Chatting · Monthly Goals

2022 Year In Review

Top Posts of the Year

  1. How to Finish What You Start
  2. How to Write a Fighter
  3. What I’ve Learned Writing Short Stories
  4. My Beta Reader Experience
  5. The Sea of Savage Stars

Reading Goals:

Goodreads: I failed this goal at 30/35 books. I take issue with goodreads as a system however, because I think reading ought to be counted by word count. It tracks “books” and pages, but formatting can wildly change the number of pages that a story takes up: from edition to edition and book to book. Of these, 8 were short stories, 4 were nonfiction, 5 were podcasts (the seasons of The Magnus Archives, which should count as short fiction anthologies), 8 were rereads, and 6 were indie publications. If you want to friend me on Goodreads, you can find me here! I’m also planning to start using Storygraph more consistently in the new year, so you can find me there!

Beta Reading: I finished two works by my fellow writing friends: Order of The Sun by @writeblrfantasy on tumblr, and Dreams Shadow by Quinn Siarven

The Inklings Challenge: I did not finish catching up on all the stories that were shared because there were SO MANY, but the ones that I did read were excellent. The Inklings Challenge is a month-long writing event for Christian authors of fantasy and science fiction, inspired by a real challenge attempted by the original Inklings writing group. For this tumblr challenge, participants were randomly sorted into one of three groups, with each assigned to a different type of speculative fiction story inspired by their namesake. You can read them all here!

Website/Author’s Platform Work:

    Scheduled for the Year, Writing, and Publishing Posts on a Consistent Weekly Basis: This was a mighty feat, as I was SUPER busy and scraping the bottom of the barrel for new ideas. Each post takes at least an hour to draft, and often another hour or more to make sure all the links are embedded properly, the metadata in tags, categories, photo, and summary are up to date, and making social media posts to go along with each post. It’s a labor of love, and one I am very proud to have kept up for two full years and counting.

    Fixed WordPress Tags and Cleaned Up Old Posts: I had over 100 posts up by this summer when I did this maintenance, and they were a disorganized mess. The archive should me much more navigable now! You can browse my most common topics by clicking any of the links in the cloud below!

    author interview author platform book review changelings character development Character Introduction children's literature classics creative writing creativity editing education epic fantasy fairy tales folklore free short story high fantasy indie author indie books magic magic system middle grade fiction Monthly Goals my writing newsletter outlining plotting productivity reading recommendation Runaways science fiction short story siblings Storge story structure the count of monte cristo The Laoche Chronicles WIP excerpt work life balance worldbuilding Writing Advice writing community writing goals writing resources writing tips

    Did Major Redesign and Blog Update: If you remember my old theme, no you don’t. It was rather boring and minimalistic, difficult to navigate, and very amateur looking. The new design is much cuter, I think, and hopefully easier to get around for a new user. As my hosting renewal expired (more on this later), I also made the choice to upgrade my plan, which gave me more substantial analytics on search criteria, and a bunch of backend tools to help with caching so the site can load quicker. This was a huge job that I had been meaning to do for aggeeesss and I’m very happy with my new home!

    Interviews: These were less frequent this year, but I’m super excited about the two indie authors who agreed to appear on the blog! Faye Fite is a fantasy writer I’ve admired for many years, and R.K. Ashwick is a good friend of mine on writeblr!

    First ARC Review: R.K. was also kind enough to let me review her debut cosy fantasy novel, The Stray Spirit.

    Monetization:

    I’ve resisted this for a while because while I’m not by any means rich, I’ve been blessed to find work through school and internships that pay well enough to cover my bills and my schooling, and my parents let me live at home over breaks. I have enough income that I would prefer to donate it to other creatives instead of trying to crowdfund, when I don’t need the money to survive. It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth to think about competing with other people who urgently need funds for stuff like rent, utilities, and groceries.

    But it occurred to me that self publishing will rack up enormous costs I cannot currently afford, even with my reasonably stable financial situation. Hiring (at a living salary) a cover artist, illustrator, professional editor, and formatting services, paying for the ISBNs, and maybe setting aside a small budget for giveaway copies and advertising, can run up to thousands of dollars. Also, it would be nice to have some compensation for how much time I spend maintaining my website, because it’s almost a part-time job. 

