CAMP NANOWRIMO, 2021 – a subtle change of plans + my camp nanowrimo survival kit

good morning, cyberspace!

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I suppose I should have seen this coming, since nothing I plan ever goes quite like how I want it to, but I can’t say as though I’m disappointed with the very sudden turn of events my life–most specifically my writing life–has taken.

Do you guys remember how I mentioned very recently how The Plan for Camp NaNoWriMo 2021 was to finish the first draft of Project Goblin? A draft which I was already upwards of 30,000 words into? The draft of which I was confident I could finish within a single month?

Lol. Yeah, that plan flew out the window towards Neverland and hasn’t been seen since.

So, as it turns out, I’ve been struggling with writing this book for a couple months now. As a Plantser, I never truly know where the story is taking me until we get there–that’s part of the fun and mystery of writing for me–but I am familiar with the gut feeling that what I’m writing is wrong. Somehow, inexplicably, I can feel when what I’m writing isn’t what’s supposed to be written, and this division between my conscious and subconscious completely stalls the process.

And for the past two months or so, I’ve been feeling this exact phenomena. Day after day I’ve sat down to write, only to find myself staring at a page half-filled with words which don’t feel true to the story I’m trying to tell. And day after day I’ve wondered if perhaps there was something about this story that I’m missing. But the stubborn writer inside of me decided that this was just a phase–that if I just kept pressing forward, I would eventually hit the rhythm that I’ve been searching for.

Unfortunately, I can now report that this did not happen. I did, however, find something a little bit better.

I found an epiphany.

I don’t have these rare moments of brilliance often. In fact, I’ll confess that I typically only have one true moment of complete genius per book–if, of course, I even have one at all–but every so often, usually at the peak of frustration, all the pieces I’ve been struggling to fit into place finally click together. Suddenly, everything that was once foggy and uncooperative is perfectly clear. And that is precisely what happened with my smol trash gremlin, Project Goblin.

I was sitting at Pizza Hut, scribbling down a list of the story’s main cast members in a tiny notebook with a garish pink pen, when all of a sudden I had this beautiful, mind-boggling epiphany. An epiphany so shiny and perfect and new that I immediately began scribbling down ideas for it, completely ruining my linear character chart and ignoring my sad slice of pizza as it sat steaming on the plate in front of me.

All thoughts of food were gone; there was only room in my head for a single thought.

“they’re off to see the wizard”

Except it isn’t a wizard they’re off to see, but a goblin. And they weren’t going to ask for something they never had, but what was once stolen from them.

Despite the fact that “they’re off to see the wizard” really has absolutely nothing to do with the new direction of my book at this point, it still serves as the main epiphany moment, and is therefore my battlecry as I set off on this brand new reinvention of the story before me. 30,000 words of Draft Zero were stuffed away in a separate drawer–potentially never to be seen again–and I am now working from a brand new document, titled Project Goblin 2021. (I’m very clever with naming things, you see.) I’m about 2 and a half chapters in, my main character is finally (oh my WORD IT’S HAPPENING) starting to act like an actual human, rather than a cardboard cutout that just sort of wobbles around the world I’m building from scratch, and–best thing of all the things–I’m finally excited about this story again. That thing I thought was missing has finally been found, and I no longer have to question whether or not I should press forward or head back. I have direction. I have inspiration.

I finally have hope for this mess of a book.

And in honor of the fact that I completely ditched everything I’ve written for the past five months lolololololol finally have direction, I thought it’d be fun to finally reveal everything inside of my NaNoWriMo survival kit! Because I promised if I got around to it, I’d share that with you all, and I figure this will be a NaNo quite desiring of a survival kit if ever there was one before. (my sanity ditched me like five days ago and hasn’t since returned, so.)

>>> <<<

kenzie’s camp nanowrimo survival kit — 2021 edition

i. greg

Some of you may know this, others may not–my laptop’s name is Greg.

I do not, despite popular belief, tote around a singular man named Greg where’ere I go for writing inspiration. If, however, your name is Greg and you would like to apply for the position of part-time writing assistant, the fact that your name is Greg will probably (not) give you an edge on your application.

ii. usb drive

I haven’t backed up my novel in about five months. This is actually a terrible decision, and I wholeheartedly recommend NOT doing this if you’re planning on making any considerable sized dent in your manuscript this month. XD

Please, please–if you have any sort of consideration for your novel and time at all–buy a good (emphasis on GOOD) USB drive and backup your novel. Frequently. Once a day is good, but TWICE a day is better, especially if you’re writing a lot.

Many years ago I went through this phase of using adorable animal-shaped USB drives, and every single time my novel got corrupted and I lost thousands of words.

It was awful. I soon despised that penguin and octopus, let me tell you. So while the dark, stick-shaped drives at Best Buy might SEEM boring and unassuming, sometimes that’s precisely what you need in order to make sure your manuscript is safe.

Don’t trust your book to an octopus, friend. I beg of you.

iii. story-themed notebooks

Even though I tend to write my books on my laptop, it doesn’t feel like I’m actually writing a book until I have a story notebook to go along with it. everlost had a bunch of wide-ruled school notebooks–bits and pieces of story and plot bunnies scribbled out across them to the point where finding what I was actually looking for was somewhat of an impossibility. Project Sunset had a single squatty journal purchased specifically for that project. (the theme color for the story was yellow, and therefore I obviously needed a yellow notebook) And Project Goblin has an adorably wonky looking thing which I got from one of my coworkers as a birthday/parting gift when I left my last job. So, in order for this month to be a success–or, at the very least, survivable–I’m keeping this notebook close at hand for any moment when writing on a screen just won’t cut it.

