Editorial Assistance

Welcoming 2012

Sorry for how long it's been since I've last updated. Due to the holidays, reconnecting with the family and boyfriend, and pulling myself back together after finally returning home, I've been undercover as far as my online presence goes. But I have still been putting in a lot of work in regards to my online presence, definitely for 2012.

At some point in January, preferably within the first week, all three of my sites - Tiffany Rambles, Triple R: Read, Rate, Review, and Honest Crits - will be undergoing design revisions. Tiffany Rambles will now be updated every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and this new change will come into effect January 1st.

Why all the design changes? 2012 is a big, important year for me, and renovating my websites (as well as creating a brand new one) feels like part of welcoming these changes. I'll be a full-time writer, critiquer, and reviewer. Not only will I be taking on self-publishing and (hopefully) traditional publishing, but I'll also be working on freelance writing and critiquing.

Honestly, I think I have enough goals to start the new year for two people, lol. What are your 2012 goals?

7 Writing Newsletters Worth Subscribing To

If I didn't clear through my e-mails everyday, I'd have hundreds of messages to check. No, it isn't due to spam, but very few of those e-mails are directly from an individual. I generally turn to Facebook when I want to talk to someone.

See, my problem is that I'm a spontaneous subscriber. I'm subscribed to dozens of blogs and websites, some of which I've later regretted signing up for. However, apart from the blogs I keep up with because they inspire me (The Innocent Flower, Amanda Hocking, Welcome to the Asylum, Neil Gaiman, etc.), there are exactly seven sites I would recommend any writer subscribe to - not only because they are all free, but because they are all wonderful, consistent resources brimming with vital information about the writing world:

1.) Writer's Digest: I feel like Writer's Digest, a magazine that always has many wonderful articles, speaks for itself. Unfortunately, I can't afford to subscribe to the magazine, but I don't mind getting the newsletter in my e-mail every week as a smaller replacement. There are always 5+ articles on varying topics.

2.) Social Media Examiner: This is one of my absolute most favorite newsletters. Need help understanding software? Want to know about new innovations across the social networking world? Want to watch interviews from top marketing people? This site has those things and so much more.

3.) FundsForWriters: This newsletter has been named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer's Digest every year since 2001, and it's definitely earned such an award. There are always two articles - one from the creator Hope Clark and one from a guest. As far as the extremely helpful content go, there are links to competitions, jobs, grants, and publishers/agents.

4.) Fiction Notes: It's a bit hard to describe this one. Though the design is always the same, each newsletter is slightly different. Sometimes there are two articles in a newsletter. Sometimes there is one long one or one short one. What I like most about this newsletter is that it DOESN'T bombard me with a gazillion other articles to read. Don't get me wrong; I love that the other sites above give me a lot to choose from. However, Fiction Notes keeps it nice and simple when my e-mail world is so often very complex and time consuming.

5.) Worldwide Freelance Writing: This is a great resource for all the freelancers out there. Similar to FundsForWriters, it has an editor's thoughts article and a featured article. Afterward, it gives links to ebooks for writers and writing markets, as well as news about what's going on in the writing world.

6.) Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine: I've been subscribed to this for years, ever since I discovered his wonderful Snowflake Method. Generally, there are three articles in this E-zine. They often thoroughly touch on marketing and writing craft.

7.) Publish Your Own Ebooks: This is one of my newer subscriptions. I'm still getting accustomed to this one. However, it does contain a good amount of info on how to navigate around the ebook world, a venture I will later take on.

The Pieces are Connecting

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Fragments and pieces of thoughts have been flying around in my mind. Here are the things I've been concerned about:

  • Savior of the Damned: I wanted to figure out how to add more of a supernatural feel to the first part of the story, and I also wanted to make the climax a large pile-up of events that should all help Alecia come to an important decision. I figured out what I could do for the beginning a couple of days ago. The ending was a lot more complicating, though. Finally, while walking to breakfast this morning, I figured out exactly what I could do! I was all smiles the whole walk. Now to write it all in and see if it fits as well when all typed-up.
  • Dream Catcher: The biggest question is as follows: can I really write this whole story in third-person present tense? I won't know the answer to that until I do it. There are other concerns too. What are the rules of the dream world? What dreams will I be using? What will the conflict in the other books of the series pertain to? Though Dream Catcher, book one in the Insomnium series, is essentially a spin-off of the Danse Macabre series (Savior of the Damned), there's still a lot more I need to learn.
  • Website Renovations and My Business: ALL of my sites will be renovated by January 2012. Tiffany Rambles may become TTCole, but the design will definitely get changed. Triple R: Read, Rate, Review will turn into Reader's Den, a sister site to Honest Crits, my critiquing/reviewing/promotion business. I have all the layouts and pictures I'll use for each site saved. Now it'll just be a matter of figuring out the content and preparing to promote it.  
Some of the pieces are connecting, but others still need some time. In all, I've been very antsy lately, and those above are the reasons why. Also, can't forget to add the two songs I've had on repeat lately!

Busy!

How long this blog post will be depends on how much I can type before the bell rings. I've never put up a blog post during school, but this is just about the only time I have available, so here goes.

This entire week was planned in advance last week. My senior-year-of-highschool and personal life is basically eating up time for my academic/professional life, but that's okay. I'll be going to college this summer. There, I'll be right back to my tight schedule...meaning I want to cherish all this time with my boyfriend and friends as much as I can.

Tomorrow is prom. THAT certainly feels surreal. It's not really setting in, honestly. -_- For the longest time, I was certain I wouldn't go, yet here I am.

Yesterday was Wednesday Writing/Work day, where I take a break from any social activities that do not involve me writing or working on my website. I didn't get as much done as I wanted, but I DID complete my next article for Best Damn Creative Writing Blog (BDCWB). I'll send it to the editor some time after school. I also submitted my resume to Elance, where I can hopefully start getting paid for freelancing.

As excited as I am about this freelancing stuff - it's been my dream to prove to myself that I do have the strength and energy to consistently write for other places - I really want to get back into creative writing. Today I wrote two more paragraphs of my short story and one more paragraph of my Chapter 4 summary for Savior of the Damned. That's just not enough, tho! I know I can only push myself so much, but still...

In all, I'm busy, extremely happy and grateful that so many people support and care about my endeavors, and very tired/afraid. Soooo much is about to change. Jeez, I can feel it everywhere I turn.

Reasons why I still write in notebooks

Yesterday, me and my boyfriend were talking about the pros and cons of longhand writing and typing. Here's the text message I sent:

I do understand why so many dont [longhand write]. Its messy, and in a world of technology where you'll have to type it anyway, it seems silly. (2/3) But i love writing with paper. i love the scratch outs, the margin notes, the arrows, the stains. I love having to take hours typing 15 pages. Why? It (3/3) forces me to read it again and i always catch errors that way. Why isnt this a blog post at rambles? Tomorrow it will be.
Today is the tomorrow in that text. On Facebook, I put up a status asking if anyone prefers to write on paper instead of type, and all of the 8-10 writers who answered said that they preferred typing. There I was, the youngest writer in the discussion, and I preferred hoarding loads of notebooks and pens to write my story over using cleverly awesome apps and technology. With Dream Catcher, I tried to do the whole typing first thing, but it didn't work. I couldn't do it. And in this post I'll try and explain my attachment to longhand.

First off, though, I am NOT writing this post to argue that my way of writing is superior to the other. That's silly. People should write how they see fit.

