Reflecting on 6 Months of Blogging

It’s official: I’ve been blogging for six months. I’m not sure when I can accurately carry the title of blogger, but seeing as I got up early to write a whole other post and only after I finished realized it was my six months, we can definitely say I’m in the blogger head space.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on my experience. Because why not?

What I’ve Written

My content has taken a variety of forms as I learned which direction I was heading. I thought it could be fun to revisit my favorite post from each month and see how I grew.

January: Hello World! – My Very First Project

My first project was technically to CALI a law class – which is basically just earning the highest grade in a class. Since then, the project has evolved into general law school success. I was surprised re-reading my original thoughts. What a long way the project has come.

February: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a 12(b)(6) Motion

I was really hesitant to write anything about the law because really, what do I know? I was just a first-year. Anyway, I gave it a shot and it was one of my first posts that I was really proud of.

March: Atlas Shrugged – Book No. 6

This was probably my favorite book I’ve read in Project 4. It was so thought-provoking. This was also when I realized that I had to put a bit of work into writing a book review. There was so much to unpack and trying to stay spoiler-free was tough. Book bloggers: much respect.

April: Cleaning Your Closet with Color Theory

This was one of my first posts that involved research. I did a deep dive on why you don’t wear certain shades of color in your closet. It was the first time I’ve developed my own theory about something – something I’ve done more and more of in the past few months.

May: What I Learned from Blogging Every Day

This was a self-reflection post. It’s pretty meta to reflect on a self-reflection post, so I’ll just leave it with that.

June: How To Learn a Basic Calligraphy Alphabet in a Few Hours

It’s always fun to see success. My calligraphy project has been nothing but pure fun and something I didn’t expect to enjoy. I’m looking forward to seeing where this project can go.

What I’ve Learned

What I’ve Learned about Blogging

It’s actually way harder than I was expecting. Writing a post in your head always sounds so much better than it does when you read over what actually made it to paper. Coming up with consistent ideas is impossible and finding the motivation to make sure they all go out on time is comically hard.

But I’m not here to be hard on myself. One of the reasons I write about my projects as I complete them is to reflect on the good and the bad. No journey is ever easy. There are setbacks and failures left and right.

On a more positive note, I think my writing has improved. Or at the very least, I think I’ve found a voice. I write much differently on this blog than I do for anything else – I treat this as a quasi-stream of consciousness, I hear myself talking in my head.

Also, I’m pretty proud of how the blog looks. This is something I touched on yesterday, but I’m proud of the style I’ve created around my content. Besides, there’s only so much you can do on a personal plan and I’m not about to upgrade.

My numbers are still small which is fine with me. I’m still under 100 followers and not many people see my content. This doesn’t bother me at all. My numbers are small but mighty. I’ve met some truly amazing and inspiring people by doing this.

What I’ve Learned about Goals

So if you just did the math, you might realize that that means I started my blog on January 1. While it’s true I went live at the beginning of the year, it was not a new year’s resolution. But hey, if it makes you believe that you can follow through on a new year’s resolution, by all means use me as an example.

This actually is something I’ve really learned about goals: they don’t operate on the same calendar we do. I used to start goals when I finished another task or maybe on the first of the month. This is such a mistake. Start goals while you have the motivation, don’t wait until the time’s “right.”

I’m also very proud of the progress I’ve made on some of these goals. Particularly Project 4, before this project, the last time I read a book was in 2014. Now I’m six months in and I’ve read 15. I’m definitely still learning how to pace myself, but I’m getting better by the day.

What I’ve Learned about Relationships

I’ve become a better friend, girlfriend, and daughter since starting the blog. This is done in two ways: 1) experiencing a fire inside of me, and 2) becoming more cognizant and sympathetic to other people’s goals.

With concrete goals, I’ve been more alive in these past few months. Feeling the roller coaster that is trying something new reinvigorates you. It also has made me really want to bring that out in others. The feelings that I’m feeling, I want to share them.

Understanding motivations is something I’ve tuned into a little more too. I wrote about this a little with the post on my and my boyfriend’s different lifestyles. While he’s more interested in completing daily and weekly goals, mine tend to be so much farther in the future. Learning that these goals were just as important to him as mine were to me allowed me to connect with him in a way I couldn’t before.

That’s about all the self-reflection I have in me at the moment. But let me know down in the comments below, how long have you been blogging and how has your journey changed your surroundings? I’m interested in hearing how people have perceived their own journey.

As always, appreciate you all. Thanks for making this experience so enjoyable.

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My First Attempt at Calligraphy

This week, I received all my calligraphy supplies for Project 7! There’s no better way to decompress after finishing a massive task than to get a little creative, so upon finishing our law journal writing competition, we decided to blindly test the materials.

