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

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | September 2020 | Hero Complex

I was fifteen when I started to write regularly. Every summer before school would start in September my mother would take my brother and me to Staples to get our supplies. That year I had an extra notebook that I didn’t need for school and that’s where something else began… I didn’t know it at the time but with that notebook, I would come to hand write short story upon short story… upon short story. It was a three subject spiral notebook, totally normal in every way even down to its ruddy red cover. But that notebook became my secret world.

Since I was still reeling off Final Fantasy VII, I got hooked on the just announced Final Fantasy Versus XIII (now known as FFXV for those who are curious; that is how long ago this was and how long that game was stuck in development hell, but I digress). All that fan fiction took up the first rush of pages, then I dropped back into the Pokemon fandom for a bit, and then Howl’s Moving Castle for a spell and then came Hetalia and Katekyo Hitman Reborn and then Durarara! and Bleach and Fruits Basket and oh so many others. Just typing all those series’ down brings back the rush of memories. Growing up with all those stories manifested from the brilliant minds of so many different creators got me through and helped me make a few close friends to survive high school with. Back then, if it wasn’t already obvious I spent a lot of time in my imagination. Maybe it was inevitable that I would eventually want to be an author. Even though for a long time growing up I didn’t want to become a writer. But that’s a story for a different time. At that time in my life all I needed was a place to vent my feelings and get lost in someplace that wasn’t the real world. Maybe that was why it was so easy to fill that notebook up with words.

It was two years later after starting that notebook that I created my first original character. Not a self insert or someone to fit in some other person’s world. He was mine, all mine. He has survived to this day and believe it or not plays a significant role in my current WIP The Lowell Saga. As you can see I love him dearly. He hasn’t even changed much from his original design. His core personality is still present, and even his name is the same. I would reveal more but he plays a sort of big, influential role and I don’t want to spoil anything for when this book finally sees the light of day.

I am honestly… really proud of myself this month? Again? Wow. I started to wake up a bit earlier before work to get some writing in, like I did last year around this time and so far it has been working. Just a half hour but it is still progress. Little by little. Something is better than nothing. Because one day all those little somethings add up, but you can’t add up nothing. Nothing just creates more nothing.

I find that (if you have been with me from the beginning you already know) I always struggle to finish a first draft. Beginnings are so easy for me. I can write a million beginnings. Middles are okay, I reach them half of the time. The end is something I have never seen. But I will. With this WIP I will. Positive affirmations and manifesting all the wayyyyyyyyy. Especially with it being that special time of year.

Yes NaNoWriMo time is almost upon us and I have decided to participate! Will I set a goal of 50,000 words? Probably not because that is not how I operate, something it took me years to learn. Will I try to write every day and see where it takes me? Probably more along those lines of thinking but I don’t want to lock myself in a box. As we all know, life happens… and we have to account for that. Will I keep hustling away at that first draft? Definitely, 100% yes yes yes. Maybe I’ll make that my goal. Just keep writing.

What I find working for me, which I didn’t do previously, is that I write the scenes that I want to write instead of going in chronological order. My draft may be a mess but it is still a draft and the words are coming and that is better than nothing. Something is always better than nothing. I’m also not getting hung up on making everything perfect the first go round (which is impossible anyway since nothing is perfect, something else I am learning and willing to entrench into my mind) and am leaving blank spaces or gaps where I need to fill in details that I just don’t have right now. I will eventually. But not right now. My Preptober is just building the habit that way I’ll have an easier time once November blows in. I mean I already spent a lot of time researching this year and outlining and planning. So now the implementation is in progress. Write, write, write.

Legit, do any writers know what they are doing? I don’t really, if I am being honest. I’m a very intuitive person and am going with my gut instinct here. Which, thankfully, has never failed me. I know there are a few writers out there that do have an idea (and please drop me a line cause I feel like I’m flailing in the sea out here) but as for the rest of us let’s make this November a memorable one. Let’s make it count. If you have a dream you have to try right? Or it will die with the falling stars…

And I won’t let any stars (or dreams) die on my watch. Not when they could became a beautiful reality.

I want to be a writer. I want to be a writer. I want to be a writer. I’ll say it over and over till I feel it’s true. But I do write. Therefore…

I am a writer. We are all writers, here.

But if I’m being honest some part of me still doesn’t believe it. Not till I finish a first draft at least. I have to do it. I want to do it. I’m going to do it.

We are all going to do it. I believe.

Till next time happy writing!

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word count: 8,541

Snapshot 9/30/20 // “Feathers, Feathers Everywhere”

Currently listening:seven” – Taylor Swift
Currently watching: Gilmore Girls S1
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Empty hallways, weathered books, slow breezes, Ancient Greek letters, philosophical thoughts and feathers floating down from the sky all tied into one month. That is what September means to me. Whenever it rolls around, as you can see, I tend to get moody.

Or totally rapt up in a dark academia aesthetic. Same thing.

September Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! Check. I’ve actually written a lot this month and am up to over 4K for my first draft! I wasn’t even planning on doing that much but it happened. Guyssssss, things are happeningggggg.
  2. Become more interactive on social media! Check! I was slightly more interactive than last month sooooo…
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! Failure. Failure. Failure. At least I am being honest.
  4. Be more present/observant in my life! Check? Yes, unfortunately I may have been too present in my life this month, and it was a hard emotional month for me because the stress at work and in my personal life was getting a little too much. And if you are like me and tend to hyper fixate on things and over think to your wits end then… Yes, that happened. But at least I kept writing.

