January Highlights // 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016
January is practically over. Waht?! It's scary how fast it went, but lots has happened this month, so let's get on with it.

So far, this year has been off to a great start. I mean, I started off the year with eating pizza. Seven. Days. In. A. Row. (It probably won't happen again for a long time, but it was quite awesome. xD)

New Years! I always bring in the new years by screaming at the top of my lungs. Like, literally. I scream as loud as I can and it leaves my voice feeling hoarse afterwards. But it's really fun. :P Do you have any New Years traditions?

On January 1st, I invited my wonderful cousins, Summer and Anna, over to watch the Twenty One Pilots concert on TV. We ate pizza beforehand (of course), and then proceeded to rock out to our favorite songs. 
(To really get into the concert spirit we each dressed up from one of their music videos.)

Left to right: Summer (Lane Boy), Anna (Fairly Local), and me (Stressed Out.)

So. Much. Cocoa. I never used to drink much hot cocoa, but all of a sudden I've discovered an extreme love for it and it's become my new editing fuel. :D

I also got to 100 GFC followers this month, and now I'm at 113. Um, wow. Thank you all; you're awesome. <3

It was my sister's birthday on the 20th! She's thirteen now, which is kinda terrifying, but also really exciting because she's awesome. Love you, Laura! 

More LOST watching, mwahaha. I'm on the fifth season now. Things are getting weird and I love it. (And the feels are still coming strong.) 

This song is one of my new favorites. It's so calming and peaceful and pretty. <3 

Reading kinda... exploded this month. Somehow (?!) between all the editing + blogging, I read a bunch of books this month. My average rating is 3.1 stars. I read more contemporary than I usually do. But most of them were "mehhh." 

Favorite: Winter or Samara's Peril.
Best Cover: (I love most of them. o.o) But probably Raven or Passenger.
Posting schedules are really awesome, people. If you don't have a schedule yet, I'd highly recommend one. 

// GUEST POST BY RACHEL ALISON: creative faith //


// A (semi-serious) EDITING SURVIVAL GUIDE //


(You also may have noticed that I created a new header for my blog. If not, surprise! :P)
This happened when I was editing and it made me laugh and sigh:

I... signed up for a writing conference?!? So, that's ah-maz-ing and makes me all squeal-y thinking about it. It's specifically for young writers (ages 13-19), which is awesome, because I can never meet enough teen writers. :P It's in Minnesota from June 14-16, and it'd be reaaally awesome if any of you were to come. Just dropping this link out there if you want to run it by your parents and find out more information. // Minneapolis Young Writer's Workshop //

So, I basically just edited all this month. I wanted to finish the fourth draft of Song of the Desert this month, but that's not happening because it's a mess. xD So instead I'm hoping to finish it by the end of the first week of February. *flops* I WILL FINISH THIS.

On the 23rd, Aimee and I did an insane writing day where she wrote 12,000 (!!) words, and I edited/rewrote 10,000 words. It was exhausting, but extremely satisfying. :P

The amazing and wonderful Aimee is posting her equally wonderful story, We Killed a Vampire, to Wattpad! It's hilarious and you should all go read it.

Zac, a Twitter writing buddy of mine, got a blog! It's called Of Bleeding Pens and Pages. (epic name, yes?)

Go Teen Writers is holding a writing challenge in which you think of a new book idea every day for the whole month of February. I signed up, but I think I'll try to think of a concept/idea every couple days instead of every day because that gets excessive. But, still. As somehow who struggles with thinking of ideas, this will be a nice incentive.
FEBRUARY 5th // I'm participating in Rachelle's flash fiction challenge!  

FEBRUARY 6th // I've heard rumors that my novel may take over the blog that Saturday. Hopefully whatever it writes will come out coherent, but I'm not promising anything. ;)

- Katie Grace 

How many books did you read this month? What are you looking forward to in February? 

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Tutorials for the Blogspot Blogger: Pages Edition

Saturday, January 30, 2016
This is the third post in my "Blogspot Blogger Design Series." You can read the first introductory post here, as well as the one I wrote up about sidebars.

Today's topic? Pages.

So what even are pages? Pages are the individual tabs most commonly seen below or above the header on a blog.

The first time I tried to add pages to my blog, it took me two hours. It's not as easy as it seems! (Unless you do a web search. But somehow my fourteen year old mind never thought of that possibility. *shakes head*)

Here's what you do:

  • Go to your blogger home page. 
  • Click on your blog. 
  • Find pages.
  • Create as many pages as you'd like.
  • Then, go to layout.
  • Look for pages and click the little, tiny edit button.
  • Select the pages you want to display and click save.
So now you have your pages lined up nicely on your blog, but the next step is to make your pages looking pretty. 

  • Go to layout. 
  • Click customize. 
  • Then, advanced.
  • Here are the two options you can play with: 

There are some pages you should have, but I think a lot of it is preference and using pages to personalize your blog. Below are some page I have seen on other blogs and my thoughts about them.


This page. THIS PAGE, GUYS. Everyone should have an about me page. I don't care who you are or what your blog is like, just please have an about page. If I'm going to follow a blog, I want to know about the person writing it! I want to know about their quirks, personality, favorite bands, if they like pizza (*cough*), and all that fun stuff.


