5 Ways to stay productive during quarantine

5 easy ways to ensure productivity and motivation while stuck at home.

Happy Monday!

Today, I am bringing you my top 5 ways to stay productive (and sane) during quarantine. These are simple things you can do to infuse in your everyday routine and are activities that I have found very helpful.

I know the online world is exploding with content like this, but I do think it is really helpful. Seeing YouTubers and bloggers posting their “Quarantine Day-in-the-life” and “how to stay motivated” videos and posts remind us all that we are in this together. Also, sometimes we need a reminder of how to stay productive and upbeat during these trying times. Which is what I am hoping to do today!

1. Be Creative Every Day

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If you didn’t know, I am a writer at Flanelle Magazine (which you can check out if you click HERE) and a month or so ago, I wrote a blog post called “COVID-19: The importance of keeping art alive in quarantine” and it highlights WHY we need to stay creative and artistic during this time. If you want to read it (which I recommend you do!), you can find the link to it right HERE. It will help you understand why you should be creative every day, and then the rest of this post will show you HOW you exactly you can do that.

Anyways, enough of the shameless self-promo!

First off, when I think of creativity and “being creative,” I think of the act of creating things. So, that is what I mean when I say be creative every day…create things daily. This will boost your mood and keep you busy. Whether it is writing for 30 minutes in the morning or unwinding at night by following a Bob Ross painting tutorial, include something creative into your everyday routine (which means it is important to HAVE a daily routine, but I am sure you’ve heard that from enough people…but make one!).

Some other creative things you can do are:

  • Write in a journal
  • Re-decorate your room
  • Collage
  • Sew and re-vamp your wardrobe
  • Learn how to draw
  • Create a bullet journal
  • Start a YouTube channel, blog, Instagram account, etc
  • Garden or grow things on your window sill

2. Become Friends with Time Blocking

I found it hard to utilize time blocking while in school and living my normal, not quarantined life, but while being stuck at home, I have found this tactic so helpful.

What is time blocking?

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Time blocking is when you dedicate chunks of time throughout the day to a specific task. For example, I have been dedicated 10 am – 12 pm to work on writing-related tasks. This includes my creative writing and writing blog posts. That way, it is done for the rest of the day and I can focus on the other things I need to get done. 12 pm – 1 pm is dedicated to working out, and then 3 pm – 6 pm is for my Coursera or school-related work.

Using this productivity method makes sure you are staying busy. You can go into the day knowing what you are doing which I find crucial with everything so up in the air nowadays.

Don’t forget to time block breaks too! Time blocking is important to ensure productivity, but every productive block requires a break too. For example, I take from 1 pm (or whenever I finish my workout) until 3 pm to do whatever. Sometimes, I will read, watch Netflix or play Fallout 4. But that time is my afternoon break time and it is incredibly important because it refuels my energy and allows me to stay motivated for the rest of the day.

3. Do Something New and Different Every Day

This is a tip you can combine with being creative every day because that new activity you want to try could be learning how to draw or starting a window sill garden. Or whatever other creative tasks you want to tackle.

While I enjoy having a strict routine right now, I have found that the days just blend together. Including something new and different every day keeps them as exciting and refreshing as they can be. It seems small, but it really does make a difference.

Some new and different things you can try:

  • Start a New Course (I have been loving Coursera for this, and guess what! You can audit most of their courses for FREE)
  • Learn a language
  • Pick up a new hobby like gardening, knitting, or baking
  • If you can go outside, find a new hiking trail (but don’t forget to social distance!)
  • Switch up your morning or night routine
    • Let yourself sleep in later or start reading in the mornings
    • Or at night, start taking take a bath before bed or watching an episode of a TV show

4. Develop a Reward System

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Sometimes, we are too hard on ourselves for not being “productive enough.” I know I am. Even if it is a Saturday, a day I should and want to spend relaxing, I cannot help but feel anxious about not working on my Coursera work or writing. It ends up ruining my whole day and I have been working on finding out how to combat this. I realized developing a rewards system is a method that has positive results for me. It also gives me more energy for that week and the weeks to come. A rewards system increases my productivity if anything. 

