Topical Tuesday: Year in Review

Before I get into this likely to be short and sweet post, I’d like to apologize again for not being steady with my posts. I intend to adjust my posting themes/schedule for the next year, though I’m still brainstorming right now. If you have any ideas for daily themes, please share them with me in the comments so I can use them as reference. Topics in general are also well appreciated. 🙂

Anyhow… Hello, my friends! Can you believe today is the last day of 2019? On my youtube channel, I do a week in review each Sunday… But today, I’d like to do a year in review here. I admit, I can’t remember a lot of things, but there were a number of memorable moments that touched to my very core.

For starters, I won NaNoWriMo for my second or third time in a decade! That’s a pretty amazing feat if you ask me. Considering I was totally burnt out early in the year, it shocks me how much I got done on various projects since November started. I think focusing on world building may really be a huge aid to me, so I’m doing more of that now.

A memory from before NaNoWriMo would be my trip to Arizona in August. It was my second time there staying at my boyfriend’s place, and my first chance to be there for his birthday. It’s honestly a miracle I was able to afford it, but the biggest miracle, to me, was how sweet his family was towards me. I mean, they were nice last time too, but this time was different:

We were all watching Scare Tactics while eating dinner, and I was a little (okay, a lot) scared. I told him never to do that to me, and one of his family members said, “If he does, just tell one of us and we’ll beat him up for you.” I’m not a fan of violence, but it was the thought that counted, right?

I’ve had a number of other small events happen over the course of the year. I entered (and lost) my first short story contest. I just recently also entered my first pay-to-enter poetry contest with a notable cash prize of $500. It wasn’t insanely expensive- well, it sort of was. If you were just entering one poem, you had to pay $4.50, but if you donated $5.00 or more, you got three free entries. So, naturally, I paid the extra fifty cents to get myself three entrees, which were fun and difficult to choose/write. I don’t actually know when the winner is to be announced, but I’m feeling at least a little confident in my work, so that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

A problematic thing that happened, however, is my weight: I gained enough to reach over 200lbs. However, dad and I got really into Pokemon Go together this year, so we’ve been taking more walks. I hope to take even more next year! But that’s not the point of this post. Tomorrow, I’ll be doing a video about my goals and resolutions for the year on my youtube channel. I plan to link it here, so please come back when the time comes! 🙂

Other notable things: I changed the layout, as you can clearly see. Hopefully this one has comments working better. I wanted a fresh look for the new year. I might adjust the colors some more, but I liked the dark mode look. This is just one of many changes I’m hoping to make. I intend to make new banners for my posts, and I’m also in the midst of looking at huge lists of prompts for blog posts and videos so I can help avoid my recent tendency to have no idea what to write and skip days at a time.

So, how was 2019 for you? I hope there were some good memories to be had, and I hope you’ll share them with me in the comments! Look forward to the future changes- I promise to do my best to make this blog even better in 2020… Because I know it can be!

Topical Tuesday: Taking a Quick Break

Hihi guys! Thanks for coming back to see me. Today, though, the topic isn’t as light-hearted… Wait, yes it is. I’m going on vacation!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend of nearly two years. Because we live in states that are fairly far apart, we don’t see each other that often. In fact, my first time meeting him was also a bit of a ‘meet the family’ deal, since he lives at home. Well, I missed out last year on getting to see him for his birthday, but this year… I’ll be there!

However, as I’ll be staying with the family who are all kind and friendly to me, and even more so spending time with the man I love, I can’t guarantee how often I’ll be using my computer and, when I do, being able to update the blog. I promise this is only going to be for a week or so- I return on the 22nd and leave tomorrow.

I’ll try to post if and when I can, but you’ll more likely see me on Twitter, Discord and some of the forums I love when I’m online. I apologize if this is too late to tell you about this trip- I thought a day was enough, but you can let me know if I should’ve said so sooner.

Anywho, that’s all I really have to say for the time being. I look forward to seeing you all back with my regularly scheduled posts after I get past the jet lag from going to Arizona. I wish you all a wonderful week! <3 Take care!

Topical Tuesday: CampNaNo

Hello everyone, and welcome to Topical Tuesday! Today, my topic is actually more of a status update on my life: I’m officially taking part in CampNaNoWriMo next month!

