My Goals For The Rest Of 2017

Since it’s somehow October, I figured I should lay out some goals for myself for the end of the year.

Schooling

I’ve been meaning to be a better student this year. I’m not sure if I’ll do anything differently, though. Work hard, work smart, and work well.

Reading

When I have busy, hectic days, reading tends to suffer more than anything else. I have sort of a binge mindset with books. But it’s tough to block out an entire hour or two to read. My lowball goal is to post at least two reviews a month, meaning I’ll need to read two books. I wish I was a faster reader and reviewer, but when it comes to reading for fun, I want to enjoy the experience. I rather not rush myself for no real reason.

Writing

Honestly, writing sometimes falls by the wayside as well. I’m not too sure what my goal is. I’ve been writing short stories and poems. All summer long, I’ve spent my mornings transcribing old work and editing current projects. I keep sending my babies out into the world. People keep rejecting them. It’s the life of a writer. In a way, I feel a bit lost. I have a lot of doubts, and so I’m not sure what I want right now.

Dancing

I don’t talk much about dance on here, although I really ought to. I’ve been having some great dance sessions as of late. When I told someone about it, she asked me if I’ll ever take dancing to the next level. I won’t. I’ve always danced for myself, and I’m mostly a self-taught dancer. But I’d like to continue stretching, dancing, and conditioning. I feel great. It’s fun. Besides, exercising my body doesn’t hurt my brain.

Blogging

Of course, I save blogging for last. It’s not something I talk about with people in real life. I have my reasons. I also have hit a bit of a weird phase creatively. I seem to fall into routines, ride the same wave over and over again. I hope I’m making sense. I’ve always wanted to write longer posts, but it doesn’t sit right with me. It’s just not who I am to be verbose and wordy. When I edit, I cut out a lot. I’d love to keep posting every day.

These are my goals. What are yours?

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Storytelling, Timing, Writing

I love writing and hope to publish a book someday. If that doesn’t happen, I really hope I can at least help to improve literacy rates around the world.

I can’t imagine not being able to read or write. I’m beyond grateful to be in the position I am.

Oh, writing. I love it. I want to dedicate my entire life to telling stories.

The times I want to give up, I tell myself I’m closer than I realize. Besides, if I give up, I won’t make it. I can’t reap all the seeds I’ve sown in the last several years if I throw away all my pens and never buy any again.

Every professional writer was an amateur, an aspiring writer who didn’t quit even when they experienced rejection, failure. They kept going.

I like to believe I’m on the right path, heading in a direction towards a destination I will arrive at one day and be blown away. That’s some sentence, huh? The poet in me is coming out.

I can’t wait.

Wherever this life takes me, wherever I go, I’ll look ahead and regret nothing.

In my twenty years of life, I’ve learned that life is messy and ugly.

I tend to expect perfection from myself or something close to it. But if life isn’t perfect, how can I be?

I’m hard on myself, so hard. I’m trying to loosen up, take things easy. That doesn’t mean I don’t expect great things from myself. It just means when I do inevitably fail, I won’t beat myself down when I’m already on the ground.

I’ll pick myself up and carry on my way. Brush the dirt off. Keep walking.

I truly believe this world needs stories. We need art. Maybe I can supply both to the people who need it most. I’d be happy with changing one person’s life. In a good way, of course.

I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of storytelling. I know how powerful stories are. The right story at the right time can be life-changing.

Timing really is everything. Right place at the right time. When the stars and planets align.

One of these days the timing will be close to perfect. I’ll know with all my heart I’m where I should be. Then all this will be worth it. After all, I’m worth it.

Staying True To Yourself

I used to be someone I wasn’t. I wasn’t myself because I tried to be what people wanted or expected of me.

I’m not perfect by any stretch. I still struggle to stay true to what I stand for. But it’s easy to give in.

At times, I feel very much like I’m a doormat. Because I let people step on me figuratively. I don’t put my foot down.

I can be firm, say no. I tend to know what I want to do, what I don’t want to do. But I’ve never been the best at vocalizing my desires or opinions, especially if they’re unpopular, which they often are.

When I first sat down to write this post, I figured I’d write about my journey as a blogger. How at one point in time I was not blogging for myself. And because of that, I didn’t feel happy. Or content with my creations.

But recently I realized I’m not always myself around people in general. Maybe that means I need new company. Or maybe I have to rethink who I am as well as who I want to be.

For better or worse, people change. Differently. Some people change faster while others take a bit longer.

Now more than ever before I’ve come to accept and embrace my flaws, quirks, etc. But I can love myself yet still want to improve, get better. That’s life for you.

Humans are not easily content. At least, I’m not. If I was completely happy, I wouldn’t have to do anything ever again. I wouldn’t learn every day. Or read, write, blog.

As I grow older, I hope to mature and become the person I aspire to be. Not always easy, but I’m doing my best. That’s all I ask of myself.

Stay true to yourself. Don’t live your life for someone else.

