Twin Moment

Writers. Twins. Biologically unrelated. Laughing at
ourselves (and each other), listening to amazing
music, and living life epically. We present, our blog.
Prepare to be astounded.

NaNoWriMo Is Heeeereee

Wooahh... what is this thing? This... white space for typing? This purple website for... could it be, blogging? That ancient and foreign concept I've long forgotten how to do?!?

Let's just say that life has been happening and happening, and I'm lazy and I tend to have interesting priorities and somehow blogging didn't make the cut. I guess it's just not important anymore? Don't take it personally. I don't understand either.

But REALLY. This was bad. The entirety of October, I think. Maybe even September. I'll have to check. I really have no excuses except what I already said above. More specifically, it's been dance and work. I'm living the dream life as far as ballet goes and filling in all the extra hours with working to pay those very expensive dance bills. (And other bills, for that matter. It's not very fun to grow up.)

In the midst of all this craziness, I've been learning a lot about myself and the world around me, and it's been an interesting time of challenges, growing, changing, and understanding. It's been good. I only wish I'd blogged about some of those experiences, talked to you all a little more, kept in touch. You know. Those good things.

But alas, I did not! So here we are, on the eve of NaNoWriMo, with me talking myself into a corner and you most likely amazed that you're reading anything on the long-abandoned Twin Moment.  So, let's talk about NaNoWriMo. Seems fitting. I for one will be staying up until midnight tonight to start things off right. Thank you Twin for that glorious idea.  And I fully intend to write 50k or more and finish another sloppy, hurried novel. Woohoo!

What about you? Are you participating? Why or why not? Also, do include what's new. Because I feel like we haven't spoken in forever, and I miss you guys. Tell me how life is! How your novels are! Everything! Anything!

I'll be in the comments waiting.

See you there!

Giving 200%

Ahh, man. All the different ways I could word my apology! I have plenty of reasons, excuses and explanations for why there hasn't been a word out of me in forever. But maybe I'm just flattering myself that people are waiting? I mean lets be honest. I wouldn't hang around this blog, either, dead as it's been.

Since I've started dancing gain, I've (joyfully!) let ballet consume my life. Getting back into shape is a painful, time-consuming process, but I've been thoroughly enjoying it anyway. Even if it has pushed things like blogging, novel-writing and book-reading to the bottom of the pile.

But hey! Enough about the past. I'm blogging right now! Yay!

So, I thought I'd talk about something - just briefly - that I've been learning to do in ballet and that (as I so cleverly thought, while I was trying to decide on a blog post topic) realized can apply to writing, too. Actually, it can apply to any passion you have in life, that you want to do well at. And that is giving 200%. Giving your all. Every last ounce of your strength and willpower, and then some. Doing the best that you can, simply because you love something, even when it hurts. Even when you feel like you're failing. Even when the sweat rolls down your back.

Heard it before?

Writing takes so much (emotional) strength and willpower. Maybe it's not as physically exhausting as something like dance, but it will still make your brain hurt! It can make you cry and ache in a different way. But still, like any art form, it's something we do because we're passionate about it, despite the pain. Because we enjoy it. We love it. Right? If you're shaking your head, then maybe you need to be doing something else. I can't imagine what would motivate you to slave through the writing process but pure, raw love for the art of it. The experience. The reward. Whatever it means to you, personally. Unless it's money.

And in that case, maybe you need to be doing something else, too. But that's a different topic entirely.

Anyway. That love and passion is how I feel about dance. It's what motivates me to lift my leg just an inch higher, to point my foot a smidge harder, to put a smile on my face even when I feel clumsy and not-good-enough. That love for the art of dance, the expression through movement, is what motivates me to give 200% of myself. And then some. To mean it.

I firmly believe that THIS is the mindset that will carry you to your dreams.

Continue to give your best and give your best. Take correction, absorb encouragement, don't forget to breathe, and above all keep pressing forward. Because one day you'll meet your small goals, and then your bigger goals, and you'll be where you want to be, living life how you want to live it.

And until then, enjoy the process.

Enjoy the drafting. Enjoy the revising. Enjoy the editing. Enjoy the polishing. Enjoy the tearing, the shredding, the tears, the laughter, the disappointment, the success, the failure, the excitement, the raw passion. Because you love this. And you can do it.

I believe in you.

Give 200%.

And then some.

I'm done. Have wonderful Wednesdays, everyone! Enjoy the sunshine if it's sunny where you are, and the rain if it's raining where you are. And talk to me in the comments! Tell me what's new, how your novels are going, if you have any weekend plans. It's been forever.

Best part of today: Cold weather, warm sunshine.
Currently craving: A warm drink.
Music pick: "Time" by Hans Zimmer (Inception soundtrack)
I'm reading: "Reckless" by Cornelia Funke (it's so-so, in case you were wondering)
WIP: Drafting Survival (32,638 words)


Be Inspired Blogshop Meme

Hey, hey! We've been tagged by the lovely Silent Pages. (And twice by Amanda. The fien––charmer.) And we figured we'd just do a double-whammy post and squish all the awesomeness together. Less confusion (and fewer bloggers we have to tag) that way. Let's get this started!

1. What is the name of your book?

Maggie: Survival. Which, I'd like to say, is a VERY temporary working title! I know it's cliche, I know. I'll think of something else.

Constance: Ze name is Guilt! I dunno if it's cliché...but it fits. Like...a lot. You'll see soon, pretties.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

Maggie: Hmm...where did it come from? Well, I've always been fascinated by survival, and the idea that we 21st-centurians are too dependent on modern conveniences, to the point where if we were stranded in the wild for a couple days it could be the end of us. One of my favorite TV shows ever is Man vs. Wild-- I've seen every single episode available on Netflix. So I guess this story was just waiting to happen. :) It felt really natural once I got the idea (what if five teenagers, who don't really get along with each other, were put in a survival situation together!?!?) and started plotting for it.

