Monday, November 21, 2016

Putting the 'NoWri' in 'NaNoWriMo'

Lately I've had a very specific way that I start my day. A nice breakfast, some hot tea or coffee, and then I sit down at my desk and write. How I manage to do this, and workout, all before work is beyond me. I'm not questioning the motivation, I'm just rolling with it.

Now that we're 10 days, and closing, to the end of November, I've felt a deep sense of - dread? no, not dread - something that I may not make the 50,000 words I need in time. If you're not clued in yet, I mean for NaNoWriMo.

Life can get crazy, and even if you prioritize the things you really want, it can be hard to make that time when you're handed curve-balls. Between this depressing election that I haven't spoken about, work and my social life, it's been a balancing act. I decided to go completely dark on social media for the whole of November. It's been kinda nice to not worry about Tweeting or liking things - what is our technological life, really?

In doing so, it's freed up a lot of time that I would usually have made space for to dawdle on my phone. However, I have yet to break the habits of checking my phone in the morning. I just don't have the apps I was checking, so it's usually just scrolling on Pinterest - because that's hardly a social engagement - or watching a new YouTube video. (I've been obsessed with YouTube and my podcasts even more lately.)

In an attempt to get more positive, writing vibes in my apartment, I reorganized and moved my desk on my half of the office. This gives me a sense of a new environment when it's really the same. But it also provides more light from the window behind me, so that's a nice welcome.

Unfortunately, I have found that I still struggle with a feeling of inadequacy when it comes to my actual brainstorming. I've been setup since elementary school to understand how a formatted outline works, how to do the web/cloud brainstorming method, and even the act of stream-of-consciousness writing. And yet, I feel like I still don't know much about my story or characters. I haven't been caught unsure of what to write yet, but I still feel like I am not as prepared as some people must be. Perhaps it's because this is my first real forte into fiction writing since middle school, but I simply don't know how to properly handle the preliminary planning that goes into a novel. I've managed to get this far without a true understanding of where I might end up. Does anyone else struggle with this?

Today I sat down again and wrote. What keeps me going to write? I've found a few tricks...

  1. Find a place where the noise level is what works for you
    • Don't force yourself to work in a place that's too quiet or too loud. The time to write is in your hands. 
  2. Find an environment that gives you the right vibes~
    • This is similar to the above trick, but involves more than just noise level. 
    • This can be tricky if you're not used to this. For me, I'll either completely change where I am for a fresh take on my surroundings and pace, or I'll change what's around me. 
      • It's also not a bad idea to use that time to take a walk through town if you live in a pedestrian-friendly/safe area. Just some fresh air can do wonders. 
    • Either this means going to the library, cafe or park, or putting some candles and music out at my desk or by my couch to make it feel new. 
  3. Do some sprints! 
    • If you're terrified of running, don't worry, I'm not talking about physical sprinting. I just mean do NaNo sprints/writing sprints.What works for me is setting a timer for 30 minutes, writing as much as I can, then giving myself a 5 minute break. I repeat the process until I have worn my brain out of writing. 
    • This can really help me if the basic 'just write' mentality feels stale, or I need a stretch goal. 
  4. Do write-ins! 
    • You may know what this is, or know it by a different name, but it's just a writing group. Get a writing buddy, or writing buddies, and cozy up somewhere and write. This can mean all meeting for a lunch date at your favorite cafe, sit-in restaurant or at someone's house and spending time quietly writing together. Just having someone there can really make you feel like it's important that you prioritize the writing, because that's what they're doing, too. 
    • The benefit to this is that you also have a group of people to work out any snags in your plots and character developments. Feeling stale? Ask that everyone call a time-out and talk about what you're doing. 
      • If you do sprints with them, it gives you the chance to discuss what you've done so far or just how you feel in between each sprint, too. 
    • Don't have anyone to write with? Meet people online! Chat up some folks on Twitter, go perusing the NaNoWriMo forums, or join in on the NaNoWriMo Virtual Sit-Ins that they do through YouTube streaming. Here's their latest one. (If you need someone to do virtual sit-ins with you, I'm all in. Seriously. Just email me.) 
Because I am behind, I calculated that I have to hit about 3700 words every day of this month to hit the 50,000 word limit to "win" NaNoWriMo this year. It's the first year I've had not only a fiction project but the first year I've been so determined to actually get there. 

If you're writing, I wish you the best of luck! Comment below or email me if you want moral support. ;) 

Monthly Music 2016: November

Hey everyone! Here's what I've been listening to recently:

  1. Bills by Grandson
  2. Loveblood by Sundara Karma 
  3. Facing My Fear by Cortes 
  4. Move by Saint Motel 
  5. Skulls by Civilian 
  6. Into the Storm by BANNERS
  7. Haze by Tessa Violet 
  8. Gold by Kiiara 
  9. Native Tongue by Paramore
  10. Little Numbers by BOY 
  11. Closer by Johnnyswim 
  12. When We Were Young by Lucy Schwartz 
  13. Permission Slip by Mainland 
I really need to catch up and listen to, all the way through, Lemonade by Beyonce and A Seat at the Table by Solange. Those sisters are killing it right now. What have you been listening to lately? 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Healthy Living: What I Ate In A Week

I am terrible at updating this tag, but I thought I would update you all, now that our week is coming to a close, and give you an update on my diet and activity. So let me know if you like this styled post. I love these kinds of videos when I see them on YouTube.