  • Recognition with family and friends: Each of my notebooks has the title of my book on it in big letters. When people I know see me taking my pen out and opening that notebook, it's like they instantly know I'm writing and need to be left alone. But when I bring out my laptop, even if I say I'm working on my novel, they seem a little suspect that I actually am doing such a thing.
  • Less Distractions: Writers are notoriously good at finding distractions regardless, but I don't get distracted as easily when I'm just listening to music and huddled in a corner somewhere staring at my notebook. With the computer, even when I try to restrict myself, the internet calls to me.
  • Can easily refer back: When I get furious with a sentence or even a whole page of writing, I put a small line through the sentence or a big X over the whole page, but I often find that the very same things I once decided was bad could very easily be used later on. However, when typing, I press delete and lose all of that.
  • Fun with margins, stains, arrows, etc.: My story notebooks are highly amusing. There are all type of crazy things in the margins that, when I look back on them now, I have no idea why the hell I wrote them. So many notes to myself, so many suggestions, so many random sentences. Since I take the notebook with me everywhere, there are mystery stains I try to decipher later. And then the arrows! My paragraphs are often written terribly out of order, so I have to use arrows and numbers to make it flow. It's like a puzzle!
  • I'll have to type it: Yes, this is often frustrating. If I've written over 5 pages, and I very often do, it will take me hours to type it all up. But in those hours, I'm forced to reread everything I've written, and all types of errors jump out at me that way.
So, do you prefer to write or to type? It'd be wonderful if someone did a post in response to this, but explaining why they prefer typing.


New Writing Style

The first three pages (and only three pages) of Dream Catcher that I wrote before I realized college would eat up too much of my time to do Nanowrimo have been scrapped. I just couldn't write any more of it, in spite of how exciting and action-packed it was. It didn't feel right, similar to how the very first scrapped chapter of Savior of the Damned (when it was called Corpse Eater) didn't feel right.

In Corpse Eater, I wanted Alecia and Levi to be lovers in spite of his being a corpse eater demon thing. I was dead set on doing a supernatural romance that wasn't a vampire/human or werewolf/human romance. However, when I wrote that first kissing scene, I couldn't write another word for weeks. Even then, before I created the complex hardships that are present in Savior of the Damned concerning Levi and Alecia's relationship, my muse knew they could never easily be lovers. Plus, I realized I'm no good at writing romances.

What went wrong in Dream Catcher was writing in first person simply because I'm comfortable with it (I spent six years writing Savior of the Damned in first person) and not figuring out how I wanted to portray the dream world. Even though I'm certain college will be the bane of my existance for the next 2-3 weeks and interfere with time I could be using for writing, I can see the story coming together in ways that surprise me. Also, my storytelling style seems to have changed! Here's the first paragraph:

When in the waking world, Joachim Horowitz is as solid a human as everyone else. He has tangible skin that is at least two shades away from being very pale, dark hair that rests in a curly mess around his face, and sharp hazel eyes that people often don't notice due to his mastery of keeping them closed. If he stands out, which is a rare occurrence, it is either because he is standing - at a whopping 6'2" - or people have realized that the proportion of time he sleeps in class outweighs the proportion of time he's awake.

I'm All Over the Place

Between Chicago, Hammond, and Bloomington, it feels like I've been all over the place. I admire Neil Gaiman's travel lifestyle, but I also wonder how he does it. I'm so ready to just sit down in one place I feel comfortable at for certain, preferably my work desk at home or next to my boyfriend anywhere in his house, and write. Right now, I can't really do any of that. I'm going back to Indiana University Bloomington for another three weeks, a place where life is always hectic and all over the place. I dread going back. I really do. That's the honest truth.

The saddest thing, perhaps, is a comment my sister made recently when she saw me taking notes for Dream Catcher in a notebook: "I haven't seen you write in a while. You used to always have a notebook or book with you and you'd always be writing or reading. I thought you stopped."

I remember back when the only website I had was a small forum called Writer's Haven, when Savior of the Damned was my writing life. I did write and read a lot more back then, almost feverishly. I never kept track of word counts. I just wrote passionately as much as I could everyday, and I'd stop for a month or two and return with even more passion.

Soon, I plan to be a full-time writer and entrepreneur; I plan to try and make money off of what I've always loved and did for free through contests, freelancing, clients, self publishing, and traditional publishing. To begin, though, I know I need at least one month where I can bring my unorganized, scattered life back to an equilibrium and just sit, comfortably, at my working desk.

My college desk will never do it.

On another note, here are the two most recent songs I can't stop listening to:

Bit.ly and Hootsuite: Two good services for your website/blog

The first graph comes from Hootsuite, the second one from bit.ly. They are both free services, but of course you can choose to purchase more advanced versions. I don't use them as often and as consistently as I should to get a general idea about my site, but I really should take them more seriously.  Under each picture, I'll explain what the graph is showing.
Hootsuite
I use hootsuite mainly to promote one link across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn simultaneously. I think it makes the process a lot quicker. After doing that for about a month or so, I decided to explore more features on the left side of the site. The third picture down is Analytics. There, I created a 'Custom Report' and decided to have them mailed to me every month. So everytime I promote a link there, hootsuite will tell me how many clicks it got and from where every month. When I first started using Hootsuite, all those stats above were zero. Eight isn't a whole lot, but it sure made me super happy.
Bit.ly

Bit.ly is my favorite. The graph above shows me getting 41 clicks on the shortened link to my blog post "How (NOT) to Survive Nanowrimo." The 41 clicks, which is unusual for me, happened as a result of people on Twitter RTing. I need to use Twitter more often, so maybe I can write a marketing series for Twitter similar to my Facebook and Marketing series. Basically, you put the link in the bit.ly box and it'll shorten the link for you. Promote said shortened link in all the normal places you usually promote links and then go back to the page and click the 'information' part next to the shortened link. It'll show you a bar graph and the circle graphs above, unless you didn't have any hits at all (sadly, this has happened to me a number of times). I'd recommend joining the site for free so it can collect all the links you shorten with bit.ly.

What are some services you use for keeping up with your site's stats?

On a Personal Note

This, sadly, will not be the year I finally win Nanowrimo. As much as I'm ashamed to admit it, way too many other things are competing for all of my time, so I'll have to back out. December is actually more ideal for me to write a book in a month. Also, can't forget the two songs I've had on infinitelooper lately!


November is a Ridiculous Month

On the first day of November, I opened Microsoft Word only to realize that I had a 7-page paper to write and then work for the last 5 hours of the day. As thus, my first day of Nanowrimo was spent getting thousands of words for school and maybe ten words for my story before I crashed of exhaustion and went to sleep.

The days after that jumped between those types of schedules. It's the 6th day of November, and I only have about 700 words toward my book. It's 700 words I really like and 700 words I'm eager to add more to, but that's a meager number to be nearly done with the first week of November. Right after I finish this blog post, I have an analysis paper to write and then a book review to write. I know for sure that I'm gonna want to take a Buffy break too.

If I'm lucky, it won't be well past ten by then and I can get back to writing again. I left Joachim in a nightmare realm. The floor is about to cave in, and he'll finally find the dreamer he needs to rescue. I'm very excited for all of this. Though I won't be turning to Savior of the Damned again for a couple more months, I left Alecia in her room waiting for a dinner that will destroy her life. She'll meet the Big Bad, or Samuel.

