Nanowrimo Tag

If it’s November, that means it’s NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.  I love participating in NaNo even though I rarely “win” by writing 50,000 words; it’s just a good excuse to make writing a priority for a month.

This month I’m working toward finishing two drafts I have started, one a YA folklore retelling Ash and Team (read some excerpts here) and one a fantasy adventure The Gladiator and the Goddess that was my first NaNo win.

The tag was created by Seihren the Bookish Witch and I saw it on Darnell’s blog.

1. How many years have you participated in NaNo?

This is my 6th year.  I started in 2013, when I wrote not even 6,000 words.  I finally won in 2016!  I’ve also participated in Camp NaNo during April and July over the years (which I prefer because you have “cabins” and can set your own goals).

2. Are you a planner, pantser, or plantser?

A planner! I outline nearly everything I write, even blog posts. Of course, I don’t know everything ahead of time (there are always twists and surprises in the process), but I usually know what will happen in all the key scenes before I write. For me, the story comes first in my head, and then I interpret it onto the page in writing.

3. If you are a planner/plantser, what are the first story elements that you flesh out?

Whatever plot points happen to have come into my head.  I guess I don’t really do it intentionally at first, I just kind of daydream about the story until I see some scenes and conversations taking shape.

4. NaNo Forums? Do you use them?

Nope. Time spent on the forums is time not spent writing.

5. Writing Buddies? Do you prefer to write socially or alone?

I generally like to be alone but around people; I write in Panera and libraries a lot.  But I find being with other writers does help my productivity.

NaNoWriMo2018

6. Do you diligently write 1,667 words a day, or do you write in spurts?

Definitely spurts. I don’t have time to dedicate every day, and I hate having to stop and start.  Once I get going, I want to keep going.

7. Do you have a writing totem?

No, I didn’t know this was a thing. Maybe I’ll get one now!

8. Do you go to kick-off, write-in, or wrap-up parties?

Not typically. I did make an effort two years ago to break out of my comfort zone and attend some write-ins. It was really great for my productivity and word count, so hopefully I can find some near me again this year.

9. When writing, are you an analog (handwritten) or digital writer? Does the same apply to when you’re taking notes or brainstorming?

Almost all digital. Even my notes are in Google Docs files. I just like the ease of editing so much.

10. Share your NaNo username (if you feel comfortable doing so) so that others can connect with you on the NaNo site!

Meimei21 (feel free to add me as a writing buddy)

Anybody else writing this month?  How’s it going so far?  Feel free to participate in this tag!

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6th Blogiversary

birthday-cake-cake-birthday-cupcakes-40183.jpegIt’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for six years this month.  I don’t plan on stopping any time soon!  My blog is never going to be huge and famous, but it is exactly what I intended: a way to practice my writing and express my thoughts on various nerdy topics.  Along the way, it also turned into a way to connect with other nerdy people and have great nerdy discussions.

I thought it would be fun to look back over what I’ve written in six years, so I went through all my blog post and pick my favorite from each year.  These aren’t necessarily the best or most popular posts, just the ones I had the most fun writing or were the most meaningful to me.

Year One

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon

Honestly, most of what I wrote on this blog in my first year was crap.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I didn’t really care about attracting readers; I was just putting words to screen.  And that’s fine, it just doesn’t make for compelling reading.

This is one of the first posts I did that’s actually interesting to read: it gives a bit of original analysis on the manga of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, but with a personal touch.  Plus, it has some images, which immediately makes it more readable.

Image result for excited usagi

Year Two

Fall leaf identification

I love sharing “everyday” science, and what is more everyday than leaves?  If I had unlimited time and coding skills, I would write an app to let people identify trees by answering simple questions about its characteristics.  As with most of my favorite posts, I learned some new stuff I hadn’t known before while writing this.  I also really enjoyed taking pictures of the leaves.

Year Three

Birthday Jungle

WP_20150118_18_56_47_ProHere is a post that combines two of my favorite things: zoology and baked goods.  My mom made adorable jungle animal cupcakes for my birthday, so of course I had to go and analyze how similar the cupcake animals were to the real things.  I had fun doing the research, and also eating the cupcakes.

Year Four

My Star Wars pilgrimage: Skellig Michael

After seeing the title of my blog, you will not be surprised that I frequently write about Star Wars topics.  In 2015 I took a trip to Ireland with my mother, and one of the highlights was visiting Skellig Michael, which is the setting for Ahch-to, the rugged island where Luke is hiding out in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.  I even got to meet the real-life porgs (the puffins that inhabit the island by the hundreds).

