Category Archives: Random Musings

The Silence of Meekness

I’m self-described as meek. Or perhaps timid is more apt, because looking at some of the definitions of meek, a lot of people seem to associate it with the idea that you are humble, gentle and kind, rather than being prone to violence or aggression. That definition reads being meek in a very position way–and you can label yourself meek and not take it negatively.

In my case, however, being meek is something I want to change, because I think that quality–the way that I exhibit meekness, also known as timidness or being shy–actually inhibits me from becoming the kind of woman I actually want to be. And I’m tired of being the only one standing in my way.

An example, if you will.

I got a new tattoo two weeks ago. A couple people knew about it beforehand, including my group of friends. When I went to play D&D with them last Friday, I really wanted to show them my tattoo, even though I was slightly embarrassed it was still in the healing stages (and my skin hates tattoos, so my healing process always looks worse than everyone else’s), so it didn’t look exactly great. Yet I never spoke up about it. I never said, “Hey guys, remember that ink I went to get last Saturday? Check it out.” I just stayed quiet throughout the evening and still, none of them have seen it.

Let’s do another example.

Family wants to go out to dinner and they suggest going to X restaurant. Yet I either a) don’t like said restaurant or b) really don’t feel like eating there. Yet instead of speaking up and saying anything, I kept my mouth shut. Same case when we’re trying to figure out what to cook at home.

Or I want to text my best friend and tell her a story, but I haven’t heard from her in a while, so I don’t want to interrupt her day, so I don’t say anything. Or I want to hang out with her but I don’t bring it up.

Or I really want to tell my love interest about how my day was, yet I don’t say anything until he asks. Or I’m really horny, but I won’t say or do anything unless he makes the first move.

Or.
Or.
Or.

Writing this out, I’ve discovered a trend, the aspect of my meekness that I don’t like and want to change. Because I’m meek and timid, it makes me quiet. It silences my voice, pushes back my wants, sacrifices my needs.

And I don’t like it.

I’m not saying that I suddenly want to become outspoken or the center of attention. I like being quiet, more reserved. I just want to stop being so scared to use my voice, because I think that’s what fuels my timidness, my meek-mindedness. Fear, complemented by me being a people pleaser and perhaps just a dash of introvertedness.

When I didn’t say anything about my tattoo to my friends, it was because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, even if it was an important subject to me. When it comes to making decisions, I stay quiet because I never want to suggest the wrong one and then, in doing so, upset the other persons involved. When it comes to reaching out to friends and talking with them, I become timid in not wanting to interrupt their day or feel like I’m being needy. With my love interest, sometimes I don’t tell him my desires because I don’t want to come off as pushy or sex-crazed, so instead, I let him take the lead. I think I also fear getting rejected by him.

Obviously, this isn’t okay.

I may be introverted and I may be meek, but one of my most basic needs–that I really wish could be fulfilled daily–is communication, talking. I’m a storyteller. I really love to talk with the people I care about, whether it’s giving over-detailed stories about my day, ranting about something that’s bothering me, obsessing over the latest epic love or just trading stories. I need that communication to be happy, plain and simple. And it can come in different forms. In person is the best, but texting or emails are just as great, especially with people I don’t get to see daily.

And then there’s the opinion stuff, which can be as simple as telling someone what I want to eat for dinner to how I felt about a particular movie to how I feel about a certain topic I’m actually passionate about. So many times, I’ll hold back what I’m actually feeling or thinking, instead of speaking my mind and speaking candidly. I’ll submit to the other person’s desires or opinions.

Why? Why do I rob myself of not only the conversations that I need daily, but even the opportunity to have them? Why do I hesitate to be the person who actively starts a conversation or initiates an invite, instead waiting for someone else to take charge and follow suit? Why do I hold back my opinions, even when they aren’t controversial? Because I’m scared of rejection? Because I’m scared of interrupting someone else’s day and being labeled as a burden or needy or invasive?

Yeah, that’s not a worthy excuse.

I think this all stems from me hating myself for so long. I don’t hate myself any more, but old habits are hard to break, apparently. And I’m not saying I want to become this rambunctious, loud individual who always fights to get her way. Because I am genuinely happiest when those around me are happiest, so if that means eating a place that isn’t my favorite and sneaking in a bowl of cereal later, then by all means, of course I’m willing to do that. But I shouldn’t be afraid to at least offer my opinion. I shouldn’t be afraid to tell those I care about most what I’m thinking or how I feel about a certain subject or asking them to hang out. I shouldn’t be afraid to, hell, talk to those I love, whether it’s just about my day, my writing, the weather, whathaveyou.

