MAY HIGHLIGHTS // 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017
BOOM. What better way to start out this post than with a picture of donuts? I moaned over the sad lack of donuts in my life in my April highlights post, but I'm happy to say that the need has been taking care of. :') (but donuts are like pizza. there can never be enough)

May was kind of relaxing? Despite the fact that I squished boatloads of activities into my days? It's a weird concept but somehow that happened. I had fun spending more time with my family, playing board games, and we're almost to the end of the Harry Potter movies. It's been awhile since I've watched the last one so I'm pumped to see it again. :D

Speaking of movies, I'M GETTING SO HYPED FOR SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING. I just... *faints from excitement* It looks hilarious and exciting and unique and heart-breaking and I JUST WANT IT NOW. Forty-one days! (not that I'm counting or anything... *coughcough*)

And continuing on the topic of Marvel, I haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2 yet... but it will happen in June. I re-watched the first one this month in anticipation and it's so weird and dorky but great at the same time. xD

[still loving my bullet journal! I've found that color coding works well for me -- blue for fun events, black for work, and purple for Church. I change it up with a different color scheme each month. :D]

Working has been crazy! (as always) Starbucks had their Frappuchino happy hour deal (actual insanity). To make it bearable there were dress-up themes each day, so I had the chance to rock my Captain America shirt during superhero day. Always representing my fandoms. <3 (I wanted to wear my apron backward as a cape and be my own superhero, but... that unfortunately defeated the whole purpose of the apron. xD)

The most important happening of the month: SCHOOL. IS. OVER. I repeat: school is over. Glorious summer is beginning and I cannot wait. The season of graduation parties has begun, and it's a bit terrifying to realize that this time next year I'll be the one planning my own graduation. *gulp* Yikes. I'll stop thinking about it for now. xD

It's weird to realize how fast a year can zip by. I was reading my monthly highlight's post from May of 2016, and I had just started working for Starbucks! And Captain America: Civil War came out! *sniff* Time for a rewatch... <3

After deciding to take writing slower, I had high hopes for reading to take a giant leap this month. Think of how caught up I could get on my Goodreads goal! I could maybe binge-read ten, fifteen, maybe even twenty books this month with all the extra time!

HA. HA. HA.

Or... just five. :P Which is still good, I know, but... I just wish I stayed focused enough to get through all the books I want. *sigh* Oh well. I'm actually getting nervous that I won't make my reading goal of 100 books... o.O

And even though I have Resistance pictured above... I didn't read it. Instead I beta read Exiles, but since that's not out yet... I didn't have a way to take a picture. :P


Ahh, writing. There's not a lot to discuss in this section, since I discussed most of it in my last post, the joy of stress-free writing. Basically, I took a month off of writing (except for 500 words I wrote), and it was a glorious break. This happened more than I'm willing to admit:
My writing hiatus stops today, though. I'm planning to make major progress with some editing this afternoon/evening, and am actually looking forward to it?? I think it's because I'll be doing mostly line edits, and that's my favorite part of the editing process. <3 (don't talk to me about macro edits/big picture stuff. ew. -.-)

Not sure what I'll be working on in June yet. I'll be polishing my conference material for half the month, and afterward maybe I'll try to FINALLY finish my Camp NaNo project. That novel has given me so much struggle. It refuses to be written. *smacks it with pizza and glares*

I know I just took a week off in May for blogging, but I'm going to have to do it again in June. June is just so crazy, you guys. Lots of working, and then a two day Christian concert festival, a week long writing conference, and then a week long family retreat at a cabin. Very fun things... but... hard to squish blogging into the midst. 

I'll post a wrap-up of the writing conference -- memories, things I learned, helpful tips to pass on -- on June 24th. I'll do a June highlights post after that, and in July I'll finally resume my normal posting schedule. After this month there shouldn't be anymore random hiatuses. Thanks for sticking with me through the chaotic journey. <3

<3,
katie grace

what are your summer plans?
what's on your summer tbr?

THE JOY IN STRESS-FREE WRITING

Saturday, May 20, 2017

I've been thinking about writing. This should be no surprise -- since I'm always thinking about writing... but, more specifically, I've been thinking about my future of writing. 

