Keeping my priorities straight

Last year around this time, I was getting ready to go to Vegas to shoot in a national competition. I was practicing all I could and getting brand new arrows. When I got to the competition, I won 2nd place. It was a ton of fun.

archery back muscles

This year… I’m not going to Vegas. I found out a few days ago that I didn’t make the cut, but you know what, I really don’t care.

I’m not just saying that, by the way. Archery is a lot of fun and a great stress reliever at the end of the day. But it’s not what I want to do with my life.

I could have spent my winter break shooting 300 arrows everyday. I could have done 30 pushups and worked with a resistance band daily. But I didn’t.

Instead, I played video games and board games with The Boyfriend’s brothers and parents as I got to know them all. I started a new podcast series (listed below) and edited ones from the other series. I wrote a lot and worked on the first chapter of a novelization of a show pilot I wrote last year (also listed below).

So I didn’t win in the preliminary tournament. I went into it knowing I wouldn’t win. I didn’t get to practice a lot last semester, and quite honestly, I couldn’t justify the extra expense of bringing a bow as an extra check baggage just so I could try to practice in Michigan.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have enjoyed going back to Vegas again, but it’s not truly important to me. I would rather build my portfolio by creating podcasts and writing my fingers off.

The truth is that archery is a hobby. Writing, podcasting, and editing are not. Those are things that I can use to show future employers that I am worthwhile to hire.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep my priorities straight when there are so many things that I want to work on. But in this case, choosing to focus on my podcasts, writing, and relationships was an easy choice.

Things that I worked on instead of practicing archery:

 

Deep Hollow CoverAfter moving to a small town in Vermont, a teenage boy uses his special dragon abilities to fight supernatural evils along with a feisty Irish-American boy with similar powers and a genius girl with an eidetic memory.

Deep Hollow is a collection of short stories set in the universe of the Dragon Knights.

Prologue

Chapter 1 – Welcome to Ridgeway

Chapter 2 – Introductions

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NaNOwrimo

I’ve always wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, which for those of you who don’t know, stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November writers all over the world sit down to try to write a 50k word novel in just 30 days. It sounds like it would be something right up my alley, but unfortunately, NaNo just so happens to fall around finals season.

Every single year since I heard about NaNo, I’ve wanted to do it. But every year, I also have three projects, four papers, and nine tests to study for in November. And I’m only exaggerating slightly. So I always miss out.

Thankfully, however, two things are true for me this year. The first is that I am a senior. In just a few short months, I will have graduated from college and will go on to find gainful employment that (hopefully) doesn’t have homework.

I’m hoping that next year my plate will be clear enough to fit NaNo into my schedule. If that happens, I may also try doing the blog version of NaNo, NaBloPoMo, again. I did try that a year or two ago for about a week and a half before my school schedule got too hectic.

The other thing that I love this year is that most of my projects are writing this semester. So far, this month I’ve completed a 47 page screenplay, which is about 8,250 words. Technically, I didn’t have to write one that long. The requirement was a 15-30 page screenplay, but I’ve had an idea for a TV show pilot knocking around in my head for far too long, so this seemed like the perfect time to get it out.

I also wrote a short story, which I may eventually share here, which was 1,570 words. In addition, I’ve got another screenplay of the same length as the one above that I am going to finish over Thanksgiving break.

All in all, adding those together, I’ll have probably done around 18k words by the end of NaNoWriMo season. It’s not 50k words, but with my schedule, it’s not too bad.

Tell me, are you doing NaNo? How close are you to your end goal?

Contra Mundum – Episode 6: Why Would an Author Quit Publishing?

Hey guys! Again, I’m sorry I’m a day late. I had a lot of fun hanging out with my friend in Georgia, and I forgot to actually post my podcast on here.

On the other hand, I did post the video on YouTube on Saturday. I actually usually post the video to YouTube earlier than it goes up here. So, go ahead and subscribe for early viewing.

This episode was fun. I sat down with my friend and fellow writer, Elizabeth McKinney. We talked about writing, publishing, and the reason that she decided to stop publishing. She also has some good advice for writers who want to go into publishing.

I hope you enjoyed this episode. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel on YouTube if you want the episode a little earlier. I’m trying to get them done a little earlier than the day they’re supposed to go up here.

Next week’s episode will feature my friend Mica, who will be talking about her time as a firefighter.

See you next week!

My Biggest Flaw

Those of you who have been around my blog long enough already know what my biggest flaw is. You know how annoying it is that every once in a while, I’ll do a post every day, and then you won’t see me again for a month. That’s because my biggest vice is my lack of consistency.

There are so many things I want to do, but hesitate to begin because I will be required to be consistent about something. Personally, I would like to blog every day. I’m sure there are those of you who remember my ill-fated attempt to do NaBloPoMo, so you know how that turned out. It’s not even lack of ideas that stops me from blogging a lot. Lord knows my brain wouldn’t keep me up until three in the morning if that were the case. I just… get distracted and forget about it. Honestly, how I have over 400 followers on this blog I have no idea.