Constance: My idea. HMM. I'm not entirely sure! I often wonder what it would be like to be stuck with different abilities––not necessarily awesome things like invisibility and flying and controlling elements––and be the only one. And once, a year or two ago, after feeling guilty about something my brother got in trouble for (I'm rather sensitive to the emotions of those around me...I'd say empathetic, but I can't use that word without thinking empath and super powers, which I do not have. So. =P), I wondered––what would it be like for someone to get the guilt of those around her...all the time. And from the times I'd taken the blame for things when I was little just so the getting-in-trouble could be done with, I added into that: what if the only way she could get rid of it was to 'fess up for these things she didn't do? (That bit has since been revised, but not totally.)

3. In what genre would you classify your book?


Maggie: Adventure, for sure. There's nothing fantasy in it at all (which is very unusual for me). It's (hopefully) gritty, real, and (definitely) set in this day, age and world. So, yes. Adventure.

Constance: Fantasy! Not epic, because it's very much focused on one person, and the world doesn't hang in the balance. But decidedly fantasy. However, it's not quite a medieval fantasy, either. They wear trench coats and fedoras, guns exist but aren't popular, and they have technology––through magic. It's supposed to have a sorta noir vibe. That's the goal, anyway.
 
4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?


Maggie: Eesh. I'm going to have to agree with what Silent Pages said and go with whoever would play the characters best. I've no idea when this book will hit the bookshelves and, even less, when it would hit the big screen. (Like the optimism? I have big plans for my stories!) So even if I *did* choose actors now, they'll all be too old by the time it's ready. So, I'd say whatever budding young talents walk into the audition room and NAIL my characters will make me very happy.

Constance: I am going to be more exciting than Maggie, Amanda, AND Silent Pages by actually choosing a few people. If in some lovely world where my novel was finished, published, and had a movie in the works, my ideal cast would be...Andrew Lee Potts would be my MC's brother, Bazel. Which is wrong, because my MC and Bazel are actually Middle-Eastern in my head, but...I recently watched Syfy's Alice miniseries, and Potts plays Hatter, and he sorta acts like I imagine Bazel. So. Ethnicity aside, Potts could play Bazel's personality to the B. One of these darlings would be Twitchett, one of my other character's pet dragon. He's cat-sized like that, even. *pets him lovingly* (Because dragons make everything better!) I don't have anyone for the MC or Helena. But yeah. You gets Bazel and Twitchett, what more could you want?
 
5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.


Maggie: One sentence? Well, for the first time, I'm ready with an answer! (Usually, I hem and haw at this question.) 5 teens are stranded in the wilderness of the Smoky Mountains and must rely on 17-year-old Liora Caldwell's knowledge of survival (and each other) to make it back to civilization- alive. May not be the most cleanly-written one-sentence synopsis you've ever read, but that's the story in one sentence! (Liora's the MC, if you didn't already figure it out...)

Constance: I had one sentence once. I don't know where I stashed it. Off the top of my head it is! When guilt-cursed Rena comes across the trail of a serial killer she must accept her estranged brother's help to track down the killer before he tracks her down––or the guilt from the murders drives her insane. Meh. I liked the other one I had better.
 
6. Is your book already published?


Maggie: *snorts* No way. I'm not even finished drafting it!


Constance: What Maggie said.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?


Maggie: Wait, is the point of this to talk about a finished manuscript?? I thought it was your latest WIP? Well, uhmm... so far, I've been writing it for a month. Which is long, for me. I've been too busy to write the past couple weeks. It better not take any longer than half of September to finish. *severe glare at myself*


Constance: Oh heck no. I am not going to start this blog post over with a finished MS. Maybe I'll do that in a later blogpost. I was tagged three times, I could do that. =P
Ahem. I've been working on it officially since mid-July. June. I can't remember. I get those two mixed up sometimes.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?


Maggie: I don't know. I don't read adventure. *shrug*

Constance: Er. Um. Er. I know not. I read fantasy, but I can't think of any other fantasies with noir-bents. (That's more steampunk, I think, and I don't read those much.) Grace...ling? No. Uuuhhh...Stories with magic in the backdrop, but main characters with unique abilities, weird even for a world with magic? WHY DO YOU ASK HARD QUESTIONS?
 
9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?


Maggie: None? I just got inspired and had to write it. No authors involved. ^^

Constance: None.
 
10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.


Maggie: It's big on psychology and relationships and the like. I'm having too much fun exploring the emotions of being stranded in the wild, the intense stress/burden of being the sole person responsible for the fate of four lives, etc. Also, the concept that you don't really know someone's true colors until you survive in the wild next to them. (My fascination with that idea began while watching Out Of The Wild: Alaska and Out Of the Wild: Venezuela, trying to predict who would be the first to bottom out and who would be the strongest and last 'till the end.) Survival has a lot of emotional turmoil, ups-and-downs, surprising twists, etc. and I'm really having fun putting my characters to the ultimate test, pushing their limits, and watching them break down (or rise up).

Constance: A girl who gets guilt from bad guys! And is a bounty hunter with a trench coat! And a mini-crossbow! Dragons. Unicorns (I have a link to explain how I logicked that one). Psycho villain (those are my favorite kind)! Did I mention the dragons?

 11. Tag five people!

1. Matt at One Page At A Time. (You've been tagged twice, dahling. You MUST blog. ^^)

2. My(Constance's) beautiful, brilliant, charming, funny crit partner Rachel at Fortune Favors the Brave. (So maybe I just wanted to take the moment to brag about her existence. You would too.)