I know this is a work-in-progress, for me. I know I’m not suddenly going to become confident overnight and find my voice where it’s always been lacking. But I’d like to promise to try. And for a first step, I think that’s a pretty damn good one.

Cheers.


The Never-Ending Siren of Worst Case Scenarios

I’m a super positive person. That’s just kinda how my boat floats. And yet, I love to complicate that perspective–or part of my personality, rather–by, at the same time, also instinctively assuming the worst case scenario about everything. I touched on this a little bit in a previous post, but today, that realization has just been on my mind. As such, I’m going to write about it some more. Bonus for me for using a blog as an outlet for all my emotional shit, potential negative for you having to hear/reread the same rants, anxieties and fears over and over again.

But, luckily, if you have no desire to listen to me talk about this again, you can close your browser now, no hard feelings and no judgement whatsoever.

Still here? Lovely. Let’s talk about ridiculous minds.

Specifically, my ridiculous mind.

It doesn’t take much for my “worst case scenario” siren to signal in my brain. Today’s most pertinent example comes from where it often does: my love life. A tad bit complicated by yours truly, but in the simplest terms, I’ve found a really amazing man who I’ve fallen pretty damn hard for and cherish a ridiculous amount; to the point where I’m really, really not a fan of the idea of me not being in a–dare I call it–romantic relationship with said man. Because he’s really important to me. He means a lot to me. And I think my life improves wonderfully with him in it.

So, when I don’t hear from him at all today, guess where my lovely little mind goes?

Image result for frodo it's over gif

Um, obviously not.

Having an entire day or an afternoon not talking does not mean that a relationship is suddenly over. It does not mean that someone suddenly hates you or that you made a mistake. Hell, there doesn’t even have to be an explanation for it, at all. So you didn’t talk for a day. So you didn’t see each other for a weekend. So X didn’t happen and Y changed. Those things don’t mean that suddenly, something you care about and cherish so utterly has transformed into something you dread.

Yet that’s where my mind goes. The poor man has dealt with this worst case scenario situation multiple times, dealing with plenty of late night crying sessions that could have been avoided if I didn’t panic at every little thing. He’s a keeper just for putting up with that, amongst other things.

Unfortunately, he’s not the only one who gets to deal with that, because it’s not just my love life that I assume the worst. Let’s quick shoot some examples.

Scenario: When one friend I haven’t seen in a while hangs out with another friend and I wasn’t invited.
Brain: They both suddenly hate you, they don’t like you, you fucked up and you’re never going to see each other ever again because you suck.
Reality: Conflicting schedules, friends wanted 1:1 time, they simply forgot…so many potential reasons.

Scenario: Wrote a book and entered it into a contest and I didn’t win.
Brain: Wow, you’re really still trying this writing thing? You realize that not only did you not win this contest, but your books are never going anywhere ever again. You’ll always fail, because exactly what just happened.
Reality: Book wasn’t ready, didn’t click with the other party, subjective tastes, unlucky, book didn’t need the help that was offered, plus a thousand other reasons that don’t entail me being a shitty writer.

Scenario: You want to take a day off work to do this fun thing but you already took a day off work last week to help parents move.
Brain: If you ask off work, they are going to think you’re lazy and you’ll get fired.
Reality: Why are you even stressing out about this? If you have the time available to take off and get it cleared with your boss, then you’re fine.

It’s not just major things, either, that trigger this kind of response, like relationships. It’s the “little” things, too. Like how I got a new tattoo last week and it secreted fluids for four days and I immediately assumed it was infected, when it was just doing what it always does and needs to do: heal. Or when I got my IUD implanted and then my cycle changed, so I skipped my period and I immediately assumed I was pregnant. Or how I ate that Snickers bar last night and when I weigh myself on Monday, I’m obviously going to have gained 10+ pounds.

I know, I’m absolutely ridiculous.

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The two main ways I’ve combated this unnecessary and over-imaginative worst case scenario response have been recognizing that I’m over-thinking or talking these conclusions through (though usually, it’s a combination of both). Realizing that I’m being ridiculous at least makes me aware that my conclusions are convoluted or exaggerated, so maybe I shouldn’t focus on them so much. Talking it out and hearing someone else tell me the same thing is also really helpful. Yet it isn’t enough to make me stop resorting to this response immediately with every given situation.