The Materials

I chose this set from Amazon (not sponsored!). After redeeming a coupon, the set went from $15 to $9. The set included one pen, eleven nibs, and some ink. While I don’t have anything to compare it to, I did like the pen and thought it was easy to use.

Without any instruction whatsoever, I blindly tested the nibs. Each one is different in both shape and size. Some have a pointier tip where others create a brush effect by a flatter edge. Some also are longer than others, I have yet to figure out what the effect of that is. Here’s what each of the nibs looked like:

As I was using the pen, I realized it was easier to use than I expected. The ink was easily controlled by the nib which surprised me. I thought using a calligraphy pen would be like writing with a needle – scraping the paper. But it really wasn’t. It felt just as natural as any other pen.

I Tried My Best…

From there, I decided to try writing a little bit of print and a little bit of script. I didn’t look up any sort of instructions – I wanted to start at the absolute beginning. While I will learn actual technique, I just wanted to mess around. I’m hoping that as I get better, I can look back on where I started and see some progress.

I also made a time lapse of my first attempt. (Yes, I did have to set up an Instagram just to post this, expect more content there in the future!). Check it out:

All in all, I was not disappointed. I expected more smudging, but I was careful not to overload the pen with ink. I’ve always had decent handwriting, but I’m looking forward to learning calligraphy fonts. I know consistency is the most important part and my handwriting has never been very consistent.

…And Then My Boyfriend Blew Me Out of the Water

My boyfriend also gave it a go. He might have been the underdog being a lefty, but he was able to pull together something very impressive. He’s always been a bit snotty about his pens, always using only a certain kind of pen because he liked the way the ink flowed. Before trying the calligraphy pen, he was already an accomplished doodler. Here’s some of his older stuff using normal roller-ball pens:

Needless to say, he couldn’t wait to get the calligraphy pen in his hands. He managed to make this on his first go:

(To see a time lapse of his work, check out the second slide in the Instagram post above!)

He also had an absolute blast. I made the executive decision to leave the calligraphy materials at his house so he could dabble whenever he wanted.

I’m excited to take on this project and I can’t wait to get into the real stuff! Playing around was fun – but now it’s time to craft an actual skill. We’re looking forward to both learning more and discovering a new world we know nothing about.

How’d we do? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments below!

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The Importance of Being Competitive with Yourself

Hello again! I know I’ve been gone for a while – which is a little ironic seeing as my last few posts included gems like What I Learned from Blogging Every Day and Four Reasons Why Taking a Break Can Boost Your Productivity.

The Writing Competition

I’ve been away working on my law journal writing competition. What started as a three-week chance to earn a spot on a law journal at my school turned into one of the most stressful experiences in recent memory. Something kicked into high gear and I just wanted to compete. As someone who is usually low stress and hardly ever feels competitive, this was a strange shift. One I definitely wasn’t prepared for.

Now, I’m not allowed to talk about the specifics of the competition, but what I can say is that it was hard. The topic, in my opinion, was very difficult. I spent two of the three weeks just trying to understand the material, not a single word written.

Finding the Competitive Spirit

Something happened while I was competing and every ounce of my body just wanted to win. So much so, that I (safely) went home to stay with my parents – abandoning my boyfriend who was also competing – just to completely focus. I kicked all other distractions out of my life, including this blog.

It was a roller coaster of emotions, but I got through it. In the end, I turned in what I thought was a really strong effort. But honestly, even if I don’t make it, I’ve found peace. I forgot that while I make an effort to better myself in my personal life, I’m often complacent in my academic life. Being the best in the class has never been important to me (that’s why I started a project trying to do it, I wanted to see if I could motivate myself to compete). I’m excited that I’ve found that drive to compete.

Maybe it’s a byproduct of this blog – because since starting this journey I’ve just wanted more for myself. Not handouts, but I wanted to earn every bit of satisfaction. Finding competition has been one of the most fulfilling experiences and I’m really glad these weeks of mental burnout and suffering are over. I’m even more glad I came out on top.

The Validation

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, this morning I received my grades for the motion I wrote. It was the only other thing I slaved over, and I slaved over it because it was a part of my project. The grade came back and I was way above the average. Pushing hard and competing against yourself does pay off.

Do you compete against yourself? Do you find this practice healthy? I’d love to hear any and all thoughts down below!

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Learning a New Skill: Calligraphy

Now that I’m on summer break, I thought it was the perfect time to introduce some new projects. I know, I know, I’ve got other ones to finish – and I will finish them – but I couldn’t help myself. I came up with some good ideas.

Coming Up with the Idea

I realized that none of my current projects are about learning a new skill. Sure, some involve cultivating a skill, but none of my projects start from ground zero. After stumbling across a video on YouTube, I knew exactly what I’d do: calligraphy.

