How I Edit My Stories

Happy Friday!

In honour of Camp NaNoWriMo (which I am failing!), I thought it would be fun to share my editing process. I always like reading about how other people write and edit, and I thought it would also be a great way to inspire you to finally sit down and work on your current WIP.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy 🙂

STEP ONE: What Type of Edits Am I Doing?

This is where I like to start off on; asking myself what type of editing my story requires. If you are unaware, the three main types of editing are substantive editing (content editing), copy editing (grammar, sentence structure, etc), and proofreading (formatting errors like a missing period, sentence indentation, etc…small things). Usually, each round of edits I do contains the first two types. I will look for content mistakes as well as grammar mistakes because I find it hard to not change a misspelled word or delete a repeated word if I see one. Proofreading is always left for last though.

Some people like to focus on one at a time, and even recommend doing substantive edits first and then copy edits. I found that for me, I have a hard time ignoring the copy edits so I just do both at the same time. I will say, doing both at once does mean you have to comb through the manuscript a few extra times (sometimes), but I have not had a problem doing that with speed and efficiency. Like writing, it is important to figure out what process works best for you.

STEP TWO: Remind Yourself, or Determine Your Word Goal

As an someone who overwrites, I always write with a goal in mind but sometimes (or most of the time), I easily surpass it. Over the years, I’ve found it easier to just keep writing and worry about that later though. When I finish writing the story, I will figure out what word count I need it to be and that will be another task in the editing process.

An excellent example of this is when I was writing my Aztec story in March. My word goal was 17,000 because it was for a writing contest and that was the maximum word count. However, my final draft was 22,000 words! That is 5,000 words over the limit but yes, I did manage to cut it down to 16,999 words. That is why I recommend not worrying about your word count while writing. Just write. Even if it seems daunting, you really can get your story to wear it needs to be. When reading your story over and over, and editing it over and over, you understand what needs to be in it and what does not. So, go into editing with a word goal in mind.

STEP THREE: Set Daily or Weekly Editing Goals and a Final Deadline

I like to set a page count goal per day when it comes to editing. Although, maybe your goal is to edit for two hours every day. Figure out what works best for you, and what allows you to get your editing done in a productive and timely manner. It is then important to set a deadline. This can help you figure out what your daily or weekly goal too, if you are unsure of how much you need to get done each day/week.

Right now, I am freelance editing and working on a 220 pages manuscript. I was given a month deadline which is coming up this Sunday, but I was able to finish two rounds of edits a couple days early because I stuck to my daily goals. For the first round, my goal was to edit eight pages per day, six times a week. When it came to the second round, I wanted to edit faster so I switched my goal to 15 pages per day, five times a week. It has worked really well and as of yesterday, I was able to finish them. This allowed me to give one final skim through to make sure I did not miss anything, and not feel rushed when submitting my client the edits.

STEP FOUR: Time to Edit!

Once I figure out my plan for editing, I get right into it. I like to edit with lo-fi music playing, whether that is in my headphones or on my computer screen with the ChilledCow videos playing (if you know, you know).

I like to get all my writing related tasks done in the morning. Before, I gave myself from 9-12 but since I am not currently writing anything new (I always decide to take a break during Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo, as I always manage to do), I have switched it to 10-12. Since I am also working with a client right now, that is my top priority so I like to work on that first thing. It takes me anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour to get my editing done for the day. It’s nice to have a schedule because then you aren’t spending your whole day editing! As a writer and overall creative person, you have other projects to devote time to. Having a schedule and a goal allows you to work on them.

STEP FIVE: The Final Round

Proofreading is essential and I feel like a lot of people wave it off after they finish four rounds of substantive and copy edits. However, I have caught so many mistakes while proofreading even though I had just gone over it four times before. I like to do at least one round of proofreading, but I do try to do two if I have the time. It’s is incredibly important and should not be overlooked!

If a project is short, like the one I am working on, I like to do two to three rounds of edits. However, if it is longer, I like to tack on an extra round or two. If it is already a polished manuscript though, sometimes it needs less editing because I barely found anything the first time. If it is not polished, sometimes it will need more work and care. It all depends on the project!

 

Those are all the steps I take in my editing process and I hope you found it interesting and helpful. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts because yes, I am finally posting to my Instagram again!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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A Nostalgic Unhaul!

Happy Monday!

I hope you are all doing well and had a relaxing weekend! My Saturday was filled with reading and writing (and stressing over computer science) while my Sunday was a little more stressful because I still work once a week on Sundays. My workplace is an “essential business” so I am very fortunate to still have my very part-time job during these crazy times. While it is not fun working in customer service right now, working keeps a sense of normalcy in my life which is appreciated.