I am very good at keeping myself busy, and I would keep myself on a go-go-go schedule for the entire week (including the weekends) but I know that is not healthy. We all need a break and guess what? We are allowed a break too! What I found works best for me is still being a little bit productive on my days off. This just means I have to take breaks and reward myself more during the week so I do not feel like I am overworking myself.

An example I can give is how I reward myself after a writing session. To avoid creative burnout, I have begun giving myself a 30-minute break to do whatever I want after every successful writing session (which means I write 1,000 words). This is on top of my 1:30ish pm – 3 pm break. However, the one guideline I gave myself for it is that I cannot take my break after 6 pm because I am usually relaxing during that time anyway.

Now, I am doing this rewards system for every task on my to-do list that I complete (unless it is something simple like doing the laundry, but I think you understand that). If I finish my 2 hours of writing-related tasks in the morning, I can take a walk or work on taking some Instagram photos. When I finish an hour of Coursera work, I can watch a TV episode. Sometimes, my days do stretch past 6 pm because of this system, but that is okay because I am taking a lot of breaks during the day which has been helping me to not feel anxious when I do less on Saturdays.

Figure out what works best for you as a rewards system and do that. Maybe you work really hard during the workweek and feel good taking two full days off. Or maybe you like to work every second day, taking breaks on the days in between. Just make sure you are rewarding yourself and taking breaks!

5. Exercise Daily

My motivation to workout always ebbs and flows, and thankfully, it is flowing during quarantine. Maybe it is because we are stuck inside all day, but for the last month, my workouts have been the thing I look forward to every day. So much so, I started working out six days a week instead of five.

When I say workout, that does not mean you have to pull a hardcore one-hour cardio and ab workout every day. Your daily dose of exercise can be a walk around the block (if you can), doing a 10-minute at-home workout, or following a yoga video. Getting your body moving is so important and making sure you do that every day will impact your productivity and motivation for the better. 

Last week, I found the amazing Chloe Ting’s YouTube channel and have been LOVING her videos. They are such a great workout, even better than what I could do myself if the gyms were open. I feel so rejuvenated and awake after doing just one of her 10-minute ab workouts, and yes, very sore, but it is so worth it. I have infused her into my own workout routine, which I had a lot of fun creating when quarantine first started, and it was a fun way to spice it up.

Even if it is not a long workout, it will boost your motivation and energy to continue having a productive day.

 

REMEMBER: It is okay not to be productive every day! Sometimes we have days where our energy is at an all-time low and that is when you know it is time for a break. Don’t feel bad about taking it, even though that can be hard to do. Instead, try to enjoy it!


There they are! My 5 ways to stay productive during quarantine. I really hope this was a helpful post for you guys, and that it inspired you to keep productive and motivated. If it did, let me know what you took away from it!

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 and stay healthy 🙂

Last Blog Post: April Wrap-Up + May TBR

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April Wrap-Up + May TBR

Check out my April reading wrap-up and May TBR!

Happy Friday and May 1st!

I hope you all had an excellent reading month, because I know I did. April was the OWLs Readathon, as well as the #StayHome Reading Rush, so there was lots of motivation to read all the books.

Today, I will be sharing all seven books I read during April as well as my May TBR because I plan and hope that May will also be a productive month.

The question is, did I complete all the reading challenges for the OWLs Readathon?

Yes! Now, let’s see what I read to do so.

April Wrap-Up:

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone - Wikipedia

I finished reading this on April 1st, after spending all of March trudging through it. I have voiced my opinions on this story before, and how I personally believe this book is very overhyped… This was not for any readathon, but for my children’s literature class and while I am glad I finally read it, I do not plan on continuing on with this series.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3) by Neal Shusterman

This was a book I started at the end of March but since I still had over 400 pages left to read in April, I decided to use it for the OWLs’ “Defence Against the Dark Arts” challenge, which was to read a book that takes place at sea. A majority of this book is spent sailing the ocean and we are even introduced to a captain and their crew, who becomes an important character to the story. This is the third and final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy which overall, I really enjoyed! It was a satisfying conclusion and I flew through it despite its size.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel (Volume 1): Amazon.ca: Clare, Cassandra: Books

I swapped this book in place of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas because after reading Chain of Gold, I needed to re-visit the London Institute and Shadowhunter universe. I read this book for the “Transfiguration” challenge, which was to read a book with a shapeshifter. One of the main characters is a shapeshifter so I was very happy I had an excuse to re-read this book. I think the last time I read it was 2016, so I had definitely forgotten a lot that happens in it. My first time reading it, I was not a huge fan but I knew re-visiting it would make me love it…and I did!