I’ve been floating around the idea of doing an art project for a while now, but I had no idea what to do. I’m alright at drawing but I’m sometimes too left-brained to let my imagination run wild. I like all my art to look perfect. But that’s pretty much the goal of calligraphy, isn’t it? To make these perfect little sentences. Also, it’s something that with more practice, I’ll inevitably get better at. How satisfying to be able to share quantifiable progess!

The Game Plan and End Goals

So with this idea in mind, I took to the internet to figure out a game plan. I found Lettering Daily, a site dedicated solely to learning script. They offer tons of free printables and lessons so I thought that’d be a decent place to start. I also checked Skill Share and found the same tutorials used in that video I saw. I think I’ll start with one of those.

Once my research was done, I brainstormed my end goals. I don’t start projects around here unless there’s a clear end goal so I can concretely say I finished a project. I think this one has two clear goals:

  • Learn five fonts: This requires me to learn different styles which I think can give me a broader understanding of calligraphy in general. Also, between five fonts, there’ll probably be at least one I’m good at… right?
  • Do calligraphy for someone else: Envelopes, weddings, anywhere that needs calligraphy. The test of how good I am is if someone else is willing to display it. It doesn’t have to be paid, just knowing in my hear that I learned a new skill seems to be enough.

Getting the Supplies

With high hopes, last night I set out for the stores to buy my calligraphy pen, ink, some paper, and of course the nibs. Unfortunately, I had no luck finding calligraphy supplies but I wasn’t going to let my artistic flame die. Instead my boyfriend and I got distracted and bought a coloring book. And well, this happened:

Oops.

Anyway, if any of you know anything about calligraphy or have tried it before, do you have any advice for me? Anything you’d like to see me write or try?

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What Competition Looks Like in Law School

Hello again! I’m finally back to give you my stream-of-consciousness thoughts now that Reading Week is over!

As many of you know, I’ve just finished my first year of law school! While I’m thrilled that this mess of a semester is over, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for myself and most of my classmates. We now enter into a three-week battle royale writing competition.

Designed specifically to make sure you’re exhausted after finals, the journal write-on competition is a competition where we compete for spots on our school’s journals to get our work published. Journals are a really big deal for law students because it’s an opportunity to show off and invest time diving deep into topics we’re interested in.

The biggest journal that every law school has is called Law Review. Law Review is a massive deal. Remember in high school when you had honors societies and clubs of the brightest minds around? Now instead take all those students and replace them with incredibly talented law students. That’s Law Review.

Law Review is a big deal because it opens doors. It can land you an interview with a dream law firm all because they know you’re disciplined enough to make Law Review – some job postings even require the candidate to be a part of Law Review. Not only that, but once your work is published, others will read it. If it’s really good, they’ll even cite it.

But that’s a common thread for all journals, not just Law Review. Journals are our opportunities to contribute to legal discourse and even shape history. So they’re a really big deal to students.

But who gets on Law Review? Law Reviews usually pick its candidates in two ways: grade-on and write-on. Grade-on is reserved for the top of the class, those people get offered a spot automatically. For those of us that don’t make grade-on, we can compete in the write-on. If we get an offer, we won’t know whether our spot was offered as a grade-on or a write-on.

The write-on is used for all journals, not just Law Review. While I can’t get into any details, it requires us to write a paper based on sources given to us (and nothing else – this is called a “closed-universe” paper) and also work on legal citations. Once we submit, we’ll see if we get offers from journals.

As you might have guessed, I’m currently working on the write-on competition. It’s overwhelming but I’ve been on pure adrenaline. Every once in a while it’s fun to be competitive. Anyway, for fear of saying too much, I’ll end it here. As always, thanks for listening!

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Project 5 – The Book

Word Count of the Draft: 1149

Okay, this one was an accident, I swear.

It happened about two weeks ago, when I was reading Atlas Shrugged. I was hit with an idea for a premise to a book. Nothing serious, just a sliver of an idea. Something about art restoration. Not important.

Later that afternoon, I was talking to Abbey. I mentioned the thought I had and she loved it. She started building on it, then I piggy-backed. Nothing major, just brainstorming.

Soon enough it was time to start writing down our ideas. We had spiraled and soon enough we had characters with vibrant personalities and a mystery forming right before our eyes.

For the next eight hours, we did nothing but write the plot to a book.

It was only then, after looking at the completed story, that we had the realization that we were writing a book. It was almost backwards though, the book wrote itself and dragged us along for the ride.

A few days went by and we took a step back. When we returned to look at the idea, we loved it. We thought it was exciting and something we’d read.

On Saturday, we returned to the book idea and started writing. To be honest, this was when it started to feel like work. It was difficult to get the first few words out. We were building details in our story including (but not limited to): floor plans, minor inventions, and fish/coral that can be co-habitable in a fish tank. So yeah, we went a little overboard.

