Virtuosity 11.11

Where words become worlds…

Archive for the tag “work”

Tomorrow never comes

You have today. Tomorrow is always just a dream. However, we do today to the best of our abilities, with the hope and dream of tomorrow.

Make today a present. Make today present. …Get my meaning?




Breath, reflect, then get to work!

Don’t waste time worrying. Or at least, catch yourself doing it. Instead, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Put in the time, put in the commitment.

The things that are worth it in your life are worth it, because you put your worth into it!


You are not an imposter…

literature-1744514_640Either that, or we all are.

I am not alone in telling you that for more than 70% of my program (maybe more — I’ll update when I’ve hit the ABD [all but dissertation] stage) I’ve had the feeling that I know nothing. In fact, on the very first day of my very first class, the simple exercise of introducing ourselves around the room made me feel as if there must’ve been some mistake in my admission. That, any minute now, someone was going to point to me and say, “Hey! You don’t belong here!” 70% of the time, I feel that what I write isn’t good enough. What I study and read isn’t good enough. All of me isn’t good enough.

This feeling is called imposter syndrome, and if you are feeling it, it means you’re doing something right. It’s contagious, but like a disease, you hide it, so that no one knows. You fake it, and hope no one finds out! Yet, the sad reality is that most of us grad students are infected (if you could call it that).

I’m writing this to remind you though, that you are an EXPLORER! …and we’re going into places that very, very few people (if any) tread. In fact, I’ve started to learn that this feeling of absolute (sometimes paralyzing) fear and trepidation is a sign that you’re probably on the right path. After all, if we’re going into unexplored territory, it’s only natural to feel lost, isn’t it?

So, let’s get lost! I don’t think that uneasy feeling is something you ever really get used to, but at the same time, there’s a bit of excitement there, too. We’re discovering new things, and pushing the body of knowledge as we know it into new areas of discovery. It’s scary, but, if you didn’t love it, you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing, right?

One of my mentors told me one time, while I was suffering in the middle of comprehensive exams, “If I didn’t think you were good enough to do this, we’d sit down and have THE TALK.” Funny, but that was probably some of the most comforting bit of news I had heard in months!

So… look around where you are. You belong. You’re not alone. You’re doing what you need to do.

Hang in there, okay? Breathe. You’re not an imposter.One key thing about grad school success is that it’s 95% persistence, paid in blood, sweat, and tears. You’re working really hard, and stretching yourself to grow. Eventually, you’ll get to where you want to be.

We all will.

Just. Don’t. Quit.

Now go write something!


Love what you do

Find the love in what you do. Learn to love what you do.

If you can’t, then find a way to do the things we love.

Persistence and perseverance come from finding the love in what we are doing.f27e865c96a1f87a8a66506efdd435b7

Take your stretch breaks!

In between my Pomodoros, I take little stretch breaks. These are necessary so that my muscles don’t get cramped, because I’m easily susceptible to tension headaches. The idea is, get the heart pumping a little. Get your body in motion!

To help you get started, here’s sheet on it. If you visit the Washington Post link, you can even see the animated versions of this!


The other thing I have in my office are some light hand weights and a yoga ball. These are perfect for a few reps, or for back stretches.

Just don’t forget to stretch, breath, and move, okay?


Finish strong

This is the end of the week. Finish strong!

Give yourself an extra push, and an added effort so that you can walk into the weekend saying, “Yes. I did that.”

Put yourself on an downhill ramp, so that on Monday, you’ll be ready to begin anew. Some examples for this are: (1) a writing prompt on Monday to get you started, (2) a “to do” list for Monday, or (3) a sticky note with your #1 Monday task. Give yourself something to jumpstart your next week.


Know your weaknesses

Critique yourself. What are your weaknesses, and what are you doing to improve them?improvement

I come from a philosophy where I try to be hyperaware of my weaknesses so that when the critique from others come, it is not a surprise. That way, my inner response can be, “I’m working on it!” rather than, “Oh, wow. I’m shocked!”

Being aware of your weaknesses requires a degree of humility. Set aside your ego. We are not perfect, but rather, we are always in a state of becoming better. So, starting today, what is one weakness that you will improve upon? How will you improve upon it?

Writing ideas for Thursday’s Writing Camp

Two more days left of writing camp! Today, we sprint from 9 am – 3 pm CST, and I will be posting sprints on Twitter using #writingsprint. Remember, we’re taking 10 minute breaks each hour, with a 1 hour lunch break (at around 11 am CST).

Here’s some suggestions on planning out a productive work day:

  • Make your schedule/to do list. Write out what it is you want to accomplish, break it into tasks, then put it into time slots.
  • Prioritize what you want to do first, identify where you may have “wiggle” space.
  • Close any distractions. Stick to staying off web surfing if possible. Remember, the purpose of writing camp is to write!
  • If you get stuck, freewrite! Use if you need an adrenaline rush to help you!

In Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day, Bolker (1998) suggests going back to some of the work you’ve written:

  • Pick out words, phrases or sentences in the writing you’ve got that seem interesting, or provocative, or resonant, and try writing beginning with them.
  • Ask yourself,

“What stands out for me most in what I’ve written?”

“Is there an argument in this mess?”

“Is what I’ve said here true?”

“Do I believe in this?

  • Try writing, repeatedly…an answer to the question, “What am I really trying to say in this argument/chapter/section?” (p. 52, emphasis in original)


Write NOW – Jan. Writing Camp begins!

Today, find me on Twitter @yenbio as I follow my colleagues at the University of Rochester’s writing camp using #writingsprint to keep track of our sprints. We’re taking 10 minute breaks each hour, with a 1 hour break for lunch. We’re sprinting every day this week!

Need a boost? Check out my post on writing sprints.




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