Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Of course, pictures of our outfits (and CCCCAAAANDDDYYYY) shall be up post-Halloween. :)
The Stirring Song
Thursday, October 28, 2010
EEK! I am SO excited for National Novel Writing Month I can hardly think of words to express my, er... excitement! There are only FOUR more days!! I have heard people use SO many adjectives to express their thoughts about what NaNoWriMo is like. Crazy, impossible, amazing, unthinkable, ridiculous. What do I call it? Exhilarating.
Most of the time, my life nowadays is a routine. Day in, and day out, I go to class, I study in the library, I eat at the university dining hall, I study some more, I eat, and I sleep. Oh, and I blog. ;) I enjoy my days, but quite honestly they can get kind of monotonous after a while. I mean, eating the same shrimp scampi and vegetable soup from the same cafeteria every single day CAN get a little boring. Just a little bit. Sometimes, I feel like I just need to...GARRR!!!! Have some sort of wild frenzy and chaos.
That is exactly what NaNoWriMo offers. No wonder I've been addicted to it since 2006.
Thirty days. 1,667 words a day. One novel. Completely exhilarating. For every NaNoWriMo that I have participated in, it's been just that. Creating plots, characters, settings, and gosh knows what else, and compiling it all together in a would-be coherent book is what NaNo is all about. With the clock ticking and my hands flying all across the keyboard from left to right, I feel extremely pressured...but in a good type of way. I feel like I can let go of some of my extra energy and stress and take a break from the monotony that inevitably dominates over my daily schedule. During the moments that I am writing, there's nothing that is more alive to me than the story that I am creating.
Ahhh. Just thinking about it now and imagining all of this makes me anticipate NaNoWriMo all the more, if that's even possible. And what's even COOLER about this year is that I will be participating in weekly write-ins and meeting up with regional NaNoers for the first time. PLUS, I persuaded one of my best friends, Michael, to do NaNoWriMo with me!
So. Michael and I proposed a NaNoWriFri. Yes, National Novel Writing Friday. This Friday, we
are going to go to our regional Kick-off Party at the local Panera, meet all sorts of cool NaNoers, and then plan our novels together at my apartment. See, I'm not completely done with the planning of my novel, and neither is Michael. (I blame the textbook reading and essays that I've had.) On Friday night, he will be coming over to my apartment and we will be having a sort of "prelude" to the frenzy of NaNo. We will be comparing plots, filling out NaNo charts and completing our novel outlines together.
NaNoWriMo is fun just by itself, but it is definitely 10x better when you do it with a friend! So if you don't know anyone else who's writing for November, let everyone know about this awesome competition you'll be taking part in and try to get some of YOUR friends to do it with you! Especially if you're a newcomer, you will definitely appreciate any inspiration and motivation from other people to keep on writing.
Ultimately, National Novel Writing Month is a competition with yourself. A competition to see how fast you can write your novel, how many words you'll be able to get down on a day by day basis, and in the end if you got past your goal of 50k.
I found this cute comic from Google. It's kind of fuzzy but if you drag it to your URL bar, you'll be able to see it more clearly. I hope you enjoy! :)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Oh my god, he--no, it--was real.
Nobody else was ever going to believe her.
Not unless she had proof.
There Melanie stood, feet frozen to the sidewalk on Burning Tree Road, watching with horror and fascination as the vampire sucked blood less than ten feet away. The human's face was turning from white to purple until finally the vampire dropped its prey and smacked its lips in satisfaction. Blood dripped.
Snap! Snap! Yes! Perfect shots of the perfect front page newstory. A fleeting smile crossed her face, but it was wiped off almost immediately as the vampire's heightened senses caught the sound of the camera clicking. It jerked its head towards her direction, and its beetle black eyes met her little blue eyes as they widened with terror. Melanie gulped and turned around to abscond for her life. She barely ran a couple yards when a very strong and very cold hand wrapped its fingers around her neck. The vampire hurled her into the ground and pressed one powerful thumb against her Adam's apple.
Melanie beat her fists against the vampire's chest, but it was like punching against a brick wall. The vampire grinned, showing a line of black, rotting teeth, and Melanie tried to scream out, but instead choked as the thumb created more and more pressure. She quickly slipped the memory card out of her Nikon camera and slid it into her pocket. No matter what, whe people needed to know the truth behind the recent attacks, that they weren't just a part of some sort of sick Halloween prank. It was up to her to save the evidence and get the word out.