3. Kaye at Watercolor Moods. She's so pretty and smart and should brag about her awesome story more.

4. Alyssa at I Am Writer... Here Me Roar. Hi Alyssa. You should do this, pretty please? ^_^

5. André! He doesn't exactly have a blog, but he has a tumblr, and he can use that, and I'm running out of teens and he better do it or else. *pleasant smile*


Feel free to grab and fill one of these out, even if you haven't been tagged! Maybe those aren't the rules, but they are now. And for your grab-and-filling-out convenience, here are the blank, unanswered questions:

1. What is the name of your book?

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

3. In what genre would you classify your book?

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

6. Is your book already published?

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.

11. Tag five people!

The Strength to Share

This post is kind of about me, personally, and my writing journey. In particular, something I struggle with, and often stands between me and growing as a writer, I think. As I just announced the winner of a first-chapter-plus-query-letter critique over on Write On!, it got me thinking about critiques in general, and how I am -- wait for it -- afraid to share my work.

Not afraid to be critiqued, mind you. Official critiques, I'm okay with. I've been toughening my skin for years, thanks to some really important people in my writing life. While it'd be lying to say that it doesn't hurt anymore for me to hear that my character is unlikeable or my story is plotless -- I've had my fair share of pouting and discouragement, for sure! -- I will say that I've come a very long way. The prospect of having my work torn to shreds doesn't really daunt me.

Or does it?

Because here I am, facing this problem: I don't share my work. Can't. Won't. If you ask me: "Oooh, when will you be done? Can I be first to read it!?" I'll probably hem and haw some noncommittal answer, and you'll probably never see a paragraph.

I do realize this is a problem. And I've given it lots of thought.


Why don't I want to? 


Why is it so hard?

While digging around in my thoughts and actions, I've come up with this answer: It's not that I'm afraid of critique, necessarily, but rather, I'm afraid of a label. In particular, a "this is the best she can do" label. A sort of rejection, if you will. I don't want you to look at my work, today, and judge that as the best I can do. Because, whether it actually is or isn't, for whatever reason, I'm anxious to prove to you that it's NOT. That I will do better next time. Can do better. Simply must do better.

So just wait 'till next time, I say. Wait until the next novel. It will be good enough for you to read, then.

Of course, it never is. No sooner am I done with the next novel, I'm also in a hurry to bury it in a drawer somewhere and guard it, so not a word escapes.

This is my predicament, and it bothers me. I want to have a tough skin, in the sense that I can finish a manuscript and simply let a friend read it-- no big deal, right? I want to be able to let anyone read my work, faults or no, and trust that they'll understand I'm a learning, growing writer. We all are, after all. J.K. Rowling is still learning. Suzanne Collins is still learning. I sincerely hope that Stephenie Meyer is learning-- a lot. *cough* (Couldn't resist.)

Which brings me to the part where I implore for your advice and thoughts. What do you suggest I should do to kick myself out of this stuck place? Should I just send people my work without a second though, and be vulnerable? Let me know in the comments. We have tea, hot chocolate and big squooshy chairs down there. You should stay a while.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Best part of today: The cool morning!
Currently craving: A coffee-based drink.
Music pick: "Love" by Im Jae Bum
I'm reading: "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris
WIP: Drafting Survival (16,068 words)

Back in the swing of things

Ohhh my. I haven't blogged in so long. But it's okay, because here I am today, ready to share some stuff that's been going on in my reading/writing life and to ask about you and yours.

So. Here goes.

I'm writing again! Or I should say, drafting again. After trying and trying to get on the ball with Aqueous revisions, I just wasn't feeling it. You may or may not understand or work like this, but sometimes there are Other Stories just pressing on your mind, and no matter how hard you try to finish one thing, it's not where your heart is, so you might as well save yourself the time and energy and just GO WITH IT.

It was one of those situations. Aqueous is wonderful and I'll polish it one day, but that day is not today. And the story responsible for my distraction is -- surprisingly -- a YA adventure survival story. For someone who writes mostly fantasy/sci-fi, this is an unusual direction to go in, but I'm actually doing happy dances of excitement over it. (I guess that's kinda obvious since it distracted me from Aqueous.)

Yay for writing!

The other thing I wanted to talk about is the book I'm reading. "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris. Any of you seen the Johnny-Depp-starring movie that's so mouth-watering you should never watch it without a box of truffles in hand? Well, I didn't realize 'till a couple days ago, while perusing the library, that the movie is actually based off of a novel. And I was horrified, because I watched the movie first without even knowing. Some writer I am!

Anyway. I've really been enjoying it! So far it's proven to be just as sumptuous as the movie. I would recommend it if you want a delicious, satisfying read. (Of course, that may change when I finish it. I might really hate the ending. Who knows?)

So! This is the part where you tell me what you've been up to. What are you working on? What are you reading? How's your summer (or, er, winter...) going? And what are some ways I could motivate myself to blog more often? 'Cause it's just not happening.

Have marvelous Mondays, everyone!

Best part of today: The hot chocolate I'm about to make. (Ha!)
Currently craving: Chocolate, chocolate chocolate.
Music pick: "What's New" by Marian McPartland
I'm reading: "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris
WIP: drafting Survival (9,109 words)

Kinda been forever...

Wow. I've really, really dropped the ball on blogging lately. My excuse is life-- it happens, and it gets busy, right when you don't need it to. And, of course, there's laziness, too. That tends to get in the way more often than I'd like.

Since I don't have much to blog about, and it's been a while since we've talked, anyway, I'll just fire a bunch of questions at you!

How are you? What's new in your life? What have you been up to? Any new, awesome posts on your blog that I haven't yet read/commented on?

Share away!

Hopefully I'll have something more interesting for you guys soon.

