Don’t tell me it’s fanfiction

It’s that time again, dear readers. That time when I sit down to figure out how much work I’ve gotten done over the past few weeks and suddenly realize I’ve been watching three different TV shows. I’m not procrastinating. I’ve just been busy. So busy.

It’s been almost 2 months since I last posted. While this normally causes me to freak out, I have decided to be positive about it. I may have failed on my promise to post more frequently, but that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten nothing done. Ok, yes, I was in a slump and watching way more Netflix than I should have, but I’m working on it.

I took some time to actually plan out a few weeks with my planner. I made a goal of reading and writing each day, and limited myself to one episode of TV a day. It sounds strict, but I know my weaknesses, and it’s too easy to just lounge and binge-watch shows. By scheduling writing and reading times (and accounting for frequent interruptions from normal life) I’ve been able to get back into that creative mindset. One of the things I always missed from college was the daily writing prompts and the different kinds of literature I was exposed to. Getting back to that on my own has been an interesting experience.

One of my favorite things to search for on Pinterest is writing prompts. Sometimes they’re silly, but other times they’re actually pretty good. I love retellings of fairy tales, or old stories that we all know (and sometimes love). My word count for the past two months might be pretty low, but I’ve been working on developing different stories. I’m proud of how much plotting I’ve gotten done recently, and I’m excited about the new projects I’ve got coming up. Hopefully soon I can tell you the ridiculous things we have planned for this year. Go big or go home, kids.

In my Pinterest and Tumblr searches, I’ve found lots of different takes of familiar stories. So many of these horror and sci-fi ideas have been used and rebooted. Sometimes it’s cool, sometimes it gets weird. Sometimes I’m trying to decide if it’s just fanfiction that shouldn’t have been published.

As many of you might not know, I have very mixed feelings on fanfiction. I can’t lie and said I’ve never read it. I grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was more than disappointed when my OTP never got together. Even though it was pretty clear that that’s what needed to happen. I think that was the first time my heart actually broke.

Anyways, I’ve been working on a few stories based on fairy tales and urban legends. I recently got an idea for a new story, based on a very old book. I started making notes, and outlining, and even did a character sketch. While I’m working on all of this, there’s a voice in the back of my head saying “Hm…this could be fanfiction.” While I’m insisting that it’s totally not fanfiction because the story is so old, my best friend and writing buddy is reminding me that the first fanfiction was Bible fanfiction. I’m not sure if that makes it acceptable or worse.

Speaking of MLT, I have to do a quick shout out to how awesome she is. She picked up a 25 pound box of peaches for me and WALKING it back to my apartment because I was at work when the peach truck came to town, and gave me some good tips on menu planning. She listens to all my writing breakdowns, encourages me to read and write weird fanfiction, and is generally a writing inspiration to me. We recently had a long talk at our local Dunkin Donuts until they politely kicked us out. We talked about our plans for the year, and how we could motivate each other. She’s the kind of person moody writers need in their life: a little ball of lightning that randomly pokes you to see if you’re still writing. So, like a writing taser.

When I first sat down to write this, I was in a pretty low mood. But after thinking about it for a few days, and planning out some fun things, I’m feeling more motivated again. I started working out, which the cats find hilarious. I’ve gotten back to cooking and baking at home, which I love. I just finished baking my 3rd round of peach flavored baked goods. Things are looking up now that I have more baked goods and writing inspiration. And, of course, so much iced coffee.

Thanks for reading! Here’s to hoping my next post is more organized!

-JBL

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No spring cleaning, just spring setbacks

Here we are again, returning from another hiatus. Judging by my last post, my Thor-themed word tracker, and my Goodreads app, it’s been over two months since I’ve actually read or written anything. What have I been doing since then? Good question.

February and March seemed like such a blur, and now April is almost over. It’s hard to remember what’s been going on since I’ve been so down lately.

I attended Indiana Comic Con and an incredibly nervous cosplayer. I took notes at some of the panels, and plan on detailing that whole experience in my next post.