I love the differences and similarities between the Insomnium series (Dream Catcher) and the Danse Macabre series (Savior of the Damned). It's good to write something a little different each time, test your writing and imagination:
  • Setting: The characters in Dream Catcher live in an actual city (Evanston, Illinois), work at real places, and go to a real college (Northwestern). All the settings in Savior of the Damned, from the city to the schools to the stores, are made up. However, it is based off of Blue Island, Illinois and the surrounding suburbs I grew up with.
  • Characters: Apart from Joachim being a rogue dream catcher and Lottie being a witch, the characters are pretty normal, in that they have some contact with friends and family and no really large mental issues. They want to find a lover, make a future for themselves outside of their supernatural abilities. The vast majority of characters in SotD are supernatural creatures with different cultures of their own, and Alecia is already a damaged shell of a human when the story starts.
  • Death Count: Lots and lots of characters will die by the end of Danse Macabre. It's a really long series, between 8-20 books, and there will be many wars and large battles and world altering moments. Most of the action in the Insomnium series takes place in nightmares and most trained dream catchers never die in nightmares.
  • Romance: I'm harsher with romance in Danse Macabre than I am with Insomnium, but Danse Macabre is also darker.
  • Conflict: Danse Macabre has actual villains to be fought against. There are Big Bad's in each book and Small Bad's littered along the way to make it harder. Though there is also personal conflict, it has a tendency to end up closely intermingling with the overall conflict of the story. The conflict in Insomnium involves how hard a nightmare is. There is no tangible Big Bad. Perhaps in later books there might be inner conflict, but it wouldn't be on the level of inner and outer conflict in Danse Macabre.
On another note, music I've been addicted to lately:


How (Not) to Survive Nanowrimo

I read a lot of writing blogs (like dozens a week). Nanowrimo, which has been going on for a good decade, is the key topic of choice right now. The literary madness starts in two days, and I'll definitely be joining the party. I've noticed that a lot of people, including me the first two times I tried, didn't manage to survive...as in, they didn't make it to 50,000 words.

According to Google, there's about 1,330,000 posts about how to survive Nanowrimo, but there's not really any posts on ways NOT to survive.

Why not? D: This is a sad, sad thing.

What better way to learn about how to survive than learning about the many ways people haven't? Plus, come on, it's really amusing.

Here's my list, from experience and observation, of ways to NOT survive, in the hopes that you take something away from it. Also, they are in no particular order of importance:
  • Get Super Addicted to Addictive Blogs: Yknow, blogs like Hyperbole and a Half. I went to the blog right now solely to get the link, and I ended up spending five minutes reading a blog post and smiling like an idiot. It felt like 2 seconds. There goes a whole sentence you could be writing for your Nano masterpiece.
  • Have an Emotional Breakdown and Fall Into a Deep, Dark Depression: Those can easily last the whole month. Before you know it, it's December 1st and only 1000 words have been written, and the depression worsens. See, emotional breakdowns probably can't be put aside, but try I tell you!
  • Become a NanoForum Supastar: The nano forum is made of literary awesomesauce and inhabited by fun, amusing writers. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to spend the whole month posting everywhere. The good part? You end up writing 50,000 words. The bad part? Those are 50,000 words that didn't go toward your Nano masterpiece.
  • Come in With No Plan Whatsoever: I think this is the most important. Some will argue that this is a matter of preference. It's fun, to a certain extent, to start a full novel with no development beside the title and a very vague idea of what the hell the story will be about. But this is what'll usually happen unless you're different and special - story will be even more nonsensical than it ought to be; story will, in fact, make no damn sense whatsoever in terms of plot advancement; editing will be even more terrifying than it ought to be. In fact, it may take you 50,000 days to figure out everything. Just maybe knowing who your characters are and what the beginning, middle, and end consist of would be a great help.
  • Procrastinate: Nanowrimo and procrastination go together as good as a cat and a swimming contest. Life will still happen, but you've gotta find some way to schedule around life. That is all.
What'd I leave out? What are some ways you know of how to not survive Nanowrimo?

Stop Observing and Start Doing

I'm an observer. Klout says so, and I know so. I watch Facebook and blogs and my e-mail all the time. That's how I know that Amanda Hocking's book Switched is one of the four most requested books on the Library-Thing's early reviewers program; that's how I know that the cover for Michelle Davidson Argyle's book, The Breakaway, has just been revealed; It's how I know that Tiffany White is building her publishing portfolio and her hard work, as proven by the fact that three of her stories have been published, is finally paying off; and it's also how I know that J.S. Chancellor is back on her writing cycle with an admirable, inspirational fervor. There's probably also a lot more I'm aware of. Hell, I could send a weekly newsletter gathering all the info I pick up when browsing the web.

As a person whose life is for serious based around the writing world, it's important I observe and keep track of what's going on. To improve my writing, editing, and coaching, I need to know what's happening. Still, there needs to be a limit to all this observing. What happens is that you read about all these OTHER people getting their success that they've worked hard for and will continue to work hard for, and you start to live vicariously through their lives. In spite of all the goals you may have set for yourself, in spite of all you want to do, observing makes it easy for you to slowly but surely put your own goals behind you.

Also, it feuls that dreadful voice all us writers have that tell us we're not good enough and will never be good enough. You start to think, "Damn, I could never reach that point."

Observing all these success stories is good and inspiring, but you have to be willing to get out there and make your own success. Or else it'll pass you by and you'll be saying, "Damn, I could never reach that point" forever.

Any measures you could take now to assure that doesn't happen to you?

On a Researching Roll...But I've Watched Lots of Movies Too

So, today has consisted of breakfast, a movie, class, a meeting, lunch, and blogging (which I'm doing now). After blogging, there'll be another class, a guest lecture, a phone call, and then research. I'll probably be up until around 2 am doing research. Nanowrimo is in 5 days, I have two papers due, and I still feel like there is a lot I need to know about dream catchers, witchcraft, and downtown Chicago.

See, this is why I love the internet. So far, I've learned that Joachim and Lottie live in Evanston, Illinois. Joachim will go to Northwestern University and work in some restaurant there. Lottie won't be a college student, but she will be working at Amaranth - a used book store in Evanston. I know exactly what apartment they will live in (I searched for apartments for sale there) and what it looks like when empty. I'm still trying to understand Northwestern's curriculum, but I can easily find that out with just a little bit of site searching and put a makeshift schedule for Joachim together.

I also found some cool sites for interpreting dreams and nightmares. The first chapter starts off with Joachim in someone else's dream. I'm eager to start outlining said chapter, but I can't...I need to have all the dreams I plan to use in Dream Catcher already written out. Preferably, I'd like them to symbolize things. I want Joachim to not only cure nightmares by rescuing people, but also by interpreting them. First, though, I have to become really good at interpreting dreams. I don't think it'll happen in the next five days, though. I can only spend so much time on research. I need to spend more time writing a general chapter guide to get me and the characters exactly where I need them.

As for witchcraft, I just need to know what the different kinds are and if one better fits certain type of people.

On another note, I've watched three movies in the past few days: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Adjustment Bureau, and Almost Famous. They were all good in their own right. I'm a critic of books, but not so much movies. I always get much too into any movie even remotely good. Anyway, I think it's important that I've been overdosing on movies lately. I firmly believe that it's a good thing for an author to surround themselves with lots of entertainment, definitely of varying kinds. It really complements the muse.

