July Chaos and Portland

It's been a while since I've blogged, and I've missed it. The end of June and the beginning of July has been so chaotic, I basically stayed home all weekend to recoup. It's been a mix of work changes for both Michael and I, and a calendar filled of events, appointments, and obligations. 

On the plus side, my sister and brother-in-law came to visit last weekend so I could spend some time with my little niece.

But right as they were leaving, so was I to Portland for training. Portland was fun and I managed to eat my way through downtown, but my hotel stay at the Hilton was so awful. Also, training turned my brain to straight mush, so it's been really difficult for me to make progress with my WIP. I've done a read-through, made some notes, and reorganized the chapters into scrivener, but that's as far as I got. 

Normally, I'm really good at balancing things in my life, but the whole readjustment phase has taken a while. In a couple of days, I'll be going to NYC for vacation to celebrate Michael's birthday. More traveling, but this one I'm looking forward to. After that trip, I'm basically headed nowhere until the holidays so I'm shooting to make August my big revision month. In the meantime, I'm going to brainstorm more notes and catch up on my reading until my flight.

Also, PitchWars is upon the horizon which has made me seriously nostalgic. If you're debating whether or not to submit, let me make it easier for you: SUBMIT. It's one of the best things that happened to me last year, and I'd do it all over in a heartbeat. Good luck PW hopefuls!

TGw9L - Week Five & Epiphanies/Inspiration

High-five! Because I completed week five! Okay, that was corny, but hey! I made it! And I'm posting early instead of waiting for Friday. So go me!

So my progress...

Week 5: 13,388
Total: 60,128

It was a really great week for me! The 18th especially because I had an epiphany about how to end my MS in a way that ties everything together, so I couldn't be happier! I wrote up to 3K that day so I could get closer to writing it, but even ending the week at 60K, I still have a ways to go. So much farther to go, I found myself procrastinating on the 21st. A part of me just wants it all to be perfect, but I have to accept that this is only a first draft and I will make it better. I just need to get it out, finish--while still keeping the flame I have for this book alive--before I run out of stamina. And also, another part of me just wants this done, done, done! So I can hold this precious, but dark story in my hands.

So to fuel up for the finish line, I'm using some inspiration. If you follow me on twitter, you may remember this tweet from my first week of drafting:

The song is 'You and I' (stripped version) by PVRIS. It basically captures the relationship between Elias and Delilah (who is actually Jane, and who actually doesn't have a 'real' name--long story). Anyway, the thing is, when I draft, it's usually done in silence. Usually I'll create a playlist to listen to when I work out or take lunch break walks to get me thinking about the story. This time, I found myself gravitating to PVRIS's 'White Noise' album all the time.

Like, seriously. It just speaks to me. Lyrics written for the album were highly inspired by ghosts and spirits, so I guess it's fitting that I would connect my MS to this album, since my MC is akin to a ghost/spirit herself. Now, I've been listening to the album non-stop to get me in the zone as I finish up the MS. 

But get this! I found out on Monday that PVRIS has a concert this week in Seattle! Must be fate, right? So I got tickets, and now I'm so excited because I get to see these songs--that have filled me with inspiration for the past month and a half--live! It's like a pre-celebration bash before I knock out 'The End'!

Gahhhh! I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. Just for funsies, I've listed some of my favorite songs and what they mean to me in respects to my MS:

You and I (stripped & regular version) - My two MC's courtship/romance.
Empty - My MC's character ARC.
My House - Delilah's dark thoughts that lead to her demise.
Holy - Eliza's 'poor unfortunate soul'.
Fire - My MC's dark past/confrontation. 
Eyelids - Bittersweet moment scene for my two MC's.
Only Love (Acoustic-not on the album) - The ending + epilogue of the MS.

Really though, I love the whole album <3

In other good news, I've accepted a job offer and will be switching to my new role in July! May has been very good to me, and I am so grateful.

To end, here's some epic brunch pictures this past weekend at The London Plan (which was delicious. I have to say, it's my new fave brunch place!).


 

 

 

Two Years, Chopped Hair, Urgent Care, SCBWI, Shelving M3 = Roller Coaster Week

Hi friends,

I have so much to catch you up on. This week has been a stressful roller coaster ride. It started off on a good note. I celebrated my 2 year anniversary with Michael by recreating our first date (it's now become a tradition of ours).



To see how it unfolded last year and how our relationship began, click here.

He surprised me greatly by getting me a guitar and I, him, with a symbolic ring he's always wanted.


I don't have a good singing voice, nor am I skilled in music, but growing up music became a part of my life. I played flute for three years, piano for two, and learned some chords on the guitar by my ex-boyfriend in high school and it stuck through college. I was never really that good though, but I enjoyed putting simple melodies together and writing lyrics, but when I moved to Seattle, I literally gave away all my belongings, including my guitar and put it in the past. So it was very thoughtful that Michael had thought to give me a piece of California, and a creative part of me back.

What a wonderful way to start the week!

But unfortunately, work has been pretty busy, and I found myself pretty stressed with all that I needed to do, not just in my work life, but personal and writing life as well. I was overwhelmed by all the stuff I had to do and the non-progress in M3. It drove me insane. Why couldn't I get this story out as I did M2? Was life really so busy and chaotic that I couldn't handle it all? Would I have to give something up?

