On Comfort Zones & Time Management

On Comfort Zones & Time Management

Over the past few days I’ve taken huge leaps out of my comfort zone.  I’ve started talking with a language exchange partner as well as a tutor from iTalki over Skype, and I had an interview for a job that I never would have considered applying for just a year ago.

It may not sound like much to some people, but being incredibly awkward and introverted with zero self esteem, talking with people is an excruciating experience for me, even more so when I’m trying to bring myself to utter words in a new language.

My language exchange partner, Magdy, is the first person I’ve ever tried to say a single word of any other language to.  Though, I’m somewhat disappointed in myself, as here I had been following Fluent in 3 Months so diligently and prepared a bunch of phrases and relevant words to try to piece together my first conversation, and I could barely bring myself to say a single one.  Every day I work up the courage to say a little more though, and Magdy is always very encouraging.  My tutor, too, is lovely in that she is incredibly encouraging and helpful, and does a very good job of explaining things, I just wish I could afford more frequent lessons with her.  Even though I haven’t been speaking much the conversations are exhausting, both from being so far out of my comfort zone and from being so intensely focused.  That said, I look forward to them, and it’s really interesting and fun trying to explain things about my own language and culture that I take for granted.

The downside of all of this is that I am finding it extremely difficult to balance my art and Arabic studies.  I really need to learn time management, but even so, if I am able to focus I tend to delve into one subject all day long to the exclusion of everything else, which makes it very difficult to divide my time, particularly on work days when I have so little of it.

When I was in college it was easier because my assignments were weekly, and I didn’t care whether I worked on them every day.  But now, I have daily goals and want to work on both my Arabic and art every day.

I’ve been considering moving my Arabic to an every-other-day basis so I can focus more on drawing again, because often even if I make an effort to stop for now so I can work on something else I tell myself “I’ll stop when I finish this thing” but then that one thing will take another three hours.

Like everything else, I suppose it will just take practice to learn to balance my studies.

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Getting Started

Getting Started

I had been thinking of starting a blog for my art for quite some time now.  I have a tendency to ramble extensively when I post my work on instagram which seems a bit odd for the platform, and I haven’t really enjoyed posting on DeviantArt much.  (Though, I really should try to post there more often since it has the potential to reach a wider art community and get more relevant feedback.  I wish there was a service that would allow me to just post to both at the same time).  So, I figure a blog gives me a more comfortable space to share my work & would even allow me to share some separate, random thoughts and updates that aren’t necessarily accompanied by a picture.

A second reason I’m finally biting the bullet is that I recently purchased Fluent in 3 Months premium, and one of the “missions” is to start a blog to help to keep you on track and accountable on your language learning journey.  I am an immensely self-conscious person and just the thought of that makes me uncomfortable, but I have found that sharing my art on instagram helps to keep me on track and accountable for keeping up with my art studies, so I can see the benefit.  So, since I had already thought about starting a blog for my art, why not combine the two.

In fact, this may be a common theme for me- one of the things stressed in Fluent in 3 Months is relating the language you’re learning to you and your interests, so I actually have a goal of taking art classes in Arabic (the trick being to find them, but the internet is a marvelous thing).  I suppose a subject for a future post will be “Why Arabic?” (I expect to be asked this frequently) but for now I’ll just briefly mention my goals, for both my language and art, since keeping on track with my goals is one of the main reasons for this blog.

As I said I would like to take art classes in Arabic, and I have a goal of starting that in two months (October).  I also have a goal of speaking with a native tutor by this time next week, and am focusing on building my vocabulary, learning 10 new words every day (and seeing how that goes- if I can go for more I will).  I made the undoubtedly unpopular decision to learn Egyptian dialect first in order to build my confidence in speaking, and after 3 months I will turn my focus more to learning MSA.  I have learned the alphabet already though, since I love Arabic script so much.  I know the “right” way is considered to learn MSA first, but I decided since I’ve tried learning languages the “right” way before and always failed I should try something completely different and put myself outside of my comfort zone by focusing on speaking right away (“action over perfection”), like fluent in 3 months pushes.  I feel as though my biggest hurdle is going to be building vocabulary.  I have a terrible memory, and that’s why it’s going to be my primary focus.

In terms of my art, my goal is to finish “Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth” (“The Loomis Book” as I call it) by October, along with completing two of my character sheets for my personal project in the same time frame, so I can move on to studying Perspective Made Easy between October-December.  I’m also going to be subscribing to Paintable.cc for improving my digital painting skills.  I’ll have to see how their lessons are setup to get a feel of what a good time frame is for goals & assignments with their course.

That sums it all up for now.

I will return with more ramblings to no one.