August Highlights // 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016
This month has been absolutely crazy and I feel like I'm 10000000 years behind on everything. I started this post thinking, "oh yeah I have a couple days to write this" when I quickly realized "NOPE IT HAS TO GO UP TOMORROW MORNING." 

Ah, typical me. Let's do this. 

SO LIFE WAS CRAZY. (I already said that this month was crazy above but it seriously was crazy so I just need to say it again.) Honestly, this wasn't the greatest month of the year. Between vacationing for a week, starting up school, working twenty hours a week, blogging, betaing several novels, and trying to get up the energy to write, it's been insane. I feel like I haven't been able to take a full breath for awhile. But I'm working on it, and trying to make a way for more writing time in September.

After Realm Makers, my family and I went for a week to tour Washington D.C. It was hot and busy, but also fun -- especially taking pretty pictures.

August 17th was my one year anniversary of listening to Twenty One Pilots. That was one of the best things of the month, because the band is so encouraging and their music can just speak to my heart in beautiful ways. If you watched my vlog, you'll see that I got twenty one pilots socks. They're amazing. Soft. Comfortable. Perfect for sliding around on the floors.
(I should've taken a picture of them but now since it's at night the lighting would be horrible so I'll just have to squeeze them in another post a different time. :P)

I officially finished my first shift on the bar at Starbucks! (working on the bar means you're making alllll the drinks.) It's stressful. But in a fun way. And now I have the freedom to make allll the coffee, mwahaha.

WE ARE CURRENTLY IN POSSESSION OF 600+ CHERRY TOMATOES. My dad and sister plant a community garden each year, and every time without fail, it goes crazy. (but at least the tomatoes are very aesthetic for taking pictures?? so that's a plus??)

I already mentioned that school started up and it's not fun so I shall refrain from speaking of it any longer because I do not want this blog to be the place of tears and groans.

On a happier note, I have a new blog design??? Some little things are still getting sorted out, BUT I AM SO HAPPY OVER IT. *hugs the pretty greys and fall colors and asjadkf;l*
Reading was about the same as last month: a flop. I read six books. Which, considering all that was going on, is a good amount. And I was (er, still am...) betaing two novels. So I'll try to cut myself some slack. ;)

I didn't buy any books this month. I promise I'm not even speaking in sarcasm. I am very proud of this fact, especially since I like doing daily visits to Amazon and dreaming about owning allll the pretties on my shelf. (Someday... someday...)

So since I didn't buy books this month, that means double in September? Right? (oh, or not? fine.) Here are the books for this month:

(The good thing about reading six books, is that they line up very nicely on Goodreads so I can take a perfect screenshot. So I guess that's something to be happy about?)

AND ALSO I HIT MY READING GOAL FOR THIS YEAR. I hit 100 books?? Already?? Last year I read 80 total, so I'm not sure how I bumped up my read count so much. But I won't complain. xD

I wrote 7,418 words this month. It's not what I wanted -- I wanted to be done with this evil rewrite (kill it! kill it! :P), but that's not what happened. And that's okay. My new goal is to be done with this beast by the end of September. It's gonna be hard, but I'M READY TO TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE. (<-- so she says with six cups of caffeine by her side and bloodshot, crazed eyes.) 

That's... all that has to do with writing. Like I mentioned before, I have been doing a lot of beta reading. It's a lot of thinking power, but I really do love doing it. Especially when it's my awesome writer friend's novels, because they're the best.

OOH, I got new headphones! They're very awesome and pretty and the background picture below is actually of the inner pages of my astronomy book. (the one thing that will keep me from burning my school books: photography purposes)

How do you know if writing is your idol? Rosalie writes wise words (as always) about this.

I love rap music. I love the author Nadine Brandes. (she and her books are awesome.) So of course I loved her post about finding inspiration from rap music.

Writing a a second draft? Anna wrote about the struggles. (and how you may not actually survive. whoops.)

Wow I sound in an infomercial. Love burgers and fresh fries? Try McDonalds! <--not sponsored but their fries are just really good.

Normally, this is the section where I talk about what's happening next month + some things to look forward to... but I hardly know what's happening tomorrow. So we'll keep the details to include "awesome and epic posts."