Anyways, today I wanted to share allll the books I am getting rid of! That is, once things go back to normal and the bookstores open up so I can give them these books. Nonetheless, these are the books I never read and do not plan to read, second copies of books I already own, or ones I read and want to forget that I ever opened them up in the first place!

Passing for Human by Liana Finck

Passing for Human by Liana Finck: 9780525508922 ...

This was assigned reading for one of my English classes and it is a graphic memoir. I did enjoy it and got through it quickly, but it is something I just do not plan on reading again. If you like reading graphic memoirs, I do recommend this one because her simple drawing style blends really well with the story.

Red Queen & Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Spoiler Free Review | "Glass Sword" by Victoria Aveyard | Books ...

I read this book when it first came out and was getting an insane amount of hype. However, while I did not mind it back then, I know I would not enjoy it now. I do not remember much about the plot at all, which I think speaks to how I felt about it. As for the second book, Glass Sword, I never even picked it up!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling - Wikipedia

Graceling was another popular YA book several years ago and I kept making plans to read it but as it goes, I never did. It also is not what I am looking to read at the moment, and it hasn’t been in a while, so I thought it would be better to just unhaul it.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall (2017) - IMDb

I remember Lauren Oliver being all the rage in early YA days and this was the first and only book I read from her. I didn’t…mind it, but it was so long for a contemporary that it just dragged and dragged and dragged on. There is a movie starring Zoey Deutch which was also just…okay, but I even prefer that to the book. So yeah, sorry Before I Fall, but it is time to go.

Hush Hush & Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Review: Hush, Hush and Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick » Girlz Lyfe ...

Another very popular YA series and while younger me had intentions of reading it, I never did and definitely do not now. I used to be a HUGE fan of the trashy YA novels where the new boy/girl would come and catch the eye of our main character or main love interest, but after being an avid read for like nine years, it just gets a bit repetitive. And from what I know about these books, that is exactly what this story is.

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Amazon.ca: Kinsella, Sophie: Books

I think I found this book for really cheap at a used bookstore and picked it up because I heard of the movie, but as expected, I never read it! I also do not plan on reading it so time to find it a better home.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars (book series) - Wikipedia

Do you see a pattern? Pretty Little Liars is also another once-was-popular YA book that I didn’t read during its prime and now don’t want to read at all…especially since I heard the TV show is so different which, younger me was a HUGE fan of it. I know if I did try to read the book, I would be expected the same plot as the show.

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancy

The Infinite Sea: The Second Book of the 5th Wave: Amazon.ca ...

Now, I did read this book and I will just say I am getting rid of it because it was one of the worst books I have ever read. It was the sequel to The Fifth Wave which I really enjoyed, but nothing happened in this book! I cannot believe I am only unhauling it now. It was also filled with POVs from characters I could care less about. I do not even think I DNFed this book either, I just pushed through the pain.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Twilight (Meyer novel) - Wikipedia

To join the bandwagon a few years ago, I skimmed this book. Skimmed very, very fast just to say I did read it. Did I continue? Ha, no. Do I plan to? Ha, no. I unhauled the rest of the series a while ago, but thought I would keep the first one because…well, actually I don’t know why!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol: With Original Illustrations In Full Color ...

This was assigned reading for my Victorian literature class from last semester, and I didn’t mind it. I do not plan on reading it again, but the biggest reason I am unhauling it is because I already own a copy. My Nana gave me a bunch of classic novels when I was younger and A Christmas Carol was one of them. I don’t really need two copies and would rather keep the one that has sentimental value to me.

Well, those are all the books I am unhauling (once I can)! I hope you enjoyed my post for today and don’t forget to check out my post from last Friday, which you can find down below along with all of my social media accounts.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Children of Blood and Bone Has Too Much Hype?

Amazon.com: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha ...

Before we get into today’s blog post, I wanted to announce that due to suddenly having more time in my day-to-day life, I will be posting on Mondays AND Fridays! I do not know how long this will last, but hopefully until the end of the summer. I am excited because I’ve planned content for the next month and all of posts are on topics that I am incredibly interested in and cannot wait to share!

Anyways, onto today’s post:

What inspired me to write this post is my experience reading Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, which I am reading for my children’s literature class. This book has a very unusual story which I will be diving into, along with my thoughts on the book and the hype it has received. I do want to say that this is not a review and it does not include spoilers. I just wanted to give an overview of my thoughts on the book without diving too deep into the story, but more of how the book community reacted to it.

