Snapshot 3/31/21 // “Rejection and Renewal”

Currently listening:Heart” – Sleeping at Last
Currently watching: Anne With An E S3
Currently playing: The World Ends With You: Final Remix
Currently reading: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Every year March usually passes by in the images of onion soup warming my belly to mashed potatoes cooking on the stove, wool coats turning into green hoodies and the brush of winter’s shadow thawing into spring light. Marches come and go in my mind as if they were vestibules in an office building, that middle bit sandwiched between the outside of February and the inside of April.

A lot happened this month. I started to take on more duties at work because of a recent promotion I received which means, even though it makes me sad to leave my old position, this new job is a lot more stable and beneficial for the long run. I got two rejections so far from the three writing submissions I made this month but that’s all part of the process. Then lastly, I got news of an appointment for my COVID vaccine. So life is continuing on. Steadily and also all at once.

My mood overall this month has been in constant flux ranging from utter despair to complete bliss. I think we all can agree we want this pandemic to be over and for life to go back to the way it was. Life will never go back to exactly how it was but because of this I want to believe all of us will be more grateful for all the opportunities to do things that will come in the future. A little gratitude and kindness goes a long way. Truly.

March Goals:

  1. Make more mindful and healthy food choices! Check. I ate a lot better this month than I did last month. Love broccoli, might marry it one day.
  2. Finish the middle bit of The Lowell Saga! Check, sorta. I plotted the middle bit and the ending, but didn’t get to writing the actual words. But at least I have a plan. That was better than the no plan I had before.
  3. Find more focus in my life! Check, mostly. In March, I got my shit together in my work and writing lives. I have a plan for my writing life, & I have a stable job for my work life but my shit in my personal life is still a little unstable. It’s fine, everything is fine.

April (the month where the tulips bloom on my lawn) Goals:

  1. Watch my sugar intake! I am a sugar addict. Give me Nutella and Ben & Jerry’s any day. (Like, legit I just tried Chubby Hubby this month and it is the greatest thing ever. Where has this been all my life??? I ate the whole thing in one day between lunch and dessert.) Which is not healthy lol. This month I’m looking to cut back on my sugar. I’ve got my caloric intake more under control since I didn’t binge eat at all this month despite my weird mood so I think this is the next small step I am going to take.
  2. Work on The Lowell Saga! Just got to keep chugging. Finish that first draft. Hopefully start book 2 draft 1 in May. Crossing my fingers hardcore right now.

What I Read:

  • Fruits Basket v. 9 by Natsuki Takaya
  • Fruits Basket v. 10 by Natsuki Takaya
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy. This is the most precious book in the world. My mom heard about it on the news and bought it for me right after she saw it. I love her so much and she could not have picked a more perfect book. I needed this book, badly. It’s a simple story but so full of wisdom, humanity and reminding us of what is truly important in life. Given the world we are currently living in, with all the loneliness and just overall negative feelings I know we are all currently or have been feeling, this book is the perfect antidote to boost you up. Five stars to infinity. I will read this over and over and over again. Ever word is important, every lesson unforgettable and every person should read this.
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I get it now, I understand why this book is so acclaimed. The writing just has that beautiful way of sucking you right into the story and making your turn page after page just to find out more with an important lesson on morality waiting at its ending. It’s not in a dramatic, horror story kind of way but in a wow-I’m-really-curious-to-see-where-this-is-going kind of way. The story poses a vivid picture in your mind, I had no trouble picturing the settings or anything and even though the main characters aren’t physically described in great detail I had a good mental picture of Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. I’m glad I read this book and I did connect with the really human aspects it paints and the moral lesson it teaches. I won’t spoil the story by telling you the lesson. Honestly for it to be fully understood you need to read the book 😉
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie is one of my favorite authors of all time but I had been hesitant for a while to go back and read her earlier things. The Raven Boys was my first foray into her world and I thought nothing could compare to the beauty of the Gangsy… until I happened to pick up The Scorpio Races, and that redefined my life once again. The Wolves of Mercy Falls was her debut series and after beating around the bush for a bit I finally decided to go for it. It definitely has the tells of a first novel but the story is there and I felt it. Longing and yearning were central themes throughout the book and I really felt it. Like that was 100% the mood I was needing at the time I read it. Occasionally though, I did think the love story between Sam and Grace took up too much time but also it is their story so (*shrugs*), like, I get it. But that bookstore scene (if you’ve read it you’ll know what I mean) has marked its place as one of my favorite love scenes between two characters of all time. Also, sidenote, I LOVED Isabel. She really grew on me a lot. I don’t know if I’ll read the rest of the books in the series because I like where this book ended but I enjoyed reading it and am glad I did! 😀
  • Home Body by Rupi Kaur. I love her poetry so much, and that is why I own every collection she has ever put out. Her latest one does not disappoint. These poems fuel my soul and she has such a gift for letting her vulnerabilities loose and turning them into something beautiful and inspiring.
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. This book was something I needed. Light, incredibly funny and surprisingly smart. I definitely felt my self going back to my high school days with all the parabolas, graphs, functions and equations interspersed throughout the book. All explained for the readers viewing of course. This book is a breath of fresh air and I’m here for it. So fitting for spring. I would read it again, and again especially for Hassan. Man he was so FUNNY! Hassan is the best friend to Colin Singleton, our main character, and throughout the story Colin questions the idea of mattering, and the overall moral he comes to at the end makes good sense. Also the romance was pretty cute too 😉
  • The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo and illustrated by Daniel J. Zollinger. Leigh Bardugo is such a queen. Honestly. She is my writing goals. This book of essentially fairytale stories and religious legends is such a nice connection to the Grishaverse. I hope one day to make something as wonderful and lush and alive as her Grishaverse for my own writing and WIPs. The illustrations are also so, so, SO incredible. Truly, Mr. Zollinger is a gifted illustrator indeed. He captured the stories of the saints in such beautiful religious sovereignty vibes while still being approachable. I hope that makes sense, lol. If you love Leigh just read this too. That’s really the gist of what I have to say. Also guyssss SHADOW AND BONE ON NETFLIX IS ALMOST HERRREEEEEEEEEEEE!
  • Kuroko’s Basketball Vol. 2 by Tadatoshi Fujimaki.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
  • Snapshot! Monthly Recap- posted the last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.