I would also like to keep up with my literary magazine, Estuary. But I’ve been neglecting that for far too long. I’m not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to give myself a weekly schedule on that thing. That worked for about a week and a half. At this point, I think it would be better to shut it down than to keep it open, but not deliver on the promise of getting back to people.

I want to finish working on the novel projects I’m doing. I want to finish the three books that I’m in the middle of. I need to finish rewriting the first one, so I can get the dang thing published already. Writer’s block is something of an excuse for the first few, but I can’t even use that for the rewrite, because it’s not a matter of coming up with the story from scratch; I just have to write it better (which, now that I think about it, is just as nerve-wracking). In the same vein, I know that if I want to be a successful author, I’m going to need to use my author page on Facebook more often, or my fans (when I have them) will forget me. Right now, Facebook is screaming at me that I haven’t used that page in 6 days.

I would like to use the excuse “I don’t have time,” but as most people who use that excuse frequently know (at least on the inside), that it’s a lie. I do have time, but I fill it with other things. I read, I binge-watch my favorite shows, I write other stuff.

I think my main problem is that I’m too easily distracted. I’m easily entertained, which is why I can just stare at the ceiling for hours while thinking through a new idea. But I’m also easily bored. Or rather, I get bored fast. I find the idea of sitting anywhere doing the same thing for days or weeks on end is horrifying. It’s part of the reason that I like writing and coming up with stories so much. Although the physical action of me curled up on the couch with my laptop is essentially the same, it’s never the same place in my own mind.

Now it’s all well and good to realize the problem, but what am I supposed to do with the knowledge. Honestly, I have no flipping idea. It feels like I have a diagnosis, but no cure. It’s simple enough to say “Well, you just have to apply yourself more,” but if it was that easy, I wouldn’t be in this situation. And applying myself more won’t fix the boredom issue. Even college, which I greatly enjoy, gets boring after a while of doing the same thing every day.

I feel like I need more motivation than I currently have. The only thing I’ve noticed that’s helped (at least so far) is putting what I’m doing out there for the world to see. It’s the reason I’ve kept working on the story I’ve been writing the last few weeks, and it’s also the reason I keep coming back to this blog. But I don’t want to do that with everything I work on, because then it would feel like I’m doing it at the point of spear. And that will suck the fun right out of it, I’m sure.

Is this what adulthood is like? If so, I think I want a refund.

Some Thoughts about Rewriting My First Book

There is perhaps no task so soul-sucking as rewriting an old manuscript. In this case, the old manuscript in question is my first book, which is currently under the name Super Star, although I’ve never liked the name. I started writing the book when I was 15 years old. I’m 19 now, and I’ve gained a lot of skill in writing and storytelling. Needless to say, reading my old stuff is making my eyes bleed.

I’m about two short chapters into rewriting a 30 chapter book. The good news is that the later chapters are a lot better in quality and won’t take so much brain power to redo. The bad news is that these first ones suck ice. I cannot stop cursing my younger self for her annoying tendency to “talk the plot.” In the last four years, I have really begun to understand what “show; don’t tell” really means.

Another thing I’ve learned since I started the book is that I have to be better at making the dialogue sound natural. It was something a friend commented on the first time I let him read the story. At the time, I brushed it off, but now I’ve realized how right he was. Mind you, I will never tell him this to his face.

One thing I didn’t expect to happen while doing the rewrite was enjoyment. But oddly enough, I’m actually enjoying myself on the project. Having the story already written, to a certain extent, takes the worry out of having to come up with words to pull out of my hat. Every once in a while (not often in these early chapters), I don’t need to change anything. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the saying goes. Hopefully, the number of things I don’t need to fix will increase as I go along.

So I’m going to keep trying to have fun with it. And I’m also probably going to keep mentally kicking myself in the butt every few pages. In any case, it needs to be done if I ever want to publish this someday.

P.S. If you’re interested in reading some of my work, I have a science fiction and a fantasy series up on Wattpad. Fair warning, though: the fantasy series isn’t finished, so if you want to finish reading it, you’re going to have to wait. Here are the links:

Erya (Fantasy): https://www.wattpad.com/story/41523466-erya

Dark Ties (Sci-fi): https://www.wattpad.com/story/30352294-dark-ties

My Hopes and Dreams

Cake clip artIt’s my birthday today. I’m 19 years of age now. Yay, I suppose. I’m still recovering from a concussion, so that takes some of the fun out of it. However, in honor of the day of my birth, I’ll share with you guys some of my hopes and dreams. Here’s my top ten list:

1. First and foremost, I want to become a successful author. I would love it if thousands of people would read and love what I write. I’d like to shoot for New York Times Bestseller, because that seems to be what every successful author sticks on the front of their books to prove that they are in fact successful. But mainly, I just want writing to be how I support myself. It’s my favorite thing to do, so I may as well make it my job.