A Letter To My 30 Year Old Self

Dear 30 year old Herminia,

How are you?

I hope you’re happy. Doing what you love, loving what you do.

Are you well? Healthy?

I like to think you’re still dancing. Maybe not to the extent you used to. But maybe you’re even better.

What book are you reading? You’re reading something, aren’t you? You won’t abandon your first love or neglect reading, right?

I wonder how you feel about dating and relationships. I’m sure 10 years will change your perspective, especially if you’re with someone you love. If you aren’t with someone you love, remember you deserve better. Don’t settle. Don’t ever settle. If you aren’t with someone, in which case I’m not surprised, again don’t settle for just anyone.

How’s the blog, huh? 20 year old you hardly went a day without blogging.

I want to believe with every fibre of my being that writing is still a big part of your life. At least it has some role. Perhaps you’re writing more, maybe getting paid to.

That’s the dream. A recurring one for years.

If you’re stressed or sad, breathe. You’re going to be okay. Whatever you happen to be going through, it will pass. And come on, you’re Herminia Chow.

Also, have you gotten better at dealing with ink stains? Or do pens still get the best of you?

Is there any chance you wish you could go back to being 20 years old when things were simple? I so badly wish you love life with all your heart. That you’re happy where you are.

Here’s to living with no regrets. Don’t panic. Do you. You’re not anyone else.

Keep going. Your hard work will pay off. A lot of your work has probably already paid off.

I don’t know what else to say except good luck. Remember why you started when you want to give up. The only person holding you back is yourself. Go after your goals. Say yes. Roll the dice. You may be surprised, Herminia.

Sincerely,

A not nearly as wise 20 year old

The Importance Of Timing In Reading

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially when it comes to books.

Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, I’m hesitant to read a popular novel. For a few main reasons.

I don’t want people to hype up a book for me only for it to disappoint because of high expectations.

I also feel odd when I’m in the minority. Either I love a book that people generally don’t like or I dislike a novel everyone seems to adore. In that case, I tend to feel like I’m missing something. As if I didn’t get the essence of the story.

It’s easy to look at reviews or seek out other readers’ opinions nowadays. Thanks Internet.

It’s also easy to form a bias before reading something because of what someone else says. That’s why I typically avoid reading book reviews before I begin. I don’t mind looking at reviews after I’ve finished a novel.

Often times I find others are able to say what I want to say more eloquently than I ever could. Or better yet, reviewers are able to specify an issue or ten they had with a book that I did too.

When I decide whether or not I want to buy a particular book, I don’t usually read reviews. I’ll read the synopsis or summary. Maybe the back cover or the first page.

I want to form my own opinion without the influence of anyone else, even if I trust him or her.

Going back to popular books, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t read Harry Potter. And some days I wonder if I ever will. The whole being let down is part of it. As well as the prospect I may not love this series as much as my friends.

I’m a huge believer that timing matters. When exactly you read a certain book can change your entire perception of it. I know there are books I appreciate better now than when I read them five, six years ago. Even five, six months make a huge difference.

Same goes for books I’ve read recently. I feel I would have enjoyed them more had I read some earlier in my life like in elementary or high school.

Regardless, reading really is remarkable. So don’t let anything or anyone stop you from enjoying a good book at any time in your life.

The Need To Disconnect And Connect

I feel the need to disconnect all the time, especially in a world where thanks to the internet or social media more specifically, we’re increasingly connected to each other.

Some days I’m better at disconnecting than others. Finding that perfect balance presents a challenge.

Recently, I’ve noticed I’m not able to concentrate as long as I used to.

I remember the good old days where I finished books in one day as I would sit down and read for hours on end. I went without interruptions or distractions for long periods of time.

But now I’ll read for about an hour, feel the urge to check my phone, and ultimately, give in to the temptation. Then I’ll get carried away on Twitter or Instagram. Before I know it, I’ve spent half my day on social media. Hyperbolic statements are part of Herminia’s brand. So is referring to myself in third person.

I realize I may not disconnect as much as I used to, but I do my best. It’s important to step away from the screen. My sensitive eyes appreciate it.

Also, I’ve gotten used to carrying my phone with me everywhere I go. Some days I wonder how I’d survive if I left my mobile at home either accidentally or intentionally.

It’s not easy to disconnect, at least not if you’ve grown up so connected. But the difficulty makes disconnecting that much more rewarding.

If you’re wondering where all this is coming from, I’m currently taking three media classes. For fun, I read a chapter of a book, which discussed how social media has changed our ability to connect and concentrate.

So lately I’ve been thinking about my relationship to media and how it affects my happiness, productivity, etc.

As of right now, I’m ready to disconnect and go to bed. I’ll connect or reconnect with the world tomorrow.

A Q&A About Reading Habits

Lately, I’ve been wondering about my reading habits, which led to the creation of this post.

What’s your policy on finishing books?