October (the month of EVERYTHING I WANT RIGHT NOW) Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! This should be no surprise. It’s been on my goal list since the beginning of the hELL year of 2020. I want to finish this first draft, and no better way than a last minute sprint in the last 3 months of the year. yay.
  2. Become more interactive on social media! My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter if you want to connect! I’ve recently had some inspiration and have a few ideas I’d like to showcase. Look forward to it guys in my beloved month of OCTOBER. I love October.
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! Who knows if this will happen? I will probably get distracted by writing my WIP but just in case, I don’t want to forget this goal so I’m keeping it on here.
  4. Read & finish three books! My reading these past few months has been dismal. I want to change that and there are three books I’ve been dying to read when October rolled around. And now it’s here. Two are rereads: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. But the last is new, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I’ve never read it before and I really want to. Really. Want. To. So much so that I am legit staring at it right now as I type this.
  5. Rewatch The Haunting of Hill House, and revisit Supernatural S4 and Gilmore Girls S1! I have been rewatching episodes of Supernatural here and there, but since it’s October now I feel like NOW IS THE PERFECT MOMENT to watch more. I watched my first episode of Supernatural ever on a Halloween many years ago. So the month and the show are tied together in my head. Gilmore Girls just makes me feel happy and good and safe and so I’m going to keep watching that too since I restarted the series from the beginning this September. The Haunting of Hill House though I have been craving since summer began and now, totally on the opposite side of the spectrum from Gilmore Girls, I want to be scared and haunted and filled with dismal longing. Or maybe I just want to see those feelings reflected in someone other than me. (September was tough, guys. My mental health sucked. But I’m getting better now.)
  6. Watch Halloween movies! I always rewatch Halloweentown, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Over the Garden Wall, and Corpse Bride without fault every October. This year I might even try Hocus Pocus again. Listen, I was traumatized as a child at the end when (SPOILER) the black cat died/passed on. Traumatized. I was seven, he was my favorite character and then he died at the end. That stuff sticks with you. Maybe this year though, I’ll give it another chance. Maybeeeeeeeeee…
  7. Go apple and pumpkin picking! This is one of my favorite fall activities that I do every year. Along with bringing out the boots and flannel. I’m going to be dressed for success and carrying home a ton of deliciousness that will keep me happy all month. All about the little things, my friends, the little things.
  8. Make Halloween cookies! I didn’t make my Halloween sugar cookies last year so I’m damn well doing it this year. Dammit.
  9. Eat healthier! Lol, right after I say I’m making cookies. Listen, healthy eating is all about moderation. I’m going to be eating cookies and apples! September I had a lot of stressful days and I ate a ton of garbage I shouldn’t of. Binge eating is a curse. Don’t do it. This month my Mom is teaming up with me to eat more healthy and not let our emotions control our eating. So far we are seven days strong. The key is to eat the healthy food first and only eat one cookie instead of the box. I can totally do that, and I also have a partner in crime. A burden shared is a burdened lessoned, I think that’s how it goes.
  10. Look at the ocean one last time! My August birthday wish was to go to the beach one last time but unfortunately we never got there. I hope this month, even if I can’t swim and am wearing a scarf, I can see the ocean one last time and say my goodbye. At least until next summer.

I have a lot of goals this month but most of them are just there to remind myself to have some fun and enjoy life. I got so lost in September; I’m finding myself again in October. I’m calling it now. IT IS GOING TO BE A GREAT MONTH. Done.

(I will Robin Williams, I will, I promise!)

What I Read:

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. With September always comes one of my favorite aesthetics of all time, dark academia. The two in my mind are just intrinsically linked and I have no regrets. This book has a psychological, in your head, murder, but also Shakespeare! spin that I just immensely enjoyed. The story revolves around a group of seven conservatory trained actors and the various works of Shakespeare they preform throughout. They all have their roles, the hero, the tyrant, the villain… and it isn’t long before that role starts to take on their real life. So of course there is a dramatic murder. I loved the story resonance throughout the book and how the characters roles shifted with their arcs. The tale was beautifully rendered but I admit this book won’t be for everyone. If you enjoyed The Secret History then this book is right up the same alley. One of my favorite quotes that really portrays the essence of the story is “How could we explain that standing on a stage and speaking someone else’s words as if they are your own is less an act of bravery than a desperate lunge at mutual understanding?” (pg. 114) and that line really hit me in the face. Why do I write if not for my words to reach someone else and, even though we are in different spaces, reach some sort of recognition or shared feelings? To know we are not alone. It’s so human.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted first Friday of the month
  • 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 posted a surprise this month! My discussion post about why Autumn is a GREAT thing was totally unplanned and totally an impulsive decision that I just jived with. The best part being all the responses I got!! Who knows? I might think up more discussions for the future. Thank you guys for commenting and sharing your thoughts, really. Each one means the world to me ❤

September Round Up of Posts from Stupendous People:

To my fellow bloggers, this section is for you! Great, beautiful work this month guys ❤ There are many different types of posts above and all of them are 100% worth a look!

My Round Up of September Posts:

I found feathers everywhere this month. At first black feathers scattered here and there, showing up when I least expected them. Then white feathers appearing in droves as I walked around my neighborhood. Even the other day I found a blue feather. September was hard but I want to believe that there was a reason for it. I know there was a reason for it. Maybe October will let me know…

Either way, I’ll be sitting here sipping my tea, analyzing philosophical musings, and wondering where this journey is leading. Oh and, as always, searching for the magic.

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | September 2020 | Hero Complex

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | August 2020 | Roxas

Okay who’s ready for the next tale in my adventure of writing?

