How To Make Writing (More) Fun

Admit it, writing isn't always fun and easy. Unless you aren't human in which case maybe you beg to differ.

Sometimes you just have to make putting pen on paper more enjoyable.

This is what I recommend:

Play music.

I like typing with noise in the background more than silence. So it's a no brainer for me. I almost always play some of my favourite tunes while smashing keys on the computer.

Reward yourself.

Schedule something fun to do like hanging out with friends or going to the beach. That way, you have an incentive to write and work while still making time to play. Win win.

Change location.

If you're bored and stuck, try moving to a coffee shop you haven't been to or a library on the other side of town. If that isn't feasible, go to another room in your house you don't typically write in. It might be enough to get your creative juices flowing again.

Set challenges.

Maybe because I'm a competitive person by nature, I tend to perform better when I feel challenged by something or even someone. Which brings me to my next point…

Find writers.

Look for individuals who motivate and inspire you. Seek them out. There are wonderful human beings on this planet who want to help you and see you succeed. Never let those ones go. Besides, writing with others is an experience every writer needs to experience.

Take breaks.

I don't care who you are, writing is not fun when you're burnt out. Working for hours at a time over an extended period of time isn't the best idea then. So rest and relax. Don't you dare guilt trip yourself for not writing every second of every day. You're human after all.

Edit later.

Writing is fun until editing comes along and ruins the creative party. Buzzkill, much? Revisions can wait. Fun does not.

That's all the suggestions I have for making writing more fun. Let me know what you do down in the comments below.

Happy writing and having fun!

20 Lessons I Learned As A Blogger


I'm nearly twenty years on this earth, and I've been blogging for over four.

So you're telling me I'm old and not afraid of commitment?

I don't believe it.

But I do believe being a blogger has taught me some valuable things.

  1. Love words, not numbers.
  2. Give back to the community.
  3. Always be yourself.
  4. Never stop learning.
  5. Do your best.
  6. Don't forget why you started.
  7. Create greatness.
  8. Keep it simple.
  9. Practice as often as possible.
  10. Push your perceived limits.
  11. Be your own boss.
  12. Listen to those who matter.
  13. Ignore the noise.
  14. Keep improving.
  15. Ask for help.
  16. Stay humble.
  17. Rise to the challenge.
  18. Chase what you want.
  19. Live life.
  20. Put your happiness first.

What have you learned from running a blog? I'd love to know down below. After all, sharing is caring.

Works Out | A Poem

I'm shaking

Don't want to think

Every time I do

I remember something

I didn't allow myself to live

Because I was blind

Didn't realize

I'm worth it

Capable of more

And when one door closes

Ten others open

What happened that day

Made me strive

To do better

Than the people who thought

I couldn't put my name on the map

Tried not to get discouraged

The universe is funny

It works out all right

Reflecting On Being 19 Years Old And Turning 20

Nine year old me wanted to be an interior designer.

Nineteen year old me wants to be a professional writer.

Funny how much can change in ten years.

Over the course of my life, especially in the last decade or so, I've discovered new passions and dreamt different dreams.

I never thought I'd be where I am today. I'm beyond grateful. I feel lucky in many ways. But I also know better than anyone how hard I've worked.

I wanted to take some time to reflect on the last nineteen going on twenty years. You're all going to be sick and tired of my old age jokes and indirect references to my birthday. Maybe you already are. I'd say sorry, but I'm not.

I had a less than ideal August in 2016 to say the least. It was a tougher time for me mentally and emotionally. So I was nowhere near where I wanted to be. And I was nothing close to being who I wanted to be.

Even though I still have a long way to go, I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish during my 19th year on this earth.

I won't bore you with the details regarding my achievements. But I want to thank you all for helping me directly or indirectly, whether you know it or not.

I don't thank everyone often enough. Thanks a million times. Thank you so much for being you. I appreciate your support. It means the world to me.

You have inspired me in ways I never would've been. I will never stop reading your comments, messages, tweets, etc.

Around this time last year, I had no idea what to expect in 2017. I didn't know what the future held for me, for this blog.

Another year looms ahead. I can't predict what will happen next, but I'm excited for what's coming.

