A little late, but I definitely need to be held accountable for these goals. Like I said in my last post, I’m moving to New York, and since this came about so quickly, I have a lot of stuff to do this month! First, a look at my August Goals. August was a fun and eventful month with a lot to celebrate!
As you’ve probably guessed by the title, next month (!!!) I will be moving to New York City, as I’ve accepted a spot in a Fellowship Program! Although this is a program I’ve applied for earlier this year, the interviewing process and actually getting a spot happened so FAST. The actual turnaround was so quick that I barely had time to process what was going on!
Happy Friday! I had an idea to do occasional weekly rounds-up of things I’ve done this week and things I’ve seen on the internet that made me smile. Just something that you can look at on the internet that’s guaranteed to be 100% positive. Until I can think of a better name, I want to call this little post The Happies!
Hello! This blog has definitely been radio silent for a number of reasons. I’ve missed this space on the web and it’s definitely time for us to catch up and talk about WHERE I’VE BEEN?! and touch on goals and other things that’s been going on.
— Sidenote: This should be another Currently post, but eventually, I want to turn that into a Coffee Date series… would have done it this time, but didn’t have a good enough picture of coffee to use for the blog art…ha!
One of the reasons I’ve been absent from this blog was because I was exhausting my writing time in other places. May, June and July saw a ton of freelance writing from me, which I am super grateful for, and when I wasn’t doing that, I was editing my manuscript I wrote for NaNoWriMo this year. This last round of edits for my manuscript was especially draining (getting to that in a second) and although I LOVE that story and the fact that my manuscript is pretty polished, it definitely slowed my reading and writing down for a little while.
This post is late, which is great because it fits in with the theme of last month which was procrastination.
How many times do
we I have to talk about procrastination before we I say enough is enough? How many times will I have to rush through an article, a blog post, or an assignment the night before instead of having days to pace myself and write thoroughly, before I’ve have enough of this madness! —being slightly dramatic here, but the point is still the same.
Procrastination is the thing I’ve been struggling with this month. Last month it was saying no, March was selflessness, February was both comparison and time management. Each month I’m struggling with something different and I want to include them to hold myself accountable. On the flip side, I don’t want to forget about the improvements I make each month, either!
This month, I have been seeing very positive results when it comes to writing. I have been getting more freelance work and positive responses on the novel I’m working on. This makes me happy, since I decided I wanted to start freelance writing in 2013 and officially start writing fiction novels a year ago.
With that being said, I have been experiencing “growing pains” when it comes to writing, and need to be more intentional on getting everything done in time and making sure it’s quality work. I need to be proactive instead of reactive, and the first steps of doing is this not procrastinating. Arriving early. Waking up earlier than I have to. That sort of thing.
BUT, this is very much easier said than done. I’m going to start utilizing the monthly view of my planner more and doing things way before their due. Last month I had maybe 5 articles due on the same day and I was a frazzled wreck.
Are you a procrastinator? If so, tell me if and how you plan to fix that, and if not, please leave me some advice! I’d love to hear it.
Okay, let’s see how I’ve done with April Goals!
Submit grant +
writers residency applications: I’ve done some, but not all of the ones I’ve wanted to. One is due next week, so by my “not procrastinating” promise, I actually need to finish that now.
Go to Hilton Head: The trip has actually been postponed until next month!
Meal Prep: This actually went a lot better than I anticipated! Not perfect, but better. Participate in #DVPit: I did this, and in my opinion it was a success! I need to do a writing update soon. Re-Do Online Portfolio: I’ve started this, but I keep getting stuck because I don’t know how exactly I want to format it. Should it be on this website, or another one? What all should it include? Submit all of my articles! Did this!
Eye Doctor: Okay, I didn’t do this.
Make a financial step (Pay off a credit card or revise student loan plan): I paid off a credit card! Yay!
So I did fairly well on my April goals, now on to May!
Have a GREAT time at the Beyoncé concert While the concert was incredibly fun, the actual day was bizarre! It’s too much to type and I don’t think I can convey exactly what happened without being dramatic, so I am posting a video all about it on this channel. Make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss it!