If you don’t know what CampNaNo or NaNoWriMo are in general, NaNoWriMo is an event each November that pushes you to write a novel of 50,000 words in just that month. Camp, however, is an event that’s much more relaxed: you choose your goal, work on anything you’d like, and you’re not even confined to word counting! It’s every April and every July. I highly recommend them all!

The greatest thing about NaNo and CampNaNo is the community aspect. This year, I’m joining in on a couple festivities held on the NaNoWriMo forums for Camp: the postcard swap and the care package swap! I did the postcard swap during April, and it was a lot of fun getting postcards from both around my country and even the world. I got some great encouragement through them, and think the care packages will be even more thrilling to send and receive! It’s like a free goodiebag! I already have ideas of things I’ll send.

Now, I’ve told you about the special related events, but what I haven’t talked about is my goal for July. I failed horribly in April doing a page count for a script. This month, I decided to make it easier on myself in two ways: One, I’m writing in novel format. Two, I’m going by hours. I want to spend one hour a day writing this project or working on it in some way.

I hear you asking me, “But Jaluna, you haven’t told us your project yet!”

Yes, you’re right. I haven’t yet. Let’s fix that! My project is a magical girl tragedy/death game. I love reading death game manga, so I decided I wanted to make one of my own- and I was really inspired by manga like Mahou Shoujo Site and Mahou Shoujo of the End to make my own quirky and dark magical girl story. The project is officially called Treasure of Eternity- and I promise I’ll share snippets with you as I write it.

All that said and done, Camp means I’ll likely be altering my posting schedule both here and on the Alien Irony Redux blog. I’m going to start doing calculations today about how I wanna go about things- I’ll get back to you on it next Tuesday.

So, until then… Have a great week, guys! And don’t forget to tell me any thoughts you have in the comments!

Internet Changes, Future Posts and Return of the 101 Challenge (Day 13!)

It’s been a while, but I swear I’m alive! I went a few weeks without internet due to lack of funds and having trouble with a company I was working with to GET internet for my home. The modem they said would take only a few days to a week took at least two or more weeks to get here, and then it wasn’t quite working right brand new out of the package. However, after some great help from a lovely lady at Sprint (my internet is a specialty program for low income, which uses a Sprint cellular modem with unlimited data). We thought it was strange how bad our throughput was, and she agreed, and we figured out the bugs over time. So while originally today was going to be a day to call and complain…It’s working pretty well, now!

That said, it’s been a rough month or two. I couldn’t handle living with my grandma after a while and we had a bit of a blow out. We still spend time together sometimes, but we aren’t on the best of terms as of late due to it- but we’re working on patching it up, and dad still helps her from home the best he can.

My bruise is gone from my surgery, sadly. Yes, I’m sad about that. I’m weird. But you know what isn’t gone? All the ideas of posts I wanted to make this past month! I’ve been working on various projects at once as usual, and some of it you’ll definitely get to see in future posts. I felt like sharing a list of things I plan to post about in the near future, as well as changes I hope to make on the site (as I get more into the swing of the net again).

  1. Maps (Mind-Maps, Atlases and more!)
  2. General updates to my works.
  3. A ton of links added to the Sites to See page.
  4. Regular prompts for fun.
  5. More ways to deal with writer’s block (see my examples below in the challenge)
  6. WAY MORE CHALLENGES
  7. Ideas for more interaction with my lovely readers
  8. And tons more!

Well, while I’m working on all that, though…Here’s today’s challenge: Overcoming writer’s block

I was sure I’d done this one before, but I remembered being on this number, and either way, this is a concept that’s a major deal for most writers….naturally, myself included! And writer’s block isn’t as simple as it may sound, in my opinion. It’s not simply a moment where you don’t feel inspired or hit a plot hole you can’t figure out how to fill (though those are the most  common ones for me…) Writer’s block can also have to do with general interest in a project, general energy to work on things, and even can be caused by racing thoughts!

For me, the way I fix my writer’s block depends a lot on the kind of writer’s block I have, but the best method in general taht usually helps me is this…

“If I have no ideas on how to continue this project right now, work on one I have an interest/idea for and come back to this one when it clears.”

Basically…Distraction! When I am working on a story, and I lose my muse for it…It doesn’t mean I’m always losing my way in general. It doesn’t always mean I don’t have any energy to write. It’s often just THAT STORY, for some reason or another. Heck, sometimes it’s just working on a specific chapter! So, I switch gears. Stuck on a chapter? Skip ahead to another one, I can always go back later. Can’t handle this story anymore? Work on a different story, get to know some new characters! Maybe they’ll give you some insight for the previous project you were working on! It doesn’t mean you give up. It just means you switch your mindset!

