January, 2021

good morning, cyberspace!

It has come to my attention that I failed to write an update for the first month of 2021. And since one of my goals for the year is to become more involved on the blogosphere–and also lowkey keep better track of the months as they slowly slip through my fingers–I thought giving a recap on how January went for me was better late than never!

Honestly, not a whole lot happened during January. It was a rather unremarkable month. But being the first month of this brand new year, I still feel it’s worth acknowledging! This will most likely be a shorter blog post than we’re used to around here, but like … I’m not gonna say that’s a bad thing. XD

>>> <<<

january, 2021

writing

First up, let’s talk writing statistics! As far as writing goes, January wasn’t all that great for me. I definitely did not write near as much as I wanted to, and I’m still relatively behind on my first drafting for PROJECT GOBLIN. However, winter is a pretty strange season for me in general, so productivity typically falls out the window during these colder months.

All that said, though, I definitely did write some words! And though it wasn’t as much as I might have wanted, I’m still proud of the progress I did achieve!

word goal — 15,000 words

total words written — 12,786 words

projects tracked — project goblin

best daily writing streak — 12 days in a row

My main goal for January was to work on PROJECT GOBLIN and get a solid headway into the story. This … did not happen, exactly? But I definitely did work on it, and 12.5k story words is nothing to sneeze at, if I do say so, myself. Of course, I would have LIKED to write that extra 2,300 words and hit my goal of 15k, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Life happens, and I’m learning to embrace the chaos, accept the end result, and give myself grace in the midst of disappointment.

However, all that being said, I’m definitely planning on having a comeback in February. Which is saying something, since we’re already 7 days in at the time of me writing this, and I most DEFINITELY have not had any sort of comeback at all yet. But there’s still time! I have 21 days, peasants! I CAN DO THIS.

*distant sobbing*

Ahem. Anyway.

I also blogged a little bit last month, but since I didn’t track those words, I can’t exactly tell you how much was put towards blogging and how much was put towards actual story work. However, I can tell you that February has seen much more intent towards blogging than it has actual writing, and that … probably is not a very good thing. But since it’s been a while since I’ve actually been serious about blogging, I’m trying to ride this wave for as long as it will carry me.

Hopefully I’ll start writing more story words soon, though. I kinda need that if I’m going to meet my self-inflicted deadline.

reading

As described in my 2021 Goals & Aspirations post, I’ve kept up with my goal of reading books which are actually on my shelf, rather than obtaining more and … not reading them.

This, of course, comes with a wee bit of a caveat, because while I definitely read books on my shelf, they both also happened to be rereads… Which means I’m literally not any closer to narrowing down the list of books I own which I have yet to read.

But this is okay, because at least I haven’t been going out and obtaining new books, right? Haha.

Hahahahahaha…

…heh.

OKAY, FINE. I went out and bought three new books, okay? But it’s not my fault. I take one step into a Barnes and Noble and suddenly I’m having an out-of-body experience in which I’m incapable of stopping myself from adopting at least one new child. It’s … it’s not good. But also I have NO SHAME, PEASANTS. NONE WHATSOEVER.

Awkward Season 4 GIF by The Office

Okay, I honestly have a problem. But it’s fine. I’m excited about the books I bought, and even more excited about my two rereads, so let’s just celebrate the bookishness that happened last month, yes?

Yes. Let’s do that.

books read

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE by JK Rowling

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Technically I’m buddy-reading this one with Christine, and GUYS. First of all, this story is absolute whimsy on a page, and secondly–CHRISTINE IS LITERALLY ONE OF MY FAVORITE HUMANS EVER. After reading this book, we had a Zoom call and squealed about all things Harry Potter and life-ishness and writerly, and guys. It was magical. I adore this girl with my whole entire heart, I swear.

ENTWINED by Heather Dixon

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This book, guys. It’s magic and romance and enchantment and whimsy and sisterhood and just…!!! This book has my heart, and it’s had it ever since I read it for the first time a few years ago. I think there’s a more detailed review of my first reading lurking somewhere on this blog, but I’m too lazy to find it, and I’m also a little too terrified to try. (my early reviewing days were … um … *distant screaming whilst my blog backlog goes up in flames*.)