I’m not sure if there is any sort of “solution” in order to do that.

So thank God for the understanding and patient humans I’m lucky enough to have in my life, who don’t toss me to be curb after I repeat the same fear or concern for the nth time and remind me with only mild (instead of extreme) annoyance why I need to turn my brain off and just breathe. I’m not sure how I got so lucky, but it sure makes navigating this experience that is life more enjoyable.

Oh, and chocolate.

Cheers.


A Punch from the Brain, Retaliation from the Heart

If someone has a magical solution to help a person stop overthinking things, I, personally, would love to learn more about said solution.

Because it’s exhausting, friends.

I overthink to the point where I only focus on the negative outcomes. My immediate reaction is to assume the worst, because my mind easily twists and warps things to fit into that equation, where the only solution is the one my overthinking brain creates. Until that worst case scenario is proven false or doesn’t come true, I just assume that’s the reality, the truth of what’s to come. And then once it doesn’t, I feel like a fool, because everything obviously pointed to things being okay or things working out, yet my brain couldn’t help but distort those signs, those facts. I tell myself, See, you didn’t need to worry? Don’t put yourself through that again.

I’m sure you’re not hard-pressed to figure out what happens next.

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I’ve been doing this a lot lately in terms of my evolving friendships and undefinable love life. It can be the simplest things, from not receiving a text for a while to not being called a pet name to putting in all the effort to being left out of a hang out session. I over-analyze, I replay conversations, trying to pick up meanings from inflections and word choice and things left unspoken. I become hyper-focused, always worried that my reality is actually going to become what my brain tells me it will–and it’s never good. And life is good, right now, and who am I to deserve that? How long can it last before I mess it up; then, once doing so, how long will I spend regretting that one confession, that one crying session, that one time where I admitted too much or became too vulnerable and fucked everything up?

These thoughts and fears and scenarios birth in my brain and then worm their way into my emotions, twisting me into a sour mood where I either don’t want to talk to anyone at all or I become needy, desperate for affirmation and confirmation that these fears are heedless and merely vicious to my own subconscious. Suddenly, my desire to be productive diminishes, and even writing and reading become chores when they should be exciting. If it’s really bad, the emotions will manifest into physical pain, in my chest or my stomach, a throbbing pain in my temple.

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And all the while, the scenarios don’t stop replaying in my head, pointing out exactly what went wrong and how I caused it.

This sucks. It makes me seem like my brain isn’t exactly all there. That I’m emotionally imbalanced or the most needy human. It makes me seem like…a bit much, maybe too much to handle or perhaps not even worth the trouble, even for the good times; for the times when I have my brain under control and I don’t give into every seed of doubt, every change, every fear. How can the good times be worth it, for my family and friends and partner, when they also come with moments of the bad, which occur more often than I like to admit?

I can’t make a case for why, but I like to believe I’m worth it, anyway. Even though it’s not the most enjoyable part of my personality, being an overthinking worrywart is a part of my personality. A part I’d like to lessen, a part I’d like to be more in control of, but it’s a part of me nonetheless. So yeah, I have a lot of anxiety and I overthink way too much. But that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to me. That doesn’t mean that those demons are right and I’m going to ruin every aspect of my life, to my family to my friends to my love life to my writing career.

So thanks to those of you who stick by me, despite of this.

And also? A little note to that overthinking brain of mine?

Yeah, I’m in a point in my life right now where I have a lot less friends than I used to, so the few I’ve held onto, I’m suddenly so paranoid I’m going to lose them for good and my life will become nothing but working and coming home to an empty house; a routine never broken up by coffee dates to catch up, weekly 1-1 sessions, long conversations or tears caused by laughter. I’m at a point where I am falling hard for a man who is scared of commitment, so we might never have the type of relationship I’ve always dreamed about, and he’s become so important to me, I’m so nervous he’s going to disappear from my life and not only will I be alone again, but I’ll also no longer have him as a constant presence, support and light. I don’t want to lose him. I’m at a point where I’ve been struggling to write and I’m scared I’ll never get over that, but I’m also scared of the books I have written never going anywhere, never being loved the way I love them. I’m at a point where I feel like my financial status is dominated by bills and I’ll never catch up and feel ahead or financially comfortable, so of course I’ll either always live paycheck-to-paycheck….or worse.