You are probably asking yourself why I am only talking about Children of Blood and Bone now…and the reason is because I didn’t read about it until now and I have a lot of things to say…to say the least.

If you did not know, Children of Blood and Bone came out around this time two years ago, and even before its release, there was an immense amount of praise surrounding it. All of this hype even landed the author a three movie book deal and she has not even published three books in this series! One reason for this hype was the diversity of the book. This fantasy, young adult novel includes an all black cast as it is heavily influenced by West African mythology, which is something we (sadly) have not seen a lot of in the YA community. Especially, in the fantasy genre. I, myself, was incredibly excited for this book and the steps forward it was bringing YA stories.

This was all before it was released. Once it finally dropped into the world, the hype appeared to hold strong for most people as it was still talked about everywhere. For the months surrounding its publication, it was the young adult book I heard the most about. Tomi Adeyemi was interviewed on a lot of the podcasts that I subscribe to and her book was on every YouTube channel I watched. Yet, I still did not read it until two whole years later.

Now, I am over 400 pages into it with about 100 left to go. It has been interesting only reading this book now after already having having so many interactions with it. I was excited to finally sit down and explore this beloved story and I am surprised to say that I do not really understand the hype.

I am a huge fantasy reader, especially when it includes mythology and other cultures. As I have mentioned many times before, I am working on a story inspired by Aztec mythology so to say I was looking forward to diving into West African mythology is a bit of an understatement. Nonetheless, this book for whatever reason, is just not doing it for me. Well, actually, that is a lie. There are reasons and these are the three main ones:

  1. The characters all feel surface level to me

I do not know if it is only me, but these characters do not bring anything different to the table. They have motivations, wants, and needs, but I just cannot empathize or even sympathize with any of them. There is not one that I like more than the other, I have an indifference to them all that has not shifted once since the beginning of the story.

2. The plot line is too familiar

I know Tomi Adeyemi has publicly said this book was influenced by Sabaa Tahir’s, An Ember in the Ashes (which I am a HUGE fan of), but I see too many elements of Ember in Children of Blood and Bone that it takes me out of the book. The other parts of the plot are also just too predictable. There has not been one plot point that I was not expecting and took me by surprise, instead, I anticipate the characters’ actions and the direction of the plot without even trying.

3. The romance

I won’t explicitly spoil anything…other than it is an enemy to lover’s romance. I do like the trope but only when it is done well. In this book, I feel like one moment the characters hate each other and then on the next page, they are suddenly in love.

I know you are probably wondering why I am discussing this book when I haven’t even finished it, and the reason is that I might not finish it. Yes, I am so close to the end, but whenever I pick it up I cannot help but think of all the other books I want to be reading. You get to a point in a story where it does not seem worth it to keep going and I am far past that point. The only reason I’ve kept going is because it was assigned for school.

If this book was not so hyped up, I might like it more than I do. The writing has the nostalgic early YA feeling that I like and while the plot is predictable, I can get through around 20 pages of it at a time. I think hyping books up in the rare way Children of Blood and Bone was can have a damaging effect on the book and story itself. I think this because I know I am not the only one who felt this way towards Children of Blood and Bone. My friend in the class I have to read it for read it faster than me and noted all of the same things I did when I finally got further into the book.

That is not saying it is a bad book! I think it is important to the YA community and I am still looking forward to the movies when they premiere. Will I continue on with the series though? Probably not.

However, if you have not read it, do not take my word for it! Give it a try because there are so many people who loved the book. I just wanted to share my thoughts and reflection on Children of Blood and Bone, and the hype that circulated it even before its release.

That is all for my post today and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Staying Postive and Productive: Ideas, Tips + Tricks

Hellooo,

Before I get into this blog post, I wanted to share something super exciting. Recently, I have become a writer for Flanelle Magazine and my first article was posted on the 18th talking all about the importance of keeping art alive during this crisis. It is meant to be uplifting, positive, and inspiring, so go check it out by clicking the link down below. It would mean a lot!

COVID-19: The importance of keeping art alive in quarantine

Now, back to business.

I thought it would be helpful to share a post on how to keep positive and productive during all that is happening right now. It is easy to get caught up in the negativity of it all (trust me, I know), but I want to help steer you back to the bright sides. Those are that now, a lot of us have time we didn’t have before. There is a downside to that of course because, for some, they have lost their jobs and in no way am I discounting that. However, how I see it, is that there is nothing any of us can do to change that at the moment. Anyways, with this time we are offered the opportunity to try new things, work on things we might have neglected, and overall, have more time to ourselves which is important and often overlooked.