The vampire laughed a sharp, high-pitched laugh that created goosebumps all over Melanie's arms. She fumbled with the camera, struggling to keep it stable within her grasp. She pretended to click it again. "Now everyone will know what you are!" The vampire snatched the camera and wrenched it from her neck. Melanie's skin burned from where the camera strap had chafed against it.
"NO!!" She cried. "Give that back! Who and what are you?"
The vampire smiled. "Your worst nightmare."
Melanie cringed away from it. "What do you want from me?"
"Fool. If you hadn't caught my attention with your little toy here," --the vampire gestured at her beloved camera--"then maybe I wouldn't be here about to break it. And you." It grasped her jaw with one hand, which was as sallow and white as death should be. Melanie tried to look away from the hideous face in front of her, but she couldn't. It was too painful.
It continued to smile evilly.
"I know all about you, Melanie Sullivan. Oh yes..." Melanie's heart filled with terror and her breath quickened. Somehow, she knew this was the end of her life. "Hotshot journalist. Trying to make a 'difference' in the world. You're all over the newspaper...a byline here, a byline there. Thirsty for news? Well guess what...you'll be next on the front page news in the Chicago Tribune when they find your body broken." It fingered her poor Nikon and lifted it up into the air, and she knew that the vampire was going to end its life as well.
"You can take my life, but you can't take my camera!" she screamed, and lunged for the one thing that made her feel accomplished in life. The camera unhooked from its strap and dropped into her arms. Melanie slipped from underneath the vampire and staggered to her feet. Again, she ran.
She could feel the vampire right at her heels. She tripped and fell.
Voices...so many of them all around. Melanie couldn't make them out, but she hoped they were the voices of humans. Her head was pounding, hurting. Sore.
Her hand curled around the little memory card in her pocket and clutched it tightly.
Melanie went unconscious.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Unfortunately, November happens to be one of the busiest months of the year. Thanksgiving, Election Day, midterms for some schools, homecoming for other schools, et cetera. And writing 1,667 words a day isn't easy with a busy schedule, even one that is only moderately heavy with work and chores and events. But it IS possible and doable.
So I've created a hypothetical schedule that is hypothetically supposed to be planned out as a typical day in November for a hypothetical mother who is doing NaNoWriMo for the first time, even with Thanksgiving looming over her head and three kiddies to tend.
6:30 am -- Go out for morning run with Fluffy (the hypothetical dog), take him out to relieve himself, listen to a soundtrack you created for your novel to get some inspiration
7:00 am -- Write 300 words while your creative juices are still flowing, then get writer's block (urgh! How to get the inevitable romance between your bachelor of a Main Character and your MC's son's teacher??)
7:30 am -- Wake up the rest of the house, get the kids ready for school, make breakfast for all, pack lunches
8:15 am -- Drop kids off, get dropped off at work, kiss Hubby goodbye
8:30 am -- Work
11:45 am -- Turn down lunch offer from co-workers and explain your NaNoWriMo commitment, get funny looks but have one of your friend-worker (a co-worker who is also a friend) agree to write her novel with you (she happens to be one of the few whom you persuaded to do NaNo!) during lunch
12:00 pm -- Have an intense write-in with your friend-worker while eating lunch, get 500 words in, exchange light conversation about your novel plots
1:00 pm -- Get back to work
3:31 pm -- A light bulb suddenly flicks over your head as you finally realize what to do with your MC (next scene: have him get his arm broken while picking up his son from school, thus initiating the meeting between Ms. Priddy and him...ta-da!); quickly write down a short scene and certain valuable lines ("The twinkle she had in her eyes when she looked at me for the first time was mesmerizing") and then quickly get back to your current work project as your boss walks by; hurray, you got in 200 words at work!
6:45 pm -- Return home, cook dinner with Nanny Dearest and Hubby, change one particularly stinky diaper
7:30 pm -- Dinnertime! A lovely hour of feeding Baby, reminding your other two little'uns to use their napkins and chew with their mouths closed, and fighting with your MC in your mind over what you should do with him in the next couple of chapters (apparently he'd rather meet her in a more romantic setting such as a beach or something else unrealistic)
8:15 pm -- Wash dishes with Hubby while Nanny Dearest bathes the little'uns, discuss your MC with Hubby, who helps you decide to go with your own instincts and set the scene between Ms. Priddy and your MC at school
8:30 pm -- Jot down a quick 300 words after this thoughtful dishwashing-bonding time
8:45 pm -- Begin watching Beauty & the Beast with your family
9:00 pm -- take a movie break and make your award-winning strawberry smoothies for the children (because they begged and made those adorable puppy faces that you can never resist)
9:45 pm -- Put the kids to bed
9:50 pm -- Write a good, solid 400 words; review today's NaNo work...YES YOU ACCOMPLISHED YOUR BABY STEP OF THE DAY!
