I Won Camp(!) + Discussing Battle Song’s Problems & Positives + Too Much Parenthetical Commentary

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Photo by samsommer on Unsplash–thank you!

Okay, so my Camp NaNoWriMo goal was less than any other NaNo goal I’ve had in the 4.5 years I’ve done it (only 20,000 words). But it’s been over a year since I won a NaNoWriMo event, so just winning felt awesome and like I could do amazing things.

Screenshot 2017-08-01 at 4.16.21 PMLook at my lovely chart…. Clearly, I did not do very well during the first half of the month (partly because I went on vacation for an entire week), but I pulled in by the very last day. (Go procrastination!) Not quite as awesome as the NaNo where I wrote 12K the last day to win, but still pretty great.

Also, this draft (rewrite?) is turning out much better than the first one–and also very different. It’s become more emotional (I hope) and a lot more centered on war and fighting and the results of that/how that affects people. But also still about family and religion and love and all of that fun stuff. (Not sure if I told you this, but there’s an actually semi-decent synopsis/blurb on the Battle Song page! *nudges you to check it out*)

But there’s still some stuff that I have yet to figure out. My biggest problem right now is figuring out what exactly Amrya traded with the sea witch. You see, the whole idea of this novel came about from the idea that the little mermaid traded in her beauty instead of her voice. But then…that didn’t work. It didn’t affect the story at all because it’s not about beauty or about a society that really cares about beauty.

So then I decided that she was going to trade out her fighting skills, but that didn’t work because when I began writing this second draft, Amrya’s personality changed a bit. Rather than liking being a warrior, she hates fighting and killing but feels honor-bound to do it. So giving up her fighting skills was not going to challenge her enough.

When I wrote the scene between her and the sea witch, I had her trade some heartscales, which are like tokens of war + mer currency, which worked but also doesn’t affect her after she becomes human.

Now I’m wondering, should I just have her lose her voice like the original? It would better follow the original fairy tale narrative, and I think I can make it work and still have decent character development, but I still don’t know if it will affect her enough. The story isn’t about not being able to communicate; it’s about not wanting to fight. And though having her lose her voice could work, I’m afraid that it’ll detract from the point I’m trying to get across.

(What is that point? you may ask… Well, probably something along these lines: life has value + war is sometimes necessary + family is important + faith + true love and friendship + something else maybe? But that’s what it seems like it’s heading toward.)

So…what do you think? Do you think that it’s okay to have her not trade anything that really affects her (considering that the part that really affects her is that she has to marry one specific person)? Should I have her lose her voice at the risk of it sounding like it was just put there because of the original fairy tale or would it work because it’s from the original fairy tale? Or maybe she just loses it partly (like only the magic part or only for a certain amount of time)? Or do I need to find something else entirely that would make it hard? I don’t know, but I just really need someone’s opinion besides my own.

Okay, we’ve talked about my issues with Battle Song; what about the good parts? Well, there are actually quite a few.

1. The mer culture decided it wanted to be something different and it was awesome. Like, it’s still the same basic warrior clan idea thing, and there’s still a lot I have to develop more fully, but there’s magic that’s awesome and relates to singing! (Points for reference to the little mermaid’s voice being important.) And I kind of figured out why they’re fighting…which kind of leads to the next point.

2. The big problems with the mers got figured out and incorporated into the plotline! The problems were:

  • Where did the mers come from?
  • Why don’t they have immortal souls while the humans do?
  • Why are they always fighting?
  • And I also figured out why the humans are fighting, so points for that too!

And I can’t tell you the answers (because spoilers) but they’re pretty great and are actually important to the plot.

3. The minor character becomes more important. So in the original, after the little mermaid saves the prince, some girls from a convent/temple find him and he thinks one of them was the one to rescue him (and the little mermaid can’t tell him otherwise because she can’t talk). Of course, he thinks he’ll never see her again (she is in a convent, after all), but–surprise! Turns out she’s a princess from a neighboring kingdom, just put there to learn “every royal virtue.” And then the prince falls in love with her and the little mermaid turns into seafoam and that’s the end.

Anyway, this princess (Malena is her name) made a brief appearance in the first draft of Battle Song, but she becomes much more important in this draft. Not only as the character from the original fairy tale but also as Amrya’s friend and the one who introduces her to the religion of the island (which I just now realize should probably get a name). And I wrote a scene with her yesterday and I learned some deep stuff about her and she’s a great character.

So yes, I have been having fun with it (despite all of the struggles)! Somehow I doubt I will finish this first draft before the end of summer…but I do want to keep writing every day and make this story as awesome as it can be!


let’s talk!

How much do you think I should write this August? 30K? More/less? And please help me and give me some advice for what Amrya should trade! (Or at least commiserate with me and offer me chocolate?) And what did you write for Camp NaNo (if you did)? How did it go? And have you ever read the original little mermaid fairy tale, and what did you think of it and its ending?

Also I hope you enjoyed the rambling because I did and I will probably ramble more about stuff in Battle Song, hehe.

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Why Do I Write?

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This question has been rolling around in my mind for a while, especially as I went through my AP Language & Composition class this last year in school. Why do I write? Or maybe the question would be, more appropriately, What do I want to accomplish with my writing?

I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. I have old notebooks with drawings and half-finished stories and stuff I wrote for school. Stories come to my mind, ideas, wondering “what if…?” and thinking of what people’s lives might be like.

Writing has always been a part of me. I write because I love thinking of stories, of characters, of making worlds and plots and delighting in how they all fit together. I can’t imagine life without writing (though I still manage to procrastinate it).

But as I attended my English class last year, new questions came to my mind. Should I be writing for a greater purpose? Is my writing supposed to accomplish more than just pleasure?

We read books–classics–and I realized that the reason these books were classics was because they talked about problems in our world. My teacher said once that “Many books come from exaggerating one idea or belief and looking at the results.” Racism, communism, class differences, scientific thought, and so on–we read about them. Discussed them. Thought about them and what needed to be changed.

And I began to wonder: when people read my writing, will it change them?

I’ve always loved fantasy, but I’ve never yet read a fantasy book in school. Is that because they don’t talk about world issues, or just because heroism isn’t classified as something the world needs?

Maybe both.

I love the idea of heroism–and I believe it is something the world needs. We could learn so much from reading The Lord of the Rings in school–strength, heroism, friendship, the battle between good and evil, the struggle to resist temptation. Isn’t better moral character what the world needs?

But that seems to be slipping away in books. It’s hard to find a popular book that doesn’t swear or have innuendos or bad scenes…or actually shows the consequences of bad choices.

We, as humans, are so attached to stories, and so the characters within them become our heroes. We want them to win. We want to become like them. Even if it’s not in very significant ways. Even if it’s just me wanting to be a little more selfless or a little more kind or a little more forgiving.

That is what I want my writing to accomplish. That is why I write: because we need more heroes in the world.

So my books might not become classics, and people won’t read them in school, but so what? I don’t want my books to be a social critique, I want them to be inspiring, to show that there is a difference between right and wrong, and that right is better.

What do I want to talk about? I want to talk about what true love really is or should be (not shallow, not instant, not physical), the difference between right and wrong and why, how emotions like grief, fear, and hurt can be changed to hope, how one person really can change the world, true friendship, forgiveness, love, truth

Yes, I do love writing about wars, dragons, fantasy cultures and religions, and fairy tales, but that’s the outer wrapping. In essence, those things are what I want to write about. I know that God has given me this gift of writing for a reason–and, I think, a love for fantasy. There are people I can reach and touch, and that is my goal: to change the world by changing people, one story and one hero at a time.



tell me!

Why do you write? What do you want to accomplish with your writing? Or, how do you think you might have been blessed to be able to change the world? What is your passion? Are there any topics that you think go unaddressed too much in writing? What is the strongest type of hero, do you think?

The Writer’s Tag

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I know, I haven’t done a tag since…well, since the Week of Blog Tags, and I don’t remember how long ago that was. But what writer doesn’t love talking about writing? And when May @ Forever and Everly tagged anyone who wanted to do it, why not do it…a month later? (That’s pretty good for me, actually.) Thanks, May!

So, it’s time for The Writer’s Tag! Where I talk about writing!


What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

Lots of things, but I suppose it’s usually the same things that I like to read about!

For genresFantasy with cool plot reveals and a dash of romance. But, you know, I’ve never read epic science fiction, and yet that’s something else I’m writing about? I need to read more sci-fi…anyone know of any books?

For styles: I usually write in 3rd person, past tense, but for Battle Song, which I’m starting to work on again, it’s actually in 1st person! And my writing style is usually fairly straightforward. I would love to develop better word choice and a more beautiful writing style, but mine is pretty simple right now.

For topics: I love to write about dragons, magic, fairy tale retellings, cultures/beliefs, deep characters, and war. Probably too much war. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure that I’ve written a novel that doesn’t have war in it…I just love the strength and heroism it brings out in people!


How long have you been writing?

For as long as I can remember! I still have old notebooks from when I was in elementary school with unfinished stories in them (usually about fairies or orphans…who knows?).

However, I never really took writing seriously as something I’d actually want to do with my life until my dad suggested we do Camp NaNoWriMo together, in April 2013. That’s when I realized how much I loved writing.

