month of me- in review (nonfiction)

IMG_7876I’m so sorry it’s been two Tuesdays without a blog post, y’all. I’m in the final countdown of baby #3 showing up, plus we just had family visiting for my husband’s graduation, and there was soooo much going on! I thought I planned ahead, but goodness I guess not.

How have y’all been? I’m backtracking a little bit today.

For the month of April I decided to take a leap and break from my norm.  Before last month, I couldn’t tell you when the last time was that I truly read a nonfiction book. Maybe around two years ago? I really couldn’t be sure.

I don’t always adore nonfiction. I really appreciate encouraging books that help relate to you when you’re in a tough spot, or books that are refreshing to read to remind you of what’s important or… you know what I mean? But beyond that, I’m not a nonfiction guru. I’ve read a biography or two, but nothing too serious. I tend to stick to fiction.

April was going to be different. I realized that my list of nonfiction reads (mostly relating to motherhood) had  become exceptionally long, but they always seemed to get pushed to the bottom of my list. Instead of continuing to put them off, I knew it was time that I read at least one– two max– that gave me some of the vibes and spiritual guidance I needed in that part of my life.

(I understand that this might not relate to many of you, so if you’re still reading– thanks for sticking with me!)

The two books I chose were: Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist and Wild and Free: A Hope-Filled Anthem for the Woman Who Feels She is Both Too Much and Never Enough by Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly.

While these two were pretty similar, they were wildly different. I loved them both so very much, but the one I related to the most right now was Present Over Perfect. I don’t get super personal on this space all the time; it’s mostly for writing and reading adventures. However, this book was pretty personal, so hang on if you wish to keep reading!

In this day and age it’s really hard to be a professional of any kind that requires marketing. (See previous posts on marketing as an author.) You need a platform, social media skills, and so much more. And the thing is, lots of that work needs to be put in before you even have a book (business, blog, site, etc.) out there. So, a lot of the time, you’re putting in A LOT of work that you’re not really being paid for. Sometimes it might not seem like work to others, and sometimes it might feel more like a burden than blessing to you.

This book really brought that to the forefront. While there’s so much more to it, it was about being present. I tend to look at my to-do list of a clean house, blog post, IG post, a few tweets, lessons, and activities– and forget to just enjoy the moments that are presented to me.

I hate to admit it, but this book made me realize just how addicted I am to social media… and a lot of time, that social media isn’t worth the moments I’m missing.

Sure, social media is a great way to connect, learn, and grow in many ways. I love connecting with other authors and book-lovers and so forth– but I don’t have to be doing it all the time, to the point that I miss other important things.

“Loving one’s work is a gift. And loving one’s work makes it really easy to neglect other parts of life.”

The other thing it can do is give us all a complex. If you don’t have as many followers or likes or consistency, you start to wonder what’s wrong with you. Is it a waste of time? Do you need to invest more time so you have an account equivalent to that other writer? Does this mean you’re not meant to be doing what you’re doing?

“In a thousand ways, you live by the sword and you die by the sword. When you allow other people to determine your best choices; when you allow yourself to be carried along by what other people think your life should be, could be, must be; when you hand them the pen and tell them to write your story, you don’t get the pen back. Not easily, anyway.”

When it comes down to it, we all have to prioritize and really take the time to slow down and enjoy the world that is closest to us. Maybe this isn’t a popular opinion, but it really is what radiated from the pages of this book to me.

This is why I might have missed the last two blog posts, and why my trackback thursdays haven’t been present as of late–because in the end it came more important to sit with family I hadn’t seen in almost two years than to worry about making a self-made deadline.

But don’t take that the wrong way. I love you guys. I’m getting back on track with it all. Thanks for your patience.

I highly recommend this book. Take some time for you and sloooooow down!

 

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it’s my party

Hey lovely people. Today is my birthday, and seeing how I mostly write about writing and books, I thought I’d take the time (as I did last year) to say hello and share a few things about myself.

After all, if one cannot talk about oneself on her birthday, then few things make sense. Right? Right.

17631997_10158544421455397_7634020482675049738_o1. At this
point, I have no idea what my natural hair color is. It’s somewhere between brunette and dark blond… at least I’d like to think it is.

2. Last year I  shared that I thought about writing picture books based off of things my oldest says, but I didn’t think I was cut out for it. Since then, I’ve written four based on my kiddos and have to admit I’m in love with writing them these days.

3. For the past few months I couldn’t tell you how many batches of different kinds of muffins I’ve made.

4. I am 32 weeks pregnant with my third boy. Yep. Third BOY. And  I am SO excited (and ready to be done).

5. I am the middle of three girls.

6. For the first time, I’ve shelved a true WIP. I was a good half of the way into writing a book and after two years of trying had to shelf it. As soon as I made that decision, I got a new idea and it is occupying my mind most of the time these days.

7. I have given in to living in Arizona. As my husband and I bought a house for our family here, I really have no choice.

8. My husband and I have been together (if you want to do it from dating-time) for ten years.

9. Initially I committed myself to one genre of writing, and have realized that I don’t need to do that. Writers gonna write what they NEED to write– and sometimes that’s all over the place!

