Failing Camp NaNoWriMo and Book of the Month

If you’re someone who follows my blog, by now you may have noticed my blog posting schedule has been off kilter. Reflectively, this past month has been one of my most difficult in a while, even compared to both semesters I had 4 classes (20 credit hours) at once. My classes have been almost entirely group projects, which anyone who’s had to participate in them knows the hell that is working with several people at once, especially creative ones who often lack strength in areas besides creativity.

Organizing a film and getting it done is crazy, and for people who work in that industry I cannot begin to understand the patience they have, and that I have none of. Due to all of these school shenanigans and mental health episodes triggered by them, I was unable to finish both main goals I had for the month.

Camp NaNoWriMo, as always, started off great. I was ahead of the minimum for a while, until I decided to change the midpoint. Why did I change the midpoint right when I was getting to the midpoint? I honestly don’t know why it took me that long to realize it didn’t work, but if I hadn’t changed it, I probably would’ve been able to continue at the rate I was going at. I wound up stopping at page 45. I need to finish it, but I think I’ll wait for a little while before I do. I still need to reconstruct the outline.

For July’s Book of the Month, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, I am also about halfway through it, at 164 pages of 369 pages. This is the first time where I haven’t been able to finish a book in the month yet still want to read it. So for that, I plan on binge reading as much as I can in the next couple of days to get it done and perhaps make a delayed post about that. It’s a different type of book than I usually read, but I’m enjoying it. That factor just makes it a little slower of a read, but still an enjoyable one.

I can’t speak for August’s Book of the Month yet, but it’s going to be a shorter one. Is that cheating? I wouldn’t say so. I still get to read a book in a month, at least. I’m thinking of one of my new Stephen King books.

The Ignition of My Passion for Storytelling

I can pluck it from one event in my life. Certain memories of mine stand solidly in my mind while in other cases, I can’t remember much from a span of years. In one of those gaps, third grade, one of the hardest years of my academic and personal life, my grades slipped. Not drastically, I still had A’s and B’s, but for one solid year I got consistent, heavy C’s in English.

I can’t remember if English was my favorite subject or not at that point, it was probably art, but I do remember one specific project. We were tasked with recounting a time in our life and retelling it as a short story. We used odd yellow paper that was larger than the usual size and had an uncomfortable texture to it without being flat. The lead hardly showed up on it unless the tip was ready to carve through the page.

I wrote about the most recent Thanksgiving and considering it was the first after my parents divorced, it was just my mom and me. She was making the turkey and getting the table ready when our dogs, allured by the scent of savory meat, were crowding her feet. I can’t remember if our one dog, Buddy, an old Yorkshire Terrier, had passed away at the time, as I remember he passed away in third grade as well. Either way, she fed the dogs as I likely stood uselessly waiting for food. Maybe I was good and set the table, something that was a simple task for me to do just for two.

After dinner when she was cleaning up, she happened to come across a miscellaneous dripping of sauce on the counter. She wiped it up with her finger and popped it in her mouth. What she thought had been turkey juice or gravy was actually juice from the dog food. Her face twisted in bitter disgust and I remember us both laughing at the grievous error. Check that off the “never have I ever” list.

The moment, although brief and enough to gain a small laugh and carry on, meant everything to me in a time where it was hard to smile. Besides the divorce, my best friend had moved away that year as well, and I my little world had shaken so hard it knocked me down for a bit. Although most people at first glance likely wouldn’t suspect that sort of depth from a third grader who still can’t use proper grammar and spell common words correctly. (I still suck with grammar; I wish I could remember the years we actively studied it.)

My teacher didn’t find the story entertaining either, and wrote something to the effect of “this isn’t funny” or “this isn’t interesting.” To her defense, it was likely neither to an adult, especially a teacher reading about thirty of those papers. However, as a child, I took great offense. I believed it to be funny, and if she couldn’t see that— well, I’d just have to write more and get better to prove I could write a good story.