Then, 2014 was when writing became more a part of my life, when I took the 365K challenge and tried to write a thousand words every day.

And now, I’m trying to make writing my career, so I guess it depends on your definition of “writing”. Maybe I’m just beginning!


Why do you write?

I write because I love it. I write because if I don’t write, my mind fills with new ideas and new plots, and my Creative Dragon awakes within me, telling me that it won’t leave me alone until I write something. (True story.)

I write because I love to express emotions through words, because I can’t always speak, because there’s a beauty in showing how people progress through difficult challenges.

I write because weaving a story is my favorite way to spend my time. I adore my characters, I can’t stop the exhilaration of coming up with a new idea, and I love trying to puzzle out how everything fits together. In short, it’s awesome!


When is the best time to write?

All the time! Just kidding. I don’t know if there’s a particular time of day that I feel more productive to writing, because that’s not something I normally pay attention to, but on my new schedule I’m writing from 3:00-5:00 p.m. I don’t know, if I did it a little earlier, I’d probably be a bit more creative, but it still works! I like having a timeframe that I have to stick to–writing, and nothing else, during those hours.


What parts of writing do you love, and what parts do you hate?

Love:love that moment when everything just fits together! After you’ve been thinking hard and pondering how anything relates, and it’s so confusing, but this flash of inspiration comes and everything makes sense!

When you think of an awesome plot twist or plot reveal.

When you’re developing a character you didn’t really connect with before, and then you figure out something about them, and you just love them to death.

When thinking about a character’s death makes you want to cry (even if you don’t).

When you write that super emotional scene and your heart feels like it’s being squeezed and your characters are all so awesome and dramatic and everything is awesome.

When you have dreams about your characters being shippy. *nods*

When you have dreams that spark story ideas.

When you share your work and someone loves it! And not only that, but they connect with it. That’s awesome.

When you look back on old writing and realize that it’s not as bad as you remembered.

When you think of a deliciously sad and emotional ending or scene.

When you get to be the evil author. All too often done by me…but it’s so fun!

When you’re so in love with your story that everyone else can’t help but love it too.

…that was kind of long…

Hate/Dislike: Being stuck and not knowing where to go next.

When you have such a great idea, and it doesn’t turn out as good on paper.

When your characters are all refusing to develop themselves. Hence all the character-glaring that I do.

When you start to compare yourself with other writers and feel like a failure.

When you feel like you don’t know how to write anymore.

When someone doesn’t like your writing that you’re really proud of.

When you feel so inadequate and like you’ll never measure up.

Gosh, why do we put the “hates” after the “loves”? That’s just depressing.


How do you overcome writer’s block?

I don’t. Umm, probably through endurance, I guess? Sometimes all it takes is to keep going when it’s hard. But I think usually it helps to take a break and do something else (like drawing or playing the piano) to calm me down. After that, it helps to find where things went wrong and then try to fix it or go from there. Identifying the problem is half the battle!

(And fixing it is the other half. *sighs* Usually something needs more development…always more development.)


Are you working on something at this moment?

Yes, I’m writing this blog post. Yup! I just started working on Battle Song, a retelling of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, with warrior mermaids + cool characters + cool religion stuff + wars! (See? There’s even multiple wars in this one.) I started writing it last November for NaNoWriMo, but I’m restarting.

(I’d link you to the page, but some things are changing and I need to rewrite it. And also make a better blurb. Because I’m great at that.)

Anyway, I’m still working on re-developing stuff, but soon I’m going to start writing. This time, I’m going to write the last 10K first because then I’ll know where I’m headed. Plus, there’s some great emotional/shippy/awesome scenes at the end. *grins*


What are your writing goals this year?

Well, I do have goals from my New Year’s Resolutions post, buut a few of those might be changing. My new goals are to write every day, to publish at least two short stories, and have the first and second drafts of Battle Song done.

Unless you mean “year” as in a year from today, in which case to have Battle Song as ready for publishing as I can get it.

And, of course, to always be improving!


Tag–You’re it!

If you read this and enjoyed it, consider yourself tagged. Because I only have a few people who I could tag, and I’m also not sure how many you’re supposed to tag for this…so tag if you want it!

(Also, if you do this tag, feel free to use the graphic!)


we talk and talk and talk

Are you going to do the tag/have you done it before? I’d love a link! And if you don’t want to do the tag, feel free to answer the questions in a comment below! I especially want to know what you love and what you hate about writing.

Oh, and, P.S. I’m going to be gone next week on a family vacation. I was going to write a post and pre-schedule it, but I don’t know if I’ll have time. So if you don’t see me, that’s why!

Becoming an Author — Authory Updates, Goals, and Whatnot

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Yeah, I didn’t write a hiatus post…but it’s too late now. I was gone (church youth camp), I came back, and celebrations are in order. Or a virtual cookie handout. One of the two.

Anyway…this new post! It might turn into a blog series…who knows. It’s called Becoming an Author, with the emphasis on the unspoken “not just a writer”. You see, I’ve made a few decisions over the past few weeks that mainly culminate to this:

If I want to become an author as a career, then I had better start acting like one right now.

Hence becoming an author.

And I want to talk with you about my goals! And ideas! And how I’m faring after my first day at the “job” of being an “actual” author! (Decent…decent.)

But first, some updates.

So, you know I’ve been working on my Iris novella. I finished that last Saturday (the week-and-a-half ago one) at about a total of 24,000 words. It…was pretty great. It felt really good to start and finish something and to know that I put my heart into it. It was fun. It was emotional. And I’m so happy I wrote it.

(And, you know, if you were one of the people who read the Spotlights and decided you wanted more, tell me in the comments and I’ll email the story to you.)

Besides that, I’ve had a whole bunch of plot bunnies, mostly from my dreams, oddly enough. I wrote a 1500-word story/poem/story-poem that was vaguely Rapunzel based from a dream I had. And it was fun.

But I’ve been talking…to myself, to my family, to friends…and I know that I can’t keep writing short stuff like this. If I want to be an author, I need to write a novel. Like, an actual one. That I finish, and revise, and try to publish.

So, I had a little talk/counsel/thing with my parents yesterday and worked out some goals and a schedule for what I’m going to do this summer, and in the future.

First, I needed money. Because there’s things like college looming in my near future (eek!), and who knows when I’ll actually publish something. So I’m working part-time this summer for my dad & grandpa. (I’m transcribing my dad’s journals and editing my grandpa’s history. Both of which should maybe help me with writing, and I’ll enjoy them much more than some other entry-level job.)

And secondly, I need to write like it was my actual job. Well, not necessarily, because I’m only doing two hours a day. But I’m doing two hours a day! Which means I’ll be doing something consistently with writing, which I have not done in the past.

Also, I’m working on one novel that will hopefully be ready to be published by June 2018. If it’s not publishing-worthy or if I don’t publish it by then, whatever. But I just want to have it as ready as I can make it.

Want to know what it is?

Drumroll, please…

It’s Battle Song, the novel I started last November for NaNoWriMo! And, as a plus for me, there’s already a page for it. (An non-updated page, for sure, and everything’s subject to change, but hey, it’s there.)

Besides the novel ha, I make it sound like it’s so easy to write a novel, I’m also looking to publish a few short stories, whether through magazines or contests. If you know of a good one, please tell me! I’d love to hear it! I have one or two (or maybe just one) stories I could try to publish, so I’ll probably need to write more, but I want to try to get my name out there and maybe develop my craft a little more along the way.

I want to publish at least one short story by September 1, 2017. Because that’d be cool. *nods*

Aside from writing, there’s blogging! Yes sirree, you never thought this day would come, the day when I, Lana, at The Music of Words, would actually make…a posting schedule.

I’m going to spend two hours on “writing marketing” (which is basically just talking to people online and writing blog posts) once a week, and write two blog posts & set them to post. (Probably Saturday, since I don’t have “work” that day.) And then the other day that my post comes out, Tuesday, will also be my blog response day where I respond to comments. Which is only supposed to take 30 minutes. Heh. Heh. Heh.

But, as you can tell, it is a Wednesday, which isn’t on my posting schedule at all. It’s also not in my general schedule either, but I’m writing this during my free time. So if I have a brilliant idea for a blog post, it might appear on a random day. (You can thank me later.)

Oh yes! So, today was my very first day on the job. I actually followed a schedule from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Crazy, I know! (And then I had free time…ahh man, I’m going to love my free time.) So, how did it go?

Well. It went well. (Wahoo for good grammar!)

Okay, it was actually easier than I thought to keep to a schedule, though I was sorely tempted to stop and just finish the book I was reading. (I finished it during my lunch break, instead. And then read another book during my after-five-pm free time. *grins*)

But it was also hard to work on writing. I’m trying to figure out world building so that it’s actually cool (not to mention I think it’ll solve a lot of plot problems), but it’s more difficult than expected. How does one take influences from a real-world culture, put it into a fake world, with certain requirements and characters, and still make it realistic? I have no idea. But at least I’m trying, and that feels really good.


talk with me!

