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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2166092
by Emily
Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #2166092
A blog to house my musings, curiosities, and fascinations.
When it came time for me to start blogging again, I found myself paralyzed. I was trapped by the belief that my blog had to be unique, that it had to have a defined theme, and that it had to be appealing to everyone. After some time scouring Google for advice, I realized that if all I did was worry and plan, I would spend forever worrying and planning and never get to writing.

From that realization, I've decided to display my blog writing guidelines here for everyone to see, but especially for me to see when I come here to write.

Blog about what is appealing to YOU.
Don't worry about anyone else.

Allow yourself to WRITE!
Don't restrain yourself to one voice, one writing style, one genre, or one topic area.

Throw out the fear of maintaining a consistent theme.
Blog about your passions, interests, fancies, inspirations, opinions, musings, curiosities, ramblings, and loves.

Explore, experiment, and have fun!

So, this is my solution. A blog about anything and everything that sparks my interest. *BigSmile*

The title is inspired by the quote at the bottom of this introduction. Everything you love, even for a short time, becomes part of you. Our experiences and perception of the world is colored by those things we love and have loved, whether those things are *Paw* or not. This blog will be a place to house those passions and curiosities. Please enjoy!

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."

Merit Badge in Aloha
[Click For More Info]

Only the most selfless, dedicated person would come up with an idea like an Aloha MB. But then, from all those  things you do on WDC and we know you're doing out in the world, it's what we should have known you'd do. You've always been working to make things better and help people, animals, and places. Maybe the badge should have your picture so everyone knows a real example of Aloha.
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March 5, 2019 at 5:18pm
March 5, 2019 at 5:18pm
On a scale of 1-10, how patient are you? Do you have a preference for instant gratification? Is impatience or patience a family characteristic? What qualities would you like to develop to help you be more patient with yourself and others?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance

As I was pondering how to tackle this prompt, I found there are certain aspects of my life where I am consistently patient, and other aspects where I am overwhelmingly not. I will rate each separately with 0 being the least patient, and 10 being the most patient.

Patience with the Process
When it comes to waiting for something completely out of my control, I will happily wait forever for it. A perfect example is purchasing something online. I know it is coming, and there is nothing I can do to speed up the mail, so I’ll wait and wait and wait for it, sometimes so long that I forget I’m waiting for something at all (the surprise of finding a gift to myself in the mail is always fun *Wink* ). I’ve done my part, and whatever happens next is not my fault or my responsibility. If I never receive the package (it was lost), they’ll eventually send me an email asking me how I like my new item, and I’ll be reminded then that I never received it. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad trait, but it’s just the way I am. If worrying about it will do no good, why waste my time and brain power doing so? Rating: 10/10

Patience with Promises
One way I am not patient is when it comes to people and the promises they make. If someone tells me they’ll reply to my email before noon, I’ll get incredibly frustrated and annoyed if the email doesn’t come until afternoon. Or if someone promises they will be home by a certain time and are not, I don’t like waiting for them. This is probably a result of my own obsession with punctuality. I would never ever promise something I could not do, even something as mundane as sending an email at a certain time. I am particularly conscious of other people’s time, so I expect others to be the same way, but I find this is often not the case. Rating: 2/10

Patience with Driving
Don’t even go there. The road rage is real. I hesitate to say I hate anything, but I will say I get the most annoyed while driving. That’s a whole other entry… Rating: 0/10

Patience with Myself
This aspect of patience was interesting to think about. Many things I do happen slowly, but that’s more a result of procrastination than patience. Maybe a better example would be when I make a mistake, how patient am I with myself in correcting it? I think I am a harsh self-critic, so I find it hard to forgive myself when things go wrong as a result of my mistake. I should work to be more patient and give myself more room to learn and grow from mistakes rather than beating myself down over them. Rating: 4/10
February 26, 2019 at 4:50pm
February 26, 2019 at 4:50pm
Discuss some victories you’ve had this month, no matter how big or small. What are some goals you have going into March?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance

What a perfect prompt! *Bigsmile* The last two months I’ve done a bit of a blog post about goals for the next month, and it has worked fairly well for me, so I might as well tie it in to this prompt and do it again! *Proud*

Victories, let’s see. February was a solid month for me, nothing too crazy stressful which was nice. I felt underproductive at work, but then a coworker I disliked got fired, so that was a breath of fresh air. *Laugh* Writing wise, I kept at it with 26 reviews, 3 new poems, and 1 new non-fiction essay. I also created two new fun games I’ve never done before on this site, even after all these years: 1 crossword and 1 word search. It was also my first time challenging myself to do the "MHWA Mental Health Challenge tasks, and (after this entry) I’ll have done 20! Woohoo! I consider that an accomplishment *Smile* From the task prompts, I wrote 6 blog posts which I am quite proud of and might work to expand in the future (especially the one about public speaking and the one that is currently secured behind a passcode about crimes committed by the mentally ill). I liked the feeling of blogging to prompts again. I get so stressed having to give the prompts for the "30-Day Blogging Challenge that I don’t like also writing for them *Pthb* The prompts for the "Mental Health Writers Alliance though were really thought-provoking. *Thumbsupl* I read 6 books and wrote reviews for them, kept up with my "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group guardian duties, and my sleep tracking over at the "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge as well.

Vestiges of Life  (13+)
The unexpected vibrancy of color in winter
#2182074 by Emily

Kona Coffee  (E)
Coffee begins not in the bag, but in the belly of the earth
#2182207 by Emily

The Symptoms of Repression  (ASR)
How do repressed emotions affect the emergence of mental health symptoms?
#2182897 by Emily

Follow Me to the Horizon  (ASR)
Follow me through the curtain, to the place where water cascades over the edge.
#2182980 by Emily

Fun Stuff:
Kona Coffee Crossword  (E)
Take a sip and relax with some warm coffee from my home to yours
#2182171 by Emily

It's a Journey  (18+)
Sometimes you find yourself desperately searching for the right words
#2183567 by Emily

As for goals, pretty similar to last month. I’m going to try to get more MHWA tasks done and go a little easier on the contests:

15 for "Anniversary Reviews:
12 for "SuperTower Review Room MB Rewards:

For "The Monthly Reading Challenge and "Writing.Com Reading Challenge
*Boxcheck* "The Nature Principle” by Richard Louv
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age"  
*Boxcheck* "The Universe in a Nutshell" by Stephen Hawking
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Universe in a Nutshell"  
*Boxcheck* "The Fact of a Body" by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir"  
*Box* Book #4
         *Box* Product Review: {pr:
*Box* Book #5
         *Box* Product Review: {pr:

Mental Health Writer’s Alliance Challenge: (do at least 20 Tasks)
*Box* Task #1
*Box* Task #2
*Boxcheck* Task #3
*Box* Task #4
*Box* Task #5
*Box* Task #6
*Boxcheck* Task #7
*Boxcheck* Task #8
*Box* Task #9
*Box* Task #10
*Box* Task #11
*Box* Task #12
*Box* Task #13
*Box* Task #14
*Box* Task #15
*Box* Task #16
*Box* Task #17
*Box* Task #18
*Box* Task #19
*Box* Task #20
*Box* Task #21
*Box* Task #22
*Box* Task #23
*Box* Task #24
*Box* Task #25
*Box* Task #26
*Box* Task #27
*Box* Task #28
*Box* Task #29
*Box* Task #30
*Box* Task #31

