GOOD MORNING, 2021!: goals, aspirations, and just a pinch of pixie dust

good morning, cyberspace!

Well, folks, we made it. 2020 is finally over, and we’re standing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the sparkling sunshine of a brand new year!

….lol, okay, so maybe that’s an over-exaggeration. To be quite honest with you, I stayed up a ridiculous amount of time on New Year’s Eve in order to A) finish this blog post, and B) finish my goodreads reading challenge for 2020. Which, since I still had 4 books to read before midnight, obviously means that I downloaded a bunch of children’s picture books off Libby to binge whilst eating jalapeño popper dip and watching my family work on a 3,000 piece Beatles puzzle. So to say that I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on the first? Eh, no thanks. Red-eyed and cowlicked would probably have been a better descriptor. XD

But despite the fact that I’m more than a little sleep-deprived, I’m still extremely excited for this new year we’re in! I know it’s a little cliché and perhaps a bit annoying to some, but I LOVE the new year. To me, it really does feel like a fresh start. Or…as close to a fresh start as we can possibly get. *side-eyes skeletons in my closet warily*

And what better moment to start completely overriding how you perceive and challenge your goals than on the day when the rest of the world does the exact same thing! New Year, New Me, after all, amiright?

lolololololololol *distant sobbing*

Season 2 Phil GIF by CBS All Access

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GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS

Okay, okay, in all seriousness, while I don’t believe that your entire being can change with the simple twitch of a clock at midnight, I do believe that setting goals and aspirations for yourself at the start of a new year is a somewhat fun practice, and therefore that is precisely what we’re gonna do today!

Of course, if there’s one thing that 2020 taught me, it’s that Life has a way of completely switching everything up on you without a moment’s notice, so while I’m making these goals with the intent of accomplishing them, I’m definitely giving myself grace in the odds that I fail them, and will NOT be critical of myself if I don’t manage to complete them all.

A least, I’ll try very hard not to be critical of myself. That’s probably something I should set as a goal, to be honest. *nervous laughter*

WRITING

a.k.a my favorite goals to set!!! I have … quite a lot of writing projects I want to work on this year. Which means that either A) I will complete them all and be a very happy bean in one year’s time, or B) I will complete absolutely none of them and be a ball of absolute stress in about a month or so.

It’s naught but a coin toss as to which one we’ll end up with, but this is a risk I am willing to take, peasants.

live dangerously austin powers GIF

i. complete the first draft of PROJECT GOBLIN

You will most likely remember that the past two months have been spent in the epic failure of me trying to write the first draft of Project Goblin. First NaNoWriMo, in which I wrote a solid and respectable 10,000 words, and then my own personal project called NaNoWhyTho, in which I wrote … 2,000 words.

Yeah. That’s December, for you.

However, now that the holidays are behind us, I figure now’s as good a time as any to really start cranking out the words for Project Goblin! I’m currently a wee bit stuck plot-wise, but I’m sure it’s nothing a good brainstorming session can kick loose!

Of course, as any good task-completer will tell you, it’s always wise to create a deadline for yourself as to when you should complete your project or goal. But since I find that blurting all the gory details of my plans to the world then results in me not lifting a finger to COMPLETE said goal, I will be keeping my makeshift deadline a secret for the time being.

Y’all will know when I finish the book. When you hear the pterodactyl screeching in the distance, you shall know.

ii. read and revise the second draft of PROJECT SUNSET

Not gonna lie, Project Sunset was a super fun book to write.

It is also a massive garbage fire and I must burn it down completely before rebuilding it into something glorious. Thus the reason that I would REAAAAAALLY like to read through the first draft and then revise a second draft of Project Sunset this year! Of course, this might not actually happen, since it IS a rather large undertaking, AND it’s been quite a while since I’ve tackled a second draft. But I’m confident that I can at least start it, and that’s half the battle right there, is it not?

iii. outline and draft PUMPKALAGOO

…..okay, so literally no one has heard about this story yet, but LOOK, MA! I HAVE A NEW STORY SPROUT!

I’m not going to say TOO awful much about this project quite yet, but I CAN tell you that it’s A) a middle grade novel about a witch, and B) was greatly inspired about the weird poem about a king eating a raven in a pie.

…or something along that line, anyway. XD

iv. thorough readthrough and revision of EVERLOST

This one is going last because, in all honesty, this isn’t a SUPER big priority for me…..which obviously means this is a massive priority, and if I don’t get this done this year, I might cry.

Or throw a pitchfork and a tantrum, but I digress.

