Vicious Cycles: A Short Essay on Willful Self-Sabotage

Maybe you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for the past few weeks. Maybe you don’t actually care. Either way, I made a goal at the start of the year to write at least one blog post every week, to finally get back into the swing of things and start creating consistently again. Obviously, that didn’t happen. And it’s completely my fault.

This year started off well enough. I was blogging pretty consistently. I was doing pretty well mentally. I thought maybe I’d begun to shake some stuff and get back into the creative lane I’d been riding in 2017. I was exercising every day. I had the will power and the energy to tell myself what I needed to do and get it done. But that didn’t last. It started with staying up a little later to finish a post or get a few more words down. It ended with a garbage fire.

Somewhere along the way, I got tired. Physically, emotionally, mentally. It became easier and easier to watch YouTube instead of pounding out another blog post, easier to scroll through Instagram instead of working on a new book. As my energy levels flagged, I began to take the path of least resistance, the path that didn’t require thought or careful word choice or energy besides the minuscule amount required to thumb through my Twitter feed. It became easier to keep the lights on late rather than lie in bed and wrestle with insomnia. It became easier to say that I’d do it tomorrow, when I was less tired, and easier to wake up even tireder than I’d been the day before. It was easier to not try to fix it or do anything about it. It was easier to promise big things later, and sabotage myself now.

I came to with a shovel in my hands and dirt piled high behind me. I was digging myself into a rut, further and further in, further and further down. Consciously. Knowingly. Willfully. I knew (and I know) exactly how to dig myself out of that hole, but by this point it had become a vicious cycle, and it was easier to keep on digging myself deeper into that rut than to try and clamber out. I had already dug a grave for my creativity. It was easier to bury it than to try for resurrection.

But I know what I need to do, and I think maybe I can do it. It sounds easy; just put the phone down and turn off the lights and rest, but somehow it’s really, really hard. It’s hard to make things. Its hard to want to make things when you’re so tired you can hardly keep your eyes open. It’s hard to want to go to bed when it’s become so much easier to just not. But I think maybe it’s better to struggle against the cycle than to live your life with a need to make things and no ability to do so.


Vicious Cycles

My (Belated) 2018 Goals

Okay.

I apologize.

In my ‘Best of 2017’ post, I said in the Looking Forward section that I had basically zero plans for 2018. For me, this is always the case. It’s the end of the old year and there’s a whole entire 365 days spread out in front of you and its all so bewildering and you’re like “lol wat i don’t even know like what am I supposed to do with all this time?????” I don’t know if anyone else struggles with this, but I always seem to have what I’m going to call ‘New Years paralysis’, as in for the first couple of weeks of the new year. Basically it feels like I’m just going through the motions and I feel totally bewildered and have absolutely zero plans to accomplish anything at all.

And then BAM! 2018 smacked me in the face with like eight million opportunities and goals and all that stuff, and here I am writing a belated ‘2018 goals’ post so that you, the collective internets, can hold me accountable when I recap all the slacking off I did at the end of the year.

Please enjoy this seemingly impossible (but probably barely adequate) list of goals.


2018 Goals

 


  • Publish Esmeralda’s Story. I’ve talked about this several times before, but I wrote a novelette set in the world of my first book, Behind Her Mask was Death, which features the backstory of one of the main characters. I really love this story, and I wanted to publish it around Christmas time last year, but what with sickness, poor preparation and, lets be honest, a lot of procrastination, that obviously didn’t happen. I’m hoping to publish it very soon, though, and I’ll let you know when that happens!

 

  • Write and revise at least one book. Recently, I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I should be. It started back in the fall when I forced myself to complete a 57,000 word first draft in less than a month, and ended up burning myself out. I am a very slow first drafter normally, and maybe trying to finish this project so quickly just wasn’t the right idea. Anyway, I ended up with a finished first draft, and actually wrote a bunch of the first draft of another book before the burnout caught up with me, and suddenly I looked around and for about two months I’d written absolutely nothing. I’m slowly starting to ease myself back into first drafting for another novel, a prequel to Behind Her Mask was Death that I hope to be at least 50,000 words at completion. I’d like to say that I’ll try to finish it and publish it this year, but we’ll see. I’m not always the best with sticking to the plan.