Marvelous Posts I Read in March:

My Round Up of March Posts:

I’m ready for a new, fresh me and she is coming. I read so many books this month, I got a promotion, I want to be better. And I keep on walking to get there. I still have some bad habits of course but the more I work against them the better I feel and before long they will be gone completely from my life. That’s all we can really do as humans, right? Just keep trying to get better than who we were the day before. I know that with summer of the horizon I will try my hardest to make up for all the lost feelings and keep moving forward.

How did March feel to you guys? Doesn’t it seem, I don’t know, like an imaginary month sometimes?

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Update | March 2021 | Spring, Submissions & Moltres

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | February 2021 | Power of Notebooks

Hello Spring!! I’m glad you have finally arrived even if we have had a tumultuous relationship in the past. (I have had a tendency to get sick for the past two springs and I’m crossing my fingers this year will be different. ~MANIFEST~). Anywho, now that the days are getting longer my mood has perked up and so has my work ethic. I made a submission this month to one online literary magazine and am currently working on another to be submitted before March ends. Which all in all is excellent since I’m staying true to my 2021 resolution to KEEP WRITING!

This next trek into my writing journey takes me to the ripe age of around 15. When you’re 15 and high school is blah where do you turn? To your imagination on course! 😉 I’ve already told you about my ruddy red notebook in my previous writing posts but all I had were just a bunch of little stories a few hundred words or less in that. None much longer than that. Even though some of the writings that I did in that notebook and then later my black notebook, which followed after I finished my red one, were somewhat of a series I don’t really count it. Nowhere near the length of my Kingdom Hearts story (still lost in the void) that I mentioned a few writing posts ago.

My next full blown adventure into writing an actual long story was, *surprise*, another fan fiction and it stretched all the way back to my roots. Yes, y’all back to Pokemon.

It was going to be epic. I made my cousin and me the stars of said fan fiction and we were going to go on this epic quest to catch, like, all the legendary Pokemon out there. Starting with Moltres of course , who by the way the character based on me had an epic arc of bonding with said bird, while the world revolved around us into a full blown war zone. All the while leading to us then using the aforementioned legendary Pokemon we caught to take down the bad guys. Total self insert, and I am totally unashamed. For 15 year old me then and 25 year old me now I am still enthralled by the idea.

The point is though, that one story (that I never finished) snowballed and evolved and eventually became an entirely different story down the road. In a way it was young me learning how to draft. All throughout my room I have scattered notes about certain things that would have to happen in the story and I plotted out every character’s Pokemon team agonizingly. In fact I still do this today with every character I create. It’s a way of me bonding with them and figuring out their niche.

In fact two very special original characters from that Pokemon fan fiction were born. Now, they have evolved into key players in my current WIP, The Lowell Saga (TLS). I will even tell you their names lol. One is Catrina, and the other is Esmeralda. Catrina is my couch potato basically and Esmeralda is my flower child. And I love them both dearly.

Speaking of TLS, in between and around working on my submissions I did manage to get some writing in. I am still in the messy middle and figuring out out to get from Point A (the beginning) which is written to Point Z (the end) which is yet to be written but I do know what I want to happen. Now it’s just all the rest of the letters in-between. Sigh.

I find myself writing little notes to myself throughout this draft as I come up with some ideas of what I want to happen but as of late I just haven’t felt like writing it. I think I may skip around a bit more and see what happens. Not giving up though. Never giving up. Not in my character. But doing multiple things at once, oh yes that is me. Workaholic to the core, as well as an unfortunate procrastinator from time to time due to the very fear that lives in my bones. Okay, okay I’ll stop.

In the meantime though I am really vibing with just writing whatever I want. These books are going to be a real TRIP for you guys when you get to read them. Like, honestly. I am so weird and these characters are weird and this saga is going to be WEIRD. But also hopefully make you really sad and make you really happy. At least it will be memorable. Well, that’s the goal.

This time around I think I am going to introduce you a bit to Lowell. She comes from a family of 4, her mother, father, brother and her. Top three personality traits of hers are that she is original, longing, and confident. Two Pokemon on her team are Blaziken and Leafeon, and of all seven of my main characters she has the most secrets of them all. 😉

How is your writing going? How do you get to know your characters? Do you give them Pokemon teams like me, lol?