But the journey to Skellig Michael was not easy; this post chronicles my personal experience of the visit.  It was special to me in many ways, and hence the post is special to me, too.

Year Five

Ok, I couldn’t pick just one favorite from this year, so we have two:

Fan Art Friday: More Star Wars Coloring Book!

This post has one of my favorite coloring book pictures I’ve done, a kind of art nouveau Leia on Tattooine.  But even more importantly, this is also the post that gave birth to the monthly Fan Art Friday that I share with Kiri at Star Wars Anonymous.  Every month we color the same picture in our Star Wars coloring book and compare our results.  Over a year and half later and we’re still going; it’s so much fun!

The Lunar Chronicles/Sailor Senshi team

This post occupied my brain at work for days while I was writing it.  It combines two wonderful franchises: The Lunar Chronicles (beginning with Cinder) by Marissa Meyer, and the anime/manga Sailor Moon that helped inspire it.  I had started to see some similarities in the cast of characters, and once my brain got a hold of that it wouldn’t let go until I had matched all the Lunar girls up with their anime counterparts.  I also really like the look of this post, with all the fun images of the Sailor Senshi.

Year Six

My Top 5 Versions of Cinderella

Fairy tale retellings are another of my obsessions, and this year I did posts with my favorite versions of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella.  These posts were super fun to write because I got to talk about some of my favorite books and movies, both popular and lesser known.  I also got great interaction from the blogging community with some likes and comments which is always great.  To me, that’s definitely one sign of a great post!

Which year’s is your favorite?  Here’s to more years of fun blog posts!

Welcome to 2018

Another year has come and gone here on the blog, and it was a big one for me personally as I was pregnant for most of the year and then had my first kid just in time for Thanksgiving.  Being a new mom has definitely been a big change, and I’m still not sure what it means for my blog except that I’m not able to write as often.  I hope to continue this year with my Weekly Photo Challenges and participating in the bimonthly GeekyNerdy Book Club and the monthly Star Wars coloring book Fan Art Friday.  Apart from that I hope to do a “real” post every week or two.

The topics I want to cover this year include more book reviews of all kinds, video games, and a few brief science literacy topics.  Also I’m watching a lot of TV and Netflix right now (thanks, kid), so you might see some of that here, too.  Of course, I will always have various Star Wars topics.  What would you guys like to read about this year?

In 2017, I had 14,255 views from 9,735 visitors, which is down a bit from the previous year, but I also didn’t post as much.  I did have 604 comments which is a few more than the previous year, so I’m glad I was able to still have a high level of engagement with visitors.  Here are some of the posts that drew people to the site.

Top Posts from 2017

  1. Hello, I’m an #ActualLivingScientist (AMA)
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow
  3. My Top 5 Versions of Beauty and the Beast
  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Most visited posts during 2017

  1. There is no hot air balloon in Around the World in Eighty Days
  2. We all got a chicken-duck-woman-thing waiting for us: Star Wars Bad Lip Reading
  3. Famous Introvert-Extrovert Pairs
  4. The chemistry of Payday 2
  5. More Star Wars Bad Lip Reading

My year end posts were:

  1. 2017 Reading Review
  2. My Favorite K-pop videos of 2017

In 2017 I got hits from 126 countries, including such gems as Gibraltar, Myanmar, Greenland, Kyrgyzstan, and Syria.

No surprise that my top 5 countries were:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Australia
  5. India

Best wishes to everyone in the new year!  What are you looking forward to in 2018?

One Lovely Blog Award

I was happy to be nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by NovElla and Banannabelle.  Thank you!

One Lovely Blog Award

Here are the guidelines for the One Lovely Blog Award:

  1. Each nominee must thank the person who nominated them and link that blog in their post.
  2. Each nominee must include the rules and add the blog award badge as an image.
  3. Also add 7 facts about themselves.
  4. Nominate up to 15 people to do the award.

Seven Facts about Me

  1. I am currently 9 months pregnant, but I’m scheduling this post ahead of time, so who knows if I will still be at this point in time!
  2. My essential Thanksgiving food is Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  Also good: mashed potatoes, and roasted sweet potatoes.  I guess turkey, too.