Joyful


Note: I wrote this post on Monday. Forgot to ... er, post it. Time for a journey into the past! (Though the emotions are still very present.)

First thing I'd like to say is that this is going to be a pretty personal post, but it's something I feel I should share with you all since I've talked about it a little before. Yes, if you haven't guessed already, it's about dance. 

In case you don't already know (and I'm sorry for repeating myself if you do!), I got the OK from my spine Dr. back in January to dance again. This is a really, really big deal to me after almost four years of being unable to. As you can imagine, the past couple months, there's been a lot of what-should-I-do-about-money and I'm-trying-to-get-in-touch-with-old-teachers and how-will-I-ever-get-back-into-shape? and OH-MY-GOSH-IS-THIS-REAL-LIFE!? A lovely swirl of emotions, but also confusing and a little scary and-- yeah. You get the picture.

Now that I'm a high school graduate (whoot!) and the stress of tests and classes is buried with triumph and relief in my past (for now...), I think I've finally absorbed the fact that I can really dance again. It only took me four months. *cough*

Long story short, I connected with an old teacher and am (almost) set up to take private lessons with her (experienced) daughter. Private. Lessons. That's interchangeable with "dream come true" in my life. They're offering me an amazing price that's sensitive to my budget, and are ready to work with me to get my body back into shape. 

There really aren't words.

My phone conversation with Ex-Dance-Teacher took about 48 hours to really sink in, and it's only this afternoon that I've sat scrolling through pictures of pointe shoes and grinning my face off. Because I can't believe I'm going to dance again.

Everything's so tentative yet as far as my plans and how long this will go on. And money is still something of an issue, so there's definitely lots more working in my future if I want to chase this dream. But chase I will. 

It's going to be wonderful. I can feel it.

Ehh. Now I feel all emotional. I want to thank you all for your excitement and encouragement and support in the past-- especially you, Twin. Whether you all know it or not, the things you've said to me through chat boxes, comments, and the Write On! forums have all uplifted or encouraged me in one way or another during this process of waiting-to and now getting-back-into dance. It all means more to me than I can express, even as a writer.

Have wonderful Mondays, everyone! Enjoy the little things in life tonight; they're what give depth and richness to life.

Best part of today: Making plans to dance again.
Currently craving: Exercise! (I know, right? I think it's weird, too.)
Music pick: "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy
I'm reading: "Mistborn Book #1" by Brandon Sanderson
WIP: AQUEOUS revisions + plotting TITLE-LESS + drafting SURVIVAL (not simultaneously, but rather in a disorganized fashion working on all 3, slowly)

Sewing and Paddling


Hello darlings. I got a bit of chewing out from Twin dear for not posting while she was on vacation... *cough* >.> So I thought I should probably post before I go off and vanish from the face of the internet earth for two weeks. So here I am!


Anyway. I told you last time that I have taken up sewing. Well, I thought I would share what I've made.




This is a pillowcase I sewed for my friend Bennett. 
And the other side.
He is Canadian. I found great amusement in giving him such an American present. *grin*


Here is my first clothing item:




It's actually a tablecloth––saved me having to hem it––and I just cut a hole in the middle and added a waistband, basically. Very simple! And very happifying. It swishes. Which you obviously can't see in this lame photo.


Anyway. I've made a few other things (a bag I LOVE and a blouse I don't) but I do not have pictures of those. But yeah. I enjoy sewing. ^_^


I want to hear how all you darling people are, even though I am leaving and won't see or manage to respond until I return. I'm going on a canoeing trip! In Minnesota! In border waters! HOW EXCITING. Contrary to popular belief, I won't get eaten by bears. Just mosquitos.


Twin Moment of the Day: Vacation time!
Reading: "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge
Listening to: "Memory" from the Cats musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber
Grateful for: R&R from work.
Wanting: Some time to actually relax
Writing: Guilt

Leavin' planet earth!

Just kidding! But my vacation starts today and thus I won't be online at all. I've really needed this opportunity to unplug, and I intend to enjoy every moment of it.

See you all in a week or so!

5 Free NaNo books!

I've done it. *headdesk* I payed $5 shipping to have 5 once-edited (poorly structured, plotless, etc.) copies of my NaNo book sent to my doorstep. Honestly, I'm not sure why I did it except out of curiosity, hating to turn away anything free, and the decision that I should have some kind of physical proof of my first NaNoWriMo experience ever.

I wrote on the last page "May this bring laughs well into the future." And it's a play on words since ... well, it's about a girl. Who sees the future. Aren't I clever?

So, enjoy the prettiness! Because I do think they're pretty. And even if I never read them again (aside from the occasional skim-and-cringe fest) I will enjoy looking at them, that's for sure.

And yes, I blacked out my last name because... well. We've been through that.

FYI, there is, and may never be, a "Seer Trilogy" -- I just needed to fill that space, and thought it looked cool. 


Can you imagine when this is the real deal!? *dreaming*

Er, I should probably get it off CreateSpace now... *wary look at barcode*

That's it! Just a quick little burst of mid-week excitement. Well, almost mid-week. I can dream.

Best part of today: Five free books!! Or my new, ultra-bright striped socks...
Currently craving: Ice cream. (Hear that with a mournful tone...)
Music pick: "Sunset Glow" by BigBang
I'm reading: "Incarnate" by Jodi Meadows
WIP: Preparing to revise Aqueous (all other projects ON HOLD!)


*NOTE: I've decided to schedule this to post tomorrow, since Constance just posted this afternoon. So it was written and intended to be read on a Tuesday, but you won't see it 'till Wednesday. 

To Read or...To Read More

SO. A whole semester. Whew. Let's just forget that unfortunate lack of my ever posting existed, yes? Great. I'm glad you are all so understanding.