This overwhelming feeling festered within me, and I had hoped that maybe the SCBWI conference this weekend would give me some sort of direction in my writing life. As for the work and personal, I would just have to trudge through it. So I rush ordered my business cards and put on my can-do attitude.


But my attitude about work didn't change. I'm the kind of person that likes to get my stuff done so when software issues or last minute changes come my way, it ruffles my feathers a bit. But I had planned it out and I would finish my project by Friday.

On Thursday I had a haircut scheduled during my lunch break. I was long overdue for one, and had planned to keep my length and get my split ends trimmed, but when I sat in the salon chair, that overwhelming feeling came over me again. The reflection in the mirror looked so haggard, so sloppy, so stressed. "Just chop it all off," I told my stylist, not wanting another worry, no how matter infinitesimal it was.

And so she did.


With the weight from my hair off me, I was starting to feel better. More refreshed. I could handle the three facets of my life. Surely I could. I was a new woman now!

And then that night I got sick. A severe allergy attack. I couldn't sleep all night. And come morning, I wasn't any better. I was worse. I called in sick to work. I would not finish my project. That devastated me. Like I said, I pride myself in getting my work done, especially when I made promises to meet certain deadlines. Then I broke out into a fever. I started crying. Whatever this illness was, it didn't seem likely that I would be able to make it out to dinner that night with a friend and to a writer's networking cocktail hour like I had planned. Would I even be well enough to make it to the SCBWI conference the next day?

When Michael got home from work he took me to urgent care. Turns out my severe allergy attack turned into a sinus infection. I'd never had a sinus infection before so this pain was new to me and unbearable. The doctor prescribed me a nasal spray along with some other suggested OTC drugs. I went home, followed the directions, but didn't feel any better. I tossed and turned all night, getting snippets of sleep, and improved enough that I could rally myself and go to the conference.


I'll make another lengthier post about my experience as a first time conference attendee, but long story short, it made me realize that M3 needed to be put on pause. Perhaps I was overthinking it which stunted my progress. Or maybe I had fallen out of love with it after taking too many breaks with traveling and moving. Or maybe, M3 wasn't ready to be written and wasn't fully yet realized. Maybe it's one of those stories that takes years to cook, a story that I'll come back to, adding some spice, adjusting the taste, until I get it just right.

For now, M3 will be shelved, and I'm moving onto my next idea. 

It's been a roller coaster week filled with many ups and downs, twists, and turns. I was never one for roller coasters so I'm kind of glad to be off the ride now. I think it's time to leave the amusement park and get back to the steady humdrum of life.

Have you ever had a roller coaster kind of week? Comment below!

Yours truly,

Michelle


Guest post, promotion, and splurges. Not a bad way to end twenty-three.

A great big, giant, thank you to Michelle Athy at 'The Sunflower's Scribbles' for giving me the opportunity to guest post on her blog! If you haven't read it yet, you can find out how I got into writing here.

In other good news that happened yesterday, I got a promotion and raise at work! There's nothing like doing a good job and being rewarded for it. And yes, this finally means I can take this 'entry level' label off me. As a reward to myself, I went on a trip to the bookstore in search of a good read and found these two, that were highly recommended to me.


As of late I've been rereading books on my kindle (hence no new book reviews!), so I'll try and start up again with these two. And what are books without a beverage to go with it? As another splurge I got ceremonial grade matcha and set from PANATEA. How do you like your tea? Straight up or latte form? I'll take both!


And as a way to top off the day, Michael and I had drinks to cheers my awesome day. This is definitely not a bad way to end my last few days being 23.

One Year in the 'Real World'

(comic 'borrowed' from tumblr)
So I just realized that yesterday marks my one year anniversary from my hire date with my first ever big kid job (aka full-time, salary, and benefits). Jeez, the year went by fast! And I still don't know where I see myself in five years.

It's crazy to think that just a year ago I was applying and interviewing like crazy, hoping to find a job. Then once I got it, moving into a new city and adjusting to the climate (which equalled three new winter jackets).

What have I learned during this time period? 1. Spreadsheets hurt my eyes. 2. Coffee is a necessity. 3. An empty inbox on outlook makes me happy. 4. It's SO HARD to make friends in a new city. And 5. Life goes on, even when you aren't around (friends getting engaged, moving, losing touch with people, missing out on family stuff).

There are some good sides to it of course. 1. Being with someone you truly care about even when it gets tough. 2. Getting to know a new family. 3. Gaining the discipline to write something novel length (since it's always grey and rainy anyway) 4. You start to appreciate the sun and taking advantage of "nice" weather day. And 5. Being okay with 'alone time.'

Empty Outlook

There is nothing more gratifying than an empty outlook inbox. I hope I don't jinx myself for writing this post, but I am so ecstatic! The end of the year wrap up at work has been my busiest time since I've started work and oh boy is it refreshing to cross everything off the to-do list and have an empty inbox.

Now I can finally breathe instead of rushing to get everything done! And I bet I'll get a better night sleep and have a fabulous weekend since I won't have a pile of work waiting for me on Monday morning!

And would you believe it if I told you that I finally saw the sun today? After weeks of grey clouds and rain the sun is finally shining upon Seattle. I'm sure it won't last very long, but its nice nontheless.

To add, I also got a new baby cousin yesterday name who I got the honor of naming Ryan.

Happy Friday everyone!!!