Don’t judge me by my Pinterest boards

So my last post felt a little off, but it’s just because it’s that time of year. Mid-January is a tough time for me, so I ended up forgetting to add a few things to my last post. Hopefully this one goes a bit smoother.

The last-minute convention decision has slightly halted everything. I will be in St. Louis this weekend, if anyone is going to Wizard Con. Should be fun.

I thought I’d have a little fun in this post after I realized my Pinterest feed has gone nuts. You make one weird, secret board and suddenly your feed is filled with witchcraft and home improvement.

Writing:

The good news is that I’ve been keeping up with my daily journal. The first few ones were easy, just writing about myself. I’m good at that. Some of them actually made me think. One was to describe a place you had been recently. I was feeling rushed when I sat down to write it, so I just started writing about visiting my hometown for Christmas. It turned into a several page reflection of change, both of me and this small town that I swore I’d never return to. It’s something that I’d like to write more about, because returning to that place makes me feel like a different person.

Some of the prompts were fun, like what music makes you feel adventurous or a quote that inspires you (Panic! At The Disco and “May the bridges I burn light the way”). Some just brought up things I didn’t want to deal with at the time. I really don’t want to go over a mistake that helped me grow, because I’m still growing from it and my family hasn’t forgotten it yet. And one of them…

It was a bit of a rough day

…was more than I was ready for that day. Fortunately, most of the journal prompts have been inspiring me to write more.

I try to find writing inspiration in everything, but one of my favorite things to use is Pinterest. When I first got it, I used my account mostly for tattoo and party inspiration, cute clothes I dreamed of owning, and fandom stuff. I soon found all the writing prompts, and suddenly had more ideas than I knew what to do with.

Whenever I reached that point, I’d look up recipes, make a dream wardrobe, and plan out my trip to Paris. It’s like this terrible cycle that I just can’t escape. I hate it, but I love it so much because it gives me so many ideas.

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Yes, it’s true, but how did they know??

I think what I love most is that I can save all the weird things I love. Like, specifically weird things. Like all my favorite jokes from Sherlock, or newsboy hats for cats. I try to utilize it for real things, such as planning healthy recipes and at-home exercises. Most of my pins, though, are pretty clothes and shoes.

My feed, right now at least, is mostly made up basic spells and castings for witches, and pictures of Sebastian Stan. There’s an explanation for both, I swear. The flood of Sebastian Stan/Marvel pins is pretty simple. I’m doing a Winter Soldier cosplay, which means looking up how to make lots of things, which in turn makes Pinterest think I’m obsessed.

The whole witch aspect is a little more interesting. Many of my stories deal with the supernatural. I’m always looking for a new take on some of the basic ideas. To describe the supernatural life in a way that’s more than just dark and serious. I have a board that is just witch aesthetic pictures. It makes me look a little obsessive, but I’m a visual person.

Since I’ve made that board, though, I’ve noticed my feed is slowly being taken over by real witchcraft pins. I was just looking for colorful inspiration, but now I have all this information on spells and sigils, and what kinds of herbs a beginning witch might need. It’s not the information I wanted, but I guess I’ll try to use it.

So, in conclusion of this writing section, I love Pinterest for all the creativity it inspires. And because it shows me things like this:

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Reading:

Let’s talk about books. I feel like I sort of cheated in my last post because I said I read (or listened to) 11 books, but didn’t mention any of them. As I previously mentioned, I’m kind of terrible during that time of the year. But still, not a good enough excuse to not talk about books.

I finished all the books in the Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick. The books were a fun, quick read. I love seeing different interpretations of angels, and how people think they would act if they lived amongst humans. It’s actually a minor obsession, so if anyone has any book suggestions similar to that, just let me know!

Most of the books I read this time were more serious. I listened to The Ruins, which definitely stressed me out. I remember watching the movie years ago, but I think they book definitely showed the terror of being in that situation better. They were stuck in that area, basically waiting for death. I was so anxious for them, hoping for a happy ending but knowing that there was no way out of the situation.