Anyway.

books obtained

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaimon

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This is my first Gaimon, and GUYS! I am so so excited to read this one! I’ve been wanting to read The Graveyard Book ever since Phoebe told me my goblins (from PROJECT GOBLIN) sounded similar to some characters (ghouls, I think?) from this story. And I FINALLY found it at Barnes and Noble and it was like 10 bucks and I’m just!!!!! Over the moon thrilled is what I am, my friends.

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Clime

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This one was–not gonna lie–a severely impulsive buy. But I went to a Barnes and Noble with a new friend, and she told me she absolutely adored this book and thought I’d really like it, so … obviously I had to buy it. XD I’ve heard mixed reviews about this book, with the majority of it being positive, so I’m really eager to read it and form my own opinion!

Also I’ve just discovered that me, aforementioned friend, and yet another new friend might be starting our own little book club, with this being our first read, and I just???? This sounds adorable? I’m very excited about this, not gonna lie.

And finally, the book I’m probably MOST excited about right now…

AN ECHO OF THE FAE by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

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I was part of the cover reveal for this story, as well as an arc reader (though I didn’t finish the book in time, and I wasn’t able to write a review like I’d wanted to for the blog tour), BUT. I hadn’t gotten my own copy of this book yet. However, it’s one that I knew I wanted to add to my collection this year (despite my self-inflicted book-buying ban), and just recently I saw that the hardcover had gone on sale for a limited time!

…you guys can probably piece the story together from here.

Technically, my copy of ECHO hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, but I’M STILL REALLY REALLY EXCITED FOR IT TO GET HERE…!!! I’m so excited, guys… Jenelle is one of my favorite humans ever, and her stories always have this element of whimsy and adventure within them that just speaks to my very soul. I know for a fact that once ECHO gets here, I’m probably going to bump it to the top of my TBR almost immediately.

(smol update: my copy of ECHO came!!! and as predicted, this is going to the top of my TBR. #oops)

community

So! In keeping with my goal of staying connected with the blogging community more this year, I’ve decided that I’m going to add a “community” section to each of my monthly recaps! (very smart. much wow.) This, of course, is a wee bit of an experiment at the moment, but I’m eager to see how it will change and grow over the course of the next few months!

Unfortunately, January was a bit of a “dead month” for me, so I once again wasn’t super active here on the blogosphere as I would have liked to be. BUT. I’m still going to highlight some of my favorite bloggers, because even though I haven’t been reading and interacting as much as I want to, I’ve definitely rediscovered some of my favorite blogs this past month, and I want to share them with you all today! (even though y’all are probably already following each other, but IT’S FINE. I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. MWAHAHAHAHA. #help)

i. Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

If you’re not following Jenelle yet, you are SERIOUSLY missing out. This girl is an absolute FAIRY. Her stories are magic and fairy dust, her blog posts are clever and incredibly insightful towards all things writing and indie publishing. She’s a wonderfully talented writer and an even greater friend, and I am so incredibly honored to have this beautiful human in my life.

Jenelle is also currently hosting something called Fantasy Month, so you should definitely hop on over to her blog and check it out before February ends!

ii. Sarah Seele

Sarah is one of the wittiest, cleverest (yes, it’s a word) bloggers I know. I don’t even remember how we stumbled across each other’s blogs, but I swear hers is one of my favorites to just binge on a rainy day when I’m hit with the sudden, inexplicable desire to just read some blog posts. She also has this really beautiful, almost magical way of writing, and I just *clutches heart*. She’s precious and I adore her and you NEED to go give her a follow if you haven’t already, okay? Okay.

iii. Christine Smith

For almost as long as I’ve been a part of the blogging community, Christine has been one of the sweetest, most encouraging voices. She is sunlight and kindness and I truly do not deserve to have her in my life. But oh my word, am I thankful for her. I literally cannot envision being a part of the blogging world without Christine. She makes every day brighter, and having her as a friend is legitimately one of the greatest things to have come from my time as a blogger.

