupon’s at home, there’s nothing we can do about that either.
39. You need to understand that employees in retail get monitored on everything we do, INCLUDING how much money is in our till compared to the price of every item we sell through that till. So no, we can’t just “knock” 10% off for your inconvenience in the store, we can’t “take the price of the coupon off” because you left it at home, we can’t “just give you” a refund without a receipt even though you “swear you bought it here”, and we can’t “just change the price” of an item because you “think it’s too expensive”. If the store does price matches against similar stores, or if the store has a price promise for items reserved at a cheaper price, then yes, we will change the price for you. But don’t kick up a fuss because you think iPhone chargers are overpriced. They totally are. But that’s not in my control.
40. No, I don’t want the 99.
41. Don’t talk to us like we’re robots. “Good morning. I would like to purchase two items today please.” No offense but what the fuck is that? Why do people talk like this to cashiers? “Hey what’s up, can I buy this book and a stapler?” is totally fine. In fact, it’s preferred. Talk to us like you’d talk to literally any other human being on the planet.
42.. The customer isn’t “always right” and I wanna fight the fucker that came up with this ridiculous egotistical mantra.
Because it comes up a lot for all of us trying to manage schedules that slam more than 24 hours of work into a day, I thought I would make one giant productivity post for everyone to help us all out (including myself).
10 steps to GET MORE SHIT DONE in a day
JUST START–I think most of us find that sometimes the hardest part to starting a task is overcoming the “ugh–fuck this shit, I don’t want to do this” feeling. So, trick yourself into it. Instead of saying you’re going to work for 8 hours, tell yourself you’ll do an hour… and watch that hour turn into 2 or 3 or 4 magically.
Action fights anxiety–If you’re terrified of a project hanging over your head, just start it!! Instead of waiting till tomorrow or next week when things might be right, just start right now! Do something to help yourself feel better about it. You’ll feel better getting through the rest of your day if you don’t have the fear. If you wake up at 2 am panicked you haven’t replied to an email, get up and do it now so you can go back to sleep in peace!
Make a list–Never underestimate the power of writing it down and crossing it off.
Take care of yourself–It’s hard to work when you’re tired or hungry or haven’t worked out, etc. So, prioritize–make yourself #1! You’re fucking worth it. So work out, eat breakfast, sleep 6 or 8 or 9 hours (whatever you need). Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel ready to take on the day.
Stay organized–I have a slightly OCD-type personality. If the desk is a mess, it’s hard for me to do my work. So put things back where they belong, take the time to keep things tidy so you can do your best work.
Don’t multitask–We all think we’re good at this–but the truth is we’re shit. We’re complete and utter shit at multitasking. Do one thing very well instead of four things poorly.
Shut off–Turning away from the work for just a minute can really decrease your productivity. Unless you are actively waiting on a text to hear the test results from your mother’s biopsy or an emergency call from your best friend that your house is burning down almost anything else can wait another hour until you finish your task. Even an email from your boss can probably wait another 10 minutes for you to finish what you’re working on.
Be competitive–Be a better you than you were yesterday. Do more. Show yesterday-you that they’re a lazy bitch and you can do better!
Give a fuck!!–If you actually care about what you’re doing, you’ll be more motivated to do it!
10 very specific ways to get more shit done
Work when you work best–This rule that people work better in the morning is bullshit. Some people work best from 5 am to 7 am, but some of us do our best work from 1 pm to 3 pm or 10 pm to midnight. Work when you do your best work and get things done–whenever that is!!
Localize–Put it all in one place. Stop moving between eight study resources or you’ll fail to focus on one thing well–instead condense all your study materials into one place and then focus on that ONE thing.
Multi-task on the stuff that doesn’t matter–It takes no brain power to clean a counter, so when you have to clean your apartment you can also return the phone calls you’ve put off. When you have to stand in line for coffee you can also answer emails, while your lunch is heating in the microwave you can put away the dishes in the dish washer. Get more done in the spaces between.
Be contrary–Who says you have to buy groceries on the busiest shopping day? Go at a weird time when other people won’t be there and you can get in and out faster. Don’t waste your time waiting in line just because that’s when everyone else does something. Do things when you can do it fastest!! Hit the post office at 3 pm when everyone else is at work, go to the gym late in the evening after the post-work rush is over. Do it when you can get it done fast!