 

  • Get my driver’s license. Yeah. Yeah, I know. I should have at least started working on this by now. But I’ve been… procrastinating. Up until now I’ve been able to rely on my family to drive me everywhere, but I’d like to maybe get a second job, and sometimes it’s just difficult to get a bunch of different people to soccer practice and work and robotics meeting and whatever, especially when they’re all happening at the same time. So I’m studying up and hopefully I’ll be able to get my temporary license this month and have my full one by the end of the year.

 

  • Read more. Everyone who knows me would probably describe me as a voracious reader. And that’s true… sometimes. Or it used to be, anyway. But I honestly feel that I haven’t been reading nearly as much as I should within the past year or so. It probably has a lot to do with finally getting wi-fi in my room, which while it sounds amazing isn’t necessarily the best thing for your concentration. Sometimes I feel like I’m at my best when the computer is off and I’ve forgotten where I left my phone. But I really do want to read more, and I especially want to read more indie books. As an indie author, it’s probably a good idea to know the market and read other authors’ works, right? Yeah. And guess who had literally only ever read one indie book in her life right up until Christmas 2017? Yeah.

 

  • Make more artistic stuff. I used to sew all the time. I always had a project I was working on; a cute plushy from one fandom or another that it seemed like I needed in my life. Now? Ha. Nothing. But, to be honest, I’m the kind of person that has to have an inspiration or some kind of goal in mind before I start a project, and I just haven’t had any new ideas for plushies in a while. So at least I could be honing my drawing/painting/colored pencil skills, right? Nope. This is yet another area where I need to have inspiration, and the muse does not visit often. But, hopefully, I’ll try to do a few more paintings or drawings this year. (You can follow me on Instagram or Twitter if you’re interested in seeing any of my artistic endeavors.)

 

  • Embrace my emo side. You may think that I am already emo, but this isn’t even my final form. I dyed my hair the other day (say what????),  but I’m not done yet. Dangly chain earrings, my favorite black choker, cross necklace, pencil eyeliner (if I can ever figure out how to apply the stuff) and clothes in varying shades of black are all on hand. In the new year, I plan to embody all the best things about my two style icons: Josh Dun (brightly colored hair, eye-catching earrings and necklaces, smudgy eye makeup) and Dan “black-clothes-are-the-answer-to-everything” Howell (self-explanatory).
Style Icons

My style icons: Josh Dun of Twenty Øne Piløts and British Youtuber Dan Howell (better known as danisnotonfire).

Even if I don’t do the full emo look every day, at least I can enjoy being v emo inside, and all the issues that go along with that.

*smudges eyeliner and runs off to join the Black Parade*


Okay, back to the goals:

  • Procrastinate less. This is a big one. Basically all my problems are caused by procrastination, and most of them would be solved if I just sat down and did whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing (right now I am procrastinating math and Latin homework by writing this blog post). Maybe this is an impossible goal, but I hope to do my best to put down distractions and actually accomplish the task.

 

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. Kinda self explanatory, I guess. Get in shape, and all that. I’ve been doing a daily 10-minute Pilates workout, as I have a lot of back issues and pain and strengthening your core muscles can help alleviate this. I just need to buckle down and stop forgetting to do it or procrastinating my life away. I also want to get outside more and walk around the neighborhood or ride my bike, but the weather hasn’t been super cooperative recently, so…

 

  • Write more blog posts. Sometimes, I honestly just don’t know what to say. Weeks go by without a post. Some compassionate soul out there might be wondering if I’m dead (i’m not i’m just procrastinating again friend). I’m making it my goal this year to have at least one post per week, and hopefully more, unless of course I’m away or on an official hiatus or something. (So if you’re interested in getting sarcastic rants, cool quotes, movie and TV show reviews, and more sent right to your inbox, you can subscribe to this blog by email down below…)

And… that’s about it. Right now, it seems a bit like an impossible mountain, but I’m sure at the end of 2018 we’ll all look back on this list and laugh at how horribly I failed in completing anything.

In all seriousness, the best way to accomplish something is to have a good attitude about it, and then actually buckle down and just get it over with, and hopefully with that attitude, and with a lot of prayer and hard work and anti-procrastination methods, I can actually do something worthwhile this year. 😛


Thank you so much for reading this post! Sorry it’s a bit more sarcastic than normal. I’ve just been reevaluating my time-usage and it has come to my attention that I really do have a procrastination problem, so… yeah. Kind of being sarcastic at myself, if that makes any sense.

