Tuesday, September 26, 2017

{Guest Posting} 4 Tips For Breaking The "Strong Female Character" Trope

Heeeey, guys! Just popping in all quicky like to let you know I'M GUEST POSTING OVER AT SCATTERED SCRIBBLINGS TODAY! And I’m excited! I was so honored when my dear Savannah asked me to guest post on her frabjous blog.

My post features 4 tips for breaking that “Strong Female Character” trope that’s running rampant in fiction these days, particularly YA novels. You know, the “action girl” type that basically has as much personality and warmth as an ice sculpture. If you’re like me and sick of that trope and want to create actual strong females, head on over to my guest post and (maybe, sort of, hopefully) you’ll find some helpful tips!

If you enjoyed my Why I Believe Cinderella is a Good Heroine post I did some weeks back, then I think you’ll like this one! It’s more or less a follow up.

So head on over to Savannah's blog and check it out! And do feel free to leave a comment. Because I’ll be stalking the comments section (like I do) and chatting with you guys there!

Have a lovely Tuesday, everyone! <3

Monday, September 25, 2017

Smite That Fear and WRITE THE STORY


In just one week NaNo Plotting Month (a.k.a October) begins…


Ahem. Just had to get that out of the way.

No clue what on this blue earth I’m talkin’ about? (“Blue earth” makes so much more sense to me than “green earth”. Hello? The earth is 70% water and only like…20-40% grass. So why is the expression “what on this green earth?” hmmmm??? #Tangent) “NaNo” is short for “NaNoWriMo” which, in turn, is short of “National Novel Writing Month”. NaNo takes place every November and is an event where writers all around the world try to write 50k words in one month. It’s my favorite thing on the planet and if you want to join in you can find the website and all info HERE.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year, you’re most likely trying to decide what you’ll actually be spending your entire November crying over writing. Or, even if you’re not doing NaNo, you’ve still experienced the struggle of choosing that next writing project. All writers have to go through it. This is the writer’s life. And choosing which story to spend the next months? years? decades??? on and pour our time and energy and entire hearts into is no light matter.

Trust me, I’ve anguished over this. About a month ago I was literally losing sleep trying to decide what to write for NaNoWriMo. And a couple of years ago I made the decision to actually get serious about my writing, which meant the next book I write was the one I was going to stick with and edit and pursue publishing with. Which meant…I had to actually decide what book I was willing to work so hard on. No pressure or anything! Eheheheh…heh…*cue existential crisis*

During this time of decision, the ugly faces of Doubt and Fear like best to leap out of the shadows and poke your brain while laughing maniacally, as they do.

“What if this is a stupid story idea?” Doubt whispers.

“What if you’re unable to make it perfect?” Fear sneers.

Perfectionism runs rampant in the writing community. After all, we have these wildly amazing ideas running through our brains that we fall head-over-heels for and then when it comes to putting ideas into actual words… WHAT R WERDS? HOW DO I WRITE THIS???

I personally feel like it’s especially tricky with NaNoWriMo, because you’re choosing to write something within the span of just 30 days, while with my other stories I usually take 4-6 months and write them more carefully.

For a while, I had 3 or 4 story ideas to write for NaNo, most of them things I’ve been wanting to write for a while. But then the very same reason I’ve been putting them off this long reared its head: Because I want them to be just right. Which meant I couldn’t write any of them for NaNoWriMo especially. My NaNo novels are so messyyyy. I’m throwing them together in only 30 days after all! I can’t write my beloved story ideas now. I love them too much! They must be PERFECT. But what if I can’t make any of them perfect? What if I get it all wrong? What if I butcher the whole thing? I better not ever write any of these stories at all ‘cause I’m gonna ruin them and and and—


No, no, no, no. That’s just letting Doubt and Fear win. Which is the worst feeling ever. But we do it. I know *I* do it. I let my fear and perfectionism stop me all. the. time. How stupid is that?

If there is a story idea that you love, you should absolutely, 100% WRITE IT. After all, no one else is going to. Sure, there may be stories similar to your idea, but they won’t be your story. The way you imagined it.

Yes, the closer to your heart the story is, the more Fear will assault you, the more you’ll want it just right.

But here’s the thing: If you love a story that much, you’ll be willing to use the amount of time it takes to make it perfect. If it’s that close to your heart, you’re going to drain every last bit of energy and love you have to shaping it into the best it can be.