Oh. And not to mention the fact that her blog posts are actually the most wonderful posts you will ever read in your whole entire life. (not even joking) Christine is one of those bloggers who I feel like everyone already knows, but GUYS. If you’re not following her already … please go follow her. She is actual sunshine in a bottle, and you need to read her posts.

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talk to me, peasants!

and that’s that for my January, 2021 recap! I … don’t exactly know how we’re already nearly halfway into February, but here we are. (are you scared? I’m scared.)

Anyway! Some questions for you all to ponder whilst I go have an existential crisis!

how did your january go? did you get any writing done? read any good books? have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned here, and–if so–what were your thoughts/opinions on them? and for all my fellow bloggers/readers of blogs out there (which is obviously you since you’re reading this), what are some of YOUR top favorite blogs to read?

Let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below! And until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

THE END OF CAMP NANOWRIMO: Episode VII – The Final Interview

This episode of LET’S CHAT! is sponsored by Miss Marple Syrup! When your pancakes and attitude could use some sweetening, pour on the Miss Marple! Guaranteed to be your family’s favorite since 1949!Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO CONTINUES!: Episode V (and a half) – Wordcounts and Laptops

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

Today I’m popping in to say that I really don’t have a blog post this week.

. . .which is kinda weird, since I’m technically posting this as a blog post, but . . . you know. Ignore that oxymoron.

Basically, I’ve been really enveloped in my Camp NaNoWriMo story, Project Sunset, and haven’t exactly made the effort to carve out any of my writing time for blogging. I could say that I deeply regret this decision, but honestly? The fact that I’m so in love with my book is a wave that I’m going to ride for as long as I possibly can, because soon enough I’ll be absolutely dreading even trying to write a single word. And at that point, I’ll probably bust back into the blogosphere with all the force of a thousand suns.

(oh, look at that. I’m finally beginning to understand my own brain! hallelujah.)

So instead of an actual blog post this week, I thought I’d just bullet-point a few highlights from the past week of NaNo!!! Because that’s both simple AND recap-ish! It’s a win-win situation, amiright?

*claps hands together* Let’s go!Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO CONTINUES!: Episode V – Weeks 1 & 2 (and LIVESREAM NEWS!)

First thing’s first, before we pop into the main topic of today’s blog–I HAVE SOME SUPER IMPORTANT LIVESTREAM NEWS!!!

Today (April 18th), Phoebe, Ally, and I are going live over on Ally’s Youtube channel (The Nature of Pages) for our second ever Plots & Plans livestream!!! We’re going to be talking about writing and Camp and hosting writing sprints, so if you want to come and join the fun, come join us at 3 pm EDT right HERE! (please come. I’ll give you cookies!!)

. . .and now back to your regularly scheduled programming. . .

Blog Divider

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

This blog post is late. Obviously. You can probably tell that by the slapped together graphic and the fact that it was NOT released on Tuesday morning. Which, despite the fact that I pretty much never post on a Tuesday morning anymore, is actually my reserved posting time.

But I digress.

Truth is, this post is late in going up because I have been reading. And also writing. A lot. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve become so infused with fictional realms that I’m really quite astounded I haven’t dissolved into a flurry of paper and ink by now. (there’s still a potential this will happen soon, so if I spontaneously disappear from the internet, YA KNOW WHY.)

But all this writing and reading and very-much-not-being-here has a very simple explanation, and I’m sure you all know what it is.

CAMP NANOWRIMO. It’s in full-swing, folks. We’re officially two three? who even knows anymore weeks in. And holy guacamole, my friends, have I been writing a book.Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO BEGINS!: Day 1 – Freebies and Frenzies!

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

I’ve been flipping and flopping over how to start this month off here on Smudged Thoughts. As you all know, April’s Camp NaNoWriMo is one of my absolute F A V O R I T E months of the year, which means that I naturally want this first post–this first step into the month of April–to be something truly special.

