Saturday, April 29, 2017

PHEW. You probably already know what I'm going to say, but I'm going to say it anyway. "Wow, was this month crazy." Maybe when I'm ninety-seven (and still posting on this blog for the hypothetical situation), I'll be able to say, "Wow, what a lovely month of rest and relaxation." Or not because I also still want to be livin' life to the fullest when I'm old. So... maybe it's a good thing that all my months are busy and crazy? It's a sign that I'm actually doing things?

A lot of those busy things were good things, though. Like..
  • an amazing weekend youth retreat with mah youth group (so much fun and friendship <3)
  • cleaning my room! (this is considered worthwhile mentioning since it's a very rare occurrence)
  • lots of extrovert-ing and people-ing
  • finding my chapstick (that I thought I lost for several months, and it was really just at the bottom of my bag. oops.)
  • had the chance to babysit for the first time in a loooong time. I just really love small children. <3
  • discovering a new awesome song (Hard Times by Paramore. it makes me want to dance xD)
  • finishing up the second to last month of school!
  • I had to make the unicorn frappuchino several million times and that was almost the end of me xD
  • I'm finally getting better at consistently going to bed before 1am! Wahoo! (pathetic... but... #nightowl) 
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. If I'm trying to be optimistic... I could say that I'm succeeding with my bookish streak of reading less and less each month? Which is just a really bad way of saying that I only read one book this month. And it was for school, so I'm not sure if it exactly counts. xD

I read This Changes Everything by Jacquelle Crowe. It's a very fresh and inspiring perspective of the gospel and how that bleeds into our every day life -- especially as teens. She's super young herself, so I'm impressed at how dedicated and motivated she is. Definitely an inspiration. *nodnod*

So... not much to talk about in the bookish section. One more exciting thing, though -- Tricia Mingerink released her fourth (and last *sniff*) book, Deliver, in the Blades of Acktar series! If you like Christian fantasy, assassins, amazing characters, and pure epicness... go read those books.

Ahh, writing. Writing did go well this month... just not as well as I anticipated it going. I had a high goal of 75,000 set for NaNoWriMo, but I ran out of steam and ended with a little over 50k instead. And I'm okay with that.

Lately writing has been getting rather stressful with all these goals and wanting to write and edit and do allll the things, and focusing too much on that has started to take away the fun in writing. So I'm going to take a step back and take writing slowly in May. I'm not going to set any big goals for myself -- I just want to write because I enjoy it. Yes, I'm a writer, but I'm also a musician, a blogger, a reader, an artist, a sister, a friend, a barista, a procrastinator, a student... and I want to make sure that I'm allowing time to explore and enjoy other aspects of my life.

So I'll still be doing some writing (I don't think I could completely stop)... but just little amounts for the next month or so. :)

I unfortunately have no pretty image pictures because... ahem... I was lazy.

At the beginning of this month, I wrote about the fear and freedom of first drafts. If you want to see some aesthetically pleasing pictures and read words from my heart... that's the one to click on. ;)

I posted a lil NaNo themed flash fiction... "Beware the NaNo Beast." (mwahaha, how threatening. how scary.)

And last week I went the easy route and summarized my Camp NaNo progress. (And since that update, very little progress has been made. How lovely. :P)
Do you like writing flash fiction? Or maybe you've been wanting to give it a try? Rosalie is holding a flash fiction challenge, and a giveaway is involved! It'll be a lovely Camp NaNo wind-down exercise. :D

I related real hard to the Christine's post about the struggles of being an extroverted writer

Aimee had this genius idea of listening to one new album a day this month, so I'm stalking alllll the music recommendations. xD

Since writing has become so exhausting and stressful, I'm taking May a bit slower and am going to catch up on beta reading, reading in general, and other art-ing things. (or maybe just napping. we'll see.) I'm not going to post on Saturday the 6th, but hopefully it'll work out so I can post the rest of the Saturdays. :D

I'm hoping to maaaybe give Nadine's #Walk30Days challenge a try, so if that happens, then I'll most likely do a wrap up of pictures (because I love pictures of nature <3).