Do you like/not like the Becoming an Author posts & why? What should I do differently in the next one? (less updates, more advice?) Are you excited for my goals as well? What are your plans for the future & what career do you want to go into/are in? What are your best tips for keeping to a schedule? Or for writing? Or just tips for life in general? I’m a willing listener here to all the sage wisdom you have to give. Especially if it’s a little sarcastic. *wink wink*

 

Monthly Dares: April 2017

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Yay for springtime and warmer weather! I’ll even be okay with some April showers…as long as it doesn’t snow again. *crosses fingers* It’s been so warm that I don’t think it will, but…you never know.

Anyway, it’s yet again time for the Monthly Dares post, stolen from inspired by Kellyn Roth @ Reveries! How time flies! I’m trying to accomplish my New Year’s Resolutions with this, and those dares are marked with (NYR) next to it.

Who’s ready to see lots of red colors? Let’s go!

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March was beautiful and springtime-y and there were some very fun things that I did, but I don’t think it was very good for me dare-wise. But I do know that I did get more sleep, which is one good thing!

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1. (NYR) Add more meaning to my scripture study and prayer. Journal about scriptures 5x a week, and write down a prayer at least 2x a week. I actually think I got worse… I journalled about twice during the month and didn’t write down any prayers. My scripture study got worse too because I decided sleep was more important…I need to do better!

2. (NYR) Write in my journal at least 20 times! Um… I don’t even want to count it. It’s under ten. I was going to say that I was doing better these past few days, and then I remembered it’s April now. *sighs*

3. (NYR) Research the colleges in my state and see which ones I’d most like to go to. Not really. Mainly because I don’t think I want to go anywhere different than my original choice… But I did look at what majors there were at that college, and I eliminated about half of them. Just, you know, seventy more to choose from…

4. Take the ACT! Yes sirree! (Is that how you’d spell it?) I took the ACT, and I think I did pretty well, except for the math section… I don’t have my scores back yet, but I should hopefully get them soon.

5. (NYR) Get my driver’s license! Or at least work on it. Yes and no. I did not get my driver’s license. I did, however, work on it. I tried and failed taking the writing part of the test. I think I’m supposed to try again this week…eep. Wish me luck!

6. (NYR) Finish my online class! Aww yeah. I procrastinated even more, but it’s done!

7. (NYR) Find service to do, and do it! I am a despicable human being. (Reference, anyone?) I don’t know if I did any service. Wow. That deserves a really slow clap, Lana.

8. Do my chores more often (every day, if possible)! Work for Dad at least 10 hours this month–money goes toward college. That was a failure. I did my chores like five times and I didn’t work for my dad at all.

9. Floss every night. I thought I did okay…but then I went to my dentist appointment. I didn’t have any actual cavities, but they said I had 5 places where cavities were developing because I wasn’t flossing enough. My mom said they were probably from before I started flossing more consistently, so that mollified me a bit.

10. Sing at least 4x every week to practice for my weekly voice lessons. *headdesks repeatedly* I sang less this month than I ever had. I skipped like two weeks. (I was busy for most of them, but still.) Let’s not talk about this one.

11. Finish Personal Progress…I know I have to get this one done…I just have to! Well, apparently I didn’t have to. I thought about it–I thought about it a whole lot–but the thing about thinking about things is that nothing actually gets done.

12. Get enough sleep so that you don’t die the next morning. (a.k.a. get 8 hours of sleep.) Yeppers! (No, I’m not entirely sure where that came from either.) I didn’t get 8 hours of sleep every night, but a majority of the time I did, and I didn’t feel like dying any of the mornings except for one (and I had a reason to stay up that night).

13. Do at least 20 minutes every week of Spanish practice with Duolingo. Ehh… I actually did some, but not 20 minutes a week. *shrugs* Maybe ten minutes two of the weeks.

14. Hand write a letter and mail it to someone. I worked on it, but no. I started writing it at the beginning of the month and then was called away, and it’s been sitting unfinished on my desk ever since.

15. Make a meal for the family at least once. Nope. Which is kind of weird because I’m pretty sure we were assigned nights to do it on…but it didn’t happen. I did make myself a yummy sandwich today, though, so…

16. Learn a story about an ancestor. Nope. Nada. Nothing. Well, I learned a couple of things about my parents, but that wasn’t really what I was going for with this dare.

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1. (NYR) Read 5 books this month. You know it! I think this has been my best New Year’s Resolution because so far I’m going strong. 7 books again this month.

2. (NYR) Write reviews for the said 5 books on Goodreads + reviews from last month. Yup. I mean, it’s possible that I wrote mini reviews for nine books yesterday in order to do it before I wrote this post… *laughs nervously* Anyway, you can find all of the books I’ve read this year on my goodreads 2017 challenge page.

3. At least one has to be a book that someone has recommended or that is on my TBR. Yes! I read Pride and Prejudice on choir tour, which I’ve been wanting to read for a while, and it was wonderful!

4. Read something edifying or knowledge-giving. I think so. I read my scriptures…I also researched some Viking/Nordic culture stuff for my Camp NaNo novel. I think what I meant here was for me to read a non-fiction book, but…research kind of counts too, right?

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1. (NYR) Write at least 6 blog posts this month. Not quite. I wrote 4, and my stats did suffer, but eh. I was busy.

2. Continue making graphics. Mostly. I kind of skimmed on some of them, but basically.

3. Come up with five blog post ideas that I would enjoy writing but are not just about my book or about writing advice. Woah, I forgot about that one. Nope. I’ll need to do that next month.

4. (NYR) Keep the sidebar updated, especially the word count for Enhanced. Add a “Scripture of the Week” section? Sure… I mean, there wasn’t much to update. And I did at a Scripture of the Week section–I’ve had three scriptures or something so far.

5. Seriously, just write a couple of bleh paragraphs on the Zel page. That’s better than having nothing there. *more slow clapping* I’m still at a record no for this dare, even though I could probably throw something together in five minutes.

6. Reach out to other bloggers! Comment on 5 people’s blogs that I’ve never commented on before. Forgot about this one too…but I did do it, slightly. I commented on two new blogs, and I <em>tried</em> to comment on some other ones…but Blogger will never let me comment using my WordPress account, even though it has an option to do it…which is frustrating because I found some cool blogs!

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Oh no, let the horrors begin…

1. (NYR) Write 40,000 words this month (1k+ every day) and keep track on it on the 365K spreadsheet. No way. I might have written 10k. Maybe. I don’t know because I didn’t keep track of it.

2. (NYR) Write 40,000 words in Enhanced. This one I think is kind of crazy. You’re right, past Lana, it is crazy. I wrote a teensy tiny amount in Enhanced. There is a reason for that, though. I’m not sure if I’ll make an entire blog post about this, but, in essence, I decided that Enhanced’s plotline is a little too complicated for my current skill level. I’m not really giving it up per se, I just need more time to outline it and more writing practice before I can come back to it.

3. (NYR) Work on The Luminary (the dark short story I mentioned in a different post) and outline it to its completion. Haha, nope. I forgot about that.

4. Write another chapter in TC. Don’t let the story dieee! It’s dead. In fact, all of my writing died in March. Did I even write anything? I don’t even remember.

5. Force my friend to write her last part in the CN. We’re so close! Yassss! My one good writing goal. I forced her to do this on a bus on choir tour (mwahaha) and now I just have to write my part and the novel will be finished at somewhere around 110k! I’m very happy about this.

6. Continue with last month’s goal of cover-making research + making 5 covers (one of which I have to be proud of). Write a post afterward sharing what I’ve learned. Gah. No. I want to do this still, since the post sounds really fun, but I didn’t work on this at all.

april other awesomeness.jpg

  • I went on choir tour! It was extremely fun: we sang a lot, had fun, hung out in our hotel room and basically had a blast
  • I sang in a local production of Rob Gardner’s Lamb of God. It is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever done. Lamb of God is a musical work with choir, orchestra, soloists, and narration about the last days of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. It’s extremely spiritually moving and has always strengthened me.
  • Here is the composer talking about Lamb of God, and HERE you can find the entire thing on a youtube playlist. If you are a Christian (or if you’re not), just listen to it. You won’t regret it, I promise.
  • I went to school and did a lot of homework. Exciting, I know.
  • I started composing a song! I guess that actually started in April…well, more on that later.
  • I wrote 2 short stories which is kind of a shame, since I’ve had that goal for a few months, and then the one month I don’t have the goal, I actually do it–twice over.
  • I made a three-pronged mission statement for my life. (1. Be worthy to stand in God’s presence. 2. Become the best person you can become. 3. Reach out to others with talents and service.)

april goals header

I’ve made some changes and I decided to make three overall goals for the month. These are my big goals, and if I can do all three of these, I count April a success, no matter how many dares I fail.

1. Succeed in completing at least 10 dares.

And that means pure dark green, folks. I think I average about five of these. If I can get ten, then I’ll have doubled in a month–that’s awesome, right? I know I can’t do all of my dares, since I’m not perfect, but I know I can get ten.

2. Do something important every day.

I may have stolen this from Kell, too… The idea is that every day, you go to bed feeling like you’ve accomplished something worthwhile. I’m going to keep a paper by my bedside with every day on it where I can write it down at the end of the day.