I was hesitant to start this as a project because I wasn’t sure if we’d actually go through with it. If it were just me, I would have started the project here on the blog on day I got the idea. But since this requires both of our participation I had to wait. Also, I realized that if I started it on the blog, Abbey would be guilted into continuing. 🙂

So here we are. I’m not really sure how this project will unfold and whether it’ll take a priority in my life. But now that it’s started, I can’t turn back.

Oh, right. You probably want to know what the book’s about. We really shouldn’t give too much away, we want people to be surprised. It’s Da Vinci Code-esque but revolves around the worlds of art restoration and industrial engineering. As we do research for the book, I’ll likely share my findings. You won’t be completely in the dark, I promise.

Revisiting Project 1 in Light of Grading Changes

My school administration finally changed our grading policy. We knew it was coming and they dropped a bomb. All first years (including me) are now graded on a pass/fail grading system. If you’re in the top 30% of the class, your pass will become an honors pass. But it doesn’t touch your GPA.

I don’t feel great about this change because it takes away my ability to improve my GPA – not that it’s bad, but I certainly thought I was on track to do better. I understand that the world is crazy and we need to be mindful of students who are really hindered by a sudden change or sudden illness and that we can’t anticipate what the world might look like at the end of the month.

That being said, the upperclass students have a different grading system than us: they will be graded as normal (A/B/C) but after these grades come out they can choose however many they’d like to be pass/fail. Just like us, pass/fail doesn’t touch their GPA.

I don’t particularly like the differentiation between classes and I’d rather schoolwide uniformity, but I digress.

I’m not really sure what this means for my classes and how much work I want to put in. I’m also not sure if I’m in a position to CALI in my other classes so I don’t know what helps me achieve my goals.

Additionally, as of right now it’s unclear if getting a CALI is even possible right now. Since our school is a bit prestigious, I’d imagine it’s still a possibility.

That being said, the class where I thought I had the best shot was my legal writing class. Our big paper (the one on music copyright) was due today. I’ve spent the past few weeks really cranking out the argument since I’m pretty sure my side was the losing side. But given how much time I had already spent, I figured I should still gun for the CALI.

I honestly put more time into that paper than I did all the other ones this entire year combined. Since the factors of fair use overlap, I spent a lot of time trying to delineate my arguments and finding a structure that was most effective. I actually wrote notecards out of my arguments, my opponent’s counterarguments, and any fact I could find. Then I took all of them and laid them out on my floor for a few hours to try and find that order.

And damn it, I did it.

Well, kind of.

I hit a massive road block in the writing. I had these beautiful arguments in my head, but I couldn’t put them into words. I spent so long working on individual sentences that up until last night I only had about half my paper written.

It was a mad rush to get it done – but I didn’t cut corners. I made sure I polished everything. It was a late night and an even earlier morning, but I turned in a pretty good paper. There were two sections I felt were a little weak, but I felt much more confident in the rest. I’m not sure it’s enough to get the highest grade in the class, but I’d hope I were in the top five.

I just pray I didn’t have any typos. I didn’t have a chance to reread my paper once I finished.

I got my opponent’s paper shortly after and it reassured me that I had done well. Not that his was bad, I just anticipated all of his arguments.

So, we’ll chalk this up to a victory?

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a 12(b)(6) Motion

Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about Project 1 yet. This morning I had a paper due, so I’ve spent the past few days locked up working on it.

Not surprisingly, it was for my legal writing class. I wrote a FRCP 12(b)(6) motion, which is a motion to dismiss a case. Basically, it’s a Level 0 tutorial on writing legal documents to give to a judge. If you want to get more technical, it’s when a party fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

So basically if someone sues you for something that’s not a law, your lawyer would write one of these real quick and if it gets granted, there’s no case.

I won’t go much further than that, but I’ve been feeling the pressure on it all week. Last semester, I just barely missed an A because of one single paper. In order to put myself in a good position for Project 1, I knew I had to work harder.

But I found putting more pressure on myself to perform wasn’t the most effective way to write. My perfectionist mind got in my own way and it took forever to get words onto the page.

It got bad enough that this morning I was up at 6 – on a day I had no classes! – to finish my motion before the deadline at noon. I finished just fine, and actually early, but I was still disappointed in myself for leaving it to the eleventh hour (quite literally).

Anyway, I was happy with how the paper turned out and I’m pretty good at determining writing grades by how I feel after I submit. So I’m hopeful I did well. Also, it’s worth a very small percent of my grade so even in a worst case scenario I haven’t blown it.

Following my quasi-success, I tried something new – I bought a textbook supplement for Civil Procedure. I thought it’d be helpful so I’m sparing no expense at completing Project 1. I spent the afternoon catching up with Civ Pro and am feeling optimistic about memorizing my rules.

Anyway, this weekend I’ll be working hard at some projects, so expect some updates. Here’s to a productive project weekend!