10:30 pm -- Have some down time with Hubby and talk about Thanksgiving plans over a romantic cheese and wine snack (you eventually decide that he will cook the smaller dishes if you take care of the turkey and stuffing)
Whew! A long but productive day! As you can see, the hypothetical woman above was able to squeeze in even MORE than the absolutely-must-write-1677-words in her day. It's all about having the motivation and staying inspired. As demonstrated above at 11:45am, you may have to turn down some social gatherings/offers/dates during the month of November, depending on how ahead you are in your novel and how much time you're willing to give (okay, BALANCE) into NaNoWriMo.
You may feel rather depressed at times when you do so, which is pretty normal for the average NaNoer, but it will definitely pay off once you're grinning with your newly self-published book and your friends are screaming for your autograph in the end. ;)
Monday, October 18, 2010
Looking forward to writing with you all beginning November 1st :) Baby steps, that's all it is!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
*Statistics come from American Breast Cancer Society.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I. am. SO. PUMPED. for. NANOWRIMO 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jeez, I don't think I could add another exclamation point. Well...maybe one more. !!! (Three more, actually) :) Starting on November 1st, every participant from around the world will be doing this crazy, seemingly impossible, incredible, amazing, wacky thing called National Novel Writing Month.
No really...WHAT: Write a 50,000 word novel (or part of a novel) in one month, averaging about 1667 words a day.
Who: YOU! And anyone else who's brave enough
Where: Planet Earth (who knows? Maybe on other planets aliens are doing it too XD)
When: November 1st to November 30th
Why: Because we can
How: Journals, Microsoft Word, napkins, StickyNotes, any other means you can use to document your work
Say whattt? You want me to write a BOOK in a MONTH? Mmhmm, yes, with me please! :D NaNo is so much more exciting when you know other people who are doing it too! That way, you won't feel insane for choosing to participate and you'll have someone to discuss your NaNo adventures....from your daughter's eagerness to participate in "the fun writing excercise that mommy's doing!" to sleepless nights of wrestling with your characters to the EXTRA 500 words you grilled into your laptop in one day.
In fact, having a buddy to write with is so important to me that I will disclose my NaNoWriMo username: Gwendolyn92. Feel free to add me as your buddy on the NaNoWriMo website! :)
You don't have to be an author or even a regular writer to participate. You don't even have to be good at telling stories. For NaNo, write a how-to book, a suspense thriller, a guidebook on blogging, a book filled with your poetry whose word counts all add up to 50,000 words, whatever you want. As long as it's a book, you can write it for NaNoWriMo!
I've participated in NaNoWriMo since 2006...it's become a sort of yearly tradition for me. Instead of a chore-like obligation, I see it as a way for me to take a little bit of each day to really dedicate time for me and my writing. Nothing else. (Except for maybe a cup of hot chocolate to last me until 2am) For this year's contest, I will be working on the last half of my already-published novel, Sophie, which I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2008. I can't guarantee that I will win, but I CAN guarantee that I will have fun with this (crazy) project and complete a big chunk of my novel. And to me, every word counts!!
P.S. Expect more posts on NaNoWriMo in the near future and for the next month and a half. ;D Don't worry, I'll still update on other aspects of life, hehe.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sadly there wasn't enough muffin mix to fill all the tin cups. :(
Halfway baked! Yay, my little muffies are rising!
D'oh....unfortunately I lost track of the time and they came out a little burnt. We literally had to "wolf them down," starting with the top and eating the meaty cake parts inside. They were still delicious and sweet...as you can see, I forgot to take photos until only 3 were left!
Taco time! Yayyyy! I'd never made tacos before until now, but they turned out well. My boyfriend got a huge block of fresh cheddar cheese from Harris Teeter, and I couldn't help but steal a few chunks of the stuff. It was soooo good...I felt like a mouse. xD
My first time with a cheese grater!!
I usually don't like beef meat but this tasted AWESOME! A little bit of oil, a dash of seasoning...
