Posted in The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad, Uncategorized

The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad – Week Two: The Revival

Good morning afternoon? evening? I don’t even know anymore because I’m writing this at 10:22 on Monday night, Cyberspace, and welcome to the end of NaNoWriMo, Week Two!

Last week, if you remember correctly, I asked you all a very important question. A question so deep and intricate that it probably blew your fragile little brain meats.

I asked if u were ded.

And the reason I asked this was — naturally — because I, myself, was ded.

and if you are not currently aware, ded is the new writerly slang for dead. obviously. (GET WITH THE TIMES, CHILLINS)

To be perfectly honest with all of you, I’m pretty sure I was dead by the fourth day of NaNoWriMo. I leapt into the month with the mindset that every. single. waking. minute. of every. single. November. day. I was going to be writing. And when I wasn’t writing, I would be working on Christmas presents. And when I wasn’t doing that, I would be writing some more.

With a little bit of extra writing on the side, naturally.

And somehow, in all of the excitement and anticipation and thrill of the month, I completely forgot about the one thing that every single person needs.

Rest.

That’s right, folks. I am apparently not a cyborg, because by day four (or whatever day it was [I can’t even remember the first week of NaNo, guys. {#help}]) I was completely and utterly burnt out. My creative well was dry, my mind was a foggy blur of stories and butterflies and possibly a hallucination or two, and I really just did not feel well. At all.

I’m not sure if you guys have ever suffered from writing burnout before, but I can tell you right now that it is draining, crippling, and honestly just makes you feel like a wadded up potato for about a week straight.

Not to mention the fact that any and all productivity takes a deep and downward spiral the minute the burnout hits.

And while I would love to think that my mind could handle non-stop writing for 30 days on end (#ALLOFTHEWORDS), it is my sad reality to finally discover that, alas. It cannot.

And let’s face it, my fellow marshmallow friends — nor should it.

The world has programmed us into believing that we need to be more.

We need to write more.

We need to read more.

We need to blog more.

We need to be more productive.

We need to do this and that and that other random thing we forgot about and more, more, MORE.

And when it comes down to NaNoWriMore, we need to write MORE WORDS. MORE STORIES. MORE EVERYTHING.

And I believed it. I believed that annoying little voice that told me I had to be more until, eventually, it got to the point where I felt guilty — literally guilty — for not doing something “productive”. Week One of NaNoWriMo speaks volumes on that head.

Last week was one of the absolute worst writing weeks I’ve ever had, and that, astonishingly, is not an exaggeration.

I don’t even remember half of it, but I can still taste it.

In my head.

(this sounds weird, but IT IS THE TRUTH, OKAY?? [also it is gaining on 11 o’clock pm, so HAHAHAHAHAHA — sleep-deprived metaphors, anyone???)

And while the first week of NaNoWriMo was quite literally one of the most terrible writing weeks I’ve ever had to suffer through, I now realize that it served to teach me a very important lesson.

A lesson that I, in my inspirational glory, shall now impart unto you:

If you’re like me, writing is your passion. Sure, you have a boatload of other things you love doing — flaying your fingers on the violin, reading good stories, playing Pokémon and Zelda and Mario — but writing. Writing is your dream. It is your drive. It’s the thing that makes your heart beat to a slightly disjointed and warped — yet perfectly unique — rhythm.

it is what sets your inspiration on fire and sends you spiraling downwards into a pit of swirling insanity hahahahahahahahahahahahaha–HACK

Writing is the air that you breathe.

But sometimes, it’s easy to forget that writing is also work.

And sure, perhaps you just love writing SO MUCH that it isn’t like work to you, and that’s absolutely wonderful! Keep doing you, Bob. But even if that is the case, there’s still the issue of how doing too much of any one thing can be extremely toxic to your mental health.

And there is such a thing as mental health, folks.

Let’s look at it logically, shall we?

Work, whether we like it or not, is good for us. Work helps us grow as individuals. It teaches us. Strengthens us. Makes us better and more knowledgeable humans.

Likewise, carrots are good for our physical health. Carrots are delicious. They are vegetable. They are yum.

And they also help strengthen and improve us physically.

