WRAPPING UP 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016


And just like that, it's the end of 2016. "Wow," is about all I have to sum it up. Seems like a lot of people are complaining about how awful this year has been. I understand -- bad things have happened. This year has seemed to be a lot harder for me than other years.

But this year has had good moments. A year with many opportunities and growth and memories that I will never forget. Here's a little (well... actually it's quite long. :P) wrap-up of my 2016. I can't wait for next year. <3

[also, here's my 2015 wrap-up post if you're interested]

Writing this year was an absolute blur. Actually, everything this year was a blur. SO CRAZY INSANE. But also very good. There are many mixed feelings. xD

There were exciting writing happenings this year. I wrote a flash fiction and shared it on the blog. This is something that always terrifies me, but it went over well? And I'm proud of it? So... if you somehow missed it and want to go read some of my writing, there you are. :P

I also talked about my novel Song of the Desert (where I shared snippets, mwahah), and my novel Where Shadows Lie. I'm not quite comfortable openly talking about my writing yet... BUT I'M GETTING THERE. Little baby steps is how I roll.

I made all of my first drafts into books...?? This was super cool (...and time consuming), and now I'm forever doing it as a reward for finishing every novel I write from now on. :P


I sent my baby, Song of the Desert, to beta readers, which was simultaneously the most terrifying thing but best thing that I could've done. HAVING BETA READERS IS SO IMPORTANT. I will never stop shouting that because you need other eyes to look over your work. Unfortunately we aren't perfect writers. (though we can dream...)

A giant thank you to those who read it again. I just... you were so helpful. Still flailing over the fact that you spent time to help me and my book and... I'm so thankful. <3 *pizza*

I ALSO GAVE MY MOM MY BOOK FOR CHRISTMAS SOOOO
. I'm terrified. I'm not sure what to do with myself and I may just hide forever until she's finished. (If she finishes. :P)

So much editing was done this year. TOO MUCH EDITING. All sorts of editing. Line editing and rewriting and major plot edits and beta edits and allll the possible editing things. It was quite horrible, but I guess it's for the best in the long run. But. Ugh. Editing. *bangs head on desk*

Many writing posts were written this year on the blog. I'm having a very hard time not linking you to all of them, so here are some that I'm proud of. (I don't know if anyone actually clicks on the links to previous blog posts, but I'M DOING THE THING ANYWAYS.) 


TOTAL WORDS WRITTEN IN 2016:

222,000

(in 2015 I wrote 240,000. In 2014, when I first started writing, I wrote 123,000. That's 585,000 total words. o.O that's... that's a lot of time spent on writing. xD)
Wow. So. Blogging kind of exploded in the best sort of way. I'm... not even sure where to start with the blogging. I've met blogging buddies in person this year, I had lovely conversations in the comment section of this blog. I got a NEW BLOG DESIGN?!? I will never ever stop freaking out about it because it is my favorite thing ever. :P

I just really love blogging and all of you.
*cheesiness ensues but it's TRUE*

Some stats, because I am a dork about stats. I hit 100,000 pageviews. 200 GFC followers. And I'm 9 readers away from 400 followers! That's exciting and a number I thought I'd never hit. xD

Blogger updated, and I'm not happy with the update. :/ It's not that different, but it's annoying if you're part of several blogs. Plus my overview page is gone, and I loved having a general place for stats, comments, and pageviews. Oh well.

I wrote 61 posts this year! My most popular post was Being Real // burning youth. I'm proud of that post, and still ridiculously excited about this project. I'm planning to start posting consistently on this blog starting the new year, and it'll be a fabulous journey. <3

My second most viewed post was The Summer Bucket List, which I find kind of amusing because it wasn't an overly creative post. :P

A huge thank you to everyone who follows. Every Saturday my day is made waking up to comments, and I have such a fun time flailing and screeching with everyone. xD SOMEDAY I WILL MEET ALL OF YOU IN PERSON AND IT WILL BE A GLORIOUS, WONDERFUL THING. <3                       
Reading started off wonderfully this year. I was reading 20 books a month. I was on track for 200. And then it slowly plummeted like a balloon losing helium until it finally just crashed on the ground. :P But in all, I read 124 books this year. (Technically I read more than that with beta reading... but. eh. :P) That's 44 more than last year, and I'll take it. xD)


I recently did a post on my favorite books (this year) and the only book I have to add to that is Scythe by Neal Shusterman. *sighs* It's the best and one of my new favorites... ever. READ THE THING.

I bought so many books this year. I am slightly ashamed but I also love books, so. <3 I got about half at a clearance price through one way or another, a fourth for free, and the other fourth I bought on Amazon. I just received a new bookshelf, and I already am running out of space. Whhyyyyyy. :P

Total, I read about 45,000 pages this year, which averages to about 123 pages per day. I'm looking at that number with complete astonishment, because that is a lot of reading. HOW DID I FIND TIME?? DID I SLEEP READ?? Past Katie, please tell me your secrets.