Talk to me, friend! What are your hopes and dreams for 2018? And does anyone else have trouble with this sort of ‘New Years paralysis’ I talked about at the beginning? Let’s chat in the comments below!

See you again soon!

🙂

The Best of 2017 (2017 Wrap Up Post)

Introduction:

2017 has finally wound to an end. It’s been a crazy year, but there have also been some pretty awesome moments, and I’ve discovered a few amazing things I’d like to share with you today, including books, movies, music, YouTube shows, and more! Scroll down to check out my ‘best of’ list and recommendations, as well as my end of the year wrap up!

DISCLAIMER: Just so you know, all opinions I express in this post are entirely my own. Nobody has bribed me, sent me free stuff, blackmailed me, kidnapped me, or hacked my blog to get me to say this stuff. I just love all these things, and I love sharing cool stuff with all my friends. I hope you enjoy the list!  😄


Best of 2017


Best Of:

Movies, TV, & YouTube

I have a difficult time making any real decisions, so for some of these categories there are multiple picks.

Best Film(s)

  • There honestly weren’t a ton of really awesome films that I got to see this year, so the selection I have to choose from for this category is relatively small. It’s honestly a bit of a tie between Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Thor: RagnarokWhile I did like Spiderman: Homecoming, I enjoyed Ragnarok a little bit more, maybe because I’ve been looking forward to it for at least a year now. It certainly did not disappoint. And The Last Jedi far exceeded any expectations I’d had for a Star Wars film, so they’re honestly about equal, in my opinion. You can read my review for Thor or read my review for The Last Jedi, if you want to hear my more detailed thoughts about the films.

Best TV Show

  • Maybe this is a little too obvious, but my pick for best TV show of 2017 is Netflix’s Stranger Things. There is so much internet hype about this show, that if you have been anywhere online you can’t help but here about it. And the show certainly lives up to the hype! Thrills, chills, adventure, as well as fabulous acting and writing abound, and I am very excited to see where the show goes next! You can read my full review of both seasons here. Another Netflix original, their new adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, also gets an honorable mention. It was very well done, and I would love if we got another season, as I would like to see the story continue! You can read my review of that here.

Best YouTuber/YouTube Series

  • This award goes to The Game Theorists (and Film Theorists) for their exceptional year of theories! I just discovered the Theorist Crew late last year, and they have become my all time favorite YouTubers. While I love MatPat and his hilarious, well researched (if sometimes far fetched) theories about video games, movies and TV shows, I also want to give a shout out to Austin, the creator of The SCIENCE! which is another video game themed show that can be found on the Game Theorists’ channel. His more recent episodes, especially the ones about Halo and Hello Neighbor, are chock full of cool facts, equations, and all around awesome science stuff. If you love video games (or movies) and like far-fetched theories and science-y weirdness, I would highly recommend checking out these two channels.

Best YouTube Red Original

  • I got a free trial of YouTube Red this year, mostly to watch the Game Theorists’ YouTube Red original show. While I highly enjoyed MatPat’s Game Lab, which is a real-life continuation of Game Theory, where they tested stuff from games in real life (such as playing soccer with cars, as shown in Rocket League, or trying to survive Five Nights at Freddie’s IRL) I would have to say that my favorite YouTube Red series was actually Mind Field, which is hosted by Micheal Stevens of Vsauce. Mind Field explores the science of psychology, particularly looking at the reasons why human beings behave the way they do, while also exploring a few other fascinating psychological concepts, such as isolation and its effect on the brain, or how people would respond in real life to the infamous Trolley Problem. While as a Christian I don’t agree with everything Stevens says, Mind Field is still a fascinating exploration of some of the science behind our behavior, and I would highly recommend that you check out the first episode of the show, which is available for free on the Vsauce channel.

Music

Once again, there are multiple categories here, and once again, I am an indecisive bean who had multiple picks for one of them…

Best Song

  • There is literally no contest here. The best song of 2017 is Machine by MisterWives. I was originally introduced to this indie pop/alternative band through Twenty One Pilots. MisterWives opened for them during the Quiet is Violent tour, and during the TØP hiatus I’ve been trying to find new music to listen to, often by looking up bands that have toured with them. I only like a few songs by the band, but Machine is a definite standout. Rebellious, rollicking, with lyrics that offer a candid take on the modern music industry (my personal interpretation of the song), it’s just an awesome piece of music, and you should probably have it somewhere on your  playlist. Give it a listen right here:

 

Best Album(s)

Two albums released in 2017 really stood out to me, one of them from an old favorite, and one from an artist totally new to me.