Today, I will be sharing some ideas, tips, and tricks on how to stay positive and productive while also not ignoring what is going on around the world.

Idea #1: Start a Journal

I used to journal a lot, but ever since I started first-year, I haven’t kept up with it as much. However, lately, I have been making an effort to get back into journaling since it is all about letting go of the negative things you may be feeling and reflecting on your life. I haven’t been journaling every day, but I have been trying to a few times a week or whenever I am feeling especially discouraged. I highly recommend it during a time like this. It is so therapeutic and sometimes, I find myself writing for anywhere from 15-40 minutes.

Idea #2: Explore a New Creative Hobby

I emphasize on the word “creative” hobby because as I talk about in my article linked above, being creative and creating art has a huge effect on how you feel, think, and act during somber times. Whether you want to get better at baking, painting, writing, or photography, take advantage of the time you have right now to improve and explore that creative realm. For more on this, check out my article here.

Idea #3: Create a Schedule for Yourself

Whether you did this before self-isolation or not, I encourage you to make some sort of daily schedule for yourself even if it is a very loose one. Having this structure that we are used to because of school, work, etc and not losing it by creating one that fits our new, home lives is essential to keeping busy, productive, and happy.

For example, I am still working at my job (once a week though because I still have school work to do) on Sundays so my “weekends” have become Fridays and Saturdays. Anyways, on weekdays, I will wake up at 7:30am, read from 8am-9am, and then get started on any work I have to do. This includes schoolwork, my own writing, and writing for my jobs. I will do this until around 4pm or 5pm and any time after that will be spent watching movies, going for a walk, or whatever else keeping in touch with friends and family. I have also been trying to exercise a few times a week which is either me going on a run or working out at home. This has helped me stay sane during everything, and I really recommend incorporating something of a schedule into your life.

Tip #1: Surround Your Productive Plans with Fun Plans

I have found that while always working at home and not being able to go sit in the library or in a coffee shop to change up my environment can be discouraging and really deplete my energy, making plans to call someone or watch a movie with my family helps to ensure I push forward. I recommend making these “fun” plans something social, or at least, sometimes something social. However, if you limit how often you watch TV, movies, read, etc by yourself, those will also work! It helps keep you on track because you look at your schedule and are like “okay, I have plans to FaceTime, my friend, at 7pm so I have to get everything done by then otherwise I can’t call them.”. It is like the equivelent of making dinner plans or just going out and realizing that yes, you still have to get your work done.

Tip #2: Make Going Outside a Priority

It’s weird that something as small as going outside has become so prioritized in everyone’s lives now. It is so important to take a walk every day or sit in your backyard a few times a day during self-isolation. I would even say that going outside could be your “fun” plan for when you get your work done. Nonetheless, schedule it into your daily routine every single day because you will find that it is easier to stay motivated and positive while getting your daily dose of fresh air.

Trick #1: Plan Future Endeavours…Even When You Don’t Know When They are Going to Happen

One thing that is time-consuming and keeps my spirits up is planning for trips that could happen in the next couple of months. I don’t recommend putting money into booking a hotel or a plane ticket quite yet, but spending time researching places and fun excursions to do once self-isolation is over will really help you to look into the future rather being too stuck in the present. I also recommend finding people to do them with!

Those are all my ideas, tips, and tricks to keeping positive and productive in the next few weeks and I hope you found them helpful! Make sure to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Thanks for reading and stay healthy!

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Reading on a Budget

IMG_1647

Happy Friday!

Being a broke university student, I have been thinking about how I read and how much money I have saved this year regarding books.

Here are my tips for reading on a budget whether you are a student or just want to become more conscious of where your money is going. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or ideas because I would love to know!

#1 – Library Books

This is the obvious one, which is why I am getting it out of the way right now. But yes, libraries are the best and cheapest way to read because they are free! A lot of people do not own a library card which is crazy because the library is such an amazing resource not only for reading but for connecting with other lovers of books. I am always taking out library books to keep up with new releases that I want to read. I request them from my library before they are even out and then I am usually the first or second person to get them! Most libraries also offer free audiobooks and ebooks through different apps. For example, my library uses CloudLibrary. It’s an obvious tip but here is your reminder to use your local library!

#2 – Borrowing from Friends

I know some people are hesitant about lending their precious books out but I have never been one of those people. I love to share my books with my friends and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy forcing them to read my favourite books. My boyfriend and I give each other book recommendations and lend books to one another all the time. Once I am done my current reads for school, I will be picking up Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson because he highly recommended it to me. I’ve also read 1984 by George Orwell at his request and in return I have shoved The Outsider by Albert Camus and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid at him. The point is, sharing is caring.

