Deep Breaths, Deeper Thoughts

After trying my hand (okay, foot) at a little classic Wii Fit yoga, I’m definitely sore but satisfied. I liked the deep breathing part, since I’m totally not good at that at all (even though I’m a singer, and should have learned by now).

I know I really should do other things on Friday nights, like socialize and eat pizza (normal weekend activities for college students). But yoga seemed like a good idea, and I didn’t fall over. My trainer even told me I have great posture.

Since that’s absolutely 100 percent not true, I’ll forgive him for lying and try again tomorrow.


I don’t know why he/she/it is sitting on a green world. Why green? Why not blue or purple? Those are calming colors too. Someone’s discriminatory against the entire visible spectrum (except for green). Shame on them.

My next task (after I do dishes, AGAIN, because somehow I am one small person yet I make a sink’s worth of dishes in less than a day) is to – FINALLY – work on my memoir. It’s almost been a full week since I even opened it, and I hope that’s given my brain enough time to process where I want to go next. I’m thinking I’ll just open the document and start writing – not necessarily where I left off, but really, I just need to let go and let it happen.

That’s when words become meaningful – when you’re not forcing them to come out. When they just start flowing, you know you’re not going to get anything much better than that out of your brain once it’s over. Not until it happens again, anyway. I haven’t had one of those Word Explosions in awhile, but I think I’m seriously due for one. Maybe Sunday, when I don’t have quite as much to do or quite as many places to be.

I’m going to miss having time to write once classes start again.

Oh well. Life goes on.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 20

As someone who has been writing [practically] her entire life, I never think of sitting down and typing out a few fictional sentences as “practicing.” In gymnastics, you get better by doing so many cartwheels you feel like your arms are going to fall off. (Personal experience? Maybe.) In music, you get better by singing until your diaphragm hurts, or blowing into your flute until…yeah, your diaphragm still hurts.

It’s easy to detect progress when you’re flipping around on a mat or glued to a piano bench in a practice room. Growing as a writer is harder to evaluate. And marking progress requires reading through (and cringing in response to) old material, understanding your current style, and even brainstorming ways to incorporate habits you liked but lost into habits you developed and kept.

It’s not easy. But that’s why we practice.




And practicing doesn’t just mean cranking out one novel after another until you have a figurative stack of unpublished books taking up space on your hard drive. It means writing all the time, every day, even if it’s one sentence about a purple kangaroo living in a dying mango tree. (You can discard sentences you don’t like. Sometimes it’s better for everyone.)

What does this not mean? It does not mean forcing yourself to write when you don’t want to. It does not mean typing out a dozen more pages of a story just because you want to make progress. It does not mean making your art come out of the shadows when it’s not ready to emerge.

The past few years, I’ve been busy enough with school that I’ve only started an average of two novels a year: one in November and one in July. I’m not constantly turning idea streamers into pompoms into cheerleaders into high school-dictating cliques that banish traitors for dating mathletes. I write articles for an online magazines and for my school’s newspaper. I’m part of a team that covers stories and captions for our yearbook. Hey, I even blog a little, occasionally.

Bottom line: I’m always writing. If it’s not one of the things mentioned above, it’s stringing together a literary analysis or research source review for a class. Any kind of writing is still writing. It’s still taking words from the brain and putting them on paper. It’s still practicing.

You may not think you’re anything but a novel-writing machine. But what the professional world is looking for is not a writer who has perfected the art of literary fiction. They’re searching for writers who can sit down, choose a medium, and come up with a lead, conclusion, and a whole lot of factual and entertaining content in-between.

Write everything. Everywhere. That’s how born writers become successful writers.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 19

I have officially reached the halfway point of my novel. Passing the 25,000-word mark is always a great feeling, because it’s ALWAYS, without fail, the few thousand words before the halfway point that are the absolute hardest to get through. It’s happened to me during multiple NaNos and during my first JulNo. I can’t say the same about my two-week novel experience post-wisdom tooth removal, but that’s different.

I’m not usually a frequent supporter of the “skip around writing” method when it comes to novel-writing, but sometimes it’s the very method we despise that helps us make the leap back onto the motivation train. I’ve said from the very beginning that I favor Ally’s story the most, probably because her story comes from the least developed plotline of my TV show (the show that I wrote two and a half episodes for and then got bored, but kudos to me for trying). I stopped trying to force the scene I’d been stuck on for the past few days and skipped ahead to one of Ally’s scenes, one I’d been thinking about for awhile. I like it. I like it a lot.