I visited my college for the last event before it closes this year. I caught up with my favorite professors and reminisced about the coffee shop. I even made a sort of peace with some old friends (That story is a whole novel series in itself).

But mostly I let myself slip back into bad habits. No writing or reading updates this time, which is why I haven’t posted anything. I’m no closer to my goals, and it’s pretty disappointing. But instead of continuing to ignore this blog and keep hiding in my room, I’m forcing myself to post this. I want to motivate myself to keep writing. I keep thinking that I should be writing each day, and how I just need to start doing it to make it a habit. But each day ends, and suddenly it’s time to go to bed, and nothing has been accomplished. The only way for me to change that is to start writing. So here I am, at 11pm, writing about what I haven’t been doing.

I hope everyone else has had more luck than I have. Tune in next time for a detailed report on Comic Con, and then some nostalgic stories from my college reunion.

Thank you for reading this very short post. Here’s to Monday Motivation!

-JBL

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I haven’t fallen behind, everything is just moving too fast

I know I said I’d be updating more, but so much stuff has happened. Nothing dramatic, really, just lots of little things that I’ve let distract me, even though I should know better by now.

I was gone for a few days at the end of January to visit my family and watch my friends lose their minds at a Breaking Benjamin concert. The concert itself was awesome. I’m not a big fan of moshing or crowd surges, so it was great to see a band and not come out with bruises at the end of the night. Frequent concert-goers know how those things can be.

The best part about going to a concert with my friends was the unanimous decision to go to Dunkin Donuts afterwards and drink coffee and eat all the donuts and hash browns they’d give us. Seriously, all the hash browns they could stuff in a bag. It just shows that you should be nice to the people making your food. They might just “forget” to charge you for those 13 delicious little hash brown rounds.

The other little distraction I’ve been dealing with is this massive cold that has kept me down for the past week. I had coffee for the first time in about 6 days and it was glorious. I’m finally getting to the point where I can breathe normally again, and my sense of taste is almost back as well. It sounds pathetic, but I don’t get sick very often. So when I do, it knocks me down hard. Thanks to an insanely British amount of tea and lots of medicine, I’m back on track.

Writing: 

As much as I want to skip over this update, I’m going to focus on the positive. I’ve gotten more writing done so far than I did this time last year. It hasn’t been as much as I wanted, but I like to think that I’m still ahead of the game.

Reading:

I think I’ve read somewhere around 7 books since my last post. First I read The Girl on the Train in which everyone is the unreliable narrator so good luck figuring out who’s not a bad person by the end of it. Spoiler alert: they all are. It was an exciting read. I think it’s interesting to see characters that aren’t clearly good or bad, because real people are rarely so clearly defined.

I finally read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and it was so different from what I expected. Reading classics like that make me understand why people are always so eager to put their own spin on the story. I’d heard so much about it, and saw it portrayed in different shows and movies, that I had built it up to more than it was. So my first thoughts when I finished it were about how I could use that idea for my own story. There’s a good possibility that I’m going to write a story based off of it. Does that count as fanfiction? That’s a real question. I need to know!

Next I read The Demonologist, which was quick and spoke to my love of horror, ancient texts, demons, and the struggle of good versus evil. Then I got into The Descent, which moved back and forth between the missing Caitlin and her guilt-ridden brother, Sean. I don’t always like books that move between perspectives, but I feel like it was necessary to slowly reveal everything that was happening to that family.

Finally, I got to Horns by Joe Hill. This book has been on my list for a while, and I’m so glad I got around to reading it. Ig isn’t necessarily a bad guy, he’s just had some back luck, mostly in the form of one person. He’s the devil in the blue dress that you surprisingly feel sympathy for. I loved it.

