Reading Nooks and Writing Spaces I Wish I Had

A reading nook and my own writing space is something that I have wanted for a long time. Since I am living with my grandmother, there is not any place that I can make a reading nook. Well, there is a back bedroom, but that’s the guest bedroom. Not that we get many guests, but it’s a hot box back there year round. Plus when I suggested using it as an office before my grandma wasn’t too crazy about the idea.

Mainly my writing office is in my room. I use a big table that takes up a lot of space because my desk from my parent’s house broke. I planned on getting an actual desk, but then my grandparents got me this huge TV for my room. Which was nice, but it does fill the table. Especially with my printer on there as well.

Hanging it on the wall is out of the question because there are two windows there. I suppose I could move my bed to where the windows are, but the problem with that is there is a radiator there. Even if I turn the radiator off it still radiates heat. Plus we have noisy neighbors on the side where the windows are.

Anyway, I’m rambling on here. Haha. My main point is when I get my own place I’d like to have a reading nook and a writing office. Preferably separate rooms for each, but I’d be happy with having them to same room if I had too.

What am I looking for in a reading nook? I am looking for a room that I can fill with bookshelves. I would also like to have a window seat with a beautiful view. A plush comfy couch and a lazy boy. Maybe a few cool paintings and some book posters.

What am I looking for in a writing space? A good level desk with drawers. A comfy chair that provides excellent back support and comfy. A couple of bookshelves so that books surround me. A drawing board where I can map out ideas. A medium-sized conference table for when I’m editing and need to see the layout of my book right in front of me. A big bay window with a window seat in case I need to take a moment and think. And a lock on the door in case I’m on a deadline or don’t want to be bothered.

Here are some reading nooks and writing spaces that I found to be unique and cozy.

*I do not own the rights to any of these images. Images from Pinterest and Bookbub.

Having an ideal reading and writing space is good for creativity and getting away from life. Do you have any dreams of perfect reading nooks and writing spaces? Or do you have an ideal reading nook and writing space?

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Reading Challenge

I’ve always enjoyed reading challenges. Anything to facilitate more reading is something that I am on board with. For the past few years, I have done the Goodreads book challenge. Two years back I also tried out the PopSugar book challenge.   In school, my favorite reading challenge was The Reading Hero’s challenge. Not just because I won an iPod and a Border’s gift card, but because I got to read a lot of cool stuff.

I did a Google search on reading challenges and found the four of most popular reading challenges. Here they are:

1) Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

This is an excellent book challenge for reader’s who like to read more stimulating books. Examples of this challenge include a book published posthumously, a romance novel by or about a person of color, a book with a cover you hate, and a one-sitting book. For more information on this challenge visit https://bookriot.com/2017/12/15/book-riots-2018-read-harder-challenge/

2) The 2018 POPSUGAR challenge

The purpose of this challenge is to read books in various genres. It pushes readers to read outside of their normal bounds. Some examples from this challenge are A book with the time of day in the title, a book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym, a book with song lyrics in the title, and a bestseller from the year you graduated high school. For more information on this challenge visit: https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Reading-Challenge-2018-44138581

3) Goodreads 2018 reading challenge

This one is just simply setting a goal of how many books you would like to read within the year of 2018. It isn’t as challenging as some of the other ones, but it’s a good way to keep track of what you read. Plus you get to choose what you want to read. For more information on this challenge visit: https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/show/7501-2018-reading-challenge

4) Bookish’s 2018 Reading Challenge

This challenge is much like the book riot one. It challenges readers to read things that they have never read before. It also gives you the opportunity to read books you otherwise may not have read. Some examples include a book with moon or stars on the cover, a book with a five-word title, a book whose title begins with K, Q, J, X, or Z, and a book inspired by Asian mythology or folklore. For more information on this challenge visit: https://www.bookish.com/articles/bookishs-2018-reading-challenge/

In addition to these four, there are eight more challenges out there that I saw. If you are interested in what other challenges are out there visit: https://www.bookbub.com/blog/2018/01/19/best-2018-reading-challenges-for-adults.

