Setting a (Moderately) High 2017 Reading Goal

I’ve seen several posts already this year of people setting low or no reading goals for 2017 as a way of keeping the pressure off. I think that’s a great idea, but one I’ll be saving for personal use in future years.

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My TBR shelf as of December 2016

Right now, I have close to 50 or 60 unread books on my bookshelf, and while that’s low for some people it’s pretty high for me. In an effort to resist spending money I don’t have, as I’ve just graduated college and don’t have a job yet, I’m setting my reading goal in an effort to force myself to read the books on my shelf.

If you check out my goodreads you’ll see my reading goal is actually only 40 books, because I’m not at my own apartment right now and haven’t counted the exact number of TBR books I have recently. So I went low, but the idea is that I’ll knock out the majority of that reading goal with books I already own, as well as some books I’ve borrowed from my sister and haven’t returned for more than a year (oops).

I will definitely end up buying more books. In fact, since setting that reading goal I’ve already used a gift card I got for Christmas to buy four books, and I have a lot of 2017 releases I’m looking forward to. I’m trying to keep blinders on though, and I’m having to remind myself that I can’t just walk into a Barnes and Noble “for fun” if I’m trying to save money.

As for the 40 book goal itself, it’s the highest reading goal I’ve ever set on goodreads, though I’m sure back in my middle school/high school days before I was keeping track I was reading a lot more than that in a year.

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Books I’ve read each year (according to Goodreads), if you’re interested.

But I’ve also been making sure to remind myself that there’s no requirement for the number of books I read in a year. I want to read what I enjoy, whether that’s a popular book I’ve seen all over Youtube and Tumblr or a random book that’s already been on my shelves for years.

Hopefully y’all keep that in mind, too. A lot of what I’ve seen is that people feel the pressure of reading a lot and reading specific books, and I almost fell into that for a few months too, but I have to remind myself that I was a reader before I was ever aware of YouTube or Tumblr, and reading is a personal experience and is allowed to be treated as such. So, whether you’ve set your goal to 1 book or 100, I hope you’ll keep the focus on enjoying the reading experience, and remember you don’t have to meet any expectations other than your own.

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NanoWrimo Week 1!

            fifi-and-outline    NanoWrimo has been off to a disappointing start. It only took me two days to realize I’d started my story in the wrong spot and the first four chapters I was working on were going to have to be cut as soon as revisions start. However, in the spirit of fast drafting and not revising as I go, I decided to keep writing those chapters even if I know they won’t be there later. They provide valuable background information for me as the writer, and allow me to get used to my characters before the action really starts.

I’ve also already begun reworking my outline but I consider that a natural progression of my writing process. There are parts of any story that don’t become clear until I begin writing, and updating my outline and reworking plot points is better to do now than following the outline and having to rewrite essentially the entire draft later.

I’m a little behind on my word count goals, I’m supposed to be to 10,000 at the end of today (day 6). I’ve just finished two word sprints, (using the MyWriteClub sprint feature), and I’ve caught up from yesterday. It’s only 10:30 in the morning so I’m confident I’ll get above and beyond where I need to be before the day is over. I have some homework to do for school and some cleaning to do in my apartment today too, so I have to keep reminding myself to stay productive.

In other news, being in the midst of a new first draft has led to a breakthrough in the revisions of a different story that I’d all but given up on. I’d thought I was sick of it and that the revisions I’d made while working on the second draft had essentially put me in a corner. I’ve been getting sudden inspiration though, with ideas for new scenes coming to me, and a newfound motivation to at least finish the second draft, even if that novel is never seen by anyone but me. I think it’ll be good for me to go through the entire revision process, if for nothing more than learning to push through it.

While that inspiration is a good thing, I can’t work on it now. Part of fast drafting is ignoring distractions, so I’ve been writing down any ideas that come to me for that revision while also keeping a separate document for revision ideas related to the first draft I’m doing for NanoWrimo. I’m going to look at the revisions for my other project when November is over, but for now its first draft time. And with that being said, it’s time to get back to writing!