Sometimes you just need a good stack of paper and a pen in order for the thoughts to start flowing, and when that time comes, it’s a lot easier to have a notebook already squared away for that exact purpose than to start asking random strangers in the restaurant for their napkins and half-chewed pens.

iv. pens & pencils

To go along with the notebooks, you always need a fresh assortment of pens and pencils to keep your creativity flowing during a high-stress month such as this. In fact, I would highly recommend beginning your collection of favorite writing instruments sooner rather than later, because those things have a nasty habit of disappearing right when you need them most.

v. project playlists

I recently got Spotify Premium with my family–hello, no ads!–and oh my goodness, I’m obsessed with making playlists! Most of them are for my drives to work or actual work (we get to play our own playlists over the speakers. it’s phenomenal), but quite a fair few in my dragon hoard are handcrafted playlists perfectly tailored for my books. The ones I’ll be using the most this month are for The Girl and The Goblin King and Project Sunset, since those are the stories I’m currently working on, but blogospherical is another well-loved music set which will be used quite frequently. XD

vi. my writerly muse

a.k.a. my smol bird friend, Durachi. I think the majority of you know by now that I have a cockatiel, but I think I fail to mention just how integral he is to my writing life. Durachi is incredibly helpful during the drafting process. He’s very patient with me when I start daydreaming during play-time, and exceedingly helpful with choosing which pens and pencils to use.

The scary ones, of course, get thrown away. (my hunch is that he can sense when they have no creativity left inside them, and therefore that makes them frightening. which, I mean, same. XD)

vii. my kindle

Since I’m going to be reading and taking notes on Project Sunset this month, I kind of need something to read it on. And since reading it on my laptop will only make me want to go in immediately with a red pen and edit All Of The Things, I’m going to read it on my kindle instead. This way, I can train my brain to see it in actual ebook format, rather than “writing” mode, and the only remaining danger is accidentally setting my entire kindle on fire out of sheer embarrassment and having to buy a new one from Amazon!

viii. reading material (for when I’m stuck)

I recently stopped at the library and picked up an embarrassingly large stack of tomes to read when I get creatively stuck, so hopefully these will get me through those annoyingly depressing dry spells….

(and also I hope I can renew these because there’s NO way I’m gonna read them all in two weeks….)

ix. an assortment of snacks (for when I’m hungry)

Aside from the typical chocolates and candies, I’m also going to start squirreling away tea and Dr. Pepper. Because sometimes you really just need a caffeinated boost to get you through the writing day, and there is truly no caffeine boost like that of the Dr. Pepper…

(I also work at a coffee shop, so for the most part I’m set on tea. In fact, I should probably stop drinking so much of it when I’m there. XD)

x. a good dose of dedication, persistence, and just a singular ounce of sanity

To be fair, I usually don’t have a whole lot of either of these at any given time, but I’ve learned that if I’m very, very careful, I can typically find a little bit of each if I try hard enough.

The sanity is entirely hit or miss, though. I never know if I’m going to have my head when I wake up in the morning, but by golly, I’m officially getting good at going throughout my day headless. At this point, I should probably move to Sleepy Hollow or something.

>>> <<<

talk to me, peasants!

And that, my friends, is my Camp NaNoWriMo update/what’s inside my survival kit! For all my fellow Wrimos out there, what sorts of things do YOU put inside your survival kit? have your camp nanowrimo plans altered at all since the start of the event? and have you ever had an epiphany so wonderful and huge that it made it physically impossible for you to eat pizza? (this was a first for me, and I’m genuinely curious if it happens to anyone else.)

As always, let’s talk about All Of The Things down in the comments below, and until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

Camp NaNoWriMo, 2021 – preparation

good morning, cyberspace!

Camp NaNoWriMo is just over a week away, and I am officially starting to panic. Not in an “oh my goodness I’m going to die” kind of way, but an “lol things are happening and I’m not sure if they’re good but YEET LET’S DO THIS ANYWAY” kind of way. It’s honestly very inspiring, and I’m even more excited for April than I was before, which is … saying something.

Aside from panicking about the approaching NaNo, my brain has also decided to start splitting itself away from the projects I’m supposed to be focusing on, and has instead popped a very intriguing, very time-consuming idea into my head. As of right now, it’s still in the very first stages of speculation. I still don’t know when or if or how long it will take to finalize should I continue with it, but I can say that while this new project is exceedingly exciting, I’m forcing myself to keep its progress to a strict minimum in the weeks to come. Most–if not all–of my writing time is currently devoted to Project Goblin, this blog, or writing random short stories for my own sheer amusement. Anything else is simply a distraction.

…or that’s what I’m trying to tell myself, at least.

I definitely did not start a Scapple board two nights ago onto which I’ve started flinging all of my wildest hopes and dreams for this project. Definitely not. (stop looking at me like that, I’m completely fine.)

Anyway, in honor of Camp NaNoWriMo’s ever-quickening approach, I’ve decided to make a list of completely non-writing related things I’d like to accomplish before the first of April! I mentioned in last week’s post that there really wasn’t much to do for Project Goblin prep-wise, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing I can do to mentally prep for NaNo! So without further ado, let’s dive right in!