Maybe I'm the only one who does this, or maybe you can all relate. But it's easy to think ahead a couple years and wonder if my novel will be on the shelf, or if I'll still be rewriting that Idiot Novel for the millionth time. :P

It's scary mulling over the future -- fantasizing the unknown. Throughout the last several months I've been setting bigger and tougher goals for myself, with that dream of becoming an author right before me.

Honestly? It's been exhausting. I've been hustling for the last two years, always writing editing (ha... ha...), always pushing myself. Don't get me wrong, it's important to set goals and encourage yourself to do better. Without all my goals, I would've gotten very little done.

But! It's also important to not push yourself past your limits.

As I've mentioned before, I'm taking May slowly with my writing. My goals for April's Camp NaNo made writing a little too stressful, so I had to take a step back and evaluate writing. I write because I enjoy it! Not to induce gallons of stress. (I don't think stress can be measured in gallons... but... go with it.) So taking a break and waiting to feel the yearn and the reason to return to the story again is a good decision for me.

And I think once I rekindle that fire and passion, setting goals will once again feel like a fun challenge and not a chore. :P I'm still doing writing related things (because how can I completely stay away?), but I pushed aside those crazy insane goals, and my head feels thousands times lighter. This break is exactly what I've needed. And I'm actually doing other things too!
played piano for fun - read through old drafts - spent time on bullet journaling - binged read books - longer devos - extroverted + hung out with friends - took several walks - cleaned my room (only for it to become messy right away, haha) - made a dessert - took a trip to the library - had more movie nights with the fam - spent more time with my sister - sucked helium out of balloons (hehe) - written 500 words - critiqued stories

^^ I probably wouldn't have done any of that if I had my overachieving writing goals to keep up with as well. I'm learning that it's important to pay attention to other passions and people! There are so many things I want to do. SO MANY. Becoming an author is a long journey, and I want to enjoy the process, living life to the fullest while I do so. (that means maybe not staying inside all day and ignoring the world :P) I'm doing my best to find a balance between it all. xD

Anyways, as you can see, I've only written 500 words this month... but I think that's okay. I've also started editing the first couple pages of Where Shadows Lie for the MYWW conference, AND I'M SO, SO EXCITED. I think this is one of the first stories I won't have to completely rewrite. o.o (of course there will be rewriting involved, but they key word there is: completely)

I don't know what will happen after May, yet. June is filled with concerts and writing conferences and vacations... and once that's all over, I'll be working near thirty hours a week (help). So we'll see. Maybe Camp NaNo in July is when I'll begin the writing craziness again, mwahaha.

Well, there you have it. This post is a bit messy and discombobulated (fabulous word, isn't it?), but I wanted to give a little update on this month.

You're all amazing. 

<3,
katie grace

(also, Christine wrote something kind of similar to this on her blog, but said it in a much more eloquent and readable manner than I managed. She's awesome.)

(also, also, how is it the twentieth of May?? I legit thought we weren't even halfway through the month and now I'm confused. :P)

how has writing been going for you this month? <3

Writing! Books! Stories! Oh my!

Saturday, May 13, 2017
I'm back from my one-week blog break! :P This is my first time doing something writing related since Camp NaNoWriMo ended. Apparently "taking writing slower" ended up translating to, "not writing at all." Oops. xD

More on the break and writing thoughts another week.
My mind is a pile of slush, so I'm going to do a simple lil' tag and work on a more brain/mind/thinking post another time. ;)

(I copied and pasted this tag from some blog... but... now I can't remember which one. (proof that my mind is slush xD) Do let me know who I can give proper credit to. *nodnod*)




WHAT DRAWS YOU TO YA?

I think a lot of it is the fact that I'm a young adult myself! (which sounds weird to say, because I usually refer to myself as a teen) I can relate to the struggles and the thoughts and the circumstances the YA characters are in.

... kind of. Actually, I often can't relate a lot of the time, because they're fighting battles and slaying dragons. Or drinking. Or kissing. Heh. Let's just say that I can occasionally relate to their emotions and thought processes. xP

Plus teens are just awesome. It's a confusing time of life, filled with decisions and the unknown, but together we can help each other not feel quite so alone. The journey to other worlds is always nice, and meeting other fellow bookworms. ^.^

DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING PROCESS.


