GROWING OLDER + some thoughts on that

Saturday, March 18, 2017
Tomorrow I'll be seventeen years old.

This post isn't searching for birthday wishes and hopes of a great day. But since I'll be celebrating my day of birth tomorrow, growing older has been on my mind a lot.

I don't have a specific topic for this post (though that might change by the end of it) -- I just wanted to ramble about age and growing older and those general things. Enjoy. :P

People will soon ask me how it feels to be seventeen (they always do after a birthday, and it's an odd question because everyone knows that it really doesn't feel different at all). I've already gotten questions as to whether I'm excited to be seventeen or not. I don't know how to answer that. Age is a weird thing.

But... Am I excited to be seventeen?

Yes... and no.

Yes, because there's always a certain sort of thrill that comes about with growing older. This means new opportunities and more freedom and staying up later! (okay, maybe not the staying up later part. I've already mastered that. :P)

No, because there's so little time in life.  One of Switchfoot's lyrics explains this well:
I want to do so many things, yet look at how quickly the years are already slipping away! I want to write and I want to meet people and I want to experience all the things... while also staying inside and typing away for hours on end. :P

Ideally, I'd live a full, long life to a hundred years old, filled with many birthdays that include BOOKS! Hypothetically speaking, that would mean I'm only 17% done with my life. I could have lots of my life ahead of me, but unfortunately there's no knowing when my time will come.

Yeah, that can be kind of depressing. But it's also extremely motivating -- am I living each day to their full potential? I might only have ten years left in this world; I might have eighty-two. I don't want to regret how I've lived my life. I'm in my teen years! I'm in prime condition for doing all the things! This is my time to experiment and experience the world and figure out where I want to go for the rest of my life.

It's easy for me to glorify staying inside, binge-watching TV shows or scrolling through social media. And don't get me wrong, it's great fun and relaxation is needed... but I don't want that to sum up my teen years. It's awful how often social media distracts me. I could be writing or reading or talking or drawing or playing music instead! There are so many better ways I can spend my time rather than just scrolling through my Twitter feed. I'm determined to become better at doing rather than thinking about doing -- that's one of my goals for the seventeenth year.

Talking about this, it makes me a little excited (yet still nervous :P) to turn seventeen. It's fueling motivation and getting me ready to continually grow in God, friendship, writing, and other aspects of life.

little tiny katie on the left and her little tiny sister, laura, on the right. (people asked if we were twins back then and they still do now. excUSE ME BUT I'M THREE YEARS OLDER. oh well. :P)
OKAY CAN I JUST AWKWARDLY CHANGE SUBJECTS AND MENTION HOW WEIRD NOSTALGIA IS?? It's such an odd feeling -- bittersweet, in a way. I'm listening to a track of lullabies that put me to sleep every. single. night. when I was younger, and if I close my eyes, it's like I'm seven years old again. My three favorite stuffed animals are curled up under my arms, my nightlight is basically as bright as the sun, and my room is still a faded, soft pink.

(hello, it's future-editing-katie bobbing in. I just finished the lullaby track and find it funny that I don't recognize any of the later songs since I was always asleep by that point. Huh. Anyways. xD)

I think one of the reasons nostalgia is weird, is because of the bittersweet feeling. I think of the memories -- little high-pitched giggles, a piece of chocolate before bed, playing playmobile with my sister for HOURS on end, my favorite sweatshirt that I refused to stop wearing even when it was three sizes too small -- and a rush of happiness runs through And then I'm almost a bit sad, because that phase of my life is over, and I'll never go back to being seven again. Ever. Eek. o.O

Which brings me back to the other points I've talked about in this post, and how I want to make sure that I'm making every moment matter. 

There are my brain  I hope the rest of your day is lovely and that you can make it awesome. xD

katie grace

any thoughts to add?
what makes you nostalgic?