Now, even though carrots are delicious and are technically “good for us” physically, if all we decided to eat for 30 40 3000 days straight were carrots, we would all turn into mushy orange alienesque beings that grow weird, feathery green things out of our scalps.

Basically it would just be a very unhealthy scenario, okay.

In the same way, if all we did for 30 40 5,000,000 days straight is write, our brains would squish into mushy potatoes and rotted brain cells and we would all eventually die.

probably.

HOWEVER.

If, in addition to our yummy carrots, we eat some broccoli and green beans and a couple burgers and possibly 3,000 cookies, we’ve suddenly adapted a healthy (#sohealthy) diet — one that works for us, instead of against us.

#logic

And so, taking into consideration this brand new epiphany, I changed up my writerly mindset during week two.

Yes, I wrote. I wrote every single day. I wrote as mush as I possibly could, whenever I possibly could. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, but I also took time to do other things. Things that I loved. Maybe I didn’t love these things as much as I love writing, but they were things that I still loved, all the same.

I flayed my fingers a bit on my violin. I learned both parts to the Euros and Sherlock duet from Season Four of BBC’s Sherlock. (yes, yes, I am obsessed.) I popped in some earbuds and listened to music that inspired specific scenes in my novel, and before I knew it. . .

I was writing.

But I wasn’t just writing. No no, I was doing something much, much more than that.

I was having fun.

It has been a long, LONG time since I’ve had fun while writing, Cyberspace. Yes, I love it. Yes, it is my passion. Yes, it is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.

But to have fun while writing is a feeling that’s gradually grown foreign to me over the months. Writing has become like a job to me, almost a chore. And while I would love for my full-time job to be writing someday, I still want to have fun doing it.

And so, after talking it through with one of my absolute FAVORITE people in this entire universe, (hi, mom! *waves*) I’ve decided that I’m not going to stress about finishing the entire second half of this draft in one month.

And here’s why:

My favorite thing — my absolute, tippity top favorite thing — about writing is it’s constant, unexpected ability to surprise you.

Plot holes snap together like puzzle pieces without the slightest struggle, characters begin to live and breathe on the page after days of trying to fit them into a stuffy little box, worlds expand before your very eyes as your fingers fly across the keys.

And the best surprise of all — the one that gives me tangible thrills of excitement — is when the story is finally, and quite unexpectedly, finished.

The first draft of everlost was completed at 1:00 in the morning on a Sunday.

Seriously. 1:00 am.

And there are literally no words to describe the excitement and nervousness and elation that I felt at that very moment whilst sitting hunched on my little bottom bunk in the pitch blackness.

Sure, I had known that night that I was going to stay up as long as it took to finish the draft, but I hadn’t set a date as to when I needed to finish it. I just. . .knew.

And I want that to be the same with the second draft, as well.

(also, quick shoutout to my amazing and wonderful and beautiful friends who stayed up with me through that entire night just to cheer me on through the finish. Y’all know who you are, and I love you guys. Seriously. You da best.)

And so, I have decided to change up my goal a bit.

But before you go squealing in detestation and throwing your rusty pitchforks at me, no. I will not be changing it on the actual Dare Squad board.

That would not be fair to those of you who are eagerly awaiting my epic and certain failure.

(not to mention the fact that I kind of want to try all of these dares, hahahahahaha…ha…?)

Instead, it’s just sort of a head-goal. A goal that I’ve set in place in my mind, simply for my own personal use. I haven’t told a single soul what it is, and I’m not going to say it now. This goal is for me, and me alone, and if I actually manage to hit it — YAY! We shall all squeal and eat cookies together.

And if I fail, well. . .

Oh well.

But as far as anyone outside of my head knows, my ULTIMATE SUPER SUPREME goal is to hit the end of this draft by November 30th. And in a way, that’s still my main goal.

I just have a smaller goal apart from that now.

One that I might actually manage to hit by November 30th.

Basically, this November, I’m returning to the joy of writing. I’m returning to the excitement and the thrill and the stardust days. I’m returning to when I actually had fun while writing, and, guys. . .it feels really good.

But alas. That’s enough blechy information about me. You didn’t come here to listen to me rant and rave over my past week. You came here to talk about your stories and your progress and ALL of the lovely things you’ve done in Week Two of NaNo!