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "Verdant Poetry Contest for "The Contest Challenge
*Box* "Rebel Poetry Contest
*Boxcheck* March "a very Wodehouse challenge
         *Boxcheck* Research and write blog or static <1000 words about "The Age of Enlightenment."
         *Boxcheck* Select one figure from each of the following eras: Pre-Socratic, Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, and Contemporary. Give summaries (<500 words each) on their contributions to Enlightenment.
         *Boxcheck* Write a story (<1000 words) or poem (<21 lines) that deals with enlightenment of some kind.
*Boxcheck* "The Prompt Me Contest
*Boxcheck* "SugarCube's Weekly Random Contest!!
*Boxcheck* "Bi-weekly Oriental Poetry Contest
*Boxcheck* "Haiku Hunt Contest

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Box* Normal review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Box* Sleep and update "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge every morning
*Box* General administration, prompting, and judging for the "30-Day Blogging Challenge

See you in March! Take care,
February 23, 2019 at 1:56pm
February 23, 2019 at 1:56pm
An estimated 75% of people have glossophobia, which is a fear of public speaking. How comfortable are you speaking in public? Have you ever been in situations where you were forced to do public speaking? How did it go?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance

Oooh, public speaking. If you had asked me this question just 3 or 4 years ago, I would have probably said it was my greatest fear. Now it ranks much lower on the fear scale, somewhere around nervous, but manageable. Let's see how I got here, shall we? *Bigsmile*

I was totally a shy kid. In grade school, I was taller and heavier than everyone in my class, which made me feel absolutely colossal. There's a picture of me at age 10 or so lined up next to two of my classmates when we received our "Perfect Attendance" certificates and I am a full head and a half taller than the boy on my left, and two heads taller than the girl on my right. A giant. Obese, I thought, even at that young age. There was a time in physical education class where we lined up and had to weigh ourselves one at a time and then tell the teacher out loud what the scale read. I was in the 5th grade, I think, and I weighed more than every other girl by a long shot, more than every boy, and as much as what everyone considered the "fat kid." (Michael was his name. I remember because in my shame I felt the need to tease him: "Michael, Michael, motorcycle!" It is foolish and nonsensical, something I'm ashamed of looking back, but at that time, I needed to do anything that would direct attention away from my massive, white, whale body.)

At the time, I could not understand this, but I was bigger than everyone in my class because I was Scandinavian. In Hawaii where I went to school, my classmates were Asian, Hawaiian, Portuguese, Filipino, and other pacific islander ethnicities. I was a different genetic make-up, which made me physically different from my classmates through no fault of my own. At that time, I did not understand this in the least, resulting in my thinking I was fat, fat, fat. On top of that, my eyesight was horrific so I wore thick glasses, and my teeth were a jumble, so I got braces early and wore them for nearly 4 years. My appearance screamed black sheep and did NOT fit in. All together, these insecurities with my appearance made speaking in public a nightmare. I wanted to sink into nothing, be nothing. I wanted to hide, and that feeling continues to persist to this day. I am overly aware of the space I take up and how to move so I don't accidentally knock into someone else or get in their personal space. But lest we get off-topic, let's get back to the topic of this post: public speaking.

My insecurities as a kid contributed to my fear of being in front of other people. It was not just public speaking, but I was afraid of doing anything where other people would be watching me or where I would draw unnecessary attention to myself: playing sports, raising my hand in class, walking across the stage to accept an award, coughing in a public place, going to the bathroom when other people could hear me. This fear nestled deep in my subconscious, and it's been hard to shake. But I did start off this entry by saying that public speaking is something I'm not as afraid of now as I was in the past, so how did that happen?

I still felt the fear of being the center of attention through most of college, but I think after I presented my final honors thesis in front of all the other Bio majors, it was the last hurdle and the time I finally let go of some of the fear I had held onto for so long. The way I said that might make you think my presentation was phenomenal, but the reality was that it was not. I had spent months and months preparing my presentation, my powerpoint, my speech, my outfit, but when I got to the podium to begin, all of my slides were fucked up (something to do with the moderator transferring them onto his computer from my flash drive). At that point, there was nothing I could do, so I gave the presentation I had practiced so long for, accompanied by the slides I knew looked horrible, and when it was over, everyone clapped just the same as they would have if everything was perfect, I received an A grade, and then it was over. In that moment, I recognized how pointless it was to harbor all that stress over presenting when things will go wrong anyway. That's something that has stuck with me ever since.

I speak in public all the time now for work. Less formal presentations, but a lot of presenting in meetings, giving lessons for students, and staffing booths at events where I speak with the public. I still feel the nerves, but those are normal and natural and a strong motivator to do a good job. But I am no longer petrified of speaking in public or being the center of attention. This might also have to do with the fact that I have grown into my body and am more adult in carrying myself. Part of that too is realizing that everyone is more concerned with how they look than with how you look.

I think the moral of the story is that public speaking is about having just the right dose of nerves to motivate your performance, mixed with the acknowledgement that no one, including yourself, is perfect. Mistakes happen, and that's okay - they're what make us human.
February 21, 2019 at 11:40am
February 21, 2019 at 11:40am
Do you think or notice that getting older has an effect on mental illness?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance

This is an interesting question that I don’t think I’ve ever considered. Perhaps because I have not yet experienced most of my life, the component of age hasn’t been much of a consideration. That said, I am beginning to mentally transition from a “young adult” to just a normal adult, so there are more responsibilities that I am now taking on. I think that’s where my mind is going with this entry, so let’s pursue it!

Responsibilities change as we get older. Becoming an adult means more responsibilities related to finances, a home, a car, a career, children, aging parents/grandparents, and more. Our lives progressively become more and more about providing for other people over ourselves. You may take on the responsibility of loving someone else, loving an animal, working a job, caring for a home and children, which will leave less time for caring for yourself. I am a big proponent of self-care, whatever that means to you. I am an introvert, so self-care to me means curling up alone with music, my writing, a book, and the dog curled nearby. I need this time to keep myself sane, but as we age and take on more responsibility, the time available for self-care becomes more limited.

However, I will say that as we age, we also build our support system. I mentioned intimate relationships, pets, and children as “responsibilities,” but they are also (of course) things we love and when the relationships are healthy, they help our mental state.

Another side of this though is that as we’ve grown up, we’ve also learned how to deal with more things because we’ve experienced more things. We understand that life has high points and low points, but the train will keep moving so long as we don’t jump off and the view is bound to change around the next bend. We have a longer history to compare our current hardships with. Young people, especially teenagers, get more agitated when confronted by something difficult because they do not have the life experience to see the end of the tunnel. This does affect their mental state, so in that way, age may alleviate some of those stressors, but then of course, others rise to take their place.

So far, I’ve only talked about the transition from youth to adulthood (because this is my only experience so far), but on the other end of the spectrum, there is aging into middle age and eventually old age. There are a whole suite of new stressors associated with this aging in our latter years including fears of retirement, an aging body, the compounded stresses of your children’s lives, and eminent death.