I didn’t get bored with my show, I guess. I’m just used to books. The pace was too slow for me. I need to practice more, if I ever get the chance or decide to endure a summer that does not involve excessive amounts of course work.



Now that two classes of four are over, I have a lot more time on my hands. A LOT. So I’ve been spending the day reading and writing and tossing around ideas for article pitches. (And playing a little bit of Minecraft with my brother. But pretend you didn’t just read that.) It’s nice to have a “free day.” If it weren’t for the 95-degree weather, I’d probably be tanning right now. But it’s okay. I’m still peeling from last weekend, so it’s probably for the best.

It’s not my fault. The sunscreen was defective.

Ally and Jared were in the middle of a heart-to-heart conversation when I last left them alone. I should probably get back before they take maters into their own hands.

Characters: you just can’t trust them to make decisions for themselves.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 16

I’ve learned something very important in the past 12 hours. It has nothing to do with word count or test grades or running in six thousand percent humidity. It has nothing to do with how delicious Jimmy Johns sandwiches are, or how many applications someone has to fill out before their head explodes.

No. It has to do with Starbucks.

I made a mistake, you see. A big mistake. And this big mistake started a chain reaction of smaller, less significant mistakes, all leading to the same consequences and therefore one big conclusion. My conclusion: never drink coffee after eight o’clock ever again. EVER. AGAIN.

The decision to get coffee on the way home from a very long day was, well, not a terrible decision to start out with. It was almost eight, I was tired, and I knew I had to come home and finish my accounting homework before I went to bed. So of course, at the time, it seemed like a fabulous idea. But the first little mistake was, of course, not ordering a tall sans whipped cream.

I knew as I sipped my grande iced mocha latte (with whipped cream) that I would definitely be awake long enough to finish my accounting homework. I mean, I’ll do anything to declare victory over FIFO/LIFO and gross profit. I didn’t know that when I’d finally finished my homework (before eleven, which was much sooner than I’d expected), I would still be awake. Very, very awake.

Enter mistake  No. 2 – deciding not to go to bed. The thing about thinking your not tired is, once you get cozy under your blankets and cuddle with your pink stuffed elephant anyway (don’t judge me), falling asleep really isn’t all that hard. Because once I start reading a book or even think about closing my eyes, BOOM – I can fall asleep in seconds.

But no. I decided to fill out my fall intentions form for my internship, and gather application materials for a position in said internship, and read some articles and OH, let’s write some more words!

1:30am and I had a party. It was beautiful. Until my alarm went off at five.

Now you understand why I’m fighting to push through the morning.



It’s okay, though. I’m past 22,000 words and don’t have to almost make myself have a stroke trying to finish my accounting homework this morning. And now I can drink as much coffee as I want, because there’s no chance I’m going to bed early when I have (technically) two finals tomorrow.

But first, I have to finish the take-home test I’ve barely started for another class.

College life. It never gets boring.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 15

I don’t know how I could survive without running. Running shoes, Gatorade, accidentally eating my hair if it’s not tied back away from my face – you may not think sweat is glamorous, but I thrive on the combination of adrenaline from a morning jog and the caffeine that comes in liquid form from a coffee maker in my kitchen. I mean, when you’re trying to squeeze as many things into one summer as I am, you really don’t have a choice.

I suppose I could potentially do without the coffee and run on endorphins, adrenaline and sleep like normal people. But I guess I just don’t want to give it up. So there.

The good news is, one class of four is officially complete (until I actually get my final grade, I guess it’s technically not, but close enough), so I can focus all my attention on anatomy and physiology for the next three days, then on microbiology and accounting for only two more weeks after that. Then I’ll be a free woman again.

Of course, once finals are over, JulNoWriMo will be, too. But whatever.



Today marks the official halfway point, and unfortunately I’m a little behind where I wanted to be by this morning. I am at a pretty solid 21,000 words or so, though, so I’m sprinting slowly toward the finish line. I’ll do my best to catch up this weekend between my last class Thursday night and Sunday, when I won’t be doing much of anything other than eating cake and trying to limit myself to how many books I’ll let myself buy from Barnes & Noble.

