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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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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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

NaNoWriMo, NaNoCryMo | A Pros & Cons Discussion Post

Okay, okay if you are reading this and you are a writer then likely you are more than knee deep into this little thing called NaNoWriMo right now. We are either singing our victories or mourning our losses at this point.

For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is it’s basically a little event that takes place for the entire month of November where writers tackle writing that dreaded first draft and meeting a goal of 50,000 words by the 30th. But that’s not set in stone, any word count goal can be set or any other writing goal for that matter can be desired to be reached by the end of the month. Here’s the website for those interested in more information.

For this month’s discussion post I want to talk about some of the GREAT things about NaNo and some of the NOT so GREAT things. So without further ado…

PROS

(AKA The Bright Side!)

Taking Action

The whole foundation of NaNo is built on this simple concept. If you want to write a book, then write the book. No more procrastinating! No more daydreaming! Just do it already! Life is too short to not chase after your dreams and NaNo pushes you to start running.

Setting Up a Habit

Our habits become us. For real. They are the hardest things to make and the hardest things to break. To reach the traditional goal of reaching 50,000 words by the end of November that equates to about 1,667 words written per day. For me a month ago that was daunting. For me today it is still daunting. But the point of it is to get you used to making writing a daily part of your life! For all aspiring authors it’s essential 😀

Finding a Community

Other writers exist out there!! (Amazing concept, isn’t it? We are not as alone as we think lol!) And so many of them participate in NaNo!! I’ve been using Twitter and my blog a lot to document my writing/NaNo journey this year and everyone has been so kind to me!! The sense of community and support I’ve found here on WordPress has been amazing. On Twitter too I’m starting to break out of my shell there more and interact. Writers are not alone. I am not alone. You are not alone. We can do this!! Also, to anyone reading this right now who needs some inspiration and support, I’M REACHING THROUGH MY COMPUTER SCREEN AND SENDING IT TO YOU ❤

CONS

(AKA The Dark Side…)

Pressure

Oh yes, one of my favorite things. (*she types as she is, legit, crying inside*) Writing 50,000 words is not easy. When writing is not fun, it is stressful. Or usually both at the same time. Especially when you have a deadline. Everyone has a different writing speed and all writers can’t be fit into one neat little box. Artists in general, for that matter, are always OUTSIDE the box. Or making a new type of box. Or floating around and have no box. Or hanging out in a crate. Or are breaking the fourth wall. You know. WE HAVE NO LIMITS.

External Validation

Everyone is different. Every story is different. But when you’ve only written 1,000 words and your friend is banking on 15,000 you can feel a little defeated. Comparing ourselves to others in today’s technological and social media savvy world is too easy. We can get so hooked on other people’s progress that we lose our own. Remember you should go at your own pace and your story is just as important as someone else’s. Be proud of what you yourself accomplished.

Life

Life’s a bitch sometimes. Yeah, as humans we are no stranger to the universe throwing us random curveballs. We have no control over what happens to us in life, only how we react to it. It’s okay to have set backs. It’s okay to miss a few days of writing if your mental health is plunging. It’s okay to not write if your house randomly gets set on fire. Please. You will make up for it later, even if you don’t reach your goal by the end of NaNo. You win by just trying in the first place, and striving to reach the goal!

That all being said I do love NaNoWriMo for all its virtues and all its vices. I believe that this one is even going to be my best one yet. For the past three years I’ve never met my NaNo goal because life got in the way but this may be my year. Don’t want to jinx myself but fourth time might be my charm. My monthly WIP update will be coming up soon within the next week and I’ll provide all the juicy details. Till then, I want to hear about how NaNo is going for you guys!!

So tell me, what are our word counts? Are we feeling inspired or insipid?

Based on your experiences what more pros and cons would you add to the list above?

Stay strong my friends and may the muses be with us!

Sending you all the love and support you need,

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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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The NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag! (2020 Edition)

Yes everyone, it is that time of year once again. Time to shutter all the windows, grab all the blankets, stock up on all the chocolate, hoard all the caffeine and keep all the laptops charged to the nines. Yes, I fear it is that time again. NaNoWriMo is almost upon us!!

This will be my fourth year participating and because I don’t want to lock myself into any boxes I’m just setting the simple goal of working on my first draft for my WIP The Lowell Saga. No numbers, no time limits. Just the simple goal of continuing to write. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know this has been my goal for a while. As I go on, I am coming to learn more about myself and my process which is awesome and very beneficial for figuring out what works best for me. And with that hope, every year I get a little closer to achieving my dream. To one day publish a book! That’s a dream I’m sure a lot of us share.

