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.)


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


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. 

(not the greatest pictures, but the week has been a gloomy one and the sun refuses to shine)

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)


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.


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*


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.)


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. -.-


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.)
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?


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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*


(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


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*



WORD COUNT: 61,207


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

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.")


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





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.


*throws snippets into the air*

- - -



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)