    Then, renewal came up and WordPress, unannounced, killed the version of their hosting plan my website was on. I ended up switching to a plan that’s twice as expensive, at $8 a month, and gave me some nicer customization, as well as the ability to monetize the site through a donations box or ads. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t let me use many of the useful plugins that make WordPress work effectively, and the plan that gives me free access to the plugin library runs at $15 a month, which is prohibitively expensive. Domain prices are being raised in the new year as well. To my mind, the higher operation cost justified the choice to monetize this site. I briefly ran some unobtrusive ads at the bottom of my posts, but in the 5 months I had them enabled, I made less than 50 cents, and they can only pay you after you reach $100. This was, quite frankly, ridiculous, and unachievable, given my current view statistics, and I disabled them because nobody likes ads.

    My alternative solution is now opening a Kofi donation “tip jar”, and a sticker shop! If you want to support my work here, and help contribute to my publishing fund, I would dearly appreciate any amount ❤

    Mailing List/Short Stories

    This year, I put out three unique new short stories to the subscribers on my mailing list. “Brigid’s Visits” follows a minor character from Runaways. Brigid is a friend the girls meet in the Seelie Court and she leads a group of “powers” – humans the fae gift with phenomenal powers. This story follows her adventures through time with a few familiar spirits. “Half-Switched Siblings” is a split-POV story told by the Semivera twins as they attempt to find their way to each other again. “Edge of Infinity” is a short script: a conversation between an artist and her prosecutor arguing about the nature of her crimes. This final script is also accompanied by an audio drama! Merari is voiced by my friend Sarina Socko (Instagram, TikTok). I voiced Aella and edited the audio with sound effects.

    If you want to read any of these stories, you still can! When you sign up for the mailing list, you get access to the full backlog of fiction. I plan to put out a collection of these shorts eventually, when I’ve accumulated enough material, but subscribers get the first look! In addition to these, I wrote “To Light and to Guard” for the Inklings Challenge, which you can read on the blog, here.

    WIPS

    Storge: I did a full read through at the beginning of the year, and rewrote chapters 1-4, I think. It’s been several months, and I honestly lost track of which scenes I’ve edited 2, 3, or 6 times by now. I put the rewrite on pause so that I could re-outline the series, as I’ll discuss next. I realized there is a cyclical element to working with a timeline: if I change plot points at the beginning, it will obviously alter the order of events following that book, but this also works in reverse. If I alter the endgame of a story, then I have to change everything that comes before so the plot twists are properly foreshadowed and the character choices make sense to the reader. Storge will continue being a work in progress alongside the rest of the story.

    The Laoche Chronicles: Backstory time – once upon a time, baby, 14-year-old Etta, invented a fantasy world “heavily inspired” by her favorite stories. This original version had my own flair, with the protagonist being physically trapped in a book as a moving living illustration, but much of the surrounding plot and supporting characters I chock-filled with cliches and unnecessary drama. Over the years, this vision evolved and grew, until the thumb drive storing ALL my notes got stolen in high school. This forced me to rethink what I wanted to do with the series, and I went back in time to develop the prequel – which took 6 years to become Storge – during which time I learned a LOT more about storytelling, my writing style, and my personal taste. I also realized many of my previous ideas would need to be completely scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up. This summer, I did a full re-evaluation and sticky-note conspiracy board on the wall of my apartment, which resulted in the beginnings of a new spreadsheet outline. The story is far from complete, but this is more concrete progress than I’ve had for years, and I’m looking forward to getting to know these characters again.

    Runaways: I finished the 1st round of beta reading, which unfortunately took far longer than I hoped it would, and accumulated all the beta feedback by the beginning of summer. My hope was to finish the 3rd draft by the end of the summer and start another round of beta reading, but burnout struck and I failed in meeting that goal. During NaNoWriMo, I rewrote through chapter 5, and decided the story needs 2 additional POVs. This makes it a much more complicated project than I originally planned, and I will not be publishing this year, but I’m so excited to know that the book is better for the changes I’m including. I hope you all don’t mind the wait.

    Art

    This year, I learned how to use alcohol markers, practiced my embroidery by starting a patch jacket, and learned digital art! I already did a recap of my art this year, so you can read that post here to see all of the pictures without making this article any ridiculously longer than it already is haha. Some major projects this year included a pirate shirt, Vin Mistborn cosplay, and a comic for my Avatar The Last Airbender inspired DnD game.