After the meat was thoroughly cooked, we put it all in a napkin and placed it in a bowl to get all of the extra fat and oil out. Great way to slough off unwanted calories and not feel sluggish after eating!
We didn't use big taco shells...instead we used those Tostinos taco chips that look like bowls. They were so cute. :) Crunchy and filling.
Hope you all are having a great week, filled with delicious things to eat!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Politico: Political junkies will love this one...you'll get the latest news stories the moment that they're published and posted. Best source of unbiased news. Now, you can take the newspaper wherever you go! (Except in the shower, I suppose.)
The Weather Channel: Extremely helpful when you're pressed for time or on-the-go. Type in your location and automatically get the weather conditions for up to 10 days. It will also give you Chance of Precipitation and the High/Low temps.
Shakespeare: To add or not to add this app? I say add! You can wow your friends (or annoy them, you pick! haha) with famous quotes from the most famous writer of medieval times. This app will give you various short excerpts to all the works of Shakespeare as well as a Glossary and specific Quotes Search engine. Romeo and Juliet, anyone?
Flashlight by AppProShop: Choose from 8 lovely colors (White, Blue, Cyan, Green, Magenta, Red, Orange and Purple) or a rainbow of them to light your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You can also control the intensity/brightness of the light in case you want to be extra cautious about walking into walls or making sure it doesn't catch the eye of your film analysis professor as you try to do other schoolwork while watching Modern Times.
MyFitnessPal - Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker: What I like about this pal is that it's aimed towards anybody who is trying to maintain a good diet, not just those who are trying to lose (or gain) weight. Create your personal weight goal and track the number of calories you gain from eating and the number of calories you lose by exercising. Plus there's a WHOLE bunch of foods, both store-bought and restaurant-made, that you can choose from!
(Tip: Look up your BMI, or Body Mass Index, and the amount of calories and each vitamin/mineral you should consume per day at nutritiondata.self.com)
Thursday, October 7, 2010
- Changed my major from Psychology to...a double major in Psychology and Journalism!
- Dropped Chemistry 101 because it was kicking my butt. And it hurt. :(
- Made my first B in Chinese (*sadness*)
- Went from being a Pre-Med student to, um, a non-Pre-Med. xD
- Created and folded dumplings from scratch for the first time. And they turned out yummy. SUCCESS!
- Smallville Season 10 began!
- Subscribed to The News & Observer
- Got on the staff of my college's features magazine and wrote my very first article on...VEGANISM AND VEGETARIANISM!
- Fell in love with writing once again
Now when I say "once again" I mean I've decided to put my all back into writing and have become totally and completely immersed within it. Once again. Before, I was only putting 50% of my passions into writing because I was also Pre-Med and trying to become a doctor. Then, after a revelation (basically, I got the exact same bad grade in Chem 101 Lecture and Lab) in which my awful grades in Science contrasted sharply with the joys I felt from writing for the features magazine and recent praises I received for my article made me realize that writing is what I'm meant to do...and no matter how much I try to deviate from that path, it will always pull me back in to where I belong.
As you can see, I pretty much went through a mid-first-year-of-college-crisis. XD But I think almost every college student goes through that "Undecided Major" mode...which makes me feel better and not so alone. =]
Since I am pretty much changing my life career after changing my college major, I've decided to revamp the way I blog. I know I am bad at goals and promises and such, but I assure you this blog plan will be one that I work towards a little bit each day. :D
My New Blog Plan:
1) This whole writing-a-big-post-every-few-weeks thing isn't exactly what I call ideal, so now I'm going to post everyday or every other day...even if it's something little like a quote or a single YouTube video or big like a list of 2010 Top SmartPhone Applications (*cough* coming up next! *cough*). :)
2) Create and update a Resources page for all you lovely readers. There will be different categories and under each will be websites and other blogs that I find very helpful are particularly interesting/intriguing. Sorry, I won't be taking requests for right now.
3) Create and update a My Work page in which I'll be showing you some work that I've done as well as a little information about my self-published book, Sophie.
4) Participate in blogfests. One of the greatest things about blogs is the blogging community and the fun you have getting to know other bloggers :) Plus, as an avid writer, blogfests sound soooo awesome! Hmm, maybe I will host one of my own as well...
At the end of the year, I'll be posting a poll to find out what you'd like to see more of in my blog. Thanks to all of my readers, so much, for sticking with TRA blog!