Ta ta for now dear readers,

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word count: 71,806

Snapshot 2/28/21 // “Winter Woes”

Currently listening:Ultraviolet” – Stiff Dylans
Currently watching: Anne With An E S1
Currently playing: The World Ends With You: Final Remix
Currently reading: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

January may have been a beautiful thing but February was an ugly entity. It snowed like the ninth circle of hell over here. Listen, I appreciate snow. I really do. For summer to exist there has to be a winter. But there was just no end to the snow this month. Between the seasonal depression of it often being dark outside and then further worsened by the never-ending snow keeping me locked inside I was very, very not myself. So did I have extra hot chocolate? Yes, yes I did. Among lots of cake as well.

My healthy habits, no lie, fell to the wayside this month. Besides my winter woes, work was especially stressful and there was a lot going on with my family too. Everything is okay but not out of the woods yet. I’m crossing my fingers though as March waltzes in, so will spring.

February Goals:

  1. Do pilates twice a week! Fail. I think I did it only twice this month, nevertheless twice a week. Did I mention there was cake?
  2. Work on The Lowell Saga everyday! Check. I did do this nearly everyday. So win.
  3. Use social media more! Check. My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter if you want to connect!

March (the month where spring better show up to my party) Goals:

  1. Make more mindful and healthy food choices! After the eating disaster that was February, I’m looking to make better choices in March. Less cake and more fruit! Less pasta and more vegetables! Honestly, I feel so much better when I eat cleaner food and I have to remember that the next time I feel the need to reach for the chocolate bar to just not. Stress eating does not make the bad feelings go away, it only perpetuates them. I’ll take broccoli over bloated any day.
  2. Finish the middle bit of The Lowell Saga! I want to finish the tricky middle bit of my story this month. There is a very specific treasure my trio is looking for in the middle of book 1 of TLS and I have scenes scattered throughout my draft that I want to attempt to string together to get this part done this month. Then hopefully I can head to the ending bits for April. AND THEN, start book 2 draft 1 in May.
  3. Find more focus in my life! Sometimes life feels like a frozen tundra where everywhere you look is snow, icy wind and emptiness. That was an analogy but you get the point. If I haven’t said it enough February was rough in all facets of living. In March, I want to get my shit together in my personal, work and writing lives.
The year just started and already I’ve used this gif twice in my posts. Let’s keep a tally, shall we?
Tally: II

What I Read:

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I enjoyed this a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely had it’s faults //SPOILERS// – insta love, definitely not a favorite trope of mine between Kaoru and Akiva, but I digress- //END OF SPOILERS//, but the writing was strong with vivid imagery, a magical world, and important moral message. Also the characters were very, very lovable. I do adore Kaoru, Zuzana and just their friendship in general. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the rest of the trilogy.
  • Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. This book is my heart and soul. It is one of my favorites of all time and I cannot remember how many times I’ve reread it throughout the years. The only indication would be by how cracked its spine is honestly. This book will be with me till I die, it is just that kind of story and anything I say about it will be biased. I really love this book. It’s definitely not for everyone but for those to who it resonates with it really hits home. It’s so many things. A coming of age story, a love story, a story about heroes and villains and just so well balanced that no matter how many times I reread it I find more things I missed before. If any of you have read this book and know exactly how I feel and exactly what I am talking about please let me know. I need someone to vent and gush and just express all my feelings with. Let’s get together in Nowhere 😉
  • Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger and More Graceful You by Misty Copeland. I love Misty Copeland and I love ballet, even though I only took it for a year when I was five before changing to horseback riding for ten years. Honestly I wish I had stuck with it but I love horseback riding just as much. I wish I had done both actually, and karate. I did karate for a month but I digress. ANYWAY, I enjoyed reading this and learning about some of Misty’s exercise routine, food preferences and personal journey. I really respect her so it was interesting to read. I also love barre but haven’t been able to take a class in almost a year due to COVID. But as soon as the world gets up and running again I’m running back to the gym. Reading this book was meant to keep that goal in mind and remember to stay fit and make healthy choices for my 2021 resolution!

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
  • Snapshot! Monthly Recap- posted the last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.

Fabulous Posts I Read in February:

My Round Up of February Posts:

Can I just say Anne with an E is such a beautiful show? Honestly, like I. Am. Floored. I didn’t even finish the first season yet and I am just in love with everything. If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend. So much so, that y’all already know I ordered the complete series to read.

How did February treat you? Do you share my pressing sentiments over Anne of Green Gables? These are the questions that need to be answered.

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Update | February 2021 | Power of Notebooks

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | January 2021 | Ruddy Red

This writing update is little bit of a detour but an important one I want to talk about. In my previous post I mentioned a ruddy red notebook I had that meant a lot to me growing up. Basically, it was the tangible version of my imagination. To this day it is one of my dearest treasures.

Is the writing in there absolute garbage? Yes, 100% and it will never see the light of day.

But it was an important step on my journey of becoming a writer. Hell, it was an important step on my journey of becoming me, and who I am today. So it’s precious.

I’m sure some of you, if not most, have kept a journal or notebook growing up. Whether it was just for writing down your thoughts, creating stories or scribbling out the daily struggles of living. Anyone else also, low-key, have a diary too when they were growing up? Lock and key included, do not open marked on the front.

Writing might seem like a chore to some but it’s valuable. It’s a written record of your thoughts, your emotions, your life told through memories or experiences or stories. It helps you remember where you came from and also very importantly where you want to go.