I hope your month was amazing! Remember to rest. Eat some pizza. Buy a donut. (now I'm sitting here bemoaning the fact that I can't be spontaneous and buy a donut because it's 12am. Sigh. xD)

katie grace

what are your plans for may?
what's your favorite kind of donut? (because this is OBVIOUSLY important knowledge)


Saturday, April 22, 2017
Happy Saturday, everyone! I'm on a youth retreat this weekend, so I'll be a little slow in answering comments. (and which is why I'm doing a Camp NaNo wrap up of sorts instead of an official post, because my brain cannot brain anymore.)

In past posts I've gone over the NaNo journey day by day, but as I tried to piece that together, all the days seemed the same and I couldn't differentiate one from the other. So... you're getting a mashup of them all and general rambles about the month. xD

(image headers will return in may once the nano insanity is over xD)

"So, Katie," you hypothetically ask me. "How is Camp really going? How are you really feeling about the insanity of this month?"

[insert me collapsed on the ground with dreary eyes trying to do the wording thing at twelve a.m. every night and failing] 

This month was not the greatest month for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I'm feeling quite exhausted. Like this past week -- I've been busy literally all day with school and work and other activities, and my first opportunity to write is ten at night. Which by then the last thing I want to do is try to make words come out. xD

slowly falling behind but I'M DETERMINED TO MAKE MY GOAL. and shout out to my amazing cabinmates, Athelas, Gabriela, Abi, Faith, Jeneca, Nadine, Ashley, Jaye, Tricia, Natasha, Lydia, Hannah, Stephanie, and Heidi. <3
But I've been chugging along. I have three more days of insanity and then (hopefully) I'll have some time to catch up. I'm beginning to realize that this is the new normal and I just have to learn how to deal with it. (yaaay xD)

In some ways I "enjoy" being busy. I'm an extrovert, so constantly connecting with people really awakes my mind and gives me energy. Having a full schedule motivates me to make the most out of the little free time I have, which leads to wasting less time overall.

On the other hand, all this activity still makes me worn out and it's hard to balance everything. My reading has plummeted this month and I had to return all my library books without reading them. (and received fines in the process because I keep forgetting to check the due date wHOOPS) The busyness has led to lots of stress which is never fun. -.-

One of the good things about this month was a lovely writing retreat with Nadine, Tricia, and Ashley. This was absolutely crucial to my word count and taking a nice rest in general. There were many giggles and cups of coffee and tea and pizza and laughter and word wars and pictures and happiness that weekend. <3

how we felt after conquering #10k1day
"So you talked about the month, Katie, but what about your story? How's the writing going?"

My story started off wonderfully! Now? Ehhh. I didn't plot as in depth as I should've, which has led to me feeling a little stuck. I have a vague ending to the story, but... I'm going to have to channel my inner panster for the rest of this novel. :P I already know that this novel will require lots of edits. Huzzah. xD

I do love this story, though. I love the aesthetics and the mood and the characters are slowly growing on me. It's my first time doing a prequel, and it's been fun incorporating little hints and things that will take place in Where Shadows Lie.

Because I'm slightly obsessed with aesthetics, I made one last night instead of writing. #noregrets (I'm really happy with how this one turned out and asdjkfl; I can't stop looking at ittt)

'Twas a quick little update, but thank you for reading anyways. I hope you all survive your own busy lives and that Camp NaNo is going well! EIGHT MORE DAYS. Basically a week. Don't freak out, don't freak out... [quietly freaks out]

katie grace

you ready for camp to end?
do you have any novel aesthetics?


Saturday, April 15, 2017
Today marks the halfway point for Camp NaNoWriMo. You've made it this far, so I know you have the strength to survive fifteen more days of this madness. BRING ON THE CAFFEINE.

It's 10:00pm as I write this (and now after 1:00am as I edit this). I may have completely forgotten about my blog post until now. So I decided to throw together a lil' flash fiction featuring NaNoWriMo, and use this opportunity to try out second person! So here goes nothing. It might be a little rough, but... it's NaNo. xD

You are writing.

This isn't anything new -- you are always writing. It is night. You are hunched over your dim screen, fingers flying across the keyboard, the faulty space-bar key partially handicapping your speed. There is a burning candle beside you, and it smells faintly of pine trees and oranges. There's soft music in your ears, fuzzy socks on your feet, and a giant blanket wrapped around your legs.

All of this is normal.

But what isn't normal, is your writing location. Tonight you are not typing in silence with fear that you might wake your sleeping family. No, tonight you are at a camp, and not just any camp.