Submit Grant App
Revise Student Loan Plan I did this! Yay for not procrastinating on my goals!
Wake up an hour early before I need to
What are your goals for the month of May? I’d love to hear them! Also, I’d love any tips on not being a procrastinator 😉
I know we’re already halfway through the month of April, but I still wanted to check in with my goals. I also wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind, which is knowing when to say no to things.
I’m I have a hard time saying no sometimes, and I know my friends who are reading this are probably rolling their eyes or laughing, because I am notorious for cancelling plans in every one of my friend circles. But one thing I’ve reealized is, I say YES! to a lot of things even know that I’m probably not going to be able to commit to this project or attend that event. I always have this notion in the back of my mind that I can make it happen if I really try. Fast forward to the due date of said project or time of said event, after realizing that I’ve scheduled five things at one time, is when I have to come clean and this always makes me feel like a flake. Even when it all could have been avoided in the beginning with a simple, “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”
Man, oh man. I took a few days before I could sit down and write this post, partly because I had so many emotions that I didn’t know how to put them in blog post form, and partly because I was soo exhausted from everything I’ve learned in those five days.
As I’ve said before, I had the opportunity to attend An Aspiring Writers’ Workshop in Tennessee founded by Natalie Parker, alongside 40 other aspiring authors/writers to learn from Maggie Stiefvater and other amazing authors: Victoria Schwab, Julie Murphy, Dhonielle Clayton, Renee Adieh, Natalie Parker, Tessa Gratton, Myra McEntire, Carrie Ryan, Courtney Stevens, Brenna Yovanoff, and Justina Ireland.
Prior to the trip, I had so many things to think about. I’ve never been to Nashville, how was I going to get there? What would I learn? Would I be “recharged” enough? I had just come right off a trip to Maryland so I didn’t even have time to think and really prepare myself to spend a week in Nashville with other authors (other introverts can relate.) I also had another question, nagging me in the back of my head on the 7 hour car ride to Nasvhille…
How would I act? Other girls of color can relate. Do you ever feel like you have to “put on” when you are the sole representation of an entire minority? I was not the only black girl in attendance but there were only 4 of us, and two were authors. How would I be perceived? I can’t fake it for too long before my true self would start to show. Luckily, I realized soon that this would not be a problem for me.
As soon as I got in the van with Meghan, Sus, Sabina, Kati, and Ruby and we made our way to Lyles, TN to the lodge, I knew that I was going to be in a space where I could be 100% myself. I was in a space where everyone was from different walks of life, but had similar versions of the same passions and struggles: their love to read and write, making time to read and write, and trying to become a better reader and writer. I have never been around so many creatives at one time, so many people who wrote novels, loved them, writers who were itching to perfect their craft and desiring to have their work shared with the world.
and then there’s the teaching. I’m honestly have trouble reading anything new because I’m seeing stories with a much more critical eye. There are so many aspects to storytelling that you don’t even THINK about but it makes so much sense once you hear it. I have notes upon notes of ways to become a better storyteller and to build a coherent story. I honestly cannot wait to apply these notes to my novels! It’s one thing to love writing, but it’s an entirely new thing to want to become the best writer you possibly can. I think before this retreat I was so thirsty to be a published author that I was willing to submit something “good”, or even something “great” to agents, but not something that was my absolute best. I left the retreat feeling not only like I want to become a published author, but a published author who writes and tells fantastic stories to the best of my abilities.
The Writer Community is so helpful and supportive. I think it’s the realization that we all need each other, no matter what stage of publication you are in. The authors who were there to help us were so candid and open with answering our questions and even talked about things that you wouldn’t even have known to ask prior to coming to the retreat. They were fun and inviting and inspiring and so very helpful:
Renee: Thank you teaching me the questions I’d never think to ask and giving me makeup inspiration everyday! The small talks that we had were so valuable to me.
Victoria: Thank you for showing me that hard work and sacrifice does pay off. And thank you for writing a book with my brother’s name in it because he is now excited to read it.
