The End of a Challenge

Well, I did it. I completed my personal 30 Day Blogging Challenge; the pledge to myself and you fine folks to focus on my blog for a month and write an article every day in the month of June. If you’ve been paying attention this month, you may have noticed that there were two days that I failed to post. One was on the first weekend of June, as I am not accustomed to writing on the weekends, and the other took place a week or so ago, as I was burnt out from having family over for a week. Yet, I still consider it a win because here I am. Still writing on this blog. I’ve stuck with it for over two months now and had only two slip-ups in thirty days, which is so much better than I could ever imagine.

I’m so glad that I challenged myself to do this. I’ve learned a ridiculous number of things:

-I will get up early to write and have a better day for it.

-I can pull an article idea from anywhere if I just put forth the effort. (Despite being a boring hermit that never leaves home.)

-I love to connect with other bloggers and writers.

-Writing is something that fulfills me and that I want to pursue for a long time.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I really can do this thing. I can call myself a blogger now. I really care about this blog and all you lovely peeps and I want to keep myself growing and getting to know you all a little bit better. I never thought I could stick with something this long, but yeah! I did!

I thank you all for putting up with me this month and my articles of random and varying qualities. I’m sorry to have flooded your readers/emails with my crazy drivel, and I really appreciate every like and follow. It means so much.

Moving forward, my tentative thought is that I will be posting three times a week. I won’t be posting on the weekends because I’m just too busy with family, but now that I know how fast I can write articles, I think three times a week is a good balance. I need to be working on my book and other projects so that I can continue to grow, so next month will be all about finding the balance between blog-writing and story-writing.

Now I’m off to have some cinnamon rolls and iced coffee in celebration. Again, thanks for being there this month. You guys are the best encouragement I’ve ever had!

Have a great day and happy writing!

-Christine B.

Apologies

I owe you an apology. I have really not been putting my normal amount of effort into my work this week. I have been in a daze, swept away by the mundane. I have spent time running from one thing to another without taking the time to appreciate life. Everything has turned into a chore this week, even the things I love. It’s an unfortunate side effect of being human.

A Relient K song sums it up best:

Cause if I’m restless
Then why do I
I want nothing but to rest my soul

And I don’t get this and I know why
You see sometimes things are just beyond control

But fear not! I am hopefully on the mental mend. I feel better tonight and more like myself. I have a plan for the next week, and maybe even the week after that. We’re coming up on the end of this month and the end of my 30 Day Challenge and I so desperately want to end the month with victory. And next month I have Camp Nano to attempt, in which I will either be working on my summoner story or ghost-writing a Halo fanfiction for a friend. I’m excited for both. (By the way, if anyone is looking for a cabin, I still have 5 available spaces in mine *nudge nudge*)

I’m sorry for the past few days. Thanks for sticking with me. Here’s to rough seas and the rainbows that follow.

Picture Day

My weekends mostly consist of catching up on all the chores I neglected to do during the actual work week, so instead of some words, have some pictures instead! In April, after a year of living in Arizona, I finally got the chance to visit the Grand Canyon. Despite living in the same state, it is still a six hour drive to get there from home, and that’s a long time to spend in the car with toddler… But don’t be fooled, it is so worth it. No pictures truly do it justice, but I hope they’re enjoyable anyway (click on the picture for an expanded view). Have a great Saturday!

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Finding the Time

Finding the time to write is hard. I sometimes wish that I had an actual writing workplace, where I would go into an office with my totally-not-for-yoga pants and lemon water, sit down at a giant wooden writing desk, and type away at my novel for eight glorious uninterrupted hours. There would be a cat library where I would go when I needed kitty advice, and my computer would never bog down and would automatically auto-save to at least three different locations. Also, there would be free fountain pens, and fantastical daydream corners filled with inspirational pin-boards. I think I might just be describing my heaven…

But, since I’m not dead yet, I guess I have to live in reality, and reality kinda sucks. I remember once upon a time (last year) I thought I would have plenty of time to write once I became a stay-at-home mom. All those hours spent stuck at work would be mine! All mine! And I could spend that time doing all the things! Reading! Writing! Arithma—yeah, no. But in good ol’ reality, all that work time suddenly became something else. Living time, I suppose. Time I could spend with my husband and daughter. Time to do dishes and laundry and make food stuffs. Living time.

