Bookshelf: 10 Books That Will Change Your Life

bookshelf part 5 books that will change your life rachel poli

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell

3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

4. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

6. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

7. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

8. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

10. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

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Small Changes

From my post yesterday, you would think there would be some huge changes to my blog, right? Well, I thought so too.

My plan was to change the URL and buy the domain name (which I did–yay!) and also to change the layout, fix some pages/posts, and make the blog look more like a website than an actual blog.

So my blog officially has a new title and a new URL which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. Layout-wise, it’s more or less the same. I have done some subtle changes and I’m still thinking about other little changes, but they haven’t been put into effect yet.

In order to customize my theme I need to pay WordPress a certain amount per year. Believe me, the amount isn’t bad at all. However, I just bought the domain name and buying a new layout isn’t just something I feel like I can do at the moment. Maybe next year I will.

In the meantime, the notepad theme is going to stay. Besides, you’re all here for the content of my blog, right? …Right?

With that being said, I am super excited to have a new URL. It makes me feel as though this blog is officially mine. I can’t wait to slowly work at slight layout changes that I can make for free… like I said, I have a few other ideas on how to make the blog look “newer.”

Sorry to disappoint anyone who expected “big changes” like I said there would be because I was expecting big changes, as well. However, I’m happy with what I’ve done for the blog so far.

Here’s to a lot of posting in the New Year!

Slight Hiatus

…But not really.

When I say “hiatus” I don’t mean that I’ll be going away from my blog for a little bit (despite the fact that I already haven’t been on in a little while).  So, sorry for the lack of updates and lack of responses to the comments. Christmas was a busy time and now that it’s all over, I’ve been spending my time playing my new video games (who isn’t?).

Speaking of Christmas, I would love to share with you all how my holiday went and I would love to hear how your holidays went. However, that post is going to be saved for tomorrow… or the next day… or sometime in the near future.

Let me get straight to the point: we all remember that I said I was planning some “changes” to my blog for the new year, yes? Well, one of those changes is to change the blog as a whole.

In 2015 I’m going to work super, extra hard on Detective Florence. I have a schedule for myself through May (pray I stick with it) and it’s all writing, re-writing, and editing Detective Florence. My goal is to start querying the novel by this time next year. Hopefully sooner, but you can’t rush these things.

With that being said, if I’m going to take the next step to become a published author, I want a blog/website that looks more… professional, I guess you could say. Yes, I am finally going to change the URL name and buy the domain name from WordPress.

I think this will be a good step in the right direction for me. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time now and I think it’s finally time for me to take action. After two and a half years, I think Spilled Ink needs a change. I need a change.

I also believe that once this is done, it will be sort of like a reminder to myself. My blog will be telling me, “You’re actually serious about this writing business, so you better not let yourself or your followers down!”

With that being said, I am not going to be randomly disappearing. I will not post once a day every day for two weeks and then disappear for three weeks. We all know that I tend to do that.

I have planned posts; some are written, some are not. However, I will be more active and my blog will be a much better place.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I’m going to be switching my blog over today. That’s December 29, 2014 for those of you in a different time zone or reading this on a different day.

I do not know how long/short this will take. I do not know how easy/hard it will be. Needless to say, my blog is going to be a hot mess for today. Maybe tomorrow, too. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

So, I just wanted this “slight hiatus” to be a bit of a warning… if anyone comes across my blog and it’s all jumbled up and confusing–fear not! Your computer is not broken, I’m just breaking my blog into pieces unsure how to put it back together again.

I’m probably making it sound much worse than it really is…

Anyway, I hope the next time we meet my blog will look fantastic and it’ll be brand new and everyone will love it! Please bare with me while I work on this. Thanks!

Two Awards

Beautiful Blogger

First things first: The wonderful Topaz nominated me for two awards! Thanks, Topaz! The first one is the Beautiful Blogger award. Here are the rules:

1.Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo
2. Thank the person who nominated you and create a link back.
3. Nominate seven other bloggers and say a little something about them.