Dhonielle: Thank you for letting me know that “my kind of feminism” is just as important as anyone else’s, and being living proof that #BlackGirlAuthorsRock. This is really something I needed to see.
Tessa: Thank you for opening my eyes to the complicated concept known as #worldbuilding!!! I feel so much more confident about it now!
Sarah: Thank you for being sweet, and letting us become just as excited about your debut novel as you are.
Justina: Thank you for being so unapologetic when it comes to doing and saying what’s right. Your teaching was so helpful I couldn’t write down notes fast enough. Thank you for also showing me that #BlackGirlAuthorsRock.
Julie: Thank you for unknowingly feel more secure about my body during a time where I am not completely happy with my weight. Also, thanks for the picture of me watching my fears burn to the ground in box form. (see below)
Carrie: Thank you for your insight on pushing a story forward and figuring out what’s right for me in my career as a writer and aspiring author.
Myra: Thank you for being the first author to talk to me at the retreat and sharing a love for South Carolina. I love your resiliency.
Courtney: Thank you for honestly being one of the most motivational and uplifting people I have ever met. Your ability to evoke intense crying in crowds is unheard of. And the 1-5 method is amazing.
Maggie: Thank you for inspiring me to create my own uniform, blowing me away with your prose, writing the first “scary” book that I’ve read from beginning to end, explaining the importance of storytelling, and just being an all around cool girl.
Brenna: Thank you for being a walking book character with a gentle personality very, very, cool hair.
and Natalie: Thank you for putting this entire workshop together and helping me learn about Beta Readers and critiquing the novel I am currently working on. Also, thank you for putting me in a space where I’ve made lifelong friends.
I’ve learned so much about myself and my writing in this retreat and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is serious about writing. The things I learned at this retreat are things I will cherish and apply to my writing forever. I honestly can’t even put the retreat into words. I did try to put together a video, but neither this video or this blog post truly captures the essence of this trip.
I’ll also leave you with this picture of me burning my fears and doubts and insecurities into this fire, and being incredibly happy about it.
Hey y’all! I wanted to do another “Currently” post so this blog just won’t be filled with Goals recaps. I just to fill you guys in on what’s going on with me! Check out my last one here.
Feeling: The end of February and the beginning of March have been so busy for me. My boyfriend had a death in the family, and there’s not (and shouldn’t be) a very convenient way to be there for someone you care about, everything else kind of becomes secondary. Needless to say, a lot of other things got pushed to the back burner as I navigated being a shoulder to lean on and traveling to see his family. Of course we traveled for a somber reason, but as always there was a silver lining, as I got to meet some of his extended family and visit a city I’ve never been to before. Now, I’ve just been trying to play catch up. Getting back into the groove of things is exhausting, but worth it.
Reading: I’ve been reading some really good books lately. I read All-American Boys, which is a YA novel that talks about police brutality in a way that is conversational. I was scared to read this, because police brutality and racism are two subjects that really leave me feeling helpless. But because of the way this story was told and the charisma of the main characters, this book became a favorite of mine that I gave 5 stars. I reviewed it here.
I never thought I’d be one of those people who fell for The Comparison Trap on social media.
I guess it’s because of my cynical view of social media. Every since I took my very first social media break, I’ve looked at all of the social networks as very annoying if used excessively, and super negative. I hate preach-y (although I love inspirational) Facebook posts and Twitter rants and the overall negative and judgmental vibe that people on social media networks give off. I’ve started and deleted three twitter accounts, and created an entirely new Instagram account to get gossipy or sensational posts that activate my anxiety off of my feed. I can’t do away with social media completely because every job I’ve had since I’ve graduated focuses on social media heavily, so essentially, I treat it like a job, and it’s been working out well for me.
So, I guess you could say I’m kind of privy to the social media game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a member of almost EVERY social network out there, and I do enjoy scrolling through them from time to time. But usually, I know that a lot of it is not real so I don’t feel bad or inadequate when I see someone’s picture perfect life in that little square. But lately, I have to admit, I have been falling for The Trap.