3. Be a better person at the end of the month.

I want to follow my mission statement (see the above “Other Awesomeness” section) for my life and improve. I want to come to this dare post next month feeling like I’m a better person than I was before–not only more accomplished, but also more righteous and more of a warrior for God.

april life header

1. (NYR) Add more meaning to my scripture study and prayer. Journal about scriptures 5x a week, and write down a prayer at least 2x a week. I’m keeping this because I want to do it still.

2. (NYR) Write in my journal at least 20 times. Not quite the 85% in my New Year’s Resolution, but 67% is decent.

3. (NYR) Do my own laundry this entire month. I decided that researching colleges is just going to stress me out. The more important thing is to develop a work ethic and learn how to live on my own so that I’ll be able to go to college.

4. (NYR) Get my driver’s license!

5. (NYR) Do an act of service each week and write it down. Bonus points: do an act of service every day.

6. Write down what chores I do. Do at least $20 worth of chores.

7. Work for Dad at least 10 hours this month–money goes toward college.

8. Floss 27 days out of 30. Also, focus on brushing and flossing correctly.

9. Sing at least 4x every week to practice for my weekly voice lessons.

10. Do at least 10 hours of work on the quilt for Personal Progress–you can do it!

11. Do at least 20 minutes every week of Spanish practice with Duolingo.

12. Hand write a letter and mail it to someone.

13. Make a meal for the family at least once.

14. Make 5 personal meals. These could be simple like a sandwich–I just need to practice making food for when I go to college.

15. Finish composing The Lord is My Shepherd. In seminary (a church educational class), we’re challenged to share our testimony of Jesus Christ through our talents. I started composing a choral piece using text from Psalm 23. I’m excited about it!

april reading header

1. (NYR) Per usual, read 5 books this month.

2. (NYR) Write reviews for the said 5 books on Goodreads.

3. At least one has to be a book that someone has recommended or that is on my TBR.

4. Read a non-fiction book. (We’re reading a nonfiction called The Ghost Map in English, and I decided it’s a good genre to try out.)

april blogging header

1. (NYR) Write at least 6 blog posts this month.

2. (NYR) Keep the sidebar updated. Why did I make this a New Year’s Resolution again? It seems rather useless.

3. Come up with five blog post ideas that I would enjoy writing but are not just about my writing or about writing advice. Although, just coming up with five blog post ideas in advance would be cool.

4. Make a Zel page and a page for the MG dragon novel I’m writing for Camp.

5. Continue to focus on readability while keeping my voice in my posts.

6. Reach out to other bloggers and comment on 5 people’s blogs that I’ve never commented on before. I really like this goal…it’ll probably be a staple from now on.

april writing header

1. (NYR) Win Camp NaNo by writing 40,000 words this month in my MG dragon novel. I’m not sure how I feel about the 365K challenge at the moment, but yes, I still want to keep track of my writing.

2. (NYR) Finish the MG dragon novel. (If I write it in 40,000 words, this’ll be a two-for-one deal! However, I think it’ll take at least 50k.)

3. (NYR) Catch up on my 365K challenge count. I think I’m somewhere between 30-50K words behind, so I don’t actually see this happening, but it would be awesome.

4. (NYR) Finish a short story. (The Luminary would be awesome.)

5. Write a chapter in TC (novel with a friend).

6. Write a part in the CN (novel with a different friend). Normally, this is easy, but since it’s NaNo I’m not sure how distracted I’ll be with writing that.

7. Design two book covers this month.


april learned.jpg

My dares haven’t been working, and I think I’ve figured out why. I can’t accomplish all of my dares. I, do, however, need to focus on them. Without focus, I won’t accomplish anything–and if I’m trying to accomplish everything, I won’t accomplish enough. Hence why I decided to create three overall goals for this month.

In April, I’m going to try to focus on succeeding well in a few goals, and increase that number each month.



VERY QUICK REVIEW for those who have been skimming:

  • I kind of failed everything last month except for my reading, and I epically failed my writing goals.
  • So I decided to make overall goals to help keep me on track.
  • I went on choir tour last month.
  • And go listen to Lamb of God(That’s another link to the youtube playlist.)


Your thoughts?

Did you enjoy this post? Do you like Dare posts or not? Should I shorten them? What can I improve with my readability? I know I need to make the section where I actually make the goals more readable, but I don’t want to just bold random parts of the goals–any suggestions? Did I do better at keeping my voice this time? What are some of your goals for April? Tell me at least one awesome thing you did in March!

Monthly Dares: March 2017

march monthly dares.png

Yay, March! It’s been a little while since I posted, and I’m a bit late for March, but that’s okay! It’s never too late to make new dares. If you’re new here, you may be wondering what monthly dares are? They’re inspired by the fabulous Kellyn Roth @ Reveries, and basically you set goals for the next month and dare yourself to do them! My twist on it is that most of my goals help me to achieve my New Year’s Resolutions throughout 2017. You can check out February’s post here. Let’s begin!

*NYR indicates that the goal is part of a New Year’s Resolution.

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Overall, February was kind of bleh. Some parts of it were great…other parts of it were not so great. But I did learn some new things and have decided to trust in God more and turn my life over to Him, which was awesome. Anyway…here are my results!

 

mar life.jpg

1. (NYR) Read my scriptures every morning & pray morning and night. Pretty good! Basically, the same as last month, which is that I read my scriptures every day and prayed almost every day. However, there’s a lot of room for improvement in regards to actually getting something out of it…but I did get a new scripture journal, and the other night I felt really close to my Heavenly Father as I was praying, which was wonderful.

2. (NYR) Write in my journal at least 23 times (since 23 is my favorite number)! More or less. Well, more on the less side, actually. I only wrote 11 times…but at least I wrote several entries that were more than one page. That’s pretty impressive in and of itself.

3. (NYR) Research the colleges in my state and see which ones I’d most like to go to. Not really. I did think about college a lot, though! And this was partly I’ve already basically decided where I want to go to for college…now I just have to get a good enough ACT score to get a decent scholarship. *crosses fingers*

4. Study for five minutes every night for the ACT. I did okay with this goal. I didn’t do it every night, and I’m definitely not feeling ready to take the ACT in just a few days, but the fact that I did study is great! And after I take the ACT the first time, I’m going to study more and get good enough to get a really high score on it.

5. (NYR) Get my driver’s license! Seriously! Failure. I didn’t even drive. No more on this subject…I don’t want to dwell on the pain of this procrastination.

6. (NYR) Finish my online class and take the test and BE DONE WITH IT. Nope… I got an extension for the class and I have to be finished and take the test next week. Which totally explains why I haven’t done any assignments for it today… *hides in shame*

7. (NYR) Do at least 1 hour of service once a week, and try to do one small act of service every day. *dies* *slowly* Well, I was feeling positive at the beginning of the post. Okay, so I didn’t do any huge service stuff. But I did, on the other hand, do some small little service. But nothing deserving green, or even yellow, text.

8. Keep track of the chores I do so that I can actually get paid for them. Work for Dad for at least a couple of hours to get back in the groove. Yeah! At least for the first part. I didn’t really do all that many chores, though, so I think I’ll have to alter this goal again to meet my needs.

9. Floss every night. I’m rockin’ this one! Still not every night, but I think I did better this month than in January. Like, it’s even starting to be a habit and it’s quick and pretty much painless even when I’m super tired.

10. Sing at least 4x every week to practice for my weekly voice lessons. Hm…not my best. I think I sang more in January. I was busier this month, but that’s not really an excuse. I think I sang an average of 2 times a week. Maybe 1.8 or something like that.

11. Finish Personal Progress! No. I didn’t even really work on it. I have to finish sewing this quilt and it’s going to be the death of me. (Not really, but how come it’s so hard to arrange blocks in the right place?)

12. Get off the computer by 9 p.m. at least half the time. Hopefully this will help me to get to bed sooner…? This never happened. It might have happened once. And I also didn’t get to bed sooner, either. *marks this goal for review as well*

13. Do at least 20 minutes every week of Spanish practice with Duolingo. Grrrrr. I did it for one out of the four weeks. So that’s something, at least. And I went to Spanish class as well… Okay, okay, I’ll try to do better next month.

14. Hand write a letter and mail it to someone. *sighs* This didn’t happen. I mean, I thought about it, and I thought of who I’d want to write too, but it didn’t happen. I just need to buckle down and do it!

15. Make a meal for the family at least once. *sighs again* Nope.

mar reading.jpg

1. (NYR) Read 5 books this month. Awww yeah! I read 7 books this month! Not quite as good as last month’s ten books, but still above my goal!

2. (NYR) Write reviews for the said 5 books on Goodreads. Mostly. I’ve written reviews for three of them, and the reviews for the other four (plus the one I read today, in March) will be coming eventually! I’m kind of excited to write my review for The Hunger Games because after I finished it, I was analyzing all of these writerly things and why it was a bestseller and such. No promises that I’ll remember all of my thoughts by the time I write the review, but I’ll try my best. You can find my Goodreads page here, and I actually have a profile pic now! It’s the same one I use everywhere online, but still, it’s not a blank face anymore.

3. At least one has to be a book that someone has recommended or that is on my TBR. Check! I read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. After watching the anime for a second time, I decided I wanted to read the book. I loved it and I shall also be writing a review of that soon!