My most read genre is fantasy by a long shot, but I started reading more sci-fi and contemporary this year. I really enjoyed it and hope to continue in 2017. :D

(also, throw allll the recommendations at me! I'm going to need a bunch of reading material if I'm shooting for 100 books again. :D)

I've been staring at this "LIFE" header for awhile now, wondering how to quickly summarize this year. So many amazing things happened. Writing retreats, conferences, meeting internet friends, fun family moments, writing achievements... it was crazy.

It's been a year of growing. A bazillion things smashed on me -- fun things, and also big things like getting a driver's licence and a job and more responsibilities. Not going to lie, but it's felt like a bit too much at times. This year has been stressful and life seemed to love unloading on my head and making everything a bit overwhelming.

2016 was exhausting, and I am so ready for 2017 to come (I think). I'm really hoping I can conquer next year and make it epic. This year was just a practice round for all the things I'm gonna tackle next year. ;)

FUN MOMENTS OF 2016:
  • meeting all of my internet frens. <3
  • retreating with nadine during nano!
  • CONFERENCES.
  • getting a job. (even though this is seen as a sucky thing to some people, I... really enjoy my job? my coworkers are awesome -- we sing hamilton and twenty one pilots together and giggle the whole time. I get money and free drinks and spotify so it's not all that bad.)
  • driver's license! so basically I can pick up pizza and books at the library whenever I want. Mwahaha. (with how I phrased that, it sounds like I'm picking up pizza at the library. That is unfortunately not true, but I wish it was. :P)
  • Captain America: Civil War came out and I've already watched it five times. Maybe six?
  • SPIDERMAN HOMECOMING TRAILER LET ME FREAK OUT FOREVER.
  • also twenty one pilots came out with six new songs this year. Uhm. That's pretty epic. <3
  • I discovered a bunch of new artists I've been listening to -- NF, Truslow, Relient K, Gungor, Hamilton...
  • started watching sherlock. (I love it so, so, so much. <3)
  • new bookshelves! (that are almost full! oops! :P)
  • printing out copies of my novel.
  • starting to do the bullet journaling thing.
  • lots of pizza eating.
  • many lovely memories with my writing frens. (wars and flailing and skyping sessions and all the fun times. <3)
  • + lots of other awesome times that I won't list here because this post is already quite long. :P
Last year all of the bloggers were doing surveys, but I haven't seen a single one this year? I was trying to decide whether to do one or not, but I finally decided to do one for several reasons.

1. It gives me ideas for posts. This was very helpful when I did a survey last year. Because sometimes my mind is crammed with story ideas and not blog post ideas. xD

2. I find it very interesting. As I've said before, I just really love stats. I love knowing how people found my blog -- how I can put myself out there and better connect with other bloggers.

3. It gives me ideas on how to improve. I'm not a perfect blogger and I'm still learning details of the craft. It's like writing -- there's always room to improve and get better. So by answering honestly it helps me realize that maybe I make too many typos, or something technical isn't working right, or anything else you may want to say.

Anywho, here's the survey if you want to take it. I also included a couple questions for you to drop your social media links so I can go stalk/friend you on there. Sometimes your names under which you comment don't link to your blog, so this way I can actually stop by. :P

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Thank you all for being so encouraging and wonderful! I hope your 2016 was epic, and that your 2017 will be even better. <3

// katie grace

How was your year? Favorite memories?
(also what are your favorite books because I want to read allll of them)

50 WAYS TO RECOVER FROM NANOWRIMO

Saturday, December 3, 2016
NaNoWriMo is over. We survived. Mostly. 

But then comes the question, "now what?" We've poured our hearts and our energy and our time into this giant month long event, but now... it's over. 

So I've compiled a list -- a very serious list, naturally -- of 50 ways to recover from NaNoWriMo, otherwise titled as, "50 things to do with yourself now that NaNo is over."