The next two books I read were part of my Christmas present from my friend. The Other Typist was set in my favorite time period in New York. I love reading about the 1920s. I was very interested in learning about these women that worked in police stations. It’s something I hadn’t really thought about, but typing was considered a woman’s job. These women listened to confessions and testimonies. Their work was important, whether it was acknowledged or not. The plot focused on Rose, who put her trust in someone that she definitely didn’t know as well as she thought. It’s also scary to me to think about how easy it would have been to falsify your background, or really anything. We get very caught up in the protection of our privacy (which, yes is very important) but it’s so easy now to prove who you are. Creating a false identity is a little more complicated than stealing your friend’s life story. The whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking how it would make a great movie. Lots of drama and excitement, not to mention some awesome parties. I looked it up, and it’s supposedly going to be made into one…eventually. I really hope it’s true.

Next was Confess by Colleen Hoover. It was a sweet story about two people that were clearly fated to be together. Their journey started long before either of them realized it. My favorite part of the book, honestly, was the real confessions that were used in the book. Owen, the artist in the story, used anonymous confessions from people as ideas for his paintings. I loved what Owen was doing, because I feel like I do that myself. I build a story around some small snippet that I’ve heard or read. Knowing the truth behind the words takes away from the story I’ve created in my head.

So, in conclusion, I’ve spent way more time reading than writing the past 3 weeks. Time to fix that.

Coffee intake:

Seriously down since I’ve been sick. Only 2 cups today, I’m surprised I’m still awake.

Plots and plans: 

Keep reading like crazy, and write way more than I have been.

Get outside a bit more since the weather is finally warming up.

Work on that idea I had about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and try to decide the real definition of fanfiction.

Make real food for dinner tonight since I’ve only had a cupcake so far.

Get more organized! In so many ways…

Build a tiny greenhouse for my little pineapple plant so I can harvest little pineapples all year round. (It’s important to have diverse goals)

Finally read all the books that have been given to me. I’m working on the stack my friend gave me for Christmas. I have another stack that’s just from my mom. She’s always encouraged my love of books, and has given me so many that I’ve started but not quite finished. Time to finish what I’ve started!

 

So that’s basically what’s been going on. Along with the devastating news that my college is on the verge of shutting down. It’s been an emotional time for the current students, as well as the alumni like me and my friends who are saddened to hear about the closure of the school we love. Thinking back on my time there has brought back so many memories, things I hadn’t thought about for years. I drove around the campus a few days ago, but couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car and walk around. I’m hoping to return soon with some college friends so we can go through it all again, together.

I hope everyone out there is getting more done than I am. It’s easy to give up when things get too busy, but it’s important to stay focused on your goals, no matter how big or small they might be. So, right now, I’m going to work on one of my smaller goals, which is making dinner.

As always, thanks for reading!

-JBL

 

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Like a rainstorm in January

Two updates in one month?? Madness, I know. I’m trying to get better at regular updates. Seeing as this is only January, we’ll see how it goes.

Writing:

So I pointed out last time that one of my biggest goals for this year is to finally become the writer I pretend to be. Which means actually typing up my notes and stories. I downloaded a word tracker (actually the same one I tried downloading last year, but I couldn’t get it to work. Clearly 2016 was doomed from the start for me). So far it says I’ve only written about 3,000 words, but it’s better than nothing.

I’ve been focusing on the story I started in November. I love the character I’ve been developing, and it’s been fun creating some new mythology. Because no one else wants to believe that phoenixes are real. I’m also getting excited about my other novel again. Forcing myself to write every day is getting easier. The ideas for both stories are coming much easier. It’s a good feeling.

Reading: 

I decided to create my own reading challenge without hassling my friends about what book they’d be reading that month. I’m sure my friends are very relieved.

I started this month with two different books by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess. I don’t even know how these books ended up on my list, but I’m so happy that they did. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was fun and weird. Everything that has happened to her is ridiculous, but believable, because I know someone who has never had anything normal happen to her either. Furiously Happy made me feel more than I planned on feeling. While the first book was more of a memoir, Furiously Happy was just so much more than I expected. I expected it to be funny and strange, which of course it was, but I didn’t expect it to bring me to tears. Sometimes I feel pretty insane, but her determination to be successful and happy when there’s so much wrong was strangely inspiring. It made me think about my own life quite a bit. Then a cried a little more, but in a good way.