>>> <<<

camp nanowrimo, 2021 — preparation

one – deep-clean my room

First thing’s first, I’ve been undergoing a deep, DEEP clean of my room lately, and I’d like to get that finished up before Camp NaNo comes. It’s not so much of a “this will help get me in the mindset for writing” kind of thing, but more of an “if I have all of this random stuff-purging done before April, I won’t have any excuses to procrasticlean”. And let me tell you–I am the QUEEN of procrasticleaning.

So the first step on my to-do list is to get all of my random junk tidied up and sorted out! And while I’m sort of half-n-half when it comes to cleaning, I’m actually weirdly excited for this one. I’m really enjoying the purging process, and I feel like once I’m done, I’ll have more of the things I truly enjoy, and less of the stuff that’s simply taking up space.

two – set up my story board

Or, as my writing group fondly dubbed it, my murder board. Essentially, I recently had the grand idea to start plotting out the scenes that still need to be written for Project Goblin–and any editing notes I’m going to be making for Project Sunset–out on my corkboard! My mom gave me a whole stack of neon-colored index cards which are PERFECT for color-coding different stories, and I’m extremely excited to start. Plotting has never gone too well for me in the past, but I think if I leave it open enough, my curious brain will still find nooks and crannies to investigate and pilfer through, which will continue to add a sense of discovery to the writing process which my brain so clearly craves.

three – prepare Project Sunset notebook

In order to start taking notes on Project Sunset, I need to get my notebook ready. I haven’t taken notes on a draft since everlost, and I’ll admit I’m a little bit rusty. But I have some Thoughts on how I want to take notes for this project, and while it may seem a little too advanced for my simpleton of an easily-distracted brain, I’m still choosing to be optimistic about this approach.

I also have a really cute notebook that I used while drafting this book, and MY GOODNESS I’m so excited to use it again… Toting that notebook around literally made me so happy when I was writing Project Sunset, and getting to bust it out again kinda feels like coming home.

four – equip myself with proper work attire

Fun fact: both jobs I’ve held within the past two years had mandated work attire. At Goodwill, I had to wear a bright blue shirt and–for the first 8 or 9 months–khakis. (this later turned into jeans, and my dear goodness it was the most wonderful change) At the coffee shop, I have to wear a store shirt and either a hat, visor, or headband. (I usually choose the hat.) I never really put much thought into mandated work attire other than the typical “huh. I wish I didn’t have to wear this today” kind of thing, but recently….recently I’ve begun to notice something.

The first day you wear your work uniform, you have this weird sense of imposter syndrome. You look at yourself in the mirror and wonder how on earth you managed to hoodwink your employer into hiring you, because holy guacamole you’re underqualified for this position. But then, as you get trained (or, in the case of Goodwill, thrown on the register and wished the best of luck) and begin to learn the ins and outs of the industry, you start to feel this strange sense of belonging when you go to work. You know what you’re doing (kinda), you love what you do and do what you love, and your uniform signifies that. You’re no longer an imposter in a hat. You’re someone who belongs.

And not only that, but for me, personally, I’ve noticed that whenever I’m at work, I have no trouble getting myself to stay dedicated and determined to succeed for my allotted time on the clock. There’s no sense of wanting to procrastinate. There’s no endless scrolling on my phone as soon as there’s a lull in work. Whenever it quiets down and there’s nothing straightforward to be doing, my brain automatically clicks into “find something productive to do” mode.

It shocks people when I tell them I’m a disorganized mess. It boggles their brain meats. Why? Because the person I give to others at work is a complete opposite of the person I give to myself. When I’m working for someone else, I’m committed and “on” at all times. I’m dedicated to my work and am willing to learn and grow and get better with each passing day. When I’m working for myself, I tend to grow stagnant. I tell myself that this pressing thing I’m supposed to be working on can be done tomorrow. I let myself procrastinate. I tell myself deadlines don’t matter.

But spoiler alert: deadlines DO matter. And as someone who hopes to someday be self-employed, I need to start treating my personal deadlines and goals with as much respect as I treat those imposed on me by others.

So I’ve been doing some self-reflection. I’ve been digging a little deeper into my psyche to understand the why’s behind this most confusing jumble of mental blockages. And after much thought and one too many lost staring contests with the floral patterned wall, I realized that there is one significant difference between my days clocked in as a writer and my days clocked in as a barista.

…at the coffee shop, I have a hat.

And it may not seem like much, but I have come to the conclusion that this hat is instrumental in my excellent work ethic. So after some digging, I decided to purchase a writing hat.

It’s coming in the mail on Friday, and I’m going to start wearing it every time I sit down to write.

…I cannot be stopped, peasants.

five – gather and curate my nanowrimo survival kit

Every year, I try to create a survival kit for Ultimate NaNo Success, and every year, I hardly use the things which I so carefully place inside of it. But this year … yeah, this year isn’t going to be any different. But I’m still going to create my survival kit, because GUYS. IT IS FUN.

And if you don’t believe me, you’ve clearly never created your own survival kit, and therefore I urge you to go change this immediately.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be placing inside my Survival Kit this year, but I guarantee it’s going to have some sort of Goblin-esque themed notebook, my USB drive (a must for intense drafting), and an assortment of pens and pencils I shall completely ignore in favor of a random black pen I find in the family pencil basket. (I’ve accidentally stolen a lot of those pens, actually… My apologies to my family members who can never seem to find a normal pen anywhere.)

Also maybe some snacks, my laptop (obviously), and a carefully curated playlist which I will also completely ignore in favor of my work playlist, which is fondly dubbed ’tis but a bop. (I’m so clever, oh my goodness.)