4. Read at least 200 pages more in The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1) by Robert Jordan. Well, no. But I decided that if I don’t enjoy reading something, what’s the point of reading it? So I’m probably going to just stop reading this anyway because I can’t even convince myself to open it up anymore.

mar blogging.jpg

1. (NYR) Write at least 6 blog posts this month. Pretty darn close. I wrote five blog posts, and in actuality, I did write a sixth one on the last day of the month so that I could achieve that goal, but I decided not to publish it because of Goal #3 in this section. I didn’t feel like you’d love the post, so I decided it wasn’t worth posting.

2. Make a graphic for each post, like I’ve been doing. Yep! No more to say here.

3. Blog what I want to and don’t feel pressured about it. Yes, I did this! And it’s been really great, but I have been thinking about blogging recently and I realized that my blog, at the moment, probably only appeals to writers. I believe once people start reading and enjoying my books, they’d love to read it more, but at the moment my posts mainly only help writers, and that’s the audience I’m getting.

But as an author, I need more of an audience of readers…so my thoughts now are: how do I draw in people to my blog who’d be interested in reading my books while staying true to myself and enjoying blogging? What kind of posts would I enjoy doing that would accomplish this? Do you have any ideas for me?

4. (NYR) Keep the sidebar updated, especially the word count for Enhanced. Well… There wasn’t all that much to update.

5. Make the Zel page. Also, think about making a resources page sharing what you’re learning about self-publishing and stuff. I don’t think so. I mean, a goal to think about things isn’t a very good goal…but I definitely didn’t make the Zel page (bad llama!) and I didn’t think all that much about making a resources page. But I did think about it once or twice, so maybe that counts for something?

mar writing.jpg

1. (NYR) Write 28,000 words this month (1k every day) and keep track on it on the 365K spreadsheet. Ha. Ha. No. My spreadsheet is horribly sad. I wrote a pitiful 11,116 in February. Basically, I didn’t write 2/3 of the time. *flails and wails*

2. (NYR) Write 30,000 words in Enhanced. Even worse. I think I wrote something like 6k in Enhanced this month. On the other hand, I did get past a major problem I had with it, but I’m still finding it hard to get back into the story again.

3. (NYR) Write a short story or flash fiction. *growls at self* No. I did work a little bit on a short story, but I didn’t come close to finishing it.

4. Finish the short story from last month. Nope. Nada. Nothing. Didn’t even think about it.

5. Write another chapter in TC. *melts because melting seems like the appropriate response* I think I opened up the document once…but I didn’t write a thing.

6. Force my friend (a different friend than from #5) to write her part in the CN (a different collaborative novel), so that we can finally finish it. YAS. A wonderful, glorious YAS. Because it was very hard, but it finally did happen! Now I just need to force her to write just one more part, and then I’ll write one and the book shall be done with!

7. Research cover-making and the important aspects of it, since that’s definitely a major point with self-publishing. Yeah, a bit. I did do some research; I read a couple of articles, found some more self-publishing articles, etc. I still do have more to learn, though, but I did pretty good at this part of the goal.

8. Along with #7, create at least five covers using what I’ve learned, at least one of which I have to be proud of. Not yet. I’ve only made one cover so far (which I’m not terribly proud of), but I want to continue doing this in March and give you a nice post at the end about what I learned and sharing & critiquing the covers I made–yay!

mar awesomeness.jpg

This is a new section where I can share the awesome things that I did that weren’t in my goals! Yay! So, here’s a short list of some of the things I did:

  • I was more social! Which led to me getting asked out on a fun date. (I mean, I’d already known the guy for many years, but I know that being more talkative made the difference.) I’m really getting into the social aspect of Social Dance class. I’ve made several new friends, and I’m improving in my skills with talking to guys!
  • I went to a three day writing conference, which was amazing! Seriously, there are so many things that I learned that I want to try and to share with you. My dad took me and I skipped school to go listen to authors talk on different subjects. This is part of what inspired me to finally get over the stuff that I was having problems with in Enhanced.
  • I went to a family history fair thing and now I want to learn stories about my ancestors.
  • I turned 17! Yay! I got a coloring book and gel pens, a Brandon Sanderson book, a jacket, and a lovely new scripture study journal!
  • I decided on my birthday that I would turn my life over to God and let Him be the one who takes control and guides me. I’ve been hearing all over the place in seminary and in church that He will help me with my goals and to become the best I can be. And yes, I’ve failed many times every day since then, but I know that when I have relied on Him, He’s helped me. It’s amazing.

mar goals.jpg

Now onto March and my dares for this month! Everyone cross your fingers that I’ll be able to achieve them!

mar-life

1. (NYR) Add more meaning to my scripture study and prayer. Journal about scriptures 5x a week, and write down a prayer at least 2x a week.

2. (NYR) Write in my journal at least 20 times! This gets lower every month…I guess I’m just waiting for a goal that I will actually reach.

3. (NYR) Research the colleges in my state and see which ones I’d most like to go to.

4. Take the ACT!

5. (NYR) Get my driver’s license! Or at least work on it.

6. (NYR) Finish my online class! This one is happening this month no matter how much I procrastinate, thank goodness.

7. (NYR) Find service to do, and do it! My cousin told me about this project people were doing in her neighborhood where they crocheted afghans, and I do love crocheting, so I think I’ll ask her for the pattern.

8. Do my chores more often (every day, if possible)! Work for Dad at least 10 hours this month–money goes toward college.

9. Floss every night.

10. Sing at least 4x every week to practice for my weekly voice lessons.

11. Finish Personal Progress…I know I have to get this one done…I just have to!

12. Get enough sleep so that you don’t die the next morning. (a.k.a. get 8 hours of sleep.)

13. Do at least 20 minutes every week of Spanish practice with Duolingo.

14. Hand write a letter and mail it to someone.

15. Make a meal for the family at least once.

16. Learn a story about an ancestor.

mar-reading

1. (NYR) Read 5 books this month

2. (NYR) Write reviews for the said 5 books on Goodreads + reviews from last month.

3. At least one has to be a book that someone has recommended or that is on my TBR.

4. Read something edifying or knowledge-giving. (Yeah, I don’t even know what that means either.)

mar-blogging

1. (NYR) Write at least 6 blog posts this month. (Wahoo, 1/6 of the way there!) 5

2. Continue making graphics (because this is one of the easier goals to keep).

3. Come up with five blog post ideas that I would enjoy writing but are not just about my book or about writing advice.

4. (NYR) Keep the sidebar updated, especially the word count for Enhanced. Add a “Scripture of the Week” section?

5. Seriously, just write a couple of bleh paragraphs on the Zel page. That’s better than having nothing there.

6. Reach out to other bloggers! Comment on 5 people’s blogs that I’ve never commented on before.

mar-writing

1. (NYR) Write 40,000 words this month (1k+ every day) and keep track on it on the 365K spreadsheet.

2. (NYR) Write 40,000 words in Enhanced. This one I think is kind of crazy. 40k is a lot even in NaNo months, but I do need to catch up from last month. If I really do write 1k every day, I think the excess that I write will add up to 40k total (though maybe not in Enhanced necessarily).

3. (NYR) Work on The Luminary (the dark short story I mentioned in a different post) and outline it to its completion.

4. Write another chapter in TC. Don’t let the story dieee!

6. Force my friend to write her last part in the CN. We’re so close!

7. Continue with last month’s goal of cover-making research + making 5 covers (one of which I have to be proud of). Write a post afterward sharing what I’ve learned.

mar learned.jpg

February was kind of a crazy month, and writing-wise, I did pretty badly. Again, reading was one of my best, but blogging also had a definite improvement from last month! And life was about the same as last month. So the takeaway: I can do better! I want to really take a positive outlook on this and actually do better next month! Hmm…maybe I can find some way to measure how well I did each month and compare…

Anyway, I just want to keep trying again and again! I think that is the most important thing to do. No matter how many mistakes I make or how much I want to growl at myself for how I did this month, I can always try again! And that’s what I’ll continue to do.



What are your thoughts? How did your February go? Are you excited for another chance to try again and start over? What are some of your goals for March? I want to hear about them, so link me to your posts or just tell me! What posts are you most excited for this month and what new ones do you think I should introduce? How should I do better at blogging? I would love your advice!

Thank you all for reading! You are amazing!

Monthly Dares: February 2017

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I feel like February is a really purple-colored month…don’t you?

It’s time for the second Monthly Dares installment, inspired by the illustrious Kellyn Roth @ Reveries! If you want to read last month’s post, you can find it here, but I’ll be reviewing my goals from last month in this post, so you could survive without reading it. (But, you know, if you want more of me, then you should probably read it.)

Monthly Dares are monthly goals that you make for yourself. Each month you review how you did on last month’s goals and make goals for the next month. I also use it to keep track of my New Year’s Resolutions. Sounds fun, right? So, without further ado, let us begin!

*NYR stands for New Year’s Resolution



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Life Goals:

1. (NYR) Read my scriptures every morning & pray morning and night. Yeah! Well, mostly. I did really great on reading my scriptures every day, but that’s not really surprising considering that I already did that every day. Praying, on the other hand…I actually did better in the morning than during the night, which is kind of crazy. I’ve just been really tired this month and I went to bed a lot without praying. Bad llama.