  • Canadian singer/songwriter Lights’ new album Skin & Earth is by far one of her best albums to date, and I have no hesitation in naming it as one of the best albums of the year. Savage, which is one of my favorite songs off the album, is totally unlike anything Lights has done before. Her vocals and lyrics are always on point, but there is a very raw and real anger coming through in this song that I really love. Savage also features Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots on drums, which is pretty awesome, as it’s basically a collaboration between two of my favorite artists ever.
  • The second album is After Laughter by alternative rock/pop punk band Paramore. I just discovered the band this year, and I am loving their awesome, kind of retro-style rock music. After Laughter has a good mix of slower, quieter songs, and fast, exciting songs that just make you want to get up and dance. Probably my favorite song off the album is Pool, although Hard Times and Fake Happy are also fantastic.

Books

There were several books I read this year that really got my attention, and they all deserve mentions in this post.

  • The first was Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. It was a heartbreaking, very real story inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement about a girl who witnesses her best friend get shot by a policeman when he wasn’t doing anything wrong. The book has some strong language and innuendo, but the raw, honest story, told through the eyes of a girl who lives with discrimination and fear of police violence every day, more than makes up for any of that. It is a very important book, especially for this moment in time, and I am very glad that I got the chance to read it.
  • Unsanctioned Eyes by Brianna Merritt is an intense thriller that delivers all the feels. Brianna’s writing kept me right at the edge of my seat throughout the entire book, and I can hardly wait for the sequel, which should be arriving sometime next year. The story follows Quinn Rogers, a fearless assassin whose past is starting to catch up with her. The book is fairly dark and violent, but there are Christian themes of redemption, as well as a bit of hilarious humor to lighten the mood, and all in all it was just a fantastic read. (I need to read it again soon!) You can check out my full review over on Goodreads.
  • Finally, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia more than deserves an honorable mention. This was a bittersweet exploration of fandom, online friendships, and anonymity. I was very excited about this book, and it did not disappoint. You can read my review over on Goodreads if you’re interested in my thoughts.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few things that didn’t really fit into any of the other categories, but which I thought really deserved to be mentioned in this post.

Secret Midnight Press

  • Secret Midnight Press is an independent publishing company and curiosity brand created by authors Ashley Dun and Jesse Cale, and based in Columbus, Ohio. They publish emotional poetry books, go on book tours with artists like Tessa Violet and GiveMeMotion, and create special seasonal boxes full of books and goodies. I just got Ashley’s book Smoke Signals (burn this) for Christmas (you can check out my review on Goodreads, if you like), and I have tickets to their January show in Columbus, which is also very exciting. They strive to create a safe space for people to express their feelings, and to provide hope to others who are struggling with mental illnesses like depression, or with difficult emotions and circumstances. Above all, they try to stay creative and curious about life. Ashley’s poetry is gorgeous, and I hope to be getting some of their other books soon. I also think that Secret Midnight Press will be a project that I continue to support for years to come, so I thought they deserved a mention on this list
  • Visit the Secret Midnight Press Website.

goodDYEyoung

  • goodDYEyoung is another independent company I’m happy to be able to support. They create vegan, cruelty-free, safe hair dye products in bright , beautiful colors, as well as providing temporary hair color products as well. If you follow me on Twitter, you may know that I dyed a bit of my hair using their purple color. I used it straight on my hair, without any bleach, and while it colored my natural hair pretty well, I’m planning to get some of my hair bleached sometime in January, and dye it again. Their semi-permanent colors are PPD free, meaning no nasty chemicals all over your head, and easily mixable so you can get exactly the shade you want. The dye also had natural conditioning agents, leaving your hair silky-smooth and brightly colored. I would highly recommend you check out goodDYEyoung if you’re thinking about dying your hair!
  • Visit the goodDYEyoung website.

The Bright Eyes Project

  • Created by Aimee Meester, the Bright Eyes Project Podcast is a creepy sci-fi adventure taking you to fantastical spaceships, strange purple planets, the depths of space, and more! Complete with enough aliens, conspiracy, mysterious disappearances  and cliffhangers to drive anyone crazy (*cough, cough* we need the next episode, Aimee *cough, cough*), Bright Eyes is perfect for any sci-fi lover, whether you’re completely new to the fiction podcast format (like me!) or are a long time listener.
  • Check out the Bright Eyes Project.