1. sleep.
because you need to.
2. hibernate.
you have 332 days until next nano. there's plenty of time.  
3. burn something.
RELEASE THE NANO RAGE.
4. sprinkle glitter/confetti/snow over your head.
the only appropriate way to celebrate.
5. scream.
let the frustration bottled up inside of you escape.
6. cry.
sometimes a good cry is just needed.
7. print it out and DESTROY it.
POWEEEERRRR. Your novel probably deserves it.
8. read over your words.
actually, this is a horrible idea. don't do it unless you wish bad things upon yourself.
9. eat pizza.
always a great idea.
10, eat seventy pizzas.
an even greater idea.
11. reacquaint yourself with your family.
"hi, remember me? no? oh. well. I live here."
12. you could read one of my blog posts.
*cough* totallynotselfpromotion *cough*
13. or watch one of my vlogs.
yay for more self promotion. but seriously. here's my latest one.
14. exercise.
...or not.
15. edit.
back to the subject of exercise. it's an improvement.
16. waste all the time on social media.
I mean, you now have time now that NaNo's over...
17. just... eat. eat all the things.
there's no going wrong with food.
18. watch one of your favorite movies.
or some christmas movies, since it's that time of year.
19. celebrate another nano winner.
celebration is so important. go flail with someone.
20. encourage someone who didn't win.
encouragement is also important.
21. listen to twenty one pilots.
<3
22. make a cover for your novel.
because covers are fun and maybe will inspire you for editing?
23. DANCE.
dancing is just the best.
24. catch up on alllll the blogs.
*sobs because I'M SO BEHIND*
25. catch up on life.
anyone else feel like they're behind on... everything?
26. have a movie marathon.
this is what I'm doing with my sister tonight. JOIN US.
27. have a reading marathon.
your goodreads goal will thank you.
28. make your nano novel into a book.
I used createspace for this novel, but here's what I've done in the past.
29. christmas presents.
*casually freaks out over the fact that I have nothing ready*
30. take a walk.
clear that mashed potato brain of yours.
31. make a christmas music playlist.
I would link you to one, but I have not made one yet. Nadine Brandes did a post on YA novels and christmas music, though, which was pretty cool.
32. set up christmas decorations.
make it look festive and pretty! (if you haven't already...)
33. print out your winner's certificate.
then frame it and stare and all of its glory.
34. actually, print out two winner's certificates.
one to frame. one to burn.
35. dance in the rain. (or snow.)
if there's no rain or snow, turn on the hose. mwahaha.
36. reorganize your bookshelf.
to make room for all those books on your christmas wish list...
37. sleep.
yes, I already said this. but yes, it's worth mentioning twice. REST.
38. step outside. remember what the air feels like.
become acquainted with that bright thing in the sky.
39. gaze upon your strong fingers.
I mean, they should be bulging with muscles after all that writing.
40. try knitting.
this is completely random... but why not?
41. make christmas cookies.
and then, you know... send me some.
42. do something remotely non-christmassy.
...go swimming?
43. do something kind.
smile. spread some happiness.
44. sing.
because singing is fun and a great way to celebrate.
45. buy fuzzy socks.
I really love fuzzy socks.
46. listen to the nanowrimo song.
it's the greatest NaNo theme song ever. xD
48. build a snowman.
I just watched frozen so the song has been stuck in my head. :P
49. finish your novel.
YOU CAN DO THE THING!
50. take a break. be logical.
because your mind could definitely use one.

// katie grace

how are you recovering from nanowrimo?

November Highlights // 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
You did it. We did it. November is over. 

Just thinking about this month exhausts me, but it's been a good one filled with many wonderful things. In a way, I'm sad to see it end. I love NaNo, and I'm already looking forward to next year.

But for now, I'm going to revel in the fact that I don't have a novel to write. 

... I just have seven billion novels to edit. -.- (On that lovely note, onto the post. xD)


I saw three movies in theaters this month, which is exactly three more than I normally see. xD I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Arrival, and Doctor Strange. I love them all for different reasons. I loved Fantastic Beasts because of the setting and Newt and the magic and the lovely feel of the movie. I loved Arrival because it's my type of movie with its epicness and mystery and ajskdlf;j;. It's too much. And I loved Doctor Strange because... it's Marvel, duh. Of course I'm gonna love it.

Snow appeared for the first time this month, which is one big nope for me. The only good thing about snow is that I buy peppermint creamer for my coffee, which is lovely. <3

Obviously the biggest highlight of this month was my writing retreat with Nadine Brandes. I have no words for the amazing opportunity and how great she is. So much happiness. <3

One of my newest hobbies is bullet journaling (here's a tour of my bullet journal), but NaNo stole everything from me... including bullet journaling. So I'm looking forward to December and hopefully doing the thing daily again. :D 

For the first time in a loooong time, I bought more books than I read. I bought four, though I really only bought two books this month with a black friday sale. The third was a giveaway prize, and tthe fourth was a preorder from months ago.

I was going to take a photoshoot of all of these books... but then I miscalculated my days (I blame NaNo), so the lighting was not ideal for pictures. *weeping because there's hardly ever sun in winter which means it's insanely difficult for pictures* -.-

ANYWAYS, I got Scythe, Some Kind of Happiness, Scarlet Moon, and These Broken Stars.

I only read two books this month. But I also wrote a book, soooo. xD


SCYTHE WAS A BRILLIANT MASTERPIECE AND EVERYONE MUST READ IT IMMEDIATELY. The plot. Characters. The idea. How it makes you think. The cover. ajsdfkla; I cannot with this book and I need to flail with people over it.

I kept things simple this month, and shared highlights from each week of NaNoWriMo. Feel free to go read them and laugh at the terrible suffering I put myself through. :P

Week One Post: I share snippets, some writing music, and pictures scattered throughout that I'm kind of proud of.

Week Two Post: I somehow hit 50,000 words, and I am probably not even alive anymore.

Week Three Post: More snippets, and a generally tough writing week, which is okay because it happens to everyone.

Week Four Post: In which I wrap up the last week of NaNo and am RIDICULOUSLY close to the end of my novel.