But you know what, my lovely, over-energized, never-ceasing brain? All of those things could happen, all of those fears could come true, and I will still be okay. 

I could lose every friend I have and see no one. I could get my heart shattered by this man. I could have every book I write get rejected. I could lose my job or live paycheck-to-paycheck forever. One or all of these things could happen and yet I will still make it. You wanna know why?

That’s calling living.

That’s life.

If I didn’t have these fears; if I wasn’t putting myself out there and risking my heart, risking my hopes, risking my dreams; if I wasn’t so attached to people and passions and things; is that the kind of life I want to live? Sheltered, comfortable, safe, complacent, routine?

No, I don’t think so.

Some days, you win. You make the inside of my head a living nightmare. You exhaust my friends when they have to remind me, again, that they aren’t going anywhere. You make my family’s foreheads meet their palms when I repeat the same mantra of, “But what if X? Can’t you see Z?” You give me anxiety, you make me fear, you add unnecessary stress, you steal sleep, you absorb will, you cause pain. And I hate you for it.

 the lord of the rings our merry return of the king elise GIF

But other days, I win. I take risks. I follow my heart. I create art. I enjoy the little things. I run miles. I laugh with friends. I get overly excited about dogs. I nerd out. I go on adventures. I work. I live as a hopeless romantic. I do whatever I can to break up the monotony and mundane aspects of life.

No matter how hard you hit, no matter how many punches you throw, I’ll come back swinging just as hard. It may take hours, days, weeks, before I retaliate. Before my positivity can make a comeback and prove more powerful than my anxiety. But know this, anxiety. Know this, my overthinking, over-analytic, obsessive, cynical, hopeless mind.

I will never stop fighting.

And I will conquer you.

Cheers.


So Much More

Remember this rant? About how I’m floored at how average humans afford to live, even when they are working full-time jobs that make above minimum wage (with the reality that most of them can’t afford to live, aside from being paycheck-to-paycheck, finding another job or splitting incomes with a partner or friend)?

That hopelessness and the overwhelming, “What the freak am I supposed to do?” feeling has only increased in the past week.

First off, though, there was a surprise: I actually got a raise. (I know, I’m just as shocked as you are.) Though the budget library wide made that impossible to happen, which is why I was so convinced that wasn’t an option, the university pulled through and gave eligible employees a raise! Sure, it’s only .45 cents for this kid, but this kid isn’t complaining at all. She’ll take it.

And then, within a span of 24 hours, I learned of two additional things. First was that Kansas state taxes are increasing not only this month, but in January of 2018, as well. So not only are they taking more out of my paycheck each month, but the amount I owe the government come April will most likely increase. Worse, the bracket of incomes that are projected to be effected the most are “single households fresh out of college making $30,000 a year.” Sound familiar? So that’s going to be fun.

Then, secondly, my retirement options email came through today and I have a month to figure that shit out. Talk about adulting slapping you in the face and making sure you’re well aware that you’re no kid anymore. I’m just overwhelmed trying to begin to discern which provider to choose, let alone all the nuances that go with retirement I’m not even sure about. I wish I would have learned a bit more when I was younger about how to navigate these waters. Granted, I knew retirement would be taken out come September and even if it wasn’t mandatory by my employer (which it is) I still would have opted into it, because I recognize how important it is to start saving as early as you can. That said, that doesn’t make the process any less daunting, nor the pay-cut any less painful for me now, even if I’m looking out for little old lady me in the future.

So yeah, I’m just a tad bit stressed financially. What else is new?

It’s taken up a lot of my thoughts, recently. So much so that I keep forgetting what really matters.

There is so much more to life than money.

Granted, that is easy to say and a lot harder to believe, let alone live by. Because money dictates a lot of things. Bills have to be paid and in order to make money, you gotta work, which makes up for a lot of the time you spend in your life. Yet you can’t let it be everything, even if it is a major part of your life. Recently, that’s all I’ve really been able to think about.