I debated character interviews, Camp NaNoWriMo blog tags, pep talks, writing prompts. . . But none of them felt right. During all of this mental brainstorming, however, I was working on a side project of my own–a simple little thing that I was planning on using to make this Camp NaNoWriMo the best NaNoWriMo I’ve had thus far. Spurred on by my constant failure at tracking my writing process, I decided to delve into the confusion that is Google Spreadsheets and create my own kind of progress tracker–a tracker which, instead of being filled with a bunch of useless information I had no desire of knowing, was filled with the kinds of things I was actually excited to track.Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO APPROACHES!: Episode III – Liam & Eleanor

This episode of LET’S CHAT! is brought to you by . . . Sir Arthur Conan Doilies! Now available in 221 different colors!



KENZIE: Good morning, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of LET’S CHAT! In our last interview, we got a sneak peek into the lives of Ed, Shelby, and Beau–three of the main characters within the universe of SK! Today, we’re going to be interviewing two new characters from that very same cast!

KENZIE: Ladies and gents, boys and girls, please give a big, warm welcome to Eleanor and Liam!Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO APPROACHES!: Episode II – Preparing for Camp (#campnano2020)

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

Last week I announced what project I was going to be working on for Camp NaNoWriMo 2020. This week, we’re going to be diving into my preparations for the end of the world Camp!

A few years ago I made a post detailing my NaNoWriMo Survival Kit, and–quite honestly–most of the things I listed in that post still apply. I still hoard candy like the smol little gremlin that I am. I still collect notebooks and hide them into every nook and cranny in my room. I still stuff my friends into my briefcase and haul them around lest they abandon me. However, there are some things I’m doing this year that are a little bit different than years previous. I have some new materials that I shall be trying to utilize for productivity in April (planners, a google spreadsheet??? [what is this madness??]) and–if all goes according to plan–hopefully they’ll help me conquer my goals and become the ultimate productivity master!

(this is not happening. i’m just gonna call it now, folks.)

So this week in my Camp NaNo 2020 series, we’re going to be taking a closer look into my step-by-step guide to preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo!Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO APPROACHES!: Episode I #campnano2020

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

How on earth did we get to the middle of March already? Some wizard out there is laughing maliciously at us all whilst twirling his magical time clock, I swear. (and once I find him, that little man is going DOWN.) But I digress. It is the middle of March, we are nearing the perfection that is April, and–if any of you know me at all–you know precisely what this means. . .

CAMP NANOWRIMO IS NEARLY UPON US!

Read More »

THE WRITER’S OTP CHALLENGE!: in which I squeal like an insane grandma about my precious children

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a sucker for writing challenges and tags. There’s just something simple and easy about answering questions, and when you’re in a tight pinch for a blog post, they are quite literally a heaven-sent.

So when I saw a writerly challenge over on Faith’s blog (which you should totally check out if you haven’t already!!!!) I just knew I had to participate.

Now, I THINK this was supposed to be done in the month of February (it was created by the fairy godmothers of Fairy Tale Central as a February Instagram challenge, and was later posted to the blogosphere for us peeps who aren’t as acclimated with Insta), but I digress. It is March, and we are doing it anyway. #tinyrebellions

Also! You might have noticed that this is a writer’s OTP challenge. This means I’m going to be talking about the romantic ships locked within my own story pages. This, as you can probably tell, is going to be exceedingly awkward for me.

Please ignore everything I am about to say, because–as I have mentioned multiple times on this blog and literally everywhere else–I DON’T WRITE ROMANCE.

Let’s continue onwards, shall we?Read More »

THE FRANK EXPERIMENT: Writing Old-School For Twenty-Nine Days Straight

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

Today is the day, folks! It is March! It is SPRING (at least, it’s sorta kinda beginning to feel like spring? who knows when spring will actually start. I think the weather is currently bipolar)! Which means that February is officially over, and–as promised–thus concludes The Frank Experiment.

If you saw my initial Frank Experiment post, you already know what I’ve been doing for the past 29 days. BUT. If you’re confused, I highly suggest you take a quick little gander at this post, where I explain the whole ordeal in a nice, neat little package, complete with a smol storytime.

However, if you’re busy and just want to get on with things, here’s the tl;dr–I decided to ditch my laptop and write with naught but a typewriter (or, if the typewriter was unavailable at the moment, a notebook) for the entire month of February.

Sounds cool, right? Sounds pretty simple . . . right?

Well. Today we’re going to be talking about how that actually went. . .Read More »