My Currents: March 2019

My Currents: January 2019

My Currents: February 2019

Time for an update.

A List of Currents and Lasts

Current Album in My Car

Dear Agony Breaking Benjamin

Same as February. What can I say? I love them.

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Current Album in My Stereo

Ember Breaking Benjamin

I may have a problem, but holy holy, I love this album.

 

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Last Song Played on Spotify

“Best Deceptions” Dashboard Confessional

Technically, it was YouTube. I haven’t used Spotify lately. Anyway, I had a random line in my head, remembered this song, looked it up, and was amazed by the angst. It didn’t seem as angsty in high school–probably because everything was. 🙂

 

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Last Netflix Binge

Nate Bargatze

Not a binge.

And I haven’t watched this yet, so I don’t know if it’s any good.

But I saw this guy on a different comedy show on Netflix last year and some random YouTube clips. I’ll be checking this special out asap. Comedy is so subjective, but I love this guy.

 


Current YouTube Obsession

Insane Reader

He’s just a kid. Well, I think he’s 18? So it’s a little weird. But, all the same, he cracks me up. This video showed up in my recommended list, and I was sold. What I love about him is that he isn’t trying too hard. He doesn’t feel the need to be extreme–or drop F bombs every 3 seconds like some other BookTubers I’ve seen. That doesn’t make you edgy. It makes you sound like you don’t have a decent vocabulary.–so he comes across as natural. His innocence is adorable.

 


Last Movie Watched

I honestly can’t remember.

But I’m looking forward to the next Avengers flick. If Bucky doesn’t return, I’m done with Marvel.

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Current Read

NOTHING!

 

I’ve been focused on writing some short stories and querying my novel.

On the 24th, I submitted two short stories to the same publication that found me worthy last year. 😀 Here’s hoping I haven’t lost my touch. By this time next month, I’ll know.

As far as the novel, no news to share, but I’m staying hopeful.


Thanks for spending some time here! 
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The Query Queazies

On this wonderful Writing Wednesday, I’d like to document the following:

I sent two queries today.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to vomit.

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Coming Soon: Part 2 — The Indomitable Inbox


Thanks for spending some time here. #dreambig #makeithappen

January 2019 Writing Update

I’m wondering if the way I feel about what I write is how parents feel for their children. You love them. But they also make you question your life choices.

I swear, depending on the day, I either think, you know, this is pretty good or why did I write this?

Yesterday, I was super pumped because while agent stalking, I found two agents that seem perfect. I was reading one #MSWL, and my story has all the things!

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Then today, I remembered I am one of a gazillion people with the same dream. *sigh* There’s such a fine line between being pessimistic and realistic. Know what I mean?

I’m about 95% finished with this current WIP dissection. By current, I mean, final. Because it has to be. However, I’ve already returned to chapter one because I’m obsessed and can’t leave it alone. My biggest obstacle I’m facing? My opening pages. I’ve managed to cut out some crap from earlier drafts, but I wish my chapter one was as good as say, chapter 12, for example? 😀 The beginning of my book has always been my least favorite part. If I could send an agent something from the middle, I’d feel so much more confident. Grrr. Continue reading

Extremely Impractical Writing Advice

I will flat out tell you that I’m not a writer to emulate. Granted, I think I’ve shared a few worthy tips throughout this blog. But as far as my own process, I’d never suggest it. (I’ve been working on the same WIP for 10+ years and have only written two short stories in the meantime. #goals) Thing is, it has worked for me. That’s what I tell myself.

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Previous Writing Advice Some May Deem Impractical:

-don’t set word count goals. ever.

-don’t set writing goals

-stay far away from NaNoWriMo

-don’t write when you don’t feel like it

-adverbs are absolutely necessary

-never give up on a project

Which leads me to my most impractical writing advice to date.

There is no such thing as spending too long on a single project.

 

If you’re already saying, “Yes, there is” hear me out. Continue reading

2018: The Year That…Was.

Well, 2018. That’s a wrap. Time to go.

It’s been quite a year for me. Things happened that I never thought would happen. Some things I wanted to happen, didn’t happen. That’s pretty much every year though, right?Related image

I figured I’d take some time and reflect on 2018. Categorically. Expect a rambling mess of thoughts. Ready?


Writing

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The Good:

1- I’m in an effing book. Available here: Maryland’s Emerging Writers

Seriously, though, this was pretty amazing, and while I feel like it never actually happened—because I don’t think Z Publishing did a speck of advertising, (Have you heard of America’s Emerging Writers? No? Oh. Well there were 50 books. Still no? Yeah, one for each state. OK. Well, there were.)—it’s still an incredible achievement, even if I’m the one only who knows about it.

