Sunday, December 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo is Officially Over

For the 2nd year in a row, I passed the 50,000 word milestone.  I was cutting it very close this year, and I had spent a good part of the month way behind the goal.  But with 12 minutes remaining on November 30, I validated my word count with NaNoWriMo to have a total of 

50967 words

There's still a lot of work to be done on this one before it's finished, but the story is there.  And in a time when I was struggling to even begin this story, it is a huge accomplishment to be almost 51,000 words into it.  Last December, I pretty much crashed after finishing NaNoWriMo but not this time.  I hope to keep going strong, not stopping until my characters' stories are told.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Are You Ready??

October is almost over and that means one thing:
...well...actually, it means several things (such as it's going to keep getting colder and colder outside, Halloween is upon us, and it makes us realize that this year is practically flying by...I mean, two months until 2014!) but the main thing that the end of October signifies is:
NaNoWriMo time!  The month long write-a-thon where all you do is eat-sleep-breathe writing.
Last year, NaNoWriMo was awesome for me.  I finished out the month with just over 50,000 words, and since then, that manuscript has been finished and edited (and re-edited).  I have a hard copy of this manuscript that I can hold in my hands and know that it's all mine.  That I did it.  For those grueling 30 days, I have something wonderful to show for it.  And that is an  awesome feeling.
So after all of that, you would think I would be excited for this year's NaNoWriMo, ready to start (well continue) another adventure, and ready to take my characters to new heights and places.  But....
This year feels different.  I mean, I'm sure I'm fretting over nothing, but I almost feel like I can't do it again...
Don't get me wrong, I have no doubt I can write another book.  The story goes on, and I will write it.  But 30 days?  Last year was hard...and anyone who talked to me that month, probably hated me during those 30 days (I see you nodding in agreement...), but honestly, for that one month, I didn't do anything but work and write.  I got up, went to work, and as soon as 5:30 hit, I was off to Barnes and Noble or to my kitchen table with laptop in hand.  I'd stay up way too late trying to finish this scene or that (or trying to start said scene), and then I'd wake up and do it all again.  And I can't even tell you how many times I broke down in the Barnes and Noble cafĂ© because I had only managed 250 words that night or because the screen was just as blank as when I started 3 hours earlier.  And yet, I'm supposed to be ready to sign up for that all over again?
Don't get me wrong...the payoff was totally worth every minute. 
And that's what I keep telling myself as we get closer and closer to November 1. 
Apparently I've been slightly unmotivated lately, and it's time for a change.  Having a goal and a set deadline may be exactly what I need to turn things around.  Besides, the book won't write itself, and I may as well join in with everyone else during this month.  We can all suffer...and reap the rewards together. 
I love writing.  This post is in no way to say that I do not enjoy writing or my characters or my story or anything else about writing.  What I don't enjoy is deadlines...and missing therefore, if I don't have a deadline, I can't miss it (see my logic?), but without a deadline I tend to not get much done. 
So even though I am in no way prepared for November (due to the fact that I was going to sit this one out), I am not going to let the opportunity pass by. Am I ready to write 50,000 words in 30 days on a book that I have no idea what's going to happen? No. But am I going to do it anyway? Yes. (Am I sort of being forced into it by a friend? Yes. AM I grateful to said friend for this? Yes. <--I'm saying this now because I'm sure at times in November I probably won't seem very grateful).
So here's to the last couple days of freedom before 30 days of (what I hope is) awesome writing. 
Let's see if we can make it 2 in a row!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Goodbye 23, HELLO 24!!

Last night, I took some time and thought about everything that had happened over the last year.  As my last day being 23, I wanted to remember what kind of year it had been.

And my 23rd year was pretty awesome.

One of the most important things that happened this year was accomplishing a goal that I had been working towards for years. I finished my novel.  Granted, I am still working on tweaking this scene or that, but the material is there.  62,000 words that are all mine.  Characters that wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t created them.  When I look at those pages, I know (even though I’m not published) that I did it.  And that to me, is one of the greatest accomplishments that for a long time, I could only dream of, but now I’ve done. It.