It seems like a bunch of my friends are suddenly self-publishing, so I'm shouting them out because they're awesome and I cannot wait until their novels are released to the world. <3 

My critique partner, Abi, has a release date for her novel, Martin Hospitality! You can read more about her contemporary Christian novel here.

I met Olivia at the Minneapolis Young Writer's Workshop last year, and she just announced that she's self-publishing her novel! You can read about her spy novel here.


Lastly, this post was written a few months ago, but Liz wrote a lovely rant about defending writing as a job. I can't hug this post enough.

I saved this section for last, because here is that NaNo Vlog I've been talking about! I'm still not one hundred percent used to talking to a camera... (as is probably quite evident. xD) ...but I found myself warming up toward the end of the video, and am looking forward to possibly doing more in the future. Who knows -- maybe this will turn into something I create regularly. All things to think about. xD 

There is also flailing and excited squealing in the vlog. Because OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS I FINISHED MY NOVEL. Cannot even. *flops on the ground*

Anyways, here is the vlog below! Thanks for bearing with my awkwardness. :P


I am taking a half-hiatus during the month of December. I don't know if half-hiatuses are a thing, but if they aren't... they are now. :P

I will be posting Saturday, December 3rd, and Saturday, December 31st. The 31st will be an end of the year wrap up post similar to the one I did last year. Then in January I'll be back with my normal posting schedule. :D

*tries not to freak out over the fact that the year is coming to an end so soon* *help*

Happy last day of NaNo! (though maybe "happy" isn't the best word... stressful or agonizing is more like it. :P)

BUT YOU CAN DO THE THING. I believe in you. <3

// katie grace

How did NaNo go?
Did you get any reading done throughout this crazy month?

NaNo Week #4 // THE END IS NEAR

Saturday, November 26, 2016
This week was crazy and exhausting at times, but the end is near. WE CAN CONQUER. Only four more days left to survive! (eek.)

DAY NINETEEN: 2,922

I was expecting to get little to no words today. My aunt, mom, sister and I went to the Mall of America (a giant four level mall with hundreds of stores and an amusement park and sea world and basically it's insane). Twas filled with great fun and laughs and sore feet and yummy smoothies. <3

But we came back home sooner than expected, and though I was utterly exhausted, I was able to get almost 3k in?? Sometimes I don't understand myself. I seem to work better when I'm ready to collapse. :P

DAY TWENTY: 498

As is evident in my word count today, some days just aren't writing days.

I've been feeling a bit unmotivated with my novel lately, and I'm not sure why. I think NaNo is just wearing me out. I'll keep plugging along -- hopefully fast enough to finish this novel by the end of the month -- but if some days call for rest and taking a break... then I'm going to do that. :P

Subtle reminder to take care of yourself sometimes instead of writing all the words. 

DAY TWENTY-ONE: 1,824
(not the greatest pictures, but the week has been a gloomy one and the sun refuses to shine)
GOOD NEWS: I MADE A BREAKTHROUGH.

I was a little wary of writing today, after the rough day yesterday and the general writing slump I've been in, but I HAVE CONQUERED. (for now. ha.) 

Though really, it's my main character who has conquered. She's been in a long traveling scene and has finally made it out. Mostly alive. This means I can move on to the last fourth of the novel. Eeep! It's all going to end so soon and I am not prepared. o.o

(I also ordered collages for Where Shadows Lie (as you see in the pictures) eeeeep I'm so excited o.o)

DAY TWENTY-TWO: 3,550

The success with writing continues! I made it to 70,000 today, and am so relived that the writing is coming easier again. 

BUT GUESS WHAT? I got Scythe by Neal Shusterman in the mail today. Look at the cover. It is the most gorgeous thing and I think I might faint from the awesomeness.


DAY TWENTY-THREE: 1,141

In which I do some writing, but mostly spend the day reading Scythe until one in the morning because oh my gracious goodness is it ever amazing. It is one of my favorite books ever and though I have many favorites this is definitely near the top.

Go read the thing. I can't with it's awesomeness. *dies*

DAY TWENTY-FOUR: 863


Today was Thanksgiving, so that explains the lack of words. I was busier stuffing my mouth with food and guzzling several cups of coffee down while trying to operate on only a few hours of sleep.

So I'm not sure if the words I wrote were even coherent... but... it's NaNo. That's to be expected some days, right? xD

(But oh my goodness the end of my novel is getting so near. o.o THE CLIMAX IS IN SIGHT.)

DAY TWENTY-FIVE: 3,083

I had the whole day at home today which was absolutely amazing. I slept in, turned on Christmas music for the first time (I always wait until after Thanksgiving), and wrote. It was a rather exciting writing day, since I reached the climax of my novel! 

Which is terribly exciting, until I realized I'm not exactly sure what comes after it. When I plotted, I vaguely wrapped up the ending, and said, "eh, good enough." Now I'm reaching the end of my novel. The ending is certainly not, "good enough."