In third grade, I was still playing pretend at recess with the friends I had left, and when that friend group disintegrated around fifth grade, I started writing my ideas of worlds and villains instead of acting them out. Although I moved them onto a backup drive to save space, I wrote a little more than a hundred stories. I hardly finished any of them, but I had so many ideas I wanted to write I just had to get them down somewhere. It wasn’t until sixth grade when I finally wrote a “book” (about 30 pages in size 18 font) that had a narrative arc to it. The rewritten version of this book was the first I ever finished at about 260 pages. I planned four books for the series but only ever had three of the books on a “first draft” basis (all less than 30 pages, if I’m honest).

I’ll never forget what it felt like to finish writing that book. I realized that I actually could. The first hurdle I needed to jump through to become a writer I had vaulted over: I could complete a manuscript. Of course, it took years and shows the clear progression of improvement as it goes on and thus needs many more drafts, but I had done it.

I still have that paper. The decaying pages from almost a decade ago. It sits in a bin at my mom’s house, I think inside of a plastic bag for some form of preservation. (When I return to my Mom’s house I’ll take a picture of it and attach it to this post.) It taught me how to take feedback. While I wasn’t pleased with it, I took it into consideration, and I went to work. It was one of the hardest lessons to learn, but an absolutely necessary one, and I’m glad I learned it early on. I am forever thankful to this teacher in particular, among many others that I couldn’t have grown without the aide of. She was the one that ignited the flame to my passion that’s glowing brighter with time.

2018 Goals – Halfway Check-in!

Wow, this year has felt like it’s flown by. Maybe it’s due to my overpacked spring schedule, moving, and focusing on getting things done. Either way, I’m holding myself accountable for my goals and theoretically by the end of June, I should be halfway done. How am I standing?

For my weekly goals, excluding week 25 (this week), I have only missed three tasks that range from three different weeks. My focus for the week is between going to the gym at least once, posting one YouTube video, and one blog post to my blog. I have missed going to the gym twice, which is nothing I regret not doing. Next year I think I’m going to up this goal to at least twice a week. The other task I missed was posting a blog a few weeks ago, which was hard to accept, but schoolwork comes first.

For my monthly goals, excluding June as a whole, I’ve only missed one of the three tasks in only one month. I was unable to finish one leisurely book in February, which was Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I made a blog post about that and why I felt like I couldn’t complete it, so if you’re more interested you can check it out. Otherwise, I haven’t completed any of my June goals quite yet. I’m almost halfway through my book, Anna Dressed in Blood, so look for my book of the month blog post about that.

For my yearly goals, I wanted to write two books, one feature film, have my work-in-progress novel ready for querying, and write two pilot episodes. My Dramatic Writing major denotes that I should be writing in more script form, so I wanted to be able to write a couple of things outside of classes. I managed to write both pilot episodes, one of which I pitched for the school’s selection of student shows. While I didn’t get picked, I still managed to get it done within about a month’s notice which I consider a win. I managed to finish one book I’ve been working on, and I aim by the end of June to finish another book I’ve been working on since NaNoWriMo back in November, and Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I’m about a couple chapters away from finishing it, so I think I can finish it by the end of this month. In July for (previously unbeknownst to me) Camp NaNoWriMo (round two for the summer) I plan on writing the feature film. Regarding my work-in-progress, I have my third and fourth drafts done and have opened the gates for beta readers. So if you want to be a beta reader, check my other post for more information! Otherwise, I have about two planned drafts left, and probably another draft for line edits after those two.

Percentage-wise, I’m about 44% through my weekly goals, 39% through my monthly goals, and 54% through my major goals. I’m confident I can have about 90% done of each, if not 100% by the end of the year!

Adopting a Kitten

It took several visits to different shelters, humane societies, and other places of adoptions between states before I found my kitty, Phoebe, named after the character from Charmed. There was an animal shelter in front of animal services (where Phoebe was), and I visited a frightened, wide-eyed black kitten who was so terrified of people that she backed away into her own litter box. I knew she wasn’t for me and wished her the best before finding and employee who pointed me in the right direction of where I had intended to go.

I went from a building that was painted in bright colors with animals all over the walls to an austere looking building with an official-looking structure. I was told Phoebe was one month and twelve days old, however, I later learned that that was hardly the case. After a moment to evaluate me, Phoebe came up to me and smelled my arm before walking under my legs. She wasn’t afraid of me and kept near me, and having the first connection with any cat I had visited thus far, I took her home the same day, Thursday the 31st.