2. (NYR) Write in my journal at least 6 out of 7 days a week, which equates to 27 days in January; I can miss only four. Well… I definitely did not miss only four days. I think I probably ended up only writing half of the time or maybe a little more. But considering my record for December, that was an improvement!

3. (NYR) Research different college majors I’m interested in, and research at least one in-state college. Yeah…. No. Actually, I did look into the majors at one of the colleges I’m interested in, and I did decide that I probably want to minor in Creative Writing! However, I do not want to major in English…the only exciting classes there are the Creative Writng ones. So yeah, I have no idea what I’d want to major in.

4. Study at least 2 hours (30 min a week) for the pre-college test. Not really. You can see my success rate steadily declining as I go down the list… I did study 30 minutes, once. However, I have a different idea for this next month, so hopefully there’ll be some improvement there.

5. (NYR) Get my driver’s license! Not even close. I don’t even think I drove at all this month, let alone practiced or took my test or any of that. So nope. And I don’t even really have an excuse.

6. (NYR) Catch up on my online class, which probably means doing 1 assignment every school day. Um… Yeah, this didn’t really happen. In fact, I’ll probably have to ask for an extension considering how far I still have to go. I did work on it a little bit, but in no way did I “catch up.”

7. (NYR) Do at least 1 hour of service once a week, and try to do one small act of service every day. Pretty good. I did an hour of service every week except one. I shoveled snow, helped clean my church, and tied blankets for refugees! I don’t think I did as well at doing a small act of service every day…but there’s always next month!

8. Earn some money by doing at least 12 hours of work for my dad over the month (3 hours a week). Nope. I didn’t do this at all. Granted, the Christmas tree is still in the way of the desk I use to do it, but…that’s not really an excuse.

9. Floss every night. Improvement! I didn’t do it every night, but I definitely improved. I did 5 to 6 nights every week, which is awesome.

10. Sing at least 4x every week to practice for my weekly voice lessons. Not quite. I averaged about 3 practices a week, which is okay, but I didn’t reach my goal.

11. Do at least 2 hours (30 minutes a week) of Personal Progress. Semi-decent. I probably did an hour on it total, but I didn’t really feel like I got much done… I need to start working on my quilt since I want to finish all of my Personal Progress by the end of the month.

12. Go to bed before 10 p.m. at least 15 times this month. Ha. Ha. I think this might have happened twice. Well, maybe three or four when I was so tired that I just fell asleep. However, I only went to bed after midnight twice, so…I mainly stayed in the range of 10-11 p.m. Not good, but not super bad either. Okay, maybe it is super bad, considering how tired I am.

13. Do at least 2 hours (30 minutes a week) of Spanish practice with Duolingo. Basically not. I did about 20 minutes the entire month.

14. Hand write a letter and mail it to someone. No, unfortunately. I didn’t ever feel like I had the time, even though I probably did…

15. Try updating Habitica every day and see if it helps me to keep these goals. Awww yeah. (Studio C reference, anyone?) I’m still going strong on Habitica and it’s really helped me so far! It’s the reason for me flossing more and that I actually wrote in my journal as much as I did. So yay!

Reading Goals:

1. (NYR) Read 5 books this month. Done and done! I actually read 10 books this month, which was awesome! I think having this goal and knowing I needed to read books this month led to me reading a lot but also not feeling super overwhelmed.

2. (NYR) Write reviews for the said 5 books on Goodreads. Yep! I reviewed 9 out of the 10 books…if you want to check them out, here’s my Goodreads page!

3. At least one has to be one that I’ve started but not yet finished. Technically… I read The Archived by Victoria Schwab, which I technically started in December, but that wasn’t my intention behind the goal. I didn’t finish anything that I’d been reading for a really long time like ADSOM or the first Wheel of Time book.

4. Make a Goodreads goal of 60 books for this year. Check! That one was pretty easy.

Blogging Goals:

1. (NYR) Write at least 6 blog posts this month. Almost. I only wrote four posts, but that’s okay. I was happy with the blog posts that I posted.

2. (NYR) Keep the sidebar updated, especially the word count for Enhanced. Yep. Basically the only thing I did was updated Enhanced’s word count, though…I probably should’ve done something more, like take off Battle Song since I’m not currently working on it right now.

3. Create the page for the Zel novel. Oops. I kind of forgot about this…? So no, it didn’t happen.

4. Make pretty graphics for at least 3 of the posts. Yes! I made a graphic for every one of those four posts and I’m happy with them.

Writing Goals:

1. (NYR) Write 31,000 words this month (1k every day) and keep track on it on the 365K spreadsheet. I scraped through… I did write 31k in the month (barely), and I did keep track of it, but I didn’t write 1k every day. Still, I got the 31k, and that was the most important part.

2. (NYR) Write 30,000 words in Enhanced. I tried… I ended up writing about 25,000, which is pretty good. Thankfully, I’d already written 10k of it before 2017 began, so I do have a little bit of leeway. If I actually had written every day, I probably would’ve gotten there, but the days I skipped were hard.

3. (NYR) Write a short story or flash fiction. *nervous laughter* I didn’t start on this until the end of the month (procrastination for the win!) but I did end up planning a short story out and writing ~500 words in it. I still need to finish it, though.

4. Write a chapter in TC, a novel that I’m writing with a friend that should no longer be abandoned. Definitely. Well, technically, I finished a chapter I’d started, but it only had a couple hundred words in it, so it was basically like writing a chapter. I also got excited about it again! Which is a good thing.

5. Force my friend (a different friend than from #4) to write her part in the CN (a different collaborative novel), so that we can finally finish it. I wish. I got her to write a couple of paragraphs, but it didn’t end up happening. Of course, this one is not entirely under my control, but it’s still frustrating.

6. Ask friends & other bloggers about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing to get a better outlook on it. Yep! I rambled about it a bit for one of my posts (Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing) and I’ve done a little bit of research beyond that. Currently, I’m leaning toward self-publishing, but still doing research on both.



Whew, there’s the review! I learned a lot from this month, and I have a couple of new ideas to try for this month’s goals, which are coming right up!



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1. (NYR) Read my scriptures every morning & pray morning and night.

2. (NYR) Write in my journal at least 23 times (since 23 is my favorite number)!

3. (NYR) Research the colleges in my state and see which ones I’d most like to go to.

4. Study for five minutes every night for the ACT. I think this simpler, shorter time frame will work better for me to actually study. Besides, people always say that studying every night helps more than studying a lot one night.

5. (NYR) Get my driver’s license! Seriously!

6. (NYR) Finish my online class and take the test and BE DONE WITH IT.

7. (NYR) Do at least 1 hour of service once a week, and try to do one small act of service every day. I thoroughly approve of this goal, so I’ll keep it how it is.

8. Keep track of the chores I do so that I can actually get paid for them. Work for Dad for at least a couple of hours to get back in the groove.

9. Floss every night.

10. Sing at least 4x every week to practice for my weekly voice lessons.

11. Finish Personal Progress!

12. Get off the computer by 9 p.m. at least half the time. Hopefully this will help me to get to bed sooner…?

13. Do at least 20 minutes every week of Spanish practice with Duolingo.

14. Hand write a letter and mail it to someone. I still definitely want to do this one.

15. Make a meal for the family at least once.

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1. (NYR) Read 5 books this month.

2. (NYR) Write reviews for the said 5 books on Goodreads.

3. At least one has to be a book that someone has recommended or that is on my TBR.

4. Read at least 200 pages more in The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1) by Robert Jordan. I’m kind of struggling with finishing this book…at this rate, I might finish it by the end of 2017.

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1. (NYR) Write at least 6 blog posts this month. (Wahoo, 1/6 of the way there!)

2. Make a graphic for each post, like I’ve been doing.

3. Blog what I want to and don’t feel pressured about it. I’m starting to learn what sort of blog posts I like writing the best, and so I want to write more of those and not feel pressured to write any other things. Which is why schedules don’t work for me.

4. (NYR) Keep the sidebar updated, especially the word count for Enhanced.

5. Make the Zel page. Also, think about making a resources page sharing what you’re learning about self-publishing and stuff.

feb writing header.png

1. (NYR) Write 28,000 words this month (1k every day) and keep track on it on the 365K spreadsheet.

2. (NYR) Write 30,000 words in Enhanced. This will be even harder this month, since there’s only 28 days…but we’ll see how I do!

3. (NYR) Write a short story or flash fiction.

4. Finish the short story from last month.

5. Write another chapter in TC, a novel that I’m writing with a friend.

6. Force my friend (a different friend than from #4) to write her part in the CN (a different collaborative novel), so that we can finally finish it. I’m really working on this one. I’m even bribing her with cute shippy scenes that she can read as soon as she writes it.

7. Research cover-making and the important aspects of it, since that’s definitely a major point with self-publishing.

8. Along with #7, create at least five covers using what I’ve learned, at least one of which I have to be proud of.



So, what did I learn this month? My main takeaway was that I need to print off my dares! I forgot about several of them throughout the month and just focused on the main ones instead of trying to work on all of them. Because of this, a lot of time that could have been spent productively was instead used to procrastinate. This month, I’m definitely going to do better, especially with my life goals.