Coffee intake:

Could definitely be improved.

Plots and plans:

I am generally disorganized as a person. This just a fact. I’m trying really hard to get my life together this year (definitely trying harder than last year, actually). The biggest help that I’ve found is using a planner. I had planners in school, all the way up through college and I loved them. I’ve been sort of lazy about using them the past few years, but I’m hoping that will change.

I have two planners this year, which might sound strange, but trust me, it makes sense. I have a pineapple one that’s about the size of a notebook that I’m using for normal life stuff. Bills, work, vacation, forced family bonding. Then I have a smaller one that I’m using for my writer goals. I looked at the next two months and planned out how much I should be reading and writing each day. My days off I’ve turned into full work days. I even got different color gel pens for reading, writing, and blog posts. I’m getting so organized.

The idea is to make the most of my time. There’s no reason for me not to be writing, or reading more books. I’m making myself get up earlier than usual as well. This also sounds crazy, but I move much faster when I’ve had three cups of coffee before I’ve even gotten to work. I don’t know how I lived before I got this automatic coffee maker. I set it for 6:30am, so I’m pretty much waking up to the smell of coffee. It’s amazing. And it sets the tone for my day. By the time I get to work I’m energized and ready to go. I spend less time being grumpy and more time getting things done.

We’re three weeks in to January, and I haven’t lost any momentum yet. I’m pretty sure this is a new record for me. I hope everyone else is keeping to their own goals, or resolutions, or small things they’d like to accomplish. fullsizerender

For encouragement I have included a picture of the handsome Editor Cat. He’s currently in his favorite position, on my lap, between me and my computer. I’ve gotten pretty good at typing around him. Not that he’d ever move. Time for me to get back to writing.

Thanks for reading!

-JBL

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New year, new coffee maker, new writing goals

Hello, lovely readers. It’s that terrible time of year again, where people make resolutions, determined to challenge themselves in new ways each day. I say terrible because for me it tends to be like that. I try not to stress myself out with resolutions I know I can’t keep. Instead I make small goals that can definitely be accomplished once I stop showing my cat YouTube videos.

Updates:

I really slacked off with writing and posting these last few months, because of various personal reasons. I feel fortunate, though, that I have good friends that managed to drag me out of it.

In the writing department, though, I am pleased that I started a new story. I tend to write shorter thing. I love short stories and flash fiction. So working on a novel can be a bit harder for me. I was pleased when I started my NaNoWriMo project and was able to see how it could develop into something larger. Even though I didn’t hit the word count, I am proud of what I started.

The one goal I did manage to accomplish last year was my reading challenge. I might have strayed from the monthly themes towards the end of the year, but I didn’t slow down. I managed to read 34 books last year(it would have been 35 because I was so close but then New Years happened and I had to cook these meatballs).

I am proud of my reading goal, not because of the amount of books I read, but because of the variety. I read classics and anthologies, as well as self-published and books that were published just last year. I’ve come to realize how important reading is to me as a writer. I feel like since I pushed myself to read different genres and stories I wouldn’t normally read, I’ve become a better writer. I feel like I’ve talked to hundreds of different people, and gotten to see a hundred different points of view. It’s made me think about what I’m writing, change the view point of the story and see where this new direction will take me.

Books that changed me (well, at least this year):

Last year a coworker sent me a reading challenge, which started this whole reading madness for the year.

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For the month of April, I decided to go statewide in terms of local authors. I, of course, knew how I felt about Indiana, so I was curious to see how other Indiana writers would portray the state. I originally checked out around 12 books from the library that month, but ended up settling on 5 of them. My favorite one that month was The Starlite Drive-In by Marjorie Reynolds. She wrote about a small town in a was that, much to my surprise, wasn’t boring. She showed that the people in those towns have depth and dreams. There’s ups and downs in small towns. It’s a way of life that not many people understand or care to read about. But it made sense to me. It made me think of my own childhood, of spending summers in town, and my first double date at a drive-in. It made me realize that I should be proud to write about Indiana. That it’s not the state that’s boring, it’s all in the description of it.