I try to finish every book I start regardless of whether I love it or not. As a kid I abandoned stories more easily, but I’ve gotten better at sticking with something if I start. It helps that I pick up books I want to read now.

How often do you read?

Daily.

How much do you read?

As of right now, I strive to finish 50 pages every day.

When do you read?

Mornings because I prefer reading in natural light. Sometimes I’ll have one reading session in the morning and another in the afternoon. If I’m busy during the day, I settle for evenings or nights.

Do you read one book or multiple books at a time?

One book at a time. If I have to read more than one, that’s fine. I tend to do so when I’m in school. I’ll read a book for class and read something else for fun. Way back when, I used to read a fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. But my nonfiction game has been nonexistent nowadays.

Is there anything you do before or after reading a book?

I wash my hands prior to and update my GoodReads status if I remember. Key word there is remember. Sometimes I forget because I’m old and getting older with each passing second.

Now I’m curious about other people’s reading habits.

Different Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

Lately, I’ve been moving my books around because I’m not entirely happy with the way they’re displayed on my shelves. But I don’t know how I want to rearrange them exactly, so I decided to write a blog post about different ways you can organize your bookshelves.

By alphabetical.

Do the author’s last name or first if you’re so inclined. You might even decide to go organize according to the titles of each book. It’s up to you.

By colour.

Ombré. Rainbow. The possibilities are endless.

By genre.

Have one shelf for fantasy, one for mystery, etc. This is a good way to see what you like or dislike.

By height.

Shelves look more uniform when books are the same size. This is a fact of life. My heart breaks when I buy a novel that doesn’t fit in with the others.

By love.

Have your favourite books on one shelf. You can play favourites with novels. That’s totally ethical.

By status.

What you’ve read, what you’re currently reading, what you want to read. I have a shelf for all the books I own but haven’t read yet. Without fail, I’ll read a few novels on my to-be-read shelf only to buy many more. I almost always enable my own addiction.

By story.

Is it a standalone? A series? Also consider grouping books by the same author together. Because why not?

By type.

Paperbacks here. Hardcovers there. Easy, fast, simple. You’re good to grab and go.

By however you want.

Obviously, you can organize your books any way you like. Feel free to use one or a combination of the methods listed above.

Let me know how you organize your books. I’d love to get some inspiration for my shelves. It doesn’t help that I’m starting to run out of space either. But that’s a problem I’ll tackle another day.

A Rant In Regards To Reading

This post may or may not be a rant depending on your definition, but it will be about reading.

I think it’s important to read what you want and to enjoy your reading experience. No, you might not love everything about a certain book, but try to find something you do like.

Even though I read as an escape from real life, reading for me is almost akin to living in a way. I get to live different lives through fictional characters.

Maybe I’m using reading as a metaphor or analogy for living. I’m not too sure. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an English major.

I just hope readers don’t feel pressured to read what they don’t want to just because everyone else is. Case in point: Herminia and Harry Potter.

I also do my best to finish what I start, especially if I chose to buy the book with the thought I’ll enjoy the story. Or at least, enjoy some aspect of the work. Sometimes, it’s the writing. Other times, I’m a fan of the plot or I’m fond of the characters.

Besides, reading what you enjoy will always win out over the alternative of not enjoying yourself.

Am I ranting or rambling? I’m not even sure at this point. Now that I’m older and wiser, I hope going forward, I will decide what’s best for my interests. Not allow others to decide for me.

So go ahead, read what you want. If you realize you aren’t enjoying the book, read something else.

It’s perfectly fine to pick up another novel if you aren’t enjoying the one you’re on right now.

Reading, like life, is about timing. Perhaps you don’t appreciate a certain book at this exact moment. But maybe in the future, you will.

That might mean you’ll grow out of books. Stories you loved in the past might not have the same effect on you years later. This is okay.

After all, readers should read what their heart desires.

Live your life. Read the books you want. Have fun. Enjoy yourself while reading.

You don’t get that time back.

10 Things Writers Do And Can Relate To

Writers do a lot of awesome things.

  1. Writers write. On the flip side, we also do everything we can to put off writing as long as possible.
  2. Writers get ink stains. On everything. No? Just me? I will hold my wallet up proudly for all to see and proclaim my status as a wordsmith. Or just a clumsy child who ruins everything she owns.
  3. Writers observe. Not to be confused with stalking. The two are not the same. Obviously, if you write, you would know.
  4. Writers talk to themselves. And to their dogs or cats if they have any.
  5. Writers make characters suffer. It’s part of our job to.
  6. Writers fail. All the time. If you haven’t failed and/or been rejected, who are you? You’re not human. At least, you haven’t taken great risks, lived your life.
  7. Writers drink. Coffee, tea, alcohol. We drink it all. We don’t discriminate.
  8. Writers read everything. Other people’s books, our own stories. We read a lot of words.
  9. Writers play with pens. Click. Click. Click.
  10. Writers dream and daydream. Then we dream some more.

Which of these can you relate to?