For a bit there, I was thinking I should just write any ol’ random thing for NaNoWriMo. Simply something that wasn’t close to my heart so I wouldn’t mind it turning into a mess.

Are you rolling your eyes and shaking your head at my nonsense? Because I’m rolling my eyes and shaking my head at my nonsense.

We should not settle on spending hours and hours and hours on a story we don’t care much about because, after all, what does it matter if it turns out messy? Noooo. What a waste of time and energy!

If we’re going to write a story, it should be BECAUSE WE LOVE IT AND WANT TO GIVE IT LIFE. We should be writing the stories that make us get up in the morning out of utter excitement to return to our storyworld and characters. The stories that make us come alive. The ones that runs through our veins and gets our hearts pumping and drives us forward every day out of sheer love for them. The ones that force us to push back the doubts and fears and stress and headaches, and just keep writing no matter what because our desire to bring these stories to life are stronger than any of those things.


I know you’ve probably heard this 7 billion times, but I’m going to say it anyway: FIRST DRAFTS DON’T SUPPOSED TO BE PERFECT.

This may sound harsh, but it needs to be said. You can’t make a first draft just right. Writing simply doesn’t work that way. Edits will always need to be made. BUT. The only way to make that story you love “just right” is to first let it exist. And the only way for it to exist is for you to WRITE IT. I saw a quote somewhere that said all first drafts have to do is exist, and that was so inspiring. Because it’s true. However messy and wrong and crazy and riddled with typos and plot holes it comes out, it doesn’t matter. Because that’s the first step to creating the story of your heart.

If you have a story you want told, then tell it. JUST DO IT.

I spent the last 7 NaNoWriMos writing a 7-book epic fantasy series and, my word, the disaster those books are. You can’t even imagine the mess I made with them. They’re something akin to letting a dozen toddlers loose in a room full of open paint cans—you know, a mess so large and unimaginable you just want to curl up and cry at the thought of trying to clean it all up. But do I regret writing each of those books? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I love that series. It’s very close to my heart. And though by the time I rewrite each book they probably won’t even resemble these first drafts, I still have a basis. Without those first drafts, I wouldn’t have a story to get “just right”. I wouldn’t know where I was going or who the characters were or what needs fixing or how to tell the actual story. Those unreadable first drafts were vital to turning my Colors of a Dragon Scale series into something worth reading one day. The first drafts will never, ever be “just right”, no matter how meticulously we write them. I wrote the first draft of Burning Thorns very slowly and carefully, and it still needs tons of edits. But the first draft HAS to be written. Don’t hold yourself back merely for perfectionism’s sake. (Sheesh, this very blog post went through 3 majorly changed drafts before it got to what you’re reading now. But you wouldn’t be reading it now if I hadn’t first messily wrote down all my thoughts.)

We HAVE to push aside the fear and just write the stories that are calling to us.

It took weeks, months perhaps, of hemming and hawing, but I finally settled on what I’m going to write for NaNo. Of course, then the doubts came. Because the more I thought about the story, and the more ideas I got, the more excited I was. Which also meant the more fearful I became of totally ruining this cool idea.

Like I said, the more we love a story, the more fearful we became.

But you know what? I’m going to write that story! And then when it’s time to revise it and I find it is a total, horrible mess and all my fears came true, well, I’ll just edit it until it is the story I want to be. But I can’t turn it into that without first writing it.

(And no, I’m not telling you what it is just yet. *CACKLES* But don’t worry, I’ll be talking alll about it come October. In fact, from now until like…Christmas, you’ll probably only be getting NaNo-themed posts from me. What can I say, I’M OBSESSED. IT’S WHO I AM. By the end of it you’re most likely going to be sick of hearing about my story and NaNo. *griiins*)

So if you’re wanting to write a story you love but are holding yourself back for fear of ruining it…STOP.

Take your pen and smite that fear back into the shadows where it belongs and WRITE THE STORY.

You won’t regret it. I promise you that.

I’ll leave you with my absolute favorite writing quote:

I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” –Shannon Hale

Write bravely, my friends!