Novel Research

Nanowrimo is in 7 days. Dream Catcher is the book I'll be writing during that month, but I've realized that I won't be successful at finishing Dream Catcher unless I figure out a general outline for every chapter and learn more about what I'm writing. Basically, this means hardcore research. Some of the notes I took were as follows:

  • Research apartments in downtown Chicago, colleges, that college course guide, magic and antique shops, transportation, and popular jobs.
  • Research dream catchers. First, just the item itself. How well do they sell? When were they created and why? What are the varying looks?
  • Research symbols in dreams/nightmares. What does certain color, items, sounds etc. signify?
  • What different types of witchcraft are there?
I honestly think the reason it's taking me 5+ years to fully complete Savior of the Damned is the fact that I wrote the whole thing with no prior research, characterization, or goal. I just wrote it. And it was fun and wild that way, but also terribly wordy and much more harder to edit. Same thing happened with Lady Avarei, my High Fantasy story before that. I want to write the first draft the way I know is correct for me this time around.

Speaking of Savior of the Damned and editing, November will be dedicated solely to Dream Catcher. I'll dedicate December to launching Honest Crits and maybe editing a client's work. January and February will probably go back mainly to Honest Crits and Dream Catcher. Basically, Savior of the Damned will be put on the backburner for a while. It's an ambitious project, one that documents my entire teen life as a writer...and I think it's the series I'll also self-publish simply because I want to. Before I put it out on the self-publishing market, though, I'd like to at least finish the first three books. It's smarter to have more projects out there when self-publishing.

On another note, music I'm listening to. Right now it's American McGee's Alice in Wonderland. This song especially gets wonderful for me at 2:14:

Plot Layering

Last night, I started to plan out the chapters for Dream Catcher, the first book in my Insomnium series. I covered the first three chapters for sure. The first chapter has action and comedy. The second chapter has an argument and comedy. The third chapter sets up Joachim's living situation, as well as that of the secondary main character he lives with - Abigail 'Lottie' Hamilton, and has conversation and comedy.

However, after that, I'm not too sure what to do. I realized I needed to figure out the layers of my plot to continue. I know the end, the middle, and the beginning. The steps to get to those three major parts...not so much.

This story has what my other story, Savior of the Damned, didn't. These main characters have friends, family, school, jobs, relationship woes. They're not 'normal,' because I sincerely don't think there's a such thing as a normal person, but they're certainly more normal than Alecia - what with Alecia having lots of mental issues and only being a shell of who she used to be.

I've never written a story with characters who feel those range of emotions, who have those range of problems outside of their supernatural ones. Alecia later develops some semblance of all of those things above, but it's not on the scale of what I'm attempting now.

The three layers I need to construct first and then merge in the end are their real life problems, their supernatural problems, and the nightmares Joachim cures. I need to figure out what the meaning of said dreams will be ahead of time.

How Nanowrimo made me a 200k writer

Last night, at 1 am, I decided I'd do Nanowrimo to finish (or at least mostly finish) the first book in my Insomnium series - Dream Catcher.

I first did Nanowrimo in 2005, so I was about 14 years old. At that point in time, I was writing a fantasy series called 'Lady Avarei.' I didn't 'win' Nanowrimo. In fact, I only made it to about 10,000 words, but I was super thrilled anyway. Before that I could never write anything over 5000ish words. The little terrible stories I wrote in the 6th and 7th grade, dusting away in the back of my closet back home, don't count (trust me, they're that terrible. I was what?..11, and I wrote those things in a week in pencil).

Learning that I actually could write over 5000 words inspired me to put Lady Avarei on the backburner and start on a new story. In the 8th grade, I called it 'Corpse Eater' because I was tired of the oversaturation of supernatural stories about vampires. There were so many other creatures that could be explored, like the corpse eater.That first draft was almost 200,000 words. 200,000 words, effortlessly written for fun! I couldn't have done it without Nanowrimo (though that's not a healthy word count either. Trust me, with each draft that word count lessens by about 10,000-20,000 words, but it's better to have more than less).

Freshman year, the story became 'The Awakening,' since I realized I was going to make the story about more than just corpse eaters. Now it's called 'Savior of the Damned,' the first book in the 'Danse Macabre' series, and that's the name it'll keep as far as I'm concerned.

I never actually thought I'd do Nanowrimo again. Since I'd spent the last five or so years of my life only working on Savior of the Damned, I didn't feel the need to spend a month writing anything else. I was only editing and rewriting the same tale. When I was 16, I did update my Nanowrimo profile under the impression that I would, in fact, try to finish some of my fanfiction. I didn't, of course. 16 was a terrible terrible age for me. I was too busy living and almost failing at life to think about nanowrimo. Plus, I needed to come to terms with the fact that I was done with fanfiction.

It's different this time. I'm 19; life is really flipping stressful, but I'm hopeful; writing IS my life. Plus, I have an idea for something new, something that quickens my heart beat and makes me smile with excitement every time I think about writing it. The two new characters, Lotti and Joachim, are begging to be written.  I can't wait to explore the nightmares, based loosely off of my own, that Joachim cures. I can't wait to show Lotti's development as a witch. And I can't wait to write about their lives separate from their supernatural explorations.

Of course, I get this same level of excitement with Savior of the Damned. Last night I finished typing chapter 3 and wrote two pages of chapter 4. I'm really excited because the Big Bad is about to make his appearance, and Alecia's life is about to fall apart in the span of half an hour. Finally! It's when a character's life starts to fall apart quicker than they can process it that a story takes off. Let the horrors and adventures begin! I've rode this rollercoaster over 12 times, but I'm still excited to ride it again. Also, I love rollercoasters.

I've been writing with the two songs below on repeat pretty often. Oh yes, I'm very weird, but this is the type of stuff that inspires my muse to go wild.


Finished Chapter 3

All the things, writing-wise, that I wanted to become habits are automatically becoming habits. I'm thrilled by that. The past week, I've made sure to blog every day or every other day. The past three days, I've been up well past 12 am working on my story. Last night I finished the new chapter three. I couldn't stop writing, even though I was sleepy and hungry, and it felt wonderful. Except now I'm tired and sorta winding down, but I'm sure this has less to do with when I sleep (I don't have to wake up early) and more to do with the fact that I have too many things to worry about.

What makes all of this better is that I don't plan to write for 3-5 hours, and I don't plan to blog. I just do it.

I also found some cool free online college courses that I plan to take later on, namely the ones on grammar, entrepreneurship, and finances.

Oh yeah; yesterday, I put up my review and giveaway contest for Allan Leverone's 'Postcards from the Apocalypse.' I've noticed that review writing has gotten a little easier to do. It's a lot like writing a synopsis, but with a commentary. One day I plan to put up a post about what it's like to be a reviewer. Hm. I may actually write some articles about the many different hats I wear and try to publish it on other blogs through guest appearances.

Renewed Excitement

The song below is what I'm listening to now, and what I spent most of last night writing to (but very quietly so I wouldn't wake up my room mate)

Mostly, I just wanted to attempt putting a vid in the post. It's occurred to me that I've never done that before. I listen to a lot of music, mostly creepy instrumental music. That above is a small snippet. ^_^ Anyway, the all nighter I attempted to pull Friday night was mostly unsuccessful, as I discussed in my last post. However, I ended up pulling an all nighter (or at least staying up until 4 am; I would've stayed up longer if I could eat) last night unintentionally, and I think it worked out much better than before.

