Category: Listicle

February 15, 2017

 

7:00

Ideal Day: Wake up like the glorious writer/princess I am. Have doves dress me. Their feathers inspire an entire series, probably a future Bestseller.

Reality: Snooze.

 

7:00 – 7:30

Have a breakfast full of protein, and carbs that are actually good for me, to power an entire day of writing.

Snooze. Snooze. Snooze.

 

7:30 – 9:00

With hot coffee in hand, I begin refreshing my memory of yesterday’s writings. Think, “wow, I’m a genius, but there are some very small changes that will be super easy to implement to make me even more of a genius.” Write for 1.5 hours without getting distracted by Twitter or Instagram, because I have a laser-like focus.

Snooze until 8:00. Wait, I was supposed to be awake an hour ago? Why did I think I could do that when I stayed up all night watching YouTube videos? Decide to cook eggs while rereading yesterday’s writings. Repeat firstdraftsaresupposedtosuck firstdraftsaresupposedtosuck until I believe it. Accidentally spill coffee on keyboard.

 

9:00 – 9:30

Take a small break, but only to reference an award-winning non-fiction book pertinent to my current WIP. Find exactly what I need with little effort, as if magic.

Frantically search Google for the answer to my random “what if?” question that will never come up in my story. Find semi-appropriate article on Wikipedia.

 

9:30 – 11:00

Back to writing. 1000 words of beautiful prose appear on my manuscript. I have somehow found the answer to the age old question “how do I make a believable YA love story when the novel spans only a week and they just met?”

Wikipedia has taken over my life, I have somehow ended up on a page about Mouse Rat, a band from the show Parks and Rec. Think, “wow, I should really rewatch that, I wonder if I have time to start today (but only from Season 2, because Season 1 is the worst).” Look at clock. Realize I have wasted an hour of precious writing time in a Wikipedia spiral. Gaze longingly at TV, promising myself an episode if I write for the next half hour.

(more…)

December 28, 2016

 

Once Upon A Time, when I was a young Kate Cavanaugh (~20, to be more precise), I had just graduated college and started my first full-time, corporate job. At this ripe age, I decided it was time to look forward, to when I would be much wiser, much more experienced, and much closer to “having it all figured out.”

 

This meant a combination of what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, where I wanted to live, etc., etc.

 

Life, basically.

 

So I decided to create a list. A list of 25 things that I would have accomplished by the time I turned 25. “25×25” is what I wrote down at the top of the first page of my new notebook, some four years ago.

point-blur_dec282016_202516

 

A few things to note:

1) My perspective on goals has changed entirely since creating this list. I’m a much bigger fan of building habits, and think they need to be considered right alongside your goals when brainstorming. More on that in early 2017…

2) Now that I am almost 25, the idea that anyone could “have it all figured out” sounds simultaneously asinine and hilarious. I’m no closer to understanding life than I was before, but I think I’m much better now at enjoying it and loving myself. That seems like a Win in my book.

3) I still love lists.

 

All that being said, in honor of the New Year, I figured it was time to revisit my 25×25 list. For your amusement and mine, here are the serious/weird things I thought would be good to have accomplished by the time I turned 25, with notes from Present Me:

 

25×25

(Can we start with how smart I was for creating groupings ahead of time? Man, I love lists. Strikethroughs indicate completion. Red means I ABSOLUTELY, in no universe, this one or a slightly similar alternate, see this being completed before I turn 25.)

 

“SKILLS”: (Quotes added now.)

 

1) Be fluent in Spanish.

I try, succeed for a few months, and then ultimately fail at learning Spanish. Repeat ad nauseum. Fingers crossed this is still achievable, though I may fudge on that “fluency” bit. Shout out to Duolingo for trying its best to remind me every day, even if I ignore the notification.

 

2) Learn metallurgy/welding/jewelry making.

Why? Because I think I could make something pretty. 🙂 I more/less have the jewelry bit down, though I’d like to get a bit better before I cross anything off. I don’t entirely trust myself around an open flame so why I thought welding would be a good idea is beyond me.

 

3) Try meditating/yoga seriously.

Apparently yoga is not for me. I fall asleep. But still! I tried! Meditation, on the other hand, is great, and though I don’t practice regularly, I do when I feel the need. Check out Headspace for help getting started.

 

4) Have submitted for publication/be published.

I love how I thought it would be so easy. Overcoming the self-doubt is a challenge itself, but I think I’m closer closer than ever to submitting a query. That’s another post for another day.

 

5) Paint something to use as my own wall art.

Is it cheating if I went to Painting With a Twist to accomplish this? Oh well, I do have it on my wall!

 

6) Run the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

1424617358928

I believe the “skill” here is the actual half-marathon, which I did twice! But this was one of the most fun races I’ve ever been part of and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. RunDisney FTW! (I’m Disneybounding as Ariel, above. You’re forgiven for not recognizing it, because at that point I was mostly just sweaty.)

 

7) Learn how to cook one full-course meal.

I crossed this out about two years ago, with no notes, so I’m not sure what full-course meal I believed I could make. If stretched, I feel confident enough to Google a few recipes and I’m great at desserts.

 

8) Thoroughly research my heritage.

And I have a million genealogy trees to prove it. Next step is to visit all the different places my family is from. 😉

 

9) Learn Krav Maga/some other form of self-defense.