I've explained this in previous posts of mine. Obviously my process changes with each draft, but here's an overall rundown I wrote last year, and this post is about my first time plotting a novel.


There's a short answer for you. :P

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING? WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR JOURNEY?

Three years and four months! Writing has done wonders, man. <3

Ha. Is there even an easy way to tell where one is in the writing journey? I'm at the stage of, "crafting art for pure enjoyment." Yes, publishing is a goal, but even more important than that is appreciating the process and not losing the joy in the journey.

I'm not even sure if that answers the question, but I plan on expanding this for a post, so I'll just leave it at that. ;)

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO WRITE? COFFEE? MUSIC?

Ahem. Well. Firstly, I need air. I find that attempting to pen the words is rather difficult without oxygen and feeling like my lungs are about to burst.

Secondly, I need a brain. For the first couple hours after I wake up, I lack this thing called "thinking," which is unfortunate. I am required to wait until the afternoon -- preferably late evening -- until my brain cells have developed into their full potential.

I also need something to write on, whether it be paper, a computer, a phone, tablet, my bedroom wall, etc... It isn't writing until you actually write. 

There. My literal needs. :P

IF YOU COULD OFFER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANOTHER WRITER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?


Ahh, this dreaded question. I've been asked this a lot, and I'm never quite sure how to answer, because there's not one piece of advice that I view more helpful than another. Becoming a better writer is gathering all the knowledge and tips you can get. It's being open to feedback, staying determined, motivated, and sitting your butt down in the chair to write the thing.

If I had to choose one... maybe be willing to have someone else look over your work. It's a scary step -- for sure -- but that first time I let another writer critique my first couple pages opened my eyes to major improvements I could make. 



[and now for questions about YA books:]

WHAT BOOK STILL HAS YOU REELING FROM IT'S PLOT TWIST?

(spoiler free, don't worry)

OOH. I had to consult Goodreads to help my snail-like memory, here are three:


Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

The plot twists in these books were the, "oh my goodness my jaw is dropping, my eyes are wide, I'm gasping and have no air to breath, what the heck is even going on," kind of plot twists. If only I could experience them for the first time again... <3 


WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU MOST ANTICIPATING FOR THIS YEAR?

Bless the person for writing these questions -- thank you for saying books. Plural. xD

There are many I'm looking forward to, but if I had to narrow it down to a couple, I'm most looking forward to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow and Renegades. I have both of them preordered and CANNOT WAIT.


[covers lead to Goodreads]

WHAT IS YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE QUOTE FROM YA LIT?

All right. CONFESSION TIME. (here's what I got. #hamiltonreference) I don't track quotes in books. I didn't even realize that it was a thing that readers did until I discovered people writing down quotes on Goodreads.

I mean... it makes sense! Sometimes I do think, "wow, that was a great line." But since I read so quickly, I... just... don't pay as close attention to those individual words as I maybe should. Oops. Don't hate me, fellow bookworms. :P

WHAT BOOK DO YOU MOST HOPE WILL HAVE A MOVIE ADAPTION?


Hmm, another hard question to answer. I know that some bookworms are against having their favorite books being made into movies because of the fear that they'll be terrible.. but I can easily just ignore the movie failures if that's the case. For me, I'd be more afraid watching the battles and the aliens and the murder mysteries on screen. xD

One series I'd really like to see adapted is the Lunar Chronicles. Most would agree on that, yeah? <3



On another bookish related note... I'M SO BEHIND ON MY GOODREADS CHALLENGE. ...Seventeen books behind. But I went to the library a couple days ago, so I'm stocked up and ready to read all the things. (especially since school is almost done!!) So if you're interested in seeing all my bookish updates... let's be friends on Goodreads. *nodnod*

<3,
katie grace

what book(s) are you anticipating this year?

APRIL HIGHLIGHTS // 2017

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)

<3,
katie grace

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

CAMP NANOWRIMO UPDATE

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

CAMP NANOWRIMO UPDATE
(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]

<3,
katie grace

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

BEWARE THE NANO BEAST

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!