I like to believe the best is just around the corner.

I'm sure I'll make my share of mistakes in the next 12 months. Please feel free to correct me and my erroneous ways. Shove my mistakes in my face. I'm half kidding, half serious.

But I've grown up a ton. I can handle failure and mistakes better now than ever before.

I want to wish you the very best.

Cheers to growing together. I know there's so much we can learn from each other.

I never want to take any of this for granted.

After all, I had my share of highs and lows as a 19 year old.

But right now I'm grateful. Thank you again from the bottom of my dark heart and the depths of my big head.

You made my 19th that much more memorable.

It's been an incredible year. Here's to an even better one.

Hopefully, twenty year old me will be way smarter. A girl can hope.

Plan Your Perfect Author Panel

Not long ago, I watched an author panel about genre blending. It got me thinking how awesome it’d be if I could gather all my favourite authors in the same room and listen to them talk about writing.

Here’s how I imagine my perfect panel:

Who would be there?

Pierce Brown, Stephen King, Sarah J. Maas, and Jodi Picoult. They’re my favourite storytellers as of right now.

Why these authors in particular?

In general, I love all of their work.

I enjoyed Brown’s Red Rising series, even though it shattered my already broken heart. So now I’m eagerly awaiting Iron Gold. In fact, IG is the first book I ever preordered. Also, Brown was in the genre blending panel, and his comments were spot on. The video is on YouTube for anyone interested.

King is king. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. This won’t be the last time, my friends. For some reason, I have this irrational fear I won’t like one of his novels. He still continues to surpass any and all expectations of mine. Carrie has a special place in my heart. The film adaption was not as good as the book but it wasn’t bad either.

I didn’t think I would like Throne of Glass by Maas as much as I did. The hype surrounding the books almost made me pass on it. I’m glad I didn’t.

Fortunately, I found and fell in love with House Rules. Then I proceeded to read all the Picoult novels I could get my hands on. Nineteen Minutes and The Pact stand out in my memory still to this day.

What will the panel be about?

To start, I’d want them to talk about their writing journey.

I even have questions prepared. When did you start writing? What made you become a writer? Why do you write? What’s a typical day in your life like? Where do you work? How do you write? What’s the easiest thing about your job? What is the hardest?

I’m a curious writer myself, so I like listening to other writers share their life stories.

Of course, if I could only ask one question, I’d have them answer this: what’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers?

Where would the panel take place? 

I wish more book events and conferences were held in the wonderful country of Canada. As much as I love the United States and hope to visit the United Kingdom one day, I can’t book a plane ticket without losing an arm or a leg. Probably both.

So, for obvious reasons, I’d want the panel to be held at a location near me. That way I could actually attend and keep all my limbs. In my dreams, I want to go to a Canadian book conference. Preferably downtown Toronto in a large building with awesome views of the skyline. Bonus points if it’s close to a hotel for those flying in from other countries with their two arms and legs.

When would the panel take place?

A weekend in the summer would be ideal. Or during autumn when the temperature is cool but not chilly. Then again, the panel will be inside an air conditioned room. But I’m all for having fun events take place outdoors. Beggars can’t be choosers, but planners can be picky, right?

Who should moderate?

I’m not sure. Perhaps another writer. Maybe an agent or an editor. I don’t have anyone specific in mind.

I want to hear all about your dream author panel. Let me know in a comment down below or create your own blog post and get carried away like me. I won’t judge.

Thanks to Eventbrite for inspiring this post. They are a self-service ticketing platform that helps people find and plan events like book conferences or author panels.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How Being A Blogger Is Like Being A Baseball Player

The other day I had a brilliant idea wherein I change my brand to blogging about blogging using baseball analogies and similes.

I'm joking about the brilliant idea. I'm not joking about the baseball part. Which is why I'm presenting you with this probably bad, definitely weird post about what bloggers and baseball players have in common.

Long hours.

Weekends and holidays, what are those? These don't exist when you're a pro baseball player, and they certainly don't exist for bored teenagers who decided to start a blog with the goal of publishing one post once per day.

Thick skin.