The Howler

Here are the rules for The Howler Award:

1. Display the award on your blog. This can be in your sidebar or on a special award page
2. Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog
3. Give 3 examples of things you would like to see changed in the world
4. Nominate (in your own time) at least 5 bloggers that deserve the award
5. Donate the equivalent of $10 to a charity of your choice (optional)

What I would like to change in the world…all of these are easier said than done, but…

1. Fix the economy — seriously, it’s ridiculous
2. Stop war — this is even more ridiculous
3. Stop bullying — I hear way too many negative stories on this subject

My Nominees for both The Beautiful Blogger & The Howler Awards…

1. Random Acts of Writing — A regularly updated blog with many tidbits of writing. She has a few works in progress and is hoping to see them on the bookshelves soon.
2. Readful Things Blog — A wonderful writer, blogger, photographer, book reviewer, etc. She does everything that screams “art” and is fantastic at it.
3. Aspiringwriter22 — I have too many good things to say about Herminia. She is a fantastic blogger, a wonderful writer, and a hard-worker.
4. Permashift — I know I nominated this blog for an award not too long ago and it’s easy to understand why. Her book just came out less than a month ago, so please go check it out!
5. Uniquely Russell — A wonderful poet and writer. He is taking place in NaPoWriMo this year, so please go check it out if you want to read great poems!
6. Luna’s Little Library — Literally the best place for book reviews. Enough said.
7. Lysa Taylor — A wonderful writer. Check out her book trailer on her website (it’s really well done)!

There are my nominees…I could have written more about them, but I think it would be much easier for you to see for yourselves, so you should go check out their blogs. 😉

Thanks again Topaz!

All About Sacrifice

Ten Minutes Here, Half Hour There…

 

Novel In Progress

 

 

Let me start off by saying: I wish I had that doorknob hangy-thingy like in the picture above.

*Ahem* It’s day two of NaNoWriMo. We are no where near the end, yet the 30th will be here before we know it. And because of that, we need to find all the time we can to write. You can’t say, “Oh, it’s only day two. I can write double tomorrow,” or “It’s only day two, I still have 28 days to get it done.” No. it doesn’t work that way. If you procrastinate today, then it’s inevitable that you’ll procrastinate tomorrow.

Being a writer is so much more than just writing. It’s all about sacrifice. Sacrifice time, sacrifice social life, sacrifice your sanity.

Let’s talk about time because that’s been my biggest issue lately. I was happy that NaNo started on a Friday. I work eight hours a day so my only real time to write is in the mornings. Because when I get home from work I need to do homework and I’m exhausted. But it’s also hard to find time in the morning. If I don’t wake up really early, then I can’t get as much writing in as I want to because I get my two cousins ready for school in the morning. Now they’re both old enough, 9 and 11, so it’s not like I need to get them dressed or anything. But I do have to remind them every once in a while. If I don’t shut off the TV when I tell them to start getting ready for school, then a half hour later they will still be sitting in front of that TV.

But since it was a Friday, I only had to worry about that one day. I didn’t get as much written as I wanted to, but I was over the word count goal with 1,717 words. It was a good start. Then Saturday, today, I could write all day. And Sunday I can write all day after church. It’s a good start to NaNo.

I try to write for at least one hour every single day. I was really good at doing that in the summer, but when school and work started I stopped. And I really shouldn’t have. I’m hoping NaNo gets me back into the routine and I carry on with it through November and beyond. But it’s tough to find time when there is no time. The thing is, there is always time.

I like to write for at least an hour. I can bang out about 2,000 words in an hour (depending on my caffeine intake and how early/late it is in the day) and to me that’s a job well done. If I sit down and write for ten minutes, well…what good does that do?

It actually does a lot of good. I finally understand the meaning, “slow and steady wins the race.” Even though it’s not as much as you would like, you’re still writing. You are still getting something written down on the paper and that’s ten less minutes that you need to get done the next time you write for a decent length of time.

The reason I’m talking about this is because I thought this weekend was going to be a breeze. I probably could have made it to 50,000 words this weekend if I could. But plans got changed. And because of that, I’m finding it hard to find time to write.

These guys were supposed to come in the middle of the November to add insulation to the upstairs and basement to our house. Now the upstairs is my and Kris’s bedroom and our office/video game room. The only two places in the house we can hang out, write, have some privacy. Well, these guys had a cancellation so they came Thursday and Friday (Halloween and the first day of NaNo). Where are we going to write? When are we going to write if the guys are in the house and we need to babysit the dog and the cat so they don’t bother the men working?

The basement and the entire upstairs looks like an episode from “Hoarders.” Kris and I have been sleeping in the living room for the past two nights because we can’t get to our beds. By the way, this was supposed to be a two-day job and they’re still not finished. And they can’t come back until Wednesday. Yipee…

Kris and I planned to write every single Sunday in November together. Go to church, go to Starbucks, come home and write until we have to go to bed. We can’t do that tomorrow because we don’t have any place to go. Not to mention that we need to try to clean up the place a little bit.