Yes y’all, it is time for the Final Fantasy VII craze. So naturally, after I got absorbed in Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy had to follow. Naturally.

If you have ever played the video games you understand what I mean but just in case you haven’t I’ll put a little background in. Kingdom Hearts is essentially a delicious stew of nearly every popular Disney movie and Final Final Fantasy game thrown into one. So. Of course when it became one of my favorite things, naturally because Final Fantasy is a part of it, that also become one of my favorite things. Deductive reasoning at its finest there, folks.

I’ll spare you the tedious details and get straight to the point. I started with the original Final Fantasy because young!Jai thought that I would need to start at the beginning to understand (oh I was such a novice!) and after being so unenamored with it I THEN learned that each game had it’s own story. So naturally I jumped right to Final Fantasy VII. The most popular game in the whole franchise. And coincidently (and I say that ironically because I don’t believe in coincidences) a new spinoff game had just recently came out. For those of you that are familiar it was Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. That dates me to being around 14-15. And that is when I met Zack Fair.

(I mean come on… look at this PUPPY)

You thought my Roxas obsession was bad, it couldn’t even compare to how I felt about Zack. Well, still feel. This man affected me so much that I think I might have developed a hero complex from him and still, to this day, I can’t play the ending of Crisis Core. I stopped right before the last chapter and I know I will never play through it. Ever. But, let’s move on to the brighter side of things.

(Aerith, my beautiful flower, nothing brighter than her)

From this new interest, I started to write drabbles. What is a drabble? Basically, it’s a short piece of writing under 1,000 words (though some are longer, and some super short) without any real plot but to draw a nice highlight on a character or emotion or something. Usually they are fan fiction but not always. I remember grabbing an unused notepad from the closet and making a pact with myself to write 47 drabbles. Why that number? Well, why not that number. To this day 47 is one of my lucky numbers.

Now these drabbles, before you ask, will never see the light of day.

(Sephiroth, protecting my garbage)

But they are part of the story so they get an honorable mention.

I had also, by this point, acquired a new laptop. It was a Gateway gaming computer and it was black and orange and, like, THE COOLEST THING EVER. (Especially whenever I wanted to play The Sims, and let’s be real that is why ALL of us buy computers). Anyway, I started my next fan fiction story. This one about a girl who sneaks into SHINRA (disguised as boy, totally Mulan-ing it) and becomes best friends with, of course, Zack Fair. It was called Hollowed. Of course my Gateway now no longer has a screen so there’s that, but I still have the hard drive. And on that hard drive, my story. As for a way to view said story that is still up in the air. BUT AT LEAST I HAVE THE STORY.

Sidenote, they just remade Final Fantasy VII for the PS4 and do you know what the name of the new theme song they released for the game was ??? Hollow. Guys, guys, I called it YEARS AGO. If that doesn’t mean me and this game have a special bond I don’t know what does.

Final Fantasy VII is one of the best and most influential video games of all time with one of the most touching storylines. If my WIP could even just reach one person I would die happy. Writing gives my life meaning. In The Lowell Saga, my current project, you could say that the characters are all searching for their meaning in life. Some of them have hero complexes, some definitely do not. But all of them in one way, shape, or form are trying to find their way in complex world just like the rest of us twenty-somethings. My original intention with this story all those years ago was to write a story about what happens in your twenties, when life is staring you right in the face and now you are an adult. And everything that comes along with that. Along with magic. Because when given the option to add magic, you ALWAYS add magic.

I got a lot of writing done this month compared to my check in last month in August, and no lie, I am super surprised I actually wrote as much as I did!! (Also, low key, super proud.) This month I focused a lot more on writing the first draft than the previous months where I was doing a lot of research. September was a long month and I had lots of feelings from living my real life that needed some outlet. So I poured some of them into this first draft. #HealthyCoping. At least when I write I can control what happens. 😉

Till next time,

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word count: 4,635

Snapshot 8/31/20 // “My Horoscope Might Have Been Right, Lol”

Currently listening:august” – Taylor Swift
Currently watching: Gossip Girl S1
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

August did seem to slip away like a bottle of wine. And I really did need the wine this month. Life has been chaotic at work since a lot of things are changing. COVID is still a thing. Boys are stupid. Weather has been violent lately. All in all August was not easy.

When I read my horoscope at the beginning of the year saying that August was going to be a bad month I just pfffffffft it. August is my birthday month, it’s summer, there is no better part of the year to me. Well. My horoscope was right. This August was a doozy. I’m just writing it off as 2020’s fault because anything that can go wrong this year seems to. It’s not my beloved August’s fault. Next year will be better. I pray.

August Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! Check.
  2. Become more interactive on social media! Check. My activity was about the same as last month but given what a hell of a month this was this is definitely a check.
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! No check here. I didn’t have time this month to submit anywhere.
  4. Be nicer to myself. Check? Maybe? I don’t really know. Honestly, I feel like everything I know is a lie at this point and the world is on fire.

September (the month I used to dread but now enjoy) Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! Been doing this and will keep doing this till I finish my first draft this year! Gonna get it done. Gonna get it done. I believe in myself. I believe in myself. Yes. This is me telling the universe what I want & therefore hopefully sending out the vibes so I can get it done. (INSPIRATION COME AT ME, I’M READYYYYYYY)
  2. Become more interactive on social media! My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter so let’s connect! I definitely need to do better. And if I keep putting this as a goal and making this a habit I. DETERMINEDLY. WILL. GET. BETTER.
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! Same as above. I. DETERMINEDLY. WILL. GET. BETTER.
  4. Be more present/observant in my life! Life get’s hectic but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be grateful for every damn day we have. You never know when or what can happen. I want to pay more attention to what’s around me. I want to expand my world. As a writer being observant is an important skill to have to make your writing as authentic as possible, and as a human there is nothing more valuable than being more present in your own life. No matter what happens good or bad. I do believe there is a reason for everything that happens and since time machines don’t exist (yet) we have to savor this moment… because this moment right now will never come again.