Also can I just say it is the one thing that will listen to your venting with no complaints? Just the paper, a pen and you. No judgment all around. It clears out the clutter of your anger, your embarrassment, and your sadness but also highlights your joy too.

Back then, when I was a wee lass, I had no intention of ever being a writer. In fact I think I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a hero. I watched cartoons ad infinitum because the characters were always saving the day. I read because magic was real when I saw it on the page. I played video games because I wanted to fight monsters with a sword. And when you are a kid the only chance you get to do that is through stories. (Mostly because your mom won’t let you out into the woods by yourself to see if there are Charmander waiting to be caught, but I digress.) The point is that a notebook changed my life in becoming an integral step to who I eventually wanted to be. A little thing that meant so much.

These were just thoughts I wanted to highlight and to see if they reach or resonate with any of you guys whether you write or read or do anything else. Food for thought.

You never know what you can discover as you just let your imagination run free and basically that’s what writers do every time they sit down to work. But it doesn’t just have to be a writer, it could be anyone.

So for February I stepped back into the muddy waters of my work in progress, The Lowell Saga or TLS for short. No lie there was a bit of a struggle at first to get acclimated back in. It’s like in the summer when it’s hot as balls outside but the pool is Antartica. Sometimes you have to tread in slowly and other times you just cannonball right in. February needed slow treading but as I write this I am fully submerged back into the story, the chlorine reaching right over my shoulders. (Also, low key, kinda loving this analogy.)

I couldn’t write everyday BUT I wrote a little most days and my word count is slowly climbing back up. I would like to get back up to at least writing 1,000 words a day, and even though I’m not there yet I know I’ll get there. I’m a slow writer so I bow down to those of you who can bang out 5K in a sitting. Maybe one day I’ll get there too, who knows? Never say never!

(Me, bowing down to y’all)

I would say I’m in the middle bit of the story now. The messy middle I like to think of it as honestly. The beginning is down and the end I can see. The middle though, like I mentioned, is messy. This part has the most room I guess for my creativity to expand is the nicest way to phrase it. I’ve gotten a bit stuck here and there but whenever I do I reach out to… the internet!

Neil Gaimon gave some great advice about whenever you are stuck to always go back to what your characters want. And he is 100% right. Whenever I get stuck I rely on that and then I find the answer to drive my story forward. Susan Dennard also gave some great advice when she talked about the wonder of ‘magical cookie’ scenes! These are the scenes you want to write that propel the story forward as well. So if I combine the advice of two of my favorite authors I find I’m writing scenes I actually enjoy writing and the story keeps moving! The only downside to doing this is I am going to have to string together all these scenes cohesively in later drafts but that’s a problem for a later day!

Let us just get this first draft down, am I right?

So guys how are your WIP going? Do you have any tips for writing the middle? Let’s talk!

Till next time,

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word count: 66,772

Snapshot 1/31/21 // “Garden Queen”

Currently listening:Potential Breakup Song Explicit” – Aly & AJ
Currently watching: Gilmore Girls S2 // Sailor Moon S1 (90’s)
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

January is a beautiful thing. I know a lot of people don’t believe in making resolutions at the start of a new year because if you really wanted to change you could have started at any other point of the year. 100% accurate. I agree, but… there is just something about one year ending and another one coming in. I always make a few goals (just a handful) to accomplish in the new year because it’s a tradition for me and it makes me happy. That’s enough reason to do something regardless of what anyone thinks (as long as it doesn’t bring pain to anyone else!).

This month I feel like I, legit, thrived. I got back to doing my yoga daily, upping my step count, doing some pilates and most importantly eating a lot healthier than I did in December. Like a lot healthier. GO ME! Of all the 31 days of January that passed I only had one, just one, bad binge eating junk food day (which left me feeling like absolute garbage) and then for the rest of the month never did it again. Habits break slowly for me and jumping from over ten bad eating days in December to just one in January is HUGE for me.

Writing wise, I don’t know if y’all noticed buttttttttt…. I UPDATED THE LOOK OF MY BLOG! New colors guys and new blog headers too!! I’m high key very hyped about the new look. It’s subtle but for me it’s perfect! I also was consistent with my posting which I definitely was not in December. I even got back to prepping my WIP The Lowell Saga which I plan to work on everyday in February. AND I made two writing submissions this month!! Again, high key proud of my productiveness!! THRIVING, MY GARDEN IS THRIVING.

Also, if your curious about the “Garden Queen” title for this snap I recently purchased my 9th houseplant. Yes, you heard correctly my ninth. One day my house will be a jungle of plants and books. Two of my favorite things!

In other news I’m also being a lot bolder in my personal life and like, I’m vibing with it? Like, who am I? Who is this confident girl looking back at me in the mirror? I wish the girl from three years ago could see herself now. Hence the “Queen” bit of my Snap title. I know 2021 has not been perfect for the world but things are happening and changing. It’s getting better, really truly I believe that. This month wasn’t perfect for me but I’m choosing to see the good in it and I believe that’s a perfect reflection for the attitude of 2021. Things are still hard but they will get better. I believe that. So if this wasn’t a great month for you don’t let it get you down.

January/General 2021 Goals:

  1. Be healthier! Check.
  2. Write! Check.
  3. Get a tattoo! In progress. I’m waiting for the world to be a healthier place and for the warm weather to swing around. In the meantime I’m contemplating all sorts of ideas of what I want my first tattoo to be…

February (the month where I try not to freeze to death from snow) Goals:

  1. Do pilates twice a week! I want to exercise more so this is fulfilling my health goal for the year.
  2. Work on The Lowell Saga everyday! This one speaks for itself in fulfilling my writing goal.
  3. Use social media more! For a 25 year old I should spend more time on social media than I actually do lol. My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter if you want to connect!

