Beyond the Blank Page

My Journey to Telling the Untold

Bout of Books 8.0: Days 1 & 2

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Hello and welcome to my Day 1 & 2 Update for Bout of Books 8.0! As you will see below, I am slightly more organized today! Yay!

Day 1 didn’t go so well, but that’s okay, because Day 2 has and will continue to be a good reading day! Despite my desire to put down my book and write, I have persisted in my reading. Below is a video of my progress thus far, and below that is the same in writing. Let me know below how you’re doing!

Time Devoted to Reading: 4+ hours a day

My Goals:
-Read an average of 150 pages a day (1050 pages over the week)
-Read 3+ books
-Complete at least one challenge

Books to Read:
Memory’s Door by James L. Rubart (353 pages)
Divergent by Veronica Roth (487 pages)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (316 pages)

Updates:

Tuesday
Number of books I’ve read today: 1/4
Total number of books I’ve read: 1/4
Number of pages I’ve read today: 127
Number of pages I’ve read total: 140
Books: Memory’s Door by James L Rubart
Thoughts: Loving my book! Super suspensful & edge of the seat. Excited to be catching up! Loving the making of new friends aspect as well.
Challenges: Re-Title a book. Memory’s Door re-titled When Warriors Riding Are Attacked.

Monday
Number of books I’ve read today: 0
Total number of books I’ve read: 0
Number of pages I’ve read today: 13
Number of pages I’ve read total: 13
Books: Attempted Trick or Treat Murder, Memory’s Door, & First Grave on the Right
Thoughts: Wishing I could get in the reading zone.
Challenges: Pair-A-Thon (pair drink/food with your book!) Sutter Homes Moscato w/ Trick or Treat Murder.

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Bout of Books 8.0

Hey guys! I am participating in yet another Read-A-Thon this week, and I have decided to combine it with blogging, since that’s something I really need to be keeping up with. Maybe all of this reading will even further encourage my writing!

What will I be posting in my Bout of Books posts? I will be posting a link to my BookTube videos each day discussing the experience and what book(s) I read. I will also give a brief talk here about how it’s going, in case you don’t want to watch the videos. I will let you all know what I’m reading and what I’m thinking of said books. I will also talk about any challenges I am participating in and how many pages I read each day. Basically, anything related to this Read-A-Thon will be found here AND in my videos. So, now let’s get on with it.

First off, a link to my Intro video:

The books I plan to read:
-Memory’s Door by James Rubart (400 pages)
-The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene (316 pages)
-Divergent by Veronica Roth (487 pages)
-Undecided 4th Novel

Currently, I am not doing any specific challenges. My main goal is to read 1050 pages total, half of the goal for the last Read-A-Thon I participated in. I might attempt to do some of the same challenges that were in the last Read-A-Thon, such as reading a classic, rereading a book, or read a book with 500+ pages. It’ll all depend on time, but we’ll see!

Tonight there will be a (hopefully) better organized post discussing how I did today, and with a link to my Day One update video. See ya then!

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Write Your World: Getting Out of a Funk

“How do you get out of a funk?” you ask. Simple answer: You just do it.

Don’t worry, there’s a less simple answer, too.

For the past 6-8 weeks (if not longer) I have been in a funk. Actually, “a funk” is a majorly toned down version of what I’ve been in. We’ve all been there, and so we all know that it is just not fun. Sometimes, when you’ve just entered your mid twenties and life is nowhere near what you expected by this time in life, your funk turns into a quarter life crisis. Not that I would know or anything…

Basically you begin questioning everything and I really do mean everything. Yes, even your coffee brand choices. But no, seriously, you start to re-evaluate your life. You wonder why God has decided to guide your life in this direction, knowing deep down that there is a purpose, but also not always feeling like that’s true.