In the time since I last posted, I have finished the summer semester, taken up sewing, and sent some of my favorite people birthday presents(like Maggie's hat and my friend André's Toothless)! I am also one of the chat hostesses for Write On! now. (Chats. Fridays. Come. You know you want to.) Oh, and I sorta went to Canada. No big deal. Just another country. That I've wanted to go to for YEARS. (Niagara Falls is BEAUTIFUL, GUYS. Majestic, even.)

I've also realized a tragedy. I used to read ALL the time. It was...basically all I ever did. It's finally come to my attention that that is no longer so. I've read a woefully low number of books in 2012 so far. I mean to fix that. My new goal is at least one book every two weeks. That still sounds slow to me, but it's a start. It's better than this not-really-reading thing. I AM A READER, DARNIT. (So this might've also been inspired because of a comment my brother made that miffed me. *cough*)

I want to blame a rule my mom made a few years ago about having to read one book for her for every book I read for me for my lack of reading lots, but...I can't. I've just had a shift in priorities. I discovered the internet had more to do beyond Facebook. (That's right. I discovered Twitter and blogs and Goodreads and Hulu and Netflix and Korean TV shows.) I started dual credit classes. *shrugs* It was sorta just a cumulation of things.

But! I will revive my readerly reputation. (Maybe I'll even tell you 'bout my readings.) Because how on earth can I claim to be a writer when I'm hardly a reader?

Do any of y'all read less than you used to? More? If so, why the change? Also, if you haven't, read Maggie's post (and the comments) on basically the same topic––except...less random. Hee. I love my Twin, guys. She's a smart'n. (She will also dislike that I used "smart'n" because it's so very Southern-accented of me. *grins*)



Twin Moment of the Day: OH DEAR I DON'T HAVE ONE. O_O
Reading: "The Iron Thorn" by Caitlin Kittredge
Listening to: "Poison & Wine" by The Civil Wars
Grateful for: AC. It's only May, y'all. 90+ weather is just WRONG––even for Texas.
Wanting: Lunch that is more than ice cream (Not that I don't approve whole-heartedly of homemade ice cream as a meal. It is a superfood, you know.)
Writing: Defiance...

Dear Discouraged Writer

Dear Discouraged Writer,

I understand you're pretty low. You're not sure if you have the time, the will, the talent. You're not sure, period. You've been writing for what feels like years-- you should be so much more accomplished than this! You don't understand why some seem to fly through the process you're absolutely laboring through. And worst of all, you're beginning to doubt why you decided to try this at all.

I feel your pain. I'm in a pretty low place, myself. Not sure if I "have what it takes." Not sure if I ever will, or if I've been wasting my time trying to "get there." I've never doubted that I was meant to tell stories, but I've doubted that I have the words, the skills, or the energy to "do it right." That is, get published.

You probably understand this. That's why I want to share something with you. But first, I want to talk about dreams.

Dreams.

We all have them, whether we're in touch with them or not. Sometimes it takes a specific incident -- a person, a situation, a place -- to cast a light on those dreams. Then suddenly you know what you want, even if it feels a million miles away. You'd do anything to be there, have that, experience that.

It's a dream.

If you're like me, then your dream is to be a published author. You're not there yet, but you're trying. Tirelessly, it seems. You dedicate more hours than most working people and still-- no fruit for your labors! But it's your dream. You want to be there. You want to achieve your personal goals, and you want it so badly you're willing to do whatever the internet tells you to to get there. (And there's a bonus. You also really love what you do, so it seems like it must be a win-win situation, right? An easy path to one of your biggest goals?)

Right?

Wrong.

The path hasn't been easy. It isn't easy. It never will be easy. (Well, unless you're one of those lucky few who get an agent on their first try.) Just like life itself, the things we want most in life, we've got to work for. And even when things seem dim (like they do for you now), and all hope is almost lost, you've still got to try.

Because you'll get there yet.

This, I firmly believe. And with that being said, I'd like to share with you a few of my "wall quotes."As I've shared before, I'm in the process of correcting my Scoliosis through a strict, 3-hour daily spine regimen. During the first 90 days of this routine, I had a slip of paper for each day with a checklist of all the exercises and things that needed to be done -- and a quote. When the day was over, I'd tape each paper to the wall.

Today (over 400 days later in the regimen, by the way) there's still a section of wall in my attic covered in 90 slips of paper bearing inspiring quotes. Sometimes I still go up there and just read them. Because it helps to hear these things. It motivates me.

I hope it motivates you.

"The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places."
 ~Unknown

"Believe that you can and you're halfway there."
 ~Theodore Roosevelt

"Don't be discouraged; it's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock."
 ~Unknown

"If you are going through hell, keep going." 
~Winston Churchill

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did."
 ~Newt Gringritch 

"In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is."
 ~Anonymous

"Success is sweet, and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats."
 ~Amos Bronson Alcott

"If there is no struggle there is no progress."
 ~Frederick Douglass

"How long should you try? Until."
 ~Jim Rohn

"Hold on, hold fast, hold out. Patience is genius."
 ~Georges-Louis Leclere

"I may not be there, but I'm closer than I was yesterday." 
~Unknown

"Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting."
 ~Napoleon Hill

"It's always too soon to quit!"
 ~Norman Vincent Peale

"Man is not made for defeat."
 Ernist Hemingway

"Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits."
 ~Robert Brault



"Press on! A better fate awaits thee."
 ~Victor Hugo


Love,
Me

License and a "big" decision

Hey everyone!

So, I've pretty much had an amazing day. I got my drivers license (at LAST!!) this morning, and as if that wasn't good enough, proceeded to drive (without someone 21+ in the car) my sister to the mall. May sound like nothing, but to me, it's a pretty big deal.

