Monday, December 11, 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

Let's talk about NaNo. 

This year's NaNo....it was rough. Really, really rough. It was nothing like I'd planned going in. I had all these grand intentions of writing 60K, of finally fleshing out a story that I'd been dreaming of, of somehow meeting my goal ahead of time instead of having to cram and stress and lose sleep. 

....Let's just say, that's not exactly how things went down. 

This November, I wrote 50,036 words.

And that's not a bad number, it's really not. I completed my goal of writing 50K in a month, and that's really the most important thing. I got the words down on the page, and that's what matters. But it was a messy, messy month, and I've got to say that overall, it was nowhere near the fantastic experience that last year's NaNo was. 

The thing is, I can't exactly put my finger on why. Why was it such a mess? Honestly, I feel like it was a bit of the perfect storm. I really was struggling with my plot. I didn't outline going in, and then I was under such a time crunch that I really couldn't think everything through, I just had to write. If I'd been able to think things through more, I think that I'd be happier with the end product. There were so many things going on with school and dance and people, and I really never got a chance to start writing before ten or eleven pm every night. And honestly? My brain was just a mess. Things were overwhelming and even though I did make it, I don't think that I did it well. It's not a first draft that I look back on with a huge amount of excitement. Last year, I was obsessed with my novel. And this year, I'm just not. In reality, I really miss my last novel. It stole my heart in a way that this one just...hasn't yet.

So, I don't know. I don't know exactly how I'm going forward. I know that I want to finish this draft, because I can't stand having things left unfinished. But I don't know when exactly I'm going back to it. In complete honesty, I haven't touched the draft since NaNo ended. Frankly, I haven't had the time, and I think that I needed a bit of a breather from it. So I'm looking forward to being able to go over the draft with fresh eyes. I just haven't decided yet when that's going to happen. 

I do know that as difficult as this NaNo was, it taught me a lot of things. So, in the interest of remembering for the future, and hopefully helping someone out along the way, let's look over everything I've learned. 

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1. Plot Plot Plot Plot Plot

On the few instances that I was able to pre-plot my novel, the writing process went SO much more smoothly. If I didn't have a plot already decided upon, I was lost and miserable. Moral of the story, future Grace Anne, please, for the love of your sanity, PLOT YOUR NOVEL. 

2. Word Wars Save The Day

I don't know how I would have survived NaNo without word wars. Shoutout to my AMAZING friends Aimee and Gabriela for warring with me the entire month. You two are the reason that I made it through the month, and I am SO thankful for you!! 

3. Time Management is Key

There's nothing like writing 50,000 words in a month to test your time management skills. And sometimes, those time management skills mean a  little less sleep in order to get the words in, and sometimes, for a month, that's okay. You've gotta do what you've gotta do, y'know? 

4. You're Capable of More Than You Think

Like I said, I really didn't think I would make it through this one. It felt really good to prove to myself that yes, if I keep pushing, I can do it. I'm proud of myself for not giving up on it, even when it was really difficult. 

5. Doing Things Alone is Stupid

When it comes to life in general, I'm really more of a solitary creature. I love people, but I generally prefer working alone. It's so much fun, however, and so much more productive, if you work alongside people. Again, shoutout to Aimee and Gabriela, as well as Abi, for being amazing this past NaNo! I don't know how I would have gotten through the month without you wonderful humans. 

6. If You Don't Understand Your Characters, Writing is Impossible

I think that one of my biggest issues was that I didn't understand my characters well enough going in. This kind of came with the territory of not plotting enough, but I think that writing would have gone much more smoothly had I understood my characters more deeply going into the month. 

7. S P O T I F Y

Spotify focus playlists are killer, as is instrumental Sleeping At Last music. It helped me to maintain a semblance of sanity. 

8. It's Okay Not to Be Perfect

I know that I preach a lot on here about how you don't have to be perfect and you should stop putting crazy amounts of pressure on yourself, but when it comes to actually living that out, I'm the WORST. One of the things that I really had to come to terms with this NaNo is that I can't do everything, no matter how hard I try. I'm only human, and sometimes, I can't write as many words as I want to or do as well as I'd hoped or even just knock everything off of that day's to-do list. And that's okay. It's not the end of the world. It's a work in progress, but November was a good reminder of this. 