Buy the right shit–Go ahead and buy the best tool for the task. If you don’t set yourself up right, you’ll just spend more time fighting for things to work than actually working!!
In arm’s reach or screw it–When you sit down to work, get all the things you need ready to go so you don’t have to keep getting up for more paper or some water. If it’s not within arm’s reach, move it or screw it!
Bribe yourself–Never underestimate the power of a piece of chocolate, or a night out at the end of the week, or an online shopping spree for that shirt you’ve wanted.
Turn it up (or turn it down)–If you hate the quiet play music, but if the sound is too distracting shut it the fuck off. Work in a space that works for you.
Deep end–welcome to it--Do the hard stuff first. You’ll lose energy as the day goes on, so leave the easy things for when you’re tired and don’t need as much will power.
One touch–You’ve probably heard this one before, but here’s my irreverent version of it. Pick it up–don’t put it the fuck down until you’re done. If you get an email from your professor saying you all have to complete a required form, do the fucking form now and email it back immediately. Why spend more time later having to look at that damn email again? If you realize you’re out of paper towels, check your level of tin foil and tissues while you’re at it so you can go to the store one time. Do it once, do it right, don’t fuck around.
Oh, and don’t forget to give yourself a break when you need it. Not every day can be a day where everything gets done. :)
Hey Nina. This is kinda a depressing question, but my prompto cosplay is not going how I want and I have to wear it in two days to my school. But I'm really questioning that because 1. it just looks funky and 2. I don't want people making fun of me. Though it is only the 3rd cosplay I've made, I'm losing my confidence in all of my cosplay plans for the future. I'm a perfectionist and I compare myself to others so much. Since you seem like a really helpful & nice person, how do I deal with this?
First off: I’m very sorry for likely replying after the fact. It’s extremely difficult for me to keep up with my inbox on this site (especially for messages that need a lengthier answer like this), so I don’t always get to respond to inquiries with a quick turn-around. I hope your event at school ended up going well, though!
Secondly: I’m so proud of you for tackling a project outside of your comfort zone to push your skills! It’s important for artists to do that; it’s what helps us grow and learn and most of all, improve. The worst thing you can do as an artist is never push yourself or try new things. It’ll make you stagnate and cause your progress to plateau. So good job for attempting such a difficult costume so early in your cosplay journey!
Thirdly: Yes, Prompto is an extremely challenging costume. It involves a ton of little techniques and details that aren’t apparent at a first glance, and as a result, it’s a project that can get easily overwhelming. (Trust me: been there, done that!) So it’s no wonder you’re feeling frustrated, especially as a novice cosplayer! In which case, my recommendation from here on out would be that the next time you feel frustrated with your progress, take a step back. Evaluate what you don’t like and assess what you need to change in order to be happier with the final results. Don’t like the plaid you chose? Rip it off and find something else. Not happy with the paint job on the shirt? Start over. Take your time and use a different method. Unhappy with your wig styling? Wash out all the hair product and try again. There is no shame in remaking something two, three, four, or more times. Keep remaking it until you’re happy with it, even if it takes 10+ attempts. You will have so much more fun wearing something you’re proud of rather than something you just “settled” for or finished half-heartedly. (Also, on the note of budgeting: budget for this. Set money aside as a “back-up” fund in case things go wrong and you need more materials. That money should always be included in your original estimations! And if you end up not needing it? Cool, treat yourself in the Artist Alley.)
Lastly, and perhaps the most importantly: be more forgiving and let yourself make mistakes. You’re still learning. You’re still teaching yourself these skills. You have just started making costumes. Yaya’s first costumes were not perfect. Kamui’s first armor build was not flawless. Jessica started out with a Pikachu bikini and now she’s making stuff like this. Heck, look, here’s my first real cosplay that I made versus my most recent:
It’s taken me ten years to get this far. Why? Because for a lot of those years, I didn’t push myself. I stayed in my comfort zone. I chose projects that didn’t teach me new skills or force me to work with new materials. It wasn’t until the last 4 years that I’ve really been focused on my craftsmanship and improving my skills, and that is what has allowed me to finish costumes like Sheik, Rapidash, and yes, Prompto too.