<3,
katie grace

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

THE FEAR AND FREEDOM OF FIRST DRAFTS

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.

<3,
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
CAMP NANOWRIMO HAS BEGUN! 

*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

<3,
katie grace

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

TIME MANAGEMENT

Saturday, March 25, 2017
I had plans for this post. (note the past tense, har har) I filmed a video on bullet journaling (which in reality was just me getting distracted and pulling out books from my bookshelf instead. now I have a pile on the floor. oops.)

So, I filmed the video, sat down at my desk, clicked play to start doing some editing...

...and realized that, somehow, I filmed the video on it's side. (nooooo) I don't have time to refilm it and regather my thoughts, so now I'm in a scramble to come up with a Plan B.

*runs to brainstorm and comes back fifteen minutes later*

My brain cells have stormed and spoken: Today we're going to talk about time management.



It's almost humorous how often I get asked about time management -- how do you have time to do school and reading and blogging and editing? I don't find it humorous in a rude sort of way, but because I feel like I'm horrible at time management.

I'll sit down to write for three hours, but only an hour of that will be actual writing, and the other two hours are spent getting distracted with messages and books and food and staring outside at the scampering squirrels (true story. I feel like the dog from UP). Even right now as I write this post I just got distracted with blog comments and then visiting other blogs and then going down a rabbit hole of "READ ALL THE THINGS!

Time management is tricky, because it's all about staying focused and determined. And, at least for me, staying focused is one of the hardest things on this earth. (#ENFPproblems) I have so much I want to do! So much I want to accomplish! But my mind refuses to keep my writing document open and instead will first take care of approximately 1.2million other tasks.

I briefly mentioned this in my Growing Older post, but life is short and I want to make the most out of time. Will browsing Twitter or YouTube videos or Pinterest really do that much for me? Nope. Will they get my novel written? Nope. I love connecting with people online, but should easily be able to go without checking messages after I've done an hour of solid writing.

I don't know what to say when people ask me about time management, because honestly, I don't think there's a secret. You just have to do the thing. You just have to force yourself to sit down and write. If you have fifteen minutes to spare, read a chapter of a book! Write 100 words! Do a lil research for your novel! Throughout the years it has become natural for me to turn to something mindless when I have a few extra minutes, like social media, instead of doing something more fulfilling. The minutes add up quickly -- a "little bit" of wasted time can easily turn into an hour. 

I'm usually awake for 15-16 hours of the day. Yeah, there's a lot of things I want to get done -- school, blogging, editing, working, critiquing, eating (ha), relaxing, reading -- but it shouldn't be that hard to give a couple hours to each. We're all given twenty-four hours in a day. I've come to realize that some are just a lot better at staying focused than others and using their time wisely. I'm still growing and learning not to become distracted by squirrels. :P

Lately, I've been tracking the amount of time I spend editing. I start the stopwatch when I open the document, and whenever my mouse wanders over to Twitter or anywhere else, I stop the timer. I've tried setting a time goal for myself, because I should be able to focus for an hour and a half on editing. 

But it's been interesting -- seeing how often I get distracted. It's rare that I can make it past ten minutes without running to explore something else. It'd be great to be able to sit down for an hour and just write... block out the distractions and get a major chunk of work done. But often, that doesn't happen, and I struggle with this just as much as anyone else.

This post is proof that I'm really not great at time management. I've been blessed with the ability to do things very speedily which helps (except blogging. eek). And I'm improving as the years have gone by. I've created a schedule with writing, and bullet journaling has helped me schedule out my week. Time management also takes time (ha, how ironic is that?) to perfect, and I'm still working on it.

Articles and tips and tricks can only help so much. You'll eventually reach a point where you just have to do the thing. Write the words. Rewrite the novel. Clean the room. Eat the pizza. Watch the squirrels. Good luck to my fellow artists and writers and dreamers and poets and lovely souls. xD

<3,
katie grace

do you have any tips for time management?

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:
LIFE IS SHORT / I WANT TO LIVE IT 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

<3,
katie grace

any thoughts to add?
what makes you nostalgic?

5 REASONS TO PARTICIPATE IN CAMP NANOWRIMO

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.

<3,
katie grace

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