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And, per tradition, some of the lovely tweets that went out through the month of craziness...

aww look how innocent

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So, there you have it! The craziness of NaNo 2017! Did you do NaNo? How did it go for you? I want to hear all about it! I'm hoping to be more active in the blogging world again now that Christmas break is a thing- I don't quite know what to do with myself now that I actually have free time. SO SEND ME YOUR LINKS! Tell me all the things! Catch me up!!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankfulness Thursday IV - Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

It feels superbly strange that today is Thanksgiving, but here we are, and it's been lovely. I feel like I love Thanksgiving a little bit more every year. It's just such a nice day of calm and quiet, with coffee and food and family and texts that make you smile and the start of the holiday season. We started decorating our house for Christmas last night, hanging up stocking and setting out snowmen as the Spotify Christmas playlist got broken out for the first time of the season. It finally feels like the holidays, and as much as I've been putting it off, I'm happy that they're here. The holidays are so warm and cozy and wonderful, and I'm finally ready to embrace them.

In honor of Thanksgiving, instead of just talking about what I'm thankful for this week, I want to talk about what I'm thankful for this year. Because as many little things as I'm thankful for each week, there are also some crazy amazing blessings from this year, and Thanksgiving is the perfect day to think about those.

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I am thankful for the first show of the year that I was able to be a part of, and the huge, huge blessing that it was. It was an original show, written by someone who I absolutely love to pieces, and it was one of the most special experiences of my life. It was a show that stretched me in so many ways, but was so much fun and oh, what a joy.

I am thankful for friends. Friends deserve a whole blog post of their own, because goodness do I have some great ones. Friends who love me and laugh with me and rant with me and talk on the phone with me at midnight when we're both half asleep. I'm thankful for real life friends who go on the most random spontaneous adventures with me, and I'm thankful for internet friends who I can dream of doing that with. My internet friends are some of the most incredible people that I know, and I'm so thankful to have people in my life like them who are there when regular life just gets to be too much. I'm thankful for friends like Aimee and Mary Shelley, internet friends who have become real life friends. Friends are SUCH A BLESSING UGH and I'm so thankful for them.

I am thankful for The Music Man. The show that meant more to me than any other. The time of my life that dreams are made of, where all of the dearest people in my life came together to create something that I could not be prouder of. Zaneeta Shinn was the dream role that I never knew existed, and I'll forever have a piece of my heart in River City.

I am thankful for writing, for the fact that I finished my first novel and am in the middle of my second. Writing is forever my love, and I just want to do it for the rest of my life.

I am thankful for the summer, for the warmth and the most random of adventures and fun. Dance classes and the beach, editing my novel and dreaming up new projects. It was a joy of a season, crazy but good.

I am thankful for senior year, as messy as it is. It's a strange season, but it's a good one, and I'm thankful to be in it right now.

I am thankful for family, as obvious as that is. They love me despite my craziness, and they're pretty darn wonderful.

I am thankful for hope, for the knowledge that there's a future ahead of me and that God has a plan for that. I'm trying to look towards the crazy unknowns with optimism instead of pessimism, and while this doesn't come easily for me, I'm determined to keep this mindset.

I am thankful that God works things out in the best possible way, even when I'm stressed out or anxious or not knowing why things are happening the way that they are. I'm thankful that I don't have to have that pressure on me, because at the end of the day, I'm not the one in control of things, He is, and even though I have trouble keeping that in mind sometimes, it's the truth, and I'm so thankful for that.

I am thankful for this year. It's been a whirlwind and a mess and a dream all at once, but oh, am I thankful.

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• Thankfulness Thursday Friends 

Daminika @ Walking in the Sonshine

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I hope that you've had a wonderful Thanksgiving, friend. I am so thankful for you. ♥

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankfulness Thursday III


Hello, beautiful friends!

Wow. It's been a week. The craziness never seems to slow down, and there's been lots of heavy stuff weighing on my heart. But sometimes, you just have to barrel through and keep praying, and that's where we are right now. And that's okay. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel.

As always, we're back with Thankfulness Thursday. Because, like I said last week- when your brain is a hurricane of a mess, breathing out a thank you can do a world of good. So here we are. Messy but thankful.

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I am thankful for laughter. The kind of laughter that makes your sides hurt, the kind where you aren't even 100% sure what you're laughing at anymore, you just know that you're happy. 

I'm thankful for days at home to recharge and catch up, no matter how rare they may be. They're the most rejuvenating thing in the world, and I am so much calmer when I'm able to have them. 

I am thankful for mornings spent reading and writing and doing Bible studies. Mornings where you get to stay, curled up, avoiding the Internet at all costs, just purely existing in a state of pure silence. 