IMG_0626.jpg

I noticed from the get-go she had a sort of a cough and had a bit of a rounded belly. I’ve had a kitten before, so I know they can be rounder. However, this was immediately a different case. I put this aside as I focused on getting food and litter, getting her set up in my apartment so I could let her get used to her environment. She had a cough as well, which I figured was due to the environment change. After some time I noticed something white on her fur near her rear. I thought it was styrofoam from the previous day of building all her furniture, so I wiped it off with a tissue.

The next day, Friday, I really got to see her run around in full action. A cough still existed, and I was beginning to find more of the white things on her fur near her butt. It was later that day when I watched one wriggle out of her. Some sort of worm. Poor baby. My mom had come to visit, so on Saturday, we took Phoebe to her vet. She was scheduled for Monday, but I didn’t want to make her suffer until then.

Phoebe weighed 2.15 pounds, and from the vet’s examinations, determined her to be around three months old due to the stage of the tapeworm and her teeth progress. He also noted that she likely was halted in her growing stage from the tapeworm. Phoebe got half a pill forced down her throat and was fine for the next two days.

Tuesday, however, she became uninterested in running around and playing. She slept for the majority of the day, which I found a little strange since when she wakes up, she’s running around like a bat out of hell, but instead she’d walk to her water dish and walk back to snuggle back up on the couch. She tried to eat in the morning, but was largely unsuccessful.

By the time I was about ready to go to sleep, she wasn’t interested in doing anything but sleeping. I tried to play with her, and she didn’t even react to her string toy. Her eyes were wonky, and she still had a cough. I took her to an emergency vet that was thankfully only ten minutes away.

The only positive was that she gained 0.2 pounds, but otherwise, I learned that she had a fever of 104 degrees (Fahrenheit) when usual was 101. She took the thermometer like a champ, along with the shot of fluid and pain medication. She hated the taste of her medicine and the nose drops, but she immediately had an easier time breathing.

When I was adopting a kitten, I didn’t entirely plan on preparing for two separate medical situations within a week of bringing her home. Honestly, I fear what would’ve happened to her had I not adopted her. Would the employees have noticed her change in behavior? They left the kittens in a small room of their own. In our already short time of living together, Phoebe has already become an important part of my life, and I’d do anything to ensure she’s happy, safe, and healthy.

IMG_0764.JPG

P.S. Phoebe has her own instagram.

Changes Are Coming

Hello everyone! I hope your spring has sprung to a lovely pasture. Where have I been? Finals hell. Thankfully, after this quarter I won’t have such a busy schedule, and I’ll have time to breathe again, which in turn means concentrated blog posts. Additionally, this blog is approaching its first birthday. Hooray!

Within the next two weeks the appearance of this website will change, and so will the URL. On June 7th, its birthday, the URL will become http://www.noellempierce.com. I wanted to provide a heads-up to lessen the confusion of the change. I know I get thrown off a loop when someone I’m following —usually on social media— changes their profile picture or their username and it takes forever for me to remember who the person was that I followed.

Why change at all? As much as I enjoy my current design, I don’t think it’s entirely representative of the work I produce, or at least, aim to create. I’m working primarily on a mix of young adult horror and sci-fi novels, so the pink and friendly design isn’t something I want to capitalize on, even in a subverted way.

Additionally, now that I’ve been inspecting authors’ websites, I have more of an idea of how I want mine to look and the things I want it to contain.

I also have a surprise announcement that I’ll announce via twitter soon, so make sure to follow me there for more immediate news. I’m going to be working on my fourth draft of my work in progress novel What Darkness Does.

That’s all for now! Order will be restored soon. Until then, make some good out there!

She’s Not Your Toy: Defending Netta’s Eurovision Win

Eurovision is an international song contest featuring over forty countries that send in an original song to be performed live that battle it out for ratings and votes from both international juries and viewers at home. As an American, I had no stakes in my country winning. After reading an article so close to the point that it can’t even see it, I thought I’d write my defense of Netta’s “Toy” that won Eurovision 2018 for Israel after a twenty-year drought. While I thoroughly enjoy “Toy,” I admit that it is not the best song in Eurovision history, nor for this year. However, it is a highly successful song and to ignore that fact is to completely miss the point of how winners are produced.