What I Read:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I felt different after reading this book. Or, to put it in other words, I felt changed. The way I read it was a little disjointed, with time gaps between some chapters or bunches of chapters. Life got in the way. But this book in its way is also about life, the soul, religion, belief and America. Oh, America…. one day I’ll read this book again and maybe my review will make more sense than this paragraph I’ve cobbled together (is it just me or do a lot of books tend to leave me blubbering speechless with weird rambling reviews…?) this August of 2020 in one of the weirdest time periods of my life – and probably everyone’s life – but for now this will have to do. I enjoyed this book, it changed something in me (gave more levity to my life and grasp on what I value and how I think about things in relation to others) and that’s how you know a book’s good whether you liked it or not. I encourage others to read it if you haven’t already. It’s a weird story but a great one and an honest one I think...(which is honestly my reading vibe 98% of the time). Yeah, yeah, yeah…. Shadow too… I love Shadow. If you need any other reason to read it at all just read it for Shadow. Then that’s good enough for me. But if you really want to understand my garbled mess here then you MUST read the book. It’s very human, or whatever being human means to you. I think you will find that here in this book. Yes.. that’s the right way to put it…
More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn. This book was all the good vibes after the seriousness of American Gods. I needed its slice of life, its sweet moments, its simplicity, its music (and there is so much music in thisssssss) and its healthy romance. There wasn’t any love triangle and there was barely any shenanigans with side characters competing for either MC’s affection. It was more wholesome and I loved that. It makes me want to have my own Luke Greenly to share songs over text with. He’s a down to earth, sweet, BRITISH, caring guy that I am here for. Vada I loved too. She is strong, and she knows who she is and what she wants and she is going TO GO GET IT. Go Vada!!! Go out there and get what you want. Life isn’t just going to hand it to you. Hard work builds the foundation and then one day you’ll make it. Man, did I just make a cute YA romance into a philosophical lesson. Probably, blame Neil Gaiman.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston. I need to read more contemporaries, like, for real. I ADORED this. So MUCH. Geekerella is quite clearly a retelling of Cinderella but for nerds. If that doesn’t sell you already… well. It has falling in love over texts, it has celebrities, it has PUMPKINS, it has cute dogs and badass best friends and everything someone needs in their real life. Friendship, love, adventure and a little magic sprinkled on top. So go read it. Now. Especially if it feels like your life is on fire. Especially.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted first Friday of the month
  • 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.

August Round Up of Posts from Wonderful People:

Each of these posts resonated with me in some way. Some are serious, some are funny, but all are beautiful. Keep doing great work out there guys!!

My Round Up of August Posts:

August was a double edged sword. Good thing I like swords. I really believe that through this hell of a month something great will be happening (eventually). How were your months? Did you get a lot done? Do you remember anything fun you did? This month was a blur for me. I feel like I’ve been running with no destination and no end in sight. It will be okay. I keep telling myself and I’ll tell you too. If you had a hell of a month too, I promise it will be okay.

Everything’s okay in the end.

That’s a quote from something I read and since I am a writer (a woman of words) I trust quotes. And wine. Just kidding.

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | August 2020 | Roxas

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | July 2020 | (Guarding Space and Time)

Kingdom Hearts is one of the most beloved video game franchises of all time. Especially to me. Age ten was when this one first fell into my lap. I have always loved video games, and with that love comes a flood of memories. My brother and I opening up a Playstation 2 on Christmas morning together, my brother and I in the following years combining our money so we could buy a GameCube at Toys R Us when that first came out, my brother bringing my Pokemon Sapphire to my Dad’s work and losing my game (and my Skitty which I worked SO HARD to capture!) making me burst into angry tears… but I digress. Video games are something my brother and I have always shared and bonded over, through good times and bad. Kingdom Hearts is part of the good.

It all started when I was invited over to one of my school friends’ house for the first time. Kingdom Hearts was a thing I had known of before but (like Avatar: The Last Airbender when it first came out) I hadn’t originally pursued. My friend said it was good and that we should play, and long story short, I spent that whole play date engrossed in the Destiny Islands.

I remember that it was around the time Kingdom Hearts 2 was coming out. I bought my own copy of the original KH and played and played and played. I got to the Chernabog, legit, right near the final battle and the end of the game but succumbed and ended up starting Kingdom Hearts 2 immediately as soon as I could get my hands on it. That’s when I saw Roxas for the first time.

(ADORABLE *insert gushing & heart eyes here*)

Little to say I never ended up finishing Kingdom Hearts then. So, I’m left with the weird experience of saying I beat Kingdom Hearts 2 first. (Chain of Memories I tried to play too in that time frame but me and those battle controls weren’t jiving…)

I don’t know what it was but as soon as I saw Roxas I loved him. (That is probably as close to love at first sight that I’ll ever get in this lifetime.) The more I played as him and learned about him the more that affection grew and by the end of the prologue of Kingdom Hearts 2… I was devastated. If you’ve ever played the game you’ll know what I mean.