February’s challenge brought a book recommended by a friend. I have so many friend recommendations that it’s hard to even begin making a list. So I picked a book that my brother recommended. My big brother is not a reader, but he heard about this book and called me to see if I’d heard about it. I found it a used book store and tried to give it to him, but he wouldn’t take it. He said he can’t sit down a read an entire book. He wanted me to read it. So, two years later, I read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I know many people, myself included, are hesitant to take on a book about a dog because we all know how these things end. But I was very happy with the book. Enzo was written not like a dog, but as a person. He felt things, and then I felt for him, and then I cried a little because his story was beautiful.

February also brought a book that has ended up being a new favorite for me. Having a favorite book is sort of a big deal to me. I don’t make favorites easily. But sometimes I find a book that moves me so much that I can’t stop thinking about it. When I first read the description for The Gargoyle, I thought that it might have some humor and be a bit fun. Anything starting out with a porn star in a wild accident is bound to be interesting, right? But this book immediately proved me wrong. It stuck in my head. There were several times that I had to take a break from the book. I’d have to put the book down for an hour, just so I could process what I had read. I could feel myself holding my breath as I read, so enthralled by Marianne that I couldn’t wait for her to tell more of her story. As I grew closer to the end of the book, I could feel myself getting more nervous. I wanted the story to keep going. Andrew Davidson had created these incredible characters that were beautiful and flawed. My heart hurt for them when I read about the lives together. Once I finished the book, I wanted to tell everyone to read it. I suggested it to everyone I knew, hoping they would be as moved as I was.

New writing goals:

I spent most of last year working on being a better reader. I think it’s time now to use what I’ve read and focus on my writing.

My goals this year are pretty simple. I’m going to act like a real writer. To me that means keeping track of how much I’m writing, and making time every day to add on to my monthly word count. I downloaded a sexy new Thor word tracker and I have a fun new planner to keep myself on track, as well as an automatic coffee maker that wakes me up with the smell of fresh coffee every day. I also got this awesome salt lamp for Christmas, which means I’ll probably be sitting in the dark, staring at my salt lamp for inspiration by mid-year. What else could a writer need besides coffee and a salt lamp?

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The obvious goal is to finish both books I’m working on, but I also hope to post on here more than once every 3 months. I can totally do this.

For now, though, it’s time for bed.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to find me on Twitter where I’m usually questioning why there’s no donut delivery system in this city.

-JBL

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30 Things I thought I’d do by 30 (and 30 I actually have)

I’ve been going back and forth over the past few months on whether or not I’m bothered by turning 30. Some people view it as a big deal, others couldn’t care less. It’s hard not to compare myself to the people I know. At 30 my mom was married with a baby on the way. A friend of mine already celebrated her 5 year wedding anniversary, and several of my classmates have multiple children. Today is my 30th birthday, and what do I have to show for myself?

As a writer I frequently reflect on things of my past, wondering how things might have turned out different if I had made better choices. That’s just a nice way of saying I dwell on the past too much and tend to obsess over what might have happened if I had only paid better attention.

I had mentally been making a list, and driving myself mad, of all the things I thought I would have done by now. Fortunately, I have good friends that pull me out of the darkness in my head and remind me of the good things that have happened in my life. I still want to share my list, though, because I think it’s important to see how my goals have changed. I might not have gotten to where I want to be, but it’s not so bad right here.