2- Because of this achievement, my interest in writing came back. #thankful

3- I had the courage to send out some novel queries early in the year. Despite all the rejections, I’m considering this a good thing. I haven’t given up. Yet.

4- I revised my YA short enough to confidently submit to magazines.

5- I reached 5k followers on Twitter. Listen, I thought this would be the pinnacle of the whole social networking thing. But. It’s far from it. It’s just a number. And it means absolutely nothing. When you tweet something and get 2-3 likes, what’s it matter that you have 5k followers? No shade here. I do appreciate the followers. And I do hope to have more of a Twitter presence in 2019.

The Bad:

1- My writer self and I parted ways. We’re currently reconciling, but I really did just give up on writing some time during the summer, it seems. I didn’t touch my novel for months. I disappeared from Scribophile. The whole writing world just no longer excited me.

2- I didn’t get my novel published. Duh.

3- Going along with number one, I didn’t get my novel “finished” by the end of the year, which I was hoping for. And I didn’t write anything new.

4- Just yesterday, I was rejected from a magazine for my YA short. That was to be expected. But I’m still glad I submitted. I have two more (I think) possibilities.

The 2019 Plan:

1- FINISH MY EFFING NOVEL. Dear God. And all the rest…get an agent, book deal, interview with Oprah. The norm.

2- Don’t give up on my YA short. I’ll be sending it out this coming week. Please hold me to that.

3- Return to Twitter. The most doable in the list.

4- Return to Scribophile. I’m paying to use this website. WHY?! I haven’t so much as signed in since September. *sigh*

5- Not directly writing related, but I need to read more this year. I miss reading. I’d like to read more novels in my genre so that I’m familiar with the current market.


VIPKID

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The Good:

1- For more details on this, I have lots of blog posts called VIPKID Vibes. But basically, I love this job. It revived my passion for teaching. I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I feel like I’m making a difference, and it’s all so rewarding and awesome.

The Bad:

1-Aside from the cons of being a VIPKID teacher (lack of insurance, the hours, the inconsistencies, tech issues, etc.), on a personal level, the life balance is horrific. It’s VIPKID on one side and everything else on the other side. Because of this job, I stopped writing, making videos, reading, treadmill-ing. I put all my time into this job. And it probably doesn’t make sense considering I’m finished teaching at 9 AM. It’s the prep work, the reward systems, the YouTube videos, the blog posts, the necessity to nap, on and on. It becomes an obsession.

2- I’m tired all the time because of the hours. Over 1k classes and I’m still trying to find the balance.

The 2019 Plan:

1-I have no plans to stop, obviously. I will continue to blog about my experiences, and I’d like to become a Mock Class Mentor if possible.

2- I need to balance my life better. VIPKID can’t be the only thing I care about.


My Cat

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The Good:

1- I started a YouTube channel for my cat–yes, that’s sane–and while it didn’t blow up, I had SO much fun making videos. I used to make videos back in high school. They were essentially “music videos” where I’d pair a movie/show with a song. I liked the editing aspect of it. Anyway. I started throwing together some videos of Mocha starting in January. I met some cool people and Mocha got some love. Win, win.

2- Around the same time, I made an Instagram profile for Mocha. Also completely sane. In the same way, I met some cool cat people and learned a whole new platform. I’d never used Instagram before. And while it’s my least favorite social media, it works well for cats. I got loads of followers for the first few months, but I’ve held steady around 430 for probably 6 months.

3- My cat is awesome. Really though, living alone is awesome, but it comes with a certain, how do I say, isolation? So it’s nice to have another presence around. I’m going to stop before I sound completely psychotic. Point is, Mocha makes me happy. Cats rule.

The Bad:

1- I stopped making YouTube videos. Several reasons. Mainly, time. When I started VIPKID, EVERYTHING else came second. So I didn’t have time to write or read or tweet or make videos. I probably did, but I didn’t feel like I did, if that makes sense. But I also stopped making videos because honestly, it was disheartening to put all this effort into making them (and it takes longer than my “production value” might suggest) only to get a handful of views. Maybe that’s petty. So be it. But for 2019, I’m returning to the idea of making content you want regardless of your audience. It should be the same for an audience of 63 (my current subscriber count) to 1k (my aspiring subscriber count).

2- I didn’t post to Instagram daily as I had been. Or liking others’ photos as I had been. I lost the motivation for it.

3- Although Mocha is super awesome sauce, she has her moments. For instance, she suffers from what I like to call “elevator butt.” While peeing, she will lift her butt in the air, and therefore pee out of the box. If you know cat pee smell, it is heinous. So now I use giant storage containers. The first ones I had, I simply cut a square in the side, but then she started peeing out of the square. Now, they have a cut-out towards the top, so she has to hop in there. Whatever works, eh?