COMMUNITY

OOOH, LOOK! A new one! Usually I do Writing, Reading, and Life, but this year I wanted to switch it up a bit and make some writing community goals, as well! Especially since we all know I need some accountability when it comes to being present in the community… *nervous sweating*

i. post to blog 1 time a week (excepting any hiatuses I might feel convicted to take)

This is a big one for me. If all else fails, I’d really, REALLY like to start blogging again. This community has helped me grow so much as a person and as a writer, and it’s through blogging that I’ve found some of my closest, most deepest of friendships.

So to say that I’d like to keep up with blogging this year is a massive understatement. I need to do this. This is my community, and when I’m away from it, I don’t really feel very much like myself at all. So 2021…please let this be the year that I dig my roots in deep and thrive.

ii. post to instagram 3x weekly

As I’ve continued to dip my toes into the depths of Instagram, I’ve realized that this is another platform I’d really like to get involved with! For the longest time I used Twitter as my means of outside communication with the writing community, but–if I’m being perfectly honest–the negativity on there is rather astounding. So I’m switching gears (for now) and focusing more of my intent onto Instagram, where I can share aesthetically pleasing photos and write captions that are longer than 150 characters. XD

While posting three times a week is definitely a goal that I have, I’m not going to kill myself over it. Blog posts and my personal writings are going to be my main focus this year, and social media is just going to be a side project for the time being.

(however, if you’d LIKE to follow my instagram, it’s @thesmudgedthoughts *hint-hint*)

iii. become more involved with the writing/blogging community as a whole

THIS. This right here is something that I’ve been wanting to do for FOREVER. But somehow I just keep…failing? There are so many wonderful blogs that I’m following and want to support, and yet???? For some reason I keep getting in this rut where if I haven’t read ALL of the posts on someone’s blog, I …. shouldn’t read the new ones? And honestly this is a very toxic way of thinking, and I’m KICKING THAT OUT in 2021. So if you’ve seen me poking around your blogs more … this is probably why. I sincerely apologize for not being as supportive and involved as I should have been the past year or so, but I hope that this year I’m finally able to become a part of this beautiful community in the way that I’ve always wanted to–which is by supporting everyone else’s blogs in the way y’all have continued to support mine. <33

READING

As per tradition, I’m going to keep up with my goal of reading as many books as the new year suggests, which is–in the year of our Lord, 2021–21 books!

Last year (lol) I barely finished my goal by reading 4 picture books before the clock struck midnight on the 31st, so like….that was fun. But this year, I’m planning on doing some things a little bit differently. (lol, lies)

i. read 21 books

This is relatively self-explanatory. Moving on.

ii. read mostly from the books that are currently on my shelves

Ahem. I have a lot of books. This is good, of course–I’m very blessed to have the books I have! But like….I tend to collect them rather than read them, and, my friends, this should not be so! So this year, I’d love to start reading from my personal collection … which has started seeping into every room of our house. (it’s fine. i’m not worried, or anything. [someone please send help, the books are taking over my life])

iii. READ. MORE. INDIE.

Notice how this goal is in caps, whereas the rest of my goals have been lowercase? THIS IS TO MARK HOW IMPORTANT THIS GOAL IS TO ME.

Guys. Seriously. I need to start reading more Indie. There are SO. MANY. Indie Authors who I want to support, and like??? Why am I not doing this???? (i mean obviously it’s because i have very limited funds to spend towards books, but PSSSH WHAT IS MONEY IF NOT TO BE USED FOR BOOKS, AMIRIGHT [*weeps softly*]) I definitely have some ideas as to how I can start to fix this, but I think my first step is to read and review the indie books I already have on my shelves! (hello, goal #2!) Authors always talk about how much a simple review will do for the visibility of their books, and guys … I still don’t think I review enough books, especially indie ones. Trad authors have a lot of visibility, I feel like, but sometimes I think Indies get overlooked in the excitement for larger, more well-known titles. AND, MY FRIENDS *slams fist on table* THIS. SHOULD. NOT. BE.

So! I’m going to try and read and review more books this year, but mostly books by indie authors. Because they deserve credit for the amazing things they’re doing, and–not gonna lie here–some indie books are LEVELS above traditionally published fiction.

Y’all know it’s true.

WORDS & QUOTES OF THE YEAR

Every year, I like to choose a word for myself–a word which helps symbolize what I want to truly focus on in the year to come. Last year, I chose “whimsy” and “enchanting” (I may or may not have stolen that second one from my mom. the debate is still out, however, and I’ve hired a very good lawyer. XD) Suffice to say, I can’t say as though last year was either enchanting or whimsical. At least, not so much in the way I had imagined. But even so, I still found whimsy and enchantment in the little things, and I think maybe that’s more worthwhile than anything I could have dreamt up.

