Personal Reflection

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!

Personal Reflection

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!

Editing

My Problem With Peer And Self Review

Let me start by saying I love one and hate the other. Care to hazard a guess?

In high school, I hated peer review sessions. Who doesn’t jump with joy at exchanging work with classmates and giving feedback for improvement?

I didn’t get a lot of helpful or useful comments from others. People tossed my essay back and told me it was perfect. I fumed inside because I knew my first draft was not even close to perfection. Imagine a world where first drafts were great.

I almost always came out of peer review workshops feeling a bit frustrated. OK, a lot.

Even though I tried my best to give constructive criticism, some people didn’t reciprocate. I don’t blame them. More than any other institution, I feel like in high school people are at a completely different level on their journey. Don’t get me started with teenage maturity.

To be fair, editing is hard. Giving feedback isn’t a walk in the park. But I guess what bothered me the most was the people who didn’t take it seriously. I can picture fourteen year old me making comments and suggestions while everyone else around me talked about whatever high schoolers talk about. I grew up fast.

Obviously, the more I edit other people’s work, the better I am at reviewing my own work. That said, I can’t look at my writing the same way someone else can. Still, I should charge a premium anytime someone asks me for feedback.

I’ve never given much thought as to what I think about when editing my own work.

I care about consistency and clarity whenever I’m critiquing. I also love brevity as much as the best blog reader. Wordiness will likely be the death of me.

Ever since I’ve learned about parallel structure, I’m careful around lists. This ties in with consistency to an extent. If you have two verbs in your list, I don’t want to see a noun phrase at the end of it. That’s guaranteed to drive me crazy.

Shout out to all the writers who have amazing flow. I aspire to write like you. Because I never outline, my first drafts are a hot mess.

Surprise, I’m such a stickler for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Sometimes the small details make the biggest difference. But I like rule breakers within reason. I’m one myself. Tough to get around not doing things by the book in academia though.

Reading

Legend – Marie Lu | A Book Review

Legend - Marie Lu

Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Science Fiction (Young Adult)

About the book: Legend is the first novel in a trilogy. Prodigy and Champion are the second and third books. The nation is at war. Metias is murdered and Day is suspected of killing him. But as Day tries to save his family and June tries to catch the most wanted criminal in the country, both teens start to uncover the truth behind what their country is really up to.

First impressions: I had high hopes for the book. It’s shorter than I thought at about 300 pages, especially considering the genre. Part of the reason why I purchased Legend was because my friend likes Lu. I’ve also been meaning to read some of her work, since I see pictures of her books online all the time. At the outset, I think the story started off promising. It had potential to be so much more, though.

Characters: The novel is told in first person point of view, both Day’s and June’s. As much as I enjoy books told in alternating viewpoints, I tend to like reading one side over the other. So I found myself looking forward to hearing Day’s side of the story more, as he’s the wanted criminal people are after, despite the fact he isn’t an evil or terrible guy. That said, I wanted more character development from everyone, not just the main characters but the secondary ones as well. Of course, there’s some romance between the main characters, and their relationship blossoms quicker than I wanted for their feelings to be believable. At least, they don’t fall in love right away. In fact, for about half the book, June thinks Day murdered her brother, Metias, so she seeks to avenge his death by bringing Day in. Overall, both characters are likeable, even quite similar. They’re motivated by different reasons, yet ultimately the two are just trying to do what they think is right.

Quote:

“Logic will save you when nothing else will.”

Writing: While the story is well-written, I felt like the book lacked in world-building. I wish Lu included more description of people or places. The story advanced at a good pace, but I found myself anticipating what would happen next and being right. So some surprising twists or turns would have been nice. The action scenes (thinks chases and fights) are great, but I didn’t get a good enough sense of where things were taking place.

Final thoughts: Although we don’t get a ton of answers in this novel, I assume we’ll learn more about the secrets and lies the country’s government is keeping as the series goes on. Even though I found Legend predictable at times, it’s still a fun, quick YA read. I tend to enjoy dystopian stories and this wasn’t a bad one. Not the best I’ve ever read but still worth checking out.

This post has affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Studying

What Stands In My Way

One research paper and three final exams stand in my way before I’m home free. Summer is so close yet so far from my grasp.

That paper is the least stressful thing on my plate.

Pray for me on those exams because I haven’t started studying yet. And I have one tomorrow.

Can you tell I have tried to put off studying for the longest time? Even today I have danced, I already read, I just wrote, and now I am blogging.

I have three exams. What am I doing the night before one of them? Not preparing, not studying, not reviewing.

That’s what tomorrow morning is for.

If I don’t post on June 17th, 2015, I did not make it out of my first exam alive.