There are some exciting book challenges on there including the four that I mentioned above. You can also google search challenges because I am sure there are a ton out there.

Currently, I am only doing the Goodreads book challenge. But next year I would like to try out some of the other book challenges. For this year’s challenge, I plan to read ten books. So far I have read seven books:

1) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

2) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway

3) Able Muse vol. 20 (Journal)

4) A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

5) Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder

6) The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

7) The Cruel Prince by Holly Black 

Right now I am reading book number 8 by Sabaa Tahir. I am hoping to add five more books to that challenge for next year. In high school, it was easier for me to read more. Once you hit college though it gets harder. And now that I’m working I have to divide my time between writing, reading, and tending to kittens.

If I had to pick a favorite book that I have read so far, I would say that it’s a tie between The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Both authors will be coming out with sequels next year which I am excited for.

What about you fellow readers and writers? What are you reading right now? Are you participating in any book challenges this year? Do you have a set reading goal?

Where Do You See Yourself A Year From Now?

I always hated this kind of questions. Especially when we had to fill it out for school. Although, at school, it was usually five or ten years. The one I hated the most was was the letter you send to your future self. Mainly because none of it really came true. Then again it was just the musings of an 8th grader. Most of the stuff I included was pretty unrealistic. Guess that goes to show how big of an imagination I have.

It’s hard to meter out where you would like yourself to be five or ten years into the future. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Or you break your back trying to accomplish it. Not that doing that is necessarily a bad thing. It’s just when you do that sometimes you forget to live life.

That being said it is good to have goals to work toward. Just don’t work yourself too deep into the ground. The whole point is to enjoy doing what you do.

Instead of speculating on where I hope to be in five to ten years I am just going to think about where I hope to see myself a year from now. Since a year does go by pretty quickly, I am going to set myself some realistic goals.

A year from now I hope to:

  1. Have finished my final draft of Anarchy and saved up enough money to send it off to an editor.
  2. Found a full-time job with benefits and vacation.
  3. Begin working on my next writing project.
  4. Have met a nice guy and finally have a serious boyfriend.
  5. Have lost some weight, so my pants don’t feel as tight anymore. (And to tone up my muscles).

All realistic goals which I believe I can accomplish within a year. Scratch that. I will complete these goals within a year. What about you my fellow followers? Where do you hope to be a year from now? What goals to hope to have accomplished?

Why I Write

The other day I saw an Instagram post where a writer recorded the reasons why she writes on a poster board. It got me thinking as to why I write. Here are the reasons why I write:

1) I write because it allows me to pour my emotions on paper and sort through them.
2) I write because there are all these stories swirling around in my mind.
3) I write because it makes me feel less alone and I want to share my writing with others who have also felt alone.
4) I write because it breathes life into my world when I feel as if I am drowning.
5) I write because I want to keep the magic alive for my readers.
6) I write because it is the only thing I can do and the only thing I want to do.
7) I write because I want to be heard and understood.
8) I write because it allows me to explore different avenues within myself.

Writing is something that I cannot live without. It has woven itself deep within my soul and body. It’s an itch that I must scratch no matter where I am.

Yes, at times writing may frustrate me, and I will think I am a terrible writer, but in the end, I persevere. Writing has made me a much stronger person, and it has helped me become independent. It allows me to explore different sides of myself.

Plus interacting with my characters can be much more fun than interacting with people. It gives me the freedom to say what I want and not have to worry about whether someone will judge me for it.

Without writing, I do not think I would have come so far in life. It’s a part of me that will never die. Right now I may only be an amateur author, but I’m getting closer to working toward publishing it. My goal is to be able to send my novel to an editor within a year. I’m still researching different independent publishing companies and hoping to have a job which will allow me to pay for the expenses that come with being a writer and publishing a novel.

Destinies, Prophecies, and Fates

Destinies, prophecies, and fates tend to be like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you may be destined to become Queen or King and bring upon a golden rule. On the other hand, you may also be fated never to have an heir. Or have that greatness you created come crumbling down.

There are always upsides and downsides to prophecies. At least that is what I have gathered from TV shows and books.