If my survival kit turns out to be something rather noteworthy, I’ll do my best to write a blog post on it! But for right now, I’m gonna stick with a Vague Mention of the thing. XD It really is fun putting these together, though, so seriously. 10/10 recommend creating one for yourself. (and if you DO end up making one, tell me all the things you put inside of it in the comments! I want to hear about others’ survival kits!!)

>>> <<<

talk to me, peasants!

And there you have it–my list of to-do’s to mentally prepare for the gloriousness that is Camp NaNoWriMo! Not listed are the sleepless nights and internal screaming matches between me and the Void, but I figured those were safely implied.

But now it’s your turn! what sorts of things do you do to prepare yourself–physically, mentally, etc.–for NaNoWriMo? do you have any “writing attire” that you wear while writing, or–similarly–any talismans that bring you good luck when writing? what kinds of things do you store in your writerly survival kit? are you participating in Camp NaNo this year, and if not, how can I convince you to change your mind? XD

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

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

Camp NaNoWriMo, 2021 — planning + plotting

good morning, cyberspace!

In honor of nothing particularly interesting happening in February in regards to my writing journey, I move to completely ignore last month’s statistics and instead pretend like everything is fine and my goals for the year are definitely not going up in flames before my very eyes. All in favor, say aye!

Lovely. Let’s move on!

So! It’s March! The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, my writerly muse has finally decided to return from his extended vacation in the Bahamas (thanks, Chess), and I–after a long, tiring winter–have decided that now is as good a time as any to dust off the potential I left to rot in the back of my closet and scrape together some semblence of a writing routine to get me through the next few months! And–with any luck–finally make some substantial progress on my current works-in-progress!

This surge in creating inspiration is aided by the fact that Camp NaNoWriMo begins next month (!!!). This will be my fifth year participating in the Camp session of NaNoWriMo, and let me tell you, folks: I could not be more excited. Camp NaNoWriMo–April’s session, in particular–holds a very dear place in my heart. It has helped me stay accountable to and finish so many of my writing projects, and–with any luck–this year it will be instrumental in doing it again.

I have many plans and ideas and goals for this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and while a part of my brain fears I may be biting off a wee bit more than one man can chew, I’m also incredibly excited to see what the next couple months have in store for both me and my projects!

…ah yes. You read that correctly. I’m going to be working on project(s) next month. Because I am nothing if not incredibly optimistic about the amount of side-hussles I can maintain.

>>> <<<

camp nanowrimo, 2021

With Camp NaNoWriMo just around the corner, there are two types of people crawling out of the woodworks: the writers who squeal and scream about Camp Nano and all their exciting plans for the month ahead, and their friends, who are even now buying earplugs to avoid the long, endless ramblings of writers who know not when to stop talking about half-bred goblin kings and monstrous trolls who may or may not actually exist.

I, of course, belong in the former category, and rightly so. I earned my “I’m a NaNo Fanatic” badge at the tender age of seventeen, when my friends would roll their eyes every time I started in again on the gloriousness which was Camp NaNoWriMo. “Here we go again” was a phrase I quickly became acquainted with, and one I adjusted to with just as much ease. There was a time when I wondered if perhaps I was a wee bit overexuberant in my NaNo excitement.

I now know that there is no such thing.

This year, however, while I’m planning on working on multiple projects, I am hoping that it’s a quieter sort of NaNo for me. I’ve only just gotten my excitement for writing back since it slipped out the window last autumn, and while I’m trying to get as much out of this sudden inspiration-fueled stint as I possibly can, the last thing I want is to use it all up and be left stranded again. So the plan is to gently grow my creativity over the next two months, carefully easing myself into longer writing projects as I reestablish myself into the writing groove I completely fell out of. Of course, as with most of my plans, I’m not holding out much hope for its success. But they say the best way to grow is to try everything you possibly can until eventually something sticks, so I guess I’m on a solid path.

(me. i said this. don’t judge me, please, i’m small.)

But all that aside, the projects I have prepped for Camp NaNo 2021 are–if I do say so myself–some of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on in a while. They’re books which feel like stepping stones towards the writer I want to be someday, and with a month filled with stories like that, well … what can possibly go wrong?

(*nervous laughter*)

project one – the girl and the goblin king

For anyone who’s been paying attention (lol, not me), The Girl and The Goblin Kingi is my YA paranormal fantasy, complete with goblins (duh), a starving artist, creepy triplets, and an anthropomorphic tree. So, essentially, it’s like a nightmare come to life, and I adore every single part of it.

There’s not a whole lot to do in regards to prepping this one, actually. I’m currently knee-deep in the first draft, so the majority of prep-work is simply me showing up to the story every day and putting words to the page–something I have obviously been struggling with. In a perfect world, I’d like to work out some of the kinks that I’ve begun to find within the narrative before April so I can start with a mostly clean slate, but this is, unfortunately, a first draft. And first drafts are messy, complicated, and in more ways than one, honestly terrifying to look at. If I’m able to simply hit the midpoint before April 1st, I’ll count my preparatory work as a win.

As for the actual NaNo-ing part of this project, my goal is to finish the first draft of Project Goblin by the end of April. March 31st is my soft deadline for this story, but with such a wild winter, I’ll be more shocked if it happens than if not. So my hard deadline for this project is April 30th, and if I don’t hit it, I will cry and eat a cookie in compensation give myself grace, because that is what I would give to anyone else in my shoes.