This year, however, it took me a few days to land on the word I wanted to focus on this year–or rather, the quote I want to focus on. Because apparently 2021 is so immense and unpredictable that I can’t choose a single word for it:

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

– Alice

I love this quote. The minute I saw it for the first time–or rather, truly noticed it for the first time–I knew that it was one to tuck away inside my pocket. And now, months later, I’m finally able to pull it out again.

I am no longer the person I was a year ago. I’m no longer the person I was yesterday. Yesterday Kenzie made mistakes and wrong turns and had more than a few mishaps, but it’s no use going back to then, because who I am today is a little older and wiser than who I was before. It’s fun to look at where we’ve been and see how much we’ve grown, but we can’t continue to live there, wishing for things to be the way they were or fretting over the situations we could have handled differently. We have to accept the fact that yesterday is gone, and today is only here for a moment.

I have to learn to live more in the present, and let the past go.

And this is something that I’d like to intentionally focus on this year. Whether or not it actually happens remains to be seen, but I have every hope that this year will be one filled with making memories in all the many today’s to come.

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And those, my friends, are my (current) goals for the year! Obviously I’m anticipating on failing in a lot of these, but as far as Januaries go, this year has been off to a rather decent start! I’m excited to see where it leads me, and I’m eager to keep moving forward and writing ALL OF THE THINGS. 2021 is going to be one wild year, but with a little faith, trust, and pixie dust, I anticipate it’s going to be one of my favorite years yet. <333

talk to me, peasants!

what sorts of things are YOU planning on doing in this new year? do you typically make goals for the new year, or do you just go with the flow and knock things out as you feel like it? (knowing my track record with goals, I should really do this. XD) do you have multiple projects you’re hoping to complete this year? and if so, what sorts of methods do you use to track and accomplish them all? i’m still relatively new to the world of project juggling, and i could use all the help i can find. XD

And most importantly…

do you have any indie book recommendations?

I’d love any and all recs you guys are able to throw my way!!

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS in the comments down below, and until next time….

* flings cookies in the air and disappears *

Goodnight 2020: Saying Goodbye To One Of The Strangest Years I’ve Ever Encountered

good morning, cyberspace!

I sliced my finger open on a bagel cutter this morning at work. Which means my pointer finger now screams for the sweet release of death with every single letter I type.

lol, this is fine.

Read More »

NaNoWhyTho: In Which Kenzie Tries Again

good morning, december!

Well, it looks like the WordPress editor has undergone another drastic change. HUZZAH! It really must be a new month up in here. XD

So! Yesterday I told y’all about my smol little book gremlin–Project Goblin. And also about how I kinda sorta failed NaNoWriMo. This was, of course, an unfortunate circumstance. But in true Kenzie fashion, I have decided to bounce back, and bounce back strong.

And this time around, I will not fail.

After some chatting with my lovely writing group–known currently as The Cabinettes (shhh, it’s an inside joke)–we the people decided to partake in a new sort of NaNoWriMo. A second chance NaNo, you could say.

A NaNo which we have fondly stole the title for from twitter dubbed NaNoWhyTho.

I’m not sure if we have a specific goal for the month, but I think the general concensus is trying to write 15,000 words in the month of December–either in the 24 days leading up to Christmas or in the 30 days of Decmeber excluding Christmas.

Honestly, at this point it’s sort of like a free-for-all for all participants involved.

season 3 chaos grenade GIF by Billions

However, for me, personally, I’m going to be trying the latter option–which is to write 15,000 words within 30 days.

Again.

See, November did not go well for me. This I have mentioned before. (see: yesterday’s post) But I don’t want to let this year go by without participating in some sort of creativity challenge! I want to write and be merry and watch the snow fall down outside while cozying up in warm fuzzy socks and lowkey panicking because Christmas is less than a month away and I still haven’t found presents for every single person I’ve ever met… I want to work on my book and feel like an author and simply create. And it’s been a ridiculously long amount of time since I’ve felt this way.

So naturally I should milk this for all it’s worth, amiright?

Sad The Office GIF

But I digress. This is a relatively small post to announce a greater act of epic and complete idiocy and chaos, and I’m lowkey extremely excited about this, folks. This is NaNo: Take Two. And if I have anything to say about it, this time around I’m going to win.