What I Read:

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
  • Soul Eater v.22-25 by Atsushi Ohkubo.
  • Howl by Allen Ginsberg. Jess Mariano made me do it. Literally. On January 1, 2021 I watched the episode of Gilmore Girls where Jess is introduced and meets Rory for the first time. If any of you know the show then you know the significance of this poem/book. I literally wondered why I hadn’t read it yet myself and immediately the next day went to the library to check it out. And the funny thing is I low key wanted a second hand copy where there would be notes scribbled in the margins and highlights throughout as I read but I don’t have a secondhand bookstore close to me. So I went to the library instead. Long story short, they didn’t have the original edition I wanted but they were going to get me an annotated edition from another library!! Like the Universe heard my cries and answered me. Thank you Universe!! It’s such a classic poem and the Beat Generation is like a total 2020- on mood. If you haven’t read this classic, I highly recommend it. To me it felt so relevant to the crazy times we are going through today even though it was published in 1956.
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. This. Book. 5 stars all around. It’s a story for storytellers. It’s a story for that part inside of you that wants to open the door to Narnia. It’s a story that will touch your soul if any of the above is relevant. Just. Read. It. PSA over.
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Wow, the writing in this book just pulled me right in. I love Karou, I love the minor characters like Zuzana, I love PRAGUE. Now I have to go, obviously. Just tack it on to the already long list of places I want to go. I’m about halfway through right now so expect a review next month!

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
  • Snapshot! Monthly Recap- posted the last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.

Jazzy Posts I Read in January:

My Round Up of January Posts:

February is going to be a busy month for me. I can feel it. Or… maybe this feeling is just me subconsciously telling myself to buy another plant lololololololol. Anyhow, I’ll keep you guys updated on any major happenings.

How were your January’s? Anything interesting happen? Have you seen The Queen’s Gambit btw?? I just saw the first episode last night and I am hooked!

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Update | January 2021 | Ruddy Red

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | November 2020 | NaNoWriMo Heaven and Hell

It has been a day. And, by a day, I mean that the last time I had a WIP update post was around November. So… it’s been a day that lasted two months. Lol. After taking some much needed time off in December though I am ready to jump back in.

So… where did I last leave off with my story? Ahhh yes. The ruddy red notebook.

In that notebook I created my first original character, that first character who… will play a very important role in The Lowell Saga, that first character who’s… secrets I can’t tell yet because their existence is such a game changer that I can’t even say more lest you be spoiled for this brilliant epic I am writing (lololololololol). Man that was a sentence, phew. For now though let’s call them Gale. I was sixteen.

I was also sixteen the two months later when I created my second original character. Oh, and boy was this one the exact opposite of Gale. Exact. Opposite. For now his name will be T. T also plays a major role in The Lowell Saga aka TLS for future reference so I can’t say much about him either. (Guys, guys I know I’m keeping this WIP tight under wraps but as soon as I can I promise to share more.) Needless to say this notebook was the unofficial start of TLS. Along with all of my at the time anime/video game obsessed fan fiction.

I was seventeen when I created Zelda. Her name has since been changed but for now that’s what we shall call her. She was going to originally star in TLS since she was so near and dear to my heart when she was first created, the beautiful bitter shadow of a girl that she is, but as of today is a key character in another completely different WIP simmering in the back of my mind. If you look back at my previous writing update I mentioned writing a story called Origins for NaNo 2019 and that’s her current place of residence and in hindsight that story fits her A LOT better than TLS. I’ll get to that story one day.

A symbol of a blue rose also appeared a lot as a motif in my writings in that notebook. If you notice on my blog and even in my little divider image below that symbol stuck. It became a motif I resonated with and decided to make my own along with my other favorite symbol, a key. Flowers have many meanings and the meanings even differ by what color they are. For my blog and who I want to be as a writer the blue rose fits. As does the key. *wink, wink*

I went on to create more and more characters in that notebook all of who I bet will end up in one of my stories some day. Being 25 and looking back on it now, I’m a little amazed. To think all those scribbles would one day define my life and who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do…

On the very last page of the notebook I wrote a sad ending because at last I had run out of paper. I was eighteen at the time, still in my first year of college, and a different person then than I am today. That girl was unsure, insecure and probably a little depressed. The girl writing this blog post now (*grinning*) has come a long, long way.

For now I’m still making headway on the first draft of TLS. I took some time off in December to recharge and now I’m spending January getting myself organized so that way in February I can start working on it every day again. See? I have a plan. Lol.

I’ll continue sharing my progress with this story as I go. It’s a way to hold myself accountable, connect with other writers and in the long run work on improving my process for the future.

For all you out there with a story burning in your soul, never let that fire die. We are in this together and our stories have voices that the world needs to hear.

Stay strong and continue on.

Never stop writing.

Till next time,

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Snapshot 12/31/20 // “The End.”

Currently listening:champagne problems” – Taylor Swift
Currently watching: 90 Day Fiancé S2
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: __________________________

I don’t remember much of December TBH. After the busy bee I was in November I took the time to relax and chill in December. I didn’t post as much as I usually do, since I didn’t have a discussion post this month or a writing update, and I took some time away from my WIP to clear my head a little bit in order to tackle it again in January with fresh eyes.

