Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sixteen Going on Seventeen


some thoughts from the days leading up to my seventeenth birthday

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three more days.

in three days, i'm seventeen.

it's a weird thing to think about. i still remember last summer so vividly. i was super wrapped up in planning the blog's two year anniversary. i was excited to turn sixteen and spent ages attempting to figure out a party only to realize that i really hate parties and do absolutely nothing, haha, which was what i preferred. and on my birthday i curled my hair and got balloons and we ate cheesecake and my grandmother gave me roses and it was all wonderful.

the past year has been a whirlwind. i didn't know what to expect going into it, but it far surpassed anything i'd hoped. i spent seven months becoming a character, a dream role that i hadn't known existed. i had more spontaneous adventures than i think i've ever had, and was pushed out of my comfort zone more times than i could count. my prevailing word of sixteen would have to just be gratitude. i am so, so, so thankful for this year, in more ways than i can possibly express. i could spend days filling up pages with all of the blessings and memories from this year, and i think that that's one of the best things to be able to say when you're stepping away from a year. every year has different kinds of growth, but the years where you can say that joy was a prevailing emotion are the years you remember.

seventeen scares me a little. it's the last year before becoming a legal adult. it's my last year of high school. this time next year i'll be getting ready for college. that doesn't even feel real yet. there are so many exciting things that come with finishing high school, but at the same time it's such a bittersweet thing.

but that's a topic for another day.

i feel like with every year that passes, i become a little more like alexander hamilton, feeling like i need to do all the things, to write like i'm running out of time. and maybe that's a super morbid way to look at life, because after all, i'm only going to be seventeen, right? but nothing is guaranteed, so that little bit of hamilton in me gets the slightest bit more anxious with every passing year. there are so many things to do, and time passes so quickly.

maybe i just put too much pressure on myself when birthdays roll around. after all, they're just another day, another way to mark time. but they're milestones. and i want to be able to say that i've done something with the seventeen years that i've been here.

so i plan and i work and i try, in the hopes of doing something that matters.

i don't know what to expect from this next year. right now...it's not looking to be the best year. but i know that that's a terrible way to go into things, so i'm attempting to have a bit more of a positive outlook. i've never been the best at positivity.

so here i am. sixteen going on seventeen, unsure of what to think of anything right now. but i do know a few things.

1. God is always good.

2. stories are forever my love.

3. it's just another year. it's going to be okay.

here's to you, seventeen. 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Writing Process

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Writing. The subject that I never seem to tire of, no matter how much it consumes my life. 

 I don't often take part in tags or link-ups, but creativity seems to be running a bit low lately, so when I saw this tag on Jeneca's blog, I decided that I just had to join in. I haven't talked a ton about writing lately, so I thought this would be fun! The questions originated on the Beautiful People link-up, hosted by Cait from Paper Fury and Sky of Further Up and Further

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Honestly, I just go with whatever story I have the clearest vision of, and work on developing it. I'm not one of those people who constantly has hundreds of story ideas, so when I do have an idea, I go for it full-out. My current WIP has been in the works for over two years. It's so crazy that the end is in sight!


Well, I've never COMPLETELY finished a novel- as in written it, edited it, second drafted, etc. The first draft of my novel took a little over a year, but that was because it was a bit of a start and stop process. If I were working on it solidly, like I did during NaNo, I think I could finish a first draft in two/two and a half months.


The best way for me to get in the writing mood is really just to make a habit of it. I've found that when I write every single day, I'm much more motivated to continue doing so, whereas when I slack on it, I'm more likely to continue slacking on it. Otherwise, I don't really have much of a routine. I just hide out with the door closed and write!


I used to always say that I wrote best at night. However, during NaNo, I found that I got a lot of my best writing done either mid-morning (around eleven) or right after lunch.


I really don't know. I feel like everyone has their own style, so I don't know of an author whose style is similar to mine. Everyone has a different voice.


I started writing sheerly because I enjoyed it. I've always been obsessed with stories, and so I wanted to write them. Since then, my obsession with stories has only grown, and now I write because I can't imagine a life in which I don't write. It's one thing that I always come back to, a love that I'm sure of.


Besides hundreds of terrible essays for English classes? I've written lots of difficult things in the non-fiction sense, but as far as my stories, I think that the hardest thing to write is always the first chapter of a novel. In my opinion, they're always the absolute worst- just thinking about them makes me cringe, haha. If we're talking the hardest thing to write emotionally, there were several scenes in my current novel that were very hard to write, and when I was done I felt completely drained. I tend to get so engrossed in my characters that I feel as though I'm going through everything that they do, which can be exhausting.