This is what I mean about finding time. I thought I had all the time in the world and today I have to work on cleaning the rooms a bit and go to my friend’s birthday party later tonight. Tomorrow, I have church, continue cleaning the rooms, then I have to babysit from 6-midnight. It’s tough, but guess what? I did it. I made the goal yesterday and I made the goal today. I will make the goal tomorrow, too…I am determined to!

So ten minutes or a few hours, it makes no difference. As long as you’re writing, you’re getting something done.

Then you need to sacrifice your social life, too. My boyfriend and I haven’t had a chance to see each other a lot lately due to work, school, and other things going on in our lives. We used to see each other practically every single day, too. But even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like, I told him that I’m not seeing him every Sunday during November. I need to write. He understands as this is something I love, something I want to do. I have to do what I have to do in order to make my dreams come true. I’m very fortunate to have someone so understanding and supportive. So on Sundays my only form of human interaction will be with my sister…and the workers at Starbucks.

I can’t come up with any examples of sacrificing your sanity…I don’t think I had any sanity to begin with.

But that’s what writing is all about. Sacrificing everything here and there to do something you love. Something you want to do. It is difficult to find time; especially when you already made plans to write straight through the entire day.

This is why I think NaNo exists. It’s not about whether you can write an entire novel in 30 days. It’s whether you can take on the pressure, the anxiety, the frustration, the sacrifices, and the ups and downs of being a writer. It’s a much deeper test than we all make it out to be. So the question is: Can you handle it?

 

Today’s Word Count: 1,963
Total Word Count: 3,680

Thoughts On Life

Warning, This Is A Really Long Post…

Kris and I tend to have a lot of conversations about our future. For some strange reason, I was beginning to think about again this morning. Kris was home with me, but she was in the shower so I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. Except for Hunter.

Yes, he is sitting in a drawer. This pic was taken a while ago, though.
Yes, he is sitting in a drawer. This pic was taken a while ago, though.

He seemed to agree with me on half of the things I said, too. Well…he meowed a lot, anyway. But together, in the half hour Kris was in the shower, he and I took a long, hard look at life.

I was always the type of person to have a plan.  I always stuck to that plan no matter what and it was very hard for someone or something to change my mind.

When I was in first grade, I was six-years-old,  I loved my teacher a lot. Her name was Mrs. McCarthy. I have two memories from that class: one was that she had a beanie baby named Tiny. Every Friday one kid in the class was chosen to take it home for the weekend. Memory number two is that I remember telling her, “I’m going to be a first grade teacher just like you.” I kept half of that promise. I do want to be a teacher and have wanted to be a teacher ever since.

When I was in fifth grade, I was ten, my sister found the FanFiction website. I wasn’t really all that interested in it, but I wanted to copy her because I was an annoying little sister. I created a story for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because that was my obsession at the time. The writing sucked, to be blunt. My spelling was terrible, I had no idea what grammar was, and for the most part there was no plot. I just threw a little girl into the turtles’ laps and based her off of me. As I got older, I took the story down and re-vamped it. It was popular and I continued on. I found the sister site, FictionPress, which is all original stuff. I posted a few things on there, came up with millions of novel ideas, and thought to myself, “Why post these on the internet when I could get them published?” That was when I got my start at writing.

But I still wanted to be a teacher. How was I to write and be a teacher at the same time? Mind you, at this point in time I thought authors made millions of dollars by just selling one book. I didn’t realize how difficult it truly is. But I thought writing was going to be so much work (which it is), so how was I to write full time all day every day and still be able to teach first grade?

“I’ll be an English teacher!” I finally came to a conclusion. I never really thought about what grade I wanted to teach, but I was gonna go with it for the time being. I love Spanish, too. There was some point in my life where I kept flip-flopping back and forth between being an English teacher and a Spanish teacher.

Then I got to seventh grade, I was 12. My aunt suddenly passed away from a brain aneurysm. She and the rest of my family were over for my birthday, seeming completely fine, and two days later she was gone. She left behind Jackie and Kat (who were 3 and 1 at the time) and my Uncle behind. Two weeks later we had to put my dog Casey down due to seizures. This was around the time Hunter came into the picture (he was a stray), but that’s another story for another time.

Most of my writing during that time was sad and gloomy. Most of the things I wrote on FanFiction was in the humor section and I got a lot of reviews with people telling me that my work was so funny that they printed it out to share with their friends and such like that. But when she left behind her daughters, there was no one else to watch them while my Uncle was at work, so we took them in. I was the youngest of three and then suddenly a middle child of five. It was the biggest change of my life and it’s not something I would wish upon anybody.

