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.

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  • 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.)

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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.

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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’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!

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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.)

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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.

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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.


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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

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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!

 

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

feb 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 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?

Progress is Progress (a Music + Writing Post)

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It’s all too easy to get discouraged and down on ourselves when it doesn’t seem like we’re progressing: in writing, music, and life in general. In whatever we do, no matter how old or experienced we are, there are days–or even weeks or months–in which we feel like we’re getting nowhere, despite our hard work.

I started taking voice lessons last summer, in June or July, and since then I have learned so many new things. But just a few weeks ago, I felt awful. I didn’t want to practice or sing or do anything with to my voice at all. It felt like I hadn’t progressed at all. We’d been working for weeks and weeks trying to get some vibrato to come into my voice, and it wasn’t coming. I felt like I was trying my best and getting nowhere.

When I went to my voice lesson that next Monday, my voice teacher told me that my mom had talked to her and told her a little bit how I was feeling. For a little bit, I felt a bit betrayed that my mom would tell her something like that, but now, I’m really glad about what she did.

My voice teacher asked what was wrong, and, amidst a lot of tears, I told her how I’d been feeling.

“[Lana], every one of my students comes to me and tells me that they don’t feel like they’re progressing. Especially the students like you, who have been in choirs for years and years, feel like they should be better already, even if they’ve only been with me for a few months. Let me tell you that your voice is amazing and you have come so far.”

She then took out my notebook and listed three columns: what I’d been good at before I started learning with her, what I’d improved on since then, and then what I still needed to work on to improve my voice.

And she was right: I had come far. There was so much that I’d learned and improved on. Of course, there was still more to do, but seeing how far I’d come helped me realize that I had progressed, and that I would continue to progress in the future (and I have).

It’s the same with writing and everything in life. There are days when you stare at the screen and don’t know what to write next. There are days when scenes don’t work and your writing is horrible and, no matter what you do, you can’t seem to figure out that tricky character’s voice. There are even days when you think you’re not cut out to be a writer at all.

But that’s when you’ve got to realize that progress is progress, and you’ve made it. It’s good to realize how far you’ve come, how much you’ve learned, how amazing your voice is. When I think of how much I’ve learned since I started writing…the results are tremendous. About characters and plots and realism…

But, after you’ve realized how far you’ve come, you have to create that third column. It’s no good to realize the progress you’ve made if you don’t do anything about it. Once you find out what you’ve done, you have to decide what you’re going to do–and try to do it. Keep practicing, a little at a time, a tiny fraction every day. And you will progress, but you may not notice unless you take the time to look back on it.

It takes time, but you will progress. You have progressed, and however far you still have to go, that’s amazing.

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.

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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 one that I’ve started but not yet finished.

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

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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.

Screenshot 2016-12-29 at 1 edit.png

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!

Character Studies: Lil’s Beliefs

 

imageIt’s time for you to finally meet Lil! Yay, who’s excited? She got slightly introduced in this post I wrote before I left, about all the characters in Enhanced, but now you get to meet her even more fully. And yes, I do realize that these are the questions from July, but I’m not going to skip them because I want Lil to answer them. The questions are on beliefs, ideals, and morals, which will be lots of fun!

Character Studies is a monthly character interview hosted by Morgan Dusky from Studies in Character. You can find this month’s (well, last month’s) interview questions on her blog here and here.


  • Do you believe in true love?

Yes, I do, but it doesn’t have to be romantic. True love can be familial or brotherly or friendly as well, but it just goes deeper than normal love. True love is when you would sacrifice everything to help that other person.

  • How about love at first sight?

I don’t think so, not like how it sounds. There can be affection at first sight, longing perhaps, but not real love. That comes later, with time, lots of time.

  • Have you ever been in love—like really in love?

Yes. Yes, I have.

  • Do you believe in second chances?

Of course. Where would I be without second chances? I’ve made too many mistakes to count.

  • Is there something more to life?