Personal Highlights

  • I completed the first draft of Book 1 of my super secret sci-fi project, and wrote over 30,000 words of Book 2… and then promptly got stuck. I’m still trying to figure out where to go next. I’m really excited about this project, but I’m just a bit stuck on it right now.
  • I wrote over 30 poems, which is very exciting. I used to hate poetry, but then I took most of a poetry course (I never actually finished it… :/) which made me super excited to try writing my own poems! I write in mostly rhyming verse, but I’ve experimented a lot with free verse as well. I basically have a whole book of poems now, but I don’t know if I will actually publish it. We’ll see!
  • I published my second book this year! The Tangle was released in both paperback and ebook formats on November 4th this year, after being run as a serial novel on Channillo.com. It’s a paranormal suspense novel, which has absolutely nothing to do with my first book, Behind Her Mask was Death (several people have been confused about this) and you can pick up a copy over on Amazon, if you’re interested. 🙂
  • My blog is officially more than a year old! I totally missed my blogaversary, which happened back in April or May, I believe, but I have now been blogging for over a year. I wrote a total of 70 posts this year, and I hope to write even more in 2018!

Looking Forward

I may have mentioned at some point or other that I was planning to release a novellette set in the world of Behind Her Mask was Death this December. Well, obviously, that didn’t actually happen. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish working on the book and getting feedback on it until a couple of days ago, so I will probably publish it sometime in early 2018.

Other than that, I actually don’t have a ton of plans for 2018. I’ll keep working on all my in-progress projects (of which there are a great deal…) and perhaps we’ll see another book at some point, but I don’t know. I’m still struggling with my super secret sci-fi project, so I’m not sure what will happen with that. We’ll just have to wait and see!


Thanks so much for reading my end of the year recommendations and wrap up! I hope you’ll check out a couple of the things on this list, and that your 2017 was a blessed and lovely year. See you in 2018!

🙂

Net Neutrality: What It Is and Why I’m Fighting For It

Today, I sent a letter to my Senator. Well… an email, actually, but that doesn’t sound as exciting or dramatic, so… yeah. Anyway, I sent an email to my Senator today, and I’ll probably send another one tomorrow.


Why?

You might have heard the term ‘net neutrality’ floating around the interwebs recently, and you might not really know what it is. Net neutrality is the idea that no ISP (Internet Service Provider) can censor, slow down, or make you pay extra for access to certain sites. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Sounds like common sense, even. But there’s a catch. Net neutrality is guaranteed by laws passed in 2015, but those laws could soon be repealed.

The FCC, or the Federal Communications Commission, wants to repeal net neutrality, supposedly so that the government won’t be so involved in regulating the internet. They talk about it like this is a good thing, that free speech will be increased without the government enforcing these net neutrality rules. But that’s not true. With net neutrality repealed, ISPs will be able to actively censor the information and opinions available to consumers, by either blocking undesirable sites, putting them in an internet ‘slow lane’ (drastically increasing the site’s loading time), or hiding them behind a paywall. Freedom of speech will be curtailed. Independent companies, who can’t pay the ISPs to move their sites to the ‘fast lanes’, will die off. Companies could forward political agendas by only allowing access to sites that promote their viewpoint. Indies like myself, who rely on the internet to get word out and make sales, could be out of a job.


What can we do?

There’s still time to fight for net neutrality. The repeal goes up for voting in the FCC on December 14th, and it will probably go through, but Congress can stop this from happening if enough people contact them. You can call your Senators, or if phone calls make you anxious (like me!) you can use ResistBot to send your Senator a letter or email.

Visit Battle for the Net to learn more about net neutrality and call your Senator

Learn more about net neutrality and use ResistBot to send your Senator an email

This issue is extremely important, and I hope that you will take a couple of minutes to learn more about net neutrality and contact your Senator and ask them to stop the repeal. Censorship is never the answer, and the truth is what makes us free, but it can’t if it’s trapped behind a paywall or stuck in the slow lane.


Net Neutrality

Introducing: The Sound Architect!

If you read yesterday’s post, you probably know that I hinted about a super cool announcement that I would be posting today. Well, here it is:

My brother just released his first album of electronic music!

That’s right. My brother is now officially an electronic music artist, and you can currently get his first album, Junction 232, on CDbaby.com. Within the next week, it should also be available on Amazon, iTunes, and wherever you get your MP3s. If you like funky electronic music, you should definitely give this album a listen! It’s super awesome. Check out the cover and track list below:

Junction 232 Promotional Graphic

Learn more and buy the album on CDBaby!


