For the first time in my history of doing NaNoWriMo events (which, admittedly, goes back only as far as last November), I have fallen behind!

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Even though some part of me is dying a little inside at the fact that I’m behind on my progress, I almost feel like celebrating. I’m behind! I’m behind! This has never happened before in my NaNoWriMo history, and it’s something new! Different! What’s going to happen next?!

And that’s really what matters, right? That I find a way to learn from my mistakes, that I try to grow from my failures?

I’m behind on Camp NaNoWriMo. And of the people who are behind on their Camp projects, I’m likely one of the few who are actually happy about it.

Tomorrow will be my last day at my first full-time job. I have the weekend to relax and gather my wits, and then Monday I start on a new job.

Holy crap.

I’ve taken to calling this job change my Big Life Change. (At least, I’ve been calling it that in my head.) And this Big Life Change is one of the main reasons I’ve been so busy lately, and unable to hang onto certain aspects of my routine (like posting to this blog…). I’ve had to think about how my life is going to change as a result of this new job, and I spent the past few weeks rearranging things so that I’ll be able to make the transition from one chapter to the next with relative ease. There will still be bumps, of course, but I think I’m now in a good position to deal with anything that comes my way.

Still, I am scared. I am scared with any new venture, and this particular one is taking a lot of pep talks and jogging around the reservoir to release my anxiety. But, to further relieve me of my fear, I make the time to focus on the good things.

Like the farewell party my coworkers threw for me today (which included a delicious chocolate cake, and also some really sweet remarks from my coworkers). Like the hoodie I got as a part of my parting gift package, and will become my hoodie of choice to keep me warm in freezing cold buildings. Like wrangling Excel to do exactly what I want to do, after weeks of puzzling over a tricky formula. Like reaching the halfway point of my Camp NaNoWriMo project a few days early. Like promising to keep in touch (and meaning it).

Yeah, I’m scared. But I’m also excited and ready for the change.

…Still, holy crap, am I right?

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A picture of that delicious chocolate cake. Because cake.

Happy day 7 of July Camp NaNoWriMo, everyone!

I’ve been working pretty steadily so far, and I think I learned my lesson from April; I will not be overloading myself with writing projects and end up burning out for two months. Especially since I anticipate that July will bring some Big Life Changes, my goal is really just to make it through the month and beyond.

But that aside, it has been a really good few days.

My project is something a little different this month. It’s a set of short stories, the collection tentatively entitled Enclave, and I have two completed stories so far. (Well, their first drafts, anyway.) I have a third story that I anticipate I’ll finish today, and then after that…

Honestly, I don’t know what the rest of the stories will be.

Still, I have some completed drafts. I’m planning on completing a third. This morning I spent some time re-reading the stories I’ve finished so far, and though they are rough, I have something to work with. I have something to re-read, and that is enough to buoy me through this hot and humid day. (Seriously, I’m melting in New York; the only solace I get from the weather is on the air-conditioned bus.)

Anyway, I’m just chasing that satisfaction of having completed something.

Stay cool, everyone.

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The cover I made using Canva, a free, online tool for web design, and one of my favorite sites ever.

Hello, everyone!

I apologize for my unexpected hiatus; I didn’t actually mean to take a break, but I think between doing Camp NaNoWriMo, posting every day to this blog, and then also journaling every day during the month of April, I was totally sapped of energy, and then May ended up being quite a busy month that it’s now been seven weeks since the last time I posted.

Unfortunately this post won’t do much to break that streak except say that I’m coming back to blogging, but first I’m getting my house in order: changing up a few things (like maybe my theme?), reevaluating how much I want to post to this blog, and getting ready for the second half of 2016 with another Camp NaNoWriMo project in July! And I plan to start up with regular posts then.

Until next time!

-Caroliena

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Oops, my Catholic upbringing is showing.

I just wanted to share a May the 4th graphic since I’m a very new Star Wars fan. (The first time I saw Episodes IV, V, VI, I, II, III, in that order, was about four years ago.)

And I am totally unapologetic in my enthusiasm for Rey/Finn/Poe fan fiction, or JediStormPilot. Right now, I’m eagerly anticipating updates to this series that follows my OT3 as they accidentally/on purpose start a Stormtrooper rebellion. It’s heartbreaking, heartwarming, and I am all about polyamory in fiction.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the day. May the 4th be with you!

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It’s the last day of April! Congrats to everyone who participated in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. It’s been a busy 30 days, and I hope everyone had a good experience. Even if you didn’t reach your goal word count, I hope that it has been a successful month in other ways!

I sometimes can’t believe that April has already passed and that May is just around the corner. While I’m glad that spring is here after such a strange winter season, I’ll admit that I’m panicking a little by how quickly the year is going by so far. I look back and realize just how much I’ve done in four months, but also feel a sort of pressure that there’s only eight months left of the calendar year. It’s a strange feeling, being torn between time passing simultaneously too quickly and very slowly.

But I had this month to really ground me. I spent some time working on this draft and I really enjoyed falling into it, and rediscovering the joy of writing. I don’t think I ever really lost it, but I have a renewed appreciation for the ability to string a few words together into sentences. I’m still a novice, but I enjoy the work, I enjoy the craft, and I look forward to continuing on the plan I’ve set up for myself.