Saturday, March 11, 2017
Camp NaNoWriMo is in TWENTY DAYS! (and my birthday is in eight! totally not related to the topic but still important. Or... not. Ahem. *cough*) Twenty days isn't a lot of time -- especially if you're me and haven't even started plotting yet -- but it's enough time to prepare. (...I hope. xD)

I'm pretty sure most of you've heard of NaNoWriMo -- the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. Camp NaNo is similar, but I might actually prefer it to the official NaNo due to the reason below. I love the hype of NaNo and the massive community, but Camp has always been so special. It takes place twice a year in April and July. (and if you ask me, which you didn't, but I'm telling you anyway, those are much better times than November.)

Also, guys... this is my SIXTH TIME participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. (Um, what?) And guess what? I'll be writing my sixth novel! I'm a bundle of squeals and excitement and nerves. I'm hoping I'll be able to find a solid plot for this novel... but I can already tell that this novel is going to be troublesome. Brainstorming has been tough. :P

Enough of me rambling. It's so much more fun to do crazy writing activities with frens, so here's why you should join me in the Camp NaNo insanity.

Let's face it: Editing isn't fun. (for most people -- there are a couple of you mutant writers out there. I don't understand you, but you're great anyways. Weird... but great. xD) Another fact: editing is necessary. (Unfortunately -- until a new breed of mutant writers are born with perfection in their veins.)

I usually spend one of the the Camp NaNos editing, and the motivation is JUST WHAT I NEED. It is sometimes looked down upon to be editing a novel for the official NaNoWriMo, but it's very much encouraged for Camp! This could be your sign to finally pick up that red pen and start editing.

Also, this year Camp NaNo is letting you choose a word, line, page, or hour count goal. If tracking time or pages works better, you can now do that without some weird minute to word count conversion.

OKAY, so maybe this isn't a perk for everyone. But I've never been a fan of camp, so this is the best case scenario for me! xD No mosquitoes, creepy crawlers, or sunburn... I'll get to write with air conditioning (or heat depending on how cold April is...), and I can retire to the comfort of my own bed when its finally time to rest.

(I mean... assuming that I'll actually sleep. maybe I'll just write all night and guzzle caffeine instead. MWAHAHA there's no stopping the writing beast.)

(Now that I think about it... going to a camp for Camp NaNo would be pretty epic. I could settle for a nice beach or mountainside resort. xD)

This is one of my favorite things about Camp NaNo -- the flexibility is amazing. Instead of doing the standard 50,000 words, you could be an overachiever and write 75,000! Or 200,000! Or 50,001! Or 49,999! The possibilities are endless! xD

Really, though. This is an extremely helpful perk. There's no shame with setting a goal of 10,000 -- that turns out to be a little more than 300 words a day. Tiny goals are manageable and not as intimidating. 10,000 words will still cut a nice chunk out of your WIP!

Plus, if you meet your goal early or decide that it's too much, Camp NaNo lets you change your goal until the 20th of the month. Then you're locked in and doomed with your choice. xD

Now this is my FAVORITE part about Camp NaNoWriMo. Cabins are made up of thirteen writers. They're sorted into a virtual message board cabin -- you have the choice of entering a cabin with strangers (possible new writer friends!) or friends. There's nothing quite like NaNo stress to bond you together as cabinmates. xD

NaNo always combines the cabin's word counts into a team goal, which is where it gets fun. My cabin becomes really competitive with making our goals and it's great. :P

And unlike normal summer camps, since the cabin is virtual, you won't be kept up with giggles or snores! xP (instead your characters will bother you into the long hours of the night, demanding that you keep them alive and stop torturing them. And when you finally do kill them, the echoes of their ghostly sobs will haunt your dreams forever and ever and ever!) (yay)

Finding time and finding motivation are two very difficult parts about writing. Though Camp NaNoWriMo won't magically give you extra time (I wish *cries*), there is an overflow of motivation. Thousands of other writers will be joining you on this crazy journey, so maybe this is the boost of determination you need to make the most out of the time you've been given.

Camp NaNo also starts on a Saturday, which means staying up late writing (or plotting, which is what I'll probably be doing :P) on Friday night and SLEEPING IN THE NEXT MORNING! I am ridiculously excited with how well this works out.

Don't forget to take advantage of word sprints and word wars! Shoot me a message -- I'm definitely willing for the extra motivation, and I'm sure any other writer would appreciate the nudge to being productive.

katie grace

are you doing camp nano?
what's your word goal?