In an effort to flesh Alecia, her parents, and her rehab situation out, I wanted to add more chapters. So I did. I added like 6 more chapters of pure fleshing and build-up. And then, last night, I realized something: it was WAY too much build-up. Instead, I'd ended up making myself impatient for the action to start, and I figured readers would feel the same. So I ended up scrapping three chapters and totally reordering others. This way the Big Bad is revealed in chapter 4, all the major characters are introduced - to some extent - by chapter 3, and the new Exordium - or my fancy way of saying 'preface' - is a good fleshing out chapter for Alecia and her situation.

My excitement for this series has been totally and completely renewed. Man, I don't know why the beginning has got me so stumped. Part 2 is and has never been this hard on me.

I go to work in about 30 minutes. In those 30 minutes, I need to outline my review of Allan Leverone's 'Postcards from the Apocalypse.' After work, I'll need to write said review and type it up. It won't go public at Triple R until Monday morning, though.

At first I figured I would start reordering the chapters for SotD on the computer and not just in my notes after typing the review, but I've instead decided to outline the setting, characters, and plots for my Dream Catcher series - the one I aim to self-publish. I probably won't really start working on the Dream Catcher series until I start resubmitting SotD to publishers; still, I'm excited to see where my mind wants to go with this idea.

The All Nighter

First off, why am I blogging so late? Well, I've just finished reading 'Postcards from the Apocalypse' by Allan Leverone! I spent 10 hours, I kid you not, reading this collection and taking notes for the review that will be up on Monday. It was a wonderful ten hours, though. I don't regret it in the least. If I didn't love reading, reviewing, and promoting, I wouldn't have started Triple R. Fortunately, Allan is a wonderful person to work with. Him saying this really made me remember why I review: "I have to say you do a great job! Thanks for all your hard work..."

Now, about that all nighter. Sadly it wasn't an all nighter. I stayed up until 3 am before turning my computer off and climbing into bed. During those 5 or so hours, I ended up scrapping chapter 6, changing around some sentences in chapter 5, and coming up with ideas to deal with this change in part 2. In all, I felt it was hugely unsuccessful. When I shared my disappointment with my boyfriend, he pointed out that I was also a stressed teen living hundreds of miles from home, trying to work in a place I didn't exactly find comfortable, and that I may have been hungry and tired.

Then I cut myself a little slack. Every time I pulled an all nighter in the past, I had privacy, plenty of food/junk, and lots of music. This time around, I couldn't eat or turn on music or read aloud because my room mate was asleep and had an exam the next day. How could I possibly expect for a writerly all nighter to work with no music, no food, and no freedom to be spontaneously weird at 3 am? Also, how in the hell did I manage to convince myself that failing to pull this all nighter off meant I wasn't a real writer?

Honestly, part of me is amazed at Amanda Hocking's ability to write full novels in under a month. I so so so badly want to be able to do this! One time, I wrote 14,000 words or so in two days, where I pulled two all nighters. I'd never been happier (and more sleepy and deranged) in my life. I don't think everyone writes the same. Maybe I'm just not a speed writer. But damn it, I want to be, and I'm gonna keep trying.

Another thing. Somehow, someway, my long break in writing has managed to make me almost afraid to write certain scenes. Like when I know how long and hard and description heavy a chapter has to be, I feel this odd sense of dread I'm not used to. What? Where is this coming from?

Maybe it's because I'm wearing too many hats. I write books, discuss books, review books, promote books, and edit books. I don't know what's wrong, but it needs to go away.


Word Count Widgets!

If you look to the right, you'll notice something new and wonderful. There are word count widgets! This is supposed to be my way of forcing myself to start working on the other projects I've (sorta) developed and noting how far I'm getting. Also, something about making it public makes it feel more legit.

I've decided that I'd like to self publish the Dream Catcher series (name prone to change) and a short story collection and get Savior of the Damned - part of a much longer series - traditionally published. Savior of the Damned will come first, of course.

Why get into self publishing and (hopefully) traditional publishing? Because why not. It'll be hard. I'm not deluding myself on that. But it'll also be enjoyable to work hard on what I love - writing and knowing someone is reading.

Yes, I've been inspired by Amanda Hocking, but I don't believe I'll get her success (hopefully at least a third of it). Anyway, Amanda is not why I'm doing what I'm doing. It's simply because of what I've said above.

Now, about those word count widgets. What slightly frustrates me about those is that I don't know exactly what the word counts should be. The stories will be finished when they're finished. I chose the 7500 and 110,000 word count because, according to my editing services, those are just general word counts for a short story and a novel. SotD is at 160,000 because it was once up to about 160,000 or more in previous drafts and I'm not sure how much I will cut and add.

Also, tonight will be my first writing all nighter in two years. I plan to stay up until at least 5 A.M. writing. The challenge will be not waking my roomie up and staying awake. However, if the writing really gets going, I know I won't be able to stop. I write my absolute best material at night (or at least it LOOKS like my absolute best material when I'm writing it in such a passion that my hands hurt and I can hardly breathe but I can't stop). That's not important though. What's important is that I tend to write a lot throughout the night, and getting stuff done so I'll at least have something to edit and get edited gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.

I really don't have time

Okay, so I have class in twenty minutes. I probably shouldn't be in this computer lab, reading blogs and blogging, but I am. Also, ever since I said a couple of days ago that I'd like to start blogging every day, I haven't been able to stop. I'm not sure how many people keep up with my posts, but that's fine. I just like being able to share my thoughts somewhere.

At the end of 2010, during the New Year's countdown, I had the new site I'd launched open in one tab (Triple R) and the manuscript submission I'd e-mail to my fave publishing house in the other tab. My goal that year was to launch my review site and send my manuscript to a publishing house. I did it. I spent that last day of 2010 feverishly working. I was thrilled and terrified, but mostly I think I'd lost my sanity.

I didn't plan that for this year, but I feel like it may be the same. Holy hell, do you know that it's October?! This year ends in TWO months. Seriously, the time has just whooshed by. Even so, I'm determined to end this year by having the website for Honest Crits complete and having my novel finished and in the hands of critiquers. It'd be too much to expect that I could have it ready to be resubmited to said publishing house by then.

For this to work, I plan on having all nighter Fridays. Initially, it will be hard. I've long since trained myself to be knocked out by 2 am. But it's very important to me that I make my goals come to life. So, starting this Friday, I will spend the entire night writing. I don't work Saturdays. In fact, all I do is stay inside and read the next book I need to review on my Upcoming Book List. I'll sleep in on Saturday and dedicate the majority of the next day to reading.

On another note, I really love the other novel/short story/series ideas I've come up with! Part of the reason I had a hard time sleeping last night (beside the fact that today is insanely nervewrecking. Too many meetings!) is because I really wanted to develop some of my other ideas further, especially the series ideas concerning the Necromancer Association and a fantasy for children (wow, I had no idea I'd ever want to write for children).

Ideas are coming

So, in yesterday's blog post, I promised myself that I'd start an idea booklet. Last night, no ideas would come to mind. I was confused and a little sad. Back in middle school, I easily had two notebooks full of ideas. Why wasn't anything coming to mind now (beside ideas linked directly to Savior of the Damned)?

Today all the ideas hit me.