I love my cousins to death and I am glad we did what we did to help them and my Uncle out, but when you’re 12 it’s tough to see just how good of a deed you’re really doing. But ever since then, I was done with change. I didn’t care if it was good or bad, I didn’t need anymore surprises in my life.

But people tell you that when you get to high school, things change. Your friends, even yourself, changes. “That will never!” I declared. I had the best group of friends in the world. Alyssa, Mary, Christina, and Kerri. I had known Christina and Kerri since elementary school and Alyssa and Mary came into the picture in middle school, sixth grade.

But at the beginning of ninth grade, high school…things changed. Just like people told me they would. Mary moved to another town so she went to a different high school. Alyssa went to a vocational school. Only Christina, Kerri, and I were at school together, but while I had a few classes with Kerri, I never saw Christina around. I kept in touch with Alyssa and kept in touch with Mary through Alyssa. But as each day passed, we talked less and less. Now we get in contact with each other once every few months and never hang out anymore.

Junior year was the bulk of when everything happened. I had just turned 16 and while everyone else was learning how to drive, I said no thank you. I wasn’t ready for it and I wasn’t going to be for a very long time. Kerri changed drastically that year to the point that I haven’t spoken to her since. And I changed, as well. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, but I was straying from the path that I had been on so for so.

Long story short, after Christmas break, I did not go back to high school. I refused to go. My teachers were baffled, my parents didn’t know what to do, and I had no idea what had come over me. I hated the kids in my class, none of my teachers seemed to believe in me, and I was realizing that Kerri didn’t believe in me, either. We got in a huge fight because when she asked me what was going on with me, I told her I didn’t know because I truly didn’t know. She got angry at me thinking I was keeping something from her. That was the end of our friendship.

For the second half of my junior year I stayed home all day and went in after school to be tutored for a while to make sure I finished my junior year. I went into therapy where I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and had to be put on medication. I only had two teachers supporting me and the rest thought it was because I just needed to be in lower classes. I was put in the low classes all my life when I got A’s and B’s. I had to fight to get into the higher classes and now they were putting me down again. I had it with teachers. I had it with school. I was ready to drop out and not bother going to college.

My therapist found this “dual enrollment” program at a local community college. I was able to finish my high school diploma there and the courses would also count towards my degree. I went with it. And I’m glad I did. I not have my Associate’s degree in early childhood education. I’m starting my Bachelor’s in the Fall for English.

I hate change. I always hated it thinking I would never get through, but my entire life has changed in a million different directions and each time I adapted. I went from wanting to be a teacher, to an English teacher, to possibly a Spanish teacher, to finally deciding on being a preschool teacher (working towards owning my own preschool and being director) ,all while being a writer. I went from a group of four friends to just the one (Christina and I chat ever day). I went from being an almost high school drop-out to being a college graduate. And I have plans to get my Bachelor’s in English, Master’s in Business, and go back for a certificate in Special Ed. I went from being the youngest child to being one of the oldest.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that…I’m ready for anything else that life throws at me. I have a lot more schooling to get done and I have a ton of books to get published. Who knows what’s going to happen?

Yay, Updates!

I’m Productive…Sort Of….

 

Yesterday, June 19, I actually got a good amount of writing done. Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble to be productive! She wrote a story that she started a while ago and I edited some more of Hunter. I got two and half chapters done…then our friend coincidentally ran into us again. Last time it was no coincidence, but this time it was. So the last hour or so of us being there was spent mingling with an old friend…and drinking half of his Starbucks java chip. 🙂 He wasn’t too happy about that, but I was.

So I got some editing done. Because I have three stories that need to be edited, I don’t want to start anything new. The only exception I’ll make to that Camp NaNo, which is next month. In which case I will have four novels to be edited. I decided that I am not going to start anything new until all (or at least two) of the novels are completely edited and ready to be published! Only while I’m looking for publishers I’ll start something new to pass the time. While I edit, if I get an itch to write, I’ll write FanFiction.

Speaking of FanFiction, that’s the other thing I wrote yesterday. Last night I hand-wrote the prologue and first chapter to my Pokemon parody Yellow. Then I typed it up because I was curious how long it was going to be. I hand-wrote 2,019 words. I was impressed with myself. The reason I’m hand-writing it is because when I go on vacation in July, I’m not going to be able to bring my laptop. I’ll be editing, but I also want to be able to write somethings, too.