I felt a similar kind of anxiety listening to Before I Go to Sleep. I felt Christine’s confusion throughout the book. You were never sure what was real. Once I realized what was happening, I wanted to drag her away from that house.

Speaking of houses, I read Hell House, which has been on my list for a very long time. It was nothing like what I expected in so many different ways. I liked the ending and the reveal, because I honestly wasn’t sure what was happening for a while. I had the same reaction toe reading The Alienist. It was very different than what I expected. Sometimes you have an idea of what a story should be like because you’ve known about it for so long, that by the time you get around to reading it it’s just not what you thought it’d be. Not bad, just different.

For Christmas I read Unholy Night. It was fun and ridiculous, and a nice change from the craziness of the holidays.

My favorite book that I read was The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who inspired Chicago. If I could time travel, I’d probably end up in Chicago in the 1920s. I love the city and the time period. The musical is actually one of my favorites (I’m not a big fan of musicals in general) so I was excited when a friend suggested I read about the women that inspired the original play. It was exciting and wild, the kind of drama that only Chicago can produce. I loved it.

I hope everyone is enjoying this slightly warmer weather. Things are finally a little less frozen here. Thanks for sticking through this longer update, and my mess of a post from last time. For that I leave you with this:

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I’ll be at Wizard Con in St. Louis this weekend. Hopefully I can pick up some new books there. My one friend always finds the coolest authors at cons. Follow me on Twitter and now (hilariously enough) on Instagram for more writing and convention updates. And mostly cat pictures.

Thanks for reading!

-JBL

 

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New year, new boots, new plans to ignore

Yay, we’ve all survived the holidays!!!

I’m pretty relieved the holidays are over. It’s such a stressful time. Lots of traveling, cooking, planning, present buying. But the time I get to spend with my family (particularly the niece and nephews) makes it worth it.

I’ve been busy, as usual, and have so much crazy stuff happening this year. At least, I hope so.

Now let’s have some updates, because it’s been way too long!

Writing:

I’ve been working on some short story ideas recently. That was always my favorite form to write, so it’s something I tend to fall back on. I’ve been pushing myself to finish my novel, but those short stories are always lurking in the back on my head.

In my constant effort to make myself write every day, I’ve started a new project. I’m doing a daily journal that requires me to write on a different theme every day. It’s just a small challenge, but it keeps me motivated to write more. I’m hoping to turn this into a habit.

I also got the chance to catch up with another one of my talented writer friends. We’ve been friends since college (because she’s super awesome) and now she’s an English teacher and cool Mom. And, she still manages to get writing done. She’s pretty amazing. We got to talk about our writing, and how we can motivate each other this year. We’ve both been working on our stories for such a long time. I’m excited for what we’re both going to accomplish this year. If she can keep middle schoolers motivated, I think she can keep me with it too.

Reading:

Since my last post I have read (or listened to) 11 books. Which means I met my reading goal for 2017!!

See, actual evidence. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I had been working both jobs, with very little free time. I’m pretty thankful for the audiobooks at the library. More specifically, the ones I can just stream from the website. It’s the best.

So I’m doing another reading challenge this year, which I haven’t completely figured out. It’s still early though. Plenty of time for me to make a list. I’ve been a little preoccupied with something that I will explain in a minute. Maybe less. But right now I am open to suggestions for books for the year. Any new authors people might be excited about, just leave a comment!

Plots and plans: 

Well, in hilarious news, I am going to another convention in a few weeks. It was random and unplanned, and not how I intended on starting the year. But I’m committed to this madness. Look for more updates on my costumes and the con itself on my Twitter. Or just for more cat pictures. Should be exciting.