For example, let’s take a look at A Game of Thrones. When Cersei is a young girl, a witch tells her that she will become Queen. She will also have three children who will be crowned but will die shortly afterward. Not only does she find out she will be queen and have three children, but she learns that she will lose all of them. How terrible is that to know that you will outlive your children?

Then, of course, there is the prophecy of a Prince promised which Melisandre initially thought to be Stannis. Of course, after he died, she realized that was not the case. Then she thought the Prince was Jon until he banished her after he found out she killed Stannis’s daughter. Which led her to come across Daenerys believe Daenerys is the promised Prince. Then it turned into both Jon and Daenerys having a vital part to play in the Great War.

The above example shows how misconstrued a prophecy can be. Especially if the one sent on a mission to aid the person of prophecy has no clue who they are backing. You would think The Lord of Light would have provided more of a hint rather than sending his daughters out blindly.

Another excellent example of a double-edged prophecy is seen in the manga/anime series Fushigi Yugi. A high school girl named Miaka goes through the pages of a book where she finds out that her destiny is to become the Priestess of Suzaku. As the priestess, she must find the seven Suzaku warriors so that the ceremony to summon the god of Suzaku. Once she summons the god, she is allowed three wishes. After all three wishes are granted, she will be devoured by the god.

Her best friend Yui who originally came through the book with her the first time and then sent back ends up returning to find her friend. She is captured by A Seiryu warrior which is the enemy of Suzaku. He believes she is the priestess of their country. Through a series of misunderstandings and jealousy over a boy the girls end up becoming enemies.

Imagine that. You and your friend get to travel inside of a book which is every reader’s dream. Only to end up on opposing sides and fighting over a boy who is a fictional character. Not only that but they get to make three wishes just to be devoured by the god that they summoned. That’s a lot of pressure for high school girls!

As you can see destinies, prophecies, and fates aren’t always what they are cracked up to be. Sure you may get something useful like a crown, recognition, or three wishes. But, what good is that if you end up dying in the end? Especially before you can enjoy all that you have worked hard for. Sure you may be helping out a lot of people, but it kind of sucks. Of course, in some books, it all works out in the end. But then there are books like Game of Thrones which most likely will leave a lot of heartbreak.

What are your thoughts on destinies, prophecies, or fates? Would you want to know what the future holds in store for you even if there is a darkness that goes along with it? If you did know would you try and change it or make the most of what time you do have left?

Taking A Breather

Hey all,

Apologies for not posting anything yesterday. This week has been such an odd week for me. The previous week I was dealing with the stomach flu. I managed to shake it off by eating some Pho soup from the Vietnamese Garden. It was delicious and the first thing I could eat without feeling sick.

This week I felt better, but still somewhat weighed down. My body was still kind of sore, and I felt worn out. Knowing that it was my last week working at Revenue, I felt somewhat relieved. I suspect the reason for my feeling sick and unwell was from spending too much time in a warehouse that was dusty and had no circulation.

Thursday was supposed to be my dad’s surgery. So I took the day off work. Then we found out that it was just a pre-op appointment. I was grateful to have the day off of work but disappointed in losing out on the money. Especially since I didn’t have another job lined up. Having that day off was enjoyable. My dad and I had a lovely lunch and went on a walk. Then we started watching Castle Rock which is an odd show.

By the time Friday rolled around which was my last day I had completely run out of steam. Since most of the work in my office was pretty much finished, we worked on documents which consisted of hitting enter all day. Very tedious work. I would not mind it so much if there were a variety of things to do that didn’t involve being on the computer all day.

After work, my co-worker and I celebrated our freedom by going to The Broad Street Market. Then we got a blizzard from Dairy Queen which wasn’t so great, but then again most things in Harrisburg aren’t that great. If you want good food and treats it’s best to go to Enola, Camp Hill, or Mechanicsburg. Afterward, we hung out a bit at my house, and she got to play with the kittens.