(oh, look at that. i think i spot some growth.)

project two – project sunset

Ah, yes. Anyone remember my sunshine child from last April? The gang is returning for another Camp this year, but this time, I’m going to be reading the words I wrote last year! (much nail-biting. such fear.) I literally have not done a deep edit or revision since the Great Everlost Expedition of 2018, and–if I’m being perfectly honest–I’m kind of scared to dive in, here. BUT. I remember greatly enjoying the revision process. It’s something I’ve come to love over the years, and taking something that was once pretty good and turning it into a semi-polished really good thing is where I feel I can really shine as a writer. Or perhaps I just feel that way because most of my first drafts are absolute garbage and I’m trying to convince myself that this does not make me a terrible writer. WHO CAN KNOW. XD

Prep-work for this simply involves compiling all the chapters I’ve written into a PDF (already done), and sending it off to my kindle for reading (soon to be done). Since all I’m doing for this project in April is reading through the book and taking down notes for revision, I’m not too concerned about finishing it within a month. This is mostly a “my brain needs a break from Project Goblin–OH LOOK. SHINY NEW THING” kind of project, so it’s very low-pressure, which is NICE.

I would, however, very much like to get the whole book read and have a solid plan for revision come May if I can! But that’s simply a cherry on top of the Project Goblin First Drafting cake. If it turns out that Project Goblin gets finished, and this poor, unfortunate little pancake is left miserably on its own till the end of Camp, I can’t say as though I’ll be disappointed. I’ll be too ecstatic over my brand new book baby to care too much. XD

>>> <<<

In all truth, I really just want to have some fun with my writing next month. I’ve spent so much of my career wondering if I’m “professional” enough to be a writer–if my words were good enough, bold enough, deep enough. Everyone looks at the greats and sees their writings as these deep, existential plunges into the human existence, and there are moments when I look at my life and the words I piece together and wonder how on earth I could ever compare to those who came before me. I’ll never be the next Hemingway or Tolkien or Lewis. I’ll most likely never write something that will be praised by the masses for its intricate tug into the heart of human life. But I can write things that are strange and quirky and odd. Things that will keep both my readers and myself questioning my ever-decreasing sanity. And I am so excited to take that deep, irreversible plunge into my own originality next month. I want these to be the first steps I take in which I truly allow myself to breathe, to stretch my wings and step off the cliffs of normality into the piercing waters of the unknown. And if it turns out that what I create truly is awful and unfit to be published, then I guess the intense fun I had while writing it will completely outweigh its crippling uselessness to me. XD

talk to me, peasants!

what are you guys working on next month? are any of you participating in camp nanowrimo? have you participated in the past, and if so, do you prefer camp or the OG nano? and for all the writers like me out there, have you ever had to remind yourself that writing should be not only an adventure, but fun? I think sometimes we get so caught up in the act of thinking of our writing as a profession that we forget to have as much fun with it as possible in the process–and I don’t want to stay inside that rut.

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

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

featured photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

All About That WIP! – in which we take a sneakety peek at each of my projects for 2021

good morning, cyberspace!

A while back, I did a poll over on my instagram as to which post y’all wanted to see from me next, and All About That WIP! sorta kinda won by a landslide. Which … I guess you guys are just really interested in my works-in-progress? Which is wonderful, I’m sure. This is pretty much every writer’s dream, right? To have people interested in their books and wanting to learn more about them?

Unfortunately, I prefer to keep all my projects under a pile of moth-infested blankets stuffed in the deepest, darkest corners of my mind where they can ne’er see the light of day, but I digress. Spilling all the nitty gritty details of my books is DEFINITELY not my worst nightmare which wakes me up screaming in the depths of the night! Lol, no not at all!

….

….

….

All right, let’s just get this over with.

>>> <<<

ALL ABOUT THAT WIP

So! You want to know about Kenzie’s story projects for 2021, do ya? Well, you’re in luck, my friend, because today’s post is all about the projects that I’m hoping to work on this year! Or rather, projects that I’m hoping to continue working on this year, because–not gonna lie–most of these have already been started and then just left to dangle ominously in the middle of their prospective plotlines until I find time to work on them again.

The life of a WIP is a very sad life, indeed.

But anyway. I should probably mention now that I’m not going to be going SUUUUUUPER in-depth on all of these projects. As always, I like to keep some sort of thinly-veiled mystery when it comes to my precious children, simply because I find that spilling the beans on everything often makes me no longer want to work on the story. But, at the same time, talking about my WIP’s helps me gain momentum to continue working on my projects, so essentially it’s just a very complicated balance of how much to share and how much to keep secret.

(are you confused yet?)

But hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll have gleaned a better understanding of the names and projects I’ll most likely be throwing around in a few weeks’ time, so for that, at least, this post should be fun!

But enough about that. Let’s start with the most important project you’ll be seeing around here…

i. PROJECT GOBLIN / THE GIRL AND THE GOBLIN KING / WELCOME TO INKWELL

beautiful mock cover designed by Shannon Aardsma! (links to socials below!)

Ah, yes! Project Goblin! I’ve been talking about this one rather frequently for a few months now, but the first time this particular WIP made its appearance here on Smudged Thoughts was back in 2018 as I was preparing to write it for my NaNoWriMo novel.

I ended up winning that NaNo with over 50,000 words, but–unfortunately–the story I was writing was not, in fact, the tale which I was hoping to tell. In 2018, PROJECT GOBLIN was known primarily as THE GIRL AND THE GOBLIN KING, but over the years, I became rather confused with what its name should actually be, and the name soon evolved into many different forms: The Girl and The Goblin King, Welcome To Inkwell, and simply Inkwell to name a few. The most recent variation, however, has returned to The Girl and The Goblin King, and from here on out, that is what we’re referring to it as here on the blog until further notice–or publication. *nervous laughter*! (and also Project Goblin. Because that is a LOT easier on the typing hand, my friend.)