What was I proud of? I’m really proud with my reading goals this month–did you see all of that green? They were awesome.

What do I need to work on next month? I need to work on doing the little things more–like the handwritten letter or the Duolingo. That stuff is harder because it’s not done every day and so I need to focus more on it.



How has your January been? What have you accomplished? Do you have any posts about January? Link me to them–I’d love to read them! What are your goals for February?

Monthly Dares: January 2017

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You know what’s really funny? It’s January 2017, not January 2016! Haha, I guess this new year is just going to take a little while to get used to…

It’s time to begin the Monthly Dares inspired by Kellyn Roth @ Reveries! I introduced them in my last post, Review of 2016, Plans for 2017. The idea is that you dare yourself to do several things throughout the month and in the next month’s dare post, you check up on them, then introduce dares for that month!

My little twist on it is that most of my dares for the month are going to be helping me to work on my 2017 resolutions. That way, I’ll be able to accomplish them and not forget about them.

Yesterday, my dad, my brother, and I all started using this website/app called Habitica, where doing good habits and tasks in real life earns you in-game experience points, equipment, gold, and so forth, and bad habits make your avatar lose health. We’ll see how it goes and if it works out for us! I think it sounds like fun.

Anyway, let’s get on with the Monthly Dares for January 2017!

*NYR stands for New Year’s Resolution

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1. (NYR) Read my scriptures every morning & pray morning and night.

2. (NYR) Write in my journal at least 6 out of 7 days a week, which equates to 27 days in January; I can miss only four.

3. (NYR) Research different college majors I’m interested in, and research at least one in-state college.

4. Study at least 2 hours (30 min a week) for the pre-college test.

5. (NYR) Get my driver’s license!

6. (NYR) Catch up on my online class, which probably means doing 1 assignment every school day.

7. (NYR) Do at least 1 hour of service once a week, and try to do one small act of service every day.

8. Earn some money by doing at least 12 hours of work for my dad over the month (3 hours a week).

9. Floss every night. I don’t have a problem with brushing my teeth, but flossing them can be really hard sometimes…

10. Sing at least 4x every week to practice for my weekly voice lessons.

11. Do at least 2 hours (30 minutes a week) of Personal Progress.

12. Go to bed before 10 p.m. at least 15 times this month.

13. Do at least 2 hours (30 minutes a week) of Spanish practice with Duolingo.

14. Hand write a letter and mail it to someone

15. Try updating Habitica every day and see if it helps me to keep this goals.

reading header.png

1. (NYR) Read 5 books this month.

2. (NYR) Write reviews for the said 5 books on Goodreads.

3. At least one has to be one that I’ve started but not yet finished.

4. Make a Goodreads goal of 60 books for this year.

blogging header.png

1. (NYR) Write at least 6 blog posts this month. (Wahoo, 1/6 of the way there!)

2. (NYR) Keep the sidebar updated, especially the word count for Enhanced.

3. Create the page for the Zel novel.

4. Make pretty graphics for at least 3 of the posts. (Again, yay, 1/3 of the way there!)

writing header.png

1. (NYR) Write 31,000 words this month (1k every day) and keep track on it on the 365K spreadsheet. (I wrote 1,653 words yesterday, so currently I’m ahead!)

2. (NYR) Write 30,000 words in Enhanced. This means I should end up writing more than 31,000 words this month, since I’m not going to be writing it on Sundays. (On Sundays, I’m working on a novel that will hopefully bring me closer to God and Christ…I may introduce that more fully for a Spotlight this month.)

3. (NYR) Write a short story or flash fiction. I have absolutely no ideas (unless I’m finishing a different, really long short story I started), so that’ll be fun.

4. Write a chapter in TC, a novel that I’m writing with a friend that should no longer be abandoned.

5. Force my friend (a different friend than from #4) to write her part in the CN (a different collaborative novel), so that we can finally finish it.

6. Ask friends & other bloggers about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing to get a better outlook on it.



I triple dog dare you to comment! (Reference, anyone?) What are some of the things you want to accomplish during this January? Are any of them the same as mine? Have you ever heard of/tried Habitica? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Do you still feel like it’s 2016 (apparently, I do!)?

Have a very happy New Year and January, and good luck with your goals & resolutions!

Review of 2016, Plans for 2017

Creative title, I know. I spent a long time on that one…

I know I’m a little early to be writing my end of year/new year’s resolutions post, but I didn’t really have anything else to write except a couple of updates that I’ll mention really quickly before the whole new year’s thingymajig.

Life updates: Christmas was fun! We decided as a family to open our presents on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, so that we could focus on Christ during the actual Christmas day, which was really awesome. We did lots of singing and service. Then on Boxing Day we exchanged gifts; I got the digital drawing tablet that I wanted and a lot of other fun stuff (like llama pajamas that amuse me greatly). So it’s been a good holiday season so far, and I still get a few more days on break!

Writing updates: For Christmas I also got a Brandon Sanderson book (Arcanum Unbounded) and while I was reading it, I just really wanted to write my rewrite of Enhanced. Because that’s the closest I’m getting at the moment to something as awesome as Sanderson’s epic fantasy.

So I may have put Battle Song on the shelf for a little while. I know I shouldn’t, but…I wanted to write Enhanced, and I wasn’t getting anywhere with Battle Song anyway, so…Enhanced it is. I started yesterday and have written about 3.4K more, so I’m at 7Kish. It’s going well; you can see my progress on the right side of the blog.

Okay, I’m done with the updates; that’s all I wanted to say, and now it is time for the old year/new year stuff!


Last year’s post, if you want to read/skim: Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016


Review of 2016

It’s been a good year…well, that could just be me looking at it with rose-colored glasses, I suppose. I feel like I changed and improved a lot socially and as a person, but while my writing is improved, I didn’t really do as much as I could’ve/should’ve. (Which was in part because school is hard and busy a lot, but I also procrastinated quite a bit.)

Since I didn’t make any life goals on my blog last year, I’ll just share some of my accomplishments:

1. I joined marching band (color guard) during this summer/fall! It was a big accomplishment for me because I was trying something new, not to mention something I didn’t always feel good at, since I’m not as good with physical activities as I am with mental ones. But I progressed a lot and made new friends and gained a lot more self-confidence, so it was a big accomplishment for me.

2. I started taking voice lessons this summer, also. For the same reasons as above, it’s been hard but also rewarding. I don’t practice as much as I should…but when I do, I can hear my voice growing better and better! I also had my first voice recital and did very good considering getting up and singing solo in front of people terrifies me. It’s also helped with my self-confidence.

3. I definitely improved on my scripture study–I’ve started reading every morning and I also have a journal to take notes in with my scripture study and while at church, which is awesome.

4. I went on a date. Okay, that shouldn’t be such an accomplishment to go on one single date, but I hardly talk to guys and so I was proud of myself for asking a guy out on a date and having a fun (though slightly awkward at times) time with it. It was a good experience.

That’s all I really have to say/I can think of. So yay! Life accomplishments were definitely awesome this year. Writing accomplishments, on the other hand….not so awesome.

From last year, I made several goals:

  1. Write/finish my Zel novel.
  2. Revise Enhanced (which was at that point nicknamed KT).
  3. Write Cryonic, the sequel to Enhanced (I called it KT 2 in that post).
  4. Do NaNoWriMo again.
  5. Finish novels–I even mentioned it was a priority.

And here are the results of these goals:

1. Write/finish Zel novel.

Ahah. Well. I did write it. Some of it. Approximately 34, 515 words of it. Okay, I’m downplaying this quite a bit because I feel bad that I didn’t finish it this year, but I am proud of what I have of this novel. I really love the setup of this story (Rapunzel as a foreign criminal + awesome magic quest) and my first chapter is great. (Hmm, maybe I should post that as my next Spotlight, even though it has nothing to do with what I’m writing right now.)

So I made progress, but I didn’t quite complete the goal. (Which is the case with most of these.)

2. Revise Enhanced.

Well…no. Not really. At the time I made this goal, I’d only just finished, and I didn’t really know what it entailed. I think I did close to, if not a total of 40 hours working on developing the characters, setting, and plot in order to rewrite it, but I only have about 8.5k written. I love the story, though, and I’m making progress on it now.

3. Write Cryonic, the sequel to Enhanced.

Sort of. I wrote 40K worth of the sequel during Camp NaNo, but then my planning for Enhanced’s revision took over and I wasn’t ever prepared to write it at all. I hadn’t planned out anything when I wrote it, so there wasn’t much of a way to finish it, without first rewriting Enhanced, which didn’t happen, as said before. So nope, not really.

4. Do NaNoWriMo again.

I did do it, but I lost everything. Well…not everything. I won April Camp NaNo writing Cryonic, with just over 40k/40k. But July Camp NaNo, when I was trying to do 40 hours of prep for Enhanced, I only ended with 24 hours/40. (I did finish up those hours afterward, though.) And then November, the official NaNoWriMo, I procrastinated from Battle Song a ton, and ended up with 37.5k/40k. So, I did do NaNo, I just lost more than I ever have.