And all that living time, enjoyable as it is, doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing. I feel like if I try and write while my husband’s at work, then I end up leaving my daughter with the TV babysitter. But if I wait until he gets home, then I leave him with the Netflix babysitter. Even now, my dog has been whining at me and bringing me every dog toy in the house in hopes of coaxing me away from my cozy desk.There’s just no good option.

So where does that leave me? Well, so far my grand ideas include:

1) Getting up earlier – Early bird, blah blah, insert cliché saying here. Truth is, if you can be the first person up in your life, you’ll find a wonderful, magical land called Solitude (nd it’s not the capital of Skyrim). The hard part is actually doing it. And then not squandering it away by drinking tea in the garden with the sparrows (a.k.a. watching YouTube videos all morning). Which leads me to…

2) Planning to write – This boils down to not waiting for that fickle muse to grab you by the hair and force you to write. I wish that every time I wrote something it was this great inspired message from the heavens, but sometimes you just sit down and write crap, then edit the hell out of it. Developing the habit of writing is enough for now.

3) Writing when the Muse does strike – To go against everything I just said, sometimes I’m so overwhelmed by a writing idea that I really can’t think well about anything else. And when I ignore those urges, either the idea flutters on by, or it falls flat when I try to attempt it later. I don’t see anything wrong with popping in on the computer to write a quick paragraph, or even handwriting some notes for later (writers still use real paper, right?). Just remember to let the dog back in, don’t leave the baby in the bath, etc.

4) Making writing a priority – This is something that I am getting closer to every day. The more important that writing becomes in my life, the more time I think about doing it, and, like magic, the more time I actually spend doing it. Since deciding to take myself seriously as a “writer,” I’ve started this blog, submitted things for publication, and organized my WIP ‘novels’ into things that might actually turn into novels. And it didn’t take that long at all for all this to fall into place. I just had to start thinking of myself as a writer.

Do you have any tips on squeezing some extra words out of the day? Let me know in the comments! And Happy Writing!

The Lazy Is Strong with This One

I have been struggling to write this all day. No, really, writing this very post has taken up the majority of my thoughts today. I keep thinking, ‘I can not be feeling this way, this is only Day 3 and I’ve challenged myself to write for 27 more days, my god, what have I done?,’ and then I go pacing around the house in lament. This is not a productive way to go about writing, just to let you know. Highly unrecommended.

But despite all that, here I am, typing away anyway, even though my head is telling me that a nap would be nice. “How ’bout you lay yourself down and listen to those sweet new jams on your iPod?,” she whispers, “It would only be an hour; you’ve already wasted more than that in trying to write something of merit.” She’s a seductive temptress, this muse of procrastination. Luckily my squid-beast is used to her tricks and bats away her words easily. He glares at her, slaps me in the face for good measure, and reminds me that I have two novels competing for space in my brain, and I can’t very well stop blogging after publicly making a blogging challenge, ’cause all the shame would be mine. It’s days like today when I actually like that squid-beast. I might even give him a name someday.

Believe it or not, I actually wrote down a list of topics to write about today. I really did try. I came up with eight topics, right off the top of my head, but when it actually came to writing about them, I fell flat. I just didn’t have the ‘oomph’ needed to make any of them work. But the great thing about lists is that you can always save them for later, so that’s what I’m going to do. Someday maybe I will write great, captivating articles about The Quest, Steven Universe, my new book idea, waiting to hear back from publishers, or the daily habits of the hummingbirds which haunt my patio.

Someday I will write about those things, and probably many other topics. But today…I’m going to give in to the sexy Procrastination Muse. This post will have to satisfy the beast for now. Here, have a pic of my lazy-ass dog and pretend it’s a well-written, thought-provoking article.

Chester is not helping to motivate me today, the slacker.
Chester, the least motivated dog I know. He gets it from his owner.