Thanks for reading today’s post! I hope you enjoy my brother’s new music. What’s your favorite type of music? I like electronic, pop, movie soundtracks, and whatever random genre Twenty One Pilots is supposed to be (Ukulele-screamo? Emo-rap-piano-alternative-something with drums? Just plain amazing music??? IDK) Anyway, let me know your favorite music genres in the comments below!

See you again soon.

🙂

Blogger Shout Out! (My Top 5 Favorite Blogs of 2017)

2017, so far, has been a pretty great year. Besides completing multiple writing projects (yasss!), learning to play guitar (or starting to learn, anyway), and becoming a Whovian, I’ve really enjoyed getting more involved in the blogging community and meeting a lot of new blogger friends online. So, today I thought I’d give a shout out to my top five favorite blogs, so that you can go check them out and find some cool new blogs to read!

Here we go:


5. Feels Like Hope

Feels Like Hope is the brilliant, excruciatingly honest blog of Aimee Meester, writer and creator of the amazing The Bright Eyes Project sci-fi podcast, which I’ve been listening to and enjoying greatly. The blog is fairly new, but already it is shaping up to be fantastic, and I really love Aimee’s writing style. Her posts are also absolutely brilliant and she has some great advice for writers.

Visit Feels Like Hope

Say hi to Aimee on Twitter

Check out The Bright Eyes Project


4. The Invisible Moth

The blog of Christian author Daley Downing, where she blogs about reading, writing, spiritual growth, and more. One of my favorite posts by her is Some Writing Tips I Take Issue With, in which she talks about some bad writing tips that often circulate in the Christian writing community. You should definitely check out this post, and Daley’s whole blog!

Visit The Invisible Moth

Say hi to Daley on Twitter


3. Hannah Heath’s Blog

Another awesome Christian author with lots of brilliant writing advice. She has a new post every Friday, and I always love getting updates from her blog in my inbox. Check out this awesome post, where she looks at and explains the age-old adage “Write what you know”.

Visit Hannah’s Blog

Say hi to Hannah on Twitter


2. Tea with Tumness

Tea with Tumness is the blog of S. M. Metzler, a YA fantasy author. She has tons of brilliant posts about writing, and also wrote a hilarious Sherlock fanfiction called ‘A Visit to the Psychologist’. Her writing advice is always spot on and super smart, and I highly recommend you check out her blog.

Visit Tea with Tumness

Say hi to Ms. Metzler on Twitter

Check out ‘A Visit to the Psychologist’


1. Paper Fury

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably read some of my flailings over Cait A.K.A Paper Fury, who is probably one of my favorite bloggers of all time! She is an absolutely hilarious and lovely book blogger, with one of the most gorgeous blogs and Instagram feeds I have ever seen. She posts book reviews, blogging and writing advice, and also hosts the Beautiful People meme, which I have participated in for the past couple of months. Definitely check out her blog because it is awesome.

Visit Paper Fury

Say hi to Cait on Twitter

Check out the Beautiful People meme


Thanks for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it. Are there any bloggers on this list that you really like? Do you have any other favorite bloggers? Let me know in the comments!

🙂


Blogger Shout Out

July Monthly Wrap Up

Hey everyone! Apparently it is… already the end of July (what???), which means it’s time for my monthly wrap up post.


Highlights:

  • I’m done school for the year! I just completed my exams and finished up the last few books, and I am officially done… for about a month. Then, it’s back to the old routine. Oh well…
  • I organized (some) of my room! Okay, so, guys, cleaning your room or living space or whatever —just because you want to, not because you have to— is like the most de-stressing thing ever. I reorganized all my drawers and my whole desk and cabinet, and I still need to work on my closet and my window-seat, but I am super surprised at how therapeutic just reorganizing stuff can be! It’s amazing.
  • I participated again in #WIPTruthOrDare! You can find all the tweets from this month here.
  • I wrote some actual words and basically doubled the word count in my super-secret project in about ten days, which is super exciting! I just passed 20,000 words in total, which is always a big milestone for me because that’s the length of my first book Behind Her Mask was Death. I really want to tell you guys all about this project, but I can’t yet!!! *cries* You’ll just have to wait and see… Mwahahahaha! <—Obviously that is an evil laugh.