However, before we dive into all of that delicious discussion, there’s just one thing that I know you all literally cannot survive without. And that one thing is —


Kenzie’s Weekly Pep-Talk!

I ate a snail once.

. . .

It tasted like a slug.

. . .

. . .

. . .

This has been. . .

Kenzie’s Weekly Pep-Talk!


I’m so good at pep-talks, guys, wow.

In all honestly, though, my fellow Squadians, I think my words of inspiration for this week would be to just have fun this month.

Sure, you might look back on the words you’ve written in the past 30 days and think. . . Wow. This is really quite terrible. #oops.”

But just think about that for a moment. Wouldn’t you rather have a page full of terrible words that you wrote while having immense amounts of fun, than a page full of terrible words that were written with loathing and sleep-deprivation and burnout? Wouldn’t you rather have fun with your story than slug through every single sentence?

I know I would.

It’s completely your choice, Cyberspace. This is your November. Not anyone else’s. How you live through the days is entirely up to you, but I sincerely hope that you join me on this path of returning to what we love about writing.

To those of you who are completely crushing your NaNo goals, you guys are totally ROCKING it!! Keep going, my smol beans! You’re fantastic and amazing and deserve ALL OF THE COOKIES!

And to those of you who, like me, might be a smidge behind (or perhaps a thousand leagues behind, but whatever) don’t you ever give up. You might not hit your goal, but if you try your best, and you simply have fun, and you write as much as you can and as much as is healthy for you, I promise that you’ll be able to look back on this month, not as an epic fail, but as a month that had sunshine. A month that had miracles.

A month that had joy.

You’re doing amazing, my friend. I promise.

You’ve got this.



talk to me, peasants!

That’s all I’ve got for today, Cyberspace! How has Week Two of NaNoWriMo been treating you? Have you written ALL OF THE WORDS, or are you stumbling just a little bit behind today? Are you feeling discouraged? Did KENZIE’S WEEKLY PEP-TALK give you mass amounts of inspiration?

It totally did, what are you talking about.

What are some of YOUR Week Two epiphanies? Have you crushed or created any plot holes in the past seven days? HAVE YOU BEEN EATING YOUR COOKIES??? (I’m looking right at you, Jethan) Whatever your second week of NaNoWriMo has looked like, let us talk and discuss and cheer each other on about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below! I haven’t been as active on here as I’d like to be as of late, but I’m definitely reading and responding to all of you guys’s discussions. (It’s just taking me a while. Hahahaha…haha…#oops. [I’VE BEEN WRITING, DON’T JUDGE ME.]) You Squadians are seriously making this NaNo a true month to remember. Y’all are the best.

Oh! And before I officially sign off, there is just one teensy tiny little update I wanted to mention! A couple of you have said that you — like me — have changed your goals slightly. WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, by the way! Don’t you restrict yourself in any way, sir! However, I wanted you guys to have the option of having your NEW goal posted onto the Dare Squad board! Because it’s super fun to see your goal on a board, just saying.

So whether it’s increasing your goal, or just switching up your project a bit, if you would like your new, OFFICIAL goal posted onto the finalized board this Sunday (November 19th, aka DARE TIME, WHOOO!) then go ahead and simply tell me your new goal down in the comments below! I’ll be sure to have everything sorted out and fixed on the board by this Sunday! And don’t forget to come back on the 19th to check out the dares! You shall not be disappointed…

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

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Posted in The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad, Uncategorized

The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad – Are YOU Up For The Challenge?

You know exactly what this is, Cyberspace. . .

If you read Tuesday’s smudge, you know precisely what is happening. You are already well aware of the dangers that await you within these pages, of the horrors that lurk in the shadows, haunting your every step.

Yet here you are.

November is quickly approaching. It calls to us. Taunts us. Tries to destroy us with its promises of greatness and creativity, of a month spent in the blissful surrender of words and stories.

We all know what NaNoWriMo is. It is a journey. An adventure. It is a steep and unrelenting descent into the abyss known as The Void. It is pain, and it is death, and it is torture.

But we shall not surrender.

We are. . .

• • • The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad • • •

Continue reading “The NaNoWriMo Dare Squad – Are YOU Up For The Challenge?”

In Which The Cookie Queen Dominates The World (if only for one day)

Happy Friday, Cyberspace!