By the time we were finished hanging out, I was too exhausted to do anything. I had little motivation. My body pretty much led me to my bed. I spent the rest of the night finishing up the season finale of Shameless. Then I watched the first two episodes of Picnic at Hanging Rock. The central star of the show is Natalie Dormer who is a great actress. I loved her as Anne Boleyn The Tudors. I did enjoy her characterization in Game of Thrones. However, I thought they could have done more with her character.

This morning it was so nice to sleep in, and for once when I woke up, I wasn’t dragging my body around. My main plan for today is to do my laundry and work on my novel. Taking a break from my book for two days helped me muddle through what was lacking in the chapter I wrote on Wednesday. Right now I’m sitting on my bed with two candles lit and ready to get down to business.

What is everyone else’s plans for today? Hard to do much when the weather is dreary and threatening rain. Unless it’s sunny where you live which is awesome. It’d be nice to take a dip in the pool after a hard days work of writing or go on a hike. But, I suppose there will be other days.

Oh, I almost forgot. I have another job assignment on Wednesday. It’s set for about two months with the Department of Labor and Industry. I am glad I called the clerical pool and stressed how much I needed a job sooner than later. I don’t want to miss a payment on my student loans or my car payment. I do have a nice cushion of money in my savings. Still, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

A bit nervous about starting at a new place and meeting new people. Hopefully, nicer people are working there than at Revenue. I’m also crossing my fingers to hear back about a full-time position. Ideally one with parking included. I don’t mind taking the bus for the job I’m about to go into. It’s a real drag paying $46 bucks a month when the driving distance is only about six minutes from my house. I would walk, but it’s about a half hour walk, and I’m supposed to be wearing nice clothes. The last thing I want to do is show up to work sweaty.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good Saturday and seize the day!

The Bright Side

As a person who has struggled with anxiety and depression for quite some time, it can be hard to look on the bright side. Especially when things hit you all at once. Over the past two years, I learned to take certain events in my life in stride. More specifically I learned to let go of certain things that I cannot control.

Last Thursday I learned that my temporary position as a tax season clerk would be coming to an end this Friday. Hard to believe I’ve only been working there for six months. It feels longer. I’m not too broken up about it because I had my fair share of issues there. Mainly concerning the high school like rules. Then there was also some drama with co-workers. But rather than confront them or tell them off like I did in high school I just ignored them. It saddens me to see grown women acting like children.

Then there is the fact that I work in a warehouse there and all I do is key in data all day. I wouldn’t mind it so much if we did a variety of things that involved standing versus sitting all day. And there is the fact that I’ve been fighting a cold since the time I arrived there. And more recently suffered the stomach flu. I know offices can be breeding grounds for sickness, but the place is barely cleaned. And there is no circulation at all.

Sure we get two fifteen minute breaks and a half hour lunch, but it’s barely enough time to recover from staring at a screen for seven and a half hours. But, it wasn’t all bad. My supervisor was a charming woman and looked out for me. Plus I did manage to make a few friends who are temps like I am.

In total, I think I have been on 20+ interviews. At first, when I didn’t hear anything back or got rejected, I became discouraged. But then at some point once I figured out how the system worked within the state I learned how to hold my head up high.

In all honesty, working at the state is not something that I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s just not for me. But with student loan payments, car payments, and health insurance payments I don’t have much of a choice. Plus I’d like to move out of my grandma’s house in the next two years.

Currently, I am waiting to see if the clerical pool can put me somewhere until I can find a full-time position. There are still a few places I haven’t heard from yet. Instead of wallowing this week and fretting over finding a job I’m going to relax. Most likely I will be out of work for a week or two at the most until they can assign me somewhere.

I honestly would not mind having a week off to rest and recuperate. It will also give me a chance to work on my writing and do a deep cleaning of my room. I can also help take care of my dad who is going in for surgery on Thursday. He got into a car accident about a year ago, and the impact turned some of the bones on his spine backward. Hopefully, the surgery will go well.

Well, that’s all I have for now. Hope everyone had a good weekend and is enjoying their Monday night.

Top 3 Distractions That I Face While I’m Writing and How I Deal With Them

I have yet to meet a writer who does not get distracted easily. If there is one out there then more power to you! It takes me at least twenty minutes before I can get in the zone and put aside my distractions. Sometimes more if I am feeling extra lazy or trying to win something in a game.