    Resolutions for 2023

    1. Don’t burn out again
    2. Have fun.

    This is going to be a year of BIG transitions for me. I have another semester to spend with my friends, taking some fun classes, and finishing the last two classes of my degree. During this time, it makes the most sense to focus on enjoying that time with the people I love, before we all scatter to the winds, meaning my writing and creative projects will take a back-burner to everyday adventures. Thankfully, I already have a job locked down for post-graduation, and in June, I will move across 3 states, and start my new role. Between finding and furnishing an apartment, there are a few big family events I’ll attend, and later in the summer, I’m hoping to plan a trip to Europe with my sister who’s studying abroad. With so many events coming up, I don’t want to make any promises regarding my writing progress for the year. I plan to keep posting weekly, and I have some fun new series coming up that I hope you’ll enjoy. Happy new year everyone! I hope it’s a good one for us all.


    Thanks for reading! What are your hopes for the year? I want this blog to be more than me shouting into the void. If I can use this platform to help boost other creators, I’d love to see your work too. If you want to have your recommendations and/or your own writing featured in a Resource Rec post, or if you want to collaborate with me, you can leave a comment below for both, or contact me on either tumblr or IG! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip or buying stickers on my Kofi. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!

    Chatting · Monthly Goals

    November Goals 2022

    Hello. Sorry this post is a little late, but hey, it’s finals season. Congratulations to everyone who survived NaNo, regardless of whether or not you won! It’s a crazy month with a high bar and I’m proud of anyone who attempted the challenge all the same. As we head into the hecticness of the holidays, be sure to take it easy on yourself, and enjoy the time with your families. I’m wrapping up my semester, and now that I have a job locked down for after graduation, I had to buckle down to catch up on all the work I’d been neglecting in pursuit of the job search, both for classes and clubs. But I still took advantage of my extra free time, so let’s see what I was able to accomplish!

    WON – 5/9 GOALS

    Make author stickers for inventory and set up shop – hurrah just in time for holiday merchandizing. Forgive this shameless plug.

    [Image Description: three photos of the six different stickers available at the ko-fi shop. 

First sticker: A cartoon hand holding a detailed handgun that is still smoking. The font says, "Checkov's Gun Leaves No Survivors" in black font with a background of blood spatters behind it.

Second sticker: A stack of five books with vibrant covers, and on their spines the stack reads "add it to the T B R." The books are orange, then yellow, green, blue, and red. The background is purple.

The third sticker is a screenshot of a web browser with a purple background. The search engine is called "Forbidden Knowledge" and in the search bar it says, "It's for 'research' I swear . . ." There are five open background tabs with different searches. Preserving mummies in space. Is embalming fluid flammable? Can you survive an autopsy? What if you microwave lava? How to build a trebuchet.

The fourth sticker is of a glowing white cutlace sword surrounded by black swirls that almost resemble lightning. The background is of a night sky. The sticker doesn't have any font, but in the shop it's called "A Well Armed Author"

    They’re live! Do you need to do some holiday shopping for your favorite writer? Need an answer to give to relatives asking for a wishlist? Just finished NaNoWriMo and want to get yourself a treat to celebrate winning and/or surviving? All these stickers are $2-$3 with some discount options available for the ones that didn’t turn out quite perfectly, and shipping is free. Every sticker is designed and hand-made by me! Grab yours here!

    Any money I make from this little endeavor will go towards paying the rent for my website, and contributing towards my publishing fund to pay illustrators and editors. WordPress just upcharged the price of domains form $8 a year to $19 a year and the price of my plan went from $4 to $8 to $15 a month in the past year, so any little bit helps! This also means I can turn off WordAds because in the whole six months I had them turned on, I made a grand total of 55 cents. ~yaaaaaaaayyy~ Nobody likes ads so we’re not doing that nonsense anymore! Buying a few stickers will keep this site running for a whole month, so if you want an easy way to support what I do here and also get some neat art out of it, this is the way to go. I’ll be adding lots more designs in the coming months too, so let me know if you have any requests!