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of ...

Since I had 100 pages of this book left to read going into April, I decided a few days ago that I am going to use it for the “Potions” challenge to read a book under 150 pages. This was a nice change from my usual YA fantasy reads because I had never read anything like this book before. I watched the movie first too which really did help me grasp the unusual storyline and characters. While it follows a gonzo journalist, it inspired me to work on my own writing and creative process. Shoutout to my boyfriend who lent me this book!

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1) by Lisa Maxwell

While this book took a bit to get into, once I was in, I was in. I read this book for the “History of Magic” challenge, which was to read a book with witch and wizards and while in The Last Magician, they are not exactly called that, they have magical powers so it counts! I loved the atmosphere of this book, which came from the 1920s New York setting and the flawed and morally gray characters. I am super excited to dive into the next book sometime soon, The Devil’s Thief, and continue on with the story. Especially after that ending!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes - Wikipedia

I will not bore you all with more of my drooling over this book and series because we all know I love it! This was not read for the OWLS readathon, but the #StayHome Reading Rush. I believe the challenge was to read a book with a house on the cover, and this cover has Blackcliff Academy where the students live and sleep so that is basically a house. Right?

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince, Book by Cassandra Clare (Paperback) | www ...

The seventh and final book I read this month was the sequel to Clockwork Angel, and once again, I enjoyed it much more than the second time around. I forgot how close two certain characters get and even though I know what happens in the end, it is still killing me! I am guessing that since the last challenge for the OWLS readathon was “Charms”: to read a book with a white cover. I am using this book for it. Clockwork Prince has white lettering on the cover so that counts! I also just really wanted to read it so…

May TBR:

  • House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
  • A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Those are all the books I read in April and plan to read in May. I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to let me know what you read and plan on reading, because I’d love to know.

Make sure you check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below. I have been posting a lot and will be giving more hints as to what my secret project is on them, as well when I can release more info on it. I know I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts that I could announce what it is on May 18th, but that has been pushed back to early or mid-June now. Hopefully, I won’t have to push it back even more!

Anyways, thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: NaNoWriMo…But in May!

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May 2020 Writing Goals

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Happy Monday!

Today, I will be sharing my May 2020 writing goals not only to help boost my motivation and productivity, but hopefully by hearing my goals, you will feel inspired too.

For the most part of quarantine, I have been riding a wave of productivity and motivation. I developed a routine of waking up at 8 am, doing writing-related tasks at 10 am, working out at 12 pm, and then doing school-related things until dinner. It has kept me busy and allows me to get a lot of things I want to get done, done.

However, there has been a few bumps along the way and currently, I have hit one of them. Friday and Saturday are my more relaxing days, but after having a go-go-go routine for five straight days, suddenly doing nothing takes a hit on me. I was overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety and being uninspired. It was discouraging, but remembering that I do need to go outside really helped, along with looking at my goals for May. Seeing that list in my bullet journal really reminded myself of all the fun writing and reading related things I want to achieve next month, and this sparked that motivation inside of me. While it is not back to the strength it was before, I am pushing forward regardless. I am also telling myself that it is okay to not always feel productive and inspired!

Anyways, to get back into the groove of things, I think sharing with you all my writing goals is a good place to start.

  • Write 1,000 words for “The Obsidian Butterfly” every day

I don’t know if I have shared this, but my Aztec novella I wrote during March 2020 is titled “The Obsidian Butterfly.” For whatever reason, coming up with a title for this story was not an easy task. I had to edit my story four times before I was like, “Ah yes, this is it.” During May, I want to add to this novella and make it into a novel. So, by writing 1,000 words every day (which is a very manageable daily task), I will tack on 31,000 words and that will bring me to a grand total of 51,000 words by the end of the month. I guess you can say I am hosting my own Mayorimo!