Distraction #1 My cellphone

When I received my first smartphone, I was in awe at the thought of being able to check my e-mail while on the go. That and it was nice to be able to listen to music and drone out the noise of annoying people at school.

A few of my friends recommended some games that I might enjoy playing. So I downloaded a few thinking I’d play them if I was bored. Then before I knew it, I was playing ten different games on a daily basis. (I’m currently trying to cut back on that and stopped playing half the games).

Solution

I put my cell phone far away from me especially when I’m writing, hanging out with friends, and family. If I find that I’m spending more than thirty minutes of playing games I put away my phone. I then remind myself that it’s just a game and that there are more important things I have to do.

Sometimes to challenge myself I leave my phone near me. If I find myself picking it up when I’m with a friend or family member I resist the urge. Even though I only have twenty-four hours to beat a quest and win a digital sword for my avatar.

When I’m writing it’s easier for me to put aside the games since I get into the zone. Unless one of my family members or cats interrupts me which can break my concentration. I’ve gotten better at getting back to my writing even after being distracted. That and I put a do not disturb sign on my door when I’m writing.

Distraction #2: Cats

Sometimes cats can be a good distraction. Unless you only have a short amount of time to get something done. Having two four-month-old kittens has been quite a handful. Especially Leia. She is relentless when she wants my attention and often likes to stomp all over my computer. Nemo only pesters me when he’s hungry.

Usually, when they get too crazy, I take the time to play with them and show them affection. Then before I know it it’s almost time for me to go to bed and I haven’t written a single word and still have a million things to do.

Solution

When Leia gets too crazy about wanting my attention I usually hold her and stroke her neck until she falls asleep. Then once she has settled, I can work on my writing. When Nemo gets crazy, I pet him and let him crawl all over me until he wants patiently on my bed for me to finish getting ready for work before I feed him.

I also will close my door so that I can have privacy especially if I want to get something done and they won’t settle down. Sometimes I will have my grandparents entertain them for a bit and play with them as well.

I also keep tons of cat toys around in my room so that they have those to play with. One of the best things about having both of them is that often they will wrestle around with each other and leave me alone.

Distraction #3 TV

When I was a kid the best part about going to my grandma’s house was being able to watch cartoons on OnDemand. Since we didn’t have cable at my house. I also used it as a way to avoid working on things that I needed to do.

Plus some of these shows can be addicting. Such as Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, Master Chef, Shameless, and many other shows. Not to mention watching throwbacks of cartoons from when I was a kid.

I spend seven and a half hours each day keying tax data into a computer. So when I get home, the last thing I want to do is jump into my writing. I try and nap, but no matter how tired I am I can’t seem to. So I end up chilling and watching Netflix, Hulu, Sling, and Amazon Prime. I only intend on watching one episode or two and then before I know it it’s dinner time.

Solution

During the week when I get home from work and am tired I allow myself to watch one episode of a forty-five-minute episode, or two twenty-five minute shows. It’s difficult to do this especially if it’s a show that has a lot of cliffhangers. Which is why I usually have a few sitcoms or shows that I don’t care much about on hand. That way I won’t be tempted to keep watching another episode.

If I do watch something with a cliffhanger in it what I usually do is set a timer on my phone. The timer lets me know that it’s time to turn off the TV and get to writing. It can be hard because all these TV platforms want to play one episode after another automatically.

Of course, I am only human, so sometimes I do let my distractions win. What are some things that distract you when you are writing? And how do you resolve them?

 

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

When choosing a book, it is important that you don’t judge a book by its cover. It is easy to be attracted to the sparkly cover with a princess crown on it over the plain blue book with no pictures on it. You should keep in mind that a pretty cover does not always entail a good book. Nor does it mean that a novel with a plain cover is any less enjoyable.

The cover isn’t a significant factor to me when I choose a book. Sure I think some of the covers are awesome, but what’s important is the content. What catches my eye is the title. A few examples of eye-catching titles are The Cruel Prince, A Game of Thrones, The Melting of Maggie Bean, The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Guernsey Literary, and Potato Peel Pie Society, and The Book Thief. However, a memorable title is nothing without a good story.

