For the last two years, I’ve been on what I could only describe as a personal journey. Almost like a Hero’s Journey (or a Writer’s Journey 😉 ).
The beauty of the Hero’s Journey model is that it not only describes a pattern in myths and fairy tales, but it’s also an accurate map of the territory one must travel to become a writer or, for that matter, a human being.
I needed a reason to write and thought, why not take part in a coffee share? So, welcome visitors and HELLO to everyone still reading (I love you <3 ).
Long story short: I wanted to know what independence felt like, so I struck out on my own. I randomly visited parts of California and took a train ride through southern USA. Now, I’m both married to an amazing man and pregnant with our son. Life couldn’t be better!
It’s so easy to get distracted with life especially when it’s coming at you fast. You know: this bill and then the next; this latest hardship to the next; this house to the next; this job to the next.
Being an adult is crazy! I wouldn’t have noticed that I stopped writing if my husband hadn’t pointed it out.
So, here I am, full circle and trying to reconnect with my creativity. I’ll practically use anything as a reason to write these days and I’ve returned to the joys of reading (The Secret Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab has my attention as of late).
Anyway that’s it for now. I’ll see you around the blog 😀
That’s when I screamed as loud as I could. So loud that a photographer dropped her camera. I curled into a ball and grabbed my knees. “Please stop talking. Please stop talking.” I repeated like a madman.
We’re ending the second week of January and I’m just now writing one of these posts. Procrastination 101, guys!
Though, giving myself time to think about what I want to do and if I can do it was helpful. If we were having coffee, I’d complain about the silliness of making resolutions and why they don’t work for me.
I set goals that are too big!
The timeline for a resolution is in the name. A YEAR. Huge right? …not! But my idiot self will set goals so big that it takes a ton of time to complete them. When anything is too daunting for me to do, I procrastinate and it’ll be too late by the time I get to them.
Life gets in the way.
This is how I interpret my reality: there’re the things I want to do and then there’s life. Life doesn’t care about my ambitions; in fact, it doesn’t care I exist. It does what it wants!
So when life happens, my resolutions slip out of focus (what’s more important: building an author platform or figuring out how to pay that bill you don’t have money for? Exactly. The platform bill).
To be fair, this is true for any goal. Finding a balance in our lives is a part of being human.
Resolutions? More like a wish list.
This is the main issue. My resolutions don’t acknowledge my reality. I give no thought on how I will complete my goals only that I want to (Write 50 books in a year? Hell yeah! Wait…).
I also forget that things don’t happen cause I want them to. Like, just because I want to get published in every magazine doesn’t mean that editors are going to collective think: Oh, this writer is ambitions and wants to be published in my magazine. I can see she has a ton of talent and is a goddess on the page. Let’s publish her!
So what’s a girl supposed to do?
I stopped making resolutions. It became disheartening to finish a year without accomplishing anything I set out to do.
But…I’m trying again this year with a twist. I’ve made doable quarter goals (January – April) with realistic expectations. My goals are:
Read 2 Books (1 every two months)
Freewrite for 15 minutes a day (total 1635 minutes or 27 hours)
I think I know how vampires feel…um, the running from the sun part not the weird blood craving thing. Daytime highs around here are always in the upper 90s and sometimes kiss 110! I’ve spent most of my Summer trying to hide from the big, bright jerk in the sky. So, if we were having coffee, we’d have it later in the day when it’s cooler. Then, I’d tell you…
I completed my Creativity Challenge (aka I’m a Camp NaNoWriMo “Winner”)
I learned something about myself this year: if I’m not being creative, I’m filled with anxiety and am very cranky. After going through this for six months, I decided to do something about it.
So, I used Camp NaNoWriMo as an excuse to be creative for at least 90 minutes everyday (2790 minutes total).
And…I performed better than I thought I would: I’ve written a total of 69 pieces of flash fiction, short stories, micro poetry, and micro fiction; spent twenty hours outlining Knightand then completed a 15,800 word first draft; and brush lettered for six hours.
Today, I feel rejuvenated and ready to have more fun with my creativity. So, yeah, mission accomplished!
In my opinion, this was the best Spider-Man movie EVER. It totally bypassed the origin story and just got to the point. Thank you, Marvel!
I’m renovating my blog with an emphasis on creativity
I’ve blogged here since 2014 and it’s been great! I’ve met awesome readers/writers, gushed about reading, shared my writing life and discussed the technical side of writing.
But…it’s missing my creative side—and that’s the side of me that wanted to start this blog in the first place.
I’ve been renovating my blog in between writing sessions so that it better represents me as a fiction writer. This meant fixing my homepage, rewriting my About page, and making my WIP page more dynamic. I’m also thinking about posting some flash fiction or creative nonfiction just to spice my posting schedule up (after I, you know, get over the fear of sharing them).