Saturday, March 4, 2017
Apparently last Thursday (March 2nd) was National Book Day, which sparked the inspiration for a bookish post today! It's been too long since I've screeched about my love for stories and characters and covers.

Like any bookworm, my TBR grows at an insane rate -- especially with all the awesome books coming out this year. (LIKE MARISSA MEYER'S NEW BOOK AHH) But yet most of my books below are rereads, which doesn't fare well for helping my TBR pile... but OH WELL. :P

*shrieks* This book arrived in the mail just a couple of days ago! It came ages earlier than Amazon predicted, so I'm an extremely happy bookworm. Thank you, speedy Amazon delivery dudes! ;)

I'm fifty pages into it and already enjoying it immensely. It's a Friday night, so I might forgo some sleep so I can read... We'll see. The book is calling my name. :P
I started reading Ted Dekker because he will be the keynote speaker at Realm Makers. My whole plan was to read his books, find my favorite, and then have him sign it at the conference... but things have since then changed and I won't be going to Realm Makers after all. *sniff* So instead I'm planning to read his books just because they're awesome. xD

I'm beginning to discover that I like mystery/thriller books. Several friends have loaned me a couple of his novels since my library doesn't have them. Black, Obsessed, and The Priest's Graveyard are currently staring me down from my bookshelf demanding to be read. :P I'm not sure which one to pick up first -- have you read any of those three?

(I first typed the Hunger Games as "The HUMger Games." That would've made an interesting version of the story. :P)

Even though I've watched all the movies... I... haven't read all the Hunger Game books. (*hides* I'm a bad bookworm, I know, I know...) BUT THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE! I'm excited to see how the movies and books differ and experience Suzanne's writing.

I bought super pretty editions of these books at a Half Price Books Clearance sale -- only a dollar a piece! I die a little every time I look at them because THEIR COVERS THOUGH. I love the simplistic minimalism. So beautiful. <3

(I feel like I should be a cover design assistant. I could shriek over the covers while "ooh-ing" and "ahhh-ing" over the pretty fonts and colors. I really wouldn't offer any design help... just excitement. xD)

(Okay well now that I'm babbling on about covers, is anyone else INSANELY CURIOUS with how cover designs create covers? Maybe I should be a cover design assistant just to peer over their shoulder while they work and see allll the inside secrets. Not annoying at all, right? ;)

(Oops here goes another parenthesis ramble about covers because I just remembered that Kirk DuoPonce did a time-lapse video on this, actually! It's awesome and he has crazy amounts of talent.)
(I'm actually happy with how this picture turned out since I took it a couple days ago when the lighting was nice. all the other pictures in this post are a little grainy and I apologize. :P)
I know I've talked about Martin Hospitality quite a bit, but I feel like it deserves the attention. The author, Abi, is my critique partner (who has been a tremendous help with my own writing), and I can't wait to read the finished version of the novel. I read one of the earliest drafts, so it'll be neat to see what has changed through the editing process.
Once upon a time (about a year ago), I checked out The Night Circus from the library. It sat on my floor until the library demand that I give it back (how dare they), and haven't picked it up since then. Oops.

But after all the hype and attention and raving reviews it has gotten, I'M FINALLY GOING TO READ IT! It's been on my to-read list for at least a couple of years. It's about a magical circus and I've heard that the writing is gorgeous. What's not to like about it?
(yay for overused and dirty library copies! -.-)
Another reread -- this time Hannah and I plan to buddy read it together and flail and screech over the lovely characters.

The Percy Jackson series is one I remember enjoying immensely when I first read them. (I enjoyed the first series -- but unfortunately not a huge fan of the others) I giggled a lot and flew through the series. I'm behind in my reading goal for the year (*cries*), so quick and fun reads like this will be very helpful. xD

I also plan to finish the Harry Potter series (just finished the fourth one!), and might end up buying some books on Amazon that my library doesn't have. I've been eyeing a few -- Wires and Nerves by Marissa Meyer, Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore, and Defy by Tricia Mingerink. Maybe I'll splurge and buy all of them as a birthday present for myself. Stay tuned. :P

katie grace

what are some books on your TBR list?