Once a title catches my eye I then crack open the book or turn it over and look over the summary. If I am still unsure whether I want to invest my time and money in a book I  read the first chapter. Usually, the summary hooks me in, that is if it’s well written. My personal favorite is when the synopsis on the back is an excerpt from the book. This rarely happens, but what I hate is when there is no summary on the back of the book or the front jacket. Instead of that they usually have quotes from newspapers or other authors talking about how they like said book. Which is okay, but I want to decide that for myself.

One of the things that I don’t recommend when choosing a book is looking up reviews on it. A lot of the time reviews on Amazon and Goodreads tend to be biased or too heavily focused on clichés. Not to mention everyone has a different opinion and enjoys different things. Just because a few reviewers think that a book sucks it doesn’t mean that you will. Plus a lot of the time they contain spoilers. Usually, a person will put a spoiler alert, but there were a few times when I used to look at reviews where there was a spoiler and no warning.

Another thing that seems to irk most book reviewers is predictability. I must admit that there are times when I know how a book is going to end based on clues that are given and a feeling. But, if a story is good enough, I don’t mind it being predictable. Of course, I do still like being surprised as well. Usually, I will accept a predictable story if it’s a realistic fiction or dramatic story. When it comes to fantasy, dystopia, and medieval fantasy I do have higher standards. Although I do understand that it is hard to have much mystery anymore being as everything has been written.

Of course, the real test of a good book is the story, its characters, and its ability to keep the reader reading. Even when they should be finishing up a paper or going to bed because they have to wake up at six in the morning. How do you pick your next read?

Writers Bucket List

When I first started my blog I created a bucket list for what I wanted to do/see at some point in my life. One or two items included some writing goals. So this time around I wanted to make one that just focuses on writing. Since I only thought of this the other day the list isn’t super long, but here is what I have so far.

 

1. Go to the York Book Expo (I believe this year’s expo already passed, so I’m hoping to catch it next year)

2. Meet a best selling author such as; JK Rowling, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, James Dashner, Lisi Harrison, and Sara Shepard. (Of course, there are tons more on that list, but this are a few off the top of my head).

3. Attend a Gotham Writers workshop (either in person or online).

4. Have a short story or poem published in a literary journal

5. Have my novel look at by a professional editor

6. Hire an artist to create visual pictures of my main characters. (I’ve always wanted to see what my character would end up looking like based on my descriptions).

7. Publish my novel. (Preferably with an independent publishing company or a medium sized one. Don’t want to get lost in the rubble).

8. Visit some of the bookshops I have seen on Instagram.

9. Join a writing group

10. Develop a creative writing program either for after school or the summer for young adults. So that they can hone their craft and practice sharing their work with others.

11. Create a journal that accepts all types of fiction (It’s rare to find one that does. Especially fantasy. Most of the time journals want realistic fiction type pieces).

12. Possibly get my masters in fine arts so that I can teach a few creative writing courses.

Okay so maybe a dozen goals is somewhat long, but I’ve seen some extremely long bucket lists that go on for pages. Most of them are usually unrealistic, so I wanted to make mine as realistic as possible. I love writing so much that I want to share it with others and pass on what I’ve learned throughout classes, workshops, and from published authors.

And of course, I want to see my book in print and on bookshelves. Dedication, perseverance, and confidence is what keeps me going as a writer. At times I do lose my faith, but then I remind myself that I am still learning and that I have my whole life to publish. Plus I want to make sure that put out my best work out there.

Do any of you have writing bucket lists? Or a regular bucket list? If so tell me about it! I’d love to hear from some of you guys. I know that as of late I have not been vocal on others blog posts, but between work, family, and working on my novel it’s hard to find enough hours in the day. Since summer is almost over hopefully things will settle somewhat so that I can have more time to read other blogs on here.

Thank you guys for following me. Even though it’s been almost a year, I am still trying to get the knack of running a blog and creating posts. Time sure flies though.