(also, I know better than to make any major promises, but I’d really like to keep you guys updated on my word count throughout the month! so I will try my best to do regular posts with–at the very least–word count updates. but if this blog happens to go stagnant silent again this month, you can find updates over on my instagram page, @thesmudgedthoughts. I’ll be doing daily updates in my stories [hopefully], so come check us out on the ‘gram, my friends! [ew ew ew ew i will never use the phrase “the ‘gram” again, I swear)

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talk to me, peasants!

what sorts of crazy, chaotic things are you up to in this new month, my friends? hit me up in the comments and let me know what books you’re reading, what stories you’re working on, and all the many exciting Christmas-y things you’re planning for this last and final huzzah of 2020!

As always, until next time…..

photo credit: Ben Kolde on Unsplash

Know The Novel – Part Two: Project Goblin’s Steady Decline

good morning, cyberspace!

Aaaaaaand we’re back! Turns out November was not the month of intense creativity that I had so auspiciously predicted back in October. November has miraculously come and gone in a blip, and I’m sitting here at the end of it wondering how on earth we ended up here so quickly.

Back in October, I told y’all that I was going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month. I even went so far as to announce which project I would be working on, shared many of the story world’s nifty details, and even promised that a whole bunch of NaNo crazy was going to be coming your way within the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, none of this happened. Which is a shame, obviously, but–as I mentioned above–November was nothing like I had planned. There was a lot of personal growth done, as well as hitting a severe creative slump during the first half of the month which crippled me creatively for a solid two weeks. But I’ve finally started to break through it, and even though my manuscript isn’t near as plump as I would like for the final day of NaNoWriMo, I am definitely all the wiser and–dare I say it–healthier than when I started.

So today, to jump back into blogging and reorient both myself and you guys into the project I’m working on, I’m going to be participating in Part Two of Christine Smith’s Know The Novel linkup! You can read Part One right here, or just dive right in to find out how my writing went–or, more accurately, didn’t go–this month!

KNOW THE NOVEL – PART TWO: PROJECT GOBLIN’S STEADY DECLINE

i. How’s the writing going overall?

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. To be honest, not very well. XD As I mentioned above, this month was pretty bad creativity-wise for me. I totally thought I’d be able to crank out a solid 15-20k before the end of November, but it turns out that I’ve barely managed to write *checks notes* 10,000 words.

…which is actually a lot less depressing than I thought it would be.

Knowing what I’ve been going through this month, I’m actually really proud of the progress I have made on this story, and also with all the love and enthusiasm that I’ve continued to hold for this project. I still have a LONG way to go before hitting the end, but I’ve been wanting to write this story for so long that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m going to keep plugging away at it until I eventually find my way. It just might take a little longer than initially planned, and that’s okay. Every story is different, as they like to say, and if this book takes me a whole year where Project Sunset only took me a few months, I’m going to be okay with that.

ii. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

The discovery! I’ve made many little discoveries just within this month alone–such as the fact that my one character, who, for as long as I could recall, was mute, actually can talk. And not only can she talk, but she’s also extremely snarky with what few words she chooses to say.

Or the incredible epiphany I had about my villain, which I wholly and 100% owe to the beautiful Phoebe, who introduced me to this song right here.

10,000 words isn’t a whole lot to find discoveries within, but the ones that I have found have made what little progress I’ve made so entirely worth it.

iii. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

Okay, so this one is easy: I adore them. Each and every one is so weird and quirky and odd, and it’s so refreshing to write a cast that freaks me out as much as they fascinate me.

As far as who my favorite is to write about … I would probably have to say Todd. He’s by far the toughest nut of a protagonist that I’ve ever had to crack, but there’s something about his confusing personality that intrigues me. And I know that once I finally crack him open, I’m going to absolutely fall in love with this weird, awkward individual.

iv. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

I don’t think I’ve written enough of it yet to truly be surprised, but I definitely have had some AHA! moments that really helped deepen my love of this universe. As I mentioned above, I had this absolutely delicious idea for my villain, who–up until this point–had been nothing more than a vague blip on my radar. But now I have his character pinned down a little better, and I am SO. STINKIN’. EXCITED. to get to him within the narrative!!! It’s going to be amazing…

Another thing that surprised me was the fact that my goblins have voices. And use English. I was thinking I was going to have to create an entire goblin language for these weird little creatures, but alas. They popped into the story speaking words and talking about ripping out spines and I just adore them to pieces already.

v. Have you come across any problem areas?

I have, actually! My main problematic area has been struggling to get into Todd’s head, especially within the first few chapters of the story. These are the pivotal scenes where we learn his character and motives and what and who he’ll risk everything for, and I feel like I’ve done a rather poor job of setting that up before the adventure begins.