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Antique Mall and Bonding with Cows

     Antique mall and cows (3)

     The other day I was hanging out with Autumn and my best friend, Jordan for one of my last days in Stillwater until the New Year. We were eating at Boomerang Diner when I mentioned that I wanted to go window shopping. Turns out Jordan’s favorite store is the Antique Mall, which was maybe a hundred feet from where we were eating, so we went to look around. Antique mall and cows (1)

     May I just say, that I’m one of those snobby people who feels weird shopping at a thrift store, and honestly even after our visit I still wouldn’t be tempted to go clothes shopping there. However, I had so much fun exploring the two floors of nick knacks and old records. After seeing the record section, I was actually reminded to text my brother and ask which vinyls he wants for Christmas.

     There was also a section for books, which I stopped myself from actually going into. I got up the landing and was staring at the first shelf, and I felt overwhelmed and just knew I’d have to come back and devote an entire day to searching the shelves. As it was, Jordan and Autumn had already moved on to a different section and I didn’t want to end up lost.

  Antique mall and cows (2)   We spent probably an hour searching through the store, and one of my favorite things I found was a box full of old post cards. Some were blank, but there were a few that had been written on and sent, and it was fascinating getting to read the dates and information on them. A lot of the cards were from the 40s and I instantly felt the need to go somewhere and send a postcard to my family, who knows, maybe in seventy years someone will come across it.

     The Antique Mall wasn’t our only adventure that day. I wasn’t ready to go home so Autumn suggested we just drive around for a while. The last time we did that we ended up in Ponca City on a random Sunday, so this time Autumn made sure to let me know we weren’t going that far. However in her quest to avoid Ponca City, we ended up cutting down a road marked “Cemetery” and got semi-lost on a backwoods dirt road. Antique mall and cows (4)

     Good news though! Jordan insisted we pull over and take pictures with all the cows we kept driving by. I hopped out and ran for the fence, only to sadly be told by Autumn that cows are skittish, as was proven when they all made a run for it. Jordan and I still stopped to take pictures in the road, all the while listening to Autumn honk at us. We did eventually get back in the car and head home, but not before stopping for some Cinnabon. After all, adventures always leave a girl hungry.

 

Finals Week and Visiting Knoblock & Co.

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Jars at Knoblock & Co. in Stillwater, Okla.

Hey guys! This week is finals week at my college, which means a lot of stress, tears and caffeine. Luckily for me, those things are actually being kept to a minimum, because I only have three tests, and after tomorrow I’ll be done with my semester.

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Hand soap at Knoblock & Co. in Stillwater, Okla.

After my American Literature exam this morning, I met up with my co-campus correspondent for Her Campus , and we passed out some goodies around campus. After taking a food break, we decided to do some shopping around Stillwater. I visited some places here in my quant little college town that I’ve never been into before. Like Knoblock & Co. which smelled amazing the second we stepped inside.

Knoblock is essentially candle heaven, and they had the cutest little hand soaps and wooden postcards. The layout of the store was beautiful and I couldn’t help but take pictures. I’ll definitely need to go back next time I’m looking for a candle or cute trinket. Especially when it comes time to decorate my apartment for next semester.

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Books and soap at Knoblock & Co. in Stillwater, Okla.

The building is also and amazing green color that Hannah insisted on having her picture taken in front of. If you want to check out the OOTD pictures I took for her you can visit her blog, Fe Fi Fo FHannah.

Overall it was an exciting day exploring some of the shops in Stilly that I haven’t been to in the last two years of living here. I’ve definitely been inspired to go window shopping and exploring more often.

 

Losing a friend: A letter to myself.

Dear Self,

I know you feel like crying right now. I know you think this is a horrible experience and that you will never be able to move on. You will. Right now it hurts to find out your friendship is over, that it has ended, and with it the memories you were making.

I know you see other people still interacting, and growing closer, and you feel left out and unwanted. Those people are still your friends though, they are not taking sides. They stand on the outside and look on in confusion as to why you aren’t Losing a friendhanging out with them, because they know you want to. But you can’t, because you aren’t invited. You lost one friend, and now you have to work around them in order to see the others. I know that makes you sad and angry, but it will be alright.