I mean, let me break it down a little bit. I had plans. I had a five year plan if you will, except that I made it when I was five. I would be married in my very early twenties, then start having kids a year later. I would be a famous writer/teacher/actress/singer/teacher/psychologist/crime scene investigator/writer or what have you. Life would be good and I would know exactly where I was going. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Most of you know my back story so let’s just skip ahead. Point is, I’m not where I thought I would be. In fact, I’m still in school (assuming my FAFSA comes through) and I’m still looking for a job (nearly impossible at 24 with no experience it seems). No romantic prospects and goodness gracious no thinking of kids at the moment. I often find myself wondering “why” or asking myself what I could have done different to have the life I wanted by now. Of course, that isn’t really relevent if I’m where God wants me to be.

It’s a struggle nearly every day if I’m honest with you guys, but bottom line is this: my struggles and everything I’ve been through/go through made me who I am today. Sometimes I’m not my biggest fan, but I AM who I’m supposed to be. I am the person God created, so who am I to judge?

So this brings me to the point of this post – how do you get out of a funk?

Well, obviously this is going to depend on what caused the funk and what kind of funk it is. However, I believe that my fix all answer works for nearly all of them. Like I said in the first line – you just do it.

Now, that seems way too easy, and I’m sure some of you are sitting there saying “No, it’s really bad. I’m deep in this dark place. I’m stuck and I can’t get out. It’s not that simple!” Guess what? I know. No, I really know. I’m not even going to get into how dark I know it can be, but in the end, you have to want to get out. On the surface I know it seems like everyone would want to get out, right? But when it comes down to it, how hard do we work to be better? And if we aren’t working to get better, then how badly could we really want it?

On top of this all, I’m fairly introverted, so I know it can be hard to get out there and work at it. I’m learning to recognize, though, when I need to bite the bullet and put myself out there. Like going to a going away party for a wonderful friend. Of course I wanted to be there for her, but I also knew I needed to be there for me. And I was right.

This morning when I woke up at 7am I didn’t want to get up, but I knew I needed to, and so I did. Some of you know that I am not a morning person, so getting up after 5 hours of sleep when I had no legit reason to, wasn’t easy, but I am soooo glad that I did.

I feel good and I feel inspired. I feel a creativity that I haven’t in a long time. I feel like the me I’m supposed to be. I don’t know how things will be beyond just right now, but right now feels pretty great and I’m learning to focus on the now.

So, long story short, I’m not saying that if you get up at 7am you will suddenly leave your funk behind. That would be missing the moral of my story. I’m saying this: step out of your comfort zone. Start caring about yourself. Do something that you know you need to do that you may not want to do. Remind yourself who you really are. Do something simply to enjoy it; take a bath, smell a flower, savor your cup of coffee. Surround yourself with those that love you and that you love. Find what it is that you need to be the best version of you. If you do these things, I can almost promise that you will be on the road to leaving that funk in the dust.

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Contest! Wooh!

Random post I know, but I stumbled across this contest while doing the BookTube-A-Thon. I am sharing it here, so if you would like to enter, head on over to the link and check it out! Don’t miss out on a chance to win The Hobbit and/or Lord of the Rings!!

http://www.christinetyler.net/p/booktube-thon-lotr-giveaway.html

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Works of Fiction: Chapter Four

Jade and Abbie walked into a house about the size of her own, with only a couple handfuls of people inside. This was the party? Jade hadn’t ever been to a real party, but she somehow expected so much more than this. She doubted she would have much fun here. That is, until she saw a friend of hers sitting in the living room. She’d been friends with him for a few years, but she’d had sort of a thing for him for a while and thought that it might be mutual.

She smiled to herself and walked over, “Hey, Tristan,” she grinned at him, “How goes it? Didn’t know you’d be here.”

He looked up and smiled back at her, “Hey you. I didn’t know you were coming, either. Good to see you.” He stood up and hugged her and a sense of happiness flooded her. She was tired of being lonely and maybe tonight that would finally change.

He motioned for her to sit beside him and she obeyed. He threw his arm around her shoulder and she squealed inside. So this was what throwing caution to the wind felt like. She decided that she quite liked it. Maybe this was her scene, after all. Maybe this was where she would finally feel like she belonged.

Tristan stood and looked down at her, “You want something to drink, cutie?”