Otherwise, you'll break like a breaking ball. Get it? Because breaking balls break. I'm so helpful. I know. My friends tell me that all the time.

Constantly thinking.

About blogging or baseball even when you aren't blogging or baseballing. Allow me to butcher words as I please.

Continually failing.

If you get a hit three out of the ten times you come to the plate, you're considered an above average hitter. So it's okay to fail more than you succeed. Now if only I could publish one half decent post for every hundred that I write. Then a certain girl might be able to blog about baseball for a living.

Messing up.

Even professional baseball players make errors. News flash: they're human beings too. Last I checked, so are bloggers. Everybody and their moms screw up, but there's no need to beat yourself up over a minor mistake.

Hard work.

They say baseball is a mental game. People have said that, right? I can't afford to pay anyone to fact-check my content. And I'm too lazy to do it myself. Blogging is very much a mental game, if not even more so than any sport. After all, bloggers don't actually have to move anything but their fingers.

I probably struck out on with this post. Next time I'll write a hit.

20 Reasons Why I Write

In honour of turning two decades old later this month, here are twenty reasons why I'm still a writer.

  1. I love writing with all my hollow heart.
  2. I'm not horrible with words.
  3. I am terrible with numbers.
  4. Stories have changed my life for better or worse.
  5. I'll face the blank page over boredom any day of the year.
  6. Being published is better than not being published.
  7. Real people aren't as cool as fictional ones.
  8. Every day is an emotional roller coaster I'm never ready for.
  9. Other writers keep me from going insane.
  10. Therapy is expensive.
  11. I can write alone, by myself, on my own.
  12. I've learned more from writing books than reading textbooks.
  13. It's fun to inflict pain on fictional characters.
  14. I enjoy the suffering of others.
  15. I can relive experiences as many times as I want.
  16. Writing provides me some much needed perspective.
  17. I don't want to talk to people.
  18. People interrupt me on the rare occasion I do open my mouth to say something.
  19. Writing makes me happier than anything else in this world.

Why do you write?

Why I Have A Hard Time Sharing My Creative Writing

Sharing my creative writing with others is a challenge to say the least.

The other day I was trying to pick a story to send to two strangers for their feedback. I had the hardest time emailing a copy of my work to them.

There's something personal about openly sharing your stories with someone else. To an extent, some of my blog posts are personal, and I don't have a problem posting those for the world to see. With creative writing however, I feel as though I'm exposing more of myself.

As I've said, these two are strangers. I think I'd be more comfortable with sharing if I knew them longer, trusted them more. I'm sure they're wonderful human beings. It's still tough to open up and feel vulnerable in front of people you hardly know.

If I had a penny for every times I've said I wanted to get better, I'd be one wealthy woman. Even though I do hope to improve, I'm not the best at asking for feedback. Ditto for applying any feedback I receive.

I'm stubborn. Worse, I have a gigantic ego that loves to get in the way. On a good day, I'm able to shove it aside for the sake of my art.

Every time I've put my art first before my ego, the former benefits greatly.

I say the following not to brag, but to make it clear that I had a different, unusual path when I started out as a writer and blogger. I found success early on in both endeavours. In some ways, I was even more successful a few years ago than I have been recently.

So, for many reasons, my ego was inflated in high school. A part of me thought I always knew what was best, what was right.

Of course, that's not always the case.

Over time, my ego has taken a good beating.

I'm at a point now where I feel confident, not cocky in my abilities. After all, I've come a long way, but I still have plenty of room for improvement.

I can identify strengths and weaknesses in my own work. But having an outside perspective point out certain problems can make all the difference.

What I want to say ultimately boils down to these points:

Sharing your writing with strangers isn't easy. It can be a vulnerable experience. That's okay, though. So long as you don't let your ego stop you from improving your art in every way possible. And sometimes the best thing you can do is to put your ego aside and listen to others.

I think I've reaffirmed what I knew all along. Egos suck.

Doing Better Than Others Versus Doing Better Than Yourself

Although I was obsessed with doing better than others for one year too many, I'm more focused on myself now. I'd like to stay this way moving forward.

I remember a time when I looked at a blogger's stats (followers, views, etc.) and felt discouraged. Defeated even. I wanted to do better than others instead of trying to improve myself.