Basically…For me, distraction is a natural helper. Whether it’s switching projects or doing something besides write (play a game for inspiration or to beat up things, watch a movie with family, read a ton of manga…heck, sometimes I do the dishes if i’m irritated by my story!). It helps clean the mindframe that is stuck and irritated by the block, and you’ll manage to find a way around it over time. Time heals all wounds. Writer’s block is part of this…I’m sure of it!

Paradoxes in my Head, Making of a Language and 101 Challenge 11

My camp project’s a flop. I just can’t keep my head in the game lately (the fever I have today doesn’t help, but still!) and I ended up having my muse tugged away from it and back to an older project, Star of Satseiya. You can see a sample on the Excerpt page, and I added it to the WIP area too. It’s a very complicated story to describe for me, honestly…But it was a story I wrote many years ago originally as a short story, which I want to expand. It’s filled with symbols and a fight against the black and white views of good and bad, in many ways. In a way, it’s a way I hope to learn to fight against my borderline thinking. The angels and demons have very unique traits to me, but at the same time, I have tried to humanize them. Hopefully I’m doing a good job.

Originally, I started making a gibberish language for a writing prompt I was doing, but I ended up using it to give the demons a way to interact more uniquely. I’m writing a dictionary of sorts for myself to translate, so that as I go I can write out sentences in it and still know what I’m saying. The issue is going to be making sure the reader does! But after using it just for one brief moment in a chapter, I found that it really helped bring the demons to life, and added another layer of depth and culture that’s hidden from the world so far. I’ve been doing a lot of planning on the races recently because of this…But the language is the biggest challenge yet.

Still, I’m having fun with all the paradoxes and language work! I’m also trying to learn a few languages on Duolingo, which will help me make up other words soon enough. I’ve done some lessons in Italian, Russian and Norwegian so far. Since I can’t quite read half the letters well yet, some are harder than others….But it’s still worth it! 🙂

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: What you’ve learned through blogging

What I’ve learned is that moderation really is the key to many things, even a blog. When I was looking for input on the blog early on, a few people told me one thing they like is that my posts aren’t every day like some other blogs are- it keeps it less stressful for them to keep up. To be honest, that’s part of why I do it myself. I just don’t have the energy!

I’ve also been learning about readability more, or rather net readability. WordPress happens to have a plugin of some sort that tells me what makes my blog less readable, as well as separate pages. So far, I’m not doing well with certain issues like adding more pictures and links…But hopefully, it’s not totally boring you all. I just can’t think of what to link to or add images for. I mean, it’s a writing blog. Naturally the goal is to write, right?

Tons of Updates and 101 Challenge 7

Today is a day full of updates. Not much to write about in regards to writing today, however…But I’ll likely be writing a lot of poems today. I just have an itch for it. However, that’s neither here or there. Today’s post is all about updates and the daily challenge!

Site Updates

I’ve done a bit of work on a few pages today. For starters, I added a page to the WIP section for comics, with one project to start (the one I’ve been doing all sorts of generalized work on in the background). I had a reason for the “Other” page, but I haven’t made it yet because I’m still figuring out some stuff on the topic. I’ll be taking down the header for it until it’s made.

I’ve made an excerpt page, where I’ll be posting writing work that I feel like sharing with everyone. This means it won’t be published commercially in any form. Some of the things I plan to put there is lore from the Lunaverse, story snippets, poems and tutorials I write myself. I’ll tell you in my blog as I add more to it. For now, take a look at the oldest lore in the Lunaverse’s history: The Sun’s Helper!

Finally, I updated the Sites to See page. You’ll see I added a textual header and a secondary section for tutorials I find on the web that I find useful and want to share with you. As usual, if you want your site included, let me take a look using the contact form on my Contact page. I would love to see everything you have to offer as well, my lovelies.

Today’s Challenge: Photos of Your Writing Space

Taking a good picture of my writing space is actually very challenging to me. Why? Because it’s so messy, I’m honestly a bit embarrassed. But…I should definitely include pictures more. So this is a good thing, isn’t it? It’s not much to look at…But here’s a sneak peek at where I’m sitting nearly every day.