  • Write 2 Flanelle Articles

If you didn’t know, as of March 2020, I am a writer for Flanelle Magazine which is a fashion, design, photography, and culture magazine that posts online and in physical formats too. Last month, I only had time to contribute one article, but this coming month I want to get two articles written and published. I have a lot of fun writing lifestyle and film articles, and also practicing the art of article/non-fiction writing. I want to make sure that while I have more free time, I am devoting a reasonable amount of it to the magazine.

  • Post 3 Blog Posts Per Week

I have been proud of myself for keeping up with posting twice a week, however, now that I have finished school, why not up it to three posts every week? I have decided to post on Wednesdays too, along with Mondays and Fridays at 12 pm PST. Back in the day, I use to post five days a week so I know I can keep up with three for at least the summer.

  • Work On Secret Project Marketing Plan

Oooh, a secret project? No, this is not a new writing project like a short story or novel, but I will give you a clue. It is a business I have been contemplating for a while, and now that quarantine has become a thing, I have decided to take it as an opportunity to use my newfound time to plan and create this project. I am super excited to announce it and that announcement will come soon…May 18th to be exact so keep an eye out for that!


Those are my four writing-related goals for the month of May. I hope hearing about mine brought some inspiration and motivation to your life, and if it did, share with me what your goals are because I would love to know!

If you read my last post, I mentioned some charities that are in need of donations and support during this crisis, and I said I would tell you guys where I decided to donate to in my next post (aka this post!). After some researching and thinking, I decided to donate to an organization in my community, and that is the Shelbourne Community Kitchen which understandably, has experienced a heightened demand for food during these troubled times. Due to COVID-19, the kitchen is feeding twice a month instead of once and also doing home deliveries. I think it is a great organization, and I really wanted to put my money towards my own community. It felt really good to do a little something when at times, like everyone else, I feel a little hopeless.

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: The #StayHome Book Tag! (Original)

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The #StayHome Book Tag! (Original)

Happy Friday!

It has been a while since I’ve created my own book tag, so I thought I would make one based off our new quarantined lives. In no way am I making light of this situation, I just thought it would be fun to create a tag based off the ways we are all feeling and living at the moment. If you would like to do this tag, don’t forget to tag me so I can see your answers!

Now onto the tag.

1. Missing the Outsides – Pick a Book with Nature on the Cover

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1) by Cassandra Clare

I am going to go with a new read for this one, and that is Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. As you can see, the cover is GORGEOUS with Cordeila Carstairs on the cover and her long, red hair mixed in with red leaves. I specifically chose this book because the leaves remind me of fall which is one of my favourite times of the year!

2.  There’s Nothing to Do! – Pick a Book That is Over 500 Pages

The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1) by Lisa Maxwell

I am kind of cheating at my own tag, but this book is just so close to being 500 pages that it should count, right? Last week, I finished The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell and LOVED it. However, it is 498 pages. With all the extra content like the author’s note and whatnot, its technically over 500 pages! If I didn’t use this one, I would probably choose another Cassandra Clare book and then this would just be full of Cassandra Clare.

3. Netflix Binge – Pick a Book Series You Want to Read

An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir (Books 1-3) Discussion ...

I am currently making my way through a re-read of this series, and that is the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I just…ugh, it is so good. Yesterday, I finished re-reading the first book and plan to dive right into A Torch Against the Night sometime in May. The third book, A Reaper at the Gates, came out last year I believe, and the fourth book, A Sky Beyond the Storm, releases in December of this year. I cannot wait to complete the series and see how it is all wrapped up. However, I need to re-read the series first.

4. Video Call Party – Pick a Book with a Large Cast of Characters

The Toll | Book by Neal Shusterman | Official Publisher Page ...

Recently, I read The Toll by Neal Shusterman which is the final book in the Scythe trilogy. It is interesting because there is so many POVs we get to hear from, some who are actual main characters like Citra, Rowan, Scythe Faraday, etc but also a lot who are random people. It really brings the world alive because we get to see snippets of the lives of characters who do so little as pass by our main characters. However, in The Toll, we do get quite a few new main characters; expanding the already big cast of characters. While I didn’t have a super strong connection to one specific character, I did really like most of them.

5. Self-Care Time – Pick a Book That is Your Guilty Pleasure

Best Sarah Dessen Books | POPSUGAR Entertainment

I don’t have one specific book for this, but I have a soft spot for any Sarah Dessen book. Yes, the books are so repetitive and basically have the same type of main character, but I read a lot of her contemporaries in my early high school years when I really needed them. A lot of Sarah Dessen’s books feature characters who have a hard time fitting in and finding their own group of people, and that was really important for me to read.