Yet I’ve been reading some really good books lately. I actually made it to the first (free!) Mythgard class over The Treason of Isengard last night and nerded out over Tolkien with individuals all across the globe, and that was invigorating in and of itself. I think I’ve finally found a running routine that I enjoy and is both feasible and productive. It’s the summer time, so even though it’s hot as everything else, swimming has been amazing. I’ve been editing my favorite story and love the progress of this draft. PitchWars starts in a few weeks and I’m really stoked to enter into that contest and continue to learn from and get to know such a supportive community. I’ve started a D&D campaign with some friends and learning the ropes alongside them has been wonderful. I have a couple of coffee dates in the future that I’m super jazzed about. I’m doing well at work and excited for the new semester to start. I’m getting new ink the first week of August and cannot wait to see what my new artist has come up with. Plus, only 36 days until I’m on a plane and heading to freakin’ London.

Yeah, life is stressful, right now. Money is stressful and I feel like I can never get caught up, that I’m always behind paying this bill or trying to get away from this debt. But at the same time, there are a lot of good things going on in life and a lot of good things ahead. Just like there are a lot of trying times and a lot of difficult things ahead.

You can’t just focus on all the negative things. You’ll drive yourself into a depressed spiral that’s really hard to get out of, if you do that. You gotta remember to focus on the good, including the little things (like hearing your favorite song on the radio, getting to hit snooze on the weekend or crossing something off of your To-Do list) to the rare things (like seeing a friend from out of town or spending an entire day doing nothing) to the grand, exciting things (like traveling abroad or achieving your dreams). That’s what I’m trying to do: focus on the good and remembering that I can handle the bad, no matter what’s thrown at me.

And so can you.

Cheers.


Just Breathe

Sometimes, I just put way too much pressure on myself.

Losing weight is definitely one of those areas.

It’s been a really exciting feeling, seeing the pounds slowly slip off the scale. A first, for sure, especially of this magnitude. I’ve finally find a rhythm, though I’m still figuring out a few kinks. Testing different workout routines and stretching exercises, resetting my set point and hunger levels, adjusting to my constantly changing summer work schedule and still trying to figure out how to not go over my calorie goal on the weekends, are a few of those kinks I’m still hoping to hammer out.

Oh and not putting so much pressure on myself to continue losing weight.

I didn’t really realize how much pressure was weighing me down until I noticed a pattern, these past few weeks. If I miss a run, I immediately feel guilt. If I eat some mozzarella sticks at Sonic, I instantly feel like a cow. Every Monday morning, I have a sick feeling in my gut when I go to weigh myself. I’m constantly nervous that I’m going to gain the weight that I’ve lost back or that the progress I’ve made isn’t real.

And I’m not really sure why I’m feeling that way. Why I’m so scared if I gain a little weight back or if it takes me a while to drop down to 160 pounds. I’m putting so much pressure on myself to keep up this success, acting like if I experience one hiccup or one bump in the road, I’ll completely derail any forward progress and go back to hating the way I look instead of learning to love myself as I have these past six months.

But here’s the thing: my weight is going to fluctuate all the time. One day I could be two pounds heavier than I was yesterday and the next day, I could be a pound lighter than I was when I last weighed. That’s okay. That’s normal. So I shouldn’t be freaking out that it has taken me three weeks to lose one pound when I was averaging two-three pounds. I shouldn’t be so concerned or panicked that I’m going to gain a couple pounds back. I shouldn’t feel like, if I do, I’ve suddenly “lost” and it will be impossible to get back on track.

Because I’m smarter than I was before. I know about portion control and eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. I’ve come to love running again and enjoy the sensation of pushing myself to run a little faster or jog that extra mile (literally). I have a lot more control of what goes into my body and how active I am and I know how to live a healthy lifestyle. So even if every day isn’t the best example of implementing that knowledge doesn’t mean I’m not working towards creating healthy habits and choices for life.

Also, I need to take a step back and look at my real goal, here. Is it a number on the scale or is it living a healthy lifestyle? Is it losing X amount of pounds or is it working hard to sculpt a body I’m proud of and love in the mirror, regardless of that number? Though reaching 160 pounds would be nice, at this point, I’m just happy to be living a healthy lifestyle. If I continue living healthier and stay at 179 like I am right now, then that’s totally fine. Because I’m starting to love my body and the way it looks, even if there are still some things I’d change. And that’s an amazing feeling, too.

So a reminder to me, from me: just breathe. Focus every day on doing what makes you happy and keeping that happiness flowing. Stop focusing so much on weight and numbers and miles and steps and calories. While all those things are important, living life is ever more so. You’ll find the balance you need between the two. For now, just breathe.

Cheers.


Another Rant On Adulting

Let me start off by saying I’m really freakin’ lucky.