There’s a few more conventions planned for this year, with new costumes (finally) and some questionable props. I’m not sure how this became my life, but I’ve come to accept it. My sewing skills have definitely improved. I just finished up a pleather corset that doesn’t look too bad, and made a cute little pleated skirt to go with it. I could explain what costume that’s for, but where’s the suspense in that? Check back in 3 weeks, and you’ll learn why I made such a ridiculous costume.

I got a cute new planner with a unicorn on it to remind myself everyday that I am magical and unique, and that no one else can make things happen for me. If I want get my stories published while being a successful editor, I need to get my shit together. Plus, the planner is sparkly.

So far, I’ve been staying on track with things. I’ve been writing most days, and working on a few of the other projects I’ve been planning. I’m working hard to make this a better year.

I hope everyone is enjoying the New Year, and this bitter cold that’s swept over Indiana again. My car doors were frozen again, but I managed to climb through the back door. Very little will stop me from getting coffee.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment or book recommendation!

-JBL

 

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Post-NaNoWriMo blues

It’s officially December now, which means people think it’s officially winter. I’m over here with my pumpkin stuff, still pretending it’s fall. Just let me have this, guys.

I’ve been pretty busy. I have finally been aunt-ed for the fourth and possible final time. So, lots of family time, lots of pictures, lots of driving back and forth.

The good news is I actually have good news this time. Things are still tough, but there’s a light at the end of this tunnel.

Writing:

So the most important and exciting news- I have finished the first draft on my novel!! This might not sound exciting to anyone else, but the people closest to me know what this means. This story has been a personal, painful, mildly excessive journey for me. Getting everything worked out on paper has been years of madness. I kept telling myself, “If I just get through this scene then I only need to finish this,” over and over again until it was finally true.

Now, this doesn’t mean in anyway that it’s done. This is just the first draft. But it has a beginning, middle, end, and romantic subplot just for fun. This story has been floating around in ten different notebooks and on two different computers (RIP my original MAC that contained the first real fragments of this story) for probably close to 8 years. That doesn’t mean I haven’t worked on anything else. I’ve written a stack of short stories, a few poems, an actual novella, and a few other questionable things. Getting this whole story out has been the most difficult thing.

The only downside to all my work last month is that I didn’t mean the word count for NaNo. That’s ok, though, because my real goal was to finish this book. I considered starting a new novel, but my friends “kindly” reminded me that I needed to get over myself and finish this story. The best kind of friends encourage you to achieve your goals, and aren’t afraid to call you out on your bullshit.

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Tried to take a cool selfie, but he jumped in my lap and ruined it for both of us. This is what it’s like to live with a cat. Nothing gets done.

Reading:

I’ve been listening to audio books, which is something I’d never thought I’d do. Both my jobs have been requiring me to work extra hours, which has cut into my reading time. I refuse to let anything cut into my writing time, which is why I was up until midnight on the last day of NaNoWriMo to post my final word count. I can listen to headphones at my main job, which means I’ve already gone through 3 books in a week. It’s not how I want to live my life, but there are so many books I want to read, and I have so little time right now.

I just finished Little Girls by Ronald Malfi, which did not end how I thought it would. It had lots of twists, and not the ones I expected it to have. I also listened to Hush, Hush by Becca Fitztpatrick, and I’m almost done with the second one (Crescendo) because I have a thing for fallen angels. I’m pretty sure I listened to another one, but I can’t remember right now.

I’ve been using the library’s website/app to listen to these audio books, and it makes me feel like I’m technologically behind. I had to have one of my friends explain it to me. I’m pretty sure I have the soul of a 45 year old librarian, and I honestly don’t feel bad about that. Libraries are amazing! I’d love to be working at a library so I can spend my day surrounded by books and shushing people loud people.

Plots and plans:

Now I’m at that terrible editing phase for my novel. I’ve put the words down, now I have to make sure it all makes sense. This is the scary part.

Once Christmas is over, I should be working less. That means more writing nights, and more reading before bed. Most nights I have just enough time to shower and then go to bed, so I can get up again in the morning and do it all over again. Free time is a myth right now.