*headdesks repeatedly* I suppose I'll have to bring out the inner pantser in me and whip something up. WE'LL SEE. *tries not to freak out* *fails and totally freaks out* Endings are the worst. -.-

WRAP-UP

For music, I've just started listening to Sleeping at Last's Christmas album. It's super calming and beautiful and pretty and definitely one I'll listen to on repeat until Christmas. <3

WORD COUNT: 75,088
(send help. too many words.)
GENERAL THOUGHTS:
This is my last official NaNo wrap up post. I'll briefly summarize how the last few days went in my monthly highlights post on the 30th... but otherwise that's it. NaNo is very quickly coming to an end, and I'm in disbelief with how insanely fast this month has gone by. o.o
(also if everything works out, that NaNoWriMo vlog will also be in the monthly highlights post, along with posting details for the end of the year. phew, this monthly highlights post will be a long one. BE READY FOR IT.)

Overall? NaNoWriMo 2016 has been a good one. I owe my success to lots of fabulous people, because without motivation from fellow writers I would definitely not make it on my own.

Thank you to the lovely Nadine to hosting me at her house for a NaNo retreat, Hannah for the amazing encouragement and wars, Jane for the competitive word race we had going on(still sad that you beat me... but well done. xD), Emily Drown for the encouragement, Victoria and Rosalie for the super sweet NaNo motivation gifts, as well as Gabriela, Athelas, and Faith for the word wars and being generally epic.
And my parents, for being awesome and supportive during the NaNo craziness. <3

(also to the best buy dude who fixed my computer so I actually had something to write with for NaNo. you rock.)

Goodness I love you all and it sounds like I won an oscar or some reward and just bored everyone by going on and on and on. But seriously. Thanks to the encouragement and amazing feedback from snippets and I JUST CANNOT WITH EVERYONE. Go eat pizza. <3

Actually, go conquer NaNo first. Then eat pizza. You got this.

// katie grace

how is NaNo going?
are you listening to christmas music?

NaNo Week #3 // SNOW, SNIPPETS, AND A SLUGGISH BRAIN

Saturday, November 19, 2016
(three cheers for alliteration! :P)

DAY TWELVE: 1,002

When I first started writing, Saturdays were always my writing days. Sleep in. Curl up on the couch with big sweatshirts and fuzzy blankets. Sip on hot cocoa that warms my stomach, or coffee to get my brain  going.

But now... Saturdays aren't as much my writing days anymore. Which is SAD in capital letters. Instead of writing, my longest shifts are usually on Saturdays, and I need to go to try to go to bed earlier than midnight, since Church is right away next morning.

It makes 10k1days a little harder, but THANKSGIVING BREAK IS COMING UP so maybe I can plan one then. :D

DAY THIRTEEN: 4

No, I didn't forget to add a couple zeroes to today's word count. I really just wrote four words. Today was not a writing day, and though at first I was frustrated with myself... now I'm okay with it. My brain needed a break.

And, hey! I still wrote some words. That I may or may not have deleted right away the next day. Oops.

DAY FOURTEEN: 3,005


Today is proof that taking breaks is a good thing. I felt ready to conquer today after relaxing and breathing yesterday. AND I FINALLY GOT WORDS DONE. Things are happening in my story, and I'm so excited.

Though my character is not, because unfortunately those exciting things ultimately lie in her suffering. Sigh. :P

DAY FIFTEEN: 1,947

Another day where I'm feeling stuck and uninspired. I think that's because my character is doing a lot of traveling, and traveling is so b o r i n g. I am so ready to make it more exciting with edits. xD

I've also been noticing that if I'm tired, my character's probably tired. I'm hungry? My character's hungry. I'm feeling alive and ready to conquer? My character's the same way. Looks like I'll have to deal with editing out some dramatic mood swings. xD

DAY SIXTEEN: 2,197

Today was filled with lovely word wars, and despairing over the fact that I've only read one book this month. ONE BOOK.

THAT IS NOT A VERY LARGE NUMBER.

I am very saddened by this stat and need to read all the things. But unfortunately writing all the things comes first.

(But I have so many books I want to read. o.o Scarlet Moon, Heartless, Scythe, some Ted Dekker books... TOO MANY.)

*ends my bookish ranting and screaming* *someone please give me endless time because I could use it*

DAY SEVENTEEN: (WHO KNOWS)


(basically I am confused about word counts because math is weird and so are graphs, but I WROTE WORDS TODAY and made it to 60,000 and blared music and drank chai. so it was great.)

BUT ALSO LOOK AT THIS MUG. (above)I got it from Cait's Society6 shop, and it is the best thing ever. For every NaNoWriMo I win, I buy myself a mug. I had been eyeing this one for awhile, and IT IS THE AWESOMEST. <3

DAY EIGHTEEN: 1

Ha, another slow writing day. School, work, and then writing this blog post. BUT NOW I'M DONE WITH SCHOOL BECAUSE THANKSGIVING BREAK HAS COME. Hallelujah. I couldn't be happier. xD

(literally just opened up my document and wrote a single word. sometimes I feel alive at midnight, ready to write hundreds of words... but not right tonight. xD)

Also, today was sad. Why? I woke up to snow. SNOW. Yesterday it was 60 and sunny. Today a blizzard arrived. I don't understand. Someone stop the weather. Its going insane. *sobs*
WRAP-UP

SNIPPETS

-
-

WORD COUNT: 61,207

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

This week was a slower writing week, but I'm not going to complain. It was crazy, and it would've been silly to think that I could keep up with 5,000 words per day.

