June Highlights // 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016
And we're halfway done with the year.

Which is a teensy bit freaky, since I thought July was the halfway point of the year. So it seems like I've lost a month. Eep. 

Here we go!


(everyone watch it because not only is it a gorgeous and haunting song, but the music video is amazing and there are so many plot bunnies.)

/ I'm still working at Starbucks! I can successfully say that I haven't been fired or found the need to quit. *cheers* It's busy. Very busy, but I'm liking it. (not to mention that I get ALLL the free drinks and pastries. Mmmm.)

/ My family went to see Finding Dory. It was super cute -- little Dory was the most adorable thing. I wouldn't say that I LOVED it, but overall it was enjoyable. And Hank the octopus is the best, I've decided. xD

/ Meeting with internet frens. <3 *happiness* This was definitely the highlight of my month. I posted about it here, where there were many pictures and flailing and flopping.

/ Cabin time! Every year my dad's side of the family rents out a lakeside resort. There's about thirty of us in total, and the week is filled with Yahtzee tournaments, ice creaming outings, lots of sunburn (ouch), volleyball, reading, relaxing, late night games, and tons of laughter. We've been doing this tradition since I was a teensy baby, so it's cool to grow up and see everyone each year. :D

AND ALSO, my cousin had twins, so we had new little additions for the first time in a long while. They make my heart melt with their cute smiles. <3

little Kai. such a sweetie.
And every night when we have a campfire, we make these absolutely delicious treats called eclairs. THEY'RE SO GOOD. It's a cooked croissant on a stick, and then you fill it with vanilla pudding and top it with nutella. (or chocolate frosting.) Argh, they're so good. o.o


I got four books this month, and I didn't buy any of them! Well I bought one with a gift card, won one in a giveaway, and the other two I got free from the library. (Gotta love summer reading programs.)

I also received Red Queen from the library, but I forgot to bring it with to the cabin, so that's why it's not pictured. :P

(I love how I go into this month saying, "I'm going to read so much!" And then I end up with my lowest book count of the year.)

This month was kind of an "eh" reading month. My average star rating was 3.4, which isn't great. But also not bad compared to an average of one, so. :P

Favorite book: Not counting my reread of Bruiser, I think Nimona was my favorite. I've been reading more graphic novels lately and this one was just AMAZING. And the ending was bittersweet, which I always love. <3

Least favorite: Probably Elantris. I'm not a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson's adult books? *hides* I always love his YA ones, but... these aren't my thing.

Best cover: Blackhearts. I love the simplicity of the ship in a bottle and the striking text against the black page. *happy flailing*

And speaking of bookish things... I'M GETTING A NEW BOOKSHELF. Right now my books are piled in a mess on my floor. I found one online that I like, so now I just have to remember to order it. And wait for it to come. And construct it. And organize my books on it. :P



(I mean, besides getting published and all that jazz.)

I GOT A NEW STORY IDEA. To be fair, this seems like the most exciting thing ever for me, because it's very rare that I get a story idea.

This is the picture that inspired it:

It's a contemporary story with ROBOTS. Mwaha. It's called Void, (ha, no surprise) and I have it all plotted out. I normally never plot, but I was so excited, and since I couldn't write it, I decided to plot it. More details will come later, since I'm probably writing it for NaNoWriMo in November.

Aaand, I got a new writing journal! I have a journal waiting for me to hand write a book in it, but I wanted a portable journal to jot down all my ideas. I went to target. There was this beauty waiting for me:


// how to write fast 

// since Camp NaNoWriMo is coming, I'm going to do a post about my editing progress. Or something or other. Or maybe I'll just moan about it. We'll see. 

// PROBABLY one more post on betaing. Possibly.

(basically I'm really bad at planning things out but I can promise posts! :P)

one random lake picture because it's so pretty and beautiful to edit in front of <3
// katie grace

What happened this month for you? How often do you get new story ideas?

Being A Writer is Powerful

Saturday, June 25, 2016
Last week at the Minneapolis Young Writer's Conference, two authors changed my whole outlook on writing. Jonathan and Jennifer gave amazing keynotes, using their spoken words to move us young writers. I cried. Some of my friends cried. It was huge and big and awesome and I can't wait to tell you more about it. So here we go.