To start off, “Toy” is written by Doron Medalie and Stav Beger, and Doron admitted in an interview that it was inspired by the #MeToo movement. The lyrics contained within the song are a clear echoing of it with lyrics with empowerment like “My ‘Simon says’ leave me alone,” “Wonder Woman don’t you ever forget/ You’re divine, and he’s about to regret,” and the obvious “I’m not your toy.” Some people flavor their feminism with more robust power behind it while criticizing masculine gender roles, like in this case, and that’s not everyone’s flavor. The article “The Worst Song Won Eurovision,” by Jackson, situates the song with “commercialized empowerment feminism.” While Netta herself appears to believe in the message, that is the exact purpose of the song: a marketable sort of feminist anthem.

The aspect of pop culture (in other words, commercialism) is one of the significant aesthetics to the song, along with the imagery. Japan has tons of mascots, even for things like trains. Mascots help for advertising purposes, along with creating merchandise to be sold in addition to whatever the service is in the first place. Pikachu is mentioned explicitly in the lyrics, calling an homage to a character of a franchise that generates an estimated $1.5 billion a year. Netta herself admits to being quite the Pokemon fan, so the connection is valid as to why it would be included in the song at all. Additionally, the Maneki Neko statues in the background serve as a reminder to the commercialization by their ideals of bringing good fortune, inviting happiness, and bringing prosperity to business. The cats featured in the stage were all gold, which alludes to “intense wealth,” which a song like this can produce. Even at the most basic level, the entire second verse is about money and rejecting the idea of a man with lots of money.

Another aspect of the song is calling out a specific type of men that act like chickens through stylistic choices. The chicken imagery is playful and is incorporated mainly through her use of beatboxing, but along with imitating chicken sounds. The wind instruments in the beginning even resemble chicken noises. Something else that Jackson mentioned in her article that also serves the purpose of the song entirely was the inclusion of the Japanese word “Baka,” which means stupid. It also clearly evokes the chicken percussiveness and sounds like the rest of the beatboxing, and even the use of “motherbucka” instead of the alternate swear word.

The theme of this year’s contest was “All Aboard,” using the imagery of the logo to promote “diversity, respect, and tolerance,” all of which “Toy” accomplishes. Whether it’s entirely genuine or not is another point. It is unique through her use of beatboxing and vocal looping to provide layers through her pop genre, and the evocation of specific imagery. Eurovision claims that there are no political involvements in the show, although in the past—looking at you Ukraine in 2016— there are clear glimpses that the opposite is just as true as well. She wasn’t the first choice by the jury, but the fans who are being sold the image of this sort of feminism ate it up. It wanted to sell, and it sold. It’ll loop around in your head like it did on the looper on stage. Who doesn’t love a good excuse to sing along to a sassy song with chicken noises?

Springing Papers from My Locker

Of all the habits I have that can vary between annoying and concerning, one of the most prominent is my need to hang onto paper materials. What do I mean by paper materials? I filled the bottom compartment of my locker with drawings, notes, academic papers, and pads of specialized paper that I’ll probably never use again. To top it off were a pile of tangled wire items like a router, backup drive, and a multiplug adapter. I’m moving into my own apartment in five weeks, and in a plight to avoid studying for my last final, I decided to clean out that locker and decide what I actually had to keep. Some Spring cleaning, even if it isn’t quite Spring yet.

I’m a Junior at an art college, and so I have more papers than I have ideas what to do with. I have empty lines of notebooks and empty pages sketchbooks sitting around waiting to be used. Those had a simpler solution than the rest; reuse. I’ll use a single notebook for a couple of different classes until it’s filled to near maximum capacity. A few pages leftover is fine. I have three in this state: A flowered journal from my English Composition class that was used as a journal for that class alone, not even taking up half the journal. A notebook with skulls and constellations from Urban Outfitters that I used in my Physical Science class that’s 60% full, but potentially able to be used for my Psychology class in the summer. I also have one more notebook that I have from my Fiction One class. It’s not even half-filled so that I’ll reuse as well.