Ooh! Also... Madeline DMed me on Twitter the other day mentioning that I should do a NaNoWriMo vlog. So that is something I am trying to make happen. No promises, but if all goes well I should have one in next week's NaNo post!

Now stop reading this post. Go write. :P

// katie grace

How is NaNoWriMo going?
Do you have special writing mugs?
(are you mourning with me about the snow?)

NaNo Week #2 // I REACHED 50,000 WORDS(!!!) AND DIDN'T DIE

Saturday, November 12, 2016
WELCOME TO WEEK TWO OF NANO!

I hope you all are surviving. Three more days until we're halfway done with the month. THREE MORE DAYS UNTIL THE TORTURE ENDS.

(I'm kidding -- I actually really love NaNo and live for the insanity and chaos it causes. But I am looking forward to having more time for this foriegn concept called "sleep" and "going to bed on time.")

Before I babble on, here's been the week so far.

DAY FIVE: 5,001
(picture by the lovely Nadine)
Today was the day I had to leave Nadine's, which means all the sadness and flying back to my home state. (Running on less than five hours of sleep doesn't help the nerves of flying alone, I've found :P)

But before I left, we had some writing time in the morning which we treasured while drinking chai. Mmm. The whole week I had been trying to get 500 words in a 10 minute word war, and that morning, the last war we did before we left for the airport, I wrote 674 words in 10 minutes.

I'm not sure what happened. I'm convinced that I hired a clone or time paused for a minute, because I've never been able to write that many words before. I'm confused, but I'll take it. xD

DAY SIX: 5,015

Honestly, I was going into this day expecting to come out with a word count of a big, fat 0.

Apparently that did not happen.

Though I had Church in the morning and worked over seven hours in the afternoon/evening, I wrote literally every spare moment I could find. Which probably wasn't the smartest, since I never got a brain break and who knows if those words are going to be coherent. Oh well. It's NaNo. 

Basically this day was to prove to myself that I can write the words despite the busyiness, I just have to stay focused, off social media, and not sleep. Heh.

DAY SEVEN: 5,015

(for some reason I find it very humorous that I wrote 5,015 words two days in a row without even trying. I love unexpected little happy things like that)

A VERY EXCITING THING HAPPENED TODAY. I WROTE MY FIRST PLOT TWIST. Whenever I read a plot twist in a book, I immediately get all giddy at the thought of someday writing one of my own. I'm already pumped to imagine how readers will react, and I hope my words will convey the epicness and astonishment in my head. :P

But, gah. Writing plot twists is the best thing. I 100% recommend.

On a random note, if you need motivation to write... try doing some word crawls. Here are some I've been working through by myself or with other writer friends: Harry Potter word crawl, 18 level dungeon, Hunger Games word crawl.

If none of them raise your interest, here is a whole list of them that you can scroll through.

DAY EIGHT: 5,528

I attribute my writing success today to the election, because it caused me to hide in my room earlier than I normally would, which turned into all the words. Mwahaha.

Hannah(do yourself a favor and follow this lovely human's blog) and I spent the night warring, which turned into this conversation:

Me: We're KILLING these word counts tonight. 
Me: also.
Me: speaking of killing...
Hannah: katie no.
Me: ...something is about to go down.
Hannah: we've talked about this. no murdering people.

And then cue me dying laughing at midnight because that sounds so wrong out of context. #writerslife

DAY NINE: 1,959

From the start, today was not meant to be a writing day. I had every intention of keeping up my 5,000 word streak despite having school, work, and youth group on the schedule. But once I came home around nine, I only had the energy to pound out a little less than 2k before flopping into bed.

And that's okay.

Not everyday has to end in a high word count. Life happens, and sometimes it's better not to push your body that hard. I could've kept writing and hit that 5k, but that also would've resulted in me being overwhelmed and tired and generally not feeling ready to conquer writing or anything else the next day. Sleep is important. Just a little reminder since we all have crazy lives and crazy goals.

DAY TEN: 7,041


TODAY WAS A BLUR OF WRITING. I hit 50,000 words on day ten with a minute to spare, and now I am the most exhausted human. I've never written 50k this fast, and IT'S SO EXHILARATING. And now I need to catch up on sleep.

Or write the rest of my novel. Because it's not actually done yet. *sobs* Ah, the struggles of writing fantasy novels -- 50,000 words may only be half a novel. (I'm hoping that it's not. Crossing my fingers hoping that I only have to write 20-40k more. "only.")

DAY ELEVEN: 1,005

Another day where I intended to write, but life once again happened. School and work happened in the beginning of the day, not exactly thrilling, but A VERY FUN SURPRISE HAPPENED IN THE EVENING.