I have a huge heart for writing. I also have a huge heart for helping people. But my mind never put those two together and considered them as one thing. 

At one point I very briefly considered counseling, or becoming a nurse, doing missions, a doctor, or working somewhere that could help people who are hurting and put a smile on their face and show them the truth in this messy little life.

But writing is where my passion lies. As awesome as it would be to help people in the medical field of things, that's just not me. I would only further scar the patients as I make disgusting sounds at the sight of blood, and that's not the point. (whoops. :P)

Going back to the conference, Jonathan walked onto the stage on the first night. I wasn't sure what to expect -- definitely not what he delivered -- so I sat there with mildly high hopes and my notebook ready. 


He got up. He told stories. That's all he did -- he told powerful stories. Stories that make you cry at the hard parts and then cry even more at the happy parts. Story after story after story was thrown at us, and all I could do was listen. 

The stories were raw. Of people in hard places -- even of him in hard places -- but they moved me. I'm sure they moved everyone in that room. 

The stories all lead to one point -- to one question everyone has:


Everyone has that longing to belong. To be appreciated and liked.

And, each of us has a duty to make sure to see people in this life. Words can be so powerful, especially to those in times of hurting -- just to pay attention and make them feel like a person. Say hi. Take an interest in their passions. Care about other people.

As writer's we have been gifted words.
And not only written words. We can use spoken words to share our love as well. Because words are powerful.

(a snippet of part of the speech he did. He's truly a fantastic speaker.)

The next night Jennifer Nielsen got on the stage.

She delivered another emotional tear-delivering speech. (would've brought some tissues if I had known that I was gonna cry so much over the conference)

Her talk really showed me how helping people and writing go hand and hand. And that gave me so much hope.

One of Jennifer's readers was a girl. She was hurting badly, to the point where she had become suicidal. But she found Jennifer's books. Opened and started to read. Continued reading until she could no longer hold her eyes open. The next day would be the same thing -- hurting and filled with pain, but she had to figure out what happened to the characters.

On and on she kept reading. The next couple paragraphs, the next couple pages. The next chapter -- the next book. And because of that time it took to read Jennifer's books, it allowed her time to rethink everything.

Because of writing, Jennifer literally saved a life.

There were other stories. A story about a man in the army, suffering with PTSD. Jennifer's books helped him to learn how to focus on something and get through the hard days.

This is what I want out of writing.

I want to help people. I want to inspire people. I want to create stories and worlds so readers can escape this life. I want people to smile, laugh, even cry -- to feel things.

And that's what is powerful about writing. A book can influence people in so many different ways. In turn, that gives the author opportunities to make a difference. I know that the authors I met this weekend were super influential and sincere in everything they did. 

I want to be like that. 

I want to be a powerful writer.  

// katie grace

*awkwardly ends rambling and disjointed thoughts about writing without a question because I'm not sure what I'd even ask* 

so go ahead and feel free to ramble in the comments about the power of writing if you'd like. :P

Minneapolis Young Writer's Conference Wrap-Up

Saturday, June 18, 2016
This week, you guys. *screams*

This conference was such an awesome opportunity -- to meet awesome internet friends, NYT bestselling authors, and talk with a Harper Collins editor.

The week was filled with very serious, late night Marvel discussions, giggles, so much writing information, inspiration everywhere, and lots of happy singing.

I'm going to plop a bunch of pictures in this post and make it more of a wrap-up sort of thing. Next Saturday I'll do a post on what I learned at the conference. There's so much -- I'll probably have to do several posts about this experience. :D 

I went to the conference with Aimee, Caroline, Hannah, Olivia, and Laura. I'm so blessed to have gotten the chance to know them better, since they're all such lovely writers and people.

So many awesome things happened. Hannah and her cousin Laura both won a writing award. All the authors said Aimee's writing was awesome and how her characters were lovely. (I totally agree with this, by the way. Because it is mah favorite. <3) Caroline's self published book is getting considered and talked about among the authors and editors.

One of the things I loved most about this Minneapolis Young Writer's Conference, was the intimate setting. Because there were only 66 writers there, our group was able to eat lunch with all the authors. Basically become buddies with them. Have Jonathon Friesen smack you over the head with a book.