I apologize for the “all over the place” entry. I think this topic itself is “all over the place” because there are so many different angles it could be discussed from. The stresses through our lives change, and thus our mental state is affected differently throughout our aging. People deal with different stresses differently, so where someone’s mental health may be more affected by the stresses in youth, another may be more affected by the stresses that accompany old age. Our path through life is never exactly the same as anyone else’s, so I think the answer of whether age affects mental health will depend on the person.

February 18, 2019 at 9:38am
February 18, 2019 at 9:38am
Recent studies have shown that your brain can form good habits through repetitive actions, whether or not you derive any satisfaction from the actions. Do you think you can form good habits such as eating healthy or exercising simply by repeatedly doing the action? Do you have any experience with forming habits this way? Are there any other methods of forming good habits that you’ve tried?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance

I have heard this habit-forming technique several times before. "Fake it 'til you make it," right? And I think there is a lot of truth in it actually. It's a bit like muscle memory - doing something regularly will improve your skill at it and it will become easier and easier over time, eventually becoming a habit. There are some things, like exercising or writing, where our proficiency will increase the more you do them. Often, these are habits that are harder to start forming because we feel incompetent at doing them or embarrassed, which dissuades us from trying in the first place. Then there are other things, like eating healthy or brushing your teeth, where it isn't so much about improving your skill as about feeling and seeing the positive results.

"Do you think you can form good habits ... simply by repeatedly doing the action?" Yes, and no. I think to say "repeatedly doing the action" is not exactly specific enough. If I exercised repeatedly throughout the day/week/month on a whim without purpose, I do not think this would form a habit. I think the repetition needs to be done in a deliberate way. Perhaps the most important elements of forming a habit through repeated action are intention and timing. Knowing why you are doing an action, and doing it at a specific time of day is hugely important in forming that habit. In the beginning, you need to consciously think about repeating the action, but if the goal is for that action to become a habit, it needs to eventually be automatic. And the quickest way to make an action automatic is to trigger it with something external, such as the time of day. Rather than "exercising every day," decide instead to "exercise every morning." Rather than "write a poem once a week," find a time you are more creative and productive and say "write for one hour every Sunday night," for example.

Another hard part about forming a habit is that we often feel like we don't have enough time in our day to add anything else. This makes it really difficult to carve out time for a new habit, especially something that takes time like exercising or writing. If we are not intentional about setting aside time for our new habits, they will likely be pushed to the side very quickly. Tell your family and friends about your goal to form a new habit and block off that time on your calendar. You may also need to compromise a bit to find more time in your day to keep doing the things you want to do as well as add a new habit. Personally, I love to read and it is important for me to continue reading. However, sitting down to read a paper book makes me feel like I am wasting so much time that could be used doing other things. This may be because I'm a relatively slow reader and I need complete silence to read, so the appropriate conditions are rarely met. Now, what I have started doing is listening to audiobooks instead. I can read AND do other things! I can read and drive, read and clean, read and do laundry, read and cook, read and exercise. It's been revolutionary in my life! *HappyCry* By doing this, I feel like I have more time in my day, but I really haven't lost anything, AND I'm reading more than I was before. You may be able to find a similar way to carve out time in your day to add your new habit as well as continue doing the things that you love.

Finally, if you don't find joy in doing your habit at first (most common examples are eating healthy and exercising), give yourself time to ease into it. There is no reason to push yourself full force in the beginning because then you will learn to dread the time you set aside for your habit and it is more likely to be abandoned. Go slow at first. Maybe only 10 minutes exercising instead of a full 30. Maybe start your diet by adding a salad to your normal meal or alternating "normal" and "healthy" eating days. To help you learn to love your new habit, you may also be able to pair it with something you already love. If you love cooking, learn new recipes for your new healthy eating habit. If you like music, listen while you're exercising.

To break it down, here are the strategies I mentioned in this entry and have worked for me when forming new habits:

         1. Be deliberate in your intention
         2. Trigger your habits with a specific time of day
         3. Set aside designated time for your new habit
         4. Build up slowly to avoid burnout
         5. Pair your habit with something you already enjoy

By the way, I spelled exercising so many times in this entry that I finally trained myself to spell it right on the first try! Woop woop! Habit forming right there! *Proud*
February 17, 2019 at 3:57pm
February 17, 2019 at 3:57pm
I’m currently reading Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, which is a nonfiction memoir about the author’s struggle with depression.

Tell us about some of your favorite nonfiction mental health books. Have you ever thought about writing a nonfiction mental health memoir yourself? Why or why not?

From the "Mental Health Writers Alliance

When I saw this prompt, I knew immediately the book I wanted to write about. I've been pouring myself into audiobooks recently, and this particular book is one that simply blew my socks off. I was not expecting to relate so much to the author, but her story is as real as it gets. She doesn't claim to be anything more than she is. She is imperfect, and that's ok. I wrote a more general book review linked here, but I'll take some time now to delve a little deeper into my thoughts on Hope Jahren's book, Lab Girl.

Lab Girl   (Rated: 18+)
ASIN: 1101873728
ID #113919
Product Type: Book
Reviewer: Emily
Review Rated: E
  Story Plot:
  Length of :
  Overall Quality:
Amazon's Price: $ 10.87
You Save: $ 5.13

I assume you clicked over to read the review, so I won't repeat the basic premise of the book here again. Jahren's writing style was so engrossing, it was easy to get pulled along by her tale and miss the subtle signs of her anxiety, panic, and manic depression emerging throughout the book. Jahren does a fabulous job telling her story. All of it. All of her joys. All of her fears. All of her accomplishments. And all of her struggles with mental health. At first, she does not directly call out these unhealthy emotions, choosing instead to let the reader feel them for themselves as a part of the complete story. This is not a book about mental health. It is a book about Hope Jahren. The whole of her being, including the parts that wouldn't normally make it into a book about a successful scientist.

I really appreciated how Jahren juxtaposed her analytical and obsessive passion for her work with soil and plants, with her aloof dismissal of her own psychology and the strain she was putting on herself. I related to her easily because she was afraid to seek help for fear of being shunned in the scientific community or further marginalized. Whatever problems she was having would simply have to take a back seat until the grant proposal was written, the spectrometer assembled, the research paper edited, etc. Her dedication to her work was humbling to witness, but so much more was revealed once the reader saw deeper into her pained psyche.

In addition to her wholehearted dedication to her work, I also related to Jahren for her distinct fears stemming from her gender. She was a young female scientist in a predominantly mans field. Her constant need to prove herself extended beyond her lab and into everything she did. Even when she was finally ready to start a family, she was plagued by the doubt of whether she would be a good mother. Would she be able to ever love her son as much as he deserved to be loved? Her recount of giving birth is one of the most personal and honest pieces of writing I have ever read. This is not a book full of happiness and rainbows. This is real life where things are messy. Things go wrong. And people make mistakes.