Ooh, and I'm going to start bullet journaling. There will be a post on that eventually. *nodnod* 

// katie grace

(Also, time is running out to enter by blogoversary giveaway! (super amazing pens and a cute journal. mah favorite. I'm almost tempted to keep them for myself, BUT I SHALL TRY TO REFRAIN.)
(and thanks for all the love on that post. it meant so much to me and I love you all. <3)

How was your month? Are you keeping up with the craziness okay? Am I the only one feeling like I'm in a small reading/writing slump?


Saturday, August 27, 2016
(see how I sneakily wrote "blog anniversary" instead of "blogoversary" since MOST OF YOU THINK THAT'S INCORRECT SPELLING. *sigh* :P)

The title kind of gives it away, but in case you skimmed past that...

Wow. I'm not sure what to say other than wow. TWO YEARS IS A LONG TIME. And yet it's so short. You feel? Crazy how time passes.

Several exciting things are happening. First of all, you've probably noticed that I have a new blog design?! Excuse me while I scream forever.

The amazing Claudia helped me make this design happen, and I couldn't be happier. I love how it still has the same color scheme, but it looks so much more professional and clean and asjkfd;l it's so cool to have it up and running. TODAY IS SO EXCITING I JUST CANNOT.

Hopefully you love the design as well! It makes me happy. ^.^

ALSO, if you currently have my blog button on your blog, I now have a new button. (you know. just in case you want to *cough* update the button *cough* xD)

Before we move on to other exciting parts of the post, let's take a trip back on memory lane.

(also, random shout out to Liz and her blog because it's her anniversary too?? her blog is also turning two years old?? on the same day??? we must be connected because that is the best coincidence ever.)

f o l l o w e r s:
August 27, 2014 // under ten. (rough estimate, because I didn't track it then.)
August 27, 2015 // 121.
August 27, 2016 // 308.

p o s t s: 
2014 // twenty seven
2015 // fifty-five
2016 // forty-three (so far, mwahaha)

p a g e v i e w s: 71,000. 

c o m m e n t s: 4,800 (ALMOST 5,000. EEK.)

I started my Saturday posting schedule last October, so that makes almost a year of consistent posting! Schedules are hard, but one of the best things you can do for your blog. Sometime I'll have to write a post about this. *nod*

I hit three hundred followers and seventy thousand pageviews in my two-year blog anniversary month, which is pretty exciting. That's... a lot. And kind of weird. I don't understand. xD

My most viewed/popular post of all time was "That End Of The Year Wrap Up Post." (which only means that there will be another one this year, mwahaha.)

My novel guest posted on my blog, which was hands down my favorite post to write. Maybe Tan will make another appearance? Ooh, or his brother. If you're interested. :D

I wanted to make a list of amazing people that have encouraged me through blogging, but as I started writing names, I realized that the list could fill several hundred posts and it's an impossible endeavor. I'll just share extra love (and pizza!) in the comments. ;)

Moving onto more exciting things...

I'm giving away an absolutely lovely WRITE notebook (so you can jot down your ideas or hand write a novel if you chose) and a pack of my favorite pens. These will be separate giveaways, so you have more of a chance of winning part of the awesomeness.

I own my own copy of the write journal, and it is definitely the best journal I have ever received. (and I have a lot of notebooks. Emphasis on the A LOT.) It has plenty of pages, the ruling is nice and thin, it's sleek and gorgeous, plus it has a binding that helps it lay flat without bending the cover. It's amazing.

As for the pens, they're super thin pointed (*happy sigh), so they're perfect for writing, journaling, arting (<-- totally a word), and whatever else you please to do with them. (just don't poke people in the eye. They might make good weapons, but that doesn't mean they're meant for that.)

Also, the pens don't explode all over your bag when you bring them in a plane (been there, done that...). So that's good. :P

The giveaway will be open until the midnight on September 2nd. I'll then contact the winner on the third. :D

I hate to say this... but this is not international. I really wanted it to be, but then I looked at international shipping prices and my wallet started crying. Sorry. :/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is definitely one of the more terrifying parts of this post, but I'm also REALLY EXCITED. I got an insane amount of questions, and the fact that I tend to ramble didn't help me in answering lots. :P So I only got to a select few, but I hope you enjoy anyways!

(it should be embedded in the post, but if that doesn't work, hop on over to view it on youtube.)
(also excuse the cringy parts and the awkward cuts and all -- there's a first for everything!)

(and if you can, watch it in HD since it'll be better quality. *nodnod*)

AND I WAS A TOTAL DUMMY IN THE VIDEO AND DIDN'T ANSWER THE MOST ASKED QUESTION. xD I started explaining what my favorite kind of pizza was, but then my scattered brain decided to move onto other things. 