As I stated, I edited some more of Hunter yesterday. I always write when I start the novel, when I finish, when I start editing, and when I finish editing. Then I record the number of pages, chapters, and words. Sadly enough, I haven’t kept up with that with all of my novels. I’m going to start keeping up with it again though when I start Camp NaNo next month. Anyway, I started that novel back in August 2011. Old, right? Unfortunately, I never recorded when I finished it. I’m sure it was at least six months later that I finished it or something.

My point is that it was almost two years ago that I started the novel. I was 17 at the time, but turned 18 less than a month later. I started the novel August 2 and my birthday is September 1. I don’t know if it was the age or I didn’t have my cup of coffee that day, or maybe I had just written a lot that day and was getting tired. But when I edited yesterday, I was on page 129 in the middle of chapter eleven, and I read this line:

“I know that that would James pleased.”

I have to say that I completely died laughing when I read that. I have no idea what I was thinking–well, I clearly wasn’t thinking at all. That line is 100% messed up! I’m pretty sure I meant:

“I know that James would be pleased.”

So I changed it to that. I just thought I would share. Hopefully this gave you all a good belly laugh as it did for me.

Back to business: Anyone who is doing Camp NaNo next month, the cabins are being assigned starting today! I just checked and I am already in a cabin. I have to admit that I am pretty shocked with my cabin. I have always been in a cabin with four other people. So, including myself, the total amount of writers in a cabin was five. Sometimes there were only four of us all together. Four or five total, never three or anything like that. Guess how many people now? Including me, there are eight of us. How crazy is that? I wonder why they assigned so many people to one cabin…I’m not complaining, but I just think that it’s a little weird. I didn’t know they put that many people in one cabin together.

I think I said everything I wanted to say. I’m focusing on editing, only to write FanFiction when I get bit by the writing bug. The only exception is Camp NaNo. I can’t wait for Camp! 🙂

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp National Novel Writing Month…

 

2013-Participant-Campfire-Facebook-Profile

 

Show of hands–who is participating in Camp NaNo this year? I know that I am and I have to say that I am certainly not prepared for it…

First, I’m a little disappointed that Script Frenzy is no more. I loved that website and I loved participating. Can you do a script for NaNo? Of course, but it’s not really the same. I think they took down Script Frenzy because not a lot of people were joining it…as far as I’m concerned, there were a good amount of people on there. Most of the people on NaNo were on Script Frenzy.

Second, they changed the dates again. The first year I discovered Camp NaNo was 2011 and it was during the months of June and July. For 2012 it was July and August. Now, for 2013, it’s April and July. I’m glad we can all agree on at least July. I’m sure they changed it to April because that’s when Script Frenzy used to be.

Third, my OCD is kicking it. There are 12 months in a year and three sessions of NaNoWriMo. 12 divided by three is four. Each session should be four months a part. November, March, July. End of story. Of course, that would mean I would have to write 50,000 this month, but…whatever. The way they have it now is obnoxious. November to April is five months, April to July is three months, and July to November is three months. Make it even, please!

This poses as an issue. April is less than one month away and I have no idea what to do for it. Not to mention that I am already in the middle of a novel. I know some people are “rebels” and they just add 50,000 words onto whatever novel they are currently writing, but I don’t like to do that. I like to start fresh. So this means that I have to finish Take Over by April because if I start writing something new, I know for a fact that I will never go back to Take Over. And I really need to start finishing things that I start.

So I am going to try to work extra hard for the rest of this month and try to get Take Over finished up. Then I can start planning for April and…I have no idea what novel I am going to write for that. But I guess I can’t really worry about that right now because I have to focus on finishing Take Over. This is a lot to handle; especially since I’m trying to get school organized and such.

By the way, I finished reading Beautiful Creatures. It was a good book–everyone should read it. But while the movie was great, it really didn’t do the book justice. So if you’re one of those people who gets angry when the movie is completely different from the book, I say watch the movie before you read the actual book. That way, you can enjoy the movie for just a little bit. Anyway, that’s 563 pages added to my pages read count!

As you know because I haven’t posted in a couple of days, I have no written in a couple of days. I have been busy and I have been exhausted. I am, however, going to try my absolute best to finish Take Over by April. That gives me a little over three more weeks and I’m already doing pretty well on the story. I think I should be able to do it.

I just have to cut off all ties with life.

 

2013: 41,268/365,000 Words Written
2013: 1,495/18,250 Pages Read