The next token category of paper goods were academic sheets and essays. I apparently enjoy hoarding syllabi along with assignment sheets that I’ll never need now that the class is over. Because many of the academic sheets were from my Poetry and Fiction One class, I decided to recycle almost all of them. I have my files on my computer, except the one project that I accidentally saved over. I kept the paper version of that. As much as I love assignment sheets that give details and guidelines about what we’re supposed to do, they take up a ton of unneeded space.

The largest category of wasted space were papers for one specific class: my horrid Basics of Animation class. Apparently the “basics of animation” includes drawing like cavepeople on the old sheet by sheet animation, taking overhead pictures, and uploading them to the computer. I’d say 75% of my waste was from this category. Each sheet was about 1/12th of a second of animation. How many trees died so I could realize I didn’t want to be an animator? Rest in pieces, along with my one dream of being an animator. Maybe in another life.

The sheets for these two animations made it into the save pile.

So what did I keep? Besides the items with more space in them, I kept a few things I still enjoy. One prototype of a final project I can’t seem to locate, and some extras from the collage background of that project. Two papers: one analytical paper I was proud of about comparing two different art pieces, and another paper on a local Savannah artist that we were told we be put in the city archives but I’m unsure. The aforementioned Poetry project that I messed the original file up to. Two animations from the basics of animation class: One of my furious fairy character doing a head turn with some concept art, and one of my final flour sack project with concept art for that as well. And finally, a couple of scattered pictures I drew for various assignments that made me smile.

When I was done, I realized I had forgotten to take a picture of the before status of the locker, but here’s the aftermath.

I feel like many artists, I get attached to my work a little too much. I hold onto it for too long when it likely will serve no purpose later. I don’t need forty sheets of a ball bouncing across the pages of what is now my minor. As much as I love keeping any random sheet that may inspire me in the future, I do know when enough is enough. And now that I’m moving, I finally had a reason to decide what doesn’t need to travel with me… and a reason to procrastinate studying for a final essay.

Reflections on Sleep Paralysis

I have experienced such a diversity of dreams, dream patterns, and dream states to the point where I’m not sure there’s anything I haven’t experienced yet. I’ve had all sorts of regularly vivid dreams, lucid dreams, oddly conscious yet seeming otherworldly dreams… and I have also have had two episodes of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis, if you don’t know, is being conscious but being unable to move when you’re emerging from sleep. It can last for minutes or seconds. Thankfully, mine have only been at most half of a minute long. Through desensitization via horror movies, what would be nightmares for most are often complacent dreams that I use for inspiration for my stories. However, in these two cases, the stories became my paralysis.

The first experience I had was when I was in my senior year of high school. I woke up on my back with my arms by my sides, unable to move. I never sleep like that: it’s almost always on my right side, sometimes my left. In the dark of the room with the hallway light leaking in, I could feel, and see, my covers moving as something small crawled up my legs until its face peered out from under the covers. It was all black, and it looked like a demon crossbred with a Gremlin, without the fur. It had beady little black eyes that had some of the light reflecting off of them. It smiled, revealing pin-like teeth. It sat on my chest and stared me down.

IMG_5771

Here’s what it looked like, a rough-sketch at least. Sort of cute if I wasn’t seeing a hyper-realistic version of it inches from my face.

It was that moment I knew I was experiencing sleep paralysis: that entire display was my biggest irrational fear. For some unknown reason since I was young, I feared a gnome-like creature crawling up from my feet at the end of the bed and over me if I slept on my back. It would’ve left me open for their attack or anything they wanted. I knew, in that moment, there was nothing I could do, because I couldn’t move. I stared it down. I wasn’t scared. I know, that sounds a bit pretentious, but I was more intrigued than anything else. I held its eye contact for the next couple of seconds before I fell back asleep. My fear response is usually intrigue, which I feel like puts me in the role of the dumb protagonist that investigates the clattering sound from the kitchen in the middle of the night.

