Hello, my friends! I don’t know about you, but this month moved so fast for me. The middle of the semester is always crazy busy, but this year, an unexpected event arose that took a lot more time out of my usual writing schedule than I expected. I’m a part of my school’s Society of Women Engineers chapter, and was selected to go to an in-person conference out of state, which threw me into a fun but hectic two-week frenzy of preparing accommodations, cramming through homework, taking exams early, and catching up on job applications. It was a great experience, and though I feared I’d miss my goals, (and a few of them were too close for comfort), I still managed to win the month!

That being said, I’m feeling the mid-semester burnout, and I’ve been more tired since the weather changed and darkness comes sooner each night. I plan to take it easy this upcoming month, and therefore won’t participate in NaNoWriMo. I love the event, and like many young authors, it’s what first got me into writing novels. The structure of a month-long sprint also inspired these monthly goals lists (along with Jenna Moreci’s quarterly goal lists), so I’ll still be writing, of course, just not going for 50K in a new story. It’s important to know your limits, and take breaks when needed – something I’ve learned the hard way, and still struggle to balance at times. In honor of the event, I’ll be revisiting the very first story I tried to write during the event back in middle school – that’s right, I’m re-outlining the Laoche Chronicles! I know I have other big goals to tackle, like fixing Storge and finishing my fanfic before the end of the year, but this is what my heart is set on, and I’m going to chase the inspiration while it lasts 🙂

But that’s enough of my nostalgia, let’s get into the goal breakdown!

6/8 – won by 2 goals

Participate in Jean’s OC Authtober – For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram: My friend Jean, who I met in the Newsies fanfic space, organized a month long challenge with prompts to help us participants better develop our OCs. She is an incredible writer and a wonderfully kind human being, and I was so happy to learn from her process and fine tune Hannah’s voice as I worked on Runaways. My entries to the challenge are all still available to see on my page and I made a highlight so you can still find them!

Participate in Inklings Challenge on tumblr and use as Halloween special – For those of you who don’t follow the Christian Writeblr community: this was another month long challenge inspired by the real-life writing group called the Inklings, which included literary greats such as Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Chesterton. Participants were sorted into three teams and given prompts for science fiction and fantasy stories based on which author they modeled and some common Christian themes and theology. I was on Team Lewis, and the prompts for Portal Fantasy and Stewardship fit really well for a short story I wanted to write for the Runaways universe! Around the same time at the beginning of the month, I also put up a poll asking what you wanted to see for my annual Halloween Special – and you chose an in-universe spooky short story, which worked out perfectly! These two ideas combined to create The Replacement, which you can read here! The rest of the Inklings stories can be found on the blog, and I’m slowly working through the backlog of stories. It’s been wonderful to see the creativity, thoughtfulness, and care each and every writer put into their work, and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re interested in learning more about Christian culture and creativity, or if you just want to read some really cool stories!

Edit anything in Storge – I ran out of time to do this, though I’m sure you can tell from the wording that I didn’t expect to get to this WIP this month. It’s quite the undertaking to edit this story because it involves at least 3-4 hours to open all my documents, reread, get organized enough to make a plan of attack, start re-drafting, and get into the zone of writing flow, and that’s precious time I don’t often have during the semester. I expect I’ll do a sprint for this story over winter break instead!

Redo post tags to more searchable things to help my stuff show up better in WordPress – So. Earlier this month I realized post tags were a thing you could follow/search for in the greater WordPress world, and they don’t just serve as an internal categorization system for the blog. I also realized I have about a million repeat tags with slight variations in capitalization and spaces. I knew I needed to clean this up, but in doing some cursory searches, I realized there’s an entire system to leverage SEO to gain visibility. It was too much for me to properly research in the time I had left in the month, and I didn’t want to do a slap-dash job of fixing the tags only to have to redo it when I was more informed, so I put the pause button on this. I have a lot yet to learn about web design, and being entirely self taught, it’s very much a process of trial, error, and luck. Thank you for so patiently bearing with me while I work out the bugs in this amateur site! I appreciate that if you’re reading this, you’ve stuck around long enough to contend with the haphazard menus and organization, and I hope to improve with time.

Get caught up on tumblr drafts – For those of you who don’t follow me on tumblr: I participate in a lot of tag games and taglists, but don’t always have the time to address them in my day-to-day activities. To prevent myself from losing them in my notifications, I save them to my drafts until my folder is overflowing with unanswered messages. Every month I attempt to clean this out and catch up on what my friends are doing, and it is somewhat sad I need to make this a goal so I don’t forget, but alas, I have the memory of a goldfish, so here we are. No sooner did I mark this off did I fill it up again, but I’m calling it done for October.

Do website / Instagram scheduling – Normally this a goal I try to mark off in the first week of the month, though with so many distractions between weekly midterms and the conference, I admit I was rushing against the deadlines a bit. But I haven’t missed a post yet, and I’m happy I can keep up my streak of marking off this reoccurring monthly goal!

FINISH RUNAWAYS – I’m sure you can guess the priority by the all-caps haha. I was determined to finish editing by Halloween, and then that self-imposed deadline got pushed to “before the conference”, so I basically just did NaNoWriMo a month early. The story is 35K, I retyped it once from the paper copy I printed out and marked up between classes, then ran it through ProWritingAid, so I’m counting that as at least 50K of edits lol.

Recruit beta readers and set up some way to keep feedback organized – Done! And I cannot thank my incredible betas enough for the feedback they’ve already given me on the story. It’s especially gratifying to take this HUGE step towards publication, as this has been a dream of mine since I was 10. Any original fiction writer can relate to the feeling of being a fandom of one, living with these beloved characters in your head but being unable to share them with anyone until you’re absolutely sure the story is ready to be shared. It can be a lonely process, and beta feedback is less scary than it is gratifying because now I know there are friends in my corner, people who I trust, who want this book to be as good as it can be. It’s been such an honor to work with them, and I’m beyond excited to one day bring this manuscript into reality. I’m very proud of how this story came along, and I can’t wait to share it with all you!

That’s all the more I have for today! If you’re a student, how are your classes going? If you’re participating in NaNo, what’s your WIP about? Thank you for reading, and happy writing! 🙂

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