So that’s my coffee share! What’ve you been up to?
With the Spring semester finally over, Summer break has arrived!
This means I have more free time than I’m accustomed to, but no worries. I know exactly what to spend them on: late night reading, intensive video gaming, more reading, binge watching, long writing sessions, more reading, new creative projects–oh, I’m getting chills just thinking about it!
Anyway, it’s been kinda quiet on my side of cyberspace. And, to be honest, I missed writing blog posts and connecting with the blogosphere (It’s been too long you guys!). I’m going to use this week’s coffee share to tell you about…lets call them my little “adventures.”
School eats up the majority of my time, so it only makes sense for it to be the first on the list. Ignoring the stressing over midterms and rushing through an assignment twenty minutes before class part, I did experience some pretty awesome things this semester.
One of the six classes I took, also the most challenging and fun, was astronomy. Studying the different properties of the planets within our solar system and analyzing the H-R diagram were two of my favorite topics in class. Not only that, but it was awesome to have classmates who struggled but encouraged each other not to give up.
We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.
Carl Sagan, Cosmos
However, the highlight of this class was the field trip at the beginning of May. It was at a beautiful park with a huge lake in the center of it. The local astronomical union set up telescopes right before sunset to view the stars. Sadly, it was too cloudy to see anything. I did, however, get to see the sun before sunset via a solar telescope.
Also, I observed and got harassed by the rude locals: geese.
While astronomy awakened an interest in me that I didn’t know I had, English will always hold a special place in my heart. I had to do a ton of reading during my British Literature class–which I loved! The best part was that my professor structured the class like a book club. We didn’t just read, we discussed (to which I met a few word nerds).
I also acquired a new role model: Doris Leasing. The woman had a lovable attitude, check her out.
There was no shortage of fiction as British Literature kept me reading all semester long. I’m currently rereading Middlemarch as some chapters were skipped during the semester for the sake of time (yes, I’m a nerd like that).
I also picked up Cinder from my college’s library seconds after discovering that it actually had a fiction section hidden WAY in the back of the library. It’s now my new hiding spot.
Sometime in March, I stumbled on a book sale in the college library. The moment I saw the Book Sale sign I was like, “Oh, yeah. Definitely going in here.” Imagine my excitement when I learned everything was a dollar. I would’ve spent all day sifting through the piles of fiction and writing reference books, but my ride was waiting for me (sigh).
In my haste to choose the best books I could find before someone else snagged them from me, I picked up The Professor at the Breakfast Tableby Oliver Wendell Holmes thinking it was a Sherlock Holmes novel (ugh!). Good thing I actually read the back flaps of the two thrillers: Ties that Bind by Phillip Margolin and The Burning Wireby Jeffery Deaver.
Later, my family and I stumbled on a small business in my neighborhood who sold used soft covers for $0.50 and hardcovers for $1.
Oh yeah, I took my time with this one.
None of the books were in order, so it was basically a scavenger hunt–but I did find some gems! I found The DaVinci Code (I barely remember the movie adaption to this book so I thought, “Why not?”), Lost Symbol, and Angels & Demonsby Dan Brown. I noticed Brad Meltzer’s political thriller The President’s Shadowright before I dashed to the register. Score!
May 2nd was my birthday and I spent two weeks doing extra work to free the three days after. They were supposed to be my lazy days, but it didn’t work out. Finals were just around the corner and I made the decision to sacrifice two of three for studying.
I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!
Despite this little quibble, I had an awesome birthday week. My parents bought me Horizon: Zero Dawn (an awesome sci-fi game with a beautiful world and story) and my friend got me a gift card to Star Bucks. I also went to the astronomy field trip I talked about earlier and saw Guardians of the Galaxy (I love that movie *sniffle*).
In other news, I picked up a new handlettering hobby during December. It’s so much fun and oddly relaxing. Check out one of my pieces:
And, of course, I’m still writing. I’m working on three projects at once, but Ruin has been making headway. I sent it to my Alpha readers back in March and am now going through their responses. At this point, it still needs a lot of work, but it has come a long way.
So, anyway that’s what I’ve been up to these last four (?) months. What have you been up to?
I have a nasty habit of setting a repeat goal only to not complete it. During the summer, I decided to break that habit by taking on an accountability challenge.
And it was an experience!
The objective was to make a list of goals for the summer quarter (June-August) and then complete half of them by September 1, 2016. Then, to keep myself motivated throughout the quarter, I have to publicly announce my successes and failures to you guys.
That’s what today’s post is about. So, lets see how I did.