I have several novel ideas that I'd like to develop fully in the future, but I'm not at a point currently where I can do that. I don't want to do anything else until I've done everything that I can on my current novel, so this is where I'm staying for a while.


My main goal was to finish the first draft of my novel, which I did. I've now set three more goals-

-Edit my first novel
-Send it out to a few trusted people for opinions
-Start plotting the sequel. That's right, this baby has a sequel. I'm pumped.

Detailed, Quiet, Crazy ;)

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How is the writing world going for you? What projects are you currently working on? Tell me all about them in the comments!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Summer 2017 TBR!



Hello, lovelies! HAPPY JULY! How's everybody doing? Personally, I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that it's July. How did it get here so quickly?? 

I love July, though. It's pretty much the epitome of summer. And what's summer the perfect time for? 

B O O K S

Seeing as I'm horrifically behind on my Goodreads challenge, I thought that I'd put together my summer TBR as motivation to finally get caught up. I asked on Twitter if you guys would be interested in a post about it, and the sheer enthusiasm of the fabulous waffle queen herself, Abbie, made me decide to go for it. So without further ado, here are some of the books that I'm most excited to read this summer!

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The Blood Race by K.A. Emmons

My sweet, sweet friend, Kate, is releasing her first novel, and I am absolutely bursting to tell the world about it. I was lucky enough to get an ARC, and at twelve chapters in I already love it. It's such an intriguing, suspenseful read, and I could not be prouder of her.


The Color Project by Sierra Abrams

Never doubt the power of Twitter for promotional purposes. I first heard about this novel on social media, and am now absolutely dying to read it. Sierra is so sweet, and this looks like the cutest novel in the history of ever. I admit I'm kind of terrified to read it because everyone who's read it seems to come out emotionally destroyed, but I'm excited nonetheless!



Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys 

This book has been on my TBR forever, and I've finally gotten my hands on a copy. I'm slightly nervous because Salt to the Sea absolutely tore my heart apart, but it was so beautifully written. I can't wait to read another of Sepetys's novels!


A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

I've wanted to read more of Hemingway's work for ages, so I'm really hoping to read A Farewell to Arms this summer! I actually checked it out from the library a while back and never had the chance to read it, so I'm planning to knock it off the TBR very soon.


Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

You all know that I absolutely love theatre. But somehow, I've never actually gotten around to reading Les Mis. It's so long that it's one of those books that I've just never taken the time to read. I definitely want to fix that this summer!!


Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Also in the Broadway realm, the book that inspired Lin Manuel-Miranda to create something beautiful, Alexander Hamilton. I guess you could say that I can't throw away my shot to read this. ;)



The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

You all know that I absolutely loved The Fixer, and I cannot wait to read the sequel! I'm kind of terrified because I'm so attached to the characters, and I don't want anyone to die, but I'm also super excited. I can't wait to see if it lives up to the original book!


Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

I've heard mixed reviews on this book, so I really want to read it for myself. I'm super curious to see if I like it!



The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters has always sounded super interesting, and I'd really like to read it. I haven't read a lot of Lewis's work, but I'm really hoping to pick this up sometime soon.

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So tell me, what's the best book you've read lately? What's on your summer TBR? 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

99 Things That I Learned From Junior Year

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Junior year. The wonderful whirlwind of crazy. I didn't know what to expect going into junior year, but it was one of the best. I have so many beautiful memories from this year, memories I would love to live again. It definitely wasn't an easy year, but oh, am I thankful for it.

Last year, I wrote a post about 99 things that I learned from my sophomore year. It was a lot of fun to look back over the year and think through the different things that I'd experienced and learned. Despite the fact that it's a bit late, I really wanted to do the same for junior year. I really enjoy both writing and reading these kind of posts, so hopefully you like them as well!