Now I know that this post is rather out of the blue, seeing as though I absolutely never post on Fridays, but it has come to my attention (via the wonderful bean, Jethan [GO CHECK OUT HER BLOG, GUYS]), that today is probably the most special day that has ever sprung into existence.

And what is this most glorious day, you might ask? What could possibly pull the Cookie Queen out from her lumbering sleep on a Friday such as this?

Well now, dear beans, the answer is quite simple.

Today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day.

So of course I had to post something to honor this most momentous occasion! After all, a Cookie Queen should acknowledge her noble subjects on their special day, should she not?

Of course she should.

And so, in honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, I have come to fling ALL OF THE COOKIES at your beautiful faces.

Because I am just that amazing, obviously.

So here you go, my marvelous followers!!!

COOKIES FOR ALL!!!!

*flings cookies everywhere and disappears*

A Fantastical Q&A (but only with your help [because you’re the Chosen One, obviously])

SURPRISE, CYBERSPACE!!!!! Bet ya didn’t think I would ever post this early on a Friday morning, did you???

DID YOU????

Well, you were wrong, so let us take a moment to bask in the glory that is my spontaneity.

And also to weep violently in the nightmare that is my current predicament, because #help.

See, if you were just randomly sucked into this post by force of my sheer and rather overpowering will and never got a chance to actually glance at the title, you would have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, which is that I am planning on doing A Fantastical Q&A for next Tuesday’s blog post!!! WHOO!!

Because what better way to blast much more personal information than is healthy onto the Great and Terrible Cyberspace than by doing a Q&A, am I right?

Of course I’m right.

There’s just one little problem.

I have no questions to answer.

And since it is physically impossible to answer questions that do not exist, I have decided to come to you, my fellow marshmallow peeps, with a plea for help.

Because I need you to make this Fantastical Q&A actually work.

I need you. I need your brain meats. I need all of the weird, wacky, writerly, and completely random questions you always never wanted to ask me.

I need you to ask these questions, which I will then flawlessly answer like the majestic blogger that I am.

#humble

It’s sort of a game, see? A way for us to connect, get to know me each other a little better.

And all I need you to do is ask me ALL OF THE QUESTIONS down in the comments below!

Want to know what my favorite cheese is? Ask it! Want to know what the earliest writing project I can remember was? (HINT: it’s probably about horses) Ask it! Want to know why I became a writer, what my favorite cookie is, or why in the world did I decide to begin blogging in the first place???

Ask it!

Ask me ALL OF THE QUESTIONS, and I shall do my best to give ALL OF THE ANSWERS!

And if this decides to turn into the giant flop that I foresee happening in my near-future, we’ll just completely forget this ever happened and move on with our daily lives like the happy little biscuits that we are.

And now, without further ado–

Let The Questioning Begin!!!

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

Posted in Uncategorized

My Amazing (and completely impossible) Summertime Goals (In Which I Disappear For About A Month [or three?])

Happy Tuesday, Cyberspace!

Now, I’m not sure if any of you have noticed this, but it seems that no matter what blog I happen to stumble across in the maniacal blogosphere lately, every human, cyborg, and chocolate chip cookie is posting their totally envious writing/blogging/life goals for this upcoming summer. And seeing everyone get so excited to make goals and be held within the gnarly, snaggled claws of accountability of the Great and Terrible Cyberspace, well…

I was inspired.

I mean, what better way to stick to your writing goals than by blasting them out into the internet for everyone to see? If you happen to achieve them, everyone cheers and applauds and throws cookies at your face in celebration.

And if you fail, everyone screams at you like a wild black-toothed banshee and stabs you in the left toe with a rusted metal pitchfork.

Or, in other words, you feel extremely ashamed of yourself and stab your own left toe with a rusted metal pitchfork whilst looking like you just got the worst sunburn across your face because #SHAME.

Continue reading “My Amazing (and completely impossible) Summertime Goals (In Which I Disappear For About A Month [or three?])”

Posted in Uncategorized

The Sunshine Blogger Award (YET AGAIN!)

Good afternoon, Cyberspace! I have come to the conclusion that I must be the most sunshiney person on this beloved planet, because WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

I have been tagged YET AGAIN for the Sunshine Blogger Award!! Which is fantastic, because obviously I love telling all you stalkers sane human beings ALLLLL about me and the relatively boring life that I lead.