I do also have to comment on the fact that I listened to this as an audiobook where Hope Jahren herself was the narrator. I wouldn't recommend it any other way, to be honest. I do want to read the book again in paper form, but hearing it straight from the author's mouth is unlike anything. I also noticed that Matt Haig narrated the audiobook of his book as well, so I've put that on my list. I think I would probably listen to any memoir read by the author because it feels so much more intimate and personal to me. I could tell, for example, when Jahren was struggling to read the words she had written and even started tearing up. Absolutely gripping. Highly recommend. I'm excited to hear Haig tell his story.

If I were to one day write a memoir of my life, it would include elements of my mental health, but I don't believe I'm anywhere near the point in my life where I want or need to write that book. I have a lot more growth left to do and a lot more life to live. I don't know what mental health struggles are in my future, but reading the accomplishments of Jahren and her candid attitude about her mental health showed me that if and when I'm ready to write my own memoir, I'll be able to follow her lead and showcase how my mental health is a part of my life, not a director of it.
February 16, 2019 at 3:00pm
February 16, 2019 at 3:00pm
How do your surroundings affect your mental health? Does a clean or well-decorated home improve your mood at all? Are there any specific decorations in your home that lift your spirits?

Soooooo … sorry in advance for the stupidly domestic post *Laugh*

I am neither a very neat person nor a very messy person. I tend to let items accumulate or get stacked up, but I mostly always know where things are and can find them easily enough. I do get frustrated though when I can’t find something of mine when I thought I knew where it was. Maybe this is something to do with having a younger sister growing up and needing to be very possessive with my belongings. I’ve lived with my boyfriend for 2 and a half years now, and while I’m very thankful he does our laundry sometimes or puts things away in the kitchen (bless him), I get annoyed when something I use often is not returned to the place where I would have put it. I’ve become used to living alone, so I always knew where my things were. Not to mention that I’ve never had a lot of things to keep track of moving back and forth to Hawaii, but now that I’m “settling down,” I’ve had more time to accumulate more things and evidently lose track of more things.

Bf can tolerate a little more clutter than I can, and I can tolerate a little more dirt/dust than he can. It’s funny when we clean because he tends to do the sweeping, dusting, wiping, vacuuming, etc, while I tend to do the tidying up and putting clutter back where it belongs. Of course, it always happens that it’s mostly his things adding to the clutter, so I get frustrated by not knowing where to put them, knowing how upset I would get if he put my things away in places they didn’t go. So instead, we’re trying to be a good couple by switching cleaning priorities to satisfy the other person’s needs. Therefore, I do the dirt cleaning while he does the clutter cleaning. Any clutter of mine that he finds goes on my side of the bed so I can put it away myself, which works for me. However, all of his clutter he cleans up just ends up going in a random drawer or the back of the closet. *Laugh* He calls the drawers filled with random stuff his “time capsules.” Ugh … well, at least the clutter is off the counter *Wink*

Now, about these “time capsules” … It’s starting to get a bit too much for me. *Pthb* I get in these moods where I want to clean them out and donate everything or just throw it away, but I need his help to determine what is valuable to him and what isn’t. It doesn’t help that I moved into his house, so he had already been accumulating stuff before I was there and has a lot more of it. He had to build a shed for his shed since there wasn’t enough room in the first shed … Okay, point is (and I’m trying to get back to the prompt here) that clutter irks me. I get frustrated when I can’t find my stuff and when the clutter makes the house feel cramped. I get claustrophobic and have to watch something soothing like “Hoarders” to see someone else purge their stuff. I think I subconsciously feel that the space in which I live is a representation of my mind and the messiness in my house is mirrored in my mind. Cleaning up the clutter is a mental purge as well as a physical one and helps me feel calm.

I think my plan, that I just came up with right now, is to force the bf to do a spring cleaning with me. It will be too overwhelming to do the whole house at once, so we will focus on one room at a time. I’ll get out big bags for trash and donatables and we’ll work our way through the house and through every single time capsule. Like in the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, we will ask about each item: “Does it bring me joy?” If not, it goes away. The closet and bedroom are the most important to me, so we’ll probably start there. *Smile*

TLDR: For a short answer to the prompt – My surroundings, especially clutter in my house, 100% does affect my mental health as if my living space is a physical representation of my mental state. Purging clutter is cathartic. It’s not so much about the décor for me as about the accumulation of “stuff.”
February 1, 2019 at 10:56am
February 1, 2019 at 10:56am
Happy February 1st! We’ve made it through the first month of the 2019! *Bigsmile*

I had a surprisingly successful start to 2019 with regards to my writing. Before I left on my hiatus from WDC, I had been feeling a little stifled, and I wasn’t quite sure why. I’d been struggling with one story and trying to mold it into something, but it just wasn’t working for me. On WDC, I was trolling the Newsfeed, playing around on some forums, but not writing anything. My muse wasn’t fulfilled, and I felt like a writer who couldn’t write. So, when I did finally come back to WDC last August, I knew something had to change. I started slow, but then took on (and won) by first ever Nano, which really lit a fire under my ass. I was able to write something other than dry academic papers for school or reports for work. My creativity felt rejuvenated, and I was eager to keep writing after November. And the start of the new year was the perfect opportunity.

In January I wrote 14 reviews, read and wrote product reviews of 3 books, completed one "a very Wodehouse challenge, entered "The Prompt Me Contest twice and won once ("Emily's "Prompt Me Contest" Entries), entered "24 Syllables once with "We Live As Snails, entered "Tweet Me a Story once, reached Super Achiever status in the "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge, fulfilled my review crediting duties for the "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group, and administered the official month of the "30-Day Blogging Challenge. In addition, I surprised myself by writing three new pieces and entering them in contests:

On January 8th, I entered the "Plot Support - Results announced! with my short story "The Winning Color. To my surprise, it was awarded the Grand Prize and featured in the "For Authors Newsletter (January 23, 2019).

On January 17th, I entered "SugarCube's Weekly Random Contest!! with my poem "Anxiety where it won first place!

And on January 21st, I entered "Endings are the New Beginning Contest with my poem "Red Wing and just found out this morning that it won as well. *Blush*

The Winning Color  (ASR)
A defeated Queen attempts to bring a victory to her troops
#2179314 by Emily

Anxiety  (18+)
Normal is sleepless nights, caffeine jitters, and a speeding heart ...
#2180075 by Emily

Red Wing  (ASR)
Finding comfort in a solitary connection with nature.
#2180434 by Emily

Umm, holy cow *Cow*. What?! I’m honestly dumbfounded. *Laugh* Extremely thankful and appreciative, but dumbfounded! I haven’t written anything for like 5 years! This must be beginner’s luck, surely. But I’m ready to keep going in February and beyond! *Star*

I think my checklist last month really helped me stay on track and be productive, even though I didn’t get everything done. I did like seeing the check boxes fill up though, so I think I’ll do the same thing again! Monthly goals seem to be just the length of time I like to think about. Yearly goals are too long and end up being procrastinated, while my weeks are too variable for weekly goals to be much use. So, monthly goals it is! Here are mine for February:

15 for "Anniversary Reviews:
12 for "SuperTower Review Room MB Rewards:

For "The Monthly Reading Challenge and "Writing.Com Reading Challenge
*Boxcheck* "I've Got My Eyes On You" by Mary Higgins Clark
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "I've Got My Eyes on You"  
*Boxcheck* "Lab Girl" by Hope Jahren
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Lab Girl"  
*Boxcheck* "The Sixth Extinction" by Elizabeth Kolbert
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History"  
*Boxcheck* "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" by David Sedaris
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by Sedaris, David (2013) Paperback"  
*Boxcheck* "Inside of a Dog" by Alexandra Horowitz
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know"  
*Boxcheck* "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris
         *Boxcheck* Product Review: "When You Are Engulfed in Flames"  

Mental Health Writer’s Alliance Challenge: (do at least 20 Tasks)
*Boxcheck* Task #1
*Box* Task #2
*Box* Task #3
*Boxcheck* Task #4
*Boxcheck* Task #5
*Boxcheck* Task #6
*Box* Task #7
*Box* Task #8
*Box* Task #9
*Box* Task #10
*Boxcheck* Task #11
*Boxcheck* Task #12
*Boxcheck* Task #13
*Boxcheck* Task #14
*Boxcheck* Task #15
*Boxcheck* Task #16
*Boxcheck* Task #17
*Boxcheck* Task #18
*Boxcheck* Task #19
*Boxcheck* Task #20
*Boxcheck* Task #21
*Boxcheck* Task #22
*Boxcheck* Task #23
*Boxcheck* Task #24
*Box* Task #25
*Box* Task #26
*Boxcheck* Task #27
*Boxcheck* Task #28

Enter Contests:
*Boxcheck* "The Taboo Words Contest for "The Contest Challenge
*Boxcheck* "WDC Photo Contest "Something Wintry"
*Boxcheck* February "a very Wodehouse challenge
         *Boxcheck* Create a word search of 25 coffee-related words and post it the link in the newsfeed.
         *Boxcheck* Review 3 coffee-related items.
         *Boxcheck* Write a poem (12+ lines) about coffee or my favorite beverage.
         *Boxcheck* Purchase a raffle ticket for a Newbie and introduce myself.
         *Boxcheck* Perform one “random act of kindness” for a WDC member.
*Boxcheck**Box**Box* "The Prompt Me Contest at least 3 times
*Box**Box**Box* "24 Syllables at least 3 times
*Box* "Tweet Me a Story at least once
*Boxcheck* "SugarCube's Weekly Random Contest!! at least once

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Host February 14th Raid for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* February 15-17th review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* February 21-23rd review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Box* Sleep and update "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge every morning: "Emily - February Tracking"  

See you around! *Heart*

January 12, 2019 at 2:49pm
January 12, 2019 at 2:49pm
Entry in the contest:

Tweet Me a Story  (18+)
Write me a story or poem in the equivalent space of an 'old-school' tweet-140 characters.
#2040737 by Sally

Character Count: 139

She placed the gift that had been lost in his workshop for decades by his warm milk and his eyes twinkled. “Ho ho! You found my first toy!


January 12, 2019 at 2:23pm
January 12, 2019 at 2:23pm
Entry in the contest:

24 Syllables  (E)
Can you write a poem in just 24 syllables?
#2162300 by Lostwordsmith❆

Syllables: 24
Lines: 6
Prompt Word: Benthos

We live as snails
in benthos submerged -
our false shelter
from strife and shame.

In silt shells
we live as snails.


~ ~ ~
January 10, 2019 at 2:48pm
January 10, 2019 at 2:48pm
Welp, this was a toughy.

The final task in my Wodehouse challenge this month is to write about what I consider myself to be a Grandmaster of. This was hard for me, not only because I despise talking about myself or doing anything that could be construed as "bragging," but also because I am really of the mindset that no one can be a true Grandmaster of anything. There is always room for improvement, whether by yourself or by someone in the future. I mean, look at the Olympics for just one example. World records are broken again and again and again. The World Record holder is the best in that sport for that moment, until someone else breaks their record or they break it themselves. For me, I find significant value in continual improvement, and could never see myself as "the best" at something because there is always more to discover. And even when you feel like the end of discovery is near, teaching others is the next step. In short, the journey of discovery is never-ending, and I find that an extremely liberating and humble way to live.

But, of course, as this is a challenge, I am forced to write about something I have mastered to the level where others may consider me a "grandmaster." And, because this is something other's have said about me on a fair few occasions, I figured it fit the bill: My Grandmastery of Listening.

I am a private person. I like to keep my personal life contained so it doesn't distract or burden anyone else. This means I don't often (if ever) talk about my personal issues. It also makes me fully committed to listening to other people's personal troubles/traumas because I'll rarely be inclined to share my own experiences in a way that might compete with their story or dominate/shift the conversation. I'm naturally curious about their emotions/needs and willing to be an ear for them to vent to. I am honest about my perspective of their situation if they need advice, or sensitive if they just need space to air their thoughts. I'm good at being quiet. I am comfortable with silence. I like when conversations lull because you can feel the thoughts settling. Not only do I listen, but I hear (and yes, there is a difference). I am good at processing an abundance of information as it flows into my ears in bits and pieces and distilling it down to what truly matters. And at an even more basic level, I like helping people. If I can take some of your burden by simply listening when no one else will, or offering advice when others told you to cover your emotions and deal with them in isolation, I can be that person.

I like when the focus is on other people, but of course there are times where my own bottled emotions become too much and I need to get them out some way. In those cases, one of two things happens - I either cry on my bf's shoulder until I (or he) falls asleep, or I write about it. I tend to keep those thoughts close to my heart and putting them on paper is therapeutic enough for me. I wouldn't be able to share those things verbally, mostly because I know I wouldn't be articulate enough or thorough enough to express the emotion to the depth I was truly feeling it. For me, writing it out is so much more cathartic than telling someone, which would add even more stress for me. That said, I am comfortable with being on the listening side of those conversations. And, a bit selfishly, hearing other people's problems makes me feel a little more fortunate that I only have the problems I have.

I'm very non-confrontational, which I believe makes me easy to approach and talk to. It is interesting to think about this in the context of my work as well. I am basically a non-formal educator and event coordinator, which you might think would require a gregarious and outgoing personality, but I am exactly the opposite of that. I prefer to work behind the scenes setting up for events and recruiting others who are more extroverted to be the face in front of the crowd. With my position, I am good at listening to what my "clients" (for lack of a better word) are looking to gain out of an event and making that happen. I am also good at listening to people who approach a booth I am staffing to understand where they are coming from, and what they value so I can meet them with an appropriate message and level of knowledge for their understanding.

So, I guess that's enough blabbering on about that. If you see this as an open invitation to spill your guts to a random stranger on the internet, please feel free. Maybe not in the comments though ... *Laugh*
January 8, 2019 at 6:02pm
January 8, 2019 at 6:02pm
For the second to last task in my Wodehouse Challenge, I’ve been asked to explore five things I wish I could be a Grandmaster of. With so many endless possibilities to choose, it seemed impossible to narrow it down to just five! But as I got thinking about it more, I found I could fairly easily categorize the things I was coming up with into one of three categories, which I will lay out for you now. The first category would be things that are simply beyond the realm of possibility. Of course I would want to be a Grandmaster of talking to animals or teleportation if those things were possible, but since they are not, I’ll force myself to move on.