    Finish editing Runaways during NaNo – For context, I impulsively decided to do NaNoWriMo on the first day of the month with absolutely 0 prep and after not having touched a word document in over 6 months with the singular goal to start writing again. I was tackling the 3rd draft of Runaways, which meant my wordcount was all kinds of wonky, and a combination of school obligations and travel meant that I didn’t come anywhere near hitting my mini-goal of 30K, much less the true 50K that’s customary for this challenge.

    However, in the midst of this, I’ve totally re-plotted the 2nd half the story, added two POVs and outlined two weeks of down-time in which character development, exposition, and training occur. This book was never going to be finished this month, but I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made regardless. Counting on winter break to get caught up!

    Drawing/embroidery for patch jacket/dice bag/free space for other misc. Creative Nonsense. – I had a few back-burner projects in various stages of half-completion going into this month that I wanted to make progress on, so this was a “free space” goal if I managed to do anything for these mini arts. I made another patch for my jacket, in the logo of my favorite band, The Amazing Devil.

    I also finished this drawing, which is called “I AM CREATON BOTH HAUNTED AND HOLY” inspired by the song Creature by Half Alive. After laying out the poses and basic values, I decided to record the coloring process so I could put together this time lapse.

    This is my first time using the video block so in case that doesn’t work, here’s the final artwork!

    Stay up to date with fanfic and archive PMs – I talked a bit last month about the preservation of digital history, specifically messages with friends on dying sites, and how I wanted to create a backup of them for my personal reference. I’ve been slowly working on this project but there are hundreds of thousands of words of correspondance in my old fanfiction.net accoung and so it’s been a slow process. This one gets partial credit!

    Blog, IG, Pinterest scheduling – I hope you all didn’t mind the self indulgent sharing of my various side projects from November. Thank you for sticking around nonetheless!

    Stay up to date with Goodreads and reviews – LOL what’s “reading” during midterms??

    Attend at least one NaNoWriMo write in – I did, and I met a new friend! She’s a grad student at my uni, and we’re gonna keep meeting up to write throughout the end of the school year!

    Read and reply to inkling stories – Oh my goodness, there are so many. In case you missed it, The Inklings Challenge is a month-long writing event for Christian authors of fantasy and science fiction, inspired by a real challenge attempted by the original Inklings writing group. For this tumblr challenge, participants were randomly sorted into one of three groups, with each assigned to a different type of speculative fiction story inspired by their namesake. You can read my story, “To Light and to Guard” on this website here. I’ve been trying to go through the archive blog and catch up, but it’s a slow process because of the sheer number. This is the best problem to have, in my opinion.

    Clear out Tumblr drafts – To be fair most of these drafts are inklings stories I saved so I wouldn’t lose them, but to get to all the other tag games, I had to get through the inklings stories first. We’re getting there!


    Thanks for reading! What are you working on this month? I want this blog to be more than me shouting into the void. If I can use this platform to help boost other creators, I’d love to see your work too. If you want to have your recommendations and/or your own writing featured in a Resource Rec post, or if you want to collaborate with me, you can leave a comment below for both, or contact me on either tumblr or IG! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip or buying stickers on my Kofi. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!

    Chatting · Monthly Goals

    October goals

    Hello everyone and welcome back to another life update. My biggest update this month actually has nothing to do with my writing projects: I secured a job for post-graduation! I sunk so much time in submitting dozens of applications, spending my afternoons interviewing over zoom, travelling to work sites, and travelling to conferences, but it’s finally paid off. The job market is hypercompetitive right now, as the US is heading into/already in a recession, and companies are slashing hiring budgets, so I needed to make sure I had an offer on the table before I could focus on anything else this year. Now that I have that security, I can drop all of that networking to focus on school and writing!

    Last month, I also announced a temporary hiatus for my major writing projects. In reality, these have been on an unofficial hiatus since June because of a combination of burnout, needing distance from the stories in order to edit, and lack of time as I pursued job hunting. I still have final exams coming up, and I want to prioritize spending time with my friends in my coveted free time, but I’m calling the hiatus on Runaways off, as I’m returning to Draft 3 for NaNoWriMo. After taking such a long break from a story, having external motivation to get excited about it again can help overcome the activation energy barrier it takes to get started again. I’m hoping to finish the draft by the end of the semester so I can print off the manuscript using my school account! But that’s enough scheming – I’ll update you on that project in December. For now, let’s go over what I got done this past month, despite the hiatus.