#3 – Save Buying Books for Special Occasions!

Something I have been experimenting with is saving my book buying for a special occasion. If I get through a really hard week or if one of my most anticipated books is coming out, I will use that reason to treat myself. However, don’t do this too often during the month. I will only buy one book a month maximum not only to save money but to keep the book-buying a special thing. It’s also a helpful tactic to limit my book buying and rely more on libraries because my collection is reaching the 300s and there are still so many books I haven’t read yet that are still sitting on my shelf and gathering dust.

#3.5 – Read a Chapter and Decide

If you want to treat yourself to a book for the month but don’t know which one to choose, whether there are just so many you want or if you want to pick a book you know nothing about, I have a method that works pretty well for me. What I do is I choose three books from the shelves based on the cover or maybe because I heard of it before. I take those books and read the first chapter of each one. Whichever one hooked me the most is then the one I get. Although, if you go into a bookstore and nothing stands out to you then maybe think about saving your money. Treat yourself to something different or wait until there is a book you really want.

#4 – Online Resources

First things first, I do not mean illegally pirating books off the internet. What I mean by this is that lots of older novels, poems, short stories, etc can be found online for free. I discovered this since I am taking a class on Victorian literature and for it, we have a massive textbook that I often do not feel like lugging around. So, one day, I searched up the poems I had to read for class and what do you know! I found them on the poetryfoundation.org website. Later on, I realized the novellas we had/have to read are also on there. Those stories are A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. If you are into classics and whatnot, search the title of it and add “pdf” to the end of your search and it may just pop up.

Well, there you have it! Those are my four and a half tips on reading on a budget. I hope you found it helpful and insightful in your reading life. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media which is all linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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March 2020 TBR

Happy Friday!

Today, I thought it would be fun to share the books I plan on finishing and reading in the month of March. I cannot believe it is already March, which happens to be the last full month of classes for me. Things are already starting to pick up with school but I just know March will be absolute chaos. However, I still plan on reading a couple of books and I am very excited to dive into them!

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

See the source image

This is my current read and it is for my children’s lit class. I had low expectations going into it, but I am not disliking it like I expected to. It isn’t amazing, but it has been fun to read and immerse myself into a classic children’s novel which is something I haven’t done in a long time. Currently, I am just over 100 pages in this almost 500 paged novel, but I am hoping to get it finished by the end of next week. Fingers crossed!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Finally, finally, finally, I have picked up this beloved book. It is for my children’s lit class as well, but I get so excited to sit down with this book every time that it does not feel like it is required reading for school. While it is not mind-blowing, the story is so fun and the writing is great. It has a very classic YA feel to it which I am really enjoying. It actually reminds me of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (which I want to re-read in the near future since we are finally getting a release date for the fourth and final book!) which makes sense since in a podcast I listened to, Adeyemi mentioned that Ember was a huge inspiration for her. I am also around 100 or so pages into this book and want to try and finish it sometime next week!

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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This is another school read and while I read this book in the summertime, I remember next to nothing about this Victorian novella. I don’t have to read this until mid-March, but despite its short length, I know it will take me some time to get into it so I plan on jumping into it in the next week. Also, I want to read it ASAP because I have to choose if I want to write my term paper on it or A Christmas Carol. I was not a huge fan of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde when I first read it, but maybe the second time around will be better?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

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Recently, I watched the movie version of this book with my boyfriend and with his coaxing, I have decided to pick up the book. This is very different from what I usually read as I don’t tend to pick up semi-biographical, political novels, but after enjoying the movie, I have high hopes for the book. It might take me a bit to get through it, but I am excited to see how much I will like following Hunter S. Thompson on his crazy, drug-infused adventures.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

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I swear I blinked and suddenly this book is less than a week from release…even though the date kept getting pushed back. I don’t even know too much about this book other than it follows Tessa and Will’s children. I am very much looking forward to immersing myself in this time period of Edwardian England and seeing the Infernal Devices trio: Tessa, Will, and Jem. This comes out on March 3rd and you bet I will be at the bookstore that day to buy it. It is a pretty big book (544 pages) though so even though I doubt I will finish it in March I will at least start it!

Those are the four books I plan on reading in the month of March and I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you plan to read this month because I would love to know.

Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Reading on Vacation

book pic

Happy Tuesday and Happy New Years Eve!