I have a good job (that’s now full-time *throws balloons*). I have a reliable car. A cute apartment. I can afford groceries, utilities and Internet. I have good health and am in a pretty good mental state. For the most part, I’m completely independent when it comes to bills and taking care of myself, which is really important to me.

And yet.

*cue rant*

I’m a pretty frugal person, much to the annoyance to most of my friends and family. I have a budget spreadsheet of all of my bills each month, all the bills that I have to pay once a year (e.g., women’s clinic visit, eye exam, that sort of thing), the amount I’d like to save and a wishlist of things I’d like to own, from a toaster to a coffee table to new clothes to books to tattoos.

Every so often, I update that budget to try and stay in line with my spending or reevaluate my goals of how much money I want to spend/save. Recently, I got moved to full-time, which definitely requires a budget change. And as my first full-time paycheck comes in tomorrow, I was really, really jazzed about it. No more living paycheck-to-paycheck like I have been. No more need for a second job. I could actually afford to live and be able to go to the movies without guilt, actually start crossing off things from my To-Buy Wishlist.

Oh, how naive I was.

Earlier, I said I was completely independent financially, “for the most part.” It wasn’t until this year that I realized that my parents have been paying for my car insurance and my tag renewal every year since I was 16. So next year, I’m going to be taking that over. As I should. My parents have been awesome and supportive, but I’ll be 25 this year. High time I start lessening their burden a little bit. Next year is also the same year I get kicked off their health insurance, so that will start coming out of my paycheck. In September, retirement starts coming out, so that’s another cut. And then you have all those one-time expenses I always forget about: doctors’ visits and new contacts and oil changes and parking permits. Those add up really quickly. If I want to have any savings account at all, that’s another cut.

Looking at all of those expenses, by this time next year, I’ll be back living paycheck-to-paycheck again.

And that just…floors me.

I make very decent money. And like I said, I’m super frugal. Occasionally, I’ll splurge, but that occasion is more rare than common. I’ve already canceled my gym membership to try and cut back on expenses, but every other bill I have is necessary.

I just…don’t know what to do.

My job isn’t going to give me a raise. We’re suffering from budget cuts as it is and, if the trend continues, that cut is only going to increase as the years pass. Yet I work 40 hours a week, 3pm-12am. When would I have time to add in a second job, again? Do I just give up on ever crossing off anything on that To-Buy Wishlist? Do I let this one trip to London I saved up for this year (with the hope that I could save up and travel abroad to a new place once every year) be the only trip of that nature? Do I just accept that I’ll always have this feeling that I’m trying to catch the money I earn up with the money I owe, without ever having any extra money to spend?

I just don’t know, friends. Again, I’m very lucky, to have what I have and live the life I live. But I’m also so dang tired of being so stressed out financially and being that one person in the group that always orders a water or refuses to meet for coffee or is known for being the person who “doesn’t spend money.” It’s selfish, I know, but I’d like to be able to buy that cute sweatshirt without feeling guilt. I’d like to be able to go out to dinner with friends and not stress over how to shave off that money I just spent somewhere else. I’d like to get a new tattoo and not have to wait over a year to save up to get another one.

Like I said: selfish, I know. But goodness me, a person should be able to make 30K a year like I do and not live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Cheers.


#PimpMyBio: Pitch Wars 2017

Welcome, friends.

I’m new to both the Pitch Wars community and to this awesome #PimpMyBio blog hop, but I’m really excited to be a part of both. If you want to learn more about Pitch Wars, read this. If you want to meet some other fantastic writers participating in the blog hop, click here.

If you want to continue learning about me and the book I’m entering into the contest, you came to the right post.

The Writer 

My name is Nicole and I’m an Elven scout who’s actually really horrible at her job because I have no sense of direction and no survival skills whatsoever I’m a 24 year old nerd who only gets more quirky with age.

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As far as writing goes, I wrote my first story in the sixth grade, where all the characters were my classmates and we had to fight skeletons with glowing red eyes with buckets of daggers. Flying pigs were also somehow involved. Thankfully, my imagination hasn’t stopped, but now my stories actually have real plots and characters and conflicts. I have five completed manuscripts: a YA fantasy trilogy about a destined chosen one who fails anyway and an Adult sci-fi standalone that pits the natural desire to fight for love against the innate instinct to destroy during the extinction of the human race. My fifth book, the first in a multi-book series, I’m entering into Pitch Wars (read about Artemis’s adventure down below).