However, as I write this, I now realize that things like this take time and finesse–two things which don’t typically come with a first draft. So maybe my problem is more my inability to let myself to move forward and enjoy the discovery of it all. Maybe I’m clinging too much to the idea that this draft has to be perfect that I’m not giving myself the chance to discover who Todd really is.

….and I think I just blogged myself out of my writer’s block, guys.

vi. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Aside from the fact that I just figured out where my writer’s block came from, I think my biggest victory has been in creating an outline that works for me, rather than against me. I suppose this could be attributed more to the planning stage of this novel, rather than the writing of it, but outlines have always been so negative for me. So the fact I’ve been able to create one which I actually enjoyed writing and–more importantly–following feels huge. I love my outline. I love how vague yet stable it is. I love knowing that if I’m ever stuck, I can follow my Plot Checkpoint map and get myself back on track within a matter of minutes.

But as far as actual writing goes, I just really love getting to know my characters better. They’re all so strange and different, and I’m loving every second I get to spend with them.

vii. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

Okay, Christine, WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO ASK SUCH FASCINATING QUESTIONS. I am in awe over here, okay.

But I digress. I’d really like to answer this question as truthfully as possible, and I’m not entirely sure what the answer is.

Part of me says I’d be Iniko–the strange old wizard who likes hitting people over the head with his cane and saying things like “aye” and “ye bloody idiot”. But then another part of me says I’d be Jasper–a scarecrow with a horrible sense of humor and a penchant for setting things on fire.

And then, clawing in the back of my head like the annoying little turnip that he is, Reality tells me that I would most definitely be Todd. Because he is awkward and strange and does virtually nothing with his life until two knobbly goblins come crashing through a crack in his wall.

And I mean, if that isn’t me, I don’t know what is. XD

As far as actions go, I honestly can’t say I’d do anything differently than any of these characters. If I was Iniko, I would 100% do everything he’s been doing (including dying, which … I mean, we’ll get into that later). If Jasper, I would probably accidentally set my hair on fire, but I’d definitely still pester Martin to the end of days and continue to make a fool out of myself willingly.

And if I were Todd … well, I think I’d still make the choices he’s going to make. What those choices are, I’m not entirely sure yet, but I have p l a n s, and out of most of those plans, I think I’d make the same calls as he will. After all, it’s not like I’m giving him much of a choice…. *insert mysterious snickering*

viii. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

And here’s where things are gonna get scary. XD Oh goodness. I hate sharing first draft material, but I guess I must. You know, since it’s part of the tag. please don’t judge me, peasants

OPENING PARAGRAPH

She wouldn’t smile. That was the thing about girls—no matter how hard you tried, they refused to smile, especially if they were in a a sour mood. And the girl staring back at Bartholomew Todd was in the sourest mood of them all.

SNIPPET ONE

A gush of wind whooshed through the room, whipping Todd’s hair back against his forehead. The crack in the wall was now a solid three feet wide—large enough for Todd to make out the creatures standing on the other side of it.
There were two of them. Short and crooked, with long legs and stubby bodies that sat plumply above their thin, knobbly knees. Thick, square heads perched atop their chubby torsos, made even larger by the size of their enormous, gleaming eyes, thick as dinner plates. Cinched ears poked out on either side of those enormous heads, thin and stumpy in comparison with the rest of them.
Todd’s heart snagged in his chest, and his hand instinctively reached for the first thing he could think of to defend himself: the desk light.
The plug yanked out of its socket, and the metal burned cold into Todd’s skin, but he hardly noticed it as the creatures within the crack poked their large, knobby heads into his apartment. Their giant eyes caught the moonlight and reflected black, catching on Todd almost immediately.
“It’s another one,” the first one hissed, his nose cinching in disgust. “Rotten smellies. Should have known from the stench.”
“We should takes it with us. Give it to his Highny-ness. He wouldn’t chop our toesies off if we broughts him a present…”
“Or perhaps we could eats it. Snap its little head off and drink from its inner juices. It’s been far too long since we’ve eaten real flesh…”
“His Highny-ness wouldn’t like that very much, no-how.”
“His Highny-ness wouldn’t have to know. We could break his spiny ridges and make his Highny-ness a nice new comb.”

SNIPPET TWO

“Is he dead?”
“Uh-huh.”
“How do you know?”
“He looks dead, don’t he?’
“That don’t mean he’s dead.”
“Yeah huh.”
“Nuh uh.”
“Does, too!”
“Prove it.”
“How?”
“Poke him with a stick.”