The other time I had a sleep paralysis episode was last year, my second year of college. I had woken up on my back again, this time with my body pressed against the wall. It was some random time in the morning where the sun was up. Despite the fact I had my poster up next to me, I was able to see a gnarly silhouette of a face that I can only describe as a cross between Scrooge and the Night King. It was close to my face, and despite being two dimensional, I could guess the texture of its face. It opened its jaws and with a bony finger —of which I’m not sure where it came from— it pointed at me and said, “I’ll find you soon.” This was the only auditory part of the sleep paralysis events I’ve had. This episode was enough to scare me; the vague threat was what did it.

This creature was also reminiscent of something from my childhood. While I have no pictures of it, it was almost identical to this villain my friends and I created for our playing pretend games in elementary school. He could manipulate shadows and travel by sinking into the ground into a shadow and slinking around on the ground and walls. He could also possess you that way, according to our lure. I hadn’t thought of him in years.

I find it interesting that my brain dug into my childhood in order to try to instill fear in me. I can’t even remember how far the gnome thing goes back. I’ve gotten so many more fears since childhood —isn’t that a part of growing up?— and more raw, grisly ones. Yet it didn’t choose to put an alien trying to dissect me or some demonic rapist, it chose things that’ve been around for longer than my present self has.

I guess it chose to do something more intimate, something closer to me. I suppose in this case, my biggest fear would be my own brain. I wonder how it’d choose to portray that. And how I could make a story out of it. If I have to suffer from the condition another time, I may as well make it just as useful and productive as the rest of my sleeping habits.

“Who Is Your Hero?”

I’ve been on YouTube longer than almost the history of my entire public school education. I remember the days where I would await whatever FRED video would be posted. The days where cats playing pianos were just the start of talent —before keyboard cat. Where the Numa Numa guy was cool and not a meme yet, not that we had memes back then. I mean, I would find just about anything cool when I was like 10 years old on the internet. Thankfully I was sensible enough to find Shane Dawson’s occasionally racist skit videos distasteful. (Along with Onision’s content, who has somehow remained unabashedly negative? Come on, dude. It’s 2018.)

In my Foundations of Story class, we were asked to think of our personal hero. A hero, for the introduction assignment, was defined as “a figure in any medium whose exploits and life demonstrate admirable skill or exceptional persistence.” I could’ve chosen my parents or any celebrity figure or fictional hero. It took me a long time to think of different people who were inspiring to me that I would consider a hero. For some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about different YouTubers and debating with myself over which one to choose until I looked at the back of my phone to find Shane Dawson’s Illuminati popsocket. It was then I realized that Shane was my hero, duh. Which definitely sounds confusing based upon the last paragraph: let me elaborate.

I started really watching YouTube videos —albeit somewhat addictively— around 2015, and I know this because I switched from a cringy old channel to a newer one. I’m fairly certain I rediscovered Shane through collabs with Joey Graceffa. I remember being surprised, considering my last memory (at the time) of Shane was him being painfully obnoxious and extra in ways that made me uncomfortable. For Joey to do a collab with him was unexpected, but it made me reconsider watching Shane if someone as #familyfriendly as Joey was including him on his channel. Shane’s channel had changed significantly, and so I resubscribed.

It’s been almost three years now that I’ve been following him again, and wow. He’s changed a ton. Instead of creating the problematic content from the late 2000’s, now Shane is producing high quality content on a near daily basis about things he is genuinely interested in. You can tell when someone’s enjoying themselves, and you can tell he’s passionate about his content nowadays. I respect and am inspired by the dedication it takes to produce multiple great videos every week that often require loads of research (for the conspiracy videos especially) or even coordinating schedules with other people on a basic level. I tried coordinating schedules once and you know what happened? Nothing.

In addition, Shane has been wildly open about his own personal struggles. Of course, being a well-known figure on the internet is going to lead to your life being less private than the average person, but Shane has spoken out his own issues —whether it be on YouTube or his books I Hate MySelfie and It Gets Worse— concerning eating disorders, his sexuality, and other personal information like his relationships. It takes a lot of personal strength to come to terms with your personal struggles, and a monumental amount to talk about them online for millions of viewers to see. I value that and aspire to be that certain and honest to not only others, but myself especially as well.