One. Can I limit myself to just one? Heh. Probably not.

Once July 31 comes and goes, though, I might keep writing. That doesn’t usually happen, but I really like the way my story is starting to adapt from the few episodes of the TV series I started attempting to write a few years ago (I still pretty much suck at dialogue, but I really don’t mind all that much). I’m able to add a lot more than what I had to squeeze into fifty pages of script. I’m still trekking through the pilot episode. Technically, not even half a day has passed as far as time in my novel’s universe is concerned.

I kind of like that.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 12

General rule of thumb: don’t stuff a gun in your purse and then try to bury it in a forest. Just don’t. Leave it in the closet with the figurative skeletons and walk away.

I think one thing TV writers do the most efficiently and effectively is making sure their characters do something stupid at least once per episode. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just stating an opinion. My characters have done some pretty stupid things in my books, but it’s not like I tell them to do it. They come up with these ideas on their own. Sort of.

I’ve really been struggling to come up with creative content lately. I can write quantity – travel back two years almost to the day and there’s your proof. It’s not quality I struggle with, either – it’s maintaining a reader’s short attention span that I spend most of my time working on when I free write (because our attention spans are so short nowadays, when it says to microwave the soup for a minute and a half, it’s the end of the world in four seconds flat).

The best books I’ve ever read have pulled me in with the first line. That’s an art I haven’t quite mastered yet, but I would love to be able to say I have someday. My stories are okay, but I take a good fifty pages to finally get to something interesting. Which, I guess for a quantity contest, isn’t that big of a deal at this point.



I’ve been struggling with my articles this semester as well, but no matter what type of writing you’re focusing on in any given period, you’re always going to have to play with your style a little bit and tweak it to fit the right mold. You can’t change your voice – that’s always going to be there. But tamper with your tone and you can write in any medium. I can go from writing an academic literature review to an article about yogurt to a story about pirates without much effort – it took a lot of practice, but once I had to learn how to do it, it kind of just became habit.

Okay, I’ve never written about pirates before. But now I’m kind of tempted to write about evil pirates who steal yogurt from a professor doing research on a deserted island.

Yeah, my brain went there. It can’t help itself. I’ve tried to reason with it in these situations, but it never listens to me. Stubborn, stubborn.

And I wonder why I’m single . . .

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 11

Have you ever thought about how much education kills trees? Take this afternoon, for example. I probably printed out over fifty pages of PowerPoints to bring to class with me so I can take notes during lecture without falling asleep (not because it’s boring, but because it’s been a long week and no amount of coffee could possibly fix this exhaustion).

Is it possible to have a “green” education? Yes. It’s called laptops and iPads.

Do I have an iPad? Not yet (but I will in a little over a month, thanks to the music department). And my Macbook Pro is a 17-inch, so lugging it all the way to class and back just isn’t ideal. I recycle bags full of paper left over from each semester I endure. It’s a sad fact, really.

3d recycle

The good thing about writing is, it’s not practical to do it on paper (for me, anyway). This mostly goes for full-length novels, of course – there’s nothing wrong with scribbling a poem on the back of a napkin, necessarily. I haven’t written out my stories since high school, and even then it was a pain to write it all out and then type it all up later (and I wonder why my GPA was so humiliatingly low).

If you’re keeping track of word count, Word and other programs are basically a necessity. Did they care about word count before computers? I don’t know. But I’m a much faster typer than I am hand-writer. And even though my micro professor just complimented me on my handwriting the other day (apocalypse is imminent), it’s not readable. It’s just not.

Writing is green – environmentally. I suppose you could make your font green, if you really wanted to – but why would you want to?

If there’s any literary significance, you win a prize.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 10

I am figuratively brain dead, so pardon my inability to make words come out and put them in the correct order while typing sentences. (If it hasn’t happened yet, it’s an imminent occurrence, I’m just warning you.)

I literally spent about 48 hours straight studying for a biology test (okay, not literally, but I haven’t done any other homework since Monday night, and it only took a half hour to calculate FIFO and LIFO). It did not go as well as I would have hoped. Fortunately, there are about 200 more points left to bring my grade up to a solid B. I just, you know, have to earn about 199 of them to do it.