SNIPPET THREE

“Yer the one who dodged in front of that curse, my dear,” Iniko said from the fireplace, where he was throwing an extra bundle of wood onto the sad smoke pile. “I didn’t ask you to do it.” His voice broke through Todd’s examination of the room, startling him enough to make him jump. The shadow eyed him warily, and Todd fidgeted, wringing his hands together to keep them from trembling.
The potted tulip was not amused.
“I saved your life, you idiot,” she sniffed. “You didn’t have to ask. But a simple thank you would have been appreciated.”
“I did thank ye.”
“You put me in a pot!”
“And thereby saved yer life in return. Yer welcome.” Bouncing up onto his tip toes, Iniko grabbed a watering can off the mantel and waved it towards the flower, driblets of water plopping to the creaky wooden floor. “Speakin’ of, ye need a drink, love?”
The tulip scowled, her eyes becoming slits in her petals. “I loathe you.”
“You look dry.”

…I’m not entirely sure what to think of these snippets, to be honest. XD

ix. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)

Oh goodness, I wish I’d changed projects entirely. That might have helped me through some of my writer’s block. But if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that switching projects this early on only feeds my bad habit of never finishing anything, so the only choice I have is to persevere.

However, I think the most interesting thing that I’ve witnessed so far with the creation of this novel has been how difficult it is to sink into this story world I’ve spent so much time dreaming about. It’s like I’m so invested in what I want this world to be that I can’t allow myself to write the world as it is. I know in my heart that things never come out on the page as they are in my head, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing that I could just splat everything I’ve ever conjured up about this book into a document and sift through it, stitching the pieces together until its in some semblance of coherency.

So I guess that’s my next step moving forward: stop pressuring myself to write everything perfectly from the get-go. Stop romanticizing the perfect worldbuilding and plot twists. Stop holding myself up to a standard which will come in later drafts and just write.

I feel like I go through this with every single first draft I write, but now that I know this is what’s causing a block, perhaps I’ll be able to actually write through it.

x. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

Oh goodness. A normal writing day this month looks like me glancing at my computer, yawning, and then picking up my kindle to watch Netflix before inevitably taking a nap. XD

This month has been a strange one, guys, I’m not gonna lie.

But a typical writing day for me normally looks like me grabbing my laptop and bullet journal sometime in the afternoon or early evening, sitting down at either the desk by my bird cage or our dining room table, and popping in my earbuds before writing for a solid hour or two. If I’m REALLY trying to push a specific wordcount, I’ll stay up until 10 or 11 writing. If I have to work the next day, I’ll write earlier in the afternoon so that I don’t have to worry about not getting enough sleep.

Back when I worked at a thrift store and typically worked the night shift, staying up until well past midnight was the norm for me and my writing. I would camp out in my room with a blanket and my laptop and write late into the night, listening to the night sounds outside and reveling in the fact that I was doing something magical while the rest of the world slept. Now that I work at a coffee shop and open, however, I’m in bed by 9 o’clock. Which, you know, makes writing into the night a tad bit difficult. XD

It does come with its perks, though! For one thing, I’m typically home by 2:30, which means that the rest of the day is open for my creative endeavors. and now that I’m finally beginning to settle at my new job–YEET!–I’m excited to start using those afternoons for my writing.

So, swiveling back around to the point of this ramble, I don’t really know what my current writing day looks like. But by golly, I’d love to find out. Perhaps I’ll have to experiment and write a blog post on it someday…. *side-eyes teetering future blog post pile*

>>> <<<

talk to me, peasants!

And that, my friends, was part two of the Know The Novel linkup! I know my answers were a bit vague and mysterious, but like … I really haven’t written that much this month. XD Ah, well. There’s always December, right?

Anyway, let’s talk, shall we? What kinds of projects have you been working on this month? Have you been productive, or did your brain–like mine–decide you needed some unforeseen rest? Is anyone else sort of freaking out that Christmas is only 26 days away? And what sorts of books have y’all been reading? (i’m on a massive book binge, so any recs are wholly and completely appreciated XD)

For everyone participating in NaNoWriMo, I’d LOVE to hear all about your stories! And if you’ve written any blog posts about your current projects, PLEASE send me links! I’d love to read them!

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below! And until next time…

King’s Warrior Audiobook Release!

good morning, cyberspace!

