My 2015 Goodreads Challenge Recap

I finished my Goodreads challenge 5.5 months early because I have a severe lack of confidence in my reading volume abilities! 25 out of 25, baby.

I talk about the best- and worst-of, and answer these questions which I made up and which have no real significance:

  • What was the first book you read this year?
  • The last book?
  • What was the longest book you read this year?
  • What was the shortest book you read this year?
  • Which book was the most difficult to get through?
  • Which was the quickest?
  • What was the book that most surprised you?
  • Which was you least favorite book?
  • Which was your favorite book?

Also I’m super curious–do you guys do the Goodreads challenge? What do you usually set your number at? Also if you want to link to your challenges I’d love to check out what you’re all reading!

New Reading Like a Writer Series!

Here’s a quick update on the new reading series I’m starting, “This is Why You Love [Insert Your Fav Here]” It’s book reviews, plot untangling, character analysis, and reading like a writer all in one.

One of the things I miss about college is discussing books in-depth in my English classes. Spending thirty minutes on running motifs or themes in a novel certainly looks trivial at some distance, but I do think you can tease out a lot of learnings from your reading, as well as your understanding of the world, from zooming into a book at that level. Besides my 5 Short Stories to Make You a Better Writer post from AGES ago, I haven’t done much of this in any formal way.

Let me know if you have suggestions for books I should feature–preferably ones that have a lot going on in them plot or structure-wise, or that are well written. Right now the plan is to pull from my personal library as well as what I read for college English classes.

Bad Writer Confessions: I Haven’t Written in 1 Month

We’re halfway through 2015, guys!

Don’t look at me like that. I don’t control these things.

I’ve been reflecting back on some of the new year’s projects I mentioned in January, and have come to the sad realization that I probably will not finish my novel this year.

It’s not impossible. I mean I do have a more presentable draft that I am more happy with than I have been, ever. But considering the amount of work the whole thing still needs–at least half of the chapters rewritten, and then another 5-6 months of a combined cool-off/editing frenzy period, and it just doesn’t seem likely.

Make that like 6 years running.

This wouldn’t be a huge deal…

  • except that I feel tied to this project
  • and unwilling to start something new because I feel like I must finish at this point
  • and guilty for not writing because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and now I finally have some time (if not the energy) to do it.

Add to that the fact that I’ve been blogging and vlogging about writing as if I know something about it, and I’ve got myself a potent case of imposter syndrome.

I don’t want to get all woe-is-me here because it’s honestly not like that. I’ve been succeeding in other important parts of my life. I’ve been exploring new and old interests like I meant to in early 2015. Making the videos like the one above. Cooking and baking. Keeping in touch with my family. Traveling some. More often staying home. Reading a lot of good books (and really overachieving on my unaggressive Goodreads goal).

I’m not giving up on my novel, but I’m also not missing it much.

4 Best Harry Potter Fan Theories

No spoiler alerts here. If these books are still in your TBR pile then there’s nothing even I can do to help you.

To those who might be wondering: yes, I am still working on my novel.  Yes, it is still going slowly.  Yes, it is entirely because of my lack of dedication. You know how there’s this little graphic that talks about the difficulty of balancing sleep, grades, and social life in college?

triangle-school-300x205

Well, for me in my post-college life, it looks more like good work performance, exercise regularly, write regularly.  And guess which one I’ve been sacrificing more often than not as of late?

Making YouTube videos doesn’t help, but I feel like because it’s a creative project, it kind of counts.

Ever since this little theory about how the Dursleys are so terrible because Harry is a horcrux surfaced across the internet, I’ve been looking for more of these fan theories. Partly because speculating about the series was such an integral part of my enjoyment of the world, and partly because there are some, shall we say, creative headcanon floating around out there.

From Voldemort’s serenade to Azkaban movie nights, these are some of the most amusing I found. Click through to the video watch page for links to all the theory sources!

March Favorites: Better Late Than Never?

One of my 2015 resolutions was to spend more of my non-work hours making more stuff—writing, cooking, and trying out making videos for the first time. It’s March, and I’m happy to report that I’m still creating videos semi-regularly!

In this video: my thoughts on spring cleaning, modcloth, broadcity, podcasts, and other fascinating topics.

Sorry for the drought of  posts about the actual writing process, guys, but I’m having a hard enough time holding myself accountable to my writing goals that I don’t feel equipped to tell y’all how to live your writing lives.

7 Reasons You Need a Writing Group

Hello writers!

About a month ago, I joined a brand new writing workshop group. Remember when I said like seven months ago that, when I moved, I wanted to find something like this? Well, it’s taken me this long.
My latest video is about the logistics of creating such a group of your own. Think of it as a checklist for the expectations and ground rules you need to establish, plus a quick guide to how many writing workshops, collegiate and otherwise, operate.

I talked about writing because that’s what I know, but this could apply as well to drawing and painting, film, academic writing, etc.

Here are seven reasons you need to start your own workshop:

1. Writers need community too

So much of the creative process is solitary for writers and other artists. Commiserating and celebrating with your fellow writer-beings can take the edge off your existential loneliness for an hour or two.

2. That last paragraph you wrote is not as great as you think it is

Sorry, boo.

3. Your story is not as awful as you think it is

Of course you hate it; you’ve been hanging out with the same stupid characters trying to get them to do the same tired plot for the last six months. New readers will (hopefully) experience that joy you did when you started the project in the first place.

4. When else do you get to read work by your peers?

I mean unless all of your friends are part of the literati, you probably don’t get to read many things in their original, un-published state.  It’s refreshing to see that no piece of art is perfect when you first make it.

5. Train your critical eye

Dissecting why another piece of writing works or doesn’t will help you do the same on your own work.

6. They hold you accountable

For getting shit done, for avoiding clichés and other lazy writing, for not dancing around the issue you’re trying to address and diving into the epicenter of your topic.  For holding nothing back.

7. Deadlines!

Never underestimate the power of a good old kick in the pants. Students, you don’t know how blessed you are to have these evil little devices built into your curriculum.  The rest of need to create them for ourselves.

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Are you all a part of any sort of workshop? Has anyone found success making their own as part of that post-grad life?  Lemme know in the comments!

7 Reasons You Need a Writing Group | Don't Be A Writer, Be Writing! Blog