All Bartholomew Todd wants in life is to draw comics that will make people smile. Unfortunately, when all you’re capable of drawing is the stuff of nightmares and horror films, it’s a little difficult to accomplish this.

More often than not, they run away screaming instead.

But when Todd is inadvertently kidnapped by the very creatures his hands have created, he finds himself torn in a war between two worlds: one he’s spent his whole life struggling to fit into, and one which relies on him–and him alone–to save it.

With a rogue band of misfits in tow, Todd must retrieve a little girl’s stolen smile from the lair of a wicked goblin king before it’s too late—both for Inkwell and himself.

Not gonna lie, this book has become exceedingly difficult to write over the years. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been trying to write it since 2018, but I feel like the core of this story has evolved and manifested into something so intricate and deep and whimsical that anything I try to write can’t possibly do the world I’ve built inside my head justice. But the characters, the world, the all-around vibe this book has grown into … words alone cannot possibly describe how excited I am to get to share it with you all someday.

If EVERLOST was my trash gremlin and PROJECT SUNSET my Sunshine Child, then I can only claim PROJECT GOBLIN as the book which is–at its very deepest of hearts–my true identity as a writer. This book has bits and pieces of every single one of my sides–darkness, humor, whimsy, pickpocketing gnomes, a guard dragon, goblins, magical pencils, curses, hope, love, enchanted enchantresses, fairies, pixies, potentially a troll or two, a scythe-wielding little girl… The writing of this novel is a complete and utter adventure–as most novels typically are–and following it down every single twist and turn is an honor I’m truly blessed to have.

(also also also! can we just take a moment to appreciate the absolutely DELIGHTFUL mock cover that Shannon Aardsma made for me??? this girl is absolutely wonderful, and I’m so so blessed to have met her through the writing community! you can find her over on instagram @shannonaardsmawriter, or over on youtube! definitely go check her out, guys. she’s incredible!)

ii. PROJECT SUNSET / SK

Writing Project Sunset was the highlight of my creativity in 2020, not gonna lie. Writing a whole book during Quarantine, having my first ever (and most likely only) 10k writing day, scribbling away late into the nights and sleeping way too late the next day… It was a process which I’m so utterly thankful to have had, and while the plot of this book desperately needs some first aid, I have hope that the editing phase will prove just as rewarding as the first drafting.

…with that being said, however, the plot of this book desperately needs some first aid. XD Part of the joys of first drafting is throwing every single idea at the wall and watching the chaos unfold, but unfortunately for me, this means my second drafts are very much me trying to scrape bits of noodle off said kitchen walls and cursing myself for not simply tasting the noodles to see if they were al dente in the beginning.

(…I swear that analogy made sense in my head before I wrote it out.)

Anyway. Once I finish up the first, very messy draft of PROJECT GOBLIN, my next project is going to be reading through the first draft of PROJECT SUNSET, making ALL OF THE EDITORIAL NOTES, and then promptly ripping my hair out as I try to edit the second draft into perfection.

Or rather, into a somewhat messy glob which, if you squint just right and tilt your head at a 90 degree angle, looks slightly like perfection’s second cousin, twice removed…

…we’ll get there eventually, okay. Anyway, some of the more interesting details about this book include:

  • a main protagonist who is obsessed with comic books
  • a group of very old friends who would legit die for each other
  • a black hole
  • a dude named Casey
  • an hourglass which holds the key to time manipulation
  • death
  • a theme of self-forgiveness
  • a single toupe

After the whirlwind that was the drafting process for this book, I’m just SO excited to dive back into it! Part of me wishes I could start immediately, but I have WAY too many things I’m juggling at the moment. ’tis a shame, of course, but sometimes life just be like that.

(also 10/10 already have this thing formatted into PDF for reading on my Kindle. I just need to catch up with myself, apparently.)

iii. PUMPKALAGOO

Aha! A project that I’ve only just briefly mentioned back in my 2021 Goals & Aspirations post! For the most part, I’ve kept rather silent about this project because I literally know virtually nothing about this story. But I’ve also kept quiet about it because … I legitimately do not even know what I’m doing with it anymore.

Obviously I’m still planning on writing it–I’ve had the idea stewing for far too long to let it go so easily now–but the fact remains that this book is … bizarre. It follows a teeny tiny witch and her teeny tiny black cat who live on the edge of a teeny tiny little lagoon which is currently inhabited by a teeny tiny octopus, and their adventures as they try to save their crow friend from the evil clutches of a king who really just wants some delicious pie…

…honestly, at this point, I’m just throwing random gibberish at the wall to see what sticks (I do this a lot, apparently), and unfortunately for me, all of it is sticking. Which means this book is getting oversaturated with absolute nonsense.

Which is, of course, my favorite kind of story.

Sometimes I wonder if I should physically be allowed to write books for kids. After all, I am the one who wrote a whole book with a severed arm which slowly decayed over the course of the entire plot. But then I remember that the minds of kids are far more deep than we give them credit for, and–more often than not–my deepest conversations are held between myself and children over half my age.

Also, what kid doesn’t want to read a rollicking fantasy about a teeny tiny witch who befriends a mismatched-sock-wearing octopus whilst crows get baked into pies?