Jade flushed and started to shake her head before changing her mind, “Sure. Whatever you’re having, please.”

He nodded at her and headed off toward the kitchen. So she wasn’t a partier and had never been a drinker. She wasn’t worried about it. Sure, she had had it instilled in her since a young age to avoid such things, but look where that had gotten her. It was time for a change.

When he returned he handed her a tall can and she simply stared at it for a moment. She looked over at him open his and take a drink, and simply watched him for a moment before opening her own and taking a sip. It didn’t taste all that great, but she knew she would enjoy the end results. Besides, she didn’t want to be rude and waste it.

Not long after, everyone decided to go out for a walk. She had had a couple more drinks by now and was feeling it a little bit. She felt good. As they walked, Tristan let his hand drape lazily over her shoulder and excitement went through her like a current. They stopped for a few minutes and all sat down on the pavement. They got to talking about playing songs on the guitar and someone told Tristan that he should learn “Hey There Delilah” to impress the ladies. When his response was, “But I don’t need to. I already have her,” and smiled at Jade, her heart fluttered. She wasn’t entirely sure what it meant for them, but it made her happy.

That night Jade had her first kiss with Tristan and it was electric. She had liked him for a long time, but had felt somewhat guilty about it seeing as she had once dated his friend. It was okay to like him now, though, she reminded herself. Maybe this was their time.

She went home the next morning feeling butterflies in her stomach. She had Tristan now, or so she thought. She was so glad to be rid of the loneliness that the thought that this might not be something real never even crossed her mind. The fact that when she and Tristan had once sort of given it a go became a failure by the end of the very same day didn’t touch the edge of her consciousness. She needed something to grab onto, and this was it. At least for now.

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Works of Fiction: FANTAStically Inspired

Reading a wonderful fantasy post written by a friend on Facebook has put me in the mood to write something. Not later, though. Now. Granted, it won’t be a very long piece of work seeing as it’s almost 10:30pm, but it’ll get my creative juices flowing! So, here goes!

She stared off as the waves crashed, wondering when she would ever see her home again. Or rather, IF she would ever see her home again. This island was beautiful, but it just wasn’t enough to soothe the homesickness she felt in her heart. She wanted desperately to know why her parents abruptly woke her up and shipped her to this place, far away from home, without them. She didn’t know a single person here. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Her godparents lived here, but she had only met them once – when she was a toddler. Despite having family of sorts here, she had never felt so entirely alone in her life.

She sighed loudly and began to turn around, but something she saw out of the corner of her eye stopped her. What was that moving in the water? A log? No, it was far too large for that. A boat? No, definitely not. Gears in her mind began spinning as she tried to figure out what it was, and why she was so totally drawn to it. She lifted her hand to shield the sun and leaned forward to get a better look. She decided it would be much easier to go ahead and walk down to the shoreline, though, and so she set off. It was only about a five minute walk, all downhill, but she had this fear that whatever it was would be gone by the time she got there. She walked as fast as she could, and found her fears not without merit.

She leaned down, hands on her knees and breathing heavily from moving so fast, frustration on her face. She should have moved faster, but it was too late now. Whatever it was had disappeared and she feared she may never see it again. A moment later, though, as she was thinking about the trek home, she heard a splashing noise somewhere off to her left.

Well, I’m not entirely sure where it goes from here. Trying to work on a friend’s advice to keep this from developing into a full length story (I really need to learn how to do short stories). So for now this story is TO BE CONTINUED! 🙂

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Write Your World: Preparing for Camp

Now, looking at that title, you are all probably getting the wrong idea. No, I’m not going away to camp this summer (although that would be a lot of fun!). I am, however, virtually going to camp for Camp NaNoWriMo’s July session. Essentially the same thing as November’s session, Camp NaNo lets me set my own writing goal for the month of July. My plan as of now is to write about 45,000 words, not much less than the November session, to finish off the story I started last summer. As it is sitting at around 6,000 words, I figure 45,000 will get me to the finish line – of the story AND of Camp NaNo.