If you follow me on any of my social media platforms, you PROBABLY already know what this here post is about. Recently, I was contacted by my lovely friend, Jenelle, to help spread the news about her first ever audiobook release, and today, my dearest of peasants, I’m finally able to do so!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children and the proverbial monsters beneath their beds……

KING’S WARRIOR IS NOW AN AUDIOBOOK!!

Excitement GIF

Y’all, I am so ridiculously excited for this. I’ve been wanting to dip my toes into the audiobook world for a LOOOOONG time now (hello, multitasking!), but I just … haven’t done it yet? But Jenelle recently released the first book in her Minstrel’s Song series as an audiobook, and GUYS. I AM SO SO EXCITED TO READ IT.

Or … listen to it? Eh, we don’t care about proper terminology ’round here. XD

Larry David No GIF by Curb Your Enthusiasm

Not gonna lie, there’s something about audiobooks that lowkey freaks me out. Not being able to read the story at my own pace, not being able to feel the pages beneath my fingers, not hearing the voices as I would have imagined them in my head … it’s all so strange to me, and I’ve only ever truly completed one audiobook in my life because of it. (it was The Giver and I am still emotionally scarred from that novel, folks.)

However, with that being said, Jenelle has said that she specifically wrote King’s Warrior–and the entire Minstrel’s Song series, I do believe–with the intent for it to be read aloud. And even just listening to the audible sample (link below!), I can honestly say I see what she means. The narration of this book literally whisks you away within seconds of hitting play. I’ve never experienced that with an audiobook before–it always felt more stilted than anything–so I’m extremely excited to continue listening to this book and–once I’m done–write a review for it! And I definitely cannot wait for the rest of the series to become audiobooks, as well. (the rest of the series is currently in the works to become audiobooks, and GUYS. THIS PLEASES ME GREATLY.)

But anyway! I think that’s quite enough rambling from me. Let’s take a peek at the actual story, shall we? XD

ABOUT THE BOOK

photo credit: Jenelle Schmidt <3

The hope of their world rests on the steel at his side….
Threat of invasion looms. Oraeyn dreams of glory on the battlefield.
Instead, he must engage in a battle of wills with a headstrong princess while ushering her to safety (and boredom) in a small village. But they must put aside their differences to save their homeland and complete the second part of their mission: seek out the legendary King’s Warrior to persuade him to take up arms once more.

When their journey leads them to the lost realm of the dragons they get
more adventure than either of them bargained for!

LISTEN TO A SAMPLE OF THE AUDIOBOOK!

Amazon
Audible

ABOUT THE NARRATOR

Benjamin Fife has always had a passion for learning. With a mind that
remembers all sorts of numbers and useless trivia, he regularly wins local
radio shows and enjoys confusing people with sci-fi quotes. Fife grew up in
Southeast Idaho. He attended college at Idaho State University, where he
met his future wife in their music theory class. They have been married nearly 20 years and now have six children and a whole menagerie of
animals.
 
When his oldest daughter was three or four years old they started reading
aloud from novels every night at bedtime, and have continued the tradition
ever since. The family loves exploring various worlds and topics through
Fife’s wonderful reading skills, which get better every year. They all have
his Christmas Carol voices memorized (and the older kids are known to
quote along with portions), since he has read it to them every December. 
 
Benny enjoys all kinds of sci-fi and fantasy – both books and shows, is an
extreme eclectic music lover, and prefers his chocolate to be of the 90%
cocoa variety. Above all, he loves to be with his family. He loves recording
audio books, and is delighted to tell people, “I’ve finally found what I want to be when I grow up!”

WEBSITE
LISTEN TO A SAMPLE OF KING’S WARRIOR

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenelle first fell in love with stories through her father’s voice reading books
aloud each night. A relentless opener-of-doors in hopes of someday finding
a passage to Narnia, it was only natural that she soon began making up
fantastical realms of her own. Jenelle currently resides in the wintry tundra of Wisconsin —which she maintains is almost as good as Narnia — with
her knight-in-shining armor and their four hobbits. When she is not writing, she homeschools said hobbits and helps them along on their daily
adventures… which she says makes her a wizard.

WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM

>>> <<<

Well, I do believe that’s all I’ve got for today, but before I officially sign off, I just want to say a HUGE congratulations to Jenelle for the release of her first ever audiobook! I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably say it a million times more, but you are literally my fairy godmother when it comes to all things publishing, and I am so impossibly blessed to have you and your stories in my life! Thank you for sharing your beautiful imagination with the world. <333

>>> <<<

talk to me, peasants!