I got my picture taken with my #1 favorite celebrity/person and had an awesome weekend in the middle of nowhere hanging out with the coolest person I know (she put up with my incessant rambling of those precious seconds that I shared with Randy while she was an AWESOME friend and took the picture—so Thank you for that (because I can’t say it enough!))

I went to four other events aside from the one mentioned above, and I got to be an crazy fangirl for a few hours each time.  I don’t care how many I go to, it’s never the same and it’s always amazing.

I saw Maroon 5 in concert!  And they were spectacular! It was one of the best concerts I have EVER been to and I can’t wait to see them again. 

I also saw Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, and Jake Owen (and of course his wardrobe malfunction happened the very NEXT night after I saw him…) as well as Darius Rucker, Justin Moore, and Jana Kramer, and they were all incredible!

I also got to relive Prom this year by going to the Hawk & Tom SuperProm where everyone (well most everyone) dressed up as superheroes!

I climbed waterfalls!  There are three waterfalls, two near the road, and one set back in the mountains, and my sister and I conquered all three!  And while it was hot out as we trekked through the woods to this third waterfall (which at times we were beginning to wonder if it even existed!) we finally made it and it was worth it.  Not just for the view but for the spontaneous sister day that we had, hiking to waterfalls (and if you knew either one of us AT ALL you would know what a big accomplishment that was in itself), sitting and playing in said waterfall, and then driving up through the mountains and enjoying the peacefulness that it brings.  My sister and I visit the waterfalls on the weekends when we can and it’s almost like a tradition now to go there with her.  I wouldn’t trade our time for anything (unless I could trade the hiking time for more chilling by the waterfall time…the woods are not our friend…)

I also went on a cruise with the amazing girls that I work with, and I appreciate them and my firm so much for what they have taught me.  It is such a difference working somewhere where everyone works together as a team and there’s no backstabbing to get ahead like in retail (and the clientele is a lot better too).  It’s surprising how much stress from your job can affect your entire life.  It’s even more surprising how quickly that can turn around once you remove yourself from that stressful environment.  I know I am very fortunate to love my job and enjoy going to work every day.  Sure, I’m not writing full time, but sadly that doesn’t pay the bills right now.  I still have time to write after work and on the weekends, and I do take advantage of it because I love to do it. 

And in mentioning my cruise, I go on and on about how awesome work is and don’t talk about how fun the cruise was!  I can’t lie though, 90% of the time, I was either on the back Serenity deck or at the 24 hr. Ice Cream Bar…luckily, they were very close to each other.  The Bahamas was fun though and I would definitely go back on another cruise and hopefully soon!  The water is just soooooo pretty!

Even with all I did over the past year, it wouldn’t have meant near as much to me if it hadn’t been for the people I spent those times with, and to those people, and everyone else in my life that I hold dear, thank you.  Thank you for being who you are and for letting me be who I am.  Thank you for enduring my crazy, eccentric, obsessive, weird and nerdy self and for always being willing to join in with whatever crazy scheme I have concocted for us.  I could tell you how much you mean to me, but there aren’t enough words, and there’s not nearly enough time in the world for me to say it right.

So as I start my first day as a 24 year old, I realize that this year has a lot to live up to compared to last year.  But I know and feel that this will be the best year yet.  I can’t wait to see what 24 has in store because I know that the whole world is open to me and nothing can hold me back.

I hope you’re ready!

The Bahamas as we sailed into Port...isn't it so pretty?!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Editing Round 1

If someone had told me a week ago that I would be done with my first round of hard copy edits, I would have laughed in their face.  And not just a chuckle while shaking my head.  Oh no. I would have been curled up, on the floor, laughing so hard the muscles in my stomach would start hurting.

I was so stressed out, and not just from editing.  It just seemed over the past several weeks that I didn't have time to get anything done that I had planned.  Everything I needed to do just slipped through my fingers and the time disappeared.  Plus I had to edit almost 300 pages thoroughly.

I was 100 pages into the hard copy of my manuscript last week (and yes...I started editing sometime in March), and I was leaving for the beach on Friday.  I told myself that this past weekend, I would be free from any and all obligation to do anything at all, including working on my book.  Sometimes you just have to step away from it and come back with a clear and focused perspective.  That was my goal: to do absolutely nothing the 3 days I would be out of town and come back refreshed and ready to work.