In the past, I haven’t done much in the way of planning for NaNoWriMo. I’ve had a general idea of what my story would be and that was all I had. I’ve never been much for plotting or planning, but this year I decided to try it. Well, as of right now, I attempted to plan the novel I thought I would be writing. Then I decided to go back and work on last years Camp NaNovel, Children of the Prophecy (available to read here: http://figment.com/books/656488-Children-of-the-Prophecy) and..well…now I’m back to not much of an outline. I’d like to say that between now and July 1st I will suddenly have a perfectly manicured outline, but it will most likely be a mess and full of plot holes. But hey, that’s what rewrites are for, right?

So, how am I preparing otherwise? Well, unlike NaNo in November, I’m unable to go get discounted Halloween candy to sustain my writer cravings, but I AM able to get yummy fruits that are actually in season. Considering my attempts to be healthier, this is probably a good thing. Tea and coffee will be on hand, of course, although with coffee making me sick lately, tea will most likely be my hot drink of choice. S’mores will possibly make an appearance, though, as it is camp and you can’t have camp without S’mores! An endless supply of music in all genres is a must to get my writing mood going. Besides those things, books to keep my creative juices flowing will surround me. And of course activities to do to reward myself for making my daily word goals.

Well, despite not being any closer to a finished outline, I feel much more prepared now that I took the time to think about what all I need, and just how close July is! On that note, I should probably get to thinking some on my plot. Thanks for reading!

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Works of Fiction: Chapter 3

As she sat alone in her room, tears began to well up in Jade’s eyes. She wasn’t sure what she was feeling, but she knew it was painful. Her mom was so needlessly worried about her, but then again, was she sure that her mom’s concerns were unfounded? Even though her dad moving out was a relief, could she honestly say that it didn’t sometimes hurt her to know that she came from a broken family?

And then there was the fear that liked to tickle the edge of her mind, the one where she ended up alone forever. Or the one where, if she ever did find someone, it would never work. She never expected her parents to divorce, and they did, so how could she be sure that the same thing wouldn’t happen to her?

She began to get lost in this thought when a tap came on her window. She looked out and saw her friend Abbie staring back at her, a huge smile on her face. She walked to the window and quietly pushed it up. She couldn’t help but wonder what her friend had up her sleeve.

“Hey, Jade,” Abbie winked at her, “Got any plans tonight? I didn’t think so. Why don’t you come hit up a rockin party with me? Sounds good? Awesome, let’s go!”

As Jade shook her head, hesitant to sneak out, Abbie motioned for her to come outside. It was hard to say no to Abbie, and the truth was, a party did sound like fun. Jade could use a distraction to get these silly thoughts out of her head. Finally she nodded and slowly climbed out her window, being sure to not make a noise.

Once out, she carefully slid the window almost all of the way shut, and then skipped off arm in arm with her friend. They both giggled as they headed to her car parked down the street. Jade was glad she had agreed to go along, and she couldn’t help but grin over at her friend.

They clambered into the car and pumped the radio up as they drove off. Jade didn’t plan to do anything bad, just to get out and away from the normal routine of life. She wasn’t a partier by nature, and she didn’t think that was about to change. The only reason she didn’t simply tell her mom was because she would worry for no reason, she told herself. But as they drove off, she couldn’t help but feel in the back of her mind that things were about to become very different. And she was right.

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Works of Fiction: Chapter Two

Well, almost a year later, here is the next chapter! I didn’t spend a ton of time thinking on it. I just let my imagination/memories/emotions and God guide my writing. I hope you enjoy!

 

As she walked up her drive, Jade noticed a raven circling above head. Crows and the like weren’t uncommon around here, but usually they weren’t found in her neck of the woods. She had never seen one behaving like this anywhere in town, though, and she was fascinated. She stared up at it as it continued circling, almost seeming like it was gazing down at her. She stood, glued in place, until her mom peeked out the door and, glancing up and then back at her asked, “Jade? Honey, what are you doing out here? Come inside, Sweetie.”

Shaken from her distraction, Jade looked up at her mom and gave her a half grin, “Oh, hey Mom. Just uh…watching this bird. It’s acting kind of weird.”