Summer 2016 Goals
I set a total of ten goals, so I need to complete FIVE for the summer to be successful. They were…
1. Finish Editing Ruin
Oh I edited Ruin alright. Edited it, rewrote it, and edited it again, but am I done? No.
I still have a few continuity and structure errors that I’m working on, so I’m counting this one as a loss.
2. Outline the sequel to Ruin
Have I laid the sequel out scene-by-scene? No, but I do have a rough idea of the major events that’ll take place in the sequel. I just need to fill in the blanks.
3-4. Start Drafting/editing Retaliation
I didn’t get a chance to work on this project at all since I was waaay to busy with Ruin.
5. Read 2 (or 3) Books
A win, finally! I probably read more than I wrote (oops!), but that’s okay. I spent my entire spring semester reading critical texts and classics, so some modern fiction was a nice change of pace.
Yay, another win! I wrote a total of three shorts (1000+ words) and two flashes (100+ words). I’ve never completed a short story before, so this was an enlightening experience.
Lesson: writing a short story is just as difficult as writing a full length novel. Go figure!
7. Write a (or 3) Guest Posts
I wrote a piece on criticism that Luther M. Siler from Inifintefreetimewas gracious enough to post on his blog. You can check it out here.
8. Post once a week
Nope. I fell apart at the beginning of August. 🙁
9. Be more active on social media
I set out to be moderately active and I did. Woot!
10. Get Podcasting Equipment
I can start recording episodes at this very moment! I have the editing software, microphone, and a recording strategy all set. Alas, I’m going to set my podcasting ambitions aside for this quarter.
Yay, 5 out of 10! Not bad for my first time.
Fall Quarter Goals
The end of the year is almost here, and I don’t want my biggest 2016 goals to spill into 2017. With that said, my goals are…
1. Read 2 (or 3) books for fun
I love being an English major. I get to read tons of critical texts and write about them (yay!), but I also like modern fiction. Managing two books this semester should be enough to keep me from wanting to bang my head against a table.
That and I really wanted to beat my Goodreads challenge this year!
2. Write 12 blog posts
The idea is to post once a week (preferably on a Wednesday), but I doubt I’ll have a stellar record this quarter especially during midterms and finals. Writing a total of 12 posts should be enough to keep my blog alive while I stress over my GPA.
3. Write a blog post series
I got an idea and I can’t wait to do it! Be on the look out.
4. Completely finish editing Ruin
This is it. This quarter is when I finally finish editing Ruin—no excuses!
I can do it, I can do it, I can do it…
5. Outline Retaliation
Retaliation is a sci-fi novel that I’ve been working on since 2012 (yes, that long! One of my biggest flaws as a writer is that I’m constantly rewriting my work). I’m hoping that I can do this during October so that I can…
6. Compete in NaNoWriMo
I love NaNoWriMo! It’s like a holiday for writers.
I didn’t compete last year so I’m going to do it this time around with Retaliation.
I know, I know. I have a short list of goals this time around, but that’s only because I have to make room for my studies. Hopefully I can complete all six, but the goal is to finish three by December 1st.
I was scrolling through my WordPress reader one typical morning and found this blogging tag on Sophie Dishman’s The Journey Begins. I thought, “This would be an interesting post to do” but never did it because of…you know, procrastination.
Since I’m bogged down with my writing projects (hence why there wasn’t a post last week…oops), I figured writing a fun post wouldn’t hurt.
The way this tag works is that I have to answer the twelve questions below and then “tag” another blogger.
Alright, so here’s the questions:
1. Where do you blog?
On my laptop (sometimes on my kindle). I don’t have a place dedicated to blogging—or writing for that matter. Simply put, I write wherever I’m comfortable which may be at my computer desk, living room couch (or floor), garage, and etc.
2. Where do you find inspiration for your posts?
That’s a question that not even I know the answer to.
Sometimes I get ideas from other writers and writing communities that I follow via social networking sites (that’s how I got the idea for the post you’re reading and this Bookshelf Tag!).
It’s Saturday?! When the heck did that happen? I thought for sure today was Thursday until Cortana kindly corrected me. Whoops! Anyway, if we were having coffee, I’d tell you that…
I’ve spent a good chunk of the week working on Ruin.
Okay, maybe not “a good chunk of the week” since I lost track of time. I probably spent three or four (?) days filling in plot holes.
Ruin and I have an unhealthy love-hate relationship. One moment I’m smitten, thrity minutes later I’m pulling my hair out thinking, “this is the worst thing I’ve EVER written!” That’s why I decided to let it rest for a few days which somehow turned into two weeks.
A family member got wind of this and pointed out that I was slacking (it’s kinda hard to get upset over a piece of criticism that’s true). I went back to work and made a ton of progress because of them.