Even before I made this blog, I strived to beat out the students in my class. For a while, I stopped being concerned with my personal goals because I concentrated so much on the success of other people. Strangers, friends, acquaintances alike.

At some point, I realized doing better than others didn't make me happy. I shouldn't have cared how everyone else did in relation to myself.

So nearly twenty years after I came into this world, I've come to a few conclusions.

I have to define success on my own terms. I won't steal someone's definition and settle with it.

I want to do better than me, myself, and I. Which is why I need to strive to beat my personal best, not the best of another blogger or student.

After all, I'm on my own unique journey. And everyone else around me is on a different one of their own. It's unfair to compare.  

We're all human beings, but we aren't exactly the same. Like comparing apples to oranges. Both are fruits but apples aren't oranges. I'm not you. You are not me.

Besides, I'm happier when I focus on what I'm doing and how well I'm doing. Also, the time I spend asking a peer what they got on a test or peeking at a creator's numbers is better spent practicing my skills. I could be studying harder or blogging more to improve my abilities.

Interestingly enough, I constantly write in my journal that I can do better. One because it's true. And two because I want to. More than anything. I would love nothing more than to become a better writer and blogger. To grow as an artist.

Every day I should do something to ensure I'm moving forward rather than fall behind or stay stagnant.

Going forward, I hope I'll make a conscious effort to be better than I was yesterday.

My goal is to beat my own goals, best my personal records, not those of others.

Lie To Me By J. T. Ellison | A Book Review

TitleLie To Me

Author: J. T. Ellison

Genre: Thriller

About the book: I received an uncorrected proof of this standalone novel from a GoodReads giveaway.

First impressions: After reading the back cover, I immediately thought Lie to Me sounded a lot like Gone Girl. Although I enjoyed the latter, I’m glad Ellison put a unique spin on the woman goes missing narrative. I went in with high hopes because I tend to love suspenseful thrillers. The beginning didn’t disappoint. It sets up the rest of the story well in my opinion.

Summary: A woman goes missing. The husband is suspect number one in the eyes of family, friends, the media, and the police. An investigation begins, but as lies begin to come to light, the truth becomes more clear.

Characters: The author created flawed characters with problematic pasts. I liked Ethan despite his shortcomings. His wife, Sutton, disappears and leaves a note saying not to look for her. Near the end of the book, readers get more of her backstory, which is interesting to say the least. She became more likeable the more I learned about her. Ellison did a nice job with all the characters, good and bad.

Quote:

“We are afraid to die, and so we are afraid to live.”

Conflict: The characters want to get to the bottom of Sutton’s disappearance. Somehow, I figured out who was behind it all relatively early on. I had a hunch after a certain incident, and the book reaffirmed my hypothesis all the way. That being said, I wasn’t sure of this character’s motive until the very end. Wanting to learn how Ellison would resolve the loose ends made me keep turning the pages.

Writing: For the most part, the story is told in third person. The book contains different perspectives as well as a then and now glimpse into the events of the past, which offer more insight into the present. It gave me a better understanding of the main characters and what motivates them.

I’m aware it’s an uncorrected proof, but there were more errors than I anticipated. I could still make sense of everything, but the mistakes took me out of the reading experience ever so slightly. I hope the finished copy is much more polished.

The sentences are short. The chapters aren’t long. Some clock in at a couple of pages. This kept the suspense going, which I’m all for.

Final thoughts: The ending reveals a ton of information in a short amount of time, so it answers the questions posed in the beginning nicely.

I enjoyed this one. I think fans of suspenseful reads such as A Girl on the Train should consider checking out Ellison’s novel. I was worried Lie to Me would read very much like Gone Girl, but I’m glad it didn’t. Though I could predict some twists, the book had a few different turns that took me by surprise.

I’d recommend the novel to lovers of thrillers. Even if you don’t normally reach for crime or mystery on a daily basis, I think you won’t regret reaching for Lie to Me, especially when you just want to be entertained.

Lie to Me will be released on September 5, 2017. You can preorder the book here. Or if you’re patient, you can wait.

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