I know it’s hard. I know it’s frustrating. But you’re doing the right thing by attempting more difficult projects. Just remember that the frustration is part of the learning process. It’s good to get frustrated because it means you care and want to push yourself harder. It’s good to have high standards for your work because it means you’ll always strive to do your best.
However: it’s important to not let this frustration stunt your growth. Acknowledge your frustration, accept it, and learn to manage it. Take breaks while working. Don’t be afraid to revisit the drawing board. Set the costume aside and practice the skills you need to finish it before making another attempt. And again: forgive yourself for making mistakes. Yaya, Kamui, and Jess make them all the time. And you can bet your patootie I do, too. (Anyone who’s watched my livestreams knows that I mess up quite a bit, haha!)
Whether or not you ended up wearing it to school, I hope your Prompto cosplay turns out in a way that makes you happy! Don’t give up; work smarter, not harder. You’ve got this! <3
Something I, SJM fans, and Anti SJM blogs alike tend to poke fun at or call out is Sarah J Maas’s tendency to describe all/most characters as beautiful. A lot of people argue that this is a bad thing, and often talk about it as if it is self-indulgent, petty, and a sign of poor writing.
I’m going to argue the opposite. So if that isn’t too offensive to you, feel free to keep reading below.
Soulmate AU: You Share Thoughts with Your Soulmate
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Focus on how it moves, where the flow of energy goes, where it exits. Then,
allow every thought to blur –
– until all outside noises begin to fade –
–and only then does your
inward journey of meditation begi–
Oh, don’t you dare look back! Just keep your eyes on me, I said, ‘You’re
holding back’, she said –
“Please don’t take
any offense to this, (Y/N), but please shut up,” Stephen muttered, his growing
exasperation quite evident. He kept his meditating position intact, including
keeping his eyes shut. He had no reason to open them. Not when he knew that you
were currently slouching in a poor attempt to mimic his figure.
An open call for episode transcripts from our Travelers, struggles in creating the Penumbra as a small team, and why we need your help
UPDATE: Some extremely generous fans have stepped up to organize @thepenumbrapodcasttranscripts , so please head over there if you would like to participate! We are deeply touched by the speedy response to this post.
Hey there Travelers,
Kevin here. Over the thirteen months since the Penumbra’s first episode, we’ve received a lot of requests from fans for access to episode transcripts. Many of you have contacted us with well-reasoned arguments about accessibility for those with hearing and processing disabilities. Many of you have expressed frustration about the $7 Patreon reward level, at which donating patrons get to look at the scripts the actors see.
We’ve stayed quiet on this so far, but we haven’t been ignoring you. We recognize your frustration. We apologize if the packaging of our show has made you feel like we don’t notice you, or listen to you, or care about you. We do. Internally we’ve been discussing this for months – and after debating it and trying a lot of things, we’ve come to what we think is the only conclusion that makes sense given our situation. I’ll tell you the conclusion first, and then move backward to our reasoning:
We are asking for help from you, the fans, in making these transcripts a reality. If fans create a tumblr or website that features fan-made transcripts of every episode, we will gladly post a link to it on our website and promote it whenever a new transcript has been completed.
We have asked for this from you all before, but it understandably got lost in the weeks and months that have passed since. As a result, should fans express interest in creating transcripts, we will be reblogging this post once every two weeks until all of the transcripts have been completed.
We recognize that it is frustrating not having the supports you need to access our show as others can. We recognize that asking fans to create those supports is also frustrating. Please know that we are frustrated, too. We are living a very uncomfortable, very difficult reality in creating this show, and up until now we’ve kept the details of that reality invisible to you all. But if I can ask for just a few minutes of your understanding, I hope I can communicate clearly about the obstacles in the way of us creating these transcripts, which are also, not coincidentally, the biggest threats to the Penumbra’s continued existence in general.
What follows is an in-depth look at my reasoning. If you’re satisfied with the above, hey, skip it! You can find the couple of transcripts we had time to make here (as well as one by a fan who asked to be credited as subtlepuns), so go for it, work together, create a platform for them, and feel free to use what we’ve made to get you started. If you’re still bothered, or you don’t understand why we can’t just make all the transcripts ourselves, I ask only that you read and think about our position, here. It is not one made hastily.