Christmas wasn’t the same this year. Last year was a bad Christmas and who would have known it could be worse. A lot of little things just adding up (we even lost power on Christmas morning) but I KNOW next year will be better. I KNOW IT, I SWEAR. Things happen for a reason. So, I’m going to just sit year till the new year indulging in laziness, anime and the entire plate of brownies my Grandma made for me. Cin, cin!!

December Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! Check, I did do a little bit!
  2. Become more interactive on social media! Check… I did a little bit, I swear. My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter if you want to connect!
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! No check, but I expected as much.

January (the month where 2020 was just a nightmare and now we are awake again) Goals:
(AKA my 2021 resolutions in general)

  1. Be healthier! In everything… honestly I have been garbage since Christmas. I’ll get back to doing my yoga in the morning, exercising at least three times a week, eating vegetables lol, positive thinking and leaving the old behind to move on to better things.
  2. Write! My WIP draft for The Lowell Sage is halfway done (and that is better than never started) and into 2021 I will keep writing. No deadlines, just keep going. Every year I keep getting closer.
  3. Get a tattoo! I wasn’t able to get my 2020 tattoo because of a global pandemic. So, dammit, this pandemic better be over so I can get it in 2021.

What I Read:

  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I was enthralled by this book. So much so I read it slowly and savored every damn chapter. Honestly. I started this around the beginning of November and finished it mid-December. That’s a long time for me to be continuously and consciously reading a book. The story is basically a love letter to readers and writers alike. It’s deep, touching, and resonating. That being said the story may not be for everyone, especially those who don’t like slower paced novels. But I’m also going to say it’s a beautiful book and I love love love love it so much. 5 STARS BABYYYYYY! All the way. I can’t. So many feelings and I just love Erin Morgenstern so much. So if you are a reader or a storyteller go read this book! I’m not going to spoil anything, just enjoy it 😉
  • ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. It was a good book. But, though I do appreciate Steven King, his writing style isn’t for me. It was a great story, realistic. I wasn’t scared per say but I enjoyed what I did read. It’s perfect reading for the fall and very outside of the usual genres I read. But I can see why it is a classic. I don’t think I’ll read it again but I am glad I read it. 
  • The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur. I honestly have so many post it notes sticking out of this book. So many of the poems are so good, and healthy, and just give off all the vibes we need to hear and know. If you are looking for relatable, healthy and contemporary poetry pick this up right now.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
  • Snapshot! Monthly Recap- posted the last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.

My Round Up of December Posts:

I learned and did a lot in 2020. I grew so much and learned so much about myself. I’m taking all of it and throwing myself into 2021. Throwing. Myself. Full force.

Down with 2020. Up with 2021! Be on the look out for some changes to the blog in the coming month. Jai is getting her shit together lol, haha! 😀

What are your resolutions for the new year?

2021 can be about making all the changes you want to become the best you. Together let’s stick to them to make this a much better year. This is the beginning. Make it count.

Till next time,

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Snapshot 11/30/20 // “Victory.”

Currently listening:Sympathy For The Devil” – The Rolling Stones
Currently watching: The Office S8
Currently playing: Hollow Knight
Currently reading: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

November was a month. Honestly, I don’t have much to say lol. When I wasn’t at work, I was still at work at home. Writing. I didn’t do much else. I didn’t even finish reading one book this month. Wow. That is a first for me. But… I did it. I WON NANOWRIMO FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.

50,000 words of my draft for my WIP The Lowell Saga is complete.Whew. No where near done with the first draft. But I’m getting there. Little by little. Word by damn word. As for whether I finish the draft this December… I’m going to try my hardest. 2020 hasn’t beaten me yet.

November Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! Check.
  2. Become more interactive on social media! Check. I was pretty consistent, for me, with updating on Twitter.
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! Failure, but I’m not worried. My WIP was the focus this month because of NaNo. AND I WON THAT MAJORLY.
  4. Continue to eat healthier! Check. Not perfect but not as horrible as I could have been. So that’s a win in my book.

December (the month where Christmas happens) Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! My last chance this month to finish that first draft before 2021 hits us in the face. (Or hopefully gently caresses us instead…)
  2. Become more interactive on social media! My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter if you want to connect! I did better this past month but still want to continue the habit so I’m listing this goal again.
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! I’m calling it now, this probably won’t happen cause I’ll be busy with my WIP but I don’t want to forget this goal so I’m putting it down again.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
  • Snapshot! Monthly Recap- posted the last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

All of my fiction writings are independent of each other and stand alone so no need to read any of the previous work to understand. If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.

November Round Up of Posts from Nifty People:

My Round Up of November Posts:

My Thanksgiving this year was small but still lovely. My step dad and I made an apple pie and it was the most delicious pie I had ever eaten in my life! We might need to make it a tradition. All in all I’m grateful for everything I do have and will keep looking forward to a brighter tomorrow. December could be brighter!! Let’s cross our fingers.

How were your Thanksgivings, if you celebrate? How was November overall for you guys? Did you meet your NaNoWriMo goal if you participated?

Let’s chat in the comments below!

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Update | November 2020 | NaNoWriMo Heaven and Hell

Previous Post: Writing is Hard | WIP | October 2020 | Catching All Those Falling Stars

Alright.