One word. FREEDOM!!

That's what it felt like, anyway.

Life update aside, I'd like to talk about a decision I've been pondering lately. And that's to go un-anonymous.

Partially.

I still want to go by Maggie Skye, simply because I like it that way for now, and it's too confusing to go through another name change in less than 12 months. But I'd like to plaster my face all over the internet. *gnaws fingernails*

Nah, I'm just kidding 'bout the gnawing. (And the "all over the internet".) But I'm ready. I'm tired of hiding my face, and ready to stop being paranoid. Again, not that big of a deal, but if you're startled to see me in a profile somewhere soon, you'll know where I'm coming from.

I haven't totally decided, but at the same time, I have. So we'll see.

Yeah. That's pretty much all I have to say!

Sorry about the lame quality of my blog posts. I've been meaning to get into some kind of swing of things, but I've been failing epically. Do you guys mind the personal updates?

Talk to me! Let me know one exciting thing that happened today. Also whether or not you show your face online, and how you feel about it in general. I'd like to know.

Have Wonderful Wednesdays, everyone!

Best part of today: Getting my license!
Currently craving: ICE.CREAM. *twitching*
Music pick: "Take My Hand" by Simple Plan
I'm reading: "Incarnate" by Jodi Meadows
WIP: Survival (2,533 words) - drafting!

Well, I'm 18 now


Ahh, man. I've done it again. It was pretty bad this time around. I don't even remember the last time I blogged, though I've thought about it often the past week, and how I really should... you know. Blog?

Two Wednesdays ago, you may or may not know, was my 18th birthday. (insert sarcastic cheer here) I have mixed feelings about crossing the threshold between childhood (or teenhood, really) and adulthood. There are the exciting things: checking account! more privileges! Google+! And the not so exciting things: bills, responsibilities, LIFE.

It's interesting how the majority of your life you spend as an adult, but I've only just begun that part. "Childhood" has felt so long. If I think back to the night I wrote the first chapter of my first novel, which was only eight years ago, it seems like a lifetime ago. Like a different me, in a way.

Anyway. All that slightly-downer stuff aside, I want to show off the wonderful gifts Constance sent me, especially how far she's come with her knitting. (Did you see this coming, Twin? You should have.) So without further ado, I present, PICTURES!

Isn't it adorable!?

According to Constance, it's hand made. (!!!)

Please excuse the bad picture.

Amazing, right?? You can probably guess what my new favorite necklace is, nerdy as it may appear to some.

Well. That about covers what's new and big in my life. I'm going to try to get back to two blog posts a week, and I already have an idea of what my next will be about.

For the comments, what's new in your life? I feel so disconnected.

Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone!

Best part of today: The cool morning breeze and exuberant birdsongs. 
Currently craving: Hmm. Ice cream.
Music pick: "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers
I'm reading: "Incarnate" by Jodi Meadows (in its finalmost, published form)
WIP: To Save Them ([so close to being done] revising)

Exempt from final!!

It's the happiest day of my life!

Not really. And it was technically yesterday. But my goal has been met! I succeeded!

I WILL NOT BE TAKING MY CHEMISTRY FINAL.

Let me explain, if I haven't already. (Because sometimes I feel like I repeat myself.) On my syllabus it says: "Seniors with straight A's are exempt from final." It's one of the first things I saw in the beginning of the year, and being a senior, it was like magic; a goal painted itself before my very eyes, and I knew what I was going to do.

I was going to get straight A's.

And I did.

I challenged myself, and rose to that challenge, because if there's one thing I hate, it's a test. Of any kind. And finals are just from hell.

So when my teacher sent me the words 'you're exempt!' via email yesterday, it was like Christmas came early! Or more like summer came early. Because I won't be among my classmates trudging in to the last-day-of-classes in-class hour-long final exam.

I'll be at home. Celebrating.

WOOHOO!

I thought I'd share my little joy with you all, since I've done my fair share of complaining about Chem on this blog. Hope you're all having stellar Thursdays!

Best part of today: The wind!
Currently craving: Ice cream. WAAA!
Music pick: "Kashmir (feat. Slash)" by Escala
I'm reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau
WIP: To Save Them (revising)

The Effects of Facebook

So, I'm taking a little fast from Facebook this week. Why, you ask? Well, I hate to admit it, but I feel like Facebook has become something of an addiction in my life. When I find myself opening a tab and typing "fac" like it's a reflex, I know something's wrong. And a week may or may not fix this problem, but I'm more than willing to try.

You might be wondering, also, why I think this is a bad thing. Maybe you view it like I'm just a good friend-- staying in contact with those I don't see often. Or you might just think I'm a crazy stalker. In that case, you're probably right, since I read more than I contribute to the timeline. But hey, we all stalk, right?

All that said, I think now's a good time to talk about my views on Facebook in general.

First off, as a kind of disclaimer, I think the idea behind Facebook is great. Brilliant, even. A way to connect people across the globe through photos, statuses, and even face-to-face video chat. Doesn't get much better than that, from a communication standpoint. I'm on Facebook. (Stating the obvious.) I have almost two hundred friends and hundreds of statuses (and pictures) for those almost-two-hundred people to read/enjoy/browse through. I use it primarily to contact people I don't otherwise have contact with. Clearly, I'm not completely against it.

Yes, there is a but.

BUT.

I think Facebook has a negative side, and something that's seriously worth considering. And no, I'm not talking about bullying, or relationship drama, or eleven-year-olds pretending to be thirteen. I'm talking about something I've felt the effects of myself, and while others may disagree, I think it could be a really big problem for Facebook users worldwide. Affecting everything from how we view our own lives and relationships to our overall happiness.