There are so many memories, and the pictures tell them better than I could. Here are some of mah favorites:

meetin' new writer friends. the girl to my right is Olivia -- you should all follow her lovely new blog she just created.
aggressively critiquing each other's things
caroline's face is mah favorite, here xD
HANNAH. <3 (isn't her fangirl shirt awesome?)
guys guys guys guys we had pizza. In my peter parker/pizza shirt. Aw yes.
first time meetings at the airport. <3 
low-key cosplaying as wanda, comic book clint barton, and peter parker.

I promise I didn't kill her, no matter how much it looks like it. :P

The lovely Jacqueline West. <3 Also Aimee and her hawkeye cosplay.


a lot of lying on the floor happened. typical writer position.

- - -

// katie grace

This was more of a journal-ish post that I normally write, but I don't mind one every once in awhile.
How was your week? What's your typical writer position?* xD

* Ally Condie said she often does "the starfish," which includes her lying flat on the floor, limbs spread wide, often in a state of freak out or "what even are words."

(also here's aimee's wrap-up post if you're interested in reading about that.)

The Summer Bucket List

Saturday, June 11, 2016
"Stealing" this idea from the fabulous Aimee, because her summer bucket list was cool to read.


I have a new phone that can actually take decent pictures, and there's lots of memories coming up to be documented. Not to mention that I like taking pictures. Also I want to include more of my own pictures in my posts. Because that would be cool.


This is a pretty easy thing to do. I hope. As of a couple weeks ago, I started working at Starbucks! There are lots of lovely people there and the customers are awesome and always interesting. 

This Starbucks is right by the theater, and the other day a girl came in wearing a black leather jacket. One of the sleeves was a metal gray with the winter soldier's star on it. I may have had a fangirl/squeal attack.


Ew. This is my least favorite of all my summer bucket list's items. Because this book is huge and so messed up. *dies* But I have a new editing/outlining process that I'll use for it, so I'm kinda excited about that. Pictures and more details will be expanded on that in July. :D

I'm hoping to edit 50 hours in July. (though, that might be a bit too excessive. so it may turn out to be thirty or something but I'm HOPING to get a lot done.) (there's just a lot of HOPING for goals to happen so far on this list. Ah dear. xD)


Because Twenty One Pilots is awesome. And learning how to play the songs would be even more awesome so I can play them ALLL the time around the house. Mwahaha.


(anyone feel like 'arting' should be a word? it just sounds awesome and artsy in it's own special way.)

I used to doodle/zentangle/mandala a fair amount, but since writing has taken over, that's dropped. I really do enjoy doing it, so maybe this summer I can make a few cards or prints while listening to audiobooks. Aw yis.


Yes. I had to list this.


I love betaing my writer friend's books. Love love love it. But I'm also really really really bad at it. I read and then I forget to read and then I forget what happened and then once I finally read I just love it all and I'm not sure what to say and basically IT'S A STRUGGLE. (wow, very big run on sentence there, Katie)

But I'm going to become better at it. And I might as well become better at it this summer.


I mean, obviously.. But I want to read LOTS of books. Good books. I also want to avoid the bad books. Maybe get into some more contemporary? I haven't been reading as much fantasy lately and I've been enjoying the different genres.


At least, finish editing all the beta comments. After that... start thinking about pitching/querying and such? Who actually knows. I don't want to get too ahead of myself. xD

(and also are you starting to understand that there's going to be a lot of editing this summer?)


Does anyone else really not... like the summer? The heat kills me. I hate the sticky feeling in the sun, mosquitoes eating me alive, and always feeling thirsty and sweaty. 

But then again, there's no school, so I'll take the trade. :P


Obviously I can't list them here since I forgot what these tasks are... but I'm sure there are some of them. *looks around my room* But it's definitely not cleaning my room. That's for sure not one of them. Ha. Ha.


At the beginning of 2016, I was journaling nightly, but that let off pretty quickly. I think journaling is awesome, and I'd really like to do more of it. So then in 10 years I can see what little Katie was doing and thinking. (scary thought. o.o)


Rollerblading is basically walking but you can go faster with less effort. And what's a better way to get exercise than that? :P


I've heard good things about this one so I've put it on hold at the library. Even though the third season got canceled (boooo), I'm still gonna enjoy the first two. Has anyone else watched this?