So, my favorite kind of pizza is cheese pizza. :P *hugs mah pizza* 

// katie grace

What's your favorite kind of pizza?

This Glorious Mess Called Editing

Saturday, August 20, 2016
Editing is a mess. No amounts of pretty fonts and aesthetically pleasing pictures will change that fact. (Unfortunately. Though it does make it look like I have everything together and I know what I'm doing. But do not be deceived.

This post is 1/3 of me ranting about editing, 1/3 of me giving a writing update, and 1/3 of me showing my editing process for The Sand Dragon's Song.

So, basically, this post is a glorious mess about my glorious mess of editing. Ha.

*insert moment of appreciation for this post image because I am ridiculously proud of it* xD

I've already established that editing is a mess, but most of that is due to my novel being a mess. Right now I am editing the sequel to Song of the Desert, called The Sand Dragon's Song. I wrote this book last November -- all 105,000 words in one month.

(Yeah I'm not sure how that happened. I think I went a little bit insane.) 

Since I wrote this book so fast, most of the words are typos and lacking in this thing called a plot. Sigh.

The hardest part about editing -- at least for me -- is gathering the motivation to start. Because, ew. Once you start editing, there's no going back. You've committed and you either finish or die.


Here are the steps I have completed and worked through so far for my sequel. (because you all just have to know)

 wHOOPS. My finger slipped. There's no crying in editing. Ha. Of course not. Definitely not.

...heh... heh...

*skips to the "real" step one*
I live off of writing goals. It's very difficult for me to get anything done if I'm not working for a goal and pushing myself to get it done. (Yes, I choose to work on deadlines. :P)

I started editing The Sand Dragon's Song in July for Camp NaNoWriMo. Having an awesome cabin to encourage me and help me meet my goal was immensely helpful and it was fantastic.

(shoutout to my lovely cabin mates: nadine, tricia, athelas, faith, emily, rosalie, jaye, gabriela, emma, and caiti.)

My goal was to edit for 50 hours in July. (But my goal got all messed up, because I switched to counting written words halfway through and it just added to the glorious editing mess :P) But I HAD A GOAL. And that is the point.
(if you're wondering, that is my novel. I printed it out into a bound book copy and you can find out more here in this post)
Seeing that my novel is over 100,000 words, this is somewhat of an intimidating step. Especially since I'm reading NaNoWriMo words. Ew. 

But it was really satisfying being able to curl up in the corner with a my own book in my hands. No matter how awful it was. :P

Aka, ALLLL the pens and highlights and pencils and sharpies. 

I also stole borrowed (not sure how it's possible to borrow but shhh) my mom's sticky notes. So as I went through my novel, I stickied alllll the things.

(Apparently "stickied" isn't a word, but it sounds cool and really works for this moment so I'm USING IT HA.)

After reading each scene in my novel, I wrote down my immediate thoughts. Did I like the scene? Was the emotional tension there? Does it all sound stupid? Should I keep it? Cut it? 

spoiler alert: most of my notes were giant, block letting that said, "CUT EVERYTHING." Sigh.

It was amazing having my novel in a book form for this, so I could place the sticky notes in the book and it makes me so happy to do it physically and give my eyes a break from the screen.

Outlining and I are not best friends. I have never been a plotter, but occasionally I try. Because if it makes my novel less of a mess, that'll be worth it, right?

I spent lots of time mapping out the direction I wanted to go with my story, and the FUN part about outlining, is that you can make pretty check boxes on the paper and make it all aesthetically pleasing.

I'm still not entirely sure how much it helped me (especially once you read the section below), but it definitely was beneficial in understanding my story a little more. ("little.")

After I finished outlining and reading through the ugly first draft, I quickly realized that approximately 1.0489% of my first draft could be saved. (just approximately.)

So. That meant that I had to rewrite. every. single. word. 

And during rewriting, it took 34.2 seconds until I scrapped my outline and pantsed the whole thing over again. (Why, Katie, why?)


Right now I am currently stuck in the rewriting stage. My rewrite word count is sitting at 47,000, significantly shorter than the original draft. I am also writing significantly slower than I usually do, because REWRITING IS HORRIBLE.
...what comes next... soon you'll see...

(Sorry, I had to.)

