A Look At The Year Ahead

I can’t predict the future. But I can plan in advance. So this is my attempt to look at the year ahead.

I’m currently in my second semester of my third year at university. That’s crazy. Still, I’m looking forward to being in fourth year. Even though I’d love to ace everything, I’m content with not failing anything.

Right now, I’m excited for the upcoming baseball season. I don’t know why. Unfortunately that also means I’ll be making a lot of bad similes and analogies.

I have no idea what kind of work I’ll find over the summer, but I’m hoping to find something. On my own time, I intend to keep doing what I love.

It should go without saying that I want to continue reading and reviewing books all year long. My wallet will hate me. But my brain won’t.

This blog isn’t going anywhere. I promise to be more creative and less repetitive. My aim is to create content I enjoy. Here’s hoping you enjoy reading my work. Let’s see if I can keep up with being a good blogger and commenting on blogs. Probably not but a girl can dream.

I never know where writing will take me. I lied. It takes me to magical places. As always, I have some fun projects in the works. I can’t wait to share them with the world.

Somehow, I start my fourth and final year of university in September. That feels so far away, yet too close at the same time.

I also plan to drive more once I’ve fully recovered from the accident.

What are your plans for 2018?

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You Know You Are A Reader When

You have a stack of unread books at home, but you still buy more. All those novels you bought ages ago? They’re still sitting on your shelves collecting dust.

You’re running out of space, yet that doesn’t stop you from adding to your collection. Which means you have to get creative. You end up stacking, squeezing, and shoving.

You would rather be in your room than go to a club. There’s nothing wrong with spending more time around characters than your friends. Besides, fictional people will never judge you or your decisions.

You can’t stop talking or writing about books. That’s why you started a book blog. Now you’re able to rave on and on without anyone interrupting you.

You tell people to read certain books until they finally cave. Afterwards, you have one-sided conversations where you’re doing most of the talking. You can’t help extolling the virtues of your favourite author.

You wonder what fictional characters would do. So you proceed to channel them, believing yourself to be a super cool protagonist.

You get books as gifts from family and friends. They know you need to read as much as you need to eat. Better yet, they’ll leave you alone when you crack open the latest novel from a beloved author.

You can never find a comfortable reading position. Anyone who needs glasses to see knows the struggle is even more real.

If you liked this post, you might enjoy You Know You Are A Writer When.

A Q&A About Books, Goodreads, And Reviews

Why do you read?

I need to escape from reality or else I’d lose the little sanity I have left.

Why did you make a Goodreads account?

I didn’t want to rely on my memory to track the books I’ve read. Especially since I’m not getting any younger.

What do you look for in a book?

A good story. Great writing doesn’t hurt either. I like characters I can relate to, resonate with. Give me character development or give me fictional death.

What made you start writing reviews?

It wasn’t enough to read books. So I decided to review them too.

What are your reading goals for 2018?

They’re similar to the resolutions I made in 2017. I want to read every day. I’d also like to expand my bookshelf a bit. I tend to read more fiction than nonfiction, so I want to dip my mind further in the latter.

What are your reviewing goals in 2018?

I’m a bit behind on getting my reviews up, so if I can catch up that’ll be ideal.

Happy reading!

My Personal And Professional Goals For 2018

If only I loved working towards my goals as much as I love making them.

Reading

I’m setting the bar low at 38 books in order to surpass my reading challenge on Goodreads. A girl deserves to feel good about herself.

Reviewing

I know I’m a turtle in getting my reviews up, but slow and steady wins the race, right? Call me book reviewer Herminia Chow.

Writing

Because I don’t do much else, I’m able to write every day. Here’s hoping I don’t get a boyfriend in 2018. Otherwise, there goes my plan to submit to a million competitions. I’d like to get my work out there on as many different platforms or places as possible. Living, breathing human beings would just get in the way of that.

Blogging

I’m a bad blogger. Yes, I’m resolving to visit more blogs and read more posts. No, I probably won’t. Publishing often isn’t a big problem, since I’m basically married to my own blog.

Dancing

I dance like nobody is watching because nobody ever is. My back flexibility is a joke. As is my core strength…well, lack thereof.

Driving

I’m willing to pay someone to drive me everywhere if it means I don’t have to. I am the slowest driver on the road right now. Maybe come December I’ll be a little bit faster. No promises.

Journaling

I don’t think I could handle the mere thought of someone reading my journal. If and when I die, please bury my notebooks with me. I need to take all my secrets to the grave.