My final goal is to finish the books I started reading this year. I’m notorious for reading like 4 or 5 books at once, so if I can just reign myself in that might help. I can totally do this…

I think that’s all for now. Back to editing while my cat sleeps on my feet.

Thanks for reading!

-JBL

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Another year older, not much wiser

It’s Thanksgiving here today. While it’s usually one of my favorite times of year, this year it’s fallen at an odd time for me, which means I’m not home with my family and celebrating my birthday. I’m at my house, alone with my cat. It’s not too bad, though. I saw my family less than 2 weeks ago, and I will see them again in a few days when I become aunt-ed for a 4th time.

The weather has finally turned colder, which means lots of blankets and sweaters and boots. The best ways to stay comfortable. It also means my cat is actually attached to me. Right now he’s glued to my feet, desperate to stay warm. For anyone feeling sorry for my cat, just don’t. He’s so spoiled he has his own pumpkin house and a special blanket I wrap him in when we go to bed.

So…I thought I posted my Halloween update, but I apparently didn’t. Halloween was strange this year. My plans changed so many times that by the time Halloween actually arrived I just didn’t want to celebrate. That’s not a good sign because Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I took some cute pictures and got a burrito, even though I hadn’t even bothered to get a new costume. Luckily I have a closet full of costumes already.

My handsome cat got a new costume, because I finally found one that perfectly matches him.

 

It’s safe to say I’ve been overwhelmingly stressed out recently. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I don’t see it getting any better, but I’m going to keep trying.

Writing:

My Tuesday writing nights have sort of taken a hit the past few weeks. This is particularly bad considering it’s NaNoWriMo and I’m running a bit behind. I’m hoping to use this last week to catch up, but my current schedule for both jobs is working against me. I’m trying to stay determined, though. I can totally do this, right?

The good news is that I’ve gotten through one of the toughest scenes I needed to write. It’s one that I’ve known I needed to do, but had been ignoring for a while. But now that it’s finished I can move on and work towards the much more exciting part to write, the end of the book. Then go back and add in a few scenes that have been left out for the same reason.

Reading:

The past few months I’ve been reading more from my e-reader by downloading books from the library. It’s pretty much the coolest thing. Libraries are amazing. I read Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, who is quickly becoming a new favorite for me. I also read Fallen by Lauren Kate because sometimes I’m a sucker for a supernatural romance.

I also read Peter Pan for the first time, and holy crap it’s different than I expected. There are parts that are much darker that Disney implicated. Peter, himself, is much more interesting. There were several times that I stopped reading, went to my friend that recommended it and said “Scalps? They had scalps? From people??” and she would just nod and tell me to keep going. Peter Pan’s life was terrifying.

Plots and plans:

Since I forgot to post anything from last month, I can now proudly announce that I completed a 5k without dying. It was so much fun. I got 2 medals, took some fun pictures with the amazing MLT, and then played on the farm where the run was being held. And finally got to watch a pumpkin canon. img_5574

It was awesome. MLT and I spent a while trying to record ourselves doing some of the activities on the farm, but neither of us are skilled enough with our cameras yet. I have several pictures of me going down this huge slide, but no actual videos.

So the biggest thing I had been planning (besides the pumpkin run) was my magical themed birthday party. I’m aware that I’m an adult, but if I want to have a tropical/magical/mermaid/unicorn party, you bet I’m going to be buying decorations all summer for it.

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Really, though, I did. It was a fun distraction, but now that it’s over I’m forced to remember how much I’ve been putting off work. Time for my to clean up the balloons and get back to writing.

So, the currents plans are try to hit my word count this month, and try not to die from excessive Christmas music. Hopefully one of those is achievable.

I hope everyone is having a good Thanksgiving, or random Thursday in November. I’m probably going to finish eating the pizza I made for lunch, the pretend I can’t hear my neighbor’s music blaring from their cars.

Thanks for reading!