SO, WHAT NEXT? What happens after rewriting? 

The answer is not preferable. More editing. BUT, hopefully not rewriting. As much. Heh. Now comes the big plot editing, and then scene editing, and then critique partner editing, and then line editing, and then proofreading, and then beta readers, and then editing beta reader comments, and IT'S JUST A REALLY LONG PROCESS.

But I'm excited. ... excited as it is possible to get about editing. :P

// katie grace

Do you like rewriting? 
What's your favorite part of the editing process?

Questions For Q+A Vlog Thing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"Vlog thing." I know. I'm so eloquent. *bows*

I don't usually post on Tuesdays, but I didn't want to crowd one of my other posts with this, so here we are. :P

I've mentioned this a few times, but MY BLOG ANNIVERSARY IS COMING UP! August 27th is the official date, and I'm determined to be ready for it this time as opposed to last year's last minute scrambling.

I plan to have a couple giveaways, along with a Q+A vlog, which a couple other bloggers have done which has inspired me. I feel like you really get to know a person better when you see them speaking without the backspace button. :P

There's a handy dandy little form below for you to ask your questions. Depending on how many questions I get, I may not answer all of them, but I'll answer as many as I can while keeping it under 10 minutes. (I could babble on for hours, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that none of you will watch it for that long. :P)

(and I asked a random spelling question in the form because I am utterly confuzzled by the "correct" spelling. I will make sure to share the results in the official celebration post. :P)

(Yes, I needed to make the form picture have smiling, dancing little pizzas on it. Obviously.)

Thank you so much for submitting your questions! I cannot wait to answer them all and hopefully not make a fool of myself. You guys are the best. *so excited* <3 

Also, my new design will most likely be revealed by then! (or on the date. if all works well, I'll reveal it on the 27th, mwahaha.) I am so excited for this and it's the prettiest. o.o

Thank you!

// katie grace

Realm Makers Wrap Up // 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016
Due to the blogosphere exploding with pictures and wrap ups, you've probably already heard about this, but Realm Makers happened last week.

And it was epic.

I waffled back and forth a few times on whether or not to do a wrap up post (since there are so many already), but I figured that it would be a fun way to "journal" my time so I could look back on it later.

Getting to Realm Makers was a bit of an adventure. My plane kept getting delayed (nooo), which meant that I would be late for the conference (double noooo). It was a mad rush to the conference center, AFTER getting lost several times. And walking around in the humidity, sweating, trying to find the dining hall while simultaneously searching for a bathroom. :P

But I made it! Immediately there were many hugs and giggles and accidentally not recognizing bloggers and returning their glomp with an enthusiastic, "I have no idea who you are but hi!" (spoiler alert: i quickly realized that the hugging stranger was in fact hannah. whoops. #awkward) 

Most of the conference meals took place in the cafeteria/dining hall, which served pizza. Which only meant that I got to eat pizza four times in three days. Aw yes.

I'm trying to think of a way to properly condense the three epic days into one, small blog post... but the only proper way is to time travel to the future, steal a transporter, transport back to present times, and transport everyone to Realm Makers so everyone could be involved in the awesomeness. Simple. :P (If only... *sigh*)

I went to Realm Makers last year, but this year easily topped it. I knew so many more people, and was able to bring myself to say hi to random strangers, and meet blog readers, and it was just amazing. The people were definitely the best part of the conference.

This post will mash together photo + memory dumps. In no specific order or organization. So here goes. :P

MEMORY #1 // meeting other teen writers.

DUDE. This was probably one of the best memories of them all, just since teen writers are actually the best. (I mean, I'm a teen writer, so I might be a little biased, buuuut.)

I knew most of the teen writers over the wonderful internet, but it was awesome getting to meet them in person. Flailing in person. Hugging in person. Meeting new writer friends in person!

storytime: I got to meet two fabulous writers, Brianna and Lillian at Realm Makers. (pictured below) As soon as I saw Lillian (on the right), I knew I recognized her from somewhere. I sat near her at lunch, introduced myself, and tried not to stare at her too much while I did my best to figure out where I knew her from.

Somewhere in the middle of the meal, we all exchanged business cards. And then I realized. I had already been following Lillian's instagram. She's an amazing Fine Arts Photographer, and you should all follow her if you haven't already.

There was much astonishment when we realized that we already "knew" each other. So it was fun actually getting to know each other, as well as talking with her sister Brianna. (they're the nicest, you guys.)