Posts from July 2017:


Looking Forward:

Once again, I’m going to be away without internet or computer this month. This time, it will be for about two weeks, so I won’t be participating in #WIPTruthOrDare over on Twitter, unfortunately. (It’s like the best hashtag game of ever!) This also means that there will probably only be a couple of posts on the blog during August as well.

I want to try to finish up the first draft of my secret project during the two weeks where I won’t be away, but that’s probably not going to happen, so my goal is to reach at least 35,000 words before the 18th of August.

Fairly important update: Some of you probably know that I’ve been serially publishing my novel The Tangle on Channillo.com. The final chapter will be going up on the 26th of August, and then the novel will be complete. However, nobody has been reading it, and at this point I’m feeling that this whole thing has been rather a waste of time.  I really love this story, and I’d like for people to be able to read it, so as soon as possible I will be taking The Tangle down off Channillo.com and publishing it myself in both paperback and ebook form. The official announcement with all the details (release date and such) should be coming sometime in September, so keep an eye out for it!


Thank’s for reading my July wrap up! Do you have any plans for August that you’re excited about? Any special projects you’re working on? Let’s chat in the comments!

🙂


July Wrap Up

June Monthly Wrap Up

Hey, everyone! So… apparently it is already the end of the month (how in the world did that happen???) and I haven’t really posted anything in a bit. I’ve seen a lot of my blogger friends doing posts like these, so I thought it might be a good idea to start doing monthly wrap up posts summarizing all the exciting(?) stuff that’s happened.

Without further ado, here is my June wrap up.


Highlights:

  • I started watching Doctor Who! I’ve been really curious about this show for a while, and several of my Twitter friends really like it, so I decided to start with the Ninth Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston) and go from there. Right now, I’m nearing the end of the Tenth Doctor’s last season, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next! This is such an odd, intriguing and interesting show, with lots of crazy aliens, time travel (of course), and action, and you can definitely expect a full review from me in the future.
  • I made another painting and posted it on Instagram! This time, it’s Doctor Who themed. You can check it out here.
  • I participated again this month in #WIPTruthOrDare, a super fun hashtag game for authors on Twitter, and I’m going to participate in July’s game as well! You can find my #WIPTruthOrDare tweets from May here, and the ones from June here. You can follow me on Twitter to get all of this month’s Truths and Dares in your feed! 🙂
  • I’ve been listening to loads and loads of Twenty One Pilots. Up until now, I’ve only had a few songs of theirs that I’d listened to and liked, but all of their music is just so good. Highly recommended!
  • I got a copy of Unsanctioned Eyes by Brianna Merrit! Brianna is an awesome Christian author I follow on Twitter, and I am really enjoying her book. It’s an exciting thriller with assassins and secrets and tons of action. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
  • I’ve been doing *some* work on a super-secret project (my next book and its sequel, if you must know 😛 ). I’ve completed the first draft of the first book, and I’m about 7,000 words into the first draft of the second book, but it’s been fairly slow going so far.
  • I started learning to play the guitar! I only know a few chords so far, but I’m really enjoying it (even if my fingers did hurt a lot for the first few weeks) and I can’t wait until I can play lots of songs.

Posts from June 2017:


Looking Forward:

I will be away without internet for about a week in July, but you can definitely expect a few more film and TV show reviews this month while I am here. I recently finished Season 3 of CW’s The Flash, and I want to write a review of that show, as well as one of Cars 3 (which was surprisingly not awful). Hopefully there will also be some more Wednesday with Words posts (I need to be better about doing those), and I want to get a lot more done on my current writing projects.


Thank you so much for reading! How was your month? Have you done or started anything exciting? Do you like Doctor Who or Twenty One Pilots? Do you have any plans or goals for July? Let me know in the comments below!

🙂


June Wrap Up

Help! What Do I Say??? (3 Podcast Tips for the Nervous Author)

So, you’ve landed that big podcast interview you’ve always wanted. Hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people are going to hear your voice on that show. They’re going to listen to what you have to say. Maybe, they’re going to go and buy your book(s) afterwards.

And now you’re nervous, and stressed out, and you have no idea what you are going to do.

Maybe you’re a natural introvert. Maybe you’re shy, or you don’t like talking in front of people. You’re nervous that all your words are going to be recorded. Perhaps you have that little bit of knowledge in the back of your mind that other people are going to be listening to your conversation later on, so you’d better say all the right things now and not make a fool of yourself.