I also manage three blogs: the one you’re reading now, which is my personal blog. I post about anything ranging from the latest writing woe (or wonder) to my quest for self-love to my video game obsession to my attempts (but usually failures) at adulting. I also write book reviews that discuss the experience of reading a book rather than the book itself over at Erlebnisse. Finally, me and three other writers post short stories at Muse in Pocket, Pen in Hand, which is a fairly new venture we started this year.

In the writing community, I try and stay active on Twitter (@thought_stained), with various degrees of success (I do have some Luddite tendencies that make me and social media not always on the closest terms). I participated in both #P2P15 and #P2P16, the second time making it on an editor’s shortlist (woo!). Currently, I’m the contest assistant for #ShoreIndie, which is a contest for emerging Indie writers to win free editing on a manuscript and guidance through the journey of self-publishing. I also intern remotely for Naomi Davis at Inklings Literary Agency, whom I absolutely adore and wish I could intern for permanently.

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The Story

When your stories are plagued with tropes, sometimes, the only way to beat them is to live them.

Artemis Smith is the walking representation of the starving artist trope. He’s old, works at a miserable job and has no family of his own, with only his service dog and rejection letters to keep him company. He’s never realized that his novels mirror the same problem his life exhibits: Predictable. Routine. Overdone.

When he meets a strange, blue-haired man outside the library, Artemis believes he’s only a new source for character inspiration. But when the man reveals that he knows not only everything about Artemis’s life, but also everything he does wrong in his writing—and holds the power to fix it—Artemis immediately jumps at the opportunity to escape his mundane routine and chase his publishing dream. He did not realize how literal that escape would be.

Transported into a fairy tale world as Terrowin, Artemis becomes torn as he not only faces deadly creatures, complicated codes of chivalry and an opinionated squire, but also the tropes attached to them. To escape the fairy tale, he must survive—and conquer—both.  

ARTEMIS SMITH AND THE VIRTUOUS MARRIAGE QUEST is an Adult urban fantasy. The idea sparked at my own frustration writing plots too overdone and filled with tropes to make it in today’s market, and it became, through numerous drafts, rewrites and beta readers, my favorite story I’ve ever written. 

I can’t wait to share it with you.

The Goal

My goal entering into Pitch Wars 2017 is to catch the attention of a mentor with a similar vision as mine; a mentor who loves Artemis and Terrowin as much as I do, but also sees ways to challenge them and make them even more real. A mentor who believes in my story and believes in me, who isn’t afraid to push me, doesn’t hesitate to point out areas of improvement or praise, and who is willing to not only help elevate my story, but help prepare it (and me) for the eyes of the world.

As a mentee, I can promise an old-fashioned work ethic, positive and prompt communication, a willing, patient ear, relentless optimism and dragon GIFs. In a mentor-mentee relationship, I’m hoping to form a bond that goes well past November, where we can continue to encourage, support and inspire one another to not only achieve our dreams, but to enjoy every moment as we do so.**

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The Juicy Stuff

  • I have a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in film.
  • I work as a circulation supervisor at a library at my alma mater.
  • I believe dragons exist.
  • I’m straight-edge.
  • I’m obsessed with Tolkien and his works.
  • I have five tattoos and have no plans on stopping.
  • Video games are my social life.
  • I have a wanderlust that no bank account could ever sate (and certainly not mine).
  • Dogs are the best thing the world has to offer (especially Golden Retrievers).
  • My favorite cheese is extra sharp cheddar.

So…yeah, I think that covers the basics. Thanks for checking out my bio. If you’re entering PitchWars, tell me about your story in the comments (I’m working my way through everyone’s bios, but it’s gonna take me a while). And please say hello on Twitter, especially throughout the contest. I can promise you puke-level positive tweets (think unicorns and rainbows level support), random GIFs, your typical awkwardness and epic nerd out sessions.

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Cheers.

**Quick note to potential future mentors: I will be out of the country August 25th through September 11th (yay wanderlust sating!), which I realize is right at the beginning of the editing round (I made these plans a year ago, not thinking about any awesome contests I’d want to enter later). If I get on your radar, I hope this is something we can discuss, as though internet access isn’t planned at the moment, I could make things work if chosen (but also, that work ethic I mentioned? Yeah, I’d work my ass off to ensure those two weeks, if editing wasn’t an option, felt like I was still working the whole time).