I was walking to a financial aid meeting. The sky was big, blue, and beautiful, and my music blasted in my ears. Before I knew it, I couldn't stop the ideas from coming. All types of ideas too: A humorous fantasy, an off-kilter fantasy about the muse, a supernatural spin-off to SotD about necromancers, an alternate world horror/fantasy, a young adult coming-of-age comedy...

I found it odd that so many of my ideas were comedy, though not odd that so many were fantasy (I used to be a high fantasy writer before getting into horror and supernatural). I'm not really big on funny. Tragedy, yes. Comedy, no (not unless it's full of sarcasm and dark humor). Even more, I found it tragic that I was walking and going to a meeting, so I couldn't write it all down. They're in my notebook now. I'm gonna write the descriptions, in spite of the fact that the trade-off of writing these descriptions is pretty big, after I finish this post.

I've also been thinking a lot about short stories. I read lots of nonfiction and fiction, but I've read very few short story collections. In fact, I've only ever been determined to read short story collections by Stephen King. The next book I review, hopefully this weekend, will be Postcards from the Apocalypse by Allan Leverone. It's a short story collection, the second one I'll review (the first I reviewed was Florida Gothic Stories by Vicki Hendricks). Anyway, though I'm sure it'll be a wonderful read what with it being horror and all that jazz, I'll also be paying close attention to how the short story collection is put together. Plus, Allan guest appeared on Triple R a while ago, which makes me more excited that I've finally gotten to his stories.

I need to learn more about short stories and short story collections if I ever plan to take myself seriously when I say I want to self publish a collection. Even if it won't sell a hella lot of copies, or much at all (I'm having a hard time finding data about self published short story collections). Even though it will be very hard work. I want to try. I want to see what it's like to be part of the self-publishing world as much as I want to feel what it's like to be part of the brick-and-mortar publishing world.

P.S. On another note, very exciting things are happening to authors I've recently been keeping a close eye on. Amanda Hocking's Hollowland's series will become graphic novels! I've always fantasized that, if I ever get published, someone will want to do that for my work. Author Michelle Davidson Argyle had her first book signing for Monarch, and it appears as though it went very well. I really wish I could've come.

Inspired

Recently, I've been doing a lot of reading. Unfortunately, not of books (Though I did buy 5 awesome books at the Dollar Tree, 4 of which are nonfiction. I've noticed lately that I tend to read more nonfictions on my own time and more fiction only for reviews). Anyway, it's been of blogs. I look at a blog like I do a book. Whenever an author reaches some type of success, which is usually just getting published in my mind, I go back to their very first blog post and read up all the way until the recent post.

It's occurred to me that may be a little creepy. Not that I mind. I'm a supernatural/psychological horror writer. Or at least I'd like to think I could downpack the psychological horror part.

Neil Gaiman was the first person I ever did this with...or at least attempted to. I started when I was 13. But his blog has been going for more than a decade. Now I'm big into Amanda Hocking's blog. Her posts really make me laugh, nod my head, and rethink my creative process.

For one, I've noticed that a lot of aspiring writers tend to make a habit out of posting every day or every other day, and it's published writers who blog a bit more sporadically. I have my theories on this, but they're not too developed. Anyway, I would LOVE to post here every day or every other day. Generally, I just don't have the time. The only reason I do now is because today has been an entire day of chilling, for the most part.

But, if this whole college fiasco goes the way I want it to, I will soon have plenty of time. I will utilize the hell out of that time too by blogging and writing.

Speaking of, here's what Amanda has taught me as far as rethinking my creative process goes. I need to write lots of things. I have only finished one (hopefully) publishable novel in my entire life, and that's the novel I'm still working on and have been working on for five or so years. For some reason, I am nervous about short stories, even though I very much plan to write a short story collection one day and self publish it. I envy Amanda's ability to write a full novel in the span of a month, sometimes just in the span of half a month, and work on other projects meanwhile.

Unfortunately, I no longer keep an idea booklet. I don't really remember what other novels I wanted to write, what short stories I want to dabble into, and that's sad. It's cool to be super motivated to a series. My Savior of the Damned trilogy and the later books in the Danse Macabre series are ambitious and in need of lots of concentration, true.

But what if I do work on other things as well? I'm really excited about this! I have an empty composition book in my drawer. That will become my new idea booklet. It's a promise to myself.

Steady Steps

Yesterday, I finally finished typing Chapter 5: In-School Suspension (you can find it on Scribd and Fictionpress). Savior of the Damned is one chapter away from part 1 being completed! Today I wrote the first two paragraphs of Chapter 6: Danny.

It's taken me so long to do all of this. Now it's weeks, but I can remember a time in my life when I could get through full chapters in days (this is the 6th draft). Yet I still managed to finish, and that's what makes me most happy.

I want to be able to dedicate more time to my writing and business. Both are so close to the next step. Just a couple more nudges, a couple more days of sheer devotion, and they could be on their way to a higher level. For right now, unfortunately, that may be too much to ask for (I'm having college complications). I can't take the dangerously fast steps I used to. I'm like the baby bird up above.

For each step, I now have to put my arms out, look straight ahead at the light in the distance, and know that no matter how many times I struggle, I can get back up and spread my arms out again. It's no use looking behind me, unless to admire what I've already passed.

What has greatly helped me is returning to all the creative things I surrounded myself with when I first began writing. I don't know why, but when I got to college, I stopped...I stopped immersing myself in anime, losing myself in music, interpreting art, analyzing and enjoying movies, keeping up with the blog posts of those I admired (except for a very small few), watching game walkthroughs, and reading just for pleasure.

Recently, after even more baby steps, I returned to those things. I'd love to start this anime called 'Nightmare Inspector (Yumekui Kenbun)'; I'm searching for soundtracks I once loved; I often find myself on Google Images; yesterday I watched and greatly enjoyed Triangle (I am listening to the sountrack now. It's wonderful to write to); I bought two Stephen King books; I'm interested in finishing a walkthrough of Kingdom Hearts; and, last but not least, I sporadically read as many blog posts as I can.

It's been wonderful for my muse! All the passion to take part in these creative achievements has come back, full throttle.

One day, I hope to be published. I hope to be an editor with a good track record and an English degree. It's like what author James Fouche said in an article about balancing writing with another career - determination, determination, determination.

Each steady step is one of determination and passion.

Wow, a spontaneous post! (and perhaps my most passionate one)

I've changed by a lot, mostly for the good, but I haven't changed completely. Ever since I dedicated my life to that of writing and entertainment, I think I also convinced myself that life could be as controlled, as plotted, as the novels I write and the movies I enjoy.

But it can't be.


That sits like an eerie thought on my conscious, especially after this weekend of coming back home to family and my boyfriend after a couple of hard, particularly lonely weeks at college. I don't live in the now. I pretend to, I convince myself that I do, but I don't. I never have. I live somewhere between the past and the future. However, that place isn't the present. I don't know where it is. It's like a limbo where I fantasize and fear obsessively about the past and future.

For the longest time, my surroundings were dull and dead. I could hardly hear and see things around me. Every day was like a dreamy haze. Yet when I came back home this weekend, everything was so real and tangible. My sister's laugh, my dad's smile, the green grass, the sound of traffic, my boyfriend's voice, the feel of his skin and hair, how it sounds when he says, "I love you."

I've been having my doubts about college. It makes me feel trapped, like I'm following some societal expectations of success, and it highlights how lonely I can get because it's so big and I'm so tiny. So at first when I realized how much brighter things had gotten when I returned home, I began to consider that maybe I should just transfer to the college near my house.