-JBL

 

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Ignoring the heatwave and pretending it’s fall

Things are slightly less on fire, so I’d say things are looking pretty good for me right now. I got a new phone, which was expensive, and a new car, which is slightly more expensive. So yay for being a real adult now with very terrible real adult bills! But also, boo to real adult bills.

The brief fall weather we had was nice, until it turned 94 degrees this weekend. Luckily I stayed inside all weekend and didn’t bother getting dressed until I went to get a burrito. Sometimes we all need a lazy weekend.

Now on to those very important updates!

Writing: 

I’ve been keeping up on my Tuesday work nights, which is incredibly surprising. I’m proud to say that I FINISHED MY NANO PROJECT FROM LAST YEAR. THIS IS NOT A JOKE.

That’s a big deal for me because I’m notoriously bad at finishing long projects. It’s the reason I usually opt for short stories. Working on something novel length is a a challenge. I’m proud of what I’ve written so far because I know once I get to the editing phase I’ll just be tearing it apart. So happy time until then!

I’ve also got a few more ideas for short stories, which I’ve been making notes for. And I’ve made it my new goal (with a helpful push from my roomie) to finish my original novel. I stepped away from it for so long because of some early feedback I received from my family. It’s hard to be excited about something when the people you trust give you so much doubt about it. I’m trying to ignore their comments and move forward to tell the story I always wanted to tell.

Reading:

This month I ended up with a stack of nonfiction to read.

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One book was something my mom gave me years ago, and I’m glad I’m taking the time to finish it now. My mom gave me The Gang That Wouldn’t Write Straight when I was younger because I used to want to work for a newspaper or magazine. Reading about people who shaped the writing style I love is the writing inspiration I need right now. I am glad that I didn’t end up in a magazine or newspaper. Those places are too fast-paced for me. I like to work on my own time.

I also read Lindsey Stirling’s book The Only Pirate at the Party, which was much different than I expected. I didn’t know much about her, other than my cat enjoyed watching her YouTube videos with me. I enjoyed learning about her journey because I really had no idea where she came from.

The most recent book I read was In a Dark, Dark Wood and it’s probably my favorite I’ve read so far this year. It flashes back and forth between the party the main character attended, and hospital room she woke up in while she tries to remember what happened. It was exciting and interesting, and definitely one I’ll be recommending to my friends. It reminded me of The Girl on the Train but the people people are much less terrible.

I’m not sure what book to start next. I’ve gone through most of my reading list (at least the ones available at my local library) so if any one has any more suggestions, let me know!

Plots and plans:

So, I’ve only been slacking a little bit. I haven’t been working out as much as I was, which is not good considering the 5k I signed up for is less than two weeks away. Luckily it’s the fun kind where you can walk or run.

Like I said before, I’ve been keeping up on my Tuesday writing nights at the local coffee shop. Usually I try to hit the library once a week as well. Some weeks go better than others.

My biggest goal right now is to finish my main novel. As much as I love the distraction of short stories and journaling, it’s time to do what I always wanted to do. Which means lots of focusing, less time binge-watching Netflix, and much less time lurking on the Internet. Wish me luck!

I think that’s all for now. Hopefully I have more good news next time. Maybe this heat will break soon and I can actually wear my cute boots and sweaters without sweating.

I hope everyone is staying more motivated than I am at the moment. Sometimes it’s difficult when there’s so much negativity in your life and in the world. But we must persist.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment with book suggestions!

-JBL

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It’s fine, everything’s on fire, but it’s fine

It’s taken a little longer to post than I planned, because of several terrible unforeseen events. Car broke down, credit card was stolen, stepped in cat puke early one morning. When it rains, it pours.

But I am trying to stay positive, thanks to the encouragement of my amazing friends. And this guy, creepily staring at me from my bed while I write.

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He spends more time sleeping on my bed than I do

I hope everyone is having better luck than me the past few weeks. I didn’t complete Camp NaNo, but that’s mostly because I have commitment issues. I enjoyed it, though. It’s nice to have a mid-year NaNoWriMo. Hopefully this keeps me motivated to actually finish it this year.