Guys.

You know. You are all aware. If you’ve been reading the last few of my personal updates or if you are a writer then you know.

NaNoWriMo. My WIP post this time around is dedicated to all things NaNo.

The first time I ever competed in NaNo was 2017. I had just graduated college and was working my first full time job. But life was not on my side. I wanted to be a writer but I had a degree I wanted nothing to do with and was working a job that was putting me into a depression. I don’t want to get into the gritty details but all you need to know is my mental health wasn’t the greatest. My only solace was reading in my car on my lunch breaks and surreptitiously writing post it notes of story ideas at my cubicle. At the time the story I was working on wasn’t The Lowell Saga, which is my current NaNo project. The Lowell Saga was born in the spring semester of my senior year at college. Though, for my first NaNo, a different story came to mind. At the time it was called Tricked.

For NaNo in 2018, I was working a different job. I had survived a previous bad year that I didn’t know would get a lot worse and finally culminate in the middle of 2019. Still, I attempted NaNo again. Again, I attempted to work on Tricked. I preformed word count wise even worse than I did in 2017. My different job was grating on my mental health in a different way than my first job was. This time I wasn’t depressed but I became extremely anxious to the point of nearly having a mental breakdown every Friday night. Then in December I had to have surprise surgery where I nearly asphyxiated. But that wasn’t even as bad as it was going to get. Spring of 2019 I quit my second job and then fell down another rabbit hole of sickness. It was a dark, dark time. The darkest ever probably in my life thus far.

In November of 2019, I was finally finally working a day job I loved. But, my writing was falling flat. I wasn’t inspired in the slightest and I was still trying to work on Tricked, except now I had changed the vibe of the story and renamed it Origins. I preformed worse than I did in 2018.

2020 was the year everything was going to change. And it did. For all of us.

2020 was both a terrible year and a great year. At least for me. It was terrible because everything in the world went to shit. But, I believe there was some universal divine plan to all of it. I have to believe that. I know some of you out there believe it too. Through all this garbage that is 2020 I know we have found some silver linings. I’ll start with the garbage though. I caught COVID-19 at the end of March. I thankfully didn’t have it as bad as others but let me tell you, it is very disconcerting to lose your sense of taste and smell. Honestly.

I had to take a leave from work but in that leave all of my writing inspiration came back to me. SILVER LINING. I decided to shelve Origins for more simmering and went back to my original beloved WIP The Lowell Saga. I researched the hell out of the story, I read a lot of information about story building and just writing in general and I got myself back on track. October I spent so much time prepping and starting to write that way this time for NaNo I would be ready.

Let me tell you I was ready. Still am, since by the time I’m posting this NaNo is still ongoing. This is my current word count:

Guys. Guys. Guys. DO YOU SEE? LOOK! I’m just over 36,000 words deep!!! I’m so happy I could cry. I’m doing so much better. So. Much. Better.

Guys if you don’t have the inspiration now don’t worry. Don’t. Worry. It will come. I promise. As long as you keep believing in your dream and striving it will come.

The first thing I do after I wake up and eat my breakfast is write, then I head to work. If I decided I need more sleep in the morning then I shift my writing to at night. I’m striving to make it work. And the words are flowing. Finally. You have to build that habit, it is so important. But you also have to listen to your body and take care of your self.

I’ve learned that simmering is part of my process. The Lowell Saga simmered for three years before it decided it needed to be written now in the hell year of 2020 which I’m taking as a heaven sent blessing in disguise. Origins is simmering now but I plan on one day going back to it after The Lowell Saga has its say.

Another aspect I’ve been implementing is just writing the scenes I want to write. I’m not writing linearly (which is how I always used to write) and I’m loving it so much more. I will need to connect everything later but I’m not worried. I’ll get to it. One day soon I hope to share more information about my WIP with you all. Once I finish the first draft of the first book of this four book saga I’ll dedicate a whole post about it so hopefully some of you can get just as excited as I am about it. ❤

The most important thing though, which I say all the time but always bears repeating, is just to keep writing. Keep striving. Don’t give up. If you want this dream you have to work for it. It will not be handed to you. But… fortune does favor the bold. 😉

Stay bold, stay strong and let’s finish NaNo this year.

For those of you who are participating, I’d love to hear about your progress and struggles! We are in it together and I’m cheering you all on!!

Till next time,

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word count: 36,405

Snapshot 10/31/20 // “The Circus, At Night”

Currently listening:Season of the Witch” – Lana Del Rey
Currently watching: The Haunting of Bly Manor
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Cloudy skies and misty air are lingering outside my window as I type this, and it fits. October and I have been on the same wavelength all month and I am here for it. A lot of fun fall activities fell into my life these past few weeks and finally I feel good. My life feels like it is starting to come together, and honestly perfect timing because NaNo is right around the corner. Or rather by the time this is posted… knocking at the door.

October Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! Check! My word count is up and I am so happy!!! I don’t want to jinx anything because I’m superstitious like that so I won’t share too much but… that first draft is getting WRITTEN. Mark it, guys. Making history over here, lol 😀
  2. Become more interactive on social media! Check! I’m doing it! I’m doing it!
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! Failure…. but I’m working on it. I did more than I did last month at least! (like opened one new tab, lol…) It will probably be a failure next month too if I’m being real with NaNo going on, but not giving up!
  4. Read & finish three books! Check! Not exactly all three books that I planned but I finished my two re-reads Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. As well as Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. All fantastic reads that I highly recommend! I’m about a third of the way through reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King and enjoying it so far! Waiting for those twists!
  5. Rewatch The Haunting of Hill House, and revisit Supernatural S4 and Gilmore Girls S1! Check! Supernatural and Gilmore Girls are like my mac and cheese and buttered biscuits. I also finished The Haunting of Hill House and loved it just as much the second time around! The Haunting of Bly Manor I’m more than halfway through and can I just say, I love Victoria Pedretti? Like, I really do. I hope by the end it hits me as much as Hill House did and right now I’m expecting it too.
  6. Watch Halloween movies! Check! Halloweentown, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Over the Garden Wall, and Corpse Bride, among others. Even Hocus Pocus. Okay, okay I relent. It’s a classic and I’m a little less bitter about Binx now. (SPOILER) He’s happy in heaven and now that I’m no longer seven I accept this conclusion. (SPOILER END).
  7. Go apple and pumpkin picking! Check, check! Even though I got EATEN and I mean EATEN by mosquitos (my ankle swelled up like a balloon and got infected, yuck!) it was so worth it. I had a blast! I posted some pics on my Insta if you are curious!
  8. Make Halloween cookies! Check. And they were delicious.
  9. Eat healthier! Mostly check. I had three bad days this entire month, but that is less than September. The other 28 days I followed the moderation plan so this is a win. Building healthy habits never felt so gooooood! One day at a time. One cookie at a time. One brussel sprout at a time!
  10. Look at the ocean one last time! Check and it was magical ❤ (I also had pumpkin spice ice cream for the first time and damn, it’s good! )

November (the month where I am alive and dead at the same time) Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH IT’S ON NANO. I’M CALLING YOU OUT. My username is JLynn047 if you want to be friends and cheer each other on!
  2. Become more interactive on social media! My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter if you want to connect! I’m gonna try to rage on Twitter all month about my writing frustrations (and hopefully victories!). Feel free to commiserate (and revel hopefully!) with me!
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! I’m calling it now, this probably won’t happen cause I’ll be busy with NaNo but I don’t want to forget this goal.
  4. Continue to eat healthier! Moderation and NO stress eating. (Even though I will probably be emotional and stressed all month but I will resisttttttt through mindfulness and sheer force of will.)

What I Read:

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Everyone needs to read this book. I don’t care if it’s not your genre. I don’t care if your TBR list is huge. I don’t care if you don’t read. I don’t care if you are a nihilist. This book is bigger than us. It should be on the essential reading list for humanity. Everyone knows the Holocaust. It’s THE most iconic tragedy in the history of civilization. Dr. Frankl, the author of this book, experienced this terrible blight on humanity first hand. He had the option to escape, but he chose to stay with his parents who couldn’t leave and in turn all of them ended up in a concentration camp. A lot of us, thankfully, today will never know those horrors first hand. But he did. And he survived. His experience shaped the motivation and learnings in this psychology book. The main point that I took away was that man needs meaning to survive and he finds that in either 1) his vocation 2) a person or 3) courage in the face of an unimaginable situation. Meaning, meaning, meaning… what is the point of this life? Why are we here? Nihilists will argue that everything is random, there is no meaning. Some think the point of life is to chase happiness. Some think power is everything. But Dr. Frankl alludes the more you chase those things the harder they will be to find. If your life has meaning then you have the will to go on, and the success and happiness will follow. If you think everything has no point and that all is random what’s to stop you from bringing about another Holocaust? There’s no point right? Deep down we all know that not to be true. We are human, we feel, we live, we suffer. We suffer and suffer and suffer. Would it make you happier to reason it towards nothing, or everything. I only glazed over the key points here and there is so so much more. If I haven’t said it already, just read the book. 
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. This one was a reread, one that I hadn’t exactly planned on but one that happened anyway. This book just screams October. I read it for the first time last year and you can read my original review here. Looks like I did end up re-reading it like I mentioned in my review last year, haha!! I didn’t disappoint my past self. Maybe I will just end up rereading it every year. Who knows? Pretty much all the same feelings, but what is different this time is that I think I understand the book even more. Its nostalgia, its structure…. and its view of the universal personal conflict of being human. There is just something about this book. Something… Maybe next year I’ll be able to tell you what it is when I probably end up reading it again.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I love this book, so much. My soul and this book …. I can’t even articulate it. I just love this book, so much.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
  • Snapshot! Monthly Recap- posted the last day of every month
  • Announcements- posted as needed

All of my fiction writings are independent of each other and stand alone so no need to read any of the previous work to understand. If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.

I might do another discussion post… depends on how much time I’ll have (not much…) but we shall see. Never say never and inspiration might strike again!

My WIP post this month will also be very heavily NaNo related FYI just so you guys are forewarned! I might check in with mini updates for NaNo every now and then too besides my big monthly WIP update but I haven’t decided yet. (More like anxiety rearing its ugly head that I am taking on too much and perfectionism screaming DO IT ANYWAY…) Well…

October Round Up of Posts from Awesome People:

I read so many fun, thought provoking and inspiring posts this month! To my fellow bloggers, great work guys!!

My Round Up of October Posts:

To NaNoWriMo my fellow writers! May productivity rain and may we all survive the storm!! ROARRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

Oh, and btw… Happy Halloween 😉

Till next time,

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