    Won by 1 point – 5/8 Goals Completed

    Write short story and cross post to blog for the Inklings Challenge: If you’re unfamiliar, The Inklings Challenge is a month-long writing event for Christian authors of fantasy and science fiction, inspired by a real challenge attempted by the original Inklings writing group. For this tumblr challenge, participants were randomly sorted into one of three groups, with each assigned to a different type of speculative fiction story inspired by their namesake. I was in the Chesterton group, so I chose the prompt “Intrusive Fantasy”: Stories where the fantastical elements intrude into the real world. There was also a prompt list of seven Christian images to incorporate into the themes of our stories. If you’d like to read more about the challenge, and read the other submissions, you can find all relevant links on the tumblr blog that is hosting the challenge! If you missed my story, “To Light and To Guard” is available here.

    Sort out Reedsy Discovery and update reviews on all book sites: I’ve talked about Reedsy before when listing writing resources, but if you haven’t heard of them: it’s a site full of writing and publishing advice that hosts a database of vetted professional editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and marketers so that indie authors can easily find the right person to hire when they’re preparing their book for publication, and those professionals can find easily find clients. They also have courses and webinars, an entire suite of tools that are free to use, short story competitions, and Discovery, which is a book review database similar to Goodreads. Anyone can sign up and import their library, but I’m trying to get approved as an official reviewer, which is a slow process. I also have tons of reviews to publish across Goodreads, BookBub, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Storygraph, but I ran out of time this month to write them, or read anything new.

    Blog and IG scheduling: Hurrah, another month come and gone without falling off the face of the earth!

    Archive FF.net PMs and reviews before it goes down: Ok, to clarify, fanfiction.net is not going down immediately. The fictonpress twitter updated after a year of radio silence, saying they plan to fix things and keep the site running, at least for now. There was a scare earlier in the month though, that the entire thing might crash and burn soon, and so a mass recovery effort was made (by other people) to back up the contents of the site so it wouldn’t be lost to the void of the internet. Fanfiction.net is unique in that there’s no way to copy/paste the contents of a story from the web, and so it must either be backed up to other sites by the author who has access to original document, or it must be typed out word by word by readers. There are also fan-binding communities who make physical hardcover copies of fanfiction, which is an incredible labor of love I’d like to learn one day. Additionally, there are tens of thousands of words in private messages and reviews that could be lost – which breaks my heart. Books can be reprinted as long as one remaining copy exists. Burning a box of letters means that correspondence can’t be retrieved ever again. I was in the midst of midterms when the information came out, and without the imminent demise of the site looming, I felt comfortable procrastinating this a little while longer while I had job applications to do. This is still high on the to-do list now that I have a little more time.

    Draw gifts: I have several writer friends with birthdays in October and so I did OC illustrations for all of them!

    Finish ATLA comic: This was technically a gift for my friend whose birthday was in August, but I vastly underestimated the amount of time and work that drawing a whole comic would take, and so I was determined to finish it this month. I might post this in a later post because it was a lot of work and I want to brag.

    Make Vin Cosplay for Halloween: If you’re on tumblr or instagram you probably saw the reveal for this already, but there’s too much to show here, so a full “Making-of…” breakdown is coming in a later post!

    Make author stickers for inventory: I spent most of my time at work sewing instead of printing stickers, but these are coming soon!


    Thanks for reading! What are you working on this month? I want this blog to be more than me shouting into the void. If I can use this platform to help boost other creators, I’d love to see your work too. If you want to have your recommendations and/or your own writing featured in a Resource Rec post, or if you want to collaborate with me, you can leave a comment below for both, or contact me on either tumblr or IG! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip on my Kofi or donating using the secure box below. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!

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    Chatting · Monthly Goals

    September Goals and MERCH UPDATE

    I forgot there was an extra Friday in the month, whooooops. My bad. HAPPY OCTOBER, IT’S SPOOKY SEASON!