It’s fine. Everything’s fine. I definitely should be a children’s author. 100% (tell me otherwise and I’ll either cry or stab you with a pitchfork. ye have been warned)

>>> <<<

And that, my friends, are the three main projects that I’m hopefully working on this year! Obviously I’m already working on PROJECT GOBLIN, which, you now, means I’m clearly ahead of schedule and am totally crushing this yearly goal thing….

….

….

lol.

Anyway. There are, of course, some projects I’m working on that were not listed among these, but those will continue to remain slightly secret until I’m more prepared to share them. Which obviously means you will never hear about them ever.

So clearly you should be as excited about them as I currently am. XD

But I digress! I’m extremely excited to dive into these projects, and am even more excited to get them into your hands someday. Eventually I’d love to get to the point where I can throw books at your faces and declare what a pleased novel-mommy I am, but before that can happen, I think I need to … you know … actually write the books.

So please excuse me whilst I go do that. The forests of Inkwell are calling my name, and I must answer.

talk to me, peasants!

what sorts of projects are YOU working on this year? are you someone who typically works on multiple projects at once, or do you prefer to work on a singular project at a time? (and if you DO work on multiple projects at once, how do you juggle them in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming? [this smol writer needs some MASSIVE help. XD])

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

* flings cookies in the air and disappears *

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

3. sy475

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

8428195

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

2213661

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

12600138. sy475

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

54198875. sy475

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.

>>> <<<

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*

February Is Fantasy Month Challenge!: in which kenzie screams about fandoms (oh no)

good morning, cyberspace!

Somehow–whether it’s by luck or sheer force of will–we survived my least favorite month of the year (*hisses vaguely at January*) and have arrived upon one of my favorites: February! I don’t know what it is about February that I love so much. Perhaps it’s the fact that everywhere you look, things are pink and purple and heart-shaped. Perhaps it’s that February First signifies the fact that I actually survived January, which has been habitually known for being the worst month of the year for me.

Or perhaps it’s the fact that every year, the internet explodes with a whole assortment of fantastical blogs and social media posts, because–as those in this circle of the internets know–February is Fantasy Month! And obviously anything to do with Fantasy deserves to be celebrated!

Back in 2016, the ever-lovely Jenelle Schmidt created Fantasy Month, and every year since, there have been prompts and blog posts and a whole host of fantasticalness to celebrate! And this year, I’ve decided to actually commit to participating all month long!

Or…sort of all month long? I’m not sure that all of my posts this month are going to be fantastical, but WE SHALL SEE, PEASANTS! (mwahahahahahaha)

I’m also going to be talking about all things fantasy over on my Instagram, so if you like pretty pictures to go along with my incoherent fantasy squealings, I’d highly recommend checking that out, as well!

But for today, I’m going to be answering all seven prompts in Jenelle’s #fantasymonth challenge! So if me screaming about fantasy fandoms sounds like a good way to spend the next six minutes, stay tuned, because we’re about to dive deep into my fandom past!

>>> <<<

i. what was the first fandom you fell into?

Uggggggh… This is a really tough question! (which doesn’t bode well since this is the first one. XD) Honestly–though I think this is going to be the answer that many bloggers give–I think the first fandom that I truly fell head over heels in love with was Harry Potter. There truly is no describing my obsession with not only that book series, but the movies, the characters, the video games. Anything and everything Harry Potter, I absolutely devoured. And I’m happy to say that even though it’s been years and years and years since I first discovered this fandom, I’m still just as in love with it as I was when I first fell down that rabbit hole.

I don’t think anything can truly compare to my overwhelming love for the world of Harry Potter. It takes me back to a time when anything was possible, and rereading those stories and revisiting that world is like stepping back in time to my childhood.

ii. what is the most recent fandom you’ve become a part of?

Bold of you to assume that I can remember the fandoms I enter on a daily basis. XD

I mean, to be perfectly honest, though I’m obsessive and fangirl about a LOT of things, I must admit that most of the fandoms I’m a part of, I’ve been a part of for years. I don’t generally develop hardcore obsessions very easily, but when I do … well. Let’s just say that I take my obsessions to the extreme.

So in regards to this question, in order for me to count something as one of my fandoms, it has to hold the same weight as Sherlock, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, etc… Which obviously means that I talk about it at least once per day, possess multiple merch items from within said fandom, and become over-excitable whenever such a fandom is mentioned within general conversation.

It’s a difficult bar to hit, which probably explains why nothing has been hitting it recently.

However… I HAVE started watching FMA: Brotherhood with my friend, Phoebe, and LET ME TELL YOU, FOLKS. This show is very nearly becoming one of those obsessive fandoms. I haven’t collected any merch yet, but I desperately want to continue watching it and–potentially, since this is a genre I’m very skeptical on–read some of the graphic novels that go along with them. And also collect merch.

All of the merch.

(“cAn I eAt ThEm NoW?”)

iii. star wars or star trek?

Star….

….

….

….

….

….

….

….

Wars.

I honestly don’t know if I trust anyone who chooses Star Trek over Star Wars*. I’d have to do a thorough examination of our friendship if they prefer Spock to R2D2.

(*pssh, lies. but also I will convert you.)

iv. marvel or DC?

Oh, absolutely Marvel! I mean, how can you choose anything other than Iron Man and Spider Man and Thor and Loki and Black Widow and Hawkeye? Batman is great–don’t get me wrong–but Marvel is forever and always where my heart will be.

(also can we just pretend that Endgame never happened? Because I’m totally down for choosing to believe that whole fiasco was just a nightmare my pre-apocalyptic brain dreamt up one night for my sheer amusement.)

v. what is a fandom you love enough to want to live inside that world?