"Contact me" pages are great. This is the page where you'll insert a contact form for questions (Here's how to add a contact form to a page.), and list all your social media sites so people can stalk you properly. 


I don't have this page (though maybe I should consider doing so?), but I've seen a lot of other people who do. After readers get to know a bit more about you, then obviously the next step is to learn about the blog. Here you can link to some of your most popular posts or posts you're most proud of.


Okay, to be entirely honest, this is probably seen as more unprofessional than not. But for me, listing my favorite blogs is a way to give back to the wonderful blogosphere and appreciate how awesome the other bloggers are out there. (and plus I've found a few new blogs this way myself on other blogs.)


Most of the people following me are either book bloggers or writing bloggers. So...

IF YOU'RE A WRITING BLOGGER: I loooove visiting pages where bloggers talk about what kind of books they're writing. This is the place to insert makeshift covers, collages, blurbs, and link to posts about your novel if you have any. 

IF YOU'RE A BOOK BLOGGER: You have no idea how much I love it when book bloggers have a tab devoted to their archives of reviews. It makes it SO easy to search for their opinion on a certain book! 


I've only actually seen one blog with this type of page (I would link to it, but I forgot which blog it was. Sorry!), but I thought it was such a genius idea. I'm slowly working on one myself because it is so fun to shove your favorite books in people's faces and watch them suffer with the pain and feels. :P 


These are all basically ways of linking to posts you'd want new readers to read once they arrive at your blog. 

*cue the overflow of links* (Note: These are all blogger tutorials.)

HOW TO ADD A DROP DOWN MENU WITHIN A PAGE. (This can be great for organizing your different WIP under a "things I'm writing" page.

HOW TO REMOVE THE BORDER AROUND PAGES. (This is the lined box around each page section. It looks a lot cleaner without these lines, so this would be a good tutorial to use.)

HOW TO STICKY NAVIGATION BAR. (You know how some blogs, when you scroll down to read a post, the pages bar keeps scrolling down the post with you? This is what that is.)

HOW TO CENTER YOUR PAGES. (It just looks a lot cleaner with your pages centered rather than hanging out on the left side of the blog.)
- Katie Grace

What pages do you have on your blog? What pages do you like to see on other blogs?

Also note: Tomorrow is the last day of the month (aaah, right?!) which means my January Monthly Highlights post will go up then.
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A (semi-serious) Editing Survival Guide

Saturday, January 23, 2016
We all know this: Editing is kinda really horrible.  

I've started up my hardcore editing mode this past after taking a much needed break. And as I'm reading through my novel, taking notes on what to fix, there's just so much to do. It can be overwhelming. (Or always overwhelming. Mostly the latter.)

SO, naturally the next step to make editing less stressful. I have created a handy dandy "survival guide list" for you.

It's a kinda a serious list but it isn't.

Here we go: 


Because it is practically a crime to have cold feet. Fuzzy socks are comfortably, fun to look at, super fun to slip around on wood floors, and generally an awesome invention that I wish I had thought of first.

They'll make editing better. Promise.


Wouldn't it be cool if you could somehow control the weather so you could have a thunderstorm every time you edited? Unfortunately, it's not possible, so this is more of a "wishful thinking" survival point.

Though, this website called rainy mood transports you to a pretty realistic sounding thunderstorm if you have headphones on. 


I mean, food is really great. So, hot cocoa is a must for me during the cold snowy months. And of course you need to use a cute noveling mug. (below) (I bought mine here.) 

(I feel like a "real" writer when I use this. :P Isn't it cute?)
Other editing food can include cookies, brownies, clementines, pizza, chocolate, pizza, chewing gum (it's... kinda food?), pizza, popcorn, and basically all the other sweets you can think of. xD 

Did I mention pizza?


I love music. So, so, so much. I listen to music when I'm doing school, writing, reading, blogging, and especially editing. Music really helps transport me into the scene and world when all I'd rather be doing is eating pizza and organizing my bookshelf. :P 


Or tissues or nose cloths or whatever you want to call them, because you'll need them. Editing is 40% staring at your document, 10% editing, and 50% crying. 


To go along with your fuzzy socks, of course. *wraps self into a burrito blanket and hides from editing*


... I tried really hard not to make this part of the survival list, BUT I COULDN'T RESIST THE URGE. My love for pizza is too great.

Basically: Eat pizza while editing and everything will become 127% better.


My wonderful mother (*waves*) gave me a binder so I could put allll my editing and writing notes in one place so they'd no longer be scattered around the house and in danger of getting tossed in the garbage. I don't have much in it yet, but someday, in a couple years, it will be this thick beast full of genius scribblings. :P (At least, that's the hope.) 

(And I'm aware that scribblings isn't a word, but it sounded cool.)

And oh my goodness... These pens are the best. Ever. I love super fine-tipped pens, and they're perfect for everything: School, letters, doodling, story notes... 


Because... why not? I've heard dragons can be fantastic editors. That is, if the egg ever hatches...


I mean... you just might need this for actually editing. It's a necessary evil. But if the thought of even peeking at the manuscript scares you, feel free to skip this step in the survival guide. Enjoy your dragon egg, food, and music on their own.

If I'm slow answering comments today, this is why: 

- Katie Grace

How do you keep track of your editing/writing notes? Anything else you'd add to this survival guide? (Serious or not? :P)

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