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

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:
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?


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I said that I'd publish this post on the 28th of February, but I completely forgot about it until midnight on the 27th. I panicked, stared at the screen for three minutes, and then went to bed because I didn't exactly feel like staying up until three in the morning to produce some less-than-coherent gibberish. :P

Here are the highlights of the month! (One day late, but they're coherent, at least. Mostly. Hopefully. ;)

PHEW THIS MONTH WAS A WHIRLWIND. (though isn't every month?) Overall, February was awesome. It was just... crazy. I left the house at least once a day to do social/work/church things, which meant that my extroverted self was happy, but the writer side of me slowly died because that meant less writing time.

So far, March is looking just as busy. *deep breaths* We can do this, we can do this...

Lots of working at the coffee shop this month, which I continually love more and more each time I work. I saw a lady in the lobby holding Nadine Brandes' book, A Time to Rise. UM. What. We had a lovely talk about how awesome her books were. And another girl carried Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I've had many bookish conversations (which mainly includes me squeaking with excitement while they laugh) and it's the best. The lesson you bookworms can learn from this is to carry your books in public! Bonding over books is the greatest.

I went to the southwest for a extended weekend vacation with my family, and that was fun! We ate potatoes that tasted like horses (not that I've eaten a horse ...ahem... but it tasted like the smell of horses. so gross. XD), SAW A TWENTY ONE PILOTS CONCERT (aaaah!!), and toured some national parks. Because of the vacation I took an accidental six day editing break... whoops. :P

[the beautiful valley of fire featuring my parents]
I read 6 books this month, which seems to be the new normal for me. I was looking at my February Highlights for last year... and I read twenty-one books?! Um. What even. I have to remind myself that now I'm working twenty hours a week and I wasn't before... BUT STILL. My past self needs to give me reading tips. xD

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: [5/5]
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: [4/5]
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: [5/5]
The Screaming Staircase: [4.5/5]
Mayday: [3.5/5]
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: [1/5]

I've also discovered Bookout -- a reading app that helps track and manage books. It's a lot like Goodreads, except you have a record of the amount of time it takes to read that book. According to the app, apparently I read at a speed of 240 pages per hour. o.o I knew I read fast, but that's really fast. 

That's my interesting find for February. I love stats, so I love the app. :D

OH! AND ALSO GOODREADS FINALLY HAS A REREAD OPTION! [cue all the bookworms rejoicing forever]

My critique partner released her book this month, Martin Hospitality, and it is very photogenic. Y'all should go read it. (I never say y'all, but since that this book takes place in the south... it's fitting. :P)
pictures lead to the posts!

[really proud of my flash fiction, so it'd mean a lot if you'd check it out! <3)

Rambling about writing is always my favorite thing, so here we go. xD

Earlier in the month, I had a lil' brainstorming session, in which I realized that I would have to rewrite my whole manuscript. Again. *cries* I'm 20k in, and this draft will probably end around... 80k? I'm hoping to get serious in March and really finish this thing up.

ALSO THERE'S ONLY ONE MORE MONTH UNTIL CAMP NANOWRIMO! (if you haven't heard of Camp NaNo, it's basically like NaNo, where you can join virtual cabins with other writers and choose your own word count goal.) 

Anyone else planning to do Camp NaNo this year? I'll be working on the prequel to Where Shadows Lie. (wrote a post about that novel here) At the beginning of the year I didn't think I would be able to fit in writing a book in April, but I've thrown editing aside so I'd have time. The challenge to write a novel in the month always excites me. First drafts are insane and exhausting, but also freeing and such an amazing journey. 

I'll be attempting to plot this novel, like I did with Where Shadows Lie. This will only be my second time plotting, so I'm hoping that it'll work out. We'll see if I even have time to plot. So much craziness. xD
Hannah just celebrated SIX YEARS OF WRITING?!? She is one of my best writing frens and I am so proud of her. <3 (But really. Six years? That's such a long time. o.o)

Life is busy and crazy and beautiful, and Christine wrote about enjoying the process and living "moment by moment." (her words are so gorgeous <3)

Victoria is amazing and so is her post on art and growth and life

This is where I'm real with you all, and I'm honestly not sure what's going to be happening next month. xD I have a few ideas -- maybe another bullet journal post? Abbiee did a monthly highlights "post" in a vlog format on her blog, which I thought was pretty sweet. So maybe that? 

If there are any specific topics that I could post on, I'm open to suggestions! Sometimes my brain needs a push in the right direction for the inspiration to spark. :P

Hope your week is amazing and that you can make it awesome. 

katie grace