I realized that wasn't what this new appreciation of my surroundings and emotions meant, though. It took a momentary scare from my boyfriend to make me realize just how badly I need to cherish the now. But...I don't know HOW to do that.

I think that's the saddest part. Being in love is great because it forces a person to live in the moment, in the now...yet I still don't really truly know how to. And I'll be damned if I don't learn. I just need the people in my life, the ones I love, to stick with me a little bit longer while I learn. It'll be hard. I don't have just college to worry about. I have a business and a novel too.

I'll try if you try with me. 

Choices

This post will primarily be about what I discovered when writing, but it does tie into how my day went in general.

So yay, it's my birthday! I turned nineteen (a pretty pointless age, to be honest. It's just one step closer to 21). Only a couple of my birthdays after I turned 12 were eventful. I can remember some going by with maybe one or two cards. At some point, I became a little sad about my birthday. This birthday, however, has been both the best and worse birthday I've ever had.

Facebook made it so that I woke up to 50+ happy birthdays. I got a card from my roomie. My ma's gift came in. And, when I finally go back home next weekend, I can anticipate something from my boyfriend and his mom and my dad. I feel very happy and, as some would say, blessed.

But I woke up really sick, got a scary message from an ex-boyfriend, had to go to work, and got soaked after treating myself to a cheap shopping spree for things I mostly needed moreso than wanted. Right now, while I'm sitting in a room with a couple of other college students, I feel as though this was overall the best birthday I've ever had.

Why? It was my choice, from the moment I woke up, to make sure I would be optimistic about today regardless of what was ahead. I made the choice that this would be a good, if not great, birthday. That mindset helped me remain in a good mood.

This brings me to my novel and the current draft I'm working on. In other drafts, I realized that I never allowed Alecia (the main character) to make choices. She's kidnapped, and that's how she learns her link to supernatural matters. All the characters seem to push themselves on her. Though Alecia is the type of character who allows that, up to a high extent, it would be nice to see her make some more choices for once.

And it's actually much more fun to write. To be honest, I'm still having something of a hard time with Alecia. She's a very hard character to write because of all the stuff she's been through and all the stuff I'll put her through. However, ever since I've invested more energy into making her take just a little more charge, I've connected with her more.

I didn't realize how to write this until I taught myself how to live this way. That's partly why I love writing. It correlates to the stage you're living, in a sense.

Writing....more like, revising

I've been stuck on my new part 1, chapters 1-4 of the 6 in all, for months now. This is moreso because I've been all over the place in other matters of life, and I've already scheduled so much that writing is something I can't schedule any more. I write now whenever I can find an open interval. Like, for instance, hopefully tonight when I finish critiquing for the day.

I've also been stuck because I keep going back and editing the previous chapters every time I complete or work on a new one. I'm in an editing mood because I've been on such a critiquing and reviewing role. Anyway, I think this is a silly, counter productive thing to do. When I talk to writers who do that, definitely writers working on their first work, I tell them to just write without looking back. At the least, I've written without looking back (until the loooong editing process, where I pass my novel out to many others) five times. But this 6th draft? It somehow feels different. I've been working with all the other chapters for years. The part 1 in this version is entirely new, and it forces me to slow the plot down and build on characterization.

This, time, though, I think it's for good reason. I changed chapters 2-4 specifically to add little bits of foreshadowing that will build up and spill over in Chapter 5. I want Alecia to have a believable freak out and to be smart enough to sense all the messages and want to escape, but not so smart as to have any idea how. The key word is believable, with proper build up in small increments throughout every chapter before.

After this blog post, I'm gonna work on critiquing (which should take me no more than an hour) and then plot out chapter 4. There are a gazillion other things I want to do and can easily do: clean out my favorites (it's terrifying), fix my computer's desktop (it's also terrifying, but less so), read all of Zoe Winter's blog posts from start to recent, stalk everything to do with 'Theory of a Deadman,' watch a Let's Play of Dead Space, read through all these free magazines....

But I won't do these things. I'll start to do these things, I'm quite sure, but then the muse in me will scream at my inability to get this damn thing finished another time (I've already done it 5 times; I should be able to do it now), and I WILL at least complete the outline for Chapter 4. It's an interesting one, from the point of view of another character that won't be truly introduced until book 2.

Back and Refreshed

I'm not back from any where in particular. Right now, I'm at my desk in my dorm room. As a writer/reader/blogger/reviewer/editor, I'm back.

Yesterday, I put up a new blog post at Triple R: Read, Rate, Review that lists a number of helpful links and writing resources. It hasn't gotten any views, I don't think, and there are no comments. I won't let this get me down. I've been gone for a while, wrapped up in this new college and job and steady relationship lifestyle. My online platform has probably suffered for it. But maybe, just maybe, when my devotion becomes clear again, it'll pick back up.

I just want people to read and benefit. That's why I write, review, and critique. That's why I'm in this business (and I am actually in this as a business. I have a business checking account registered as a sole proprietorship and a composition book for account/site details and everything). I'll provide more on 'Honest Crits' when the site is finally up and running. The layout and coding is there. It is actually live online, but I'm not providing anyone (but my boyfriend) with the link just yet. I need to fill in the content.

Anyway, what makes me boldly declare myself back again? The blog post mentioned earlier, for one. Also that I'll be done critiquing a novel, the first one someone requested I critique for them where money is involved, on September 12th. I'm sure I'll be done by that due date. I have about 20ish more pages to critique. I've also finished reading Sacrifice by Dakota Banks. After this blog post, I'll be outlining the review and preparing its promotional plan. I hope I can still do it correctly! It's been so long, sadly. Also, I've been thinking a lot about my novel and my boyfriend's novel. The passion is coming back. I just need to schedule in writing time again, and I'm set.

As for my first week as a true college student and part-time worker, I'd have to say it went really well. Haven't been late anywhere, though I've gotten pretty damn close to being late for a class or two. Homework is still easy. Math, though, is the BANE of my existance. I am not being dramatic. I'm in the lowest math class and failing soooo hard, it has made me cry. Finances are also a bit scary. Scholarships and grants are my keys to staying here, and if I don't keep my track record high, I'll have to drop out. D: Stress and pressure? Hell to the yeah.

Welcome Week

I attended the Welcome Week 2011! It looked just like that, actually. But I was sick and texted through the whole thing. It's more amusing if you're there with family and friends, but I was there alone, so it just made me feel lonely.

In other news, if you haven't been keeping up with my posts, I'm now a full student at Indiana University Bloomington. I've been here for 4 days now, but I'm not at all new to the campus. I was here for 6 weeks of the summer participating in an intensive scholarship program. I was initially very nervous that I wouldn't make the 2.0 required to pass the program and IU would reject me, but I ended up getting a 3.2 and a certificate! So it's all good. And the fun thing is, when I'm out, I often find myself showing other freshmen around the campus. I'm very knowledgeable about the Southeast side and the 9 bus, but I can't really say much for anything on the northside of campus.

I moved in a day early, but I was thrilled to be taken by my boyfriend's mom. It was an amusing ride, and I don't know how I would've gotten there without them. I wish my family could've taken me, but I know things don't always work out that way. As it is, I'm extremely grateful for my boyfriend and his family. I've said thank you lots and lots.