I know that you still talk to your old friend sometimes, and that they act like nothing has changed. It has. You no longer text or call them in the middle of the day just because you’re bored or lonely. That’s what they wanted, and you’ve tried to make them happy. When they invite people to hang out, you are never told, but you find out anyway. So yes, things have changed, and I know you wish they hadn’t.

I know that you noticed your old friend pulling away, and on several occasions you told people that you felt like they didn’t want to be around you, and that they ignored you. I know you’re friends said you were wrong, and I know that the day your fears were confirmed was painful for you. I know you tried to remain strong, when you heard that your old friend found you annoying and that’s why you were being avoided. You told those who were concerned about you that it was fine. For a few minutes you even had yourself convinced that it was true. You told yourself and others that in the months since you’d really talked to your old friend, you’d gotten used to it and that you were over it already. You were lying. As soon as the others were gone, you had to bite back the tears and fight the ragged breaths.

I know that was only the beginning, and that soon you learned more and more of the ways your old friend had shut you out, and that it had affected the others too. They’d been wondering why you were never hanging out, then they found out it was because you weren’t invited. They were angry and I know you feel bad about how that makes you feel better.

I know you’re still adjusting to the loss of a friend, that I am still adjusting. I know it will take a long time to adjust, and that our old friend will not make it easy. I know the hardest part has been realizing your friendship really is over. Even harder than that, is knowing the reason its over, is because you were never really friends at all. You will now have to learn what real friendships are made of, and I know that in losing our old friend, you’ve made the first step, because some real friends have come to your side. They have defended you and cared for your feelings, and most of all they have proven that nothing as simple as annoyance or the need for space will be able to end your friendship.

Sincerely, you.

Identical but Still Individual

Recently I met a new friend. He thinks me and my identical twin sister are the same person. I can tell that most of what he says is made in jest, but it got me thinking about how people view twins. They see us as copies of one another with nothing separate to offer. I’ve often heard, “If you know one, you know both”. But that is far from true. Both my sister and I, as well as every set of twins I’ve met, has been different.

Autumn (left) and Savannah (right) in September 2014.

Autumn (left) and Savannah (right) in September 2014.

My sister has never won a spelling bee, or a science fair. I’ve never sang a song I wrote in front of a room full of people. I’ve never been asked to Homecoming with the whole school watching and she’s never dislocated her kneecap at a high school football game. We may be identical, but we are far from the same.

It’s a long list, the things we don’t have in common. We played different instruments in school, her oboe and me trombone. Her favorite color growing up was pink and mine was yellow. But the real difference, what makes us individuals, is in the way we view the world. She is a realist, I’m a dreamer. She’s believes in the practical, I’d rather cast it aside and figure it out as I go. She has never felt the overwhelming need to take a picture of her friends as they laugh at some small thing, I’ve never been without that need. She walks around the house singing at all hours, I can’t hold a tune and reserve singing for the shower. Our differences lie in the tiny things we do every day without even thinking of them. They are the things our friends make fun of us for, and our parents constantly complain about.

We may be identical twins, but we have completely different perspectives to offer the world. We have vastly differing hopes, and we dream in vivid colors that don’t match. Two people are not as simple as their physical appearance. Just as we are told not to judge a book by its cover, and to see every one we meet as a special person with something unique to offer, twins go deeper than matching faces.

I know most people don’t think twice about this. They see twins and see two of the same person. Or they make a game out of learning how to tell twins apart. I’ve often had new friends take turns guessing which twin I was, and they get excited when they finally get it right on the first try. I’ve also had people see that we’re identical and never go beyond that. They assume everything about us is a copy of the other. Even though we speak differently, both the sound of voices, and the words we choose to use. We say pecan differently, and differ on food in almost every other aspect too. She loves mushrooms and black olives, while I hate them. She doesn’t eat spinach but I’ll eat a bowl in under a minute.

It’s these seemingly unimportant things that make us who we are, just like they do with every other person on the planet. So as an identical twin, I beg you the reader to see twins less as an oddity and to instead see us for the individuals we are. We are identical, but we are also individual.