What Being A Teen Writer Was Like

I used to think being a teen writer was the best thing ever. I remember feeling a desire to be one forever. How delusional of me, huh?

While I love writing and hope to write for the rest of my life, I’m looking forward to being an adult writer.

After all, I spent most of my time as a teenager telling stories.

I started writing when I was about thirteen or fourteen, right around my early teens.

I’ve been writing for the past six or so years. Time flies.

I still can’t believe I turned twenty today.

Being a teen is tough enough as it is. I’d argue being a teen writer is even tougher.

Not only are you finding yourself and figuring out who you are as a human, you’re also doing the same as a writer.

I’ve learned a little every time I faced the blank page.

I wrote stories and poems last year. I’m currently transcribing them. Even with my critical eye, I can see my gradual improvement. I’m constantly taken aback by how far I’ve come in just a few months, much less several years.

I’ll miss the opportunities afforded to teen writers. I’m not eligible for a lot of things now that I’m officially twenty.

Even though I got into writing earlier than most, I wish I had applied to more contests and competitions for teens.

Still, it’s been a great journey. I’m quite happy, pleased even with where I am right now.

Overall, I accomplished more than I thought I would as a teenager.

I’m not too sure what’s next for me. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, which is the one thing that both excites and terrifies me about being a young writer.

I hope being a grown up adult will be everything I hope for. Am I being greedy? Is that too much to ask for?

Fortunately, I’ve had these past four summer months to reflect on my past and contemplate my future.

I want nothing more than to keep telling stories and writing words. I invite you to do the same, regardless of whether you’re a teen writer or a seasoned veteran.

Age is just a number anyway.

Scars To Show | A Poem

head turns

seeing dots

room spins

voices buzz

listen

nod along

play the role

expected to

fight and fend

not the same

anymore

give your heart a break

being broken takes a toll

try to breathe

a little more

keep your head above water

shallow treading

drowning deep

get out

escape near death

with scars to show

This Or That: Writing Edition


Just a fun game of this or that with a writing twist because why not.

Pen or pencil?

I used to be a pencil kind of gal when I was a kid, but now I'm old. I don't make mistakes that I need to erase. I don't get ink stains on anything. There are so many reasons why I love pens, I could write a blog post on it.

Spiral or non-spiral bound notebooks?

As much as I love the look of journals without spirals, they aren't as practical for me. I can hold a spiral notebook in one hand easier. Or maybe I just don't have any arm strength.

Write in the morning or at night?

Nighttime. I tend to read and edit in the earlier hours of the day. But when the sun sets, my muse suddenly wants to come out to play. So much for sleeping eight hours every night.

Work inside or outside?

I like not having to leave my house. I can stay in my pyjamas. I don't have to do my hair or makeup. I'm lazy. That's not news.

Music or silence?

When I'm handwriting, silence. When I'm typing, music. If I had to choose just one, I'd probably play songs in the background at a soft volume.

Write a little every day or a lot every so often?

A little every day. That's what I'm currently doing because it works best for me. I like writing enough to do it even when I don't feel like pulling words from my brain and putting them onto the page.

Short stories or long novels?

I tend to write short stories and read long novels. Perhaps novellas are my true love.

Lined paper or blank paper?

Lined all the way. I'll take lines on paper over dotted, graph, etc.

Characters or plot?

The former obviously. Characters make or break a novel for me.

Which choices would you pick?

Why I Love Reading Books

I think it's no surprise that I love books. More than a lot of things and many people in fact. But why exactly do I love papers with ink on them so much?

As a kid, I've always liked reading even before I realized I did. I buried my nose into all kinds of books.

Mainly because I enjoyed learning, and I still do. I'm all for gaining as much knowledge as I can. I especially want to know more about subjects that fascinate me.

Being able to escape from the real world was always welcome for me. Sometimes we just need to get away, be distracted for a little while.

At some point, I wanted to write my own books. As much as I love reading other people's stories, there's nothing quite like telling your own.

Of course, I love words. That's why I'm a writer. Reading books ignited my passion for writing stories.

In elementary school, I had a much smaller vocabulary. Younger me wasn't as confident with the English language as I am now, even more so when it came to writing in it.

I can still recall a memory of myself in class. I always asked this much smarter student how to spell certain words I didn't know at the time.

Interestingly enough, my first language isn't English. I grew up in a Cantonese speaking household. Back then, my parents didn't speak much English. So for several years during my childhood, I felt more comfortable with Cantonese, my mother tongue. After all, it was what I spoke at home.

Only after reading a bunch of English books did my communication skills improve. Over the course of my elementary schooling, I saw my grades in Reading, Writing, and Oral Communication increase little by little.

Nowadays, I still crave exposure to new ideas and beliefs. I may not agree with everything, but at the very least, I get a chance to see the perspectives of others. More importantly, I try to understand.

I owe writers and authors a lot. They keep inspiring me to speak, to share.

Frankly, I have little desire to spend my money on anything that is not a good book.

The Assassin’s Blade By Sarah J. Maas | A Book Review

Title: The Assassin's Blade

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

About the book: It's a book of five novellas, serving as a prequel to the Throne of Glass series.

First impressions: I read the first novel and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The hype almost made me pass on these books. But after finishing Queen of Shadows, I very much looked forward to learning more backstory about certain characters. The Assassin's Blade begins with an interesting tale about Calaena and a pirate lord. Safe to say, I had high hopes for the rest of the book.

Summary: The stories follow Celaena, an assassin in a guild. She encounters a whole host of various people along her journey. Of course, Celaena being Celaena, she starts to defy Arobynn, her master during his missions for her.

Characters: There's a lot of different characters introduced in a short period of time. Celaena Sardothien is the female protagonist. In general, I think Maas creates likeable, complex characters readers want to root for. She also does a fine job making you dislike evil ones. I'm all for well-developed characters who actually develop.

Quote:

"If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything."

Conflict: Each novella features a new conflict that tends to get resolved by the end. But as Celaena acts against Arobynn's wishes, he begins to punish her.

Writing: When I first read her books, I wasn't expecting the writing to be amazing. Which is partly why I found myself surprised at how well-written her stories are.

There's a balance of world-building with story-telling. With the five novellas, I felt the plot advancing at a fast pace.

I had an idea of how the book would end because I knew some events after reading the first four books in the series. That didn't stop me from appreciating all the novellas on the whole.

A part of me wishes I had read The Assassin's Blade before the other novels. And now after finishing it, I'm tempted to reread the series from start to finish. I haven't read Empire of Storms yet, but it's on my mental to be read list. Maybe my head isn't the best place to store things…

Final thoughts: I'm biased. I'm a fan of Maas. Her books will always have a special place in my heart. I read The Assassin's Blade during a great time in my life, unlike Queen of Shadows. Enjoying good writing has a way of making my bad days better.

The ending left me feeling sad. I would've been more upset if I didn't already know what would ultimately happen. Even knowing beforehand made the last handful of chapters tough to get through. I don't know how to describe my feelings. I definitely had a subdued book hangover.

Give The Assassin's Blade a go if it sounds like something up your alley. The five novellas read very much like a novel. I would not have been mad at all if the stories were turned into full-fledged books.

Let me know what you think down below.


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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.

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