4- Mocha decided one day she didn’t like the food she’d been eating for two years, so I went through all these different cans of cat food. Her flavor of choice: sardines. Who knew?

5- Mocha likes to chew things, which unfortunately included an Easter lily. If you didn’t know, lilies are toxic to cats. This resulted in an after hours stress-filled phone call to my vet who didn’t even want to talk to me and cut me off. (Needless to say, I no longer go to this vet.) A mustard induced vomit. (I don’t know if you’ve ever pried open a cat’s mouth and squirted mustard in there, but it’s all kinds of fun.) A 30 minute fight to get Mocha in the carrier which left me bloodied and mentally scarred. And a nice vet bill for an overnight stay.

She’s damn lucky she’s so cute.

The 2019 Plan

1- I want to make videos again! This is pretty much my only cat-related resolution.


I’ll leave it at that. I hope your 2018 treated you well. New Year’s is always my favorite and least favorite time of year, which I plan to explain in a future post, possibly this week.

To all those who liked, commented, or followed me this year, a huge thank you to you. I really do appreciate the love. I’m humbled by it. And confused by it. But mostly just thankful.

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I’ll just throw this out there. If there’s anything you’d like to see a blog post about, I’m listening.

Here’s to an awesome 2019! I’ll see you then.

-Lauren

Thank You, Followers!

I’m deeming today #thankfulthursday.

(Today’s gifs brought to you by my many husbands, fyi.)

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So I have no idea how this happened, but I have 100 followers. Like, what?

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When I started this blog, I had very low expectations–and I still do. Every view, like, comment, or follower I get surprises me. The content I post here is primarily for me. I see this platform as almost a journal. I’m pretty much documenting what’s going on in my life and the things I’m into at the time. So if someone gets anything out of what I post, I’m stoked about it.

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Whether you’re here for VIPKID info, writing updates, random music rants, pics of my cat, or lots of gifs, I’m glad you’re here.

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So thank you for clicking Follow. That’s super awesome. Have a good one!


Thanks for spending some time here. If you’re reading this, you rock. And don’t you forget it.

Bonus gif 🙂

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I found a new gif for Mark Peterson, and I’m happier than I should be about it. I’m posting it here so I don’t lose it. 🙂

Writing Wednesday: Let the Revisions Begin!

Hello! Happy Halloween!

Related imageI’m at the library! Woo! I had to get out of my house. I tend to be more productive here, so here I am! I finished listening to my novel yesterday. Maybe the day before, I’m not sure exactly. As I was listening, I wrote down things that needed to be changed: some major, some only taking a second or two. Needless to say, I did the easy stuff yesterday. I saved the major undertakings for today.

I’m talking changing where the novel actually starts, for one thing. I’m not looking forward to this at all. But I know it’s for the best and that’s honestly what keeps me going. Knowing all of the changing I’m going to make will help the overall story and help its chances of being a thing outside of my computer screen.

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Continue reading

Writing Wednesday: I’m Waist Deep in the WIP Love-Hate

Well.

I started. I’ve been dreading looking at my novel again. (Why? Find out: Writing Wishes, Not Writing Goals). I’m in the process of listening to it. It’s just better that way. And I’m on chapter 20, which is about halfway.

It’s been interesting, for sure.

I think I’m going to write a post about dealing with first chapters–not advice, just venting–but for now, I’ll just say, my first chapter is pretty bad. Why didn’t anyone tell me this? Oy. I mean, at least it’s not like it’s the first thing an agent sees. OY.

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Luckily, things got a little better and I could listen to this thing without cringing. For a few chapters… Continue reading

Bringing My Inner Writer Back to Life

Yes, I’ve talked about this before. Many times. But guess what? She’s still dead, so here we go.

Back in April, my Writer Self and I parted ways. It was amicable. But now that we’ve had some time apart, I think it’s time we get back together. She doesn’t know this yet.

Listen. We used to be a pretty good team. We wrote an entire novel together! It was beautiful! And honestly, I miss that creative drive that used to keep me occupied for hours on end.

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It’s simple. I was feeling stuck. I wasn’t writing anything new. No ideas. I was stuck with my novel. I felt like I was running out of agents to query. I was questioning whether my story was any good. It’s only natural to doubt your story’s awesomeness–and your own awesomeness–when you are unsuccessfully querying agent after agent. So I stopped querying.