The second category includes skills/fields/talents that would give me more satisfaction from the act of learning them than by being able to do them right off the bat. The act of practicing and perfecting one’s abilities in these things creates the joy of accomplishment once you finally do achieve them. All sports or physical talents/abilities fall into this category along with solving puzzles, reading dense books, and writing. If you could just all of a sudden do those things at the top level without needing any practice, you wouldn’t know enough about the struggle to get there to feel the appropriate level of fulfillment.

So then, what sorts of things are there left to want to be a Grandmaster of? They have to be things that normal humans can feasibly do, but things that I would find too terribly painful/boring to put in the time needing to learn them. What things would simply be good to know how to do well without needing any practice?

The first one came to me right away: I would love to be an instant Grandmaster in social interactions, especially small talk. As a classic introvert, I often struggle in group gatherings/parties where I’m forced to make small talk with people I hardly know. I find myself standing among a group of people who are talking to each other while I remain silent, or even worse, standing alone. *Pthb* I would seriously love to have the skills to be able to chat easily with people and not feel or sound awkward. My grandmother is a Grandmaster of small talk, and I envy her for it. I think part of her mastery comes from her vast knowledge of the world, which is where the second thing I want to be a Grandmaster of comes from.

It would be great to be like my grandmother and have an anecdote to share about any topic in any situation with any type of person. I would love to know more about history, the arts, religion, politics, and world cultures in general. I do not consider myself very worldly, but I think it would be valuable to have that knowledge base in any number of different situations. If I could be a Grandmaster of culture without needing to live my whole life first, I would do it, but as it is now, I suspect I’ll learn those things slowly over time until I too am the encyclopedia my grandma is.

The third thing I would like to be a Grandmaster of ties in with the culture idea as well. I have always struggled so much to learn languages, but think other languages are so beautiful and would love to be a Grandmaster of speaking different languages. I learned a bit of Spanish and German in school, but nothing really stuck. In addition to those two, I would like to know how to speak Chinese and Hawaiian fluently, and as many others as this little fantasy would allow. Oh! American Sign Language would be high on the list as well. With my volunteer gig at a service dog training facility, there are always opportunities to help out more by signing for people at events or trainings, but I’ve never been able to help.

The next thing I would like to be able to know how to do without having to put in the effort is how to invest in the Stock Market. This has always been something I felt was so beyond me and would take too much of my mental capacity, and so have never tried to learn. I feel I don’t have the patience to learn it right, and would risk making a mistake, but if I knew how to do it correctly without ending up in catastrophic failure, it would be a lucrative endeavor. So, a Grandmaster of stocks is number four.

Finally, I would want to be a Grandmaster of medicine, including on humans and animals, and specifically in emergency situations. I knew I never wanted to be a doctor or vet because of the bodily fluids involved and the smell (no one ever talks about the smell). I couldn’t force myself to spend the time to learn how to care for someone or an animal that is critically ill or has a major injury. In my worst-case-scenario brain, I imagine what I would do if I were ever in that situation where my actions could save someone, but I didn’t know what to do to help. Thinking about that freaks me out, so if I could be a Grandmaster of emergency medicine, I think that would calm my nerves and assure me I would be able to help in a dire situation like that.

If you’re game, what’s one thing you would want to be a Grandmaster of? Tell me about it in the comments *Bigsmile*

This post was inspired by "a very Wodehouse challenge. The other two items I created for the challenge are here:

The Winning Color  (ASR)
A defeated Queen attempts to bring a victory to her troops
#2179314 by Emily

Grandmasters Through History  (E)
A brief summary of five notable chess Grandmasters
#2179334 by Emily
January 2, 2019 at 11:24am
January 2, 2019 at 11:24am
Well! Happy 2019, everybody! We made it! *Laugh*

I think it’s important at the start of anything to reflect back on how you got to that point. It helps to put things in perspective, which I find especially helpful since I tend to worry about small stuff and get stuck in the difficulties of the “now,” but forget the strength I’ve had to overcome the difficulties of the past. So, I saw someone else do this, and I liked it enough to do it myself *Smile* Condensing a year into only a few sentences is hard enough, but it also forces you to pick out the most important moments that shaped your story. Below is my paragraph reflection on 2018.

*Lightning3* *Lightning2* *Lightning3*

I started off 2018 in an internship making $5 an hour, working like a mad-woman to prove myself and build myself a position with the organization. It was more work than I thought I could handle, but I relied on my strengths and was honest with myself, which led to me proving myself valuable enough to be hired in September into the position I created. Now, at 24, I hold the position title of Coordinator working at the intersection of my community and the environment, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Outside of work, my year has been intellectually fulfilling with taking graduate classes online, jumping back into WDC, and completing my first ever NaNoWriMo novel. I am also very proud of myself for losing 20lbs in the last three months. Overall, words that characterize my 2018 are: perseverance, engagement, grit, ingenuity, honesty, and growth.

Here’s to an even better 2019!

*Lightning3* *Lightning2* *Lightning3*

And now, to start my year off on a good foot, I’ve got some goals for January!

*Xr* 15 for "Anniversary Reviews (8/15 done)
*Boxcheck* 12 for "SuperTower Review Room MB Rewards
*Boxcheck* 10 for "The Contest Review Challenge
*Boxcheck* 10 for "SugarCube's Weekly Random Contest!!

*Boxcheck* “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold
         *Boxcheck* Write Product Review for "The Monthly Reading Challenge: "A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There"  
*Boxcheck* “A Jar of Hearts" by Jennifer Hillier
         *Boxcheck* Write Product Review for "The Monthly Reading Challenge: "Jar of Hearts"  
*Boxcheck* “A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking
         *Boxcheck* Write Product Review for "The Monthly Reading Challenge: "A Brief History of Time"  

Enter Contests:
*BoxCheck* "Plot Support - Results announced! or "Open Expression: A Poetry Contest for January "The Contest Challenge
*Boxcheck* "Endings are the New Beginning Contest for August "The Contest Challenge
*Boxcheck* January "a very Wodehouse challenge
         *Boxcheck* Blog entry about what I am a grandmaster of
         *Boxcheck* Blog entry about what I want to be a grandmaster of
         *Boxcheck* 500 word summary of five grandmasters in history
         *Boxcheck* Story/poem using chess pieces as characters
*Xr* "Dear Me: Official WDC Contest
*Boxcheck**Boxcheck**Xr* "The Prompt Me Contest at least 3 times
*Boxcheck**Xr**Xr* "24 Syllables at least 3 times
*Boxcheck* "Tweet Me a Story at least once
*Boxcheck* "SugarCube's Weekly Random Contest!! at least once

Continue Regular Commitments:
*Boxcheck* Jan 16-18 review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* Jan 19-20 Raid review crediting for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
*Boxcheck* Sleep and update "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge every morning: "Emily - Sign up and Tracking for January"  
*Boxcheck* General administration, prompting, and judging for the "30-Day Blogging Challenge

*rainbow**Rainbowr* Here I come, 2019!