6. New Routine – Pick a New Release You Haven’t Read, But Want To

Amazon.com: House of Salt and Sorrows (9781984831927): Craig, Erin ...

This is a book I just got in the mail on Wednesday, and that is House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig. This is not a super new book (it came out in August 2019), but I have been dying to read it ever since I heard it was based off the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. When I was younger, that was my favourite Barbie movie and yes, I know the fairy tale is MUCH darker, but that is why I am so excited to explore that part of the story. I haven’t heard really anything on Instagram, YouTube, or on another blog about this book, so I am thinking about doing a review on it. Let me know what you think!

7. What is a Sleep Schedule Even? – Pick a Book that Kept You Up ALL Night

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1) by Cassandra Clare

Over the last year or so, I have transitioned from a night reader to a morning reader (because I am grandma now who cannot stay up past 11 pm). However, the last book that kept me reading until 1 am was Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. I swear, Cassandra Clare books are the only books that have kept me up in the past too. When Lady Midnight released, I read it in like two days and stayed up all night reading it. They are just so addicting and entertaining that you do not want to put down. I highly recommend Chain of Gold because it is definitely Clare’s best work (along with The Dark Artifices trilogy). Luckily, you only have to read The Infernal Devices trilogy before diving into Chain of Gold, since it does follow the characters’ children.

8. Only Essentials Please! – Pick 3 “Essential” Books From Your Shelf

This was SO hard but I brought this on myself. My three essential books Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (because I love the story and characters, but also because its long!), The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (the atmosphere and characters are to die for), and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (I think I’ve talked about my love for it enough for you to understand why). These books just hold special places in my heart, along with having stories and characters I adore.

 

Well, there it is! My latest original book tag. I would love if you participated and gave it a try because it is a great way to stay connected with the book community. Since this is #StayHome theme, I thought I would use my blog to shout out some ways to help businesses and people who are less fortunate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t feel obligated to donate money if you don’t have the means, but at least check out these awesome organizations!

Save Indie Bookstores (Supports indie bookstores across the U.S. but if you aren’t American, look into supporting your local bookstore!)

Feeding America(Gives to food banks across the U.S.)

Oxfam America (Supplies clean water to people who were struggling even before the pandemic like refugees in camps)

Support Vulnerable Communities (Various Canadian fundraisers to protect vulnerable communities)

Support Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (Various Canadian fundraisers to protect vulnerable communities)

These are just a few of many organizations you can support during these trying times, but there are so many more. I recommend looking at your community and seeing what you can do there too. So far, I’ve only ordered a book from a local bookstore near me, but I definitely want to donate to one of the organizations I listed above. Hopefully, by my next blog post, I can tell you guys which one I decide to give to. Once again, only donate if you can!

Don’t forget to check out my blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: #StayHome Reading Rush Wrap Up

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#StayHome Reading Rush Wrap Up

Happy Monday!

Yesterday was the last day of the #StayHome Reading Rush, so I thought it was fitting to share all I got read during the last four days. I also wanted to include a reading update with everything I plan on reading from now until the end of the month. So, onto the wrap up!

Spoiler alert, I did not win the readathon.

Last week, I posted my TBR for the readathon and it had three books on it: The Magician by Lisa Maxwell, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, and The Selection by Kiera Cass.

The one book I did finish reading was The Last Magician and I loved it! It took me around 150 pages to really get into it, but once I did, I was deep in the world and in love with some of the characters. At several times, the story made me pause and step back from it with my jaw wide open. While the story caught me off guard with its twist and turns, the characters just stepped right off the page. They were flawed and interesting, and I couldn’t help but have a soft spot for Esta and Harte. Overall I gave this book a 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

That was the only book I completed during the readathon. Things got busy with school because I had two final essays due Saturday afternoon and kind of left them until the last minute…so Friday and Saturday were not great reading days. Neither was Sunday, to be honest, but I blame that on work and the Netflix TV show, The Elite (which I’ve been LOVING by the way). I did make progress in the other two books on my TBR though. As of today, I am 270 pages into An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. This is another book that takes me a bit to get into, but once Laia goes to Blackcliff, I am sucked in for good. I am so happy I decided to start my re-read of this series now because it is just making me anticipate the fourth book even more.

