A Bit of Good News

Hey guys! I just wanted to share something kinda cool that happened this week. It’s not super exciting, but I’m still trying to see it as a good accomplishment.

A while ago, I applied to be a writer-in-residence at the Boston Public Library (in other words, I would’ve gotten paid to go to the library and write every day) which of course sounded AMAZING. So, even in the crazy midst of finishing my senior project, I decided to put together an application and send it in super last-minute.

This was like 2-3 months ago, and at this point, having heard nothing back from them, I kinda assumed they had already chosen someone and that I wasn’t going to hear back from them. Then, a few days ago, they emailed me with some news.

The bad news is that I didn’t get the position. But the good news is, I was really close. Even though I didn’t win, I was one of twelve finalists and they said they were really impressed with my work. *Blushes* So that was good to hear!

It does kinda suck that I was so, so close and didn’t get it––but I’m trying to see this as a sign that I just need to keep trying. I have been in and out of huge writing slumps lately, and I’ve lost a ton of confidence in my work over the past few years. I’m trying really hard to get over my fear of failure and just keep going. And it’s little accomplishments like this that remind me it’s worth it. I may not have made it yet, but at least I know I have potential. If I actually put in effort and find the courage to submit it, I will hopefully get somewhere.

So, that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot this week. It’s given me a bit of a boost of confidence, which I really need right now as I’m trying to finish up my first draft of I Chose the Monster (I know I said I was going to finish it ages ago, but I’m almost done, I swear!).

What about you guys? What have you been working on lately? Have you recently submitted your writing anywhere? Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

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Books That Made Me Want To Be a Writer (Part 1)

One of the main things that made me want to be a writer was … well, reading. A lot. I became a voracious reader at a young age, and there were so many great books that drew me into their worlds and inspired me to write my own stories. There are far too many of these childhood favorites to name in one go, so I’ll start with just a few and continue this in later posts.

So, for now, three books from my childhood that made me want to be a writer:

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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

I picked up Ella Enchanted in third grade, and I remember it being one of the first books that really made me love reading. It’s exciting, it’s funny, and it’s a very creative retelling of Cinderella.

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The Silver Crown by Robert C. O’Brien

Don’t be fooled by the cutesy cover and kinda generic title. This is a terrifying (and awesome) book. Scary magic, brainwashing, evil children … It’s super great. When I first read this book, I’m pretty sure I read the whole thing in one sitting. It’s good stuff.

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

I think I’ve read A Wrinkle in Time five or six times. (For a while I had a tradition that I re-read it every summer.) I guess I have a thing for creepy brainwashing because that’s also part of what intrigued me about this book. Also it has really cool world-building and it’s a great adventure story.

How about you guys? What books did you love as a kid? And/or what books inspired you to start writing?

4 Reasons Why I Love My Journal

We’ve all probably had journals at some point in our lives, right? When I was around 9 years old I had a gel pen diary that I was very fond of (that is, it had black pages and you could write on them with neon-colored gel pens, ooooh). I remember being very inspired by the Dear America books and how they made me want to record my own life story.

At some point I stopped keeping a journal and didn’t take up the practice again for a very long time. Then, just a couple years ago, I was required to keep a daily journal for a class. Although I was happy this would motivate me to start journaling again, I was afraid it would just end up feeling like a chore and I’d struggle to come up with things to say.

But I found that I had a lot more to say than I thought I did. A lot more happens in a day than you might think, even on “boring” days: You learn something interesting, someone tells you a hilarious story, you overhear a weird conversation, you see something particularly unusual/beautiful/mysterious. And on top of that, there’s so much more to talk about––your thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes … the list goes on and on!

I’ve started to really love my journal for a lot of reasons––for mental health, for writing, for some other random, practical reasons. And now I will share 4 of those reasons why I love it so much:

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My journal, so you have an idea of what it looks like. I know the picture is grainy, sorry. 😛

1. It helps me keep up the practice of writing. I wish I had the motivation to work on my fictional writing every day––but the reality is, I don’t. Some days I am just not inspired at all. But the great thing about life is that it provides constant inspiration. Even if I just make a list of all the things I did in a day, I feel like I’ve done something productive. Whatever it is, at least it’s practice.

2. It’s meditative. I always really feel “in the zone” when I’m writing in my journal. I’ve found that sometimes I’ll write in it for more than an hour and it feels like no time went by. It really helps me to focus, to concentrate on remembering things and reflect on all my thoughts, feelings, experiences, and observations. In turn, this helps me feel more relaxed and in control.

3. It makes me notice details. Ever since I started journaling regularly, I feel like I’ve become much more observant of the world around me. I’m always looking out for small, interesting things that I can write about. This is also great from a fiction-writing standpoint, since it helps me to think about how to make the “everyday” more interesting and to come up with ideas and descriptions that I can use in future writing projects.

4. It helps me remember things. I’m always worried I’m going to forget the small (but significant) things that happen in my life, so I enjoy having a record of (mostly) everything that happens to me. I enjoy going through my journals and reading about what I did each day, since there are often events I might have forgotten about otherwise. It’s also interesting to read my thoughts and reflections on those experiences, and to see how much I’m changing over time.

So, how about you guys? Does anyone else keep a journal? If so––why do you enjoy doing it?