February - A month of chocolate hearts, snow flurries, cozy sweaters, and a time to be creative indoors while the sun is hiding behind grey winter clouds. Just for fun, here are a few of my favorites (on the web or otherwise) from this February.
Age of Minority Podcast - I have really enjoyed listening to this podcast hosted by best-selling young author Jaquelle Crowe and her dad. They tackle a lot of relevant topics for teens in today's culture, all through the lens of the gospel, and have fun doing it.
Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors - I have been wanting to read this ever since I read the author's first book Kisses from Katie, and was thrilled when a friend gifted it to me last Christmas. This book pretty much picks up where the first left off, and is packed with spiritual insight, convicting truths, and stories filled with the awe-inspiring love of God. Katie Majors' story is purely of Jesus and His goodness.
Three-Ring Binders - I have lately fallen in love with anything that will help keep me organized. Using binders to arrange anything from my daily schedules and to-do lists, to my latest novel outline and a map of 1940s Germany is pretty sweet!
3 Questions to Ask Before Using Social Media - This is blog post by my dear friend, Katie Stone, on 3 questions to ask yourself before diving into the world of social media. In an age where most teens own a smartphone and often don't think twice about interacting on social media, this post is convicting and a breath of fresh air!
These Dark Chocolate Honey Mints - I had to mention my new favorite treat since February is Valentine's month. They are simple, chocolate, peppermint, sugar-free. Does it get any better?!
Have a lovely rest of February, readers!
I know this post is late, after all, National Novel Writing Month was in November. But after a busy Christmas season and a fresh start to the New Year, I decided to give you a peek at what it was like for a first-time NaNoWriMo contestant to write 50k words in 30 days
What is National Novel Writing Month?
National Novel Writing month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo, is a challenge for fiction writers (and the occasional non-fiction writer) to write 1,600 words every day for 30 days. The goal is to reach 50k words by the end of the month and hold a completed novel in your had.
Why compete in NaNoWriMo?
1. It teaches consistency like no amount of self-discipline can ever do.
2. It forces you to write - not edit. First drafts are not meant to be edited until they are complete and when you are writing this many words per day, you don't have time to do anything but tell the story and hope it turns out read-able.
3. It. Is. Fun.
What was my biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was learning to throw perfection to the wind and just write. With most of my projects, I tend to work over a certain scene several times until it is exactly how I want it before moving on. I find that is the easiest way to erase any obstacles or inconstancies. But when it comes down to NaNo, and the clock is ticking, you learn to jump over the obstacles by either making something up, or promising to come back to it later. Its about the word count, not the content.
What helped me make it through November without getting exhausted or running out of inspiration?
I have always been a pantser - I don't plot, I write on the edge of my seat and wait for the story to unfold naturally from my imagination. This doesn't work for everyone, but it is my favorite way of writing.
NaNoWriMo, however, was different.
I spent the last half of October plotting, planning, and scene-sketching until I knew exactly what I wanted to write every day. This was my greatest weapon during November. Rather than having to worry about a sudden writer's block in the midst of a chapter, I could simply turn to my outline - my "170-bullet-points" outline to be exact.
What was my favorite part?
I loved having a way to track my progress and it was oh so fun watching the word count of my novel climb day by day! My favorite part of the challenge, however, was announcing to my family that I had actually completed it. It is moments like those that I am reminded how they really are my biggest fans.
The Highlights of my journey:
Wordiest Day: 5,184 words on November 13th
Passing 100 pages during the final week (this is always one of my favorites with every novel I write).
November 30th: The day I got a sweet t-shirt out of the whole deal.
So... did I win or lose?
If you haven't already guess, I won. I finished on November 30th at exactly 50,046 words, and I can't wait for next year!
Have you ever competed in NaNoWriMo? What was your favorite part? I would love to hear about it!
I love fresh beginnings. A new morning. A new school year. A new challenge.
And especially a New Year.
It is officially 2019 and to celebrate, I want to look back on a few of my favorites from last year and look forward to a few things I am excited for in 2019.
A Few 2018 Highlights
A Few 2019 Goals
Something I've realized as I look back on the last year is that life is short. You've only got one shot to make a difference in the world for Christ. I want live every day in light of eternity. Maybe I don't become a successful author, or perhaps I never reach any of the goals I have set for myself. But no matter what, I want my life to glorify my Creator. That is my true purpose.
To live life well.
Happy 2019 and may this year be brimful with blessings!