As for The Selection, I only got 30 pages read during the readathon. I am not too sure if I am going to continue on with it this month or just re-read it some other time. The beginning is also slow, but I do not know if I am in the mood for this contemporary-dystopian type of novel. Right now, my heart is with fantasy. Whether that is urban/historical fantasy like The Last Magician or high fantasy like An Ember in the Ashes (I think it is qualified as high fantasy). All I want is far-off worlds and magic.

So, as of now, I will be continuing on with my re-read of An Ember in the Ashes before moving on to my final two books for the O.W.Ls readathon. I decided to change one of those books though. Instead of reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, I want to pick up Clockword Prince by Cassandra Clare. After reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, I have been dying to pick up the sequel, and it also fits with the prompt of reading a book with a shapeshifter because one of the characters is a Eidolon…but I won’t say which one because spoilers. However, I do still plan on reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, which I am very curious to see if I like or not.

That is all for my Reading Rush wrap up and mini reading update. I had a lot of fun participating in this surprise readathon, and cannot wait to continue on with the O.W.Ls readathon for the rest of April. Let me know if you participated in the #StayHome Reading Rush, and if you did, how your reading went because I would love to know.

Thanks for reading!

Last Blog Post: How I Edit My Stories

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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 🙂

Last Blog Post: Stay Home Reading Rush TBR + Tag

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Stay Home Reading Rush TBR + Tag

The Reading Rush's tweet - "Announcing the #stayhomereadingrush ...

Happy Monday!

The Reading Rush (a week long readathon that takes place every summer) is hosting a shorter, surprise readathon from April 16-19 and I cannot wait to participate. There are four reading challenges along with a fun tag that I am going to answer in this post as well as share what books I plan on reading. I am already participating in the O.W.Ls readathon, but I am sure I can double up on some challenges. If not, what are a few more books?

This readathon sounds really fun and a perfect way to pass the time. I can’t wait to participate so here are the books I plan on reading!

1. Read a Book with a House on the Cover

An Ember in the Ashes - Wikipedia

I had to stretch this prompt a little because I don’t seem to have any books with houses on the covers. So, I settled for a cover that had buildings on it. If they are the buildings I am thinking of, than people do live in them so I think that counts… Anyways, the book is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Yes, I’ve read this book quite a few times, but I am just so excited for the fourth book, A Sky Beyond the Storm, to come out in December. That is pretty far away, but I just love these books and want to dive back into the story.

2. Read a Book in the Same Room the Whole Time

selection-cvr

While I’ve mostly been craving fantasy books, I feel like four fantasy novels in four days is a little unrealistic for me. I think now is a better time than ever to pick up a fun and lighthearted novel so why not give The Selection by Kiera Cass a re-read? I know I can read this book in like a day or two, and I think it will be a great mood booster. It will also be nice to use it as a break between all my fantasy reads.

3. Read a Book Set Somewhere You Wish You Could Go

The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1) by Lisa Maxwell

Currently, I am reading The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell but it is not a small book and I feel like by Thursday, I will still be reading it so I am just going to tack it onto this TBR. This urban fantasy is set in New York City during past and present time. Honestly, I would want to visit New York City both in present time and in the early 1900s like the main character, Esta, does. It has been a dream since I was young to go there and hopefully one day soon I can.

4. Read a Book That Will Make You Smile

selection-cvr

I hate doubling up on challenges because I like to challenge myself to read as much as possible, however, I know it is unrealistic for me to be able to read four books in four days because of the ones I’ve chosen to read. I am going to also use The Selection by Kiera Cass for this reading challenge. I’ve read this many times and the cliche, often cringey plot never fails to make me smile. And grimace, but hey, I’ll take it.

 

#StayHomeReadingRush Tag

1. How is Your Reading Going while Staying Home?

So far, it has been going really good. Already this month, I have gotten through two, almost three, books which is usually what I get read in a whole month during the school year. It is nice spending anywhere from one to three hours reading inside and outside, and always making a decent chunk of progress in whatever I am reading. It is helpful having all these readathons too because they motivate me to read even more.