December 6, 2018 at 4:40pm
December 6, 2018 at 4:40pm
Well, so much for my plan to blog every day in December *Laugh* I knew I had to get in here today though 'cause a couple super awesome fantabulous things happened! *Proud*

I started this paragraph a million different ways, but none seemed quite right so all are now lost in the ether of deleted words. I wanted to convey how fulfilling my first ever Nano experience was, but every time I wrote it, it sounded like bragging, which was not my intention. I was the slacker of my team after all! It was really Carol and Jayne who pulled the Black Team to word count victory in the Nano Write-o-Thon, and Jeff who pushed me to write more than I thought I could. It was my team that pulled through and dragged me onto the winner's podium with them. And that is what made my first Nano experience one to remember. Thank you for helping me reach my goal, and contributing to such a successful fundraiser! *Heartt* Read the full stats here: "*Graph*2018 Results"  

But now, with Nano over and the first week of December almost gone as well, I need to start getting back to my normal routine! A la Elle, here is my goals list for December:

*BoxCheck* Announce "30-Day Blogging Challenge November winners on Dec 7th
*Boxcheck* SuperPower Reviewers review crediting for Dec 6-8
*Boxcheck* Review crediting for Dec 12th Raid
*Boxcheck* Review crediting for Dec 13-15
*Boxcheck* Update my "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge tally every day
*Boxcheck* Secret Santa from Dec 12-24
*Boxcheck* Clean up email
*Boxcheck* "The Contest Challenge
*Boxcheck* Reviews for "Anniversary Reviews and "SuperTower Review Room MB Rewards

Speaking of reviewing ... SM surprised me in my inbox yesterday with this:

Merit Badge in Good Deeds
[Click For More Info]

Congratulations, you won  1st Place  in the  August 2018  round of  [Link To Item #gooddeeds] !

Never ever have I been more surprised by something happening to be on this site. I was truly bowled over! I guess I had always seen Good Deeds as something other people won, but never me. I still don't think it has fully sunk in *Laugh* But now I'm totally ready to shower my "Secret Santa 2018 with oodles of Christmas goodies! *Cool*

Funny note about winning Good Deeds: I told my bf I had won actual money on here and he said, "How?" I said: "By sending good reviews." And he said: "What if you sent bad reviews?" And I was like: *Think* "Well ... I wouldn't have won then, silly!" lol!

*Pthb* Anyway, I'm off to sleep off this cold. Ta-ta!

December 1, 2018 at 7:25pm
December 1, 2018 at 7:25pm

December 1st Prompt
What are your thoughts on snow?

The first experience with snow that I remember was sledding down a fairly large hill with my dad when I was 5 or 6. Most of this is reconstructed from what other people have told me, but as I understand it, we were hurtling down this big hill, me in the front part of the sled, and him behind. I remember my eyes streaming with tears because of the cold air whipping into them, but I wanted to keep them open because it was exciting but terrifying at the same time. Then, I saw this tree coming up ahead. I heard this crunching sound behind me and then the sled felt a lot lighter as it continued straight for the tree. I heard someone yell, "Turn!" and then I had a face-full of bark and a bruised forehead. I was angry at my dad for bailing, but he was actually trying to turn the sled and lost his grip. I didn't sled again after that. Well ... that's not entirely true. I made one exception:

After my traumatic experience with the tree, my family moved us to Hawaii where my formative years took place. We didn't move because of the tree incident, but I was still thankful for this because snow was a far way away at the end of a journey up a mountain. I remember it being an all-day adventure just to see three inches of snow. We brought our boogie boards so we could sled down the hill by the observatories. It was usually a once a year excursion simply because it was so difficult to get up there. We had to borrow a neighbor's 4 wheel drive truck, drive 2 hours and then wait for 30 minutes at the visitor center to get acclimated to the low oxygen, then drive the rest of the way to the top on a road I remember as being terribly treacherous. We had to bring all of the warm clothes we owned and layer rain coats on top of sweaters on top of sweatshirts since of course no one there owned any winter gear. It was a blast though. It was mostly fun just for the experience of seeing snow, but of course we brought our boards up there for a reason. Kids would rip down rocky hills covered only with a few inches of ice, but I was mostly too nervous to try for myself (remember the last time I was on a sled). Eventually, after a few years watching other kids do it, I decided it would be my year to try as well. I went all in - running start and everything. I hit the slope, belly down on my board and careened down the hill. About halfway down, I could tell the snow started to thin out and I tried to stop, but of course the momentum was too much. I felt a big bump under the sled, dislodging my grip, and I tumbled the rest of the way down the hill. I ripped both knees in my pants, got a healthy gash in my hand, and tore a huge rip in the bottom of the boogie board. It had evidently hit a sizable chunk of lava rock (a'a), but from that day on, my Dad said the board got that way from a shark attack.

Now, I no longer live in Hawaii and am back in a place with snow, which involves adult activities like shoveling, auto-starting the car, and putting booties on the dog so she doesn't get frostbitten. I know you may call me crazy, but I actually enjoy shoveling. It is cathartic in a way, and it feels good to be working hard but not getting too hot (which is the main thing I have against working out in general). I also recently bought a new car that handles like a dream in the snow and ice, so that makes driving enjoyable rather than stressful as it had been. And watching the dog bound through the snow is what pure joy looks like. Plus hot cocoa and fuzzy socks. *Heartt* Yeh, I don't mind winter. *Snow2*


In other news ... What's up?! I'm back at this blogging thing! Nano was obviously crazy busy, but I'm so thankful I finished my word count, and finished the book! It is so so far from being readable in any way, shape, or form, but it exists! I really need to give it some space before trying to edit though. I found that in writing it, I often neglected the sensory details, so those will need to be added later, and took several liberties with transitions. I needed to get my characters from one place to the next, and didn't want to take the time I should have to do to properly, but again, that's something I can add after. The main thing I'm proud of is that the skeleton is there and I reached the word count goal I had set for myself. *Proud* Pretty proud of that! (My pretty graph is below *Bigsmile*) It was crazy to me though how some bloggers in the Official 30DBC last month actually won Nano and blogged every day! Y'all are crazy! I'm jealous of how you did that. About the 30DBC though - if you're reading this, I'll get the winners announced by Friday, Dec. 7th. Jim and I are compiling the scores this weekend. *Smile*

Take care all! I hope to be writing in here more often now *Heartt*
November 12, 2018 at 9:44pm
November 12, 2018 at 9:44pm
Holy crap, dudes. I only freaking did it! I have been so stressed out these past two weeks trying to keep up with all my commitments, but this weekend in finally did it! I finished all my assignments for both of my online classes! *Proud* {e:happydance} The first one was due on the 18th, and the other class was due on the 20th, but I finished all 4 outstanding assignments this weekend so I wouldn't have to stress over them any more! God damn, I'm super super happy about having that off my plate! That means I'm halfway done with my Certificate as well! *Bigsmile* Aaaaannnnd, I've managed to keep up with Nano on top of all that too. Whew *Smile* Time for some hot chocolate to celebrate.