Studying

Every semester, I think I’ll be a better student than I have been. I always forget how quickly my motivation goes out the window. I’m the worst. One time, I should reverse my way of thinking to mess with the universe. I’m going to be an awful student who never studies but always parties.

How much do you want to bet I’ll fail one of my goals this year?

*Cough* driving test *cough*

New Year’s Resolutions For 2018

It’s that time of the year again where I make a few resolutions and try not to break them all within two weeks.

Blogging

I still want to blog as often as possible. Of course, some days are easier than others. But I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I want to write more posts, but I’ll try to read more as well. Pinky promise.

Reading

I set my 2018 Goodreads challenge to 38 books. I’m hoping to read every day. That being said, quality trumps quantity. I plan on expanding my narrow horizons. I’d like to dabble in other genres I don’t typically reach for. I might even read a nonfiction book or two.

Reviewing

I’ve only been reviewing books for several months. My plan is to keep going. In a perfect world, I’d catch up and publish reviews soon after finishing the book. A reader can dream.

Writing

Every year, I strive to get someone to publish something. I may have some exciting news to share in the spring of 2018. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m going to submit to contests and competitions every chance I get. Even though I’m focusing on scholarships this year, I still have stories I want to share with the world.

To be honest, before writing this post, I felt a bit down and discouraged. But listing my goals has reinvigorated me.

I can’t predict the future, but by this time next year, I like to think I can look back at some accomplishments.

As always, I’m grateful and thankful beyond words. Here’s to making and keeping your resolutions. I’m all for online accountability. Have an awesome 2018!

2017: A Year In Review

2017 has come and gone.

So I’m going to review the past year with my failing memory. I’ll write down whatever comes to mind. Let’s hope for the best.

In no particular order:

I went to my first and hopefully not my last magazine launch. Even now, the event still sticks out in my memory. I’m proud of the story I wrote titled “Not a Number,” which you can find here on page 38.

I started posting book reviews on my blog and on Goodreads. I received some novels as well from the best publishers ever. Grateful doesn’t even begin to sum up my feelings. I also read more this year than last. 43 is an insane number to me.

I somehow won a writing scholarship. I was not expecting this at all because my GPA plummeted in second year. Still, this achievement boosted my fragile ego just a little bit.

I recorded myself dancing for a school project. I filmed myself about ten times and messed up every time. So I went with the least messed up take. At least, I was a better dancer in December 2017 than I was in January.

I drove for the first time. I know I’m late. I realize this isn’t a big deal to the millions of other drivers around the world. But I finally got over my fear of driving. I’m happy to say I didn’t die. That’s a feat in and of itself.

Over the summer, I made money blogging for a digital marketing agency. I loved getting to learn on the job. The best part was without a doubt grabbing lunch at a nice restaurant downtown. I couldn’t be happier with the experience.

I took care of myself. I ate better. I slept more. I exercised frequently. I stretched often. I relaxed tons. I’ve come such a long way from those days I ate too much junk food, couldn’t fall asleep, didn’t move much, etc.

Thank you all so very much for an incredible 2017. Here’s to an even better 2018!

Picking One Of My Passions

I love reading, writing, and blogging so much, they’re daily habits of mine. At least I try to do them every day. I had the brilliant idea of making myself pick one of my passions over the others. This will be fun.

Reading or writing?

I already hate myself for doing this. I can’t give up creating stories. I say this while staring at all the books on my shelves. They used to be empty, but it’s slowly filling up.

Writing or blogging?

I’m reminded of the time I thought I could only take a writing class or a blogging one. Turns out, I could take both, so I did. Interestingly enough, I did slightly better in the blogging course, but my heart still loves writing more. Also, I’ve skipped more days of blogging than I have writing since I started both.

Reading or blogging?

This is tough as well. I can’t imagine myself not reading ever again. After all, I’ve been reading almost my whole life and blogging for only one fifth of it.

Hopefully, I never have to give up any of my passions. I feel grateful I’m able to do the things I enjoy. I wouldn’t be the same without books, blogs, and baseball. The latter is a story for another day however.

I Hate Being Bored

There’s something to be said for my hatred of boredom. I hate being bored. I’ll do just about anything if it means I’m doing something.

That explains why I also despise waiting. I try to do things while I’m waiting. Otherwise, I’d lose my mind.

But due to circumstances I didn’t see coming, I had to wait at the dentist for a while without anything to keep me occupied. I didn’t have pen or paper. I didn’t have a book. I didn’t have my phone.

So even though I felt a bit frustrated at first, I resorted to observing others.