In general, it's our instinct as humans to compare ourselves to others. We compare our clothes, homes, technological gadgets, stories, talents, faces, bodies, boyfriends/girlfriends, cars-- you name it, someone's compared what they have to what someone else does.

So when you have a website that's literally packed with people posting pictures, statuses and videos of their STUFF and their THINGS and their LIVES, it's an invitation to comparison! 80% of the time, these 'news feeds' are positive. To name a few:

"Check out my new car! [Photo]"

"Welcome to the world, Baby Jane! [Photo]"

"HE PROPOSED!!!"

"Just got accepted to TheBest University!!!"

"Dinner with the fam. [Really sweet photo]"

"Check it out. [Photo of Awesome World Destination]"

"On the beach right now. [Temping photo]"

"Thanks, mom! [Photo of awesome birthday gift]"

[Photo of person living their dream]

[Photo of person having a great time at a party]

[Photo of person with lots of friends]

[Photo of person with cute cat]

[Photo of a book signing]

[Photo at a concert]

And the list goes ON and ON. (Sorry if a lot of those are teen-ish. You may see something different if the majority of your FB friends are in another stage of life. But you get the picture, right?)

You can imagine, for someone who's even the teensiest bit insecure, or someone who's dissatisfied with their life, or even just your average Joe, this list of positive stories and photos can be really depressing. That's because Facebook has the ability to paint a larger-than-life image of people's lives and experiences that could potentially have very negative effects on others.

But here's the twist. That picture of Your Facebook Friend with their 50 Friends at that Awesome Party at the Very Cool University they got into (where they're pursuing Big Dreams) is very likely not how it looks. Maybe that person's struggling with depression? Maybe someone in their family died that night? Maybe those aren't their REAL friends, and it's all fake? Those are a bit extreme, but the point is that you don't know. To the casual Facebook Stalker, it's going to look like a lot of fun. Definitely more fun than your night was-- catching up on laundry and cleaning mildew out of your shower.

You know what they say. The grass is always greener.

By this point, you've probably figured out that I'm drawing this from my own experiences. And you're right. I'll be honest. I've experienced 'Facebook depression.' I've been in places where I haven't been happy with my life, and I think a lot of that stemmed from scrolling through positive story after positive story.

I've compared my life to the virtual, honey-coated "realities" I see on Facebook. And let me tell you, it's not a cool place to be in. I'm a big believer in simple pleasures. In being thankful for what you have, big and small. So when a site is making me feel dissatisfied or unthankful, then I know it's time to unplug. Get off. Go outside and breathe the fresh air.

Well. That's me and Facebook.

I have lots of mixed and conflicted feelings about it, which makes me anxious for your feedback. Have you ever experienced Facebook Depression/Facebook Envy? Do you agree or disagree with what I've said (which in a nutshell is that Facebook can be a really toxic environment, especially for teenagers/young people who may be going through a time of questing who they are and their lives in general), or not?

Let it all out in the comments! I can't wait to discuss.

HAPPY MONDAY!

Best part of today: ??
Currently craving: Cake.
Music pick: "Stupid" by Sarah McLachlan
I'm reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau
WIP: To Save Them (revising)


Say something clever, me

I'm sitting here, trying to think of something to blog about. You steady bloggers probably know how pointless that is. But I'm hoping that if I just start typing, something will come.

Er, not coming.

Uhh...

I think I'll just let you know what's up in my life.

I've put Blink aside, again, after getting back a crit from one of my #1 CPs. The stuff she said was really good, but I'm not sure I have the energy or willpower to do anything else to this novel. Maybe I'll want to one day, but right now? Nada.

At the moment, I'm doing some last-minute edits on my travesty of a NaNo novel. Then I'm going to order the CreateSpace paperback copies to cringe over for the rest of my life. Been working all weekend, and ready for a break. Ready for a break from school, for that matter, but since I graduate in just over a month, I think I can hold on just a little longer. A little. Enjoying lots of beautiful weather-- ish. Yesterday wasn't so great.

Aaaaand, that's about all I have to say. Thus concludes one of the lamest blog posts I've ever done.

Hope you have a fabulous Sunday, everyone!

Best part of today: Going "shopping" with the sisters.
Currently craving: Sleep. In large quantities.
Music pick: "Happier" by A Fine Frenzy
I'm reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau
WIP: To Save Them (revising)

Having No Voice

So, I came down with a cold this weekend. Not fun. It was even bad enough yesterday that I had to call in sick, and miss a night of work, which really sucks, since I was going to hostess alone. And when I hostess alone, I make the best bucks.

Anyway, whenever I get sick, it seems to right to my larynx. Without fail. In other words, I always -- and I mean always -- lose my voice. No matter how small the cold, or how brief, I have to deal with a couple days of sounding like a smoker, or just being downright mute.

That's me, right now. Resting my voice in the hopes it'll return. (Or at least, that's me today, on Monday. But you won't read this 'till Tuesday. Sheesh. This scheduled post business is kind of weirding me out.)

Whenever this happens (losing my voice, that is), I'm always struck by how many things I say. How many words fly out of my mouth, completely unchecked, without a hint of forethought. It's not until I can't say them, and they're stuck in my mouth, that I can really taste them, if you know what I mean.

And some of them are just... not nice.

Not necessary.

Living with four siblings, more than one of whom bug me on a regular basis, there's no denying that I'm not always the nicest person I can be. If someone's annoying me, chances are, they're going to hear about it. Or at least have a sarcastic comment or two thrown in their direction.

But when I'm voiceless? There's just not a choice.

I have to be silent.

And it really hits me how many things I shouldn't say. How I could be a kinder person, if I'd just think about my words. It's a good lesson for all of us, and really thought-provoking. Is everything we say uplifting, kind, encouraging, or positive in one way or another? Of course not. But are we striving for that? Basically, thinking before we speak?