Since I am currently on vacation, I thought it would be funny to write up a post about my experiences (and struggles) with reading. Right now, I am in Hawaii with nine of my family members and because there are so many of us, we are constantly in close proximity. I’ve managed to get a fair amount of reading done, but there have been some obstacles along the way that make me realize bringing three books and buying one along the way while I am here might have been overestimating my reading skills just a little bit.

Problem #1: Suddenly Everything is Fascinating to Look At

The spot outside I have been reading in is facing and surrounded by palm trees and bushes sprouting colourful flowers. I will sit back in my chair with a hot cup of coffee, ready to tackle the next 30-40 pages of whatever I am reading, only for a bird with a red tuft on his head and white feathers to fly past me. Suddenly, I am staring at the bird and like five minutes has passed by. Five minutes where I did not read a single page. It isn’t just the birds that do this to me. Sometimes I will stare out at the ocean and just watch the waves for a couple minutes. Or other times, a breeze will go through and my eyes are suddenly trained on the moving leaves. Not only was it easy for me to get distracted BEFORE, but now there is a huge new array of things to get distracted by.

Problem #2: Interruptions

I cannot express how many times I will be sitting outside, finally getting into the groove of reading…and then that all crashes and burns in front of my face because my brother just came out to tell me that there is a cockroach in the backyard. To be honest, this is the problem I deal with the least, but there are a lot of us squished in this house and therefore, the reader’s most dreaded problem of being interrupted mid-read is inevitable.

Problem #3: Energy Spikes at 9am

Hawaii is two hours behind where I live so I have been waking up on the early side. At least, what is considered the early side for a university student who has spent the past four months waking up at 7:30am every day to go to school. However, now I have been waking up around 7am Hawaii time and then reading by 7:30 or 8am. Every single day though, we have started going to the beach or to town or out or food by 9am and suddenly, I am not back at the house until 4pm. It has become a race to get as much read as I can before I am shoved out of the house to explore Hawaii (which I am not complaining about). Back home, I would not even think of going out and being active before 12pm if I had the option, but now even the people who would hold us up back home are waking up at 8am.

Problem #4: Energy Depletes at 4pm

I have never been a napper, but after swimming in Hawaii’s monstrous waves or hiking up Diamond Head in the heat, I am ready to drop by the time 4pm rolls around. So, if I don’t get any reading done in the morning, there is no way any books will be opened again. Every single day I have been ready to nap around 4:30pm and I have succeeded too. I will wake up, it will be getting dark or already dark when that does happen.

Problem #5: Even on Vacation, THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS TO READ

On my trip, I brought Scythe by Neal Shusterman, 1984 by George Orwell and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. However, a few days ago, I also picked up The Last Magician from a book shop here because it was super cheap. If you have seen The Last Magician, even in paperback, you know that it is not a small book either. Anyways, it is safe to say I have my choices.

Anyways, that is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked down below. Keep an eye out for my next post which will most likely be my favourite books of the year! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Books I Am Bringing to Hawaii!

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NaNoWriMo – No Writing Novemeber

Hellooo, long time no see…again.

To say the least, it is only November 12 yet I have already failed NaNoWriMo. I haven’t written one single word of one of my NaNoWriMo projects and honestly, cannot see any getting written before the month is over. I did not anticipate the fast-paced month as much as I should have. It is only halfway through November and I have only just had time to pause and write a blog post. I cannot even remember the past 12 days because they have been a blur of assignments, appointments and stress!

On top of the sudden rapid finish of the semester, since I have less than a month of the semester left, I started weekly chiropractor appointments for my back. Nothing specifically happened to trigger me going to the chiropractor other than my mom works at one and after years spent hunched over the computer, even at age 18, my back is starting to feel it. This has also been a contributing factor to me completely neglecting my writing because after writing my English assignments on my laptop, my shoulders and back muscles cry at the thought of spending an extra hour at it.

I am not being too hard on myself though. I wrote a poem for my English department’s poetry contest and it was a nice way to dip my toes back into creative writing. I haven’t stopped planning and brainstorming story ideas either, which has been a key creative outlet I turn to when I am too busy (or distracted) to actually write. I know that once the semester finishes and since I don’t have that many exams, I will be able to use my newfound time during the break to work on my writing. However, I am going on a huge family vacation for about 10 days towards the end of December. Hopefully, I will still manage to be productive during that time.

But yes, basically NaNoWriMo has been a flop. This is the first time in three or so years where I haven’t at least wrote something in November, it feels a little weird. That’s how life goes sometimes though, and we all have to remember that it’s okay.