MEMORY #2 // my fabulous roommates.

I'm not sure how I got so lucky to be able to room with Ashley, Tricia, and Nadine -- all amazing and published authors. It was one of the best experiences, and there were lots of late night talking, giggles, snacks, and general awesomeness.

(And finding a twenty dollar bill in the couch cushion??? Not sure how that happened???)

Saturday night we all sat around and shared our story ideas. (Well, they did more than me. It's hard to share story ideas when you don't get many ideas and you pants all of them while writing.) It was so amazing to hear the plot lines of genius stirring in their minds. Be watching for future releases -- they are going to be epic.

Ashley (above) is the sweetest and absolutely hilarious. She kept me giggling throughout the whole conference (especially at two in the morning), and made me insanely happy with her cheerful and upbeat presence. She's awesome.

We were also costume buddies with our Padawan and Rey costumes. We were supposed to be looking fierce in the picture below, but I failed and had a massive giggle attack instead. :P

Tricia (above), was another one of my fabulous roommates. She's so sweet and selfless and only got twenty minutes of sleep on the last night so she could drive people back and forth from the conference to the airport. (what. even.)

She was my walking buddy to most classes and back to the dorm, which I'm incredibly thankful for, since I would probably be lost in some alleyway to this day if I hadn't had a fearless leader with me. xD

our new annual goodbye hug after eating breakfast together. <3

Nadine is my only roommate that I had previously met before this Realm Makers, and it was so amazing getting to see her again. (much glomping. :P)

She's basically a human made of smiles and epic writer powers. (seriously. so much is stirring in her brain that it's insane. o.o) I love my ninja leader. xD

MEMORY #3 // silly adventures

...such as cramming thirteen (maybe more??) crazy insane writers into an elevator. (so much shouting. so much noise. so much happiness. xD)

...squishing everyone together for group pictures. therefore turning our cheeks into mush with all of the smiling.

...inside jokes. ("my mom's ring!" "banana nadine!" "the fellowship!")

...travels through creepy tunnels. (below)

...ashley, tricia, and I all walking to the conference under a very tiny and broken umbrella.

MEMORY #4 // ten page critique with patrick carr

THIS WAS ONE OF THE MOST TERRIFYING THINGS. Talking about my novel is something I'm not quite comfortable with yet, let alone with a very qualified author. :P

Patrick hurt his ankle right before the conference, so he walked around on crutches the whole time. The thought, "At least I can run away if this goes really badly" may or may not have ran through my head. Whoops.

But Patrick was amazing. He was super conversational and made me feel comfortable the whole time. I tried very hard not to geek out. :P 

MEMORY #5 // no sleep. ever.

first night: stayed up until two.
second night: stayed up until three. (doing my blog post. xD)
third night: stayed up until four thirty. 


The night owl me was very happy with all the late night fun, but as soon as I had to wake up... ew. nope. The mornings were the worst and I'm still recovering. :P

Next year I'm bringing seventy pounds of coffee. 

left to right: savannah, megan, me, and my sister Laura. (WHY AM I SO SHORT. xD)
MEMORY #6 // the classes

Not only was Realm Makers filled with awesome friends and fun, it also had education purposes? (waaaht?) I furiously scribbled pages and pages of notes. 

There was a class on proposals (which was really helpful considering that I'll have to go through that sooner or later), and Steve Laube taught a continuing session on spiritual formation for the writer. At one point the whole room sang the doxology together, and it was so, so beautiful. (Writers have amazing voices. There was harmony and everything.)

And Kirk's cover design class. His covers are the best and I can flail over them forever.

Note to self for next year: 
   - stop losing your water bottle.
   - bring caffeine.
   - make room in your suitcase for lots and lots of books.
   - do your blog post ahead of time so you don't stay up until three.
   - get there a day early to have maximum awesomeness.
   - snacks. lots and lots of snacks.

Thanks to AshleyNadineTriciaJamieMegan, HannahZacZacharyVictoriaBriannaLillian, and Stephanie for making this conference awesome!

^ (ashley, nadine, tricia, jamie, megan, hannah, and zachary all wrote posts about realm makers, so if you want to read more about the awesomeness... go visit their blogs. :P)

Next year, July 27-29, Realm Makers is in Reno, Nevada. I'll see you there.

// katie grace

Will you do everything and anything in your power to get to Realm Makers next year? 
(answer: yes.)