2. Next, I would really like to never, ever get another concussion. Like I said in my last post, they’re no fun. I’m a clumsy person, so I’m not sure about this one…

3. Related to writing again, I would like to simply get better at writing. I’m never going to become successful if my writing sucks. Not that I’m saying it does, but I’m certainly no Steven King. I’ll probably need to improve a lot. I say “probably,” because we do hear of amazingly bad writers who attain massive popularity by some miracle. *Cough50shadesofgraycoughcough*

4. This is probably fairly stereotypical for this kind of list, but I’d like to be rich someday. It’s not even to be able to afford some kind of mansion or other fancy things. Mainly, I just don’t want money to have to be an issue. I want to give my future kids a comfortable life, at least until I kick them out so that they learn to fend for themselves.

5. Speaking of kids, I want a few. Maybe three. I don’t really know. I’m also planning on homeschooling them, but that would depend on if I can, financially. I would really rather avoid sticking my kids in public school.

6. I suppose if I’m speaking of kids, I should probably also be speaking of husbands. I’d like one of those, too, I suppose. It’s funny actually, because I’ve never had a boyfriend before, but now I’m looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with. I guess now is just the age to do that.

7. I’d love to get better at socializing with people. I’m such an introverted hermit right now. I want to be the kind of person that is at least kind of decent at hanging out. I really don’t understand the concept (but that’s another blog post). If I ever do become a famous author, I’m going to need to be able to talk to new people without feeling terribly awkward. Or maybe not. The internet is a thing after all.

8. I’m in school right now, so I figure I should mention that I want to have a college degree at some point (preferably in around 3 or so years). I don’t think I told you guys, but I recently changed my major to Digital Media with a concentration in Transmedia Writing. That’s just a really fancy way of saying “writing for TV and movies.”

9. I want to spend time out of the country. I’ve never been outside of the U.S. before (unless the trip my parents took to Niagara Falls while my mom was pregnant with me counts). I speak German, so I would like to visit Germany at some point. I’d also like to go on an out of country mission trip.

10. This one is a little odd and ultimately more than likely unattainable, but here we go anyway: I want to own Disney. Yeah, you heard right. I wish to own the Mouse itself. I used to like Disney channel when I was a kid, and I still like Disney movie’s sometimes, but I think most people can agree that the quality has really gone downhill recently. I want to make Disney a thing that is family-friendly and teaches wholesome lessons again. That, and Disney owns Marvel, so there’s that.

Oi. I didn’t realize how much soul searching I was going to have to do to complete this list. I was really starting to run out of ideas around the 7th entry. But I hope you enjoyed it.

Tell me, are there any hopes or dreams you feel like sharing? Let me know in the comments.

What’s My Gift?

We’ve been talking a lot about using our gifts in my evangelism class at Liberty, and it made me think, “How are you supposed to know what your gift is?” Now, I know what mine is. Or at the very least, I know what my primary one is. I write… Clearly. But there was a time when I didn’t know what it was, so I want to share my theory of gifts with you.

Let me start off by giving you a little scenario. It’s 3 am. You fell asleep four hours ago, and you have to get up in four more hours. Now you’re awake. You’re groggy and tired, but your mind won’t let you fall back to sleep. You’re thinking about something. You want to do something, just to get that thing out of your head.

What is it?

For me, it’s writing. I could literally write all day, every day. I can’t get the stuff in my head on paper fast enough. I just have to do it. That’s my gift. That’s my calling. What’s yours? What could you do any time of the day? I’m not just talking about things that would be appropriate for the time of the day. I’m talking about a compulsion to go out and get something done even if it’s midnight.

Is it singing? I have a friend that could sing the spots off of a Dalmatian. She’s doing it All. The. Time. It’s what I believe she was meant to do. Or maybe it’s art. My little sister makes the most amazing paintings and drawings. Case in point:

Source: Christina Martin Art & Design Facebook page

Source: Christina Martin Art & Design Facebook page

Maybe you’re a writer like me. Maybe the ideas come so hard and fast you don’t have time to catch your breath, much less write it all down.

It doesn’t have to be a talent, either. It could be an idea or a concept. Maybe it’s the needy that keep you up at night. Maybe your heart bleeds for starving children in Africa. You could have a message that the world desperately needs to hear. Heck, it could even be politics. I don’t know your heart.

The point is that whatever that thing is, the thing that won’t let you sleep, the thing that fills you with joy just to think about doing it, do it! And do it for the glory of God. Gifts are no good if you don’t use them.

P.S. If you liked that painting, go check out more of my little sister’s stuff by clicking here.