As you can see, I have an incomplete bookshelf near my chair. There are a LOT of books at my side regularly, including naming guides and other writing aids. I also have some general books I love, like the Poetic Edda. At the top you see a lot of other knickknacks as well as a weather radio. I always keep my water and a pack of pretzels handy on my desk, too. After all, even for a writer it’s important to make sure you always stay hydrated and fed!

What do you keep at YOUR desk?

Getting In The Habit + 101 Challenge 1

I have lots of habits to get into, both as a person and a writer…But at least for now, this is meant to be a writing blog. So, I’m going to share some of my habits I’m trying to make in my writing life.

  1. I want to get into the habit of posting in this regularly. As such, I’ve looking at a list of 101 posts for writers to blog that a new friend shared with me. You can see what to expect in upcoming posts here.
  2. I’ve been researching different methods of outlining, as you may recall! I’ve officially started outlining for Camp NaNo today…and I plan to work on outlining every story I can from now on, so that I don’t hit my constant ruts I seem to find myself in because of characters forgetting what the task was. I usually give them nearly full free-reign, but not anymore! Or so is the plan, at least.
  3. I hope to use my new vocabulary (I get a new word a day in my email) more often! Some words I can’t necessarily find a use for, but if nothing else, I’ll start writing poems using them to try to get in the habit of using them and not just forgetting about them.

I have other artistic goals and such, but these are the primary writing habits I plan on working on. I’ll share more about my goals every so often as they come up.

Now, as I noted in the title…Today’s post will also mark my first entry as part of the 101 things to blog challenge of sorts I’m going to push on myself (I admit, ‘every day’ may be difficult if I don’t get to my computer…But at least four or five a week? We’ll see! At least I won’t run out to soon!).

TODAY’S PROMPT: What is your favorite quote and why?

I think my favorite quote, from my personal life at least, is “Everyone is born for a reason, and for someone.” It’s something my parents instilled in me heavily as a child, and it can be very useful in writing too if I remember why even a minor character was created. They really have a reason after all! “That character walking down the street is a witness to the main character doing something weird at a storefront, for example.” Even a small part that won’t get named has a purpose. Just like I’m sure I do.

SITE UPDATES:

I got input about my site by a fellow blogger recently, and they noted a few things that might help the site. One such thing is to rename the contact page to the more common “Contact” as opposed to what I have it as: “On the Web”. I was also told it would be better to put social links on every page, not just that page.

However, that leaves me with a dilemma. If you take a look at my contact page, you’ll see some links for where I’m published that aren’t exactly social media. Would those make sense as Sites to See related? But that’s meant for sites of others that I think would interest people, not really self-centric. If my lovely readers could give me input on the following, it’d be great help! You can react in the comments or contact me otherwise through the “On the Web” page:

  1. What should I call my contact page? (should I keep it as “On the Web”? “Contact Jaluna”? Or should I make it something unique but not part of that list? Share your thoughts!)
  2. If I were to put social links on every page as part of a menu, what should I do with the sites I’m published on? Include them in the social links menu? And should I make the links have buttons I made, or not?
  3. I just want your general thoughts on themed days. Today’s Thursday, for example. A lot of people use it as a ‘throwback’ day (not that I have anything to do for that anyway). Do you like themed days on blogs? If so, any ideas? I have some concepts I thought of, but I’m not sure the general idea serves enough purpose.

Here’s wishing you a great day!

A Nifty New Banner and Research

Today I haven’t done much, but I did start doing more work on the site. I’m sure the moment you looked, you saw that I’d made a banner for myself. I learned during uploading that I didn’t have to go as crazy as I did trying to size it, because I can crop it through WordPress…But I did pretty well on sizing anyway, so that was convenient!

I also made a button for if I get put on sites. I’m likely going to work on an ‘affiliates’ page sometime soon, including friends and resources and the like. I’ll share it here, so tell me…Do you think it’s too big?

Outside of site work, I’m currently lurking the web to look at the variety of ways people outline for projects, since I want to work on planning more efficiently. I got a link to a nifty article about outlining on DeviantArt today actually, from someone who started doing articles themselves. They didn’t have on on the subject, so when I asked if they’d do one, they opted to direct me there in the meantime. I plan to ask other writers what they do to plan and how they outline too.

So, whether you’re a creative writer or someone who outlines for other projects alike…How do YOU outline to plan out your work?