My family went to see the movie Arrival.

Dude. I'm not sure why this movie hasn't been advertised very much, because Arrival is everything I love in a movie. It reminds me a lot of the movie Interstellar (aka my favorite movie to ever exist), and my mind won't stop spinning from the epicness. It's... it's just amazing. It's suspenseful, with aliens and twisty plot twists and just WATCH THE THING. 

(or click on the picture below to watch the trailer in the meantime. asjdklf;a I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS MOVIE AH)

Image result for arrival movie

WRAP-UP

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 51,075

MUSIC:

GENERAL THOUGHTS?

Generally, NaNo is going well. I'm tired. I've been guzzling lots of caffeine and listening to music non-stop. But NaNo is one of my favorite months just because of the insanity, and the amazing community. 

You are all awesome, no matter your word count. Keep plugging away -- you have over half the month left to write! I BELIEVE IN YOU. <3 


// katie grace

How is NaNo going?
Killed any characters yet? :P

NaNo Week #1 // writing retreat, I now like tea(???), + general rambles about the insanity of nano

Saturday, November 5, 2016
Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone! I hope the words are flowing, at least some sleep is happening, and you've eaten lots of chocolate and pizza. Because priorities. 

If you're anything like me, NaNoWriMo kind of takes over the month of November, making it hard to keep track of anything else. I will be "journaling" my NaNo progress throughout the month like I did last year on the blog. That way you can read if you have time and want to (I actually had lots of fun writing these up in 2015), but then you're not missing my normal posts if you take an internet break for NaNo.

Here we go!
DAY ONE: 5,050

Ahh, there's nothing like the first day of NaNoWriMo. Nothing like staying up until midnight to greet the insanity of the month and wonder if you've gone crazy. (spoiler alert: you probably are crazy. all writers are a good sort of crazy. I mean, we kill and torture fictional people in our free time for fun. definitely crazy. (and definitely kind of morbid when I put it like that. :P)

Even though I have a high word count for day one, I didn't feel like I was doing that well. The first day of NaNo is always hard, since I have to figure out the feel and flow of the story. But the beginning sorted itself out, so I am pumped and ready to keep writing! :D

Also... I have been absolutely and incredibly blessed by getting to spend a five day NaNo retreat with the lovely Nadine Brandes. My mind hasn't stopped screaming and asking if this is actually real life. It's been so fun seeing how our writing styles differ and adopting new writing practices. LIKE TEA.

I dislike tea. Or, used to. Now Nadine has hooked on chai and tea so between that and coffee I will be sipping away on caffeine for the rest of my days. Mwahaha.

DAY TWO: 5,209

Today was a FANTASTIC writing day, which makes me allll sorts of happy. I wrote by candlelight for the first time -- EEP. It created such a nice atmosphere for getting into the writing zone. I really like writing in the dark, so having a little light other than my computer screen was nice to have. :D

I reached the incident in my novel where everything starts to go wrong, like a snowball rolling down a hill, collecting more snow and problems until it's too huge to ignore. :P (Alas, but I've never been able to get a snowball to do this in real life. Someday, someday. I can dream!)

DAY THREE: 5,299
(FIIIREEEE. there's something incredibly pleasing about burnt matches. the aesthetic is strong.*happy sigh*)

Today started off as a zombie morning and an, "I'm trying to write but the words are coming so slooowwlyyyy and it seems way easier to just lay down and take a nap." But then there were brownies, and brownies make everything better.

So with brownies and tea and candles, the writing madness began, and didn't stop until midnight. MWAHAH. xD 

On a side note, I've been taking more time with NaNoWriMo this year compared to previous years -- averaging around two hundred words every ten minutes compared to the four or five hundred I can normally do. I think I'm more than capable of still doing it, but it's been good to slow myself down and choose my words carefully, so maybe editing won't be looking at a bunch of NaNo word vomit in disgust. :P It's definitely been weird, but I think it will be so good in the long run. Hopefully. *crosses fingers*

DAY FOUR: 5,003


Ready for me to scream about my day? Because DOCTOR STRAAANGEEE. *excited flailing* Dude. Doctor Strange was epic. It was hard for me to wrap my thoughts about it right away, because it was so different than the other Marvel movies, but I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I love the more mind-bendy and mystical kind of movies, instead of the, "explosion! shoot! die! fire! noise! noise! noise!"

Doctor Strange had lots of twisting realities, epic costumes, and stunning visual effects.
(like. seriously. whoah. it reminded me of inception but even more intense. asdjkfl;.)

The movie took up most of the day, but after tea and photos the writing began! After hitting 5,000 for all the previous days, I became a stupid, foolish overachiever with absolutely no sensible brain and stayed up until two just to finish my word count. I think it's going to be worth it. We'll see -- I still have to finish up this post. (ahh, procrastinating and the nano life)

Once the words started to flow, I ended up being very happy with them. Tomorrow is my crash back into reality, so we'll see how my streak keeps up.