This week my activity level was low. Not proud of that. Most of it is just pure laziness, but also the time change has really screwed up my groove. I need to get up and get over it.

My diet has taken on a new formation, however.

Before I begin, I should say that I am not a vegetarian. I do not pretend to be. But I did go meat-less in my diet. That's part of the reason why I thought that this might be most interesting to you all. I did my best to capture everything I ate (save for random snacks like chips or a little Babybel wedge) to show what it looks like - for me - to cut meat out of my diet.

Overall I wasn't feeling that great from the food choices I was making before the change, so I wanted to retrain my body to crave the better stuff and cut out the bad. The only slight downside to this was I was running low on actual produce so I had to get pretty creative at some points or look to places at/around work to fill in the meals I couldn't.

Let's go:

Two pizzas I made with Savannah. One with feta, mozzarella, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and wheat crust; one with goat cheese, mozzarella, tomatoes, zucchini, red onions. Half with pizza sauce, half with tapenade. 

Twice baked butternut squash (cut into segments to pack easily into lunches) with dill. Typically I'd go for something sweet, but I really wanted to try out some savory-ness. 

A delicious salad from Mod Pizza: spinach, arugula, pesto, tomatoes, croutons, mozzarella, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and some other stuff I can't remember right now. (I'll get better at this in the future, if you want more posts like this, I swear.) Anyway, if you haven't had a Mod Pizza salad, you really need to do it.

An experimental quinoa-based "meat" ball. It's zucchini, garbanzo beans, quinoa, bread crumbs, a little butter, bbq sauce, and some seasonings like cumin, basil and chopped onions. The butter, bbq sauce and bread crumbs helped hold the quinoa together. But in order for it to hold is spherical form as leftovers, a toaster oven is needed. 

Y'all, I was actually surprised. Tripp wanted Panda Express the other night for dinner, and I pulled up their menu - thinking I'd have to just order mixed veggies and rice - but they had a tofu and eggplant option. I've actually come to really love both - which was something I realized before making this change - so I ordered that with mixed veggies and friend rice. Their veggie option was actually just as good as any tofu & eggplant options I've had at other restaurants (probably because I got a fresh batch). This either speaks boldly to how just bad the others are, or Panda Express can be pretty boss once in a while.

And that's what I ate in a week, Sunday to Saturday! The only few meals I forgot to capture were the yummy mushroom bisque I got from the soups place at work, the almond butter and apple butter sandwich I made before work the other day, and the Arby's salad that I picked the chicken out of for lunch today coming into work.

The pizzas and butternut squash were divided into leftover meals, so if you're wondering why there are only a few meals listed here, that's why. Trust me... I ate.

We finally go grocery shopping (and we're stocking up to avoid the holiday fuss), so I plan on doing some hardcore shopping, much of which will include getting healthy fats and taking care to watch my macros with the meals I do make.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have tips for going meat-less, let me know. I may incorporate a lot of this permanently in my diet - with the occasional swapping out of meats. I'm sure my cholesterol will thank me, anyway.


If you are struggling from malnutrition or an eating disorder, I recommend doing extensive research before changing your diet drastically. Going meat-less, vegetarian or vegan does not mean you can just eat vegan mac-n-cheese 7 times a week. When you remove meats from your diet - or anything - you have to make sure that the beneficial nutrients that used to be there are replaced with something that provides the same. Make sure you know how much protein, iron, calcium, potassium and sodium is in your new diet. If all else fails, consult a dietitian. And if you struggle with an eating disorder and find these posts to be hard to read, I do apologize. I want to continue to occasionally do these kinds of posts in the future, so I recommend keeping an eye on the title and avoiding those posts if food is a triggering psychological thing for you. Please take care of yourself. Much love. 

Friday, November 4, 2016


Words of Women is an Instagram account and website that I found out about through Anna. Even though she just posted about this, I'm already obsessed. The wisdom and inspiration of the women featured with W.O.W. makes me feel understood, accepted and strong. (How accurate is that acronym, anyway?)

Instagram account: @words_of_women

Here are some of my favorite Instagram posts so far:

Words of Women shares raw, honest, and inspirational quotes and thoughts by women of our past and present. I've found that subscribing to their newsletter leaves me with a sense of fulfillment, as well. If I find the words, I may try submitting my own pieces there, given time.

Be sure to peruse their website and read through the posts. It's been more than worth it for me.