I think it’s because, over the past few months, I’ve been scrolling through social networks way more than usual. I’ve been dabbling in things that I said I wouldn’t anymore because of the unnecessary stress it brings: like live tweeting award shows, following whatever the latest crazy thing a politician says, and reading all of the comments that come after it. As a result, I’ve become upset when my faves don’t win awards, and frustrated at politicians saying things they shouldn’t. And I’ve been putting it all out there, on social media. But why?
I’m a little late, but here are my February goals. January was a great month and I think I did really well with my goals! Although I did struggle with one thing: time management. I think it’s because I wrote down so many goals in my Powersheets that I wanted to accomplish, when January 1st hit I came flying out of the gates, trying to do every single thing I had in mind: editing vlogs for Booktube, editing my manuscript, writing articles and blog posts and exercising and work, etc. etc. etc. I couldn’t figure out why I was so exhausted everyday, even though I scheduled out everything to a tee. After a talk with my boyfriend, I realized I was trying to make every single thing a priority, every single day of the week, and clearly that isn’t possible. I realized that I need to focus on things I really want to do, and be okay with other things falling to the wayside a little bit.
Since I want to be a full-time author/writer, I read a lot of blog posts by authors. I realized that they rarely blog , probably because they’re too busy writing their next book. It’s crazy of me to think that I can be put my all into writing books and articles when I’m also trying to put my all into blogging and recording and editing videos everyday. Like the saying “Jack of all trades, Master of none,” you can’t put 100% of your attention in everything you do, 100% of the time. But you can have main priorities with little things that branch off of it. So, this month, I scaled down on the goals a little bit as I tried to zone in on the things that I really want to accomplish, and not treat all of my hobbies (like blogging and booktube) like jobs.
First, a look back on my January Goals:
Begin my meal prep: I’ve actually done pretty good with this, especially for like the first two weeks of January. There have been times when I forgot to meal prep and had to buy a salad or make a smoothie for lunch, but for the most part, I’ve stayed away from fast food throughout the week (Except for cheat days, but those were on the weekends :)) Go to church/Livestream when I can’t: Still need to actually go to church more, but I’ve been keeping up with Livestreams pretty consistently.
Pay more on Student Loans Debt per month: Didn’t do this. Ugh. Hate student loans!
Hang out with a friend or Line Sister: Yay, this is bolded because I did both! I hung out with most of my Line Sisters for our Sorority’s Founders Day on January 13th. The things is, I was feeling really sick that day and didn’t want to do anything, but I knew I would regret spending time with them, especially because we are all so busy now. We had a great time and great conversation and I’m so glad I went! I hung out with my best friend and boyfriend in Charlotte and that might have been the highlight of my month. We had such a good time!! Finish 1st round of novel edits: Halfway crossed out because I’m only halfway through the novel. This is exactly why I had to revaluate my priorities. My hobbies were getting way more attention than this novel, which is directly linked to what I want to do AND it’s the novel I spent slaving over for days upon days during NaNoWriMo. No excuses, these edits should have been done last month. Make Waves In Freelance Writing: This is crossed out, underlined and bolded because I definitely CONQUERED it! As most of you already know, I was published TWICE in TeenVogue.com this month! Teen Vogue is my absolute favorite magazine right now and to be published on their website is just amazing. I feel so blessed and even a little nervous as I took in how many people read my article about Black Girl Authors and, the one that’s so personal to me, about how Beyonce’s Formation Video is So Important during Black History Month.
So all in all, I think I did well with those goals, but like I said, for February I just want to scale back a little bit:
Finish 1st Round of Manuscript Edits: This HAS to get done.
Buy Tickets to Beyonce’ Concert: I saw Bey live during the Mrs. Carter Tour, but I missed her during On The Run and I’m not having that this time.
Have a Great Valentine’s Day
Secure Travel Arrangements for Nashville Trip
Pay More on Student Loan Debt
Continue Exercising and Eating Better
I’d love to know your goals for the month! Leave them in the comments down below and lets encourage each other!