Thank you to the lovely Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner for creating this tag (hope all is well with you Soph!) and of course to the wonderful Juli @ Kozy Words for tagging me to participate in it this year! Now, without further ado…

Rules:

  1. Thank the awesome blogger who tagged you!
  2. Link back to the creator of this tag, Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner. (I want to hear about your NaNo novels!!)
  3. Feel free to use the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag graphics!
  4. Answer the questions.
  5. Tag some friends who are also doing NaNo this year.
  6. And have fun!!!

Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!

(Most of this is tentative and subject to change but this is the general idea!)
There is something wrong in The Lands but it has been that way for far too long. Selfishness, deceit, and corruption are an every day part of the lives of the denizens and at this point… who cares? Lowell Ryan, fresh out of the Academy, has no illusions about the world she lives in but she is not going to let that stop her from chasing down her childhood obsession. Shizuka has been underestimated and ignored for too long in her position in The Lands police force and when a mysterious death gives her the opportunity to rise the ranks she will do anything to get what she wants. Unlike the other two, Quentin just wants a simple life but life for him life was never destined to be simple. History of The Lands may have already come and gone but Lowell’s obsession with the Gods of Old sets her heart on discovering their long lost talismans’ said to have mystical powers. If she can find them, it will set her and her comrades up for making their dreams come true. With Shizuka hired as protection and Quentin enlisted as a strategist this trio is in for a hell of a treasure hunt.

What’s the genre?

New Adult, most assuredly, with a buckets of fantasy thrown on top. Also, a seasoning of magical realism vibes.

Describe your MC in three words.

Well… technically I have three main characters! I’ll describe Quentin though. He’s brilliant and cautious, but complacent.

Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.

Honest, illusive, and vengeful.

What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)

Very simple goal this year! Just to keep working on my first draft. Short and sweet!

Is this your first draft? Second? Third?

This is the first draft technically. Although, I started this story before three years ago and wrote a good amount of words then. Every year since I continuously wrote a little here and there with snippets about the plot and the characters. As you can see the story never left my mind lol, but this year I started fresh and am truly trying to finish the first draft instead of prattling around. But oh, how I love to prattle.

Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?

I guess you could say sort of continuing an existing one while at the same time it is also a new and fresh draft. Does that answer your question? 😉

What is your favourite time to write in the day?

Ideally, the morning. (Although, I used to be a hardcore night writer!) I’m going to try again to wake up earlier to write before work, like I did last year.

Where are you going to write?

More than likely at home (since we are in the unfortunate position of being in a global pandemic…).

Computer or paper?

Some of my notes will be on paper but most will be on the computer. The draft itself is going to be typed on the computer.

NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment!! How are you going to make time to write?

Sheer force of will.

Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)

Probably not, if I am being realistic. But I won’t totally write them off. It’s just that my schedule is very erratic as it is.

Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?

I used to have to draft beginning to end. LOL, NOT ANYMORE. I am the Queen of skipping around now. Who needs a linear time line when your brain can barely function in a straight line anyway?

Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)

Plantser, 100%. A healthy dose of outlining so I have an idea of the beginning, middle and end. Then, an unhealthy dose of let’s just get writing and see what the heck happens. (This is the exact same response I gave last year when I did this tag and it still holds water.)

What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?

I don’t usually eat when I’m writing. My favorite snack though are those Snyder Sourdough Nibblers!! I LOVE those. Like, a lot. Honestly, maybe too much.

Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)

Caffeine. Caffeine. Caffeine. In the form of some coffee and mostly tea please.

Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?

I really should think of a reward for myself. This one is TBD.

Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!

Have fun, really. Life is weird and terrible and wonderful. If you can have fun then have fun! It will show in your writing and make the story all that much better. All my best work sprouted from when I was enjoying what I was writing!

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous!? Terrified?!)

Anticipatory. I know November will be here any second.

Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!

(Photos by Dariusz Sankowski, Holly MandarichSteve HalamaSandeep Swarnkar, and Oleksandra Bardash on Unsplash.)

Tags

NaNoWriMo is nearly here! I don’t know if I’m ready but when am I ever ready? Sometimes you just have to grab your sword and jump into the fight. If you are participating this year I’d love to hear about the stories you’ll be writing in the comments below!!

Till next time,

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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