All right, folks! Let’s talk all things audiobooks! Do you listen to audiobooks often, or do you prefer to read physical copies of stories? If you’re an avid audiobook listener, what are some of your favorite audiobooks to read? And for all my Nano-ing friends out there, how is NaNoWriMo going for you? I am currently very behind on my goal, but my heart is happy and I’m actually managing to stay sort of on top of the many things Life has decided to throw my way, so I’m not too upset about it. XD

As always, let’s talk about ALL of the things down in the comments below, and until next time…

Know The Novel – Part One: Re-introducing Project Goblin!

good morning, cyberspace!

My sincerest apologies for not having a blog post out this past week. I’ve been rearranging some things in my life, and apparently blogging fell a little bit by the wayside. Y’all know how it is. XD

Anyway! As I’m sure most–if not all–of you are aware, NaNoWriMo is once again on its way! In fact, we only have *checks watch* TWO DAYS (three days? my watch is a bit off, it seems) before it arrives! Which also means that October has somehow disappeared into the void behind us, but I digress. Time has no solidity in 2020.

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SUN

I wonder if the sun ever has a bad day.
If its alarm clock goes off
And it rolls over in bed
And that sinking pit develops in its stomach
As it remembers all of the wrong which occurred the day before.

I wonder if it considers simply never getting up.
If it would rather stay indoors
And wrap itself up in a nice cozy blanket
And eat some ice cream to feel better for three minutes
And then guilty for twenty.

I wonder if it asks the moon for just a few more hours
Minutes
Seconds
So that it doesn’t have to face the pain of simply existing
Anymore.

But then I remember
That even after the hard days
The tough days
The days that make me wish there were no more days to follow
The sun continues to rise
And pull itself out of bed
And brush its teeth
And hang itself nicely in the sky
So that it can smile down on me
And remind me that there’s still a little patch of good left in this world.

And if
Even after the bad days
The sun can continue to rise
Then I suppose I can try
To get up after the hard days
Too.

twenty-one

Twenty-one is such a funny age, isn’t it?
It’s poetry and ink-stained fingers
Hopeful eyes and broken dreams.
And yet
Scattered throughout the pages of this chapter
There is a wish
A dream
A captured breath
That says maybe, just maybe
What I’ve wanted all along will come to be.

I’m older and wiser than I was at seventeen.
Stronger and fiercer than ever.
My dreams are clutched tight in both hands
And this time I refuse to let them slip through like water.
This time I will release them into the air
One by one
Watch them sprout wings and fly
Flutter through the wind like dragonflies.
And maybe
Just maybe
They will come back to me
Land on my fingers and tell me stories of faraway lands
And long-lost hopes now forgotten.
They will tell me to wish upon a burning star
And continue to dream the most dangerous dreams.

Because the only dreams worth chasing
Are the ones with the potential to break you.

The 2020 Silmaril Awards – Awards Ceremony for Most Nefarious Villain

The Smudged Thoughts’ studio is eerily quiet. Darkness curls around its edges, shrouding the room in a thick blanket that’s nearly suffocating. Feet rustle in the stands. Someone munches on popcorn in the darkness.

A voice near the very back mumbles a grumpy “are you sure we’re in the right place?” to its companion, who hushes him almost immediately.

The time is exactly midnight, and the anticipation of the crowd is palpable. They know why they have gathered. They know what is to come.

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NaNoWriMo 2020: Should You Participate?

good morning, cyberspace!

That title is unapologetically clickbait and NO. I shall not change it. Mwahahahahaha. *coughs and adjusts the neck of my cape awkwardly* Ahem.

So as you can probably tell from the subtle bite in the air, October is quickly approaching. Or approaching as quickly as anything is expected to approach this year, which means that time is completely irrelevant and doesn’t exist. We could wake up to a fierce December snowstorm tomorrow and no one would bat an eye. But I digress. October is coming, and with it comes preptober, and for any well-worn NaNo veteran, you know exactly what this means:

The screaming.

The hair-pulling.

The sleep-deprivation.

NaNoWriMo is nigh upon us, my friends. And this year–not for the last time–I’m questioning whether or not to participate. And since I know for a fact that I’m not the only writer pondering this *waves happily at my writing group* I thought it would be fun to go over some of the pros and cons of NaNoWriMo that will more or less affect my decision on whether or not to participate.

Whether or not you choose to participate this year is completely up to you, of course, and I’m not here to sway you to either side–though you would think that is the purpose of this post. Some of the things that I consider cons might be meaningless to you, and that is perfectly okay. We’re all friends here. We can settle our differences over pitchfork battles and tea.

But before we start sharpening our blades, let’s discuss the actual pros and cons.

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