I'm thankful for quiet nights that are technically mornings, when the world is finally still and words are finally able to be written. 

I'm thankful for scarves and sweaters and beanies, which I'm constantly wrapping myself in this time of year.

I'm thankful for little things. Boxes of cookies, finding an unused dance studio tucked away, and sunsets that paint the sky pink. I'm thankful for Psalms and journals and talking to people I love. It's a good life, friends. 

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• Thankfulness Thursday Friends 

If you take part in Thankfulness Thursday, be sure to send me your link! I'd love to share it. ♥

Daminika @ Walking in the Sonshine

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So, tell me- how was your week? What are you thankful for? ♥

Monday, November 13, 2017

Senior Updates II

sunsets are forever my favorite thing. ♥


WHEW. How have we already made it to November?? Mind = Blown. This semester has flown by. Like, in my head, it's still September. But now we're almost at Thanksgiving? I don't understand.

Overall, the semester has gone well. It's been beyond crazy. I honestly can't remember a time where I've had SO MUCH going on. It's been a lot to balance, and the overwhelm has been so real, but it's been good. Super thankful for everything, even when it's chaotic.

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L A T E L Y

If you follow me on Twitter (shameless self promo), then you know that I'm attempting NaNo again this year! I'm still honestly not sure if this was a wonderful decision or a terrible one. I really loved it last year, but this year hasn't gone quite as smoothly. I don't know if it's the story, me, or both, but it just hasn't gone as well. Here's to lots of sprints to knock the rest of the 50K out!

Theatre wise, things have been CRAZY. Last month, I crewed/prop mastered a murder mystery play, which was so much fun. We got to play around with lots of fake blood, and I was THRIVING. xD Now I'm in the midst of Christmas prep, which has been a lot of work, but super fun. I'm actually getting to choreograph a piece for our show, I'm in another piece that involves dancing with massive wings and being flipped upside down, and I also have my first-ever solo dance. We're also in the midst of competition prep, and I've been asked to choreograph that piece as well. I'm so beyond excited for these pieces, but it's definitely nerve-wracking!

I'm doing Thankfulness Thursday posts on the blog again this year! I always love this series, and it makes me so happy when you guys join in. If you decide to take part, be sure to send me the link to your post, and I'll share it!

We had the chance to escape to the beach for a few days, which was wonderful. The whole trip was filled with so many Jesus blessings, and it was the best weekend I've had it quite a long time.

I've FINALLY gotten back into journaling, which has been awesome. It's so good for me, I really need to make it more of a priority.

I also got a job last month! I'm working at this adorable local bookstore, and I'm really enjoying it. I've always wanted to work at a bookstore, so I'm so excited to finally be getting to do it!

School has thankfully been fairly low-key, for which I am SO thankful. Super weird that there are only a couple of weeks left. I'm currently trying to figure out my classes for next semester- my last semester of high school. Not going to think about that right now....

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G O A L S

-COMPLETE NANO. I am so determined, y'all. I have to finish this.

-Catch up on snail mail. If you've written me snail mail and I haven't responded yet, I'M SORRY I LOVE YOU I PROMISE. I'm going to write you back, I promise!!

-Start Christmas shopping. The fact that it's actually time to think about Christmas presents is crazy, but I really don't want to wait until the last minute this year.

-READ. I am so behind on my reading challenge. There's pretty much no way I'm going to complete it, haha, which KILLS ME. Ugh. But I'm going to get AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE I AM DETERMINED.

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R E A D - O C T O B E R

speaking of reading...

The Beautiful Lost by Luanne Rice- I actually won this book in a giveaway! I had mixed feelings on it. Overall, it was a good book, very bittersweet, but a bit odd. Not great, not terrible. 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie- It was about time for me to read this! Such a classic.

All My Sons by Arthur Miller- I had to read this for school, but actually enjoyed it. It's an extremely well-written play, with a super interesting premise. 

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L I S T E N I N G

Dark Horse- Sleeping at Last
Earth- Sleeping at Last
Overcome- Elevation Worship
Countdowns- Sleeping at Last
Everything to Win- Anastasia Broadway Soundtrack
Mess of Me- Switchfoot
HAPPINESS- Acoustic- NEEDTOBREATHE
Who I'd Be- Shrek Broadway Soundtrack
I'll Keep On- NF
If You Want Love- NF

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So, how's life going for you? What's the best thing that's happened to you lately? I HOPE YOUR DAY IS GOING WONDERFULLY!! ♥