In the past few months, Shane has also featured other smaller content creators and given them a platform to support their talent endeavors and promote them to his own audience. A few people from Fiverr including Antonia Marquee and Jesus Christ. Then there’s also the Psychic Twins, Terry and Linda Jamison who already had a following via other resources but were able to establish themselves on YouTube to his help. He also boosted a vastly talented young singer/songwriter by the name of Sophie Pecora. In some of his videos he also hires a child actor by the name of Christopher to act as a son as a joke for a fake family as a sort of test run for the real deal. Both the latter two children had their families around during the filming and spoke highly of Shane’s professionalism.

When I went to share with my class who my hero was, the day before a very quickly debunked accusation was spread about Shane (which stemmed from a chopped up, out of context audio piece of a shitty joke he had made during his offensive years). I almost changed my answer to the prompt due to the fear of what people would think who had only followed media headlines instead of investigating to find the truth themselves. I worried they would think I supported someone who wasn’t a good person. I recoiled from that selfish thought once it arose and I couldn’t even imagine how I would feel if I was accused of such things, nonetheless how Shane must’ve felt.

I went into class the next day and still declared him my hero, because he truly is and it would be wrong to say he wasn’t. I doubt Shane will ever see this, but he inspires me to be my truest self and strive for the best in others and my own work. If I had alcohol, I’d raise him a glass. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I do not. So, thanks Shane! 😁

2cd3cf5ee23374e03cd98c2c747845bb--shane-dawson-youtubers

2018 Goals

Last year I separated my goals into more topical categories, but I was inspired by seeing many bullet journal spreads organizing them by frequency that I decided it would be a potentially more effective way than before. It’ll be harder to achieve the once a week goals, but I look forward to the challenge!

For my weekly goals, perhaps the toughest of all, I want to keep up with three things: go to the gym once a week, make a blog post once a week, and upload one YouTube video once a week. The gym goal will probably be the hardest to achieve. My current student dorm is the second furthest from either of the gyms, but one of the buses I would have to take to get back to my dorm stops by it. I’m not athletic by any means, and because my dorm’s so far from the walkable area of town, I don’t get any exercise anymore. I would theoretically by okay with just half an hour at least once a week. I also would like to make a blog post once a week along with a YouTube video once a week. These two I’m more accustomed to completing on my own. This blog I usually update once a week, and I’ve been getting more persistent with YouTube. I made an entire list of video ideas to get started on as well!

For my monthly goals, they seem rather relaxed but with those intense weekly goals I want to be able to complete them on a regular basis. I want to read at least one book a month in my free time, and not for school. This upcoming semester alone I have eight books to read, and I don’t want to include them. I got a lot of books for Christmas this year, and I look forward to reading them all! I miss leisure reading. Besides reading, I want to submit to two publications each month and have something polished to go out to them. The only non-literature based goal is to hang out with my friends outside of class at least once a month. Usually I become a hermit and rarely leave the dorm except for class but I want to work on being more social and developing the friendships I currently have because I’ve met some great people in the past year or so.

For my major goals for the year, I’ve got a handful of writing goals. Last year I completed my goal of finishing three books, so I was trying to think of how to challenge myself this year, considering I had originally never imagined finishing even two. So this year, I want to finish writing the first drafts of two books, write one feature film, write two pilot episodes to different series, and finally, have my one book from last year ready to send out to agents. The way I’m planning it is having a third draft, fourth draft, sending it out to beta readers and getting their responses, editing a fifth draft accordingly, and then a sixth draft to polish it off.

I’m not entirely sure which task will be the hardest, but it’s a tie between having a polished book and going to the gym once a week. The only days I’ll accept as a gym day, if I’m not at the gym, is if I did at least 30 minutes of walking in an activity like shopping around somewhere or walking a distance like to get to my café. (My cafe takes almost half an hour to get to from the bus stop. The walk back as well would make it count.)

I have a lot of goals this year, and honestly, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to complete them all. But if I manage to do at least three quarters of them I’ll be satisfied with myself and call it a productive year. Happy 2018!