    In all seriousness, I’m home this weekend to celebrate my brother’s Eagle Scout, so everybody better leave him lots of congratulations in the comments. I’ve been scrambling to get my work done around the travel plans, and while I started this draft, I completely missed adding it to my queue. But all the same, this was a hectic month. Fall semester of my Senior Year includes several project-based classes, running most of my clubs, doing undergrad research, working at the school makerspace, and hanging out with my friends. It’s been a ton of fun, and I’m determined to make the most of it, much to the chagrin of my sleep schedule. So before time gets away from me again, let’s go over some cool announcements!

    Merch Update!

    I recently started a new job at the maker-space at my school, which means I have FREE and totally UNLIMITED access to all sorts of neat machines, including 3D printers, a laser cutter, a waterjet, t-shirt printers, and a sticker maker.

    In short, I’ve gone mad with power.

    Continue reading “September Goals and MERCH UPDATE”
    Chatting · Reading Recs

    Nonfiction Notes: Newsletter Ninja

    Overall Impression:

    4 out of 5 stars: This book is for any writer who wants to learn more about the marketing side of the industry. You don’t have to have a book out yet. In fact, you should be reading this and implementing the advice before you publish so you can reap the benefits of having a mailing list. But regardless of where you are, if the idea of self promotion makes you want to curl up in a ball and die, or you’re trying to promote yourself and it’s not sticking, this book has useful advice. There’s not a ton of business jargon, so it’s accessible and a relatively quick read. One star deducted because it’s easier said than done to execute some of these tips, and in my experience, mailing list success simply comes down to luck and previous existing visibility, but it’s still a solid primer.

    Content Summary:

    Why you need a mailing list and what it needs to accomplish: If you have spent any amount of time throwing your work into the void of the internet you’ll know that persuading people to read your work is difficult. Convincing them to buy it is harder. The world is already so inundated by advertisements that people don’t want to see one more annoying self-promo, but that’s what it takes for people to realize you even have a book in the first place. The point of a mailing list is to cut out the middleman of social media or advertisement services and talk directly to people who will hopefully become your fans. People also tend to check their emails, or at least take them more seriously than social media posts, depending on your target audience, so if you can persuade someone to add one more to the top of their teetering inbox, you’ve already won their loyalty and readership on some small level.

    How to pick a provider and set up an onboarding sequence: There are about a million provides out there to collect and store email addresses, and send out automated welcome sequences and scheduled campaigns. This part of the book walks you through the strategy of how to pick one that works for you, and what first steps to walk new members through before adding them to your regular list.

    How to choose your target audience and convince people to sign up (hint: the answer is bribery): The target audience for your books is hypothetically the target audience for your mailing list, but as I mentioned before, nobody wants more emails cluttering up their inbox unless they’re really worth something valuable. You have to decide what you’re going to give them that’s worth that sacrifice.

    What makes a good bribe? For authors, this is usually a short story or some other bookish merch, but whatever you offer, it should be exclusive, free, completed, and related to your other work. This section of the book gives you some ideas of how to offer “cookies” that will entice the right readers to sign up and stay signed up.

    How to get people engage or re engaged: What do you write about? How often do you send out the emails? What are you putting in your subject line? Do you include images or emojis? Whether it’s an art or a science, every line of the email can influence whether someone clicks the links you include, deletes it immediately, or hits the unsubscribe button.

    Final Thoughts

    I read this book when I was first starting my mailing list over a year ago. Upon rereading it, I realized I had so much missed potential in the automation and landing forms I originally had set up, and immediately rehauled my entire system. I’m still offering the same thing (new short stories every 3 months), but now the onboarding process should be a lot more informative and seamless than it was before. I can highly recommend this book to any author who’s looking to improve their marketing, regardless of if you think you know all the tricks already. If you want to sign up for my Fancy! New! Improved! mailing list to get an audio drama of “Edge of Infinity” next week, you can register with this link. You can find Tammi Labrecque’s other books on her Goodreads, including a sequel to Newsletter Ninja called “If you give a reader a cookie.”


    Thanks for reading! Do you have a newsletter? If so, drop a link in the comments and I’ll join up! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip on my Kofi or donating using the secure box below. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!