Tell me, O’ Writerlings, do you let fear of not getting your stories “just right” hold you back? Do you take any specific measures to violently attack that fear away and show it who’s boss??? Come, let’s band together and help each other write the stories of our hearts, fearless and unashamed!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Soak Up The Moment

*leaps back into the blogosphere and pulls each and every one of you into an epic group hug*

I AM BACK!!! And goodness have I missed all of you! I mean, I know I’ve only been gone for two weeks. You guys probably didn’t even notice my absence… Ahem. But I still missed all of YOU! Namely because, for once, I took an actual hiatus. See, usually my “hiatuses” just mean me not writing my own blog posts but still very much reading all of yours and keeping up on social media. But this time I took a for reals full two weeks social media hiatus. I barely even opened the twitter app! *GASP* I know, right???

As a result, I have approximately 909823847 emails, blog posts, and all that other fun stuff to catch up on and I may or may not be drowning in it all. BUT I SHALL CATCH UP. Though I may not be commenting on all the posts because, well, I only have so much time. But I will be reading every single one of your lovely posts I missed, even if I don’t get a chance to comment! (Because normally I’m sooo good and persistent at commenting on everything… AHEM.) And if you sent me an email and it takes me 3459 years to reply, I apologize!

Not only do I have the last two weeks of stuff to catch back up on, but I shall soon be jumping into NaNoWriMo plotting since we only have a month and a half left before it is upon us (you’re welcome for the panic attack I just provided, always here to help). Plus I have some beta projects I’m doing that also probably need to be tended to before the ever time-sucking NaNo takes over.

Needless to say, I’m feeling a leetle swamped. So the question is, was taking two full weeks away from everything even a good idea?

YES. The best idea.

Because you know what? Life isn’t about being up to date on blog posts and keeping my inbox clear and organized. Life is about living. And yes, I’m a writer. All these computer things I do basically is my livelihood. Not to mention the pathway toward my dream career. But there’s still so much more to life than a computer screen.

On September 3rd, I headed out to spend a week with my best friend of 17 years, and then she came back home with me to spend nearly another week in my town. And I didn’t turn on my laptop not a single day for the first entire week, and still barely touched it the second week. I could have used my laptop some. I could have taken a bit of time to keep caught up on things so I wouldn’t be so swamped when life returned to normal. My current self would be a little less overwhelmed. But you know what? I’d also be regretful.

I’d regret that I took time away from my friend to do something that really didn’t matter, that could totally be done later. Instead, I soaked up every second I had with her and just relaxed.

And that’s when it hit me. I spend far too much time worrying about “getting things done” so I don’t have to “worry about it later” instead of just enjoying the time I have. But that’s silly, because there will always be things that need to be done. No matter how hard I work, there is always stuff to do, a constant stream of things to catch up on. I can’t just forever be fully “done”. But I worry myself to death trying to get “caught up” on things, and then miss out on LIFE. The world will not explode if I wait a few days (or even weeks) to answer that email. And yet I seem to live like it will.

(And yes, I totally wrote a post very similar to this same topic back in February titled Moment by Moment, but it takes me about 346 years to actually learn these lessons, so here I am, learning it all over again. And forcing you to read my rambles about it once more. Because my blog is often where I braindump and sort out my thoughts and you all have to suffer through my rambles with me. *cackles*)

My friend and I only get to see each other about twice a year. (We used to live in the same town, but her family moved when we were 13 and yes, it stinks but we make the best of it.) Because we only get so much time together, I try my very best to soak up the time I do have with her. Spending hours of our time together on the computer does not fit into that equation. Not to mention, sometimes we just need breaks from the computer! Whether it’s your career or not, we can’t spend our entire lives in front of a screen.

During my week at my friend’s house, even on some days when she had to work, I used my time to just relax. Instead of snagging my laptop, I picked up a book. Instead of tweeting, I scrolled through Pinterest (because Pinterest unwinds me and is my happy place). I used any free time to just do things that relaxed me, tasks I loved and that caused no stress. Yes, I LOVE blogging and connecting with everyone on social media and writing. It’s one of my greatest joys, literally my livelihood. But sometimes we need a break from even those things and to just allow ourselves to be blissfully lazy now and again. Sometimes watching an entire season of Gravity Falls with your bestie (yes, we totally did that *cough*) is way more important than being on top of emails.