You are at Camp NaNoWriMo -- where your days are spent discussing with other writers, bettering your plot, squealing over characters. There are endless amounts of food, purely for the sake of "fueling creativity." When night falls, you retreat back to your one-person cabin. You leave the window open in hope that a group of writers will pass by and you can chat with them.

But tonight no one comes. Tonight you are alone.

You resort to your characters to make up for the lack of human interaction. The words are coming along fine, but as your mind wanders around with the plot, something begins to feel amiss.

Thump, thump.

The noise is quiet at first, and you almost mistake it for the drums in your music. You choose to ignore it and keep writing. (bad decision.)

It sounds again, and louder this time. You pause the music and it continues -- thump, thump, thump. Wind slides into the cabin through the open window, and battles with the flickering candlelight. You think back to a conversation with some of your fellow campers. They spoke of terrible monsters -- NaNo beasts and creatures that will let nothing stop them.

Thud, thump, thud. 

The sound is coming from outside your door. Do you dare explore the noise? You don't have a weapon, so instead you grab the biggest book from your shelf and creep forward.

Your heart is pounding loudly, mixing with the mysterious sounds from outside. What if this is the end? What if you're just one of the unfortunate few to fall prey to this hideous beast?

You place your hand around the doorknob, gripping the book with your other. The door creaks as it opens. Your mind flashes and fantasizes with different, horrifying, possibilities: 

-- towering, snarling, murdering monster. blood dripping from fangs. razor-like claws. scratches oozing with green liquid. ready to attack, ready to capture, ready to kill --

You look out.

Nothing's there. Just the wind and the trees and the quiet tap, tap, tap of clicking keyboards.

But that can't be. You definitely heard something. You peer out, and, finally, before heading back inside, lower your gaze.

It's a bunny. 

A bunny, foot thumping on the ground.

You almost let out a laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. To think that you were making all this fuss over a little rabbit?

This bunny, however, is different. As you bend down and stare into its eyes, you realize they're red. It's teeth are a little longer and a little sharper than normal bunny's teeth would be. Before you have a chance to protest, it jumps into your cabin.

Whispers sound, and you see a crowd of campers forming.

"Oh... that poor soul."
"Never going to recover from this."
" -- Until the next one comes."
"Mid-NaNo Crisis in three, two..."
"It's the dreaded plot bunny!"

You follow the bunny into the cabin. "I don't want you!" you try to scream as it jumps into your lap. "I already have my story. I don't need you!"

But the bunny just smiles -- a seemingly evil smile for such an innocent creature -- and makes itself comfortable. Resistance is impossible. You're trapped with one of the writer's greatest enemies: the plot bunny.

Frantic, you bolt to your bookshelf, pulling out your NaNo handbook. You find "plot bunny" in the glossary. 

Definition: a story idea that refuses to go away until it is written.

You read a little farther, and to your great relief, find that there's a cure.

Cure: another plot bunny.

And so your life of a writer officially begins... and may never end.

(I know this ends rather suddenly and feels incomplete but I feel like it's applicable to a writer's life and the struggles with the ever distraction plot bunnies #writerslife)

This short story was partially inspired because a couple days ago I had my own plot bunny wander up to me. -.- I'm actually very thankful -- I had been struggling with the characters and this new plot line will help the story immensely. It will also just involve lots of rewriting. xD

Happy NaNo-ing!

katie grace

how's camp going?
are you one of those writers with endless plot bunnies?


Tuesday, April 11, 2017
[note: yes, this post is late. three days late. -.- I had it all ready to go on Friday night, but didn't have the internet to publish this until now. *sobs* It feels very odd to have this go up on a Tuesday, but... enjoy anyways! xD]

Happy eleventh day of Camp NaNoWriMo, everyone! WE'RE MORE THAN A THIRD OF THE WAY THROUGH THE MONTH! *chants* you can do it you can do it you can do it

So far my writing has been going well, which I’m stoked about. Since my mind is basically on a one-track loop around “NaNo! NaNo! NaNo!” I’m going to be talking about first draft writing today. I stalked my own blog (do people do this??) and realized that I don’t write about first drafts very often. I’ve done quite a few wrap-up posts, but they aren’t the same. So here we go – we’re talking about first drafts and allll my feelings for them. :P

(no fancy title image because of the lack of internet. AND ALSO, if I had a personal aesthetic, this picture would be it. I love the distressed white and the pop of color and the fade and chipping of the paint and squeee I could pathetically fangirl about the aesthetic of an old shed. I’ll consider that a special talent. xD)

Basically: I LOVE WRITING FIRST DRAFTS. It’s so exhilarating. There are endless possibilities and paths and characters to adore and plot twists to be written. BUT… along with those endless amounts of possibilities, there are also endless amounts of mistakes. (yaaaay) There’s that touch of fear present in the process.