Why am I telling you all this and what does it have to do with my writing journey? Well, that passion of mine birthed into a story. My second attempt at fan fiction, only this time I typed it. Roxas ignited in me a story that I poured hours and hours into, writing way into the wee hours of the night on my old Dell laptop. Minor spoiler alert here but, I put so much effort into that story and would love to show you an awful excerpt but alas it came to a sad conclusion, just like Roxas.

My old Dell ended up crashing and I lost everything.

Including my story.

(moment of silence)

When I die, I pray God will bring that story back to me. Along with all the other little lost things that I’ve lost track of in my life. Like my Mew card, my Pokemon Sapphire game with my Skitty, and that Kingdom Hearts story. It was my first typed story, that along with my Pokemon picture books, and Sailor Moon fanfic notebook I never got to finish.

I guess that’s where I developed this habit of never finishing a story.

The habit I’m determined to break now with my current WIP, The Lowell Saga. I am happy to report that I have started writing! Snippets here and snippets there, but my word count is now on the rise… so progress guys!! I haven’t finished world building yet but I’ve decided to break that down to bits and pieces as I write. I think that’s better than me trying to do all the research in the beginning. That way my imagination can have some fun. Otherwise I know, as in the past, I may lose interest. The further I go with this WIP the more I’m learning about myself. I’ve been outlining a lot this month as well, and narrowing down the plot points I want to hit in this four book saga. It’s honestly…. very exciting.

And these feelings are why I love writing. I love being excited and feeling like yes, yes if this is all I do for the rest of my life I will die happy and fulfilled.

So far this WIP has been in the making for three years. It started as an idea, then research, some writing, afterward letting it simmer for a bit, and now picking it up again in 2020. More inspiration, more researching, and in the present I’m outlining and beginning to write. My process is like a slow burn romance. There’s the interest, and then the simmer as things calm as we get to know each other better, and then more and more kindling (like right where I’m at now) is starting to be thrown into the fire as I pick up on all these little details that I can’t wait to write about. I pray the burn continues this way. I’ll make it so.

That way one day this story will be a wildfire.

Till next time,

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word count: 1,230

Snapshot 7/31/20 // “The Cicadas Are Singing & So Is Taylor Swift”

Currently listening:Homecoming Queen?” – Kelsea Ballerini & THE ENTIRE ALBUM OF FOLKLORE BY TAYLOR SWIFT (such a mood)
Currently watching: The Bold Type
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: American Gods by Neil Gaimon

Is it weird that I think that the music of cicadas in the summertime is one of the most beautiful sounds to listen to in the world? Because I really do, and honestly it is one of the things keeping me grounded in these high flying times.

Summer is and has always been my safe place. I would much rather be hot than cold. I would much rather have more daylight than more night. I would much rather be licking mint ice cream off my lips than hot cocoa from my chin. That’s not to say I don’t love the cold, or the night or hot cocoa. I do. I really do. But summer has always been special to me. In summer, I have no worries… usually.

This summer is different. It looks like summer, feels hot like summer, and sounds like summer with the cicadas outside but as we all know everything is different. Part of me, which I never thought I would actually feel in my entire life, wants summer to end and the fall to come and by doing that hopefully bring an end to this pandemic. The rest of me though is struggling to stay in the moment and appreciate life for what it is right now. Summer… my favorite season…

So that’s where I’m at.

July Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! Check, yes.
  2. Become more interactive on social media! Check. I might have been a little less interactive this month but I was still ON social media so this is a win.
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! Check! I was actually asked to submit something this month by Radiate Literary, which is a super cool online literary journal promoting young voices. (If you want to check out the poem I wrote here’s the link……. #kthanksbye #awkwardselfpromo).
  4. Continue to do yoga every morning! Checkity-check. Check.

August (the month which might be when my birthday is…) Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! I actually started writing the first draft of my WIP of 2020 this month. (I KNOW.) I didn’t even finish world building or outlining or my original intention of planning… BUT the story called to me. So, I started writing.
  2. Become more interactive on social media! My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter so let’s connect! I’m keeping this goal on here because I definitely need to do better. Even though I still checked them somewhat I have to be more proactive. I’m trying. I promise.
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! Trying to make this one a habit. I need better time management skills though I feel. This is the goal that honestly falls to the wayside the most.
  4. Be nicer to myself. This one sounds easy but honestly, it might be the hardest goal on this list. I have a tendency to beat myself up pretty badly when I can’t do something I planned to do. I am also the type who constantly assigns blame to myself for things I in no way have any control over. So, this month (my birthday month which is fitting!) I am going to try being kinder to myself and indulge in some self care.

What I Read:

He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. This was so eye opening to read… and brutally honest. This books is meant to give you a major reality check when it comes to dating and guys, and let me tell you it doesn’t disappoint. You will feel a bit naive and, dare I say, stupid after reading it but!!! Not to say also full of hope. With just as many red flags it points out it also uplifts you equally as much. Every chapter ends on a positive note and tells you just how much you are worth finding a good guy, one who is not afraid to show up and be there for you. You’re fabulous, amazing, smart and funny. WE ARE!!!! And we deserve someone who appreciates all of that and doesn’t take us for granted.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted first Friday of the month
  • 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.

(Omg look at this gif! It’s so cute!! {not really relevant but… w/e!})

July Round Up of Posts from Wonderful People:

Each of these posts touched my heart and I just wanted to share them with you all in the chance that they might touch your heart too. Times are tough and life is short. Any bit of happiness helps ❤

My Round Up of July Posts:

Hey, hey, hey… have you guys heard Taylor’s new album? Like for real Folklore is my life right now. And forevermore…. it’s too real and raw and I’m drowning and swimming and, like, hiding in the woods in a witch hut surrounded by magic and mystery and sadness and hope with ladybugs flying all around me all at the same time…

What are you listening to?