So, now it’s time for some fun updates.

Writing:

I have actually gotten writing done this month, guys. Not just notes and scribbled scenes in a notebook. Actual stuff I am working on. I’m so pleased. I made the difficult choice to leave the comfort of my apartment and go to the library. Sounds weird, but it works. I tend not to connect my computer to wifi when I’m out and about, so really the best way to get me to do stuff is to make me take my computer out.

I spent many hours at two of the libraries in town. I work best with very little distractions, so sitting at a desk in a quiet corner is perfect. The newest library is very bright and beautiful. There’s a fireplace in the middle, so I can’t wait for the weather to cool off so I can write next to the fire.

I was able to get two chapters of my Phoenix story done, as well as a few pages of the soon-to-be-popular fanfiction. I feel like my quality of work has definitely improved since I’ve started giving myself real time and space for it. It’s so easy to get distracted when I write at home. I can look up weird things or take a nap or play with the cats. When I put myself in that quiet space (like at the library where I am required to wear shoes) I get myself in the right mindset.

Reading:

I’ve been slowly working my way through my apparently questionable list on GoodReads. I took a little break from reading, meaning I didn’t actually do anything for a month, but now I’m back at it. Regular trips to the library have helped as well.

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One of these might be overdue

My choices this time were a bit random, and I’m not even sure how one of them landed on my list to begin with. Blood and Salt was very relatable, as someone from Indiana who has a healthy fear of what lurks in cornfields. Soulless was excitingly different, and my first attempt at reading anything steampunk. I’m currently still reading Let Me In, which I’m loving. I still think it has one of the best titles in it’s original language, which would be translated to “Let the Right One In’. I love a good title because I’m so terrible at coming up with them.

Also in the exciting reading front, I finally got the chance to read a story from one of my best friends. She’s an incredibly talented writer, so I was very excited to do the first content read for her. I let my pen bleed all over the pages, but that’s what I’m getting paid for. I felt so official when I mailed her manuscript back. I think mailing a package at the post office is one of the true markers of adulthood. I can’t wait for the next round of edits so she can get her story published. My friends are so talented.

Plots and plans:

I met up with the always amazing MLT at one of the newer coffee shops in town to talk over the ridiculous things we’ll be doing the next few months. It has nice tables and a pretty good atmosphere. Plus it’s not downtown so parking is much easier. Locally roasted coffee for the win.

I have surprisingly kept up with my insane goal of working out a few times a week. I started doing beginners yoga, which my cat thinks is hilarious, but I’m really enjoying. He likes to play on the mat, which is adorable and distracting. I’m trying to focus on taking care of myself, because it’s so easy to slip back into bad habits.

I’ve been feeling more creative lately. I’ve had more story ideas and plot revelations that I can’t wait to work on. I felt like I was stuck in a writing rut for so long, that feeling these ideas flow has just been amazing. So amazing that I bought myself new notebooks and folders from the back to school section at the store. You can’t just expect me to pass up Art Deco notebooks or a folder with tacos on it.

I think that’s all the updates for now. It’s been a crazy few weeks, but I’m hanging in there. I’m lucky to have such supportive people in my life to keep me going. Thanks for reading!

-JBL

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Beach Diaries: Or, How I Survived 7 Days of a Florida Summer

Last month I embarked on a looooong journey to Florida with my family. The 12 hour drive felt more like a week, so by the time we hit the Florida state line I was ready to throw myself out the window and walk the rest of the way. It’s not that my family is bad, it’s just that they’re very chatty. All the time. I did not get any reading done on the drive there. I think I read a chapter on the drive back.

I was hesitant to go on this trip for several reasons:

1. I don’t really have the money for a vacation and

2. Florida in June is not the place I would pick to go.

But I went anyway, to stay in a house with 7 adults and 2 very small children. It was much different than I expected. The house we stayed in was spacious and modern, with a nice pool in the back yard. We had private access to a beach just a short walk from the house, which we definitely took advantage of.