Hyperboles everywhere. It’s a grammatical invasion and I can’t stop it.

See what happens when I don’t sleep enough, and run five miles in six trillion percent humidity, and take a test that hurts my feelings, and sit through a lecture about viruses and parasites that I really hope never ever enter my body (ever)?


I have not written anything today as of yet (other than an essay about the functions of the liver, but we’re not discussing this anymore). I have the document open but I’m debating whether I want to crank out a thousand words (my goal for the day) before doing my bank reconciliation assignment or the other way around.

I know. The responsible grown-up thing to do would be to put homework first.

But I don’t feel like being a responsible grown-up. I’m not even 21 yet. Let me have a little fun.

Maybe I’ll just take a nice long nap instead.

Love&hugs, Meg<3


Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 8

Why is it that I can wake up at 4:30AM (again, not on purpose) and write 2,000 words without doing much thinking, then sit down later in the day to scrape together a decent post and can’t even think of a good lead?

Oh. Maybe it’s that whole waking up before the sun thing that’s frying my brain. Or, you know, fifteen credit hours crammed into two months (while still attempting to write a novel).

I think the crazy train has left the station. Bordering psychosis, now, don’t you think? Of course, I’m the only one allowed to say that. It’s okay when it comes out of my mouth, or gets from my brain to my fingertips and therefore onto this page.

Forgive me. I’ve only had three cups of coffee today.

3d laptopThis is where you say, “Meg, three cups of coffee is a lot.”

Um, excuse me. No.

I have two more A&P lectures and then a final. Of course, between then and now, I also have a test and two quizzes to ace. Still shooting for that A, though it’s quite a long shot at this point. At least I’ll pull of an A in marketing (because if I get a B in an online class, I’m sorry, I’m finding a cliff and jumping off of it. End of story).

Pun intended.

I turn 21 in thirteen days. Do you know what that means? Yes, you guessed it: chocolate cake. I finally have a good reason to eat chocolate cake until it comes out my ears. It’s my favorite day of the year. I haven’t had chocolate cake in . . . a year. Which means I’m long overdue for some cake, of the chocolate variety, preferably in multiple layers.

But first, I need to study how the digestive system works. (Funny how irony just happens to sneak up on you like that.)

Love&chocolatecravinghugs, Meg<3


Tales of a Highly Caffeinated JulNoWriMo Enthusiast – Day 7

I woke up at 3AM this morning. Now before I go on, please understand that this is not the first time this has happened to me. Actually, I used to do it on purpose (ask me why, and I might tell you…but then I’d have to stuff you in a car trunk and push that car into a river). It wasn’t on purpose this time. It just happened to be three in the morning, and I happened to be wide awake, and so I got up and started journaling. I mean, what else was I supposed to do?

Eventually I got tired again…so I went back to sleep. For like, an hour. Then my sad excuse for a brain went, “Hey, Meg, don’t you have a paper due in like, 18 hours?” And I was like, “Brain, shut up, I’m trying to sleep.

Needless to say, the paper is written, edited and submitted with plenty of time to spare. Oh, and I’ve made it past 10,000 words, read all about the digestive system, and even had time for coffee, food and church.

Okay, so church was going to happen regardless of whether I woke up at 3:00 or 7:00, but still.


I’m mildly freaking out about only having two weeks of marketing and A&P left. I mean, what am I supposed to do with so much extra free time? (This is where my brain chimes in: “Hey, I have an idea. How about getting A’s in microbiology and accounting and pretending you don’t have any free time so you’ll study more for them?”)

Seriously, brain. Shut up.

I do have much more of an exciting life than this, you know. You just happened to catch me at a very boring and routine segment of it. It’s much more fun when I have things like friends and extracurricular activities and professors to bother.

Speaking of school (when am I not?), I received my unofficial move-in day yesterday, and that’s freaking me out more than almost finishing up two classes. It means I only have a month and ten days left of summer. It means I’m going to have to spend the two weeks between my last final and the day I move back in the sun from when it comes up until when it goes down if I want to catch up on my tan. I’m sure my roommate (er, former) is beating me by now.

Don’t judge us. It’s not our fault we hate being pale.

Love&hugs, Meg<3