Have I been a terribly antisocial nerd? No, actually. I've been too all over the place for my own health, though, and the day before yesterday, when I went to Culture Fest, this was cause for a lot of stereotypical teenage angst. Bleh. Today I've forced myself to stay inside. It was supposed to be a Nerd It Up and Chill day, but I ended up having to critique 2840 words of the novel I'm working on - double the 1420ish I usually critique a day - because I forgot to critique yesterday. Was too busy buying all my books and going to financial aid meetings and eating an entire tray of free food at the Taste of IMU or something like that. And then I had to try and call a loan place and do laundry.

When I finish blogging here, I'm gonna go in the basement and try to play DDR on the big screen TV down there for like an hour or so. Then I'll come back upstairs to finish reading a fanfiction by this awesome writer who calls himself Shax Davis. I need to hunt him down and congratulate him on his writing skill!

I'll try the Nerd it Up day again tomorrow. More comics and cracked and blog reading and game playing and TVtroping. The day after that, classes start! Math first. Ew. 

Bleh, overarching post

When a person doesn't update their blog for as long as I haven't updated my blog, it's hard to summarize all that has happened since the last post. Heck, in my last post, I still had 3 more weeks to go before I'd be finished with the scholarship program. I've already been out of the program for a week or so.

Meaning, if I tried to summarize all that happened in between, I'd certainly miss some stuff and this entry would be really long. It's my understanding that most people don't like really long posts. How do you feel about length in blogging?

So this entry automatically becomes one of those overarching posts that I don't really enjoy because so much is skipped over. But I'm saying all of this because I will be going back to updating every Saturday. Yes, I've sorta kinda said that in a previous post, but I'm for serious this time! If I'm gonna have to slowly but surely get accustomed to following the schedule I set for my critiquing business, I'll also have to slowly but surely get into the schedule I set for my blogs.

What will I talk about? Random things on my mind. Life at Indiana University Bloomington. My writing.

It'll basically be the same, just more consistent. And also, because it will be consistent, there'll be less overarching posts. ^_^

3 Fire Alarms, 3 Weeks Gone, 3 More Weeks To Go...

My life is in a state of three right now.

I've been in this scholarship program at IUB for three weeks now, and in those three weeks there have already been three fire alarms - two in one day in the same building and one today.

A food center is perhaps one of the most irritating places for a fire alarm to go off. You could be eating, you could be choosing your food or waiting for it to come, you could be in a rush to eat and make it to your destination right on time...

But I got really lucky. I not only finished my actual meal just in time, but I was one of the two people in line as the alarm went off, meaning I ended up with free chocolate pudding! :D

On another note, I finished my English and Reading homework yesterday. Today, at 2 pm, I'll start on my math homework. That'll probably take me the rest of the day to complete. For right now, though, I'm gonna make myself happy by checking e-mails and reading Neil Gaiman's and Michelle Davidson Argyle's blog. I may even be able to fit in time to work on chapter 2 of my novel. I did some edits to chapter 1 yesterday that satisfied me much more. I'm just having a hard time with part 1 of my story in general.

In three more weeks, I'll be back home for about 2 1/2 weeks before actual college starts in the Fall. Yes! I miss the warmth of having my boyfriend right next to me and the anticipation that I'll have a good time with the bestie. Plus, I'll get to see my family again.

Now it's time to admire Neil Gaiman and Michelle. ^_^

At Indiana University Bloomington

<<<< You see that building? That's the Teter Quad at Indiana University Bloominton, and that's where I've been these past 2 days and where I will be until August 7th. I'm in the Groups Program, meaning, for 6 weeks, I'll be at the college earlier than the Fall students. I start taking classes Thursday. I create my Fall schedule today.


I have to be pretty quick with this blog post. At 11:30, I meet with my personal business advisor to create my schedule and ask questions (which I have PLENTY of. lol). That meeting happens in the Teter Quad, but I'm at the Herman Wells library a couple of blocks down. It's about a 10-15 minute walk. Also, I forgot to bring my laptop's charger, like a doofus, so it's gonna die in about 33 minutes.
-_-

These have been some HELLA hectic two days, and I know for sure that this 3rd day will be no different. It already feels like I've been here forever. Yesterday, I got lost trying to get from the Kelley School of Business to Teter. I knew I had to go through Woodburn Hall and Ballantine, but I got lost after finding Woodburn Hall. It was pretty fun, though. I found nice people to help me out, learned new things about campus, saw some real college people discussing an assignment, and finally got some time to explore alone. It's not the safest of things, no, but I have been exploring separately from the other Groups people. I went to the gym, found the bus stops, and found outside stores. However, I'm always back well before the sun comes down, and I usually stay in buildings.

That first day was so overwhelming for me. Without the constant support of my boyfriend and best friend, I might have panicked. I didn't have a lot of things I needed to live in a dorm for 6 weeks (Hell, I still don't, but my room mate and some other friends are going shopping later today and I'm coming along), and I instantly got that inferior feeling I get when surrounded by lots of girls who I know are much better off than me. It's petty; it's insignificant, but I just can't help that feeling.

My boyfriend woke up earlier the second day to say good morning as soon as I woke up. Believe it or not, that really really helped. It gave me some amount of confidence for the 2 meetings and 1 test that would follow - 3 hours in all. So far, we've had an induction ceremony, created a song for our dorm floor, had a floor meeting and a house meeting, had an after dark campus tour, had an ice cream social, and had a Teter party (that I was WAY too sleepy to go to). Many more things are planned to keep us busy until Thursday, when classes start.

I keep being told that classes won't be easy, and some of us won't make it. Ohhhh boy.

So I like that they're keeping us busy, but I'm perfectly able to keep myself busy. I like that they're starting to loosen up a bit more on free time because I have a business plan to write out and organize, a college/scholarship portfolio I want to create for my boyfriend, and stories to write. I want to be able to get a cup of coffee and go to the library to do these things for at least an hour or so, and I don't mind waking up earlier for that.

Now, about this business...I'll go into more detail about it when I've created a legit business plan. However, it involves content editing and promotion and consistent money! That all excites me, but I know now is not the right time to launch such a thing. I want to be successful. I want to make money. But I don't want to die of exhaustion and burn out.

Now I'm gonna get on another computer to take notes on the components of a business plan. Until next time!

~Au Revoir. 

Step It Up...?

Once upon a time, I used to consistently update this blog every Thursday. What happened to that? Once upon a time, I used to update my business plan monthly. What happened to that? Once upon a time, I used to make rounds on all my promotional venues so that my business plans could actually work. What happened to that?

I swear, I'm a big ball of confusion. I want to take a break, but I also want to step it up. What I really need is some type of in-between.

In exactly 4 days, I'm going to college for 6 weeks courtesy of a scholarship. I'm sure they'll really put me to work, and I'm very certain I'll really put myself to work. You see, love has popped up for the first time. And, to be honest, it's very hard to miss someone wonderful with all my heart and work my absolute hardest UNLESS I work so hard that even thinking about anything but the work is impossible.

A pretty bad trade-off, but that's how I am.

Today's to-do list consists of writing, clearing, and figuring out. A new business plan is brewing in my mind. I need to understand what my priorities will be for the next 6 weeks because those priorities will be a little more hardcore than the priorities I have now. E-mails need to be cleared out - jeez, that's always such a job in and of itself.

 I packed and cleaned earlier. It's a sad and exciting thought, that soon I'll be on my own. God, I'm so afraid for the future. I have many expectations for myself, some very high. Can I pull them off?

I really hope I can.