    Pillsbury™ Original Crescent Dinner Rolls
    But I make my husband pop open the can.
  3. I just bought the first Christmas presents for family members, which is quite early for me to be shopping.  I figured I’d better get a head start, as it might not be the first thing on my mind with a newborn.
  4. My favorite dinosaur is the stegosaurus.  Luckily, they make tons of baby stuff right now with dinosaurs on it.  I have bought most of it.

    By Perry Quan from Oakville, Canada – Pittsburgh-2013-05-18-054Uploaded by FunkMonk, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27797412
  5. The mobile game I play the most is Disney Magic Kingdoms.  I’ve always loved theme park-building games, and I get so excited when I get to put in all my favorite rides and welcome favorite Disney characters.  However, I have a general rule that I don’t spend money on mobile games, so I do a lot of grinding to try to get the good stuff, and some I just have to skip.
  6. I love reading in so many genres; the last three books I read were a nonfiction sociological memoir, a YA fantasy duology, and a Christmas-themed Regency romance.  Next will be either a fairy tale retelling, or a compilation of Star Wars short stories.  I’ve been stocking up books on my Kindle in case of downtime at the hospital.
  7. Last year I won NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words in a month.  I signed up again this year, and have written about 250 so far.  >_<  But I knew I wouldn’t win this year (other priorities), and hey, it’s 250 words I didn’t have at the beginning of the month!Image result for nano 2017 banner

I don’t really have the time to nominate anyone at the moment, but if you are reading this and would like to participate, please go ahead!  I’d love to hear more about you on your blog.

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo?  What’s your favorite dinosaur?  Have you bought all your Christmas presents yet?

#MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Tag

I was tagged by Sara Letourneau for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop, which was created by Sarah Brentyn @ Lemon Shark.  So let’s have some fun looking back in time!  First the rules:

The Rules for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop

  1. No cheating. You must highlight your first post. Not your second post, not one you love… the first post only.
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).
  3. Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine, but NO editing.)
  4. Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  5. Tag five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  6. Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  7. Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  8. Include “the rules” in your post.
  9. Completely silly rules that I’m making up as I type:
    • Write your post while wolfing down your favorite dessert.
    • Do 10 cartwheels after you hit “Publish.”

My First Blog Post: March 8, 2012

My very first blog post was titled Hello world!

Welcome to my nerdy blog, where I’ll cover topics such as Star Wars, crafts, and young adult fantasy literature.  Mostly I’m just trying to get back into writing some.  I have some books I’d like to write but feel really out of practice, so I’m hoping this blog will help me ease into it a little.  Thanks for reading!

“Hello, world!” is the name of a type of program that beginning coders learn; it basically does nothing but print the words “Hello, world!” on the screen.  So a lot of people title their first blog posts the same way, just a way of saying, Hi, I’m here.  This is my start, figuring this out.

How has my blog changed since then?

Quite frankly, my blog is still exactly as described in my first post haha.  I still talk about Star Wars, crafts, and young adult fantasy literature, among other things.  I’ve been working on writing some of those books in my head (see excerpts, and my NaNoWriMo win), and having the blog has definitely helped, not just with practicing writing but also with finding a community of other writers to inspire and help me.

From the beginning, my blog has been a hodge-podge mix of nerdy topics.  I know this has hampered my developing a super-strong following, because the kinds of people that like YA book reviews aren’t always the same people interested in video games, or biology, or K-pop, or scrapbooking.  But keeping a variety of topics also lets me keep up a steady stream of posts that I feel passionate about writing, which keeps me from burning out.  I think that’s how I’ve been able to keep my blog going to five years now.

It also helped me to develop some regular features on my blog, such as the Weekly Photo Challenge, Fanart Fridays, GeekyNerdy Book Club, etc. to give me fun, regular, easy-to-produce content.  I know some other bloggers that do monthly reading wrap-ups, or weekly haikus.  This kind of thing helps you get in a good rhythm with your blog.

Lastly, looking back on my very first posts, the biggest difference between then and now is presentation!  My first posts are walls of text with not a lot of nice images or sections with headings; they just don’t look very professional or easy to read.  Also the tone is too casual; I didn’t give background information on any of the books I was reviewing, or explain any of the acronyms I used.  Most of these posts got exactly 0 views.  Now I can understand why.

I tag…

  1. Star Wars Anonymous
  2. Ellie @ Blogging for Dopamine
  3. Lightning Ellen
  4. BQB @ Bookshelf Battle
  5. GeekyNerdy Girl
  6. YOU!  Feel free to join in with this blog hop if you feel like it!

I confess I did not do the required cartwheels.  Dessert was easy, though. 😉