That part of the vacation was wonderful. I went to the beach everyday, and swam in the pool several times a day. We ate tons of seafood and spent most of the time playing with the kids or just hanging out. My dad and I even took an hour and a half bike ride. But I’ll admit that I had other plans for vacation.

I thought that we didn’t have any “real” plans for the week, so I could just wander around, biking to the shops and writing there. But as it turns out the shops were over a mile away and the sun makes me weak. I ran out of sunscreen by the third day and angered my siblings by using theirs. Oops. I had brought 4 notebooks, 2 books, and my e-reader to keep myself busy. I had decided that I wanted to journal every evening, and do real writing in the morning or any time I wasn’t in the pool. I was hilariously optimistic that day we arrived.

My first journal entry was all about how wonderful my room upstairs was because I had a balcony. I was going to take my coffee out there and write while everyone got ready for the day. I was not aware that small children get up at 6:30am every day, and knew how to get to my room and whisper “Jessi…” under the door. I also didn’t know that my family had appointed me head coffee maker for the trip, which meant I got a text very early that first morning from my brother wondering where the coffee was.

Every morning after that went about the same. It wasn’t really so bad, because I love my niece and nephew. I was happy to spend every morning helping them eat breakfast get ready for the beach. The only problem was that I don’t like going to bed early. Everyone else, except my mom and sometimes my dad, would go to bed by 9 or 9:30. I’m used to staying up until at least midnight. Most nights later than that. So it was a little difficult to break my routine of going to bed late, even though I was being woken up early every day.

So my plan of coffee on the balcony was put aside (for good reasons) so I decided to do my writing at night. That, of course, kept me up even later. I took a notebook to the beach, but it was hard to focus on writing when my niece wanted to put wet sand on my legs. This also meant that I didn’t take any cool beach pictures like I planned. I did get one good sunset picture, and a whole bunch of awkward ones, with my phone.

So my big plan of reading all these books and getting a good chunk of my possible-fanfiction story written didn’t go as planned. I did spend quite a bit of time journaling, which was like stumbling back in time. That was how I started writing as a kid. I would lock myself in my room, away from my siblings, and just write until I couldn’t write anymore. It felt good to write, but it always brought up some painful feelings from when I was younger. I was not really a happy kid.

Beach picture

I put on sunscreen to see the last sunset of the trip because you can never be too careful

About halfway through the week I went on a long journal-rant about the sun and the sand and the lack of alone time I was getting. I had managed to get a terrible patchy sunburn and my brother couldn’t stop reminding me how red I was. That same night I started freaking out, I also realized that Hot Topic had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer clothing line. So in my panic, with encouragement from my writing buddy, I bought two jackets and a shirt, none of which was cheap. I had a mild freak out the next morning when I realized how much it was, but then I actually got the jackets and they were beautiful. 13 year old me is still crying those fangirl tears. I regret nothing.

The last night of the trip I spent several hours writing. My brother, his wife and their little girl had left that day, so I had the whole upstairs to myself, which is when I realized it was probably haunted. Each bedroom had a remote to control the fan and lights. The light in my room had turned on several times by myself. There was also the toilet paper we found completely unrolled in the bathroom. The first time it was blamed on my niece, but the second time it happened after they had left. When I was alone upstairs. I spent that last night on the couch downstairs watching terrible old movies, trying to ignore the strange sounds of the house.

So the big family vacation was not at all what I thought it would be, but it worked out. I’m pleased with the journaling I did, even though I didn’t get anything for my stories done. I’ve kept up with the journaling, which just made me wonder why I ever stopped. It’s incredibly therapeutic for me.

I hope everyone else is enjoying the slightly less hot days we’ve had this week. Fall is so close I can almost taste the pumpkin spice.

Thanks for reading!

-JBL

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