Till next time,

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Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update | July 2020 | (Guarding Space and Time)

Previous Post: Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | June 2020 | (The Beginning … & the End)

I don’t know about you but for me age nine was a very impressionable age. My family life turned upside down right around that time. To compare it to writing, the universe had been foreshadowing and planting plot points for years right up to that pinnacle point in 2004 when my parents’ divorce was finally settled and done. So, of course, when life hands you something ugly we humans immediately want to gravitate towards things that make us happy. Which at that time for me was Pokemon, as I mentioned in the previous post, and then right after that…Sailor Moon.

I loved Sailor Moon.

I would storm home from school just to see if I could try and catch it on Cartoon Network. (I didn’t always find it, mind you, but when I did… let me just say… I was so happy.) I don’t think I comprehended that it was probably on at a specific time because I was a kid and I just wanted to watch it when I wanted to watch it. Everything about the show I loved. The girl power, the heroics, Tuxedo Mask lol… I must have gone through phases for each Sailor Scout. Jupiter initially, then Mercury later on… Venus here and there and Mars from time to time. Sailor Moon herself … believe it or not I did not like at first (I know, right?? How could I not love her??) but now she is such an integral part of my being I don’t know what my younger self was thinking.

I can recall really specific memories from that time period of my childhood. I remember watching the Negaverse attack on a dark snowy night sitting on the floor in the living room while my Great Aunt (now passed) was in the background speaking to my mom. I remember running across the street to my neighbor’s house when her grandchildren were visiting and going to watch Sailor Neptune and Uranus after we played catch in the backyard with Max, my neighbor’s border collie. I remember going to our local video rental store regularly and always renting the Promise of the Rose movie whenever I had a chance…. that all seems like a lifetime ago.

Nowadays, I love each and every one of the Sailor Scouts having read the manga and seen the 90’s anime adaptation too many times to count. Sailor Pluto holds a special place in my heart today. Maybe because of all of the scouts she seems the loneliest to me and I just want to help her and be her friend. If you think about it… she had the loneliest job of all guarding the Space-Time Door…. and isn’t writing also one of the loneliest jobs sometimes too? Like all of us writers at some point are looking to the past or the future, gaging the current state of society, picking up cues from everything all around us and compressing all that and everything into the written word to guide and protect others… like we are all guarding that very same door….

Sorry lost myself there for a second, lol.

My next step into writing was of course to write Sailor Moon fan fiction turning my childhood obsessions into stories at the ripe age of twelve. I was so hardcore I wrote it all by hand in this pink notebook I found lying around. I remember watching the shows on YouTube over and over. Back in those days there was a limit to how long the video could be so one episode of Sailor Moon was broken down into about three or four YouTube videos. After, I made outlines about how I wanted to change the story, and did character analysis’ for each of the scouts and all the new original characters I wanted to add in. I named it Love Bright, Sunlight… and yes I am internally cringing right now.


Needless to say I never finished this story either. True to my track record. On the other hand though, this was another stepping stone to eventually realizing what I wanted to do with my life- become a published author.

Since my last update, life has been hectic. I’ve been working a lot and then coming home and trying to work as hard at my WIP but falling short on doing everything I want to do. I’m still in the pre-writing stage working on world building. Can I just say too- trying to make your own religion is HARD WORK, WOW. I knew it would be hard but due to my overcritical nature this part is taking a long time. It’s all part of the process though (at least that is what I keep telling myself). (You had to want to write a fantasy, didn’t you Jai???) I know, I know. One day all this will pay off. I also spent some time on the main characters this month which was a lot of fun! The Lowell Saga has a lot of characters and character arcs to navigate but I can tell you I can tie it down to seven main characters. Which sounds like a lot, especially when they will all get their own POV sometime down the road in the four books I am planning to stretch out this story into. If I want to narrow it down even further then I guess I can tie it down to at the core three specific characters as the main trio, at least for the first book. Anyway… back to researching interesting marriage ceremonies and racking my brain for weird funeral ideas.

Thanks for hearing me out for my writing update this month! Writing these posts is definitely helping me stay on track and keep working, so I hope if you read this far you got some enjoyment out of this post too.

Till next time,

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Snapshot 6/30/20 // “The Month Where I Find I’m Actually Super Busy”

Currently listening:Imagination“- Shawn Mendes
Currently watching: Sense8 / Looking For Alaska
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: American Gods by Neil Gaimon

Finally it’s summer.

I feel like I’ve been waiting a millennium for this season to roll around and now it is actually here. 2020 I thought was going to be a whirlwind and, in a way, it definitely was, I’m just glad that the sun is here now and the heat and all the great feelings that only summer can bring. June was a busy month, so busy in fact I only got around to reading one book which is highly unusual for me. On the bright side though, did I mention it’s SUMMER???

(Me, for the next three months)

June Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! Check. World building brick by fucking brick.
  2. Stick with my NEW blog posting schedule!Check.
  3. Become more interactive on social media! Check.
  4. Continue making submissions with my writing! Check.
  5. Continue practicing the piano and my violin! Check.
  6. Do yoga every morning! Check, check, check. CHECK.