Anyways, thanks for reading this ramble and staying with me during this silent time on my blog! I appreciate you all and hopefully, I will be coming up with a new blog post soon. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media, which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: It Begins With the Book by Zoe Mathers

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It Begins With the Book by Zoe Mathers

It begins with the book.

You started reading it the week before school. Your very first week of university. You made it to page seventy-two and are already both knees deep in the world and best friends with the characters. The night before school starts you read twenty more pages before placing it on the nightstand next to your bed and turning out the light.

The first day of school is a blur of racing from concrete building to concrete building and trying to remember that the concrete building with the blue door is where you history class is. The concrete building with the orange door is where your philosophy class is. After hearing the drone of your philosophy prof’s voice though, you hope you forget that your philosophy class is in the concrete building with the orange door and discover the coffee shop next to it instead.

The first day of school is a blur of faces. Some stick out more than the rest. Mostly the ones with bright smiles and who said hello to you first. You meet Michael. Michael is also a first year in history. He has floppy dark curls and a big grin that makes you smile back even though you’re so nervous your knees are bouncing. Michael makes you forget that your book is in your bag, the one you were going to read before class started and the one you read twenty pages of last night. He is the reason you forget to pick it up when you’re sitting on the grass during your fifty minute break. Instead, you stare out at the trees and the students walking by. The ones that dart past like bees narrowing in on a flower are all visibly first years. Their shoes are shiny, their coats aren’t missing any of their buttons, and their faces are slathered in makeup. The second, third, and fourth years all languidly stroll past you.

A lot of them have cracked, leather satchels and glasses sliding down the bridge of their nose.

That night you sit in bed on your phone. The book is still in your bag and the bookmark is still stuck between pages seventy-one and seventy-two. You found Michael’s Instagram after approximately fifteen minutes of scrolling through boys named Michael with floppy dark curls. He is from somewhere in Vancouver. He has, or had, a lot of friends. Lots of them are pretty, blonde girls all holding cups probably filled with beer or vodka or some other drink that would make your stomach twist. One boy with dark skin and short hair comes up in a lot of Michael’s pictures. Their arms are wrapped around each other. Their cheeks are pressed together.

You guess Michael and you will only ever be friends.

You put your phone down and turn off the light. The book still sits in your bag and it sits in your bag for the next night, and the night after that. Soon, its home becomes the bag.

It begins with the book but it moves on to other things too.

It’s almost October. School is three weeks deep into your life and already, its claws have torn it up into a shredded mess. You are struggling to keep the pieces from flying away. You are chasing and shoving them in your bag where your book still sits. When it fills up, you stuff them under your arms and even in your mouth.

In the second week of school, you lost your soccer ball. You thought you left it underneath the deck of your parents house, where it always is, but when you checked, it vanished. You miss kicking it down the field. You miss the wind against your face, in your hair and cushioning you as you bring the ball to the net.

It begins with the book, but it took your soccer ball too.

You don’t look for your soccer ball again. All the time spent busing to your parents house and then looking for it took away time from your history paper. The five page one on Canadian women in the second World War. It was due at midnight that night and you barely finished it because you spent all that time looking for your soccer ball. When you get your paper back, the mark makes you cringe and think about the soccer ball.

You could just buy a new one, but you don’t.

It’s a couple days into October now. The leaves are brown and their corpses stick to the soles of your shoes. The wind is blocked by your sweater as you hurry home, but you still shiver because you’re always cold now.

There is a bookstore on the walk home from the bus stop. You used to stare in the windows and then go in when you couldn’t hold yourself back. You would browse the shelves slowly and carefully, your eyes not leaving a single book behind. You would sit in the designated reading chair hidden between the young adult and children’s section and devour the first chapter of a book before buying it. Or decide it was bad and choose another.

But now you walk past the bookstore and stare into its empty, dark abyss cradled by the window. It’s closed and your reflected face is the only thing you see.

You walk away.

In your room there is a stack of unread books that you made for yourself at the beginning of the year. Before school started. You had plans to get through that stack of five books before the end of the semester. Your bookmark is still wedged between page seventy-one and seventy-two in the book that is still hiding in your bag and has been since the first day.

There is a brand new soccer ball that sits in the shadows underneath your bed. Your uncle got it for you because the reason you couldn’t find your ball is because his dog chewed it up. You haven’t touched it or even taken off the wrapping.