30 things I thought I’d do by 30

  1. Get married to my college sweetheart
  2. Buy a house close to a big city
  3. Have at least three kids
  4. Buy an SUV (I really don’t want to explain why I thought this would be something I’d have done by now)
  5. Get a short story published in a magazine
  6. Get at least my first novel published
  7. Move to London
  8. Decide Paris is more romantic and move there after two years in London
  9. Have a dog
  10. Move out of Indiana for good
  11. Leave small town life forever and only live in and travel in big cities
  12. Have a job that I loved
  13. Have a well paying job
  14. Open my own coffee house
  15. Travel to Greece and fall in love
  16. Have a respectable, adult wardrobe that doesn’t contain skinny jeans or shoes with cats on them
  17. Have a large kitchen in my house that would be fully functional and absolutely impressive
  18. Have enough time and money to get my nails done every month
  19. Own enough books to create my own library
  20. Build a library in my house
  21. Drive across the country, visiting the small towns that no one talks about anymore
  22. Go to Disney World more often
  23. Have a summer home in Cape Cod
  24. Go on week-long vacations at least once a year
  25. Become a well known author (by name only, I don’t know if I want people to be able to recognize me in public)
  26. Read every book I own
  27. Gotten a degree that could actually be useful in the real world
  28. Be immersed in a writing community, or even find a writing community to dive into
  29. Publish a collection of short stories that could be read as a companion to my first novel, or simply enjoyed on their own
  30. Finally get my shit together and stop procrastinating

I’m feeling a bit sick looking at the list I just typed. Nothing is what I thought it’d be and I can’t go back and change things.

Time to focus on the positive things now.

30 things that have actually happened

  1. Fallen in love, several times, with guys that don’t always deserve it.
  2. Fallen out of love, because sometimes people change
  3. Proud Aunt to a niece and nephew that I love so much I want to cry.
  4. Been living on my own for the past 7 years. Living in my own apartment, paying my own bills, buying my own groceries. For the most part at least. My family loves to help me out when they sense money is tight.
  5. Had a Great Gatsby themed 30th birthday party, thrown by my friends and family. It was so amazing that I start tearing up just by thinking about it.
  6. Realized that I’m incredibly loved by my family and friends. They believe my life is worth living, and that’s what gets me through the tough days.
  7. Moved out of the state, realized it was terrible, and moved back to Indiana. I feared the repercussions after telling my family it was too hard out there, but they welcomed me back with open arms and asked me what they could do to help me.
  8. Planned several vacations, with my friends, that actually went pretty well. I’ve traveled to Boston, Salem, New Orleans, Disney World. Trips that I planned without consulting my mom on what I should do.
  9. Learned how to file my own taxes, which is something I never thought I’d do
  10. Connected and disconnected utility services over the phone, scheduled maintenance for the apartment, and bought LED light bulbs. Moving into my first apartment made me realize that no one is going to do these things for me. I have to be responsible for things I’d never thought about before.
  11. Got a cat, which quickly turned into an obsession. Boyfriend gave me a cat while I was living alone in the city because he was worried about me living alone in the city. I had never had a cat before, and I had no idea what to do with it. Cut to 6 years later, and this cat is companion. He sleeps on my bed, follows me around, and has a special meow just for me.
  12. I graduated at the start of the economic decline a few years ago, so jobs were hard to find. I took a chance on the first job I was offered and moved an hour and a half away from my parents to start something new.
  13. Turned the first job I could find into a potential career. I have medical insurance with my job, and a retirement plan. And I’m good at my job. It’s earned me the respect of my coworkers, which is finally being acknowledged by my boss. Things are looking up in there now.
  14. I’ve gone to almost every coffee shop in this area, and find new shops everywhere I go. I love finding a place that really cares about their coffee.
  15. I fell in love with Boston. The history and the buildings. I had never felt so drawn to a city before. Chicago has always been my favorite city, but Boston has that east coast vibe. Everything in that city moved differently from the Midwest. That was the first time I felt truly moved by a city.
  16. Realized that I can be a respectable adult and still wear a shirt with a cat on it.
  17. Forced myself to cook a variety of real food, and not go the easy route and buy fast food or pre-made food.
  18. Learned how to create a budget, even if I only follow it half the time.
  19. Started a reading challenge with my friends, hoping to finish at least 12 books this year. Right now, I’m at 29, working on my 30th for the year (how fitting).
  20. Explored all the libraries in town, and took full advantage of them when it came to the reading challenge. How are people not excited about everything a library has to offer?? I’ve gone to several author readings and had the chance to talk to them about publishing and writing. Everyone should be going to libraries.
  21. Studied literature and writing in college, instead of a more logical major, like business. My parents encouraged me to study what I wanted, and as a writer, I’m grateful for that. As someone paying back student loans for the next 10 years, maybe not as much. I can tell how much my writing has improved, and I can still hear my professors telling my how important it is for a writer to be well read.
  22. Realized just how much I love my family, even though they can be smothering sometimes. They will always be there for me, no matter what ridiculous thing I do.
  23. Accepted that what’s best for some people, might not be best for me. While people around me are getting married and having babies, I’m good being single and childless(unless you count my cat, which I sometimes do). Finding a husband is not the most important thing in my life. Pushing myself to be a good person and a good writer is what matters to me.
  24. Sadly accepted that as cool as blue or purple hair looks, it will never be a good look for me.
  25. Taught myself to make pie crust, which no one else I know does better than me.
  26. Cut out the negative people in my life. The friends I have are the friends I know I’ll have my entire life. There’s no drama, just love and respect. They encourage my writing and bring me the positivity I’m lacking most days. These are the people I want by my side forever.
  27. Made it a plan to go to the Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chicago every year. I’ve connected with different authors and publishers through that, and have gotten so many wonderful books.
  28. Somehow ended up a fan of a sport I had never really considered (GO BLACKHAWKS!)
  29. Made a habit of regularly going through my clothes and shoes to get rid of things I don’t use anymore, and donating them to a group I trust.
  30. Accepted that I’ll never completely get my shit together, but using a monthly planner will definitely help.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, and this seems like a strange thing to suddenly post, but the year is winding down so my thoughts are winding up. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and hopefully next time we will be back to our regularly scheduled writer updates.