I got to observe a father and son. Maybe a story will come out of it. Maybe not. I’ll have to add some kind of conflict or tension because the two were so happy. Meanwhile there was me being all bitter.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to handle parenthood, especially being a single mother. Although there wouldn’t be a dull moment in my life again if I had a kid to look after.

I kept thinking to myself why can’t I just sit and wait for a while? Because I don’t sit and wait ever.

I always feel like I should be doing something. I cannot not do anything. I feel weird and wrong doing nothing. I tried to relax. After all, there wasn’t much I could do. But to be honest I was anything but relaxed. I felt anxious. I felt I needed to be reading, writing, something.

Of course, I did a lot of thinking during the time. Part of me wishes I had a way of recording my thoughts then because I’ve forgotten them all now. I’d love to have some sort of technology to do that.

Of course, things worked out just fine. The world didn’t end. The sky didn’t fall.

Still, this isn’t an experience I’d like to repeat again. But it made me think about myself, about life in general.

Waiting at the dentist was almost as bad as watching paint dry.

Anyhow, this turned out to be one of the more interesting trips to the dentist I’ve had in a long time. That said, my last trip entailed running on about three hours of sleep right after an exam. That’s a story in and of itself.

My Novel Writing Process

I’ve written some novels in my lifetime. But whenever I undertake a new one, I’m not sure how I’ll make it to the end. This is a glimpse into my writing process.

Brainstorming

I’m a character-centric writer. Always have been, always will be. So I tend to come up with an interesting person and throw conflict at him or her as I go.

Outlining

Based on past experience, if I had to outline every novel for the rest of my life, I’d be on pace to never finish another one ever again. I sort of outline in my head. Depends on your definition of outlining though.

Writing

It isn’t too bad once I get past the beginning and middle.

Researching

I tend to research after I finish an initial draft where I brainstorm my own ideas first.

Waiting

I like to wait a long time in between writing the first draft and all that follows after.

Transcribing  

I handwrite most of my novels, so at some point, I have to type everything up onto the computer.

Critiquing

The one novel I sought feedback on was incomplete at the time, and it still is about six years after the fact. At least I like critiquing my own work. I’d much rather crush my own ego than have someone else do so.

Rewriting

I enjoy losing my sanity and seeing improvements at the same time.

Editing

Some stories don’t even get this far. What a shame.

Publishing

Obviously, I’m not at this stage yet. If my dreams come true, I don’t know how I’ll refrain myself from talking about my books.

Procrastinating

I procrastinate so much it’s a miracle I get anything done on time. Sadly, I put things off at all stages of the novel writing process. Nothing like consistency, am I right?

Reading

Even when I’m writing a novel and it’s a priority like during NaNoWriMo, I try to read as much as I can. Books inspire me. Other stories have inspired my own.

Celebrating

I celebrate the small victories as much or maybe even more than the big ones. I believe in rewarding myself. Otherwise, my motivation would be six feet under.

What’s your novel writing process like? I’d love to know.

Trying To Multi-Task

Sometimes we think it’s a good idea to multi-task, but then reality happens. And instead of being insanely productive, we don’t do things as effectively or efficiently as we’d like.

I say this as I’m multi-tasking.

I know how difficult it is to focus on one task for an extended period of time. But I think now, more than ever before, human beings need to focus, to concentrate. Easier said than done. But we aren’t doing ourselves any favours by trying to multi-task everything in life.

I realize there’s a lot going on at any given time. We have many responsibilities and obligations, interests and hobbies. Still, I see the value in focusing on one thing at a time whenever possible.

Having our attention divided, specifically when we’re doing work that requires it doesn’t do wonders for anyone.

We don’t retain as much information when we’re listening to a professor lecture while also messaging friends in addition to shopping online. We don’t write as well if we’re watching TV and talking to a friend at the same time.

I’m not perfect. But I’ve gotten better at giving important tasks my undivided attention because I can’t always afford to spilt my attention. Everything suffers when I do.

I’ve also found that each time I resist giving into temptations while in class or in the middle of a task, I reinforce the habit.

Sometimes I just can’t let distractions deter me.

I used to be better at reading for a longer period of time without wanting to checking my phone. Nowadays, I rarely sit down for a couple of hours with a book and read uninterrupted.

I know my attention span isn’t quite like it used to be, which is a tragedy. But at least I’m aware of my flaws, some of them anyway.

I want to recognize when I shouldn’t divide my attention, when I shouldn’t multi-task. I need to resist temptations more often, especially when I’m doing work that requires critical thinking.

Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts like whether or not you think I’m insane.