See ya!
November 6, 2018 at 5:51pm
November 6, 2018 at 5:51pm
Entry in the contest:

24 Syllables  (E)
Can you write a poem in just 24 syllables?
#2162300 by Lostwordsmith❆

Syllables: 24
Lines: 5
Prompt Word: Stymie
*Trophyg* 11/7/2018 Winning Entry!

To not vote
is passive acceptance
of your minimized voice
and progress
stymied by ignorance


~ ~ ~
October 28, 2018 at 12:36pm
October 28, 2018 at 12:36pm
Just wanted to take a quick second to pop in here to mention the successes I had today:

I finished the last Nano Octo Prep assignment!
I finished my Nano Outline
I reached 50,000 words for October
I wrote and submitted my second to last assignment for one of my online classes
and I made a poll for the people to decide what I should name my Nano book

Woop woop! *Proud*
October 22, 2018 at 10:35am
October 22, 2018 at 10:35am
As my days have gotten significantly busier, by no one’s fault other than my own, I figured I’d take a minute to write about it, thus further procrastinating doing all the things that are keeping me busy! *Laugh* In all honesty though, I’m feeling really motivated. Busy in a good way! I also want to do this to look ahead a little bit and see how my days will be filled in November with NaNo and the 30DBC. I like to have my time planned so I don’t forget anything and ensure I have time to complete all my commitments. And also, just an fyi – I likely will not be blogging as much in November. You’ll probably see why after you read this entry. Also (last “also,” I promise), this post may be TMI, but whatever … *Pthb*

This is a typical Monday/Wednesday/Friday in November:
5:45am – wake up to alarm and lie in bed checking WDC for a few minutes
6:00am – get up and make breakfast, pack lunch for work, and put away the dishes from last night
6:15am – eat breakfast while watching YouTube
6:30am – 10-minute mini workout
6:40am – brush teeth, wash face, brush hair, get dressed
7:10am – load dishwasher with anything left in the sink
7:20am – feed and water dog and let her outside
7:30am – drive to work
8:00am – work …
4:30pm – drive home
5:00pm – make dinner and eat
6:00pm – clean kitchen
6:15pm – settle on the couch to write while man watches TV (try for a solid hour of writing)
7:30pm – relax with a bit of TV (while checking WDC…)
9:00pm – shower + brush teeth
9:20pm – evening WDC prowl, post 30DBC prompt
9:30pm – sleep

Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I don’t work I have to focus on maintaining my volunteer responsibilities, catching up on writing (I will get in my 50K word count!), and working on my online grad school classes. I’ve currently completed one, am about halfway through another one, and the third begins on October 24th. So, my Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the weekend will be my days to focus on classwork, keep the house tidy-ish, attempt to be “host-like” at the 30DBC by putting out any fires and collecting the judges scores, and maintain some sort of relationship with the man I’m living with. Ha! I think he understands … *Think* I just better end up with a novel at the end of this to prove I wasn’t wasting my time.

Some of my other goals these coming months are:

*Bullet* Drink at least 2000mL/64oz of water every day
*Bullet* Stick to my new diet/workout plan (alternate high carb and low carb days and 10 minutes of HIIT workout every Mon/Wed/Fri morning)
*Bullet* Maintain my hygiene routine … this can get left by the wayside if one is not careful, but I will remember to wash my face and brush my teeth twice a day *Laugh*
*Bullet* Find time to continue reviewing for Anniversary Reviews and the Contest Review Challenge and continue entering contests for the Scoundrel and the Contest Challenge
*Bullet* Continue to engage on WDC, lol! *Laugh* Auctions, Raffles, all the fun stuff
*Bullet* Continue Captain duties with the SuperPower Reviewers

And this doesn’t even go into work tasks, but that is a whole different world.

So, if you’re reading this because you want to know why I’m not around as much, there you have it. Please email me if there is anything I’ve forgotten to do – I only have so much brain capacity, lol! *Rolling* Give a sister a hand? *Angelic*

See ya around (maybe?)

October 20, 2018 at 2:16pm
October 20, 2018 at 2:16pm
The final task of my "a very Wodehouse challenge this round is to write a blog post about my experience with, interest in, and impressions of the horror genre, and I have to say, this month was the perfect month for this challenge to come my way.

Prior to this month, my experience with horror was largely non-existent. I knew I didn't like horror movies, so I assumed I would also dislike horror writing. I even had in my Review page for a while that I would not review in the Horror/Scary genre. However, I did have one horror piece I had written several years back still hanging out in my portfolio ("Pet Me, Master) from when I wrote it back in my freshman year of college. Out of the blue, a certain "Prince of Horror" on this site gave me a lovely review for it and slapped it with a handsome awardicon, which made me all giddy inside. I was thrilled someone actually liked that bit of horror I had written, but it was literally the only piece I had ever written in that genre, so I didn't know if I could do it again. It felt like a one hit wonder, if you know what I mean. But then again, I had never even tried.

So, I promised Angus I would try to enter his Halloween Screams Contest this month, but didn't know if I would be able to fit it in, especially with October Nano Prep. But then, as if it were fate, my Wodehouse Challenge was Horror themed! *Laugh* I mean, I guess I didn't have a choice now. I set up my favorite writing spot, dog curled at my side, and steeled myself to write a horror short story for Angus's contest. My fingers hovered over the keyboard, but nothing spilled out. I had zero ideas. How the heck was I supposed to write a horror story if not a single idea came to mind? Okay, new plan. I figured I could start with the other components of the challenge and get those done first and then come back to the short story. That was less intimidating.

As part of the challenge, besides entering a horror contest, I was asked to complete ten reviews, write five product reviews, welcome two newbies interested in horror, and write this blog post. Around work and school and October Prep, I found time to do the reviews, the product reviews (my first ever), and welcome a couple new members, but still that dang short story was looming over my head. I knew I was already too deep and couldn't back out of the challenge now, so I had to give it a real try.

It was last night when I started drafting my little story. Coming up with an idea was hard in itself, but I relied on the one thing I knew about horror - real life is what really freaks me out. Ghosts and demons and paranormal stuff aren't for me, so I knew I had to stay in the real world and in the realm of the possible. Through my reviewing, I also learned that I enjoyed horror where the reader starts getting creeped out thinking one thing is going to happen, but then something else happens that's even more gross than they were expecting. Through my research into horror (mostly just trying to get ideas for what to write), I came across another notion as well that apparently works well in horror - if you make the reader believe the character made a mistake and is about to be caught or found out, that is another great way to build the tension for the ultimate reveal at the end.

I tried to incorporate all those elements and ended up with this story:

Halloween Happy Hour  (18+)
Neighbors enjoy a Halloween potluck, but someone is mysteriously missing
#2172488 by Emily

It's only my second time writing horror, so I'd really appreciate any comments, especially from experienced horror writers!

And so, with the posting of this blog entry, I've come to the conclusion of my very first Wodehouse Challenge! *Bigsmile*

You can see the links to my completed challenges here: "Emily's Wodehouse Challenges!

Thank you to Angus for your encouragement to continue writing horror, to Jeff for offering this horrible challenge and your beautiful badge, and to iKïyå§ama for including it as a Wodehouse Challenge and enticing me to choose Comrade Butt! *Laugh* *Bigsmile* *Salute*


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