I guess you can say I needed rest, but I think I needed the encouragement more.
As expected, I didn’t win that flash fiction contest.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that I wasn’t a tad bit disappointed. At the same time, I felt an odd sense of triumph.
Writers, like you and I, work in a very subjective field and subjectivity isn’t all that bad. It means that at least one person is going to like what we do! We just have to find them. This is why I wasn’t too disappointed.
I’m thinking of editing (once I get the critique) and submitting my piece somewhere else. OR I’ll turn it into a short story and self publish it on Amazon.
Haven’t decided yet, but I’m gitty over the possibilities!
I’ve won two scholarships and the ceremony is in August.
I’m excited(!) and freaked out at the same time.
I mean…do I have to dress up for this? I hate dressing up.
I’m looking for guest posters for the fall quarter.
The Fall semester is starting back earlier than I thought (it’s in August). College and writing have always vied for my time and it’s an intense competition. I’ll attempt to blog once a week but don’t expect a stellar track record (especially during midterms and finals).
I don’t want Inky Tavern to be inactive for too long and I want to give back to those who have given to me (thanks for following and commenting 😇). With that said, I’m offering guest posting opportunities. You can talk about anything that enriches someone’s life so long as it follows these guidelines.
You can write your post in a blogging fashion (like you see here) or as a piece of creative non-fiction. Let me know if you’re interested or have questions!
That’s my life right now, how’s yours?
Also, if you want to participate in the “If we were having coffee…” community you can do so by simply writing one and tagging it #weekendcoffeeshare on twitter. Go to Part-Time Monster’s blog for more information.
Two weeks ago I wrote my first Coffee Share post and loved it! So I decided to do another. I don’t have much to say but If we were having coffee, I’d tell you…
I submitted my short story!
Maybe I should call it “flash fiction” since it’s 500 words?
Anyway, I finished my editing and then submitted it to the contest’s judges four days ago. Whoopie!
Writing a piece of flash fiction is challenging but fun. You have to make sure every word progresses the story because there’s little room for fluff. The story needs a point and you need to get to it in a quick, but satisfying, way.
I admire the writer who can do this in 100 words.
I expect to be rejected.
This isn’t depression or resignation, it’s fact. We writers have to face rejection from publishers, agents, readers, and so on. This isn’t an excuse to quit however. Even the most seasoned writer faces rejection on a daily basis.
“I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, ‘To hell with you.’“ – Saul Bellow
I love this quote the most:
“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” – Sylvia Plath
The book is not as discouraging as the title sounds, I promise.
I received the book from Marie Forleo who asked Mr. Pressfield if her email list subscribers could get a free copy. I’m 63% through and that’s only because I had to pause a few times to get back to my writing. The chapters are small (I think this is Pressfield’s writing style), but gems exist in each one. I plan on writing a review so keep an eye out.
That’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. As always, I’m eager to hear (um…read) your comments below.
You can also participate in these “If we were having coffee…” posts by simply writing one and tagging it #weekendcoffeeshare on twitter. Go to Part Time Mosnter‘s blog for more information.
If you want to know more about these coffee share posts, you should visit here or here. I thought they were pretty neat and decided to try one!
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that…
I redesigned my website/blog.
This will actually be my fourth time redesigning it and by “redesign” I mean “using a new theme.” I was using Suits but it was way too bland for my taste. I’m now using Goran and I’m loving it.
I’m still toying with the options so you may see a few changes every now and then.
I don’t like this summer heat but…
I’m a winter person. I like the snow, rain, and chilly air which is unfortunate because none of that exists where I live.
On the bright side, I’ve finally found the time to read Rise of Empireby Michael J. Sullivan. I bought the book during the Christmas season so…it’s about time I’ve read it. So far, Sullivan hasn’t disappointed me and it’s a pretty good fantasy read in my opinion.
I’ve also “finished” reading Podcasting for Dummiesby Tee Morris, Chuck Tomasi, and Evo Terra. I don’t think you can ever “finish” a book like this since it’s always something to have on reference, but I got what I needed out of it (I’m working on a review post so keep an eye out).
The summer heat also gives me a reason to eat a bunch of popsicles and spend more time outside. I guess it’s not all bad, huh?
I have “Writer’s Block,” but it ain’t stopping me.
When I say I have “writer’s block” it’s code for I’m stumped, lazy, confused, or discouraged. I’m suffering from the “stumped” kind right now but I’m working through it.
This week I wrote two short stories, outlined a third, penned a few poems, and edited Ruin. I submitted one of my poems into a competition and am editing one of the shorts for another competition. So I’d say I beat writer’s block this week.
Writer’s block isn’t an excuse to stop writing, it’s a call to action!