Anyway, this time around, I have been tagged by the amazing Anna from Writerly Wonderings (and you should totally go check out her blog, because it is one of my absolute favorites).

Thank you SO much for nominating me, Anna! I absolutely love doing these tags… (not to mention they provide a ‘get out of doing an original blog post free card’ [but we shall not linger on that fact…]) I am literally dying to answer these (especially 1, 2, 3, and 8), so I’m going to just jump straight in, because I’m really bad at intros.

Continue reading “The Sunshine Blogger Award (YET AGAIN!)”

Posted in Uncategorized

The Arts and Crafts Center Polls

Hey there, Cyberspace!

Today we’re going to be doing something a little bit different. And when I say ‘a little bit different’, I mean ‘majorly different’.

As in, strap yourself into your hazard suits, folks; we’re going on an adventure.

You may remember a couple months ago when I mentioned starting up the Arts and Crafts Center here on Smudged Thoughts. Maybe you’ve been waiting patiently for my first bookish craft tutorial to be posted.

Maybe you’ve completely forgotten about the whole thing and honestly couldn’t care less whether I made craft tutorials or posted a video of me stuffing my face with cheerios.

Well, today we’re going to find out how you really feel.

Below you will find two polls. The first is about which type of craft you would prefer me to post on, and the second is for what kind of things grab hold of your intrigue and make you squeal like a fangirl.

Or a baby piglet. Each is an acceptable option.

This is my first time doing a poll, so I really hope you guys participate and help me out here. I’d really like to know what kind of crafts I should be posting, or whether I should just stick to my normal posts for a while.

Alright! I think that’s about everything… So, without further ado, the polls!!!

The North Poll:

The South Poll:

Well, that’s pretty much everything. I have no idea how to end this post, so I’ll just throw cookies at you and leave.

*throws cookies at your face and disappears*


Alrighty then! Do you have any additional thoughts on these polls, the Arts and Crafts Center, or Smudged Thoughts in general? I’d love to hear anything you have to say! Even if it happens to be screaming at me to upload a video of me cramming my face full of cheerios.

A very happy shout-out to monkeyeverything for sharing the ancient secret of poll-making! I shall forever be in your debt, dear friend!

 

Taking A Break (because I am an exhausted bean…)

Good afternoon, Cyberspace! As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been failing to hit my usual Tuesday blog posts. This is not, as some of you may believe, due to my usual problem (*ahemprocrastinationahem*[okay, maybe a little bit]). Rather, it is because of one of the most stressful jolliest times of the year!

CHRISTMAS!!!!

That’s right, folks. This Sunday is Christmas, and I could not be more excited!

Or stressed out.

Because I am making gifts for about a million different people, and I am not even close to being done yet.

*distant sobbing*

So, as I am going to be kicking it into high-gear over the next couple of days, I’m not going to be able to keep up with my blog posts for a while, which means that Smudged Thoughts–The Worst Blog in Cyberspace–shall be out of commission.

For the rest of the year.

I know, I know. It truly is a shame. But don’t you cry, sir, because next January (January 3rd, to be precise), Smudged Thoughts will be back up and running with a wonderful post about something! And, with a little luck, my arts and crafts section will be ready to go, too.

(Because everyone knows people become magically crafty on January First, right?)

However, before I take a bow and leave the Smudged Thoughts studio for the rest of the year, I would like to thank each and every one of you who have followed/read/commented/liked this blog. I honestly thought, when I first created Smudged Thoughts, that it would be a giant flop. Yet here we.

Thank you all so much for accepting me into the great and terrible void known as Cyberspace. May God bless you and your family, and may you never forget the true meaning of this wonderful season.

It’s not about the presents, or the food, or even spending time with our families. Christmas is about the birth of our Savior. It is about God sending us His one and only son so that we could be saved, even though we did not deserve it. Christmas is not just another commercial holiday; it is a miracle, a hope for a world that is dying.

It is love.

Thank you again for all of your support and kindness! I hope you all have the merriest of Christmases, and the happiest New Year!

I shall see you all in 2017!

Merry Christmas!!!

*throws cookies in the air and disappears*