July (the month where there’s so many fireworks) Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! World building is time consuming it appears. As Kaz put it, “brick by brick” my dears, brick by fucking brick. Look forward to the writing update for this month! I’m sort of in love with doing this post because it is helping me keep more accountable for working on my WIP and that’s what I need!
  2. Become more interactive on social media! I’m using Twitter a lot more this year than I ever had and slowly stepping back into Instagram. Just got to keep building momentum with this and eventually it will become second nature. My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both so let’s connect!
  3. Continue making submissions with my writing! Just keep swimming.
  4. Continue to do yoga every morning! I feel good! My body feels so much better after incorporating this into my daily routine. Every morning I just. do. it. Then the stress pains stay away all day. Ha ha! Be gone pain!

What I Read:

God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World — and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen R. Prothero. I originally picked this book up for research for my WIP but I found I loved it more than I would have thought. This book is so informative and really breaks down the major religions of the world into ways that we all can really understand. I highly recommend it for everyone to read, and really everyone should read this book. Information can only bring us closer to understanding one another whereas ignorance will only bring us apart.

What I’ll Be Writing:

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted first Friday of the month
  • 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.

June Round Up of Posts from Stellar People:

My Round Up of June Posts:

All in all, I’m glad from the very core of my soul that summer is here. I hope it stays a long time…..

What are y’all doing for summer? Any interesting goals for July?

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | June 2020 | (The Beginning… & the End)

First truth. I have started hundreds of stories.

Second truth. I haven’t finished a single one of them.

I know, it’s terrible. I say I’m a writer but I can’t finish a story? Ha ha, I know. Writing and I since the beginning have had a love hate relationship and that’s what I’m trying to explore and dissect through this new series I’m starting here on my blog. This way I can understand my process better to learn and grow with it. Every month I plan on sharing my writing journey with you all. If you care to listen, then welcome, but if it doesn’t float your boat, no worries. My poetry and flash fiction will be along sure enough.

I guess I should start at the beginning, if it really was the beginning….maybe you could call it that but I don’t know… it felt a lot like the end to me.

Both my parents were educators. My mother, a teacher, and my father, a principal. That being said, learning and reading were encoded in my DNA from birth and forevermore. I was lucky enough to have a house full of all the books I could ask for, and I asked for them. Whenever the Book Fair came to school or we got the Scholastic flyer advertising all the different types of paperbacks we could order… I was all over it. Through work my dad had come across some blank books that he had just had lying around in his office. He had no use for them so he gave them to me.

I think I was seven. When your seven Chips Ahoy cookies and cartoons are your life. Or at least they were mine. The days were sunny, school was fun back then and Pokemon was my world. When my dad gave me those books I wasted no time scribbling my own self insert Pokemon journey between the pages (complete with drawings!)

(a real page from my book, oh my gosh I’m internally cringing… and also laughing)

I hadn’t even heard of fan fiction at that point, but that didn’t stop me. Clearly. I wrote my story, all terribly misspelled and horribly configured. But I loved that story. I didn’t want to be a writer then. Besides being a Pokemon Master, I think I wanted to be a spy. Some part of me today still wants to be a spy (and a Pokemon Master). Though I think being a spy would stress me out wayyyy too much. All that lying and being put in dangerous situations constantly and pretending to be someone I’m not. Yeah, it would exhaust me… but the allure still appeals.

That picture book was the beginning. But looking back on it now, it really was the end of the world for me. From that moment on my ideal profession, my interests, my hobbies would sway from one extreme to another. The world just has so many beautiful things in it to appreciate! I would try and do so many things, things that were me, things that weren’t and things that still might become me. Through all of that trying, learning, and experiencing though…. writing stayed a constant in my life. Now, at age 24, I know there is no other path for me. Becoming a published author is my dream. I’ve gotten to know myself a lot better since I was seven, and I’ve realized more of what I want from this life.

Third truth. I was born a writer.

Fourth truth. At the end of it all I’ll die a writer.

No matter what. The definition of success is different for everyone. I’ll consider myself a success if I can finish a first draft this year, so that’s where I’m starting.

The Lowell Saga is my current WIP. This story has been spinning in my mind since 2017 and it has never let me go. I’ve written 11,003 words for that story in the three years since, but as of this year I haven’t written any so I’m starting my word count at 0. The idea in my head is fantasy, and I won’t lie it is messy and complicated with characters I love so much but am scared of not conveying the right way through words so my future readers will love them as much as I do. Right now I’m world building and though it is taking me a while I am doing a thorough job of it and I’m content with that for now. From there I’ll work on plotting, outlining and then finally sitting down to write. The hardest part of all.

So if you are here for my story, then I say thanks. I hope I don’t disappoint you or myself. Hopefully writing about writing will help me stay writing. Then finish that damn draft.

Till next time,

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Snapshot 5/31/20 // “Living Really is a Giant Adventure”

Currently listening:I Wanna Get Better” – Bleachers
Currently watching: Oh My Venus
Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Currently reading: God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World — and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen R. Prothero

May, oh May, oh Mayyyyyyy!!

I enjoyed May immensely. I felt like I was so productive this month so please let me revel in it a bit universe because I am in such a great mood! I did a lot of thinking (all good things, all good things!) and in June I’ll be ready to implement some of my thoughts into my blog and writing! Oh, and I’m so excited about it because I feel like I learned so much. I read so many books, researched so many topics, and let myself have some fun because you know even though we are all trapped in our houses might as well enjoy it, right?

(Me, living my best life surrounded by learning)

May Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! Check. I researched, commenced more world building and even did some prewriting so….. GO ME!
  2. Become EVEN MORE interactive on Twitter! Check. I’m checking it daily now, and even interacting more with the writing community! Baby steps but steps in the right direction.
  3. Continue making submissions! Check. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.
  4. Continue practicing the piano and my violin! Check, check! Now that I’m practicing more consistently I definitely see a difference in my playing!!