This one may garner some strange looks from acquaintances, but Alice In Wonderland. 100%, hands down. I can’t even tell you when my adoration for this story first began, but I have a vague feeling it happened sometime around 2010, when Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland officially hit theaters.

Coincidentally, I also think this is when my obsession with all things Tim Burton first began, so really I have Alice In Wonderland to thank for introducing me to the world of Tim Burton, and also for showing me that it’s perfectly normal to be perfectly weird.

And not only that, but can you imagine living in the same world as the Mad Hatter and Absalom and the Bandersnatch? I want to paint roses red and cut off heads and wear floofy blue dresses and wonderful hats and have slightly insane tea parties. It would just be so magical and beautiful and impossible–the perfect combination. And you wouldn’t have to worry about sane people coming ’round and ruining your fun, because everyone in Wonderland is perfectly unsane.

I just … I love Wonderland. I would live there for an eternity, if I could.

vi. if you could hang out with a character from one of your fandoms, who would it be and why?

I mean, aside from the obvious (since, you know … he’s a villain and also quite possibly psychotic), I’d probably have to choose The Doctor. Who, granted, isn’t any less insane, but at least you know his intentions are good. XD

I’ve always had this wild fantasy of becoming part of the Doctor Who family, actually–whether that’s by someday writing episodes for the show or by starring as a background cameo–and although the logical part of my brain knows that this will most likely never happen, he’s constantly overshadowed by the much larger, wilder side of myself which feeds off delusions and the most unbridled of fantasies.

However, even if my dream of writing for Doctor Who never happens–which it mostly likely will not–at least I can still choose to spend a Day with the Doctor. Which will most likely end up being years, because time travel travel and time-space continuums and all that wibbly wobbly … timey-wimey … stuff.

(my mom would like to add the comment that I would absolutely NOT pick the Doctor, and would, in fact, choose Moriarty. whether or not I want to, I must admit she’s probably correct in this assessment. but alas. I’ve already typed up my answer, and therefore we are sticking with it. XD)

vii. unknown fandom (something you love but nobody else seems to have heard of)

Um…

Narrator: and it was within this exact moment that Kenzie realized she’s a most basic peasant, and therefore knows nothing unique or unknown

So. This is awkward. Tbh, I’m not that unique in my fandoms. I like a lot of overhyped things, which honestly makes me rather lame. BUT. I talked to my writing group, and they sort of collectively agreed that The Lunar Chronicles is a lesser known fandom, so therefore THAT IS MY ANSWER.

Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely ADORE The Lunar Chronicles. Cress and Thorne and Iko and Cinder and Kai and Jacin and Winter and Scarlet and Wolf … they are all my precious children, and I adore them with my whole entire heart. (also would 10/10 murder a small man to get to play Cress in the live-action remake but YA KNOW. Previous obligations and whatnot)

Also–and I only just remembered this one–the show Fringe is definitely another fandom of mine, and literally no one seems to know about it whenever I bring it up in conversation. (also this one is lowkey science-fiction, so whether or not it actually counts is highly up for debate. but since this is more fandom-themed than fantasy-themed, I’m going to assume that it does…? yes…? *nervous sweating*)

I also think Kyle Robert Shultz’s Afterverse is highly underrated, especially by people outside of this wonderful writing community, so could we PLEASE get this man the recognition he so clearly deserves? Please and thank you.

>>> <<<

And that, my friends, was the #FantasyMonth challenge! Definitely check out Jenelle’s blog for more Fantasy Month goodness, and also keep an eye out on instagram for more fantasy-ish-ness from me! (and also the blog, obviously. but I have some fun behind-the-scenes ideas for my instagram that I’m really excited to experiment with! Whether they’ll actually turn out is another thing entirely, but we shall see. XD)

talk to me, peasants!

what are some of your favorite fantastical things? do you enjoy overhyped fandoms, or do you prefer to find the obscure and anonymous before pledging your loyalty? what was the first fandom YOU ever fell in love with?

Let’s talk about ALL of the fandom-y/fantasy things down in the comments below! And as always, until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

just a thought

i’ve never met someone
so good
and strong
and kind.
whose heart isn’t shaped
by the world’s thundering opinions
but by what they believe
the world should be
instead.

and yet there’s a sadness
an understanding
that i see inside those smiling eyes.
and maybe the rest of the world
is too distracted to see it.
too blinded by the light you put into this universe
with seemingly so little effort
to notice the weight on your shoulders
which you feel you must carry alone.

but i see it.
and i know you’re not broken–
not truly–
just a little bit chipped.
and i know that things which seem so effortless
so simple
really take everything we have left inside.
little by little
piece by piece
until we feel as though we’ve lost ourselves
to a darkness we didn’t know existed.

and here we are with empty hands
to find ourselves again
and again
until one day we’re not so lost
and not so broken
and the light in our eyes feels a little less like a lie
and a little more like a truth
which we’ve wanted to believe for years.

and it’s a magical kind of change
a beautiful sort of freedom
that lifts you up on your toes to catch a falling star as it passes.

and maybe we’re not there yet
still caught up on this winding road of trying and failing
to reinvent ourselves.
but there are wildflowers in the ditches
and bumblebees in the flowers
and i think
though it’s a little darker than we would have liked
i’d like to stay here a while
and catch a falling star or two
with you by my side.

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

>>> <<<

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.

>>> <<<

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)

>>> <<<

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