2. Where Have You Been Reading At Home?

I have had two main reading spots lately. The first one is my couch where I retreat to first thing in the morning when I wake up to read. The second one is on my deck because we have couches and other furniture set up out there. Also, the weather has been so nice lately it is hard not to want to spend time outside.

3. Best Book You’ve Read During Isolation?

Definitely Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare, which if you have read it, might come to no surprise. The characters and atmosphere are just so addicting that I was stuck reading it for hours and hours every day. It is no short book either, so it took me surprisingly little time to read it because I just flew through it. Which is common with me for Cassandra Clare books. Another favourite I have read so far is The Toll by Neal Shusterman because it was the conclusion to the Scythe series which I am a huge fan of. It was bittersweet but the story took me completely by surprise to say the least.

4. What’s Your Favourite Feel Good Book?

Honestly, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is my feel good book. I always have such a fun time reading it and it makes me so happy. Even though Cath can be annoying, she is a relatable main character for any reader and writer, and overall, the story is adorable.

5. Book You Wish You Could Buy or Borrow from the Library?

I want to buy A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir, the third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series because I only own the first two books. I want to complete my collection of her books but when I first read it, I borrowed it from the library to save money. Now, I want to own it!

6. Author You Want to Shout Out During This Time?

The host of this readathon, Ariel Bissett, shouted out A.S. King and I have to agree with that. I’ve only read one of her books, Dig, but she has such a captivating way of story telling that resulted in her book completely destroying and amazing me. I cannot wait to read more of her books and I cannot recommend her enough..

7. What is Your Reading Rush TBR?

I don’t need to answer this because I just did above, but if you are also participating, let me know what you are reading in the comments!

 

Those are all the books I plan on reading during the #StayHomeReadingRush readathon, and also my questions to the tag portion. I hope you enjoyed and don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked down below.

Thanks for reading!

Last Blog Post: COVID-19: 5 Ways to Support Books during a Crisis

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COVID-19: 5 Ways to Support Books during a Crisis

Happy Friday!

During these trying times, you can feel a little helpless at times. Especially since we are all staying indoors, which is, however, the best way we can help. But there are ways to help out others from the comfort of your own home. Local businesses have had to close which can lead to devastating effects but slowly, they have been adapting to offer their products and services in various ways.

Today, I wanted to share five easy ways to help out authors, bookstores, and the publishing industry when you can’t physically go into a bookstore and buy something. Some of these ways are free while others are not, but overall, they will help keep our favourite authors and bookstores afloat until this is all over.

1. Buy Books Online from Local Bookstores

This is the easiest way to help out authors and bookstores at the same time. Rather than buying your books on Amazon, I recommend ordering them from your local bookstore. I know the ones near me have recently began online orders, something they only occasionally did before. While I have been trying to save money during quarantine, I have decided to treat myself once a week. Since I had a couple projects due this past week, I thought it be nice to buy a book from my favourite local bookstore through their online orders. It was a bit more expensive, but honestly worth it since it will help the bookstore stay open. I ended up buying House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig which I am incredibly excited to dive into!

2. Purchase a Gift Card from a Local Bookstore

This is another great way to support a bookstore, especially if they are not doing online orders. This way, they are still receiving money and when this is over, you can treat yourself to a book from there. I also recommend doing this if you want to buy a book but have no idea which one to choose. Rather than wasting money and going through the process of ordering a book you only kind of want, buy a gift card and buy it later instead.

3. Open Up Your Own Free Little Library

I do not take any credit for this idea because I saw it a lot online and thought it was such a great idea. With libraries and bookstore shut down, it is harder for some people to get access to books. If you have a lot of books you do not want (like me), or even just a few, whether you donate to a nearby free little library or create your own, it would make a huge difference to share them with others.

4. Use Library Apps or Buy E-Books

Most libraries have online apps where you can borrow audiobooks and e-books which can be a great free way to support them and authors, while also keeping up with your reading. If not, you can still buy e-books and audiobooks online. I personally do not like reading e-books, but I do like audiobooks so I have been using my CloudLibrary app (used through my local library) to do so. Currently, I am listening to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare because it is one of my books for the O.W.Ls Readathon.