June (the month when SUMMER begins) Goals:

  1. Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, and outlining my WIP! Step by step by step by step, and then the first draft…. the bane of my existence (i.e. the road block I must defeat in the perfectionistic tendencies of my mind). Working on my WIP this past May through research and world building has really invigorated me so much that I want to share my writing journey with you all so I’ll be attempting to post at least one writing update this month! This will keep me more accountable for working on it and hopefully keep my mind on track!
  2. Stick with my NEW blog posting schedule! Surprise. Some minor changes are coming this month with my posts but they are all good!! I’ll elaborate more later in the “What I’ll Be Writing” section below!
  3. Become more interactive on social media! Twitter I’m looking at you. Instagram, get ready! I’ve had both for a while (and I just went back to Instagram) but I’m going to try to be active on both this month. My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both so let’s connect!
  4. Continue making submissions with my writing! Status quo now. Just got to keep making it a habit, and before long it will be so much a part of my life that I won’t even need to write it as a goal because I’ll just do it!
  5. Continue practicing the piano and my violin! Me, over here, just giving myself an easy goal that makes me happy. #NoShame
  6. Do yoga every morning! This is something new I started this month and I love it. I suffer from a lot of shoulder and neck pain related to stress and since the current world problem that shall not be named because this is a positive post happened I have been in a lot of pain. Then, I started doing yoga every morning and honestly, because it did feel this way, like magic my pain went away.

What I Read:

Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia by John Dickie. This is a great nonfiction book. The way the author makes the language accessible to the average reader is to its advantage especially when pulling from so many sources into one comprehensive text. Not to mention the content of the book itself. I have always been fascinated by secret organizations and the mafia is one of the most infamous. This book starts at the very beginning in Sicily and links all the way to the early 2000’s, even linking to America and then back to Italy in between. The stories are gruesome, made even more so because they’re true and nothing is held back. It shows great insight into where the Italian government failed and also how something as huge and interlinking as Cosa Nostra went under the radar, despite its bloody history, for so long. There are a lot of names though littered throughout and it can get confusing from time to time just who this one particular person is when they were mentioned long ago in the book but that’s a minor complaint given to the information compacted inside. I highly recommend this read, especially if you are interested in history, secret societies or just Italy in particular.
The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia. I’ve read this book before in college, and it was a solid read then but not something I would have thought to gravitate back to. Well, it turns out I gravitated back to it and among many other things this reads better with age. The book is a genre I don’t read much of- metaphysical mystery, and in the future I believe that is something I want to try to change. We’ve all read our fair share of crime fiction, detective stories, or thrillers and the metaphysical mystery genre is similar in vein but a different animal on the outside. This genre explores the philosophical side of a mystery. There is a crime, like in detective stories, but in this case there is much less fanfare and more focus on the bones of logic, reason, and underlying study of the reality of what occurs. At least that is how I understood it through this book. It’s a quick read, engaging in its brevity, and takes a hard look at Sicily and its mafia ties. I recommend it if your interested in Sicily, the mafia, or crime fiction in general because it is a fascinating read. (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) Despite the forlorn (and yet realistic outcome of the novella) the ending does offer hope (SPOILER ALERT OVER). My heart goes out to Captain Bellodi, and all the men like him, just trying to serve justice in a sometimes very unjust world.
The Library Of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey. This book was exactly what I needed. I’m a strong mood reader and this just really fit my mood. Full of sweet romance, Peter Pan allusions and a voracious reader of a main character I adored this story. I can’t even right now so all of you just need to go read it!
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. I have always loved Peter Pan, and I will ALWAYS love Peter Pan. No matter how old I get Neverland will always be home to me. This retelling makes a believable prequel to the classic story and I found myself smiling and laughing to myself at all the clever ways the authors told the origin stories for all the beloved characters including Hook, Tink, the Lost Boys and even Neverland itself. It’s a good read for all ages and I know I’ll probably reread it again sometime in the future (for some reason I always need to read something Peter Pan related in May…). Molly was also delightful, I enjoyed her immensely. I highly recommend it if you are in the mood for some good old fashioned magic and adventure.

What I’ll Be Writing (MINOR SCHEDULE UPDATE):

  • Poetry- posted every Wednesday
  • Living Life vignettes- posted first Friday of the month
  • 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.

So, here’s what’s up! I’m changing my posting of the Living Life vignettes from every other Friday to just the first Friday of the month. That way I can give myself more time to focus on my WIP and my new writing updates to share with you all! Truth- I am a slow writer. Also truth- I tend to let my anxiety get the better of me when it comes to working on my WIP. SOOOOOOOOO, in order for me to combat this I am going to hold myself accountable to post an update every month. This way I can share all my writing fails (lol) with you guys and in turn hopefully get some sound advice on how to do things better through the comments you guys leave. It also, hopefully, will help me understand my writing process a little bit better. Which will, hopefully hopefully, lead me to fufilling my dream of publishing a book one day!

(Me, hoping & praying & dreaming [& solving murders in my spare time])

May Round Up of Magnificent Posts from Magnificent People:

My Round Up of May Posts:

It was definitely a good month. I feel like I was much more present in everything I was doing which was probably a major contribution. When you really focus on a task, especially if it’s something you love (*cough* like writing *cough*) you get a lot more out of the experience. Yoga definitely played a part in me being more mindful, and I hope I can stick with it going into June.

How has May been for you? Are there any exercise routines/ sports you love to do? Let me know in the comments below!

(ALSO, SUMMER IS COMING AND I AM READY! BRING ON THE HEAT!!)

Till next time,

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