WRAP-UP

*throws snippets into the air*

- - -

  TOTAL WORD COUNT: 20,511

MUSIC:

Nadine introduced me to this song this week, and I'm in love. It fits with my story, and it's just SO PRETTY.
general thoughts?

This week was filled with writerly wonder, and I'M SO THRILLED WITH HOW THINGS ARE GOING. My story is mostly flowing, I've hit 20k, I have a good streak going, and it was so refreshing to get away from work and school for a week.

But... Sunday is when it'll all start again. Early Church service, seven hour shift, and then the next day school and work and on and on. I'm not looking forward to it, but I have to remind myself that everyone else is dealing with the same thing. I'll just make it a challenge to see how many cups of coffee I can drink and how little sleep I can operate on while still acting a teensy bit sane. Ha.


I hope NaNo is going well for you! Remember that this is only the first week -- and technically it's not even done yet. Take some time to breathe. Also take advantage of the weekend, 'cause your future self will thank you later. ;)

*cheers* Go write the words, you crazy NaNoers! I believe in you, and you can conquer the thing. <3

// katie grace
how are you doing with NaNo? ARE YOU ALIVE?!
and what's your first line? 
(cause I'm curious and snoopy and want to know)

A TOUR OF MY BULLET JOURNAL

Saturday, October 29, 2016
The craze of bullet journaling caught my eyes a few months ago. Everything about it seemed cool -- bullet points, lists, tasks, doodles, check boxes, pretty headers and handwriting... but yet I didn't know where to start. 

There are plenty of Pinterest boards out there of bullet journals (like this one, this one, and this one), which gave me lots of good inspiration for my own. I began to realize with all of this research -- after looking at spreads on Instagram, Pinterest... even YouTube, that there is no one way to make a bullet journal. 

Bullet journals are an organization system that you can customize for your own needs. After I realized this, I finally took the plunge and started one. (hint: it's awesome.)


My "bullet journal essentials" are a notebook, my favorite pens, and a ruler so I can draw neat graphs without it looking like a three-year-old drew it. I just got my journal from the dollar section in Target for starters. I didn't want to spend twenty dollars on a notebook and then decide that bullet journaling wasn't my thing. (like this one I'm eyeing. Or this one.)

I prefer dotted, graphed, or blank paper, just since I have more freedom to draw and go "outside the lines," but do what works for you!

WHY A BULLET JOURNAL?

Why not a bullet journal? I love bullet journaling, because it makes me feel organized, despite being a very non-organized person. Bullet journaling has helped me keep track of goals and tasks in one central place, instead of scattering sticky notes throughout the house and just losing them in the couch cushions only to find them three years later. Oops.

You don't have to be artsy to have a bullet journal. It can be very intimidating at first, but if you can write somewhat legibly and make check boxes, you're more than qualified.

Bullet journaling is a nice way to reflect. I love doing it right before I go to bed while listening to soft music or instrumentals. It helps me unwind and see what I accomplished (or didn't accomplish) that day and jot down little memories and happy moments.

Below is what a four-day spread looks like for me. I have a time chart on the side of each day, connecting to my to-do list/activities for the day, and then memorable moments on the side.

(i'm just realizing that I drew the arrow to "read" instead of "work" on sunday and whoops I did not read for six hours that day :P)

I use my bullet journal for a lot of random things. Goals, a calendar, blogging schedule, books I read, sleep tracker, random journal entries for special events, little charts... I plan to start a chart for funny quotes/moments in November and a word count system for NaNo that I'm still figuring out. xD


Whenever I try to keep up a regular journal, I struggle with consistency. It was too easy to push off one day, and the next, and then next, and then a month would go by with the journal collecting dust on the shelf.

I was worried that bullet journaling would be just another "task" and add on to the craziness of my week. But it's been more of an excitement than a burden, which is awesome. Bullet journaling is great, since it doesn't take very long. If I want to spend a half an hour on it making it look all nice and pretty... I can do that! If I'm tired and just want to sleeeeeeeeeep, I can do that too! It's very flexible, which is nice for this insane life. xD

(above: a little "welcome" page to the month. I like having the month's dates so I can check them off as I conquer each day.)

Overall, I feel like bullet journaling has helped me be more productive. It's helped me look ahead to the rest of the week, and realize what tasks I need to get done now since I won't have time to procrastinate on them later. 

Having the little check boxes/to-do list for each day has worked well for me. I like seeing them all filled so everything matches, so it's more of an incentive to get allll the things done. :P



Above is my monthly spread, and that is definitely my favorite page. It's fun to be able to look at the month in one image, seeing how often I worked and the fun events that took place. (Though, I will not talk about how awful it was trying to make all the boxes even and the same length. Mathing is hard. -.-)

So there's my bullet journal. If you're like me and have been looking for a way to combine EVERYTHING into one place, maybe this is your thing! It's fun to give it a try regardless if you want to continue it forever or not. :P

Though this was a shorter post, hopefully it provided some inspiration or was just fun to look at. :D

// katie grace

Do you keep a journal?