I have always been a weakling at best, much more apt to outrun a foe, and at almost-25 that still hasn’t changed. There’s some time left, though!

 

10) Know how to change a tire.

This feels like it should be basic car knowledge but guess who never learned? Guess who’s had this as a goal for years, and still hasn’t learned? This girl!

 

11) Grow my own strawberry garden.

fireflykaylee1

Strawberries are, unequivocally, the best fruit (and Kaylee from Firefly agrees with me). And they can be grown in relatively small containers! Perfect for apartment living. I’ve done all the research, the next step is to plant. (In case you’re curious, you should freeze the seeds for a week or so first. Helps them grow!)

 

TRAVEL:

 

12) Go back to Europe.

I’m angling to go to Scotland at the start of the summer. Now it’s just a matter of those dolla dolla bills.

 

13) Go to Australia.

I went to Australia AND New Zealand (with a fascinating layover in Fiji) this May! And it was just as amazing as I always hoped it to be. Actually, it was better. I have high hopes to return someday, and soon.

 

14) Sit down at a poker table and play in Vegas.

I did not win.

 

15) Go to ComicCon AND have created my own costume.

What a distinction! Maybe this should have been lumped under skills? I mean, “skills”?

 

16) Go to the Renaissance Festival in Texas.

Truly I’ve never seen anything like it. So many talented people, and so many drunks. (Can you guess which I was?)

 

17) Visit Harry Potter World.

Butterbeer, butterbeer, butterbeer. This is the only part of Universal I visited. One day I’ll go back and, you guessed it, have more butterbeer. (I’ve made my own and it’s just not quite the same without the backdrop of Hogsmeade. But it’s still delicious.)

 

ACTIVITIES:

 

18) Swim with dolphins.

BECAUSE HOW FUN WOULD THAT BE? Dolphins were my favorite animal for years (alongside cheetahs). No specifications on if I could just be in the ocean and SEE the dolphins, but I haven’t had that happen yet either.

 

19) Buy a house/condo.

Houses are expensive. Condos only just less so. Either way, my slightly-younger-than-25 still sees a lot of plusses to rent life, and that’s what it will be for the next few years.

 

20) Try speed-dating.

Why? Why did I decide this was a good idea? I must have just watched a movie and thought it looked fun. Regardless, it’d be an experience! (Or “activity.”)

 

21) Get my tattoo.

I’ve had the same idea for a tattoo since I was in eighth grade. I’d personally love to partner with an artist to come up with the exact design, and it just hasn’t happened yet. Maybe I’ll make it my birthday present to me!

 

22) Ride a mechanical bull.

I live in Texas, so this should be more easy than hard, I just need to walk into any country bar.

 

23) See a psychic/fortune teller.

Do I believe in psychics? No. Do I want to write a story with a psychic as a side character? Yes. Do I think this would provide not only great research opportunities, but also all of the entertainment? Absolutely. The problem is that I want to do this right, and not just go to the second floor of a Magic Time Machine, so I need to do more research.

 

24) Go to a shooting range.

I want to feel the pow-ah, in a very controlled environment, and then probably never again.

 

25) Go paint-balling.

THIS WOULD BE SO MUCH FUN. Like a better version of a shooting range, because it has fun colors and I can beat my friends. 😉

 

If you’re counting and/or calculating, I have completed a whopping 36% of my 25×25 list by crossing through 9 skill and travel goals. If I want to seriously complete this list – to the best of my abilities – it shouldn’t be too hard to dig deep into that “activity” section. The only thing it may cost is a little bit of money and a whopping amount of pride (looking at you, mechanical bull!).

 

Regardless, this list has been fun, I just no longer expect it to be anything more than that.

 

Do you have any goals to reach before you hit a certain age? Or, have you ever reached the age you promised your younger self you would have accomplished something? Let me know!

December 26, 2016

 

Inspired by a book on my December TBR, I decided to write a list of all the reasons I have ever not finished a book. (If you watch my videos on YouTube, you’ll find out which book soon enough. Confession: I only made it to Chapter 5.)

 

As a writer, it’s important to look for these issues in my own stories, but even more important is to remember that one person’s DNF (Did Not Finish) is another’s favorite book ever. Take these 16 Reasons Why I Have DNF’d A Book with a grain of salt, but hopefully a much larger grain of amusement:

 

1) The language is stunted or too flowery and I can’t jive with it. (Also, this isn’t a vocab test. I don’t need a GRE word every sentence.)

 

2) I don’t root for the Main Character.

 

3) I actively dislike the Main Character.

 

4) I want the Antagonist to kill the Main Character and plant their head on a spike, parading them around town, ending the story and thus my misery.

 

5) Actually the Antagonist kind of sucks too. Weak, empty threats, and I don’t believe their reasoning? Pass. Hard pass.

 

6) The characters have really weird names for no earthly reason and I haven’t figured out how to pronounce them and each page is a struggle for me not to rename them to Bob or Job or Clob or Whatever-Their-First-Initial-Is-Ob.

 

7) Why is this one guy the best that ever was? Has he trained? No? He was just born this way? He’s never practiced his power a day in his life but is somehow the absolutely best warrior in all the land? Stop.

(more…)