-JBL

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The end of March and the beginning of thunderstorms

It’s that time of year again, dear readers. Spring has mostly arrived, signaled by my least favorite day of the year(April 1). I know Indiana has a habit of returning to Winter even on the warmest of Spring days, but I’m praying that the random snowstorms have called it quits for a few months.

Usually this is the time of the year when I get that itch for spring cleaning, and I spend half of my week cleaning. The other half is usually spent regretting the tornado I’ve started. At this time last year, my cleaning was going full force because of my plan to move to Pennsylvania. I had high hopes for my year. I’m pretty sure I tossed half of the stuff in my apartment to make the move. The weeks leading up to my move were rough, and the months that followed were even worse. I’m still unsure if I made any good decisions last year.

This year, so far, has been different. There has been to itch to clean, to rush to toss out what I don’t need. I came back with so little that I’m wondering when I’ll recover. I finally have a toaster (yeah, toast!) but I still can’t find my iron. I have my dishes back so I can cook, but I can barely afford real groceries.

Part of me feels more mature this year. I’ve been more aware of the state of things in my life. Keep up with the dishes, pick up the living room before bed, fold my clothes when they come out of the dryer. But then there’s the part of me that’s just like, “I don’t need to be an adult today. I’m just going to eat frozen burritos all week.” It can be conflicting.

Weather and depression aside, things are going better. I’m pushing through my reading challenge, finishing three books this month. The fourth will probably be done in the next few days. I’ve only had it for eight years. It’s probably time I finish it.

I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read, even the ones I wouldn’t normally pick up. My favorite one for this month was published only a year ago. The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble was a quick and fun read. If you’re looking for an escape to a slightly magical world, I definitely recommend reading it.

Next month’s reading challenge might prove to be more difficult. April’s challenge is books from a local author. Any suggestions for an Indiana writer?

This month I’ve also gotten a chance to work on my editing skills, thanks to my amazing writing buddy. She has given me another story to edit, and I gave her a list of notes. It was a content edit, as opposed to my usual “tear this apart” edit. I enjoyed stepping into the story, and talking to her about the world she had created. This woman doesn’t half-ass anything. Seriously, check out her blog.

That’s all the updates I can share at the moment. Time to get back to burritos and writing. Thanks for reading! And if you have any suggestions for an Indiana writer to read, please leave a comment!

-JBL

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