5. Discuss Your Current Reads Online

Even now, it is important for books to get exposure. So, if you are reading a book that you like, share some of your thoughts about it on Instagram, Twitter, or on your own blog. It will help others choose what to read next and if you tag the author in your post about it (only do that if you write nice things though!), then it can make their day. Reviewing books is also a great activity to keep you busy. I highly recommend it!

Those are five easy ways to support books and reading during the COVID-19 crisis. I hope these tips were helpful and inspired you to offer support to some of your favourite authors and bookstores. Let me know if you do and how you do it!

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: A Nostalgic Unhaul!

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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 🙂

Last Blog Post: O.W.Ls 2020 Readathon TBR

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O.W.Ls 2020 Readathon TBR

Happy Friday!

I hope you are all doing well and are reading lots, writing lots, and relaxing…lots.

Like I mentioned in my Monday blog post, I am here to share the five books I plan on reading for the month long O.W.Ls Readathon. This readathon takes place throughout all of April and includes a series of prompts with challenges related to courses and careers in the Harry Potter universe. To find out more, check out Book Roast’s video on it right HERE.

The occupation I am “studying” for is a Ministry Worker because to achieve that, I have to read five books which I think is a suitable challenge. Anyways, here are the prompts and the books I am going to read!

1. Charms – Read a Book with a White Cover

Clockwork Angel - Wikipedia

I have one or two books with white covers and I did not want to read either of them, so I stretched this one a bit. For it, I will be re-reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare which has white lettering on the front cover. Ever since I read Chain of Gold, I have been in the mood for more Cassandra Clare books and the whole Shadowhunter world, but I do not want to dive into a re-read of Chain of Gold yet…so I decided to settle for Clockwork Angel which follows Will, Tessa, and Jem who are the parents to the main characters in Chain of Gold. I am looking forward to giving this a re-read because I cannot remember the last time I read it. When I first read this trilogy, I was not a huge fan, but I think my mind will change this time around.

2. Defense Against the Dark Arts – Read a Book that Takes Place at Sea

The Toll | Book by Neal Shusterman | Official Publisher Page ...

For this challenge, I am reading The Toll by Neal Shusterman. I did start this book before the readathon, but I was only 200 pages into it and it is a 625 page book so that’s basically a full book within itself. So far, I am loving it. It had a slow start, but I’ve realized that is a common trait in longer books. I have absolutely no idea where this story will go and I am pretty sure this is the last book too, so I am curious to see where Neal Shusterman will take it…I am also very scared. The trilogy takes place in a dystopian world where humans have conquered everything from disease to death, but to keep the population in check, there a people called scythes who “glean” people.

3. History of Magic – Read a Book with Witches and Wizards

The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1) by Lisa Maxwell

So far, this TBR is full of big books which could be the downfall of me, but let’s keep stacking them on! When I heard this prompt, my mind immediately went to The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. I picked up this book in December after hearing so many positive things about it but still have not gotten around to it. Now is the perfect time! As it says in the title, this book has magicians and magic in it so it works with the prompt. Other than that, I honestly have no idea what to expect regarding the plot, but I am excited.

4. Potions – Read a Book Under 150 Pages

The Picture of Dorian Gray | IDW Publishing

While I could not find a book on my shelf that was less than 150 pages, I decided to go for the next best thing. I have been meaning to read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, especially after reading Chain of Gold which has a character who idolizes Oscar Wilde. This book is not under 150 pages, but it is around 200 so close enough, right? My classic book collection keeps growing yet I have not been keeping up with it so my goal is to try to read one once a month, and this is me doing that!

5. Transfiguration – Read a Book with Shapeshifting

A Court of Thorns and Roses: Amazon.ca: Maas, Sarah J.: Books

This is another re-read, but like with Clockwork Angel, it has been years since I read this book. That book is A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas which includes Fae who can shapeshift and whatnot. The last time I read this book was in grade nine, maybe? Which was around four years ago so safe to say I do not remember much. Another reason I want to read it is so I can finally get to the second book, which I also own and do not want it to gather dust on my bookshelf any longer!

Those are my five books that are yes, bigger than I can probably manage, but that I am excited to try and read during April.

Let me know if you are also participating in the readathon and if you are not, then you should! It’s not too late. Anyways, do not forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Classes Are Almost Over…Now What?

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