Because yes. I've watched Captain America: The First Avenger and Iron Man so far. The Incredible Hulk is next. I haven't watched that one before, so crossing my fingers. :D (though I think my dad and sister gave it a pretty good review?)


This is happening TOMORROW, you guys. TOMORROW. My family's gonna pick Aimee up at the airport, and two days after that we're going to a conference with Hannah and Caroline. ALL THE EXCITEMENT AH.

// katie grace

What are three of your summer bucket list items? 

The Struggles of Blogging

Saturday, June 4, 2016
I know I said that I would do a blogspot design post, but it just wasn't working and so while I'm strongly feeling the feel of blogging struggles, I might as well write a post on it. Logic.

So. Blogging.

Blogging is awesome in so many ways. I could go on for quite awhile about it's awesomeness, but I'll just leave it at awesome and write a post on that later.

But blogging is also hard. (Oh, hey, I also wrote a post about why we call writing hard if you want to read that.)

So here's a list of very relateable (at least I hope) blogging struggles.


At least for me, thinking of ideas for blogging is hard. I mean, I'm posting around  60+ times a year, and that's a lot of original posts. (I don't get bloggers who post like 10 times a month. o.o) Especially for me, since my mind loves to torture me with dry spells where I have no ideas. My brain starts thinking, "I could talk about the possibility of making pizza flavored tacos. That could become a thing, right?" And then I mark it down for a Saturday, and when that Friday night comes, I'm very confused at what I meant. THE STRUGGLE IS VERY REAL.


In my 'how I write a blog post' post, I calculated that it takes around 3-4 hours to write a blog post. Sometimes more or less depending on the topic, but it's a good middle average.

And that's a lot of time. I don't regret the time I take to write up my posts, but sometimes I do wish I could have an automatic post writer or proofreader or format-er. Or I could just smash my head against the keyboard and words would come out. *dies* xD (I think every writer thinks this, actually...)


I know we're supposed to not "blog for followers," but I think it's true that we as bloggers write posts for readers, yes? We write posts so they can be enjoyed by others. But it's a difficult task making yourself known. You can't just go out into the street and yell "HEY EVERYONE GO READ MY BLOG. THANKS." (I wish it was that easy. xD)

No, you have to put yourself out there. Make friends with bloggers. Actually take interest in other blogs. It's surprising how much of a 'social' activity blogging actually is. (I know that sounds weird -- talking about socializing on the internet. BUT IT'S A REAL THING I PROMISE.)


This might be just me, but sometimes I'll write a post I'm very proud of. It gets good feedback, I'm a happy person, and everything is just peachy. Then comes the next week. I write my post, and after I'm finished (or even while I'm writing it), I start to doubt.
"Should I have done something different? This is a horrible idea. Ughh I don't knowwwww. *sighing*" 

I get worried that people read my blog expecting a certain type of post, and I don't want to fail by doing only mediocre. *shrugs* Every artist has their share of insecurities. :P


I try to use a picture in every one of my blog posts, and it is QUITE DIFFICULT to find the right one. And not only find the right picture, but where to put the text. How big to put the text. Make it look amazing.

Also, having all the pictures match on your blog. Mine don't match in the slightest, but I'm doing better with using the same text, now. :P

Struggle #6: BLOG DESIGN

*dies* BLOG DESIGN IS THE WORST. I mean, it's so much fun to make your blog look all pretty and fancy, but its such a pain. Tutorials with coding can either work, do nothing, or completely mess everything up. 

And there's the problem of trying to make it unique. It's never cool to completely copy another blogger's design, so despite wanting to copy some bloggers on their pretty, clean white designs, looks like the orange fall theme is going to stick with me. ;)


Ew schedules. Ew deadlines. 

Schedules are hard because no matter what (within reason), you have to post. If it's late, you're tired, and don't have much motivation... you promised that Saturday post. (totally not me right now. TOTALLY NOT. Heh.) 

But, if I didn't have a schedule... (like I used to) ...I would run into the problem of posting only two times a month. It's happened. I mean, that's still good, but I like setting goals and deadlines for myself. :P

thanks to hannah for thinking of this blogging struggle. ;)

// katie grace

What are some blogging struggles you deal with?