So, happy day 30, everyone. I hope you all feel good about what you accomplished!

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The donation gifts from Camp NaNoWriMo have arrived, and I love the sticker design so much that I stuck it on the cover of my journal. This Midori Traveler’s Notebook is one of my prized possessions, and I plan on sticking with it for years to come, so this sticker will always be there as a reminder to write, to get lost in my writing, and to remember how much joy I experience whenever I do write.

It’s not really a reminder that I need all that often; writing has become so much a part of me that a day that I don’t write is a day that feels off. Sometimes, though, when the story gets away from me, and I lose sight of my original intention, of the thread of the narrative or the path of growth for a character, I can fall into some despair.

But I just need to remember the feeling of satisfaction, of accomplishment, that I feel at the end of a NaNoWriMo event. Whenever I lose sight of the end, I can look to my journal for a reminder.

Happy day 29 of Camp NaNoWriMo! There’s not much time left now, but you can do this!

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One of the first photos I uploaded to this blog.


Milestone of the day: this post is my 500th post on this blog! Hooray!

I started this blog in 2012 because… Well, because I was bored. And honestly, putting together online profiles for social media and blogging sites used to be one of my favorite methods of procrastination. Three years and five months later, I’m still going strong, and as I go back through my old blog entries, I realize just how much I’ve changed and grown, and how much I’ve really stayed the same.

One of the most obvious ways in which I have not changed is that I am still writing. In addition to this blog, I’m also keeping up my journal habit and I’m getting back into the groove of writing more creative pieces, whether that’s fiction, poetry, or even the odd personal essay. And it always surprises me just how much I write, and for how long I have been writing.

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A photo from a day where it was sunny and it rained, 2013. On Valentine Street, Sydney, Australia.

During my senior year of high school, I had a lot of trouble falling asleep, had a lot of trouble concentrating on my school work, and though on paper I seemed to be functioning just fine and even excelling in some areas, I was struggling. On a whim, I started writing in a notebook one night, inspired by Wreck This Journal and, oddly enough, by the guidelines for keeping a laboratory notebook for my Chemistry class. My original intention was to take down as many observations of my life at any given moment, hence looking to the lab notebook guidelines for inspiration. What ended up happening was I started writing anything and everything: snippets of conversations, dreams, rough drafts of homework assignments and pieces of flash fiction (though I didn’t know to call it flash fiction at the time).

And I’ve been writing ever since. But though I have my journals, that totally private space where I can let my mind wander and roam, uninhibited by self-consciousness or self-doubt, I have this blog as well. And now, this blog has become as much a part of me as my journaling, my writing.

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From the first time I ever baked bread.

I’m looking forward to the next 500 posts. And the 500 posts after that. And however many hundreds or thousands of posts I’ll create throughout the life of this blog. Maybe I’ll hold onto this blog forever, my own little corner of the internet where I gather everything I like and reflect on how times are changing, and I’ll look back at the end and laugh at my youthful self. Maybe I’ll end this blog when I move onto whatever the next era of my life is, abandoning it until it becomes an ancient ruin, a ghost of a past life.

Whatever happens next, I’m still blogging now.

So here’s to writing 500 posts, and to 500 more,

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Thanks for reading and growing with me!

I spent much of the afternoon deep-cleaning my apartment, and I’m particularly proud of my now spotless. The cleanliness will come in handy when I start editing my Camp NaNoWriMo novella, and it’s perfect for getting into the mindset of seeing this project with new eyes. (But, knowing me, it may not stay this tidy for very long…)

I’m not usually one to be picky about my writing environment. As long as I have a reasonable amount of privacy and the area is generally tidy, I’ve trained myself to be comfortable with writing anywhere and everywhere. Still, it’s nice to have a home base, to have a corner that’s always there, ready for me to sit down and fall into writing.

I really need to learn how to keep my desk clean. If not for the writing space, at least for the aesthetic.

Happy day 27, campers! April camp is close to being over!

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Yesterday, I met up with some friends to have dinner and dessert in the Lower East Side. I feel like the Lower East Side is one of the few areas in the city that I haven’t really explored, and there are some amazing restaurants and hidden areas that piqued my interest. Of the neighborhoods that I’ve visited throughout my time in New York, the ones in the southern part of Manhattan are consistently my favorite.

Every year I feel the need to reacquaint myself with the city, because sometimes I forget that I really live here, and I need to take some time to sink back into this place. It feels like I had a huge growth spurt and I need to take a moment to realign my mind with my body. Getting out to the Lower East Side last night was a good start to the process.

And I love being in areas of New York that are explored in books. I read The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker earlier this year, and it has such vivid descriptions of New York that I felt the urge to follow the same routes that the characters walked. Though the areas have changed since the 1899, which is when the book is set, I felt a new appreciation for the locations mentioned as we walked through the older parts of the city. New York has such a rich literary history and tradition, and I don’t think I’ve ever really appreciated that until very recently.

So this is what I’ll be doing for the rest of the week. Getting to know New York again, through shared meals and easy walks.

Happy day 26 of Camp! Hang in there, campers!

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