10. We had our first 100 degree day on Sunday. It was depressing.

11. Just realized some of these aren’t really about myself.

12. My favorite color is YELLOW. It has been since I was at least three (just ask my parents). It’s the happiest of colors to me. Not a Taxi yellow, but a daisy/sunflower/pastel yellow.

13. We painted the guest room in our new house yellow, and I have dreams of making part of it my office at some point.

14. In about two weeks we have family visiting: my parents, in-laws, and sister-in-law as well. They are ALL staying with us.

15. I am an absolute control freak. I have my good days and bad days, but my husband likes to tell me to “do the Elsa” and let things go. Sometimes it works. Lots of times it doesn’t.

16. My favorite dinner is honestly what my husband is called our “European night.” Basically we get a bunch of gourmet meats, cheeses, a loaf of bread, some fruit, and (when I’m not pregnant) wine and we veg out with a movie or one of our favorite shows.

17. My favorite flowers are sunflowers and hibiscus. I intend to have them both in our new backyard eventually.

18. I love talking writing and strategy with other writers, but at the same time struggle. I recently became a planner, though I’ve always been a pantser.

19. Even though we have two boys and one on the way, as well as a doggie “baby” named Luna– I really miss having a cat.

20. I dream of having an Alice in Wonderland themed tea-party for a birthday party. Still. Someday.

21. I’m pretty awful at keeping up with housework when I have a good book idea brewing.

22. It’s a toss-up between coffee and tea for me during the day, but coffee is the only thing for me when I first get up.

23. I’m a genuine morning person and Monday-lover. Did I just lose you as a follower?

24. Keeping fresh flowers in the house really help brighten my days.

25. My favorite book I’ve read so far this year is a tie between The Hate U Give and All The Missing Girls. Nonfiction it has definitely been Present over Perfect.

26. I go back and forth between still thinking I’m 25 and just telling people I’m almost 30.

27. I’m genuinely okay with being in my late 20s.

28. Still attempting to make a splash with #Writerslifeapparel and loving it.

birthday introductions

Yesterday was my birthday. It’s hard to believe how old I am, as well as how much and how little I have achieved in those years.

Since all I’ve posted, for the most part, is reading and writing related, I thought I’d switch it up today and share a few things about myself. If you make it through all of them, you’ll know how old I am (plus one day). Don’t cheat and just scroll to the end, though!

DSC_09651. My name is super important to me. I got married young, so I love presenting myself as a writer with my maiden and married name. After all, I wanted to be a writer before I met my husband.

2. The first book I tried to REALLY query was a YA Contemporary. I have since learned that my characters voices tend to be more historical and less contemporary.

3. When I was younger I changed my mind between writing, music, and acting. I pretty much wanted to do anything that involves being famous. Not much has changed. Just perspective.

4. I am married and have two young boys.

5. I live in Arizona, but the place I lived (and loved)the longest was North Carolina. Before that I moved around due to military brat status and PK (pastors kid) status.

6. I think about writing picture books from the things my four-year-old says, but I just don’t think I’m cut out for it.

7. I didn’t start reading current YA fiction until I was in college and took an Adoleacent Literature class. It changed my life.

8. I graduated from Appalachian State University with an English, Creative Writing degree.

9. I drink my coffee with just cream in it, and that cream usually has a flavor. I’m a sucker for trying the new flavors from coffee mate and international delight.

DSC_096210. When I don’t know what to do, I bake.

11. My favorite authors are Ann Rinaldi & Samuel Shellabarger.

12. My favorite book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

13. Never have I ever been to Disney World, but I went to Disney Land for the first time last year. It was for my son’s birthday, but I’m pretty sure it’s in the top 10 best times of my life.

14. I don’t have a favorite movie, at all. I love movies too much in general.

15. The last musical I saw was Jersey Boys at the Paris Hotel in Vegas (in 2014).

16. I’m currently reading, I’m Glad About You, and loving it.

17. My TBR list has at least 50 books on it right now. It makes me feel like I’m so far behind sometimes.

18. I love taking pictures almost as much as I love reading, but I’m no professional photographer.

19. My husband and I eloped when we were 18.

20. I have been to three countries and 33 states. My husband has me beat with the states.

21. I have currently given up my personal FB, but I’m a sucker for Instagram and Twitter. My author page is still up, too.

DSC_097422. My favorite bad habit is Cherry Coke Zero.

23. I am a sucker for all things cookies and cupcakes.

24. My favorite book that I’ve read this year has to be Passenger. I know it’s gotten mixed reviews, but I’m impatiently waiting for the sequel coming out next year.

25. Last year on my birthday I was 7 (almost 8) months pregnant and had to go to the ER. My hubby was traveling for work, so my (then) 3YO went with me and it turned out I had pneumonia.

26. It’s hard for me to realize I’m older than 25.

27. I have a special project I’m working on (and I’m not talking about my WIP) that I’ll be announcing soon. Stay tuned!

 

 

My birthday pin was a gift from my 4YO, who insisted I wear it all day. I have to admit, it was kind of nice having random strangers tell me happy birthday.