Her mom looked up again in the direction of the raven before staring at her daughter, “What bird, Jade? There’s no bird. There’s nothing there.”

Jade drew her gaze from the raven for an instance to look at her mom, “THAT bird, the one right up-” she pointed up, but when she looked back to where the bird had been circling just seconds ago, there was nothing there. She looked back at her mom again, confused. Her mom wore a worried expression, but didn’t say anything. Instead, she simply motioned for Jade to come in and wrapped her arm around her daughter as they walked inside together.

Once they were inside and both sitting at the dining room table, her mom drew in a deep breath before speaking, “Honey..are you okay? I’m worried about you. There wasn’t anything out there and, well, even though you never say anything I know that you still feel hurt over everything that has happened.”

“Look, Mom,” Jade began, “I love you for caring, but I’m fine. I don’t know why you didn’t see the bird. It was there I promise. I’m not seeing things. I’m not crazy! And as far as everything that has happened, you know that I’m just fine. You know that I’m glad about it all. It had to happen. Don’t worry so much, okay?”

Her mom simply nodded, looking slightly defeated. Her mom knew that she was relieved that she and her father had parted ways, but she also knew that it could be hard on her daughter. When Jade was younger, her father had promised her that they would never divorce. Jade still thought about that moment, and even though she was relieved that they had split, she still felt sadness in knowing that her dad had broken his promise.

“Really, Mom, I’m good,” Jade faked a smile, “I’m going to go read some. Good night.” She planted a quick kiss on her mother’s cheek and scurried off into the other room. Her mom simply sighed, knowing that eventually everything would come flooding out of her daughter, and dreading that day with every bone in her body.

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Write Your World: Accountability

As of Wednesday night I have an accountability partner for my writing. As of today, I already failed on my first two days! However, I have decided on a plan of action to fix this and make up for it. My friend, Bryanna, and I agreed to each write for 10 minutes each night before bed and then check in with each other on Tuesday morning at our Bible Study. Well, I can’t go back and fix that I missed the first two nights, but I can still come out with the same amount of time spent writing. It comes to one hour spent writing, so I will just have to push myself a little bit more on the other days! I’m still determined to have spent, at the very least, one hour writing by the time Tuesday morning gets here. And that’s with a full schedule that includes my usually elusive big brother coming to town for the weekend! [insert little sister cheering here]

I’m not usually a fan of accountability partners for the obvious reasons – they make you actually do the work you said you would do. I’ve reached a point in my life, however, where I desire to have people helping hold me accountable because I desperately want to succeed in multiple areas of my life. Writing is just one of many areas I have struggled in over the years, but no more! I’m not a victim, I’m not without talent, I’m not a failure. I am powerful! I have a gift! I will succeed! And as if a sign that I am in fact supposed to have accountability in my life, I have just gained yet another accountability partner in my writing! We have both agreed that, on top of the daily quota for NaNo, we will write an extra 350 words. 350 words probably doesn’t seem like much alone, but when you figure that it is on top of the 1667+ daily words to reach the end goal of a full 50,000 word novel, it suddenly seems like much more! Granted, Camp NaNo next month lets you set your own word goal and therefore might be less than 50,000, but even if I only do 30,000 it will still be a lot of work!

As for accountability outside of my writing, there is eating healthy/working out, as well as my spiritual walk. For the first part, my mom and I living together provides bulit in accountability. I have also noticed a lot of my facebook friends going healthy lately, which is super helpful! Friendly competition is sometimes just the motivation needed.

When it comes to my spiritual walk, there is built in accountability in the Father. I am also blessed with multiple Bible studies, college group, church, a plethora of devoted Christian friends and family, etc.

Now that I’ve spent fourteen minutes rambling about accountability, I shall move on and work a little on some fiction before doing some house cleaning. I should be at fifteen minutes by the time I hit “Publish” and therefore down to 45 minutes before I reach my writing goal!

Happy Writing/Painting/Drawing/Singing/Whatever creativity strikes you!

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