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1. College classes actually aren't terrifying. (Sometimes they're actually easier than high school classes!)
2. There is no better feeling than finishing the SAT.
3. Gifts from God will pop up in the most unlikely places.
4. Sometimes, you're gonna be alone. You'll still get by.
5. People change. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it's a part of life.
6. There is no joy in life greater than glitter.
7. Nothing will go like you expect it to. Get used to that.
8. Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee. Drink the coffee.
9. If you know that there's a 90% chance you're going to have a crappy day, put in a little more effort to look nice. Wear your favorite dress and those cute bootie heels. Wing that liner. You'll feel a little more confident.
10. Do the extra credit.
11. People are going to hurt you, but sometimes you can't give up on them just yet.
12. It is possible to go from seeing someone three times a week to once a month and still have the same relationship. Those are the people you hold on to.
13. Listen listen listen listen listen. You may not be able to fix a situation, but you can listen and you can love.
14. Hang on to every second. Savor it. Hold it tight. It'll be gone before you know it.
15. Spotify will save your sanity.
16. Write everything down. I mean everything. You'll be so glad later.
17. Make time to read your Bible. It'll give you a sliver of peace in the storm.
18. Keep a list of funny things that the people you love say. It will make you smile later.
19. Drink water. Even when you don't think you're thirsty, drink something anyways. Take a vitamin while you're at it- it'll boost your immune system.
20. Exercise. You will feel so much better.
21. Make the people around you feel loved. It's not hard. Remember their birthdays. Bring them coffee/food. Text them encouragement. Even just scribbling a two-sentence note can be enough to make someone's day.
22. There is no greater gift than friendships that never waver.
23. If you have to have a really stressful conversation, do it while walking. You'll get some of your frustration out.
24. Find that thing that makes you feel alive.
25. Worship music can get you through anything.
26. Sometimes you just have to MAKE time.
27. Likewise, prioritizing is literally the most important thing wow.
28. Jesus is enough.
29. Use your freaking planner.
30. Dust settles. You don't.
31. If your camera roll isn't filled with sunset photos, are you actually living your life? I think not.
32. Stretchhhhhhh. Even if it's just for five minutes.
33. Keep creating, even when you feel like you can't. Just try. It may not be very good, but you can make it better later. Just try.
34. Go to prom. It's not the perfect dream night that everyone claims it is, but it's fun. You're only in high school once, experience things while you can.
35. Honestly, no one cares what you look like. If you don't feel like wearing makeup, don't. If you just want to throw your hair into a messy bun, do it. Everybody's tired. You don't have to look perfect 24/7.
36. Life is weird. Sometimes there's nothing that you can do but laugh at it.
37. If you have to get something done, set your phone face down. It's easier.
38. Write down everything you're thinking. It'll be fun to look back and see where your mind was.
39. Get enough sleep.
40. With that being said, every now and then, you'll find yourself blearily talking on the phone at midnight when you have to get up at eight the next morning, and it's totally worth it.
41. Work your absolute hardest for what you want. Don't leave yourself wondering if you could have done more.
42. The things you complain about now will be the things that you'll miss later.
43. That thing you've been dreaming of? It'll come. Just wait.
44. You are not a machine and that's okay.
45. A bad teacher can literally make you loathe your favorite subject.
46. Very few things in life are ACTUALLY worth being nervous over.
47. Just because one teacher gives you a terrible grade doesn't mean you're bad at the subject.
48. Some weeks you just have to live in leggings.
49. Sarcastic t-shirts make the world more enjoyable.
50. Suck it up, buttercup.
51. The most spontaneous days make for the best memories.
52. Attempting to figure out college stuff is the most miserable process. Just try to get it done as quickly and painlessly as possible. I'm still working on that.
53. Some colleges will bribe you with cookies. I'm a big fan of this method.
54. SAT prep will never be fun. Get it over with and rejoice when you're done.
55. Staying caught up on your social media feed is so not worth it.
56. False eyelashes are evil, but not impossible. Although if you have to wear them for a show, just start praying now.
57. Sometimes you'll have an experience that's everything you could have dreamed and more.
58. Every tech week is going to have one completely awful day. It doesn't mean the show is horrible.
59. Snail mail is literally the fastest way to my heart.
60. If ponytails give you a headache, wear two dutch braids. Super simple and cute, and gets your hair out of your face.
61. Doing NaNoWriMo is a fantastic decision.
62. You can do more than you think you can.
63. At the same time, though, you can't do everything and that's okay.
64. Make time to read.
65. Sunsets are worth chasing.
66. It's okay to suck at something. You can still enjoy it.
67. Sometimes you have to shove all of your OCD thoughts to the back of your brain and just be spontaneous.
68. There's no better feeling than someone reading your writing and saying "oh my gosh I hate you" because of the character you killed. I realize this probably sounds psychotic but it's true.
69. Never doubt the awesomeness of internet friends.
70. Anastasia should have won a Tony award and I will forever be bitter about this.
71. All Broadway shows should be filmed and made available. The digital download of Newsies is the most beautiful thing on the planet.
72. When in need of motivation, listen to Legally Blonde.
73. If a new Ed Sheeran album comes out, just expect there to be at least one song that will make you bawl. Most likely a very innocently named song. Freaking Supermarket Flowers you kill me.
74. If you have to stare at a screen for too long you will most likely lose your mind.
75. Do one thing that makes you happy every day, no matter how small.
76. Listening to musical theatre songs on shuffle will cause you to go from dancing around the room to breaking your heart in approximately .3 seconds.
77. School will drive you to living off of tortilla chips and coffee.
78. Snow days are life's biggest blessing.
79. Goodreads will make your reading life 169726x better.
80. Gummi bears are the best form of motivation.
81. 7:30 a.m. exams are the world's greatest evil.
82. ^Which is closely followed by reversing a car.
83. Sometimes you just have to take a nap at 8 pm.
84. Bagels never cease to make the world a better place.
85. Apparently it's normal for killer clowns to roam the streets for a month and a half. Yay America.
86. Some people you're just never going to get along with.
87. Keep a notebook in your backpack that you use to write down all the random things that pop in your head when you're sitting at school before class doing nothing. It's time you can use.
88. Give yourself breaks. Read a book. Go for a walk. Save your sanity.
89. People are just weird. Avoid their drama.
90. Even though staying home is 2792837329x easier and less stressful, doing random, slightly crazy things will leave you with the best memories.
91. Start graduation gifts early. Like, in August.
92. Find a way to spend your life doing what you love.
93. There is no better feeling than watching your friends do awesome things.
94. When life is completely crazy and random, give yourself as many routines as possible, however small. They'll keep you steady.
95. Mastering the art of doing a full face of makeup in under seven minutes is a great life skill to have.
96. Some people are going to think you're crazy when you tell them what you want to do with your life. Ignore them. They're not worth it.
97. Circumstances are what you make of them.
98. Waffles will forever be the best breakfast food.
99. Remember to enjoy this crazy thing called life.