Fear is an unfortunate part of life. It’s something to constantly work and strive to improve on—learning how to trust God through the struggle—but it will always be there. It’s amazing how easily fear can seep into my writing if I let it. And fear does have its place—I think it helps me look critically at my writing, strives me to do better and work harder and continue to conquer all the things—but it’s important for me to realize that this is a first draft.

It’s also important for me to realize how ridiculous a question like: what if my story isn’t good enough? is. IT’S A STUPID THOUGHT I SHOULD NEVER EVEN BE THINKING AND MUST GATHER MY TROOPS TO BANISH IT FROM MY MIND IMMEDIATELY. (to war! Attaaaaackkk!)

It shouldn’t even be a question that crosses my mind at this point, because of course my story isn’t good. It’s only a little baby right now! The plot is going to be messy. (And if you’re me, it’s very, very, very messy *shudder*) The words in the first draft aren’t going to make perfect sense for most of the time. (or all of the time. ;) 

First drafts are scary if I let them be scary. If I think about that fear of making it perfect, if wondering if this will ever be readable or if this story is “good enough,” I’m going to get bogged down. It’s inevitable, and will totally ruin that fun of writing the first draft.

Rather, I should be thinking questions like, “how can I make my story better? What can I do to improve?” So with this novel, I’m heading into Camp NaNo and writing with freedom. I love writing because I love creating and dreaming and pouring my heart onto the page. If I let the fear escape and work its way onto the page, it will start to ruin the joy of the process.

So, I’m excited about this NaNo. I’m excited about truly enjoying the story and doing my best not to think and fear about the future of it. That’s for editing and years from now. (I feel like parenting can be like an analogy to writing. [Ahem, even though I’ve never parented before.] But you have to enjoy the journey while the story is still tiny! If you focus on the fear and hardships ahead of you that’s going to ruin the adventure and process through the years.)

I’m pumped to explore characters. Explore my story. Write because I love it and it’s my passion. I can’t wait to see my characters grow and change throughout the month, live and die (AHEM), and grow friendships and fall in love and fight evil and IT’S GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN. <3

If you get stuck this month on your story, remember that you’re not the only one, and that there’s time to fix the problems later. This is a first draft, and there’s so much freedom in letting your words run free and be messy. The goal isn’t perfection—the goal is to tell the story God has placed on your heart. And that starts with many mistakes and scribbles and pushing through the disaster.

Karen Ball just posted a blog post with scripture that can help battle the writing fears. And that's a very important thing to remember -- if you hit a roadblock, you can always go to Him. He's there and has the hope that we need. (You can always shoot me an email as well and I'll be so willing to talk with you. <3)

We’ll get through this together! I wish you all the best and pray that your powerful words can come smoothly and easily.

katie grace

                How is camp nanowrimo going for you?
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

March Highlights // 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

*freaking out freaking out freaking out freaking out freaking out* I'm terrified and excited and pumped and nervous and have allll the feelings, but first let's look at the monthly highlights. :P

Even though this month was crazy busy, it wasn't particularly eventful? Just the normal daily grind of alll the tasks. A few exciting highlights happened, though, especially turning seventeen! I'm still wrapping my head around the whole "ohmygosh I'm one year from being an adult." It's a rather scary thought but I can worry about that more as it gets closer. :P

It was also my mommy's birthday, and my sister made amazing chocolate covered strawberries. (which were quite photogenic. I love photographing food, but whenever I see the pictures later I immediately get hungry and wistful about all the eaten goodies :P)

I also got sick for the first time in forever, which was entirely inconvenient since I had to cancel a bunch of plans. -.- And it was the type of sick that I didn't feel like doing anything, not even reading. Thankfully it was only for a few days, but still. :P

One year ago (on the 23rd) I applied to Starbucks. I've already almost been working there for a year! o.o The time has gone by craaaazy fast, and I'm still enjoying it immensely. (I had three days off this week and found myself getting antsy to go back. So I guess that's a good sign. xD)

Speaking of working... I had my first ever morning shift. I am not a morning person. Ahem. It did not go well. [story's in the twitter thread below and you might have to click and go to the twitter site to view it?]