And I put that entire writing part of my being to the side. I stopped posting on Twitter. I stopped writing blog posts about writing. I took a hiatus from my online writing group at Scribophile. Aside from my kitty litter duties, I don’t spend much time in the room I designated for writing. And I feel as if I’m no better or worse off than I was. What exactly did taking a break accomplish? I don’t feel rejuvenated. I don’t have a handful of new story ideas to crank out. I just have me. Just the same.

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When July came, I had an opportunity to send in a story for consideration in an anthology, a story that I have loved and that I’m pretty proud to put my name on. And by some miracle I haven’t wrapped my brain around, my story was accepted. I’m in an anthology.

If somewhere were looking for a reason to start writing again, getting published would certainly help. I believe it has done the trick. Sort of a delayed reaction, but I’ll take it.

I’ve decided–as I’m typing the words, actually–when September arrives, I’m getting back to it. I’m going to tweet for the hashtag games, assuming they still exist. I’m going to like and retweet. I miss that! I’m going to write more Writing Wednesday posts. About what? Uh, I’ll figure it out. I’m going back to Scribophile and reunite with some pretty awesome gals.

Will I write something new? I can’t say. That seems unrealistic to me. At this point anyway.

But here’s the biggie. I hesitate to type this because then I’ll be held accountable…by the 1-2 people who may read this post.

I’m going back to my novel, read it for the 187th time, and edit the entire thing. Maybe the 98th revision is the best. Time does wonders for edits. Perhaps I’ll be able to address some things I didn’t want to see before.

Then, I’m going to query. Maybe by the time I finish the latest edit, there will be some new agents looking for manuscripts. 🙂

I just can’t let it go.

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To anyone out there who may be reading this, if you still believe in whatever it is that you’ve created, don’t let it go. How would your characters feel if you decided to kill all of them off? That may not be the most sane way to approach this. Point is, if it means anything to you, keep at it. Patience. Lots of patience.

If you’re in a similar situation and you came here for some writing advice, I suggest making some goals. Weekly. Don’t think, “I have to edit x number of pages.” Give yourself a reasonable chunk daily/weekly. Heck, monthly. Go crazy. But set some goals and stick to them. Write them down. Tell other people. This isn’t a new strategy by any means, but I think it could be pretty effective in your writing life. Good luck.

Until next time.

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Time for a shameless self-promotion! If I don’t, no one else will. 🙂

Maryland’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology is officially out in the world! And although it still seems unreal, my name is listed in the table of contents. My story is in there, people! Page 54! (Well, part of it. They had an insanely small word count. And I babble like I’ve got all day.)

So if you’re looking for a great gift idea, look no further! Birthdays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, baby showers! Donate one to your local library. Add one to your own collection. This is why I could never be a salesman.

In all seriousness, if you’d like to purchase one of these books, that would be so very appreciated and humbling. Then let me know, so I can send you a thank you card. No joke.

Click here:

Maryland's Emerging Writers: An Anthology


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing, all!

I Have Writing News!

I’m humbled yet proud. Excited yet scared. Chatty yet speechless. This is big. Yes, the biggest of all writing news ever shared on this blog.

An excerpt of my YA short story is going to be published in an anthology called Maryland’s Emerging Writers.

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As you may or may not know, I’ve been querying my novel for a minute or two, so this came as an unbelievably gratifying, validating surprise to me. I submitted on a whim, and now my words will be on paper. It’s…well, it is amazing.

I wanted to share this with you, because, obviously, it’s good news on the (ever-so-quiet) writing front, but it’s also a reminder to take a shot. You never know. 🙂 Put yourself out there, submit your work, and you may be writing a blog post like this one.

If you’d like to purchase this book (or you just want more info–I get it), click the link below. The official release date is August 21st, but you can pre-order it right this second, if that’s how you roll.

Maryland’s Emerging Writers (new link below)


*UPDATE 8/21/18: Here is the updated link, now that the book has been released:

Maryland's Emerging Writers: An Anthology


I hope you enjoy my story, “Not Quite a Dunbar Man.” If I manage to find it a home in its entirety, you’ll be the first to know. Thanks to Z Publishing for reaching out to me, accepting my story, and not changing it! Thanks to everyone on Scribophile who critiqued the story or stopped by just for a read. A special thanks to the Pipsters for all the writing support and venting. You ladies rock! I also need to thank the fictional-but-oh-so-real Tim Riggins, who subconsciously inspired my MC’s big brother.

And thank you for reading my blog, following my journey, and patting my proverbial back. You’re awesome.

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Now I’m heading to Twitter to spread the news…


Thanks for spending some time here. If you found this blog because you are also published in the Maryland anthology–or any of the other states–please say hi! And congrats on your new pub credit.