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So, can you relate to anything on this list? What did you learn this year? 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer 2017 Bucket List



Hello, lovelies! How have you all been? Enjoying your summer, I hope? Life over here has been the strangest mix of slow and crazy. I guess that's kind of the epitome of summer, y'know? Full of adventures and projects and wide open spaces ready to be filled.

I spent last week at the beach, which was absolutely wonderful. You don't realize just how mentally drained you are until you're standing on the sand, surrounded by the sound of wind and the crashing of waves, and you finally can just breathe. Everyone has a 'happy place', and the beach is mine. I feel like I can think better at the beach. Things seem clearer and easier, and I just feel so darn creative. In the week that I was there, I planned out at least three projects, started mentally choreographing two dances, and spent quite a bit of time thinking about various aspects of my novel. I don't know what it is, but the beach always leaves me itching to create something. Hopefully all of that inspiration will make for a very productive summer!

Now that I'm back home, I'm working on getting lots of various things figured out. I know that technically, most people look at summer as a time to relax, but I think that I'm just a bit too Type A for that. Being the summer before senior year and all, I'm attempting to plan out everything. I'm going on a couple of college visits, trying to find a job, and planning to get my driver's permit. It's kind of crazy to think that it's finally time for all of this stuff. It's always seemed so far off, and now it's...here. It's a little bit scary, really. Fingers crossed that I can get all of this adulting stuff figured out.

In the meantime, I've also put together my yearly summer bucket list. Because hey- what's the season of freedom without some good ole' OCD planning?

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// go swing dancing
// write lots of snail mail
// go to the lake
// edit my novel
// get back into hand-lettering
// catch up on my reading challenge
// buy more succulents successfully and keep them alive (RIP Flynn)
// endless coffee dates
// JOURNAL
// get my driver's permit
// become stronger en pointe
// start an etsy shop
// lots and lots and lots of ice cream
// have a few photoshoots
// go to the annual giant book sale
// get into bullet journaling
// turn 17 (!!!!!!)
// have my piano tuned
// organize the massive stacks of papers in my room
// figure out the evils of college stuff
// choreograph/film a piece



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~ What's on your summer bucket list? ~

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

summer maybes



s u m m e r

the season of warmth and sunlight and freedom

it's always been the one that i looked forward to the most

but for some reason
this year
it's not

maybe it's because of the whirlwind of change
as everyone's growing up
and soon nothing will be the same

i don't know

maybe it's because in the fall i'm going to be a senior
and when the next summer rolls around
nothing will be the same

i don't know

maybe i'm just not someone who copes well with change

{who am i kidding
we already knew that}

but the sun is shining
and mornings are slow
and adventures are coming

and despite all of the maybes
i can feel that familiar excitement begin to stir

s u m m e r

the season of late nights and messy hair and living

maybe it will be okay

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I Finished My First Draft?!?!