It's way harder than it sounds. But I'll bet, with determination and perserverance, we could be better people. I certainly want to try.

Food for thought!

Let me know what you think about this, and if you've ever experienced the same thing-- being mute, and having some not-so-nice words on the tip of your tongue. And have a wonderful Tuesday!


Best Part of Today: I don't know. I wrote this post on Monday and scheduled it.
Currently Craving: I'll just guess... chocolate?
Music Pick: "Emperors" by George Fenton
I'm Reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau
WIP: To Save Them (revising)

Week #2

I did it! I blogged twice last week. Here's to the next 7 days and another success! *raises tea* Oh, wait. I don't have any tea.

I should take care of that.

HAPPY MONDAY!


Best Part of Today: The rain, maybe?
Currently Craving: Health. 100% HEALTH.
Music Pick: "One Day Soon" by Glass Pear
I'm Reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau
WIP: To Save Them (revising)

Am I a real reader?


So for those of you who don't know already, I'm on Goodreads. Yep, that link goes to my page, so feel free to head over and add me as a friend. It's painless. All you'll have to do is answer a simple question. Hint: It involves super powers.

Anyway, Goodreads has a 2012 book challenge that I decided to take part in. I set myself the wimpy goal of 30 books before the year's out. It's early April, okay? And I've read a whopping 5 books out of the 30. In 4 months!?

What's my deal??

I have only a couple things in my defense. One, school. That's always life-sucking (and soul-sucking). Two, my job. Many of my weekend evenings go into money-making. Three, writing. If I have some bookish time to spare-- hey! Might as well spend it creating a story of my own.

All that leaves little to no time for me to read. But still. You'd think that, were I dedicated enough, I'd still get it done. Be dedicated. Show some determination. (After all... how am I finding time to watch videos like this?)

I'm disappointed in myself. And I guess that's at the root of this post.

I've always considered myself a reader. Since I ate books like food as a child, and still love few things better than diving headfirst into a fantastical world, it made sense. But then I get on Goodreads and see people who read hundreds of books. HUNDREDS. And they're still reading hundreds. On top of being moms or published authors or full-time college students.

And I feel like such a slacker. I don't feel like a reader anymore. Not a real one.

Whatever real means.

So help me out here. What do you think defines a real reader? How many books should you read, and how consistently should you "be reading" to qualify? And do I qualify, with my measly 5 books this year? (Don't answer that last one.) (Just kidding. Answer it.)

By the way, I'm sure that number will up in the summer. I'll hit 30 books yet. I'm sure of it.

I'd better.

HAPPY SATURDAY!


Best Part of Today: Ice cream on a hill. (Don't ask.)
Currently Craving: The ocean.
Music Pick: "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles
I'm Reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau
WIP: To Save Them (revising)

Revisions ARE possible!

It's a topic I'm not a big fan of, but it's pretty much dominated my spring. Yep, you guessed it! Revisions. From my 4th draft of Blink (which I finished, by the way), to where I am now, doing final fixes on my NaNo novel before I order those CreateSpace paperbacks, I've been doing a lot of revising.

As you probably know, I'm NOT a fan of revising, editing, polishing-- basically anything beyond drafting. I  like plotting. I like planning. I LOVE drafting. But I hate everything that follows. Or at least, that's how it's been for pretty much all my writing "career."

But what I've learned the past month or so is that revisions aren't all bad. The key (for me) is getting past your overwhelmed place. Move beyond the "I can't do this" and the "This novel's a train wreck" and hang on to your passion for dear life-- the reason you wrote the novel in the first place. Because that's what's going to carry you through.

And one more thing? It's possible. Yes. Even for those of us who hate it, it's possible to revise something and see a better, slightly shinier manuscript when you're done. And trust me when I say that the accomplished feelings that follow make it all worth it.

I've written about staying true to your novel before. If you haven't already, go ahead and read it now! It compliments what I've just said pretty well.

Hope you have amazing Wednesdays! I'm off to enjoy a pumpkin cream cheese muffin.


Best Part of Today: QT with my Favorite Pony (who happened to be quite feisty today...)
Currently Craving: The ocean.
Music Pick: "Fire" by Jesse Thomas
I'm Reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau
WIP: To Save Them (revising)

Excuses

Umm. I did it again. *hides* I failed to post 3 times in one week. Enough's enough! I'm switching it to 2 times a week. Once I can consistently meet that goal, I'll up it to 3.

My only excuse is that hey... it was Spring Break week! I had a lot of relaxing to do.

Hope you have a Marvelous Monday!

Spring Break Week!

After failing to blog 3 times last week (I mean, what the heck? How hard can it be?), I'm starting over this week with fresh oomph. My only excuse, really, was being out of the house most of yesterday. I'll just leave it at that.

It's Spring Break! All the fun starts today. No homework. No ACT. No college or school ANYTHING. Just lots of working, since many fellow employees are out of town for spring break, I'm taking a lot of shifts. Hey, it's fine with me. I'm thankful for the extra money.

And that's not all.

No schoolwork means time to write. YES! I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. I'm hoping to wrap up my Blink revisions this week, send it to a (some?) beta(s), and then begin drafting a new novel. Just because my fingers can't stand still and these stories are absolutely shredding their ways out of my brain right now.

So, I'll wrap up this mini-post with some questions for you. When is your spring break, if you're on this side of the globe? Even if you aren't having one, how will you spend your week?

'Till next time!


Best Part of Today: Early morning walk with my 'lil sis.
Currently Craving: The ocean.
Music Pick: "Alive" by Big Bang
I'm Reading: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau
WIP: Blink re-writes