The Scorch Trials [3/5]
The Lost Girl of Astor Street [4.5/5]
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire [5/5]

Yep. Only three books. My monthly book counts are getting lower with each month that passes. By the end of the year I'll be reading a negative amount of books in my wrap-up posts. xD

I'm currently in the middle of three books (I almost never read books at the same time, but one's for fun, one I'm buddy-reading, and the other's for school...), so I should be able to finish all of those up pretty easily next month even with the Camp NaNo craziness.

And how is it that I'm usually able to make my writing and blogging goals, but reading is completely different? I set a goal for seven books this month. SEVEN. Ha. *sighs* I keep saying that I'll "read more when I have time," but I'm not seeing any extra time appearing in the near future. BUT I'M GOING TO CONQUER MY GOODREADS GOAL OF 100 BOOKS NO MATTER WHAT. (so I say...)

I got three books for my birthday, which is awesome, but now I'm looking at my shelves and very quickly realizing that I don't have room for more books. Ahem. I just got this bookshelf last year. -.- But I'm not complaining -- I'm completely fine with lining my floor with books meanwhile. :P

AND LOOK AT ONE OF THE BOOKS I GOT! (gifted by the ever-lovely Nadine Brandes. you should all go read her books immediately) It's a special edition of Heartless. LOOK AT THE GORGEOUSNESS. *screaming forever* I haven't stopped staring at it and it's so hard to tear my eyes awaaayyy.

Most of March was filled with frantic rewriting (aka my favorite thing in the whole wide world. *sarcasm*). I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to finish the draft before Camp, but I went into ninja-editing-mode, complete with candlelight, fuzzy blankets, and calming music, and got it done. <3

*happy sigh at the pretty candlelight*
So, after I finished the rewrite, I traveled to the magical world of PLOTTING! *squeee* It's insane how much I actually enjoy plotting. (especially since I used to look upon it with glares and cringing shudders) It's calming now -- I do all my plotting on paper so there aren't many distractions, and no headache-inducing screen. It almost makes me want to try writing a novel by hand. Almost. But not quite. ;) (maybe someday...?)

AND YES, THAT IS A UNICORN MUG. (thanks to my aunt!) HIS NAME IS ELWOOD. He'll be helping me with all my Camp NaNo craziness this month, most likely filled with coffee or chai. <3

For Camp, I'm writing my prequel to Where Shadows Lie. It explains the story of Eerie's parents -- before she was born -- and the history of the mysterious island. :D 

I don't have as much of a plot as I would prefer, but since I've always pantsed my novels in the past, I'm just going to go with it. (more exciting and unpredictable that way... right? :P) My goal is to write the first draft, but it's hard to set a word goal because I'M SO BAD AT ESTIMATING WORD COUNTS. So either this book could be an easy 60k, or a massive 100k. (for the sake of my insanity, I dearly hope it's not the latter.)
For now I've set my goal at 75k. If you want to stalk my stats... here's my Camp NaNo profile.

(and because we're insane, Aimee and I are starting off NaNo with a #10k1day. send help and pizza. xD)
I've mulled over what to do for blogging this month for quite awhile. (sigh, decisions have never been my strong point) I don't want to not blog, but yet it will be tough to take every Friday off of writing so I can write my blog post instead.

So, I've decided that I will still post weekly, but they will be Camp-related posts. (whether it be a wrap-up, a lil vlog update, snippets, general craziness, first drafts, etc.) This should make them a teensy bit  easier to write, so even though I'll still be blogging for the majority of the day, I'll have a some time for writing. 

(and hey, if you have any Camp-related topics you want me to write on, send them my way)

I wish you all the best of luck on your Camp NaNoWriMo adventures! It's going to be crazy insane. xD

katie grace

what are you working on for Camp?
what's your word count goal?