After my week in her town, we came to my town and spent basically every second with friends here. One of our dearest friends is literally moving this week to somewhere that’s 11 hours away. Many states away from me! *sobs for an eternity* (And let’s not even talk about the fact that her sister, my other dearest, dearest friend may end up moving eventually, too.) So yes, I’m now about to go through my other dear friend moving away from me. (Because having one friend move wasn’t fun enough. Eheheheheh…heh. *sobs some more*)

As a result, I spent the past week soaking up every single second I had with all my friends because I knew our time together was limited. And I didn’t want to waste a single second of it.

Now, I’m not saying by any means that we shouldn’t be productive. Making careers and working toward goals and living intentionally to achieve our dreams is so, so, so important. (And something I’ve been thinking a lot about as well.) Sometimes we do need to set aside time to work, or to turn down that lunch date to instead edit the next chapter of your novel because there’s a deadline looming. That’s just life. Being productive is a beautiful thing, and something I admire in people. If I had the chance to watch an entire season of a television show in one week with a friend every week I’d prooobably have to decline. But, as I said, since I only see this friend a couple of times a year (and we both just really love TV shows and spend about 96% of our time together fangirling over things) it was something I was perfectly happy doing.

No, we should definitely not spend every moment of our day doing recreational activities. But what these past couple of weeks taught me is that we should soak up the time we do have. I very intentionally let loose any fears and stress for the future during my hiatus and just enjoyed my time with friends. I soaked up each moment, and now have those memories to treasure forever.

Sure, I’m ridiculously behind on things now, but I don’t care. I wouldn’t trade these past weeks for a cleared out inbox for anything in the world.

As they say, the present is called the present because it’s a GIFT. The future is unknown and can worry about itself. But the here and now, it’s what we have. And it should never be taken for granted. Don’t get me wrong, we should certainly set goals for our futures and reach for our dreams, but that doesn’t mean we should be missing out on the moments we’re living now. If I’m guilty of anything, it’s that. Lately time has just been flying and I’ve been in regret of all the time I’m wasting. And I think the source of that is because I’m so constantly focused on the future, I’m not being still and just enjoying the now.

This hit harder than ever last year when someone very close to me passed away. In fact, there were multiple deaths of acquaintances last year. And as I’ve seen people pass away and experience friends move miles from where I live, I realize more than ever, the present really is a gift. We don’t know what we’ll have or not have in the future. But this moment, right now, we do have.

So let’s choose our priorities wisely. Let’s enjoy the moments we have. Let’s soak them up. Let’s let loose our stress and fears for the future and live intentionally, seeing the moment we have now for the beautiful gift it is.

(Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be spending the next few days catching up on all those millions of things I’m behind on and probably ignoring my life because actually applying the lessons I’ve learned is not my strong suit… *cough, cough, COUGH*)


Sorry for the braindump and the serious turn this took! The post was really just supposed to be a quicky one letting you all know I’m back and sharing some thoughts I’ve had but…well, my “thoughts” tend to be longwinded, so here we are. But now I want to hear your thoughts! Do you soak up the moments as they happen, or, like me, are you so worried about the future and getting things done you let the present pass you by? I’M SO GUILTY HALP. What tips do you have for enjoying the present and not worrying about the future? Any good ways to find the balance of living in the here and now but still being productive? (Because I am on an eternal search for this balance!) ALSO. What’s been going on with you??? Like I said, I’ve been cut off from everyone for two weeks. I’VE MISSED YOU ALL. Tell me how life is going. I want to hear it all!!!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

{Notice} Brief Hiatus

Heeeey, guys!

I’m dropping in for a quicky announcement. I won’t be posting for the next couple of weeks at least. I’m off tomorrow to spend a week with my bestie (who lives out of town), and then she’ll probably come back with me and stay with us for a while. Thus obviously I’m not going to spend hours of our time together putting together a blog post. I was going to try to be on top of things and pre-write some posts but… Me? On top of things? HAHAHAHAHA!!! Ahem, so yes, that didn’t happen.

But you guys will be okay without me, right? Riiight?

I also probably won’t be commenting on blogs or emailing or much of anything like that during this time. But I assure you, I’LL RETURN. Probably in the latter half of September. You can’t get rid of me! *CACKLES*



I hope you all have an amazing first part of September! (Except hooooooowwwwwwwww is it September??????? *mini panic attack*)

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