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Stats for the preparation of Enhanced.

5. Finish novels.

Nope. While in 2015 I finished two novels, this year I finished nothing, which is one of the biggest reasons my writing goals feel unsatisfactory to me this year. I wrote a lot. I prepared a lot, both for Zel and Enhanced and even Battle Song, but not one of those novels (or even my previous ones) did I finish. So while I am proud of what I did accomplish, I’m a little bit frustrated, and I’m going to try to do better in 2017.


Phew. This post is already past 1000 words long and we’ve only just finished with 2016’s review. Prepare for more rambling. Maybe take a hot chocolate break, or rest your eyes with a short nap before continuing.

But…I’m not really sorry. This post was long last year; I have reason to expect it’ll be even longer this year, especially with the inclusion of life goals and not just writing ones. Plus, I’m rambling more than I was last year, even in this middle part. (But there are pictures in this next part, so that makes things better, right?)

Right ho, then, let’s move on to 2017.


Plans for 2017

I want 2017 to be better than this year–way better. Which means I have quite a few goals to share, though more writing ones than life ones. I want to try to keep them better, too…I think I may put my goals on the sidebar of my blog so I don’t forget about them, and maybe show my progress on them somehow…

One of my friends, Kellyn Roth @ Reveries has been doing posts with monthly “Dares,” which is essentially daring yourself to do something each month and following through with it the next. (Basically, a lot like this post, only monthly…because I know how much you all love to read extremely long posts.) Here’s an example of one of her Dare posts! Anyway, I think this would be really fun to start doing and help me to segment my goals into smaller pieces that will help me keep on track. So look forward to those!

Anyway…the actual resolutions/goals!

Life Goals:

1. Continue reading my scriptures every day, and pray every morning and night.

2. Write in my journal at least 6 out of 7 days every week (85% of the time).

3. Start researching colleges and apply for college at the end of 2017.

4. Get my driver’s license and finish my online class (this should be done by February, though).

5. Do an act of service at least once a week.

6. Get a job. I don’t want one…but I need one and it’ll be a good experience for me.

Reading Goals:

1. Read at least 5 books a month and post reviews on them on Goodreads (so a goal of reading 60 books…though I might change that to 75). And…that’s about all.

Blogging Goals:

1. Blog at least 6 times a month (at least 72 posts throughout the year).

2. Keep the sidebar of my blog updated.

Writing Goals:

1. Complete the 365K challenge. In 2015, this was one of the things that really helped me write a lot and integrate writing in my life–the idea is to write 1,000 words every single day for an entire year. I didn’t do that this year because I was going to be doing so much planning, but this year I’ve done a few more things to help me.

Firstly, I’ve decided that planning/developing/researching/etc. for an hour can count as a thousand words. Secondly, I’ve create a color-coordinated spreadsheet that will calculate how many words I’ve written total by only putting in the number of words I wrote that day, which will help me easily keep track of what I’ve done.

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Here’s a little screenshot of part of the spreadsheet.

2. Finish 3 novels, one of which has to be EnhancedThis was one of the things that most frustrated me about last year’s writing: no novels finished. So next year, I’m going to finish three novels, one of which is the rewrite of Enhanced.

enhanced cover

The other two novels, I don’t care what they are, as long as I finish them, but I do have several novels I’ve started that range from 20K to 55k already written, and it would be very simple to complete a couple of them. Specifically, I’d like to finish Riven and Zel, maybe even Battle Song, but if those aren’t the ones I finish, that’s fine. I just need to finish at least two other novels besides Enhanced.

3. Start a maximum of 2 novels. That’s right; I’m only going to start 2 novels this year because I’m going to be focusing on finishing the others. One of these is going to be in November NaNoWriMo, because I always start a new novel for that, which means until November, I can only start one novel. (Writing down ideas/first scenes doesn’t count.) I’m thinking about starting an MG novel about dragons for my little brother, but maybe not. I want to keep my options open at the moment. Although, if I start that one in the next two days, I wouldn’t be starting in 2017 and so it wouldn’t count…heheheh.

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Doodles of the people in the dragon MG novel, though the guy in the middle is definitely inaccurate. I just need to figure out how his personality is and then I can actually draw him. But Mikael and Asta are spot-on.

4. Write a short story/flash fiction every month. This one is less important to me than my novelling goals, but I do know that I need to improve on writing shorter pieces than novels, and it would be really cool to submit one of them to a magazine or contest so that I could get that experience of writing, revising, and submitting on a much smaller level than with novels.

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5. These aren’t necessarily goals, but I do have a couple of things that I’d love to get done writing-wise, though they may not happen:

  • Find beta-readers after rewriting Enhanced. After I finish the rewrite, I want some feedback from people on the overall story and the big things that I need to revise.
  • Get a short little thing published where people will read it just because…like I said, I want that experience, and I also think it’d be really awesome.
  • Plan out and really develop Cryonic so that I’ll be able to write it soon sometime.
  • Research more about publishing options, both traditionally and self-publishing.

Happy New Year, everyone! How has it been for all of you? What are you planning on doing next year? Comment with some of your achievements/goals or link to your new year’s posts! Also, if you have any ideas on how to keep myself motivated, please tell me! What do you want to hear updates on? What novels should I work on in 2017? Etc. Thanks for reading!

Don’t Think, Just Write

This post is sort of a mix of a pep talk thing to those participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month as well as some advice for first draft writing. (So, if you’re not doing a first draft for Camp NaNo, you may not find this very helpful…but too bad. You can read it anyway. 🙂 )

Recently, I’ve noticed a bit of an increase in my typing speed as I’m writing, and I think I’ve finally figured out why. It mostly came one night at dinner when we happened to bring up the subject of NaNoWriMo.

“Doesn’t NaNoWriMo just encourage people to use a lot of words instead of an actual story?” said my mom. “It would just make people write things like, ‘I went to the store. When I got there, I couldn’t decide whether or not I should buy peanuts or cashews. Hmmm. The peanuts, or the cashews? Finally, I decided on buying the peanuts instead of the cashews, because they were cheaper.'”

I thought about this for a moment and said, “Yes, but they’d have more of the story than they started with.”

That’s the whole point of NaNoWriMo–not to write words, sometimes not even to write a novel, but to write more than you had before. In the example my mom gave, yes, the writing is pretty terrible. Yes, the conflict is also terrible. But you have more. If those 42 words hadn’t been written, you wouldn’t have anything about your character visiting the store, and who knows, maybe the cashew/peanut debate will become important later on! Although, the decision should be obvious. Always go for the cashews. Always.

So you may be looking at your unfinished manuscript right now, thinking that this is wildly out of character, or it doesn’t even make sense, or why are there evil talking cats this isn’t supposed to be happening. Maybe you’re horribly behind on your word count and the few thousand–or even the few hundred–you’ve managed to write just don’t seem good enough.

The amazing thing is that you’ve already written more than you had before. No matter how horrible, how confusing, or how small the writing has been, there’s more story than there was before, and that’s something that you should be proud of.

I’ve found that the best way to write more, and faster, is this simple motto/phrase/whatever-you-want-to-call-it: don’t think, just write. Stop worrying about whether what you’re writing is good or bad, whether it goes with the story and fits with the outline. Stop thinking that this description is taking way too long or this chapter should have finished already or where did this character come from or why on earth are these characters being shippy. Just write.

Yes, it’s hard not to stop and try to figure out what’s going on, especially when you want this novel to be as good as your original idea for it was, especially when that one word you used really doesn’t seem right, especially when this wasn’t in the outline at all. Usually, I have to find some way to force myself into this frame of mind. Two ways that I do it are:

  • Word wars or word sprints with other people. I find that competition really helps me want to win and I don’t go back to fix things or stop to think because I want to win.
  • Timed goals with myself. (Ex. “I’m going to try to write 700 words in 15 minutes.”) It’s especially helpful if you choose goals you’ve never achieved before, because it encourages you to really push yourself as hard as you can, with no stopping.

The key is to not stop to think. (Again, don’t think, just write.) If you think about what you’re writing, you’re inevitably going to realize that it’s bad writing, and you’re going to want to fix it. Don’t think. The trick is to trick ourselves into writing without thinking, to keep our fingers moving even when the sentences start to sound like, “Then I met a guy named Bob. Bob was weird. He had weird hair that I can’t describe right now. He liked to eat cake.”

People will tell you to not go back to revise, because you’ll take up time and delete words. The fact is that stopping to think about what to write next will take up just as much time, and the time you waste will cost you just as many words anyway. (Well, maybe not just as many, but still.)

So if you’re struggling with whatever writing you’re working on, all you have to do is remember these four words: don’t think, just write. Actually, don’t even think about not thinking. Don’t think about purple elephants…too late.

And remember, even if you feel completely stuck and at a loss for what to write, you’ve written more than you had before. Be proud, pat yourself on the back, because that really is the most important thing.


How is Camp NaNo going for all of you who are doing it, and how close are you to your goals? Do you have any other tips or tricks on how you get yourself to write? And, most importantly, cashews or peanuts? (Or you can just tell me your favorite kind of nut; that works too. I bet you can’t guess mine…)