I’ve been there. And I’ve come out the other side. So today I thought I’d give you a couple of helpful tips that I’ve learned along the way. Not all of these tips will work for everyone, but hopefully some of them will be useful to you.

Here we go:


1. Don’t try to wing it.

I honestly don’t remember who told me, but one of the first pieces of advice I received when I told people I was going to be on a podcast was, “You’d better not write anything down. Just wing it. It has to sound natural.”

No disrespect to whoever gave me that advice (seriously, I do not remember at all), but it really messed me up. It sounds really smart, right? You certainly don’t want to sound like you’re reading from prompt cards. But by not writing anything down at all, and trying to just wing it, I ended up in a complete emotional breakdown while I was in the recording session with the interviewer. I felt physically incapable of responding to the questions at all. I couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Not pleasant. Not at all. Thankfully, she was gracious enough to let me try again at a later date, but I still felt like a fool.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are certainly people out there who can wing just about anything and come away with a brilliant interview. There are people who are stifled or hampered by outlines or written out answers. This is definitely not a hard-and-fast rule of any kind. If you are comfortable with winging your interview, go ahead. But at least study the questions ahead of time, and maybe mentally work out the basics of what you are going to say. My interviewer, Pam Barnhill, sent me a list of questions way before the recording date so that I could study them and figure out just what I was going to say. As I said, the first time around I forgot everything I had so carefully worked out in my head and was unable to do the interview at all. So I went back and took my time and wrote down an answer to every question, even if it was just a few lines. We didn’t end up using all of the questions in the podcast, but at least I felt secure knowing that I had a response if one was needed. I even went ‘off script’ a couple of times.

Even if you don’t write out your full answer to every question, it’s probably best to jot down a couple of bullet points of what you’d like to touch on. A sparse outline is better than no outline at all. A quick glance at your notes should remind you of what you wanted to say if you forget in the middle of the interview.

2. Do ask for do-overs.

The nice thing about podcasts is that they are recorded and edited before anyone else gets to hear them. It isn’t like being on live radio or TV, where if you mess up you don’t get a second chance. If you get off track or flub your words, you have every right to ask the interviewer for a do-over. You can say the line again (hopefully correctly this time) and the interviewer or whoever does their editing can easily go back and edit out the mistake. You aren’t live. Everybody messes up sometimes. Even the interviewer may have to do over their lines at some point. Don’t hesitate to ask for a quick second try if you need one.

3. Do stay on topic.

Podcasts are great for getting your name and maybe your work in front of others, but they shouldn’t act as a platform for you to talk endlessly about your book or make some kind of big sales pitch. If the interviewer wants to talk about your book(s), go ahead and talk about them. But if the topic of the podcast is, I don’t know… dogs or something (stupid example, but bear with me), then trying to make a big sales pitch in the middle of your interview isn’t really going to work. If people listen to this hypothetical podcast to hear about other people’s opinions on dogs, then they aren’t going to want to hear your big speech about how amazing your book is instead.

Now, hopefully the topic of your podcast relates a bit more to your writing or your area of expertise than dogs probably does (unless you do happen to write about/be an expert on dogs), but that doesn’t mean that you can still go ahead and make a big sales pitch the focus of your interview. As I said a few minutes ago, people don’t listen to podcasts to hear authors brag about/try to sell their books. You are a guest chosen to speak about topic X, so you’d better talk about topic X, and if the interviewer also wants to talk about your book(s), that’s great. But selling something should not be your main focus. Your main focus should be to say something interesting about the topic, and to entertain people.


I hope you enjoyed this little article! I’m glad I have some advice to share in this area, and I hope you find them helpful. SHAMELESS ADVERTISEMENT: If you’re interested in my podcast interview with Pam Barnhill, you can find that right here.

Thank you so much for reading. I’ll see you again soon!


Podcast Tips

Chapter 5 of The Tangle is Live!

the-tangleNo, your calender’s not wrong. Yes, this post is late. I have only myself (and my work schedule) to blame. I ended up working two hours extra yesterday, and completely forgot that “Tiles”, Chapter 5 of The Tangle, was supposed to be coming out that very day! But, anyway, Chapter 5 is live on Channillo.com, so, if you like, you can check it out here.

Sorry for any inconvenience!

That’s all for now. Hopefully, I’ll see you on Wednesday for another Wednesdays with words. If I remember. 😛