I carried my writing bag in my car (only because it had my iPod in it...and it seemed way too logical to just take the iPod out and put it in another bag), but I had no intention of using anything else from that bag while I was on vacation.  So when I opened it up as my friend waited (not so patiently) on me to walk to the beach, I can't even tell you what possessed me to grab the next set of 20 pages that I hadn't started working on yet.  But I did.

And it was one of the best decisions I made.

It wasn't long before I headed back to the car to grab another stack of pages to work on.   When I left the beach that afternoon, I had edited 48 pages! And it wasn't just a comma here, or new paragraph there.  It was intense editing.

And the next day, between the beach and the pool, I finished the last 140 pages.  And I did it.

It was so freeing being on the beach, staring out at the ocean.  The weather was perfect.  It was mid 70s all weekend, with a light breeze.  Plus hearing the waves crashing around you--it was so relaxing that I was able to shut out everything else that had been on my mind for weeks and focus, really focus on the pages before me.  And I was so inspired that I was already thinking about the next one I plan to write once this one is through.

So, if this means that everytime I'm stuck or having a difficult time (or when I enter the editing phase) that I need to take the next weekend and head straight to the beach, then so be it (I will take any and all excuses to spend a day at the beach), but if any of those trips are half as productive as this weekend was...there's no telling what I'll get done.

So now round 1 of editing is done...well, at least on hard copy.  Now, I have to type up all the corrections and changes I made and then prepare for round 2.

Almost there!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope that everyone got in touch with their Irish side today and had a Happy St. Patrick's Day. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Results Are In...

...and I didn't make the cut.

Not going to lie, I am very disappointed.  I know what I said yesterday, and believe me, I've already read it over at least 5 times now.  And I still believe every word I said.  I didn't fail.  But rejection isn't easy either.

The results in previous years had been posted at 9am PST, so I figured I had a couple more hours of anxious waiting until I found out.  But crazy me, I had to check the moment I got into work at 9am EST, and sure enough, the results were up. 

Fortunately, one of the other girls I work with stopped at Krispy Kreme this morning, so maybe I'll ditch the ice cream for doughnuts, and I'll at least try to not cry or get weepy until after I'm home tonight.

I meant what I said though.  I knew my manuscript wasn't perfect, and I've been itching to work on it again.  And now I have that chance.  So I'm going to edit it, fix what parts need fixing, rewrite the scenes that need it and I'll go from there.  I will submit to a publishing house and I will keep trying.  All it takes is one yes, and I will find it.

I believe in my story, in my characters, and in my writing.  One rejection or elimination doesn't change that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


"Rejection isn't failure....Failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It's how you handle it that determines where you'll end up." Richard Castle, from ABC's Castle (in reference to his first manuscript rejection that he had framed in his office)

I love Castle on ABC. I love the storyline, the characters, Nathan Fillion...there is nothing about this show that I don't like.

I was on the phone with a friend a few days ago, discussing my manuscript. I submitted it into a contest and those who will move to the second round will be announced tomorrow. At the time of this conversation though, tomorrow was still a week away, and I was already panicking. Not that there was anything I could do. It was still a week away, and no matter what I did, I wouldn't know the results sooner than that. But she referenced an episdoe of Castle during my mini freak out and it got me thinking.
In my last post, I talked about how we all needed totry, even if our chance of success was a lot smaller than our chance of failing. But I was wrong. Failure would be not trying at all. A rejection or elimination doesn't mean that I failed and that it's over. It just means that I need to try again, and try harder. But it's not a failure.

Failure would be if I took that elimation or rejection and let it consume me. Let it tell me that I wasn't a writer, that I wasn't good enough to try again. Failure would be letting the fear of that rejection take away what I love, and what I love is writing. No one can take that away from me. I am a writer, whether five people read my work or 5 million.

I'm not saying I won't be devasted if I do get eliminated tomorrow. Because I know I will be. But I won't let it take away part of who I am. I will use it to make the part of me better than it ever was.