I do believe so. I think there is a reason we are here and that we don’t die at death–not all of us, anyway. A part of us must stay alive, somehow. That’s what I’ve been taught to believe…that’s what I have to believe.

  • Do you believe in unicorns?  (Hint: If you say you don’t, somewhere a unicorn dies.)

*laughs* In that case, yes I do.

  • Are you superstitious?  Why?

I guess it depends on what you mean by superstitious. I don’t feel superstitious but maybe that’s simply because my beliefs seem normal to me. I believe that good comes from doing good and bad from bad,

  • Somebody you just met claims to be a time-traveler from the future.  Do you believe them?

I think part of me would believe them, and part of me would think they were just joking. They’d have to prove it, I think.

  • What would paradise look like?

Kaelan and our son son and I, all of us together. That would be paradise.

  • Bonus: What are your thoughts on balloons?

Balloons? Toddlers love them, and I think they’re pretty fun too.

  • What happens, do you think, when you die?

I don’t think we die–not every part of us. Some part of us keeps on living, survives the death, and goes on to a better place, a happier place where everyone can finally rest and be at peace.

  • Are you afraid of dying?

Yes. No. I…I know I’m supposed to know that something more will come, that I should be content with the future and what it may bring, but…I am frightened. I know there will be no pain, but what if it is not everything I was grown up to believe in? What if I die, and it’s just…the end? That’s what I’m afraid of.

  • What is the most irrational fear you have?

I’m afraid of getting hurt or wounded, and I’m not entirely sure why, considering I wouldn’t actually feel anything. Perhaps it’s just that everyone else is afraid, and they’ve passed that on to me.

  • Why are you afraid of that thing, even knowing it’s irrational?

I think what I said above–it’s sort of rubbed off on me from other people. And some part of me, because of that, is afraid that it really will hurt, that if my hand gets cut off or I get shot in the back, I’ll feel the pain for the first time I can remember, and I can’t imagine how much worse it’d feel without experiencing a smaller portion of it before.

  • You’ve just been threatened and told that if you tell anybody about what happened to you, you’ll die (or worse).  Do you tell anyone, or do you lie about what happened?

I wouldn’t tell anyone what had happened. If Kaelan… Maybe eventually I’d tell somebody, if I felt like it was safe, but I’d lie rather than run the risk of dying–or worse, having someone close to me get hurt because of it.

  • The one person who could save you is the person you trust least in the world.  What do you do?

I wouldn’t let them save me. I’d rather die.

  • Would you, or have you, ever killed anyone?

I’ve never killed anyone, and I never would. That’s horrible. To take someone else’s life…it’s so wrong, and I wouldn’t be able to bear the mere thought of myself were I to commit murder.

  • Do you have any recurring dreams and/or nightmares?

No. Blessedly, my sleep is normally very calm and free of dreams or nightmares, at least most of the time. When I do dream, it’s very odd, and nightmares are far and few between.

  • You’re going to die in exactly fifteen minutes.  What do you do with those minutes?

It depends on how I was going to die. If we were all being threatened and about to die, I’d spend my last minutes protecting my friends as much as possible. If I were alone…I think I would pray and pour out my soul to the sky. I would think of all I have lost, and all I have loved, of Kaelan and my baby.

  • Bonus: How long is your attention span?

I’m decent at paying attention, but the times when I’m not seem to always be the times when it was the most important.


Ahh, so there’s Lil! And I have finally finished this post, despite school being a little bit crazy busy at the beginning. (Short school update: I like all my classes and teachers, so I’m liking school, but I’m kept busy by homework and my marching band practices, not to mention things like writing and spending time with my family.)

Anyway, how did you like Lil? I feel like she made sure to answer some of these questions shallowly…but maybe the vagueness made her more mysterious or intriguing or something like that, heh. I do love Lil, though. She’s so interesting. Do you have any questions about her? I’m ready to answer them! (Unless there’s spoilers…then you’ll just have to wonder.)

And also, lastly, how have you all been? Is life getting busier at the start of a new school year? Anything exciting happening? Tell me about all the fun (or not fun, I suppose) you’re having!