On May 13th, at 7:33 p.m, I finished the first draft of my novel. 

Some of you may already be aware of this; if so, I apologize for the redundancy. But I am so, so excited. I would have been shouting the news from the rooftops on social media, but I was trying to keep it a secret so that I could surprise a family member, and I didn't want them to accidentally find out ahead of time. Thus, things have been kind of silent over here. It wasn't the easiest secret to keep! 

I'm not one to share a ton of details about my stories online, but I will say this much- I'm pretty freaking proud of it. This is the same novel that I wrote 51k of for NaNo, the same novel that I've been plotting and writing for the past year and a half. It's my brainchild, my baby. And despite its many, many, many many, many, many, MANY flaws and imperfections and mistakes, I love it with a passion. 

It's important to me. It's about prejudice and overcoming adversity and family and fear and grief and finding a joy that you never thought you could find. It's a story of hope. I didn't know that when I started writing it, but it really is a story of hope. In some ways, I feel like this novel wrote itself. I didn't plan a lot of it, it just kind of..happened. But I really like the way that it turned out. I've learned so much in writing this book. About writing, about people, about myself. And I'm hopeful. Despite all of my fears and anxiety and pessimism, I have hope. Maybe this book taught me that too.

I've currently given the novel to a few select people to get some feedback I'm not freaking out what do you mean why would I be freaking out, and once I get their responses, I'm going to jump into the glorious pit of editing. I did read it through once before giving it out, just to fix any huge glaring errors, and I'm already itching to keep editing it. I want to make it better, to make it something that I can really be proud of. Even though I'm not currently working on it, it's in my head constantly- I'm still coming up with new ideas and things that I want to add or take away. I think it's going to be a while before this project is finished. It's going to be done right.

 I also have a new plot bunny jumping around in my brain, begging for attention, so I'm trying to slowly piece together some ideas for that as well. Abbie has gotten me obsessed with making Pinterest boards for new projects, and it's definitely working. I'm getting excited for this one. For now, though, I'm leaving it on the back burner. Its time will come.

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And now, because I know that I've given you basically no details about the actual novel, I'll share a couple of fun facts before I head back to the agony of waiting for betas to finish.

// This was the first full novel that I've ever finished.

// The only music that I could listen to while writing was Ben Rector. For some reason, everything else drove me crazy, but Ben Rector music got me in the writing zone. Which is strange, because a lot of the songs don't fit the feel of my novel at all. Either way, I'm endlessly grateful to Mary Shelley for introducing me to his music. 

// The novel takes place on a small island somewhere in the New England/Nova Scotia area. I haven't entirely pinpointed it yet. 

// I wrote some of the most important early scenes in the novel when I was fourteen, before I'd even started plotting. I didn't start actually plotting/writing until the fall of my sophomore year, when I was fifteen. 

// The final word count was over 104K. I have created a monster.

// Whenever someone asks me what my novel is about, I say that it's a murder mystery that's not a murder mystery. Good luck to anyone who tries to figure out what the heck that means. 

// The plot really didn't fall into place until this past November, when I took part in NaNoWriMo. I'd scrapped a lot of what I'd originally written, and NaNo is when everything really came together. 

// My favorite character is only used in one chapter. 

// I discovered that I work best through word wars. Maybe it's just my insanely competitive nature, but when I'm warring, I can write an average of 800 words in fifteen minutes. Major shoutout to my twitter friend Gabriela, as well as my real-life friend, C, for the tons and tons of word wars!

// I think that my favorite part of this novel is the fact that the characters keep you guessing. They all develop a lot throughout the story, and you never really know what to expect from them. 

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I don't know exactly what's next for this novel, aside from the impending editing that has to be done. But I am very excited. ♥

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So, tell me- how's the writing world coming for you? Any fun projects going on? I want to hear all about them!