This is my challenge: Don't let failure define who you are.

Too often I have given into failure. I was scared of failing, it was one of my biggest fears. So I held back, stood back quietly and didn't try for certain things because I didn't want to fail. I didn't realize until recently that I was failing myself the whole time. By not trying, I was failing anyway.
I've let people walk out of my life because I didnt want them to reject me if I tried to fight for them. I was scared of the rejection, scared of failing to keep them in my life. But I failed anyway, letting them go without them knowing how much I wanted them to stay. It's too late to do that differently. Too late to tell them how I felt, too much time has passed for it to make a difference. But my challenge is to not let it be too late again. Don't be so afraid to fail that you refure to try. Because that is failure on its own.

So whether it's an opportunity, a person, an experience, etc., put yourself out there. Do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said. You may get rejected, you may not get the outcome you want, but you won't fail. You can't fail, not if you at least try.

So while I await the results for tomorrow, I will fret and worry and probably do a lot of pacing. And hopefully I will be celebrating once the results are posted (and then once that excitement wears off, will go back to fretting and worrying about the eliminations for the next round). But if I'm not celebrating moving on to the next stage, then I will celebrate getting to perfect my manuscript and sending it elsewhere (after eating an entire tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and watching some sappy movie so I can pretend I'm sad for the characters in the movie, not because I was rejected...). One rejection does not mean it will never get accepted by someone. One hundred rejections don't mean that either. All it takes is one person to say yes. One person to say yes that makes every no worthwhile.

So look failure in the eye and tell it to get lost. Because someone out there will say yes, so don't stop until you find them.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I had a very difficult time thinking of something to post about today.  In the past several weeks, I've taken a lot of time to relax and rest, spent time with my family over the holidays, and went down to the beach to see my mom.  In just the past three weeks, I've resumed working on my manuscript, editing and rewriting.  I had to pick up the pace though because there was a deadline I was trying to meet for my manuscript.

I panicked and stressed feeling like there wasn't enough time to get it done.  But in truth, I could have taken all the time I wanted, and tried to submit it next year when it rolls around again.  But I didn't want to wait.  I had to try.

The following is an excerpt from a post on Thought catalog:

4. If there’s something you want, but it’s high risk, high reward — take that chance before you’re no longer able to. Rejection feels bad, failure feels awful, but regret feels the worst. Disappointment that we passed on something and the train left the station without us. A dream, a girl, a guy, words left unspoken – you can erase the possibility of having these regrets down the road, by taking a chance and at least knowing if it was or wasn’t meant to be.

(For the full post:  11 Important Thoughts and Reminders for your Everyday Life)

So should I have waited?  No.  I would have felt the exact same way next year because that's just who I am.  I panic and I stress even when I don't need to.  And I may fail and get rejected, and yes, it will suck if that happens.  But it may not happen.  I may not fail.  In fact, I'm aiming to succeed because I know my material is great.  But even if I don't succeed this time around, I still tried.  And if I didn't try, I'd never get the chance to succeed in the first place.

I've let opportunities pass on by--not always with writing--and you do end up regretting it.  Or wondering What if?  That is a terrible question.  It puts countless ideas in your head and you have no way of knowing the answer.  It makes you feel guilty and full of regret.  Who wants that?  No one. 

So even if you are faced with a opportunity that very well could end in rejection or failure, take it anyway, even if there is a 99% chance you will fail (which I'm sure won't be the case).  You don't know the outcome for certain.  That 1% could be the game changer and you could succeed and win.  If you don't at least try, then there is a 100% chance you won't succeed. 

So stop asking What if?  Start telling yourself that the risk is worth the outcome.  Because it is!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year

Thought for 2013:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
― Neil Gaiman
This is going to be a good year.  I can feel it.  I just know that 2013 has many wonderful things in store, many opportunities that await us.  Don't turn down a change to further or better yourself.  Push yourself to limits you once thought impossible.  Don't hold back. 
Gaiman's words were wonderfully put, much better than I could have ever said.  May his words echo in your mind every day of this year and may they take you places you've only dreamed of.
Happy New Year!