When you get home, you either pull out your laptop and binge YouTube or go over your lecture notes on Canadian history, or you just sit there. You sit there and think about things that don’t mean anything. You think about Michael who you haven’t spoken to since the second day of school when you sat next to him but he was already talking to the boy with sandy hair and glasses. You think about all the parties on campus you missed because you were nose deep in a book. Not your books, but the books they make you read for school. The ones where when you open them and the words seem to run together into blots of ink that make absolutely no sense. You think about your kind-of-friends. The ones who you see on only on Friday nights. Even then, all you guys do is sit around, drink beer (which doesn’t make your stomach twist anymore) and watch “Friends”. Occasionally you all laugh at something or complain about homework. Usually the only talking between friends is the conversations of the two-dimensional ones on the TV.

And then finally, you think about the book you still haven’t finished. The one lying in your bag. The part you read was good. You wanted to know what would happen next. You still do.

You pull your bag into your lap and yank it out. A corner is creased and the cover feels a little damp.

You peel open the first page and then to where your bookmark is. You read the first word and then the second word. Soon you’re done the page and you’re sprawled out on your bed. The world in the story rises up around you and devours you without warning. But you don’t mind. The characters reach out for you, hands grabbing yours before pulling you in headfirst. But you wanted them to.

You are pretty sure you had an assignment due about an hour ago, but you don’t care. The book is better. The story brings you back alive as if you’ve been Frankensteined after years of being dead. Something flickers inside of you. It’s warm and faint, but as the pages fly by it grows hotter and brighter.

It begins with the book and then the soccer ball.

It took them both from you. It took the things that lit your spirit with brilliant colour but now you have enlightened the cold, empty space it left behind.

You need this book.

You need this soccer ball.

You were lost without the things that gave you life. You lost your way along the walkway with a dozen different paths all heading into a grey haze. You lost your way among the anxious crowd of other students all stumbling in every direction. You aren’t sure which ones to follow. You aren’t sure who knows where they are going. It takes you a while to realize that no one knows that yet.

But finally, a light has flickered in the distance.

 

Well, that was my random short story that kind of sums up the basic idea of what I have been feeling lately…It has been a struggle trying to find myself again and reconnect with the things that I love to do and make me, well, me. Without them, I’ve felt a little lost but I am slowly reconnecting with them again.

I hope you enjoyed, and don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Last Blog Post: Am I Participating in NaNoWriMo?

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Am I Participating in NaNoWriMo?

Happy Thanksgiving for all you other Canadians!

I thought it was time to give a little update on where I’m at with my writing and if I am going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year since it’s only been recently that I’ve gotten back into blogging. I’ve been going back and forth about it a lot because it’s only been recently since I managed to get a grasp on managing my time and passions. However, I decided that I do really want to try NaNoWriMo this year and just see how it goes. Honestly, even last year when I had more time to write I struggled with it, so I am a little skeptical about me getting anywhere near 50,000 words this November. Might as well try though because me attempting NaNoWriMo this year is all about trying to get back into the routine of writing.

But yes! I am participating, or at least attempting to participate, in NaNoWriMo 2019. I am not 100% sure which story I am going to be focusing on, but I’ve been slowly planning out both so either I’ll decide right before Novemeber, or I will switch between them during the month. One is a fun, “trying-to-get-back-into-writing” story while the other is the Aztec mythology one I’ve been working on for over two years. I am really excited to get back into writing, and hopefully this will push me to write a little bit every day even amongst the rest of life going on because that is something I haven’t done in a while! I miss writing constantly and having it be a prominent aspect of my life. It is the same with reading. I read a lot for my degree but it isn’t the same as reading for my own enjoyment. Once again, once I get a better grasp on managing my time, I will be able to easily fit both into my schedule which I cannot wait for.

Oh! Another writing-related update is that I have decided to become a double major (this could change, but as of now, I am pretty set on the idea) in English AND writing. I did not want to just major in writing, but I really enjoy the idea of having to make time for my own writing. Even if it is an assignment, once you get past the first year level of writing courses which I have, you get a lot more freedom with your stories that you hand in and share with your critique groups. You are also supposed to pick to genres to specialize in at first, so I’ve decided to choose fiction and creative non-fiction. Let’s see if I actually follow through with this, but I hope I do because it would bring creative writing back into my life for the rest of my school years which is really important to me. I never realized how much I needed writing until I stopped for an entire month.

Anyways, that was a little, rambly update for you all on my writing and thoughts about NaNoWriMo this year! Stay tuned because the next blog post should be a random short story I wrote which I think will be a lot of fun to share as it is the first short story I’ve written since I’ve slowly gotten back into writing.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Last Blog Post: 5 Writing Prompts for Fall!

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