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    Chatting · Monthly Goals

    August goals

    The end of summer is always a time for transition, and this year was especially hectic. I had to finish an internship, move home, which involved packing and a nine-hour drive across 3 states. Then I spent a hectic week at home, catching up on administrative adulting stuff, fixing my car headlights, and seeing friends, before moving two hours back to school to start my senior year! The beginning of the semester included starting two new jobs, taking on my capstone project, hanging out with my best friends who are now my roommates, and kicking off the three clubs I help to run. It’s been crazy and quite fun, but I’m glad to be into a routine. With that context, let’s see how I did with my writing goals, shall we?

    Won – 3/6 Goals

    Continue reading “August goals”
    Chatting

    Stitching Storytime: Pirate Shirt Process

    Ok, I know y’all are here for writing and bookish content and not Etta’s hyper-fixation of the week, but hear me out on this one. Usually, in my how-to posts of the month, I walk through my personal process for some element of the writing process. I’ll never say that my way is the Proper Perfect Official and Only way to outline, but sharing methods provides another tool for writers to pull out of their set when they need a new angle to solve a problem.

    This month’s writing problem was the dreaded ~burnout~

    I hadn’t realized how badly the accumulated stress and exhaustion of this year had worn on me until suddenly I had the free time to throw myself into the next project and just…. couldn’t. My major goal for this summer was to finish editing Runaways, but I’m struggling to even process the story, much less find the energy to comb through each line and hyper-analyze my word choice. Furthermore, I got sick with bronchitis, which had me wiped out for several weeks, and the fatigue hasn’t really left since recovering from the cough. At first I beat myself up for being lazy, but I’ve realized since finishing this project that my inability to sit down and grind through words came from a much deeper-seated issue. I needed something new and refreshing to refill my creative well, that wouldn’t require a lot of mental effort, and preferably wouldn’t put me in front of a computer. After rifling through my long list of hobbies and coping mechanisms accumulated from many years of doing this to myself in cycles, I landed on sewing.

    If you’re facing burnout or a packed schedule, I recommend checking out my alternate post on How To Stay Creative When You Literally Can’t Write for some more suggestions on the topic. The rest of this post will walk through my process of tackling a not-writing creative project to serve as an example (a good one or a bad one is up for you to decide).

    The Inspiration and Resources

    Continue reading “Stitching Storytime: Pirate Shirt Process”
    Chatting · Monthly Goals

    July Goals Recap 2022

    Hellooooooo everyone, I hope your summers are going well! This month went by much too quickly, and somehow the evenings and weekends I have off from work seemed like both a luxurious amount of freetime and nowhere near enough to accomplish all the things I wanted to do this summer. August will be hectic with moving home from KY, then back to school to start fall semester of my senior year, so I hoped to get everything done this past month. And I did a lot, but it still never feels like enough haha. Anyhow, let’s get into it, shall we?

    WON BY 3 POINTS – 7/8 GOALS

    Continue reading “July Goals Recap 2022”
    Chatting · Monthly Goals

    June Goals

    Well, we’re halfway through the year and it’s been a great six months of beating writers block and burnout back into the hell from whence they came with a very big stick. I tried to take some time off this month to rest, work on low-stakes side projects, and enjoy long chill chats with friends instead of constantly working, and I think it’s helped a lot. I’m still exhausted, but in a satisfied, “I’ve spent my time well” sort of way, and not the frantic “I’m running out of time” that I’m used to. I’m settled down at my internship, living alone for the first time in my life, and learning how to manage my free time like an actual adult. Weird stuff. Let’s see what I did with my first month of summer “break”!

    Won by 2 – 7/10 Goals Completed

    Continue reading “June Goals”
    Chatting · Monthly Goals

    May Goals

    Hi, survived this month haha. For those of you who don’t follow my tumblr blog-turned-diary, May was absolutely insane. None of you want to hear about the comedy of errors that were my personal life, so suffice to say, I barely touched a document for the past several weeks. I’m still dealing with some burnout while I play catchup – a writer’s block of the “just thinking about tackling these projects sounds so exhausting I don’t even want to acknowledge them” variety. Also, many apologizes for this post coming late; I didn’t have time to finish it before leaving for work. Hopefully, a few days of serious rest and refilling my creative well through other means will help get me back on track, but until I can kick my catatonic brain back into action, let’s review what I salvaged of this month!

    Won by 2.5 points: 5.5 out of 6 goals completed

    Continue reading “May Goals”