Sunday, December 31, 2017

November+December Doings 2017!

So, yes, I never actually got around to doing a monthly recap last month . . . oops. In my defense, November was an interesting month, and by interesting, I mean that about half of it was very chill and the other half I spent mentally screaming whenever my professors mentioned how few class days we had left or I thought about all the things I wanted and needed to do. Ah, the joys of almost-finals . . . and, of course, NaNoWriMo, because that happened. And then December was finals- which was actually pretty chill, because I finished on Wednesday and could've finished Tuesday if I'd had my act together a little more- and CHRISTMAS BREAK, which is still happening now and is obviously the best thing ever.


  • My official NaNoWriMo goal was 25 hours; my unofficial goal was to get through my first edit of Blood in the Snow and work through as much of my second edit as possible. I decided to go with an hour-based goal because, for one thing, I didn't know precisely how many words I'd need to write, and, for another, I thought it would be less stressful than having a daily wordcount to reach, since editing can have a much more variable pace than writing. Despite this, I still felt on more than one occasion that I wouldn't finish on time . . . but I managed in the end, hitting my official goal on the very last day of Thanksgiving break.
  • Between then and the end of the month, I continued to edit and got about halfway through the second version, cutting roughly 5K words. I then proceeded to take a way-too-long break so I could work on final projects and because I got stuck on a scene.
  • Finally, literally a week before the deadline, I got back to work and . . . um. Did not edit like a madwoman for the next week, because I was scared and procrastinating, because once I finish I have to actually let people read the book, and yeah, I want people to read it but I also don't want people to tell me I'm a horrible writer or that I accidentally morally offended someone because I'm an American trying to write an Asian-esque culture and yeah. I mean, I do want to know those things- the second, at least- so I can fix them? But . . . yeah. I'm human. I'm a mess sometimes. I'm working on it.
  • But now it's finished and sent in and I'm going to try very hard not to think about it for the next three months because worrying is a good way to go crazy.


  • I guess this isn't really surprising, given all the writing and schoolwork I've done this month, but . . . I only actually read one full book in November, despite the fact that Oathbringer and Weave a Circle Round released, I picked up several new eBooks on Black Friday, my roommate and I are in the middle of reading the Harry Potter series, and I still need to read Exiles.
  • On the upside, that one book was a good one: Turtles All the Way Down, John Green's latest release. Though I'm a Vlogbrothers fan and will at least consider just about any YouTube video involving John, Turtles is my first venture into his books. I was pleasantly surprised; usually contemporary isn't my thing, but this particular contemporary gets at the type of real that I normally only find in fantasy. Also, there were occasional references to things John's discussed in his videos (or possibly the things discussed in the videos were references to things in his book), and noticing those made me happy.
  • Besides Turtles, I reread That Hideous Strength and enjoyed it far more than I did the first time. It's definitely not a fast book, or one you're likely to appreciate if you don't understand the culture and time Lewis was writing to and from, but since I have a better grasp of that culture now (thanks, Honors Program!), I got a lot more out of it. I also read it with a journal on hand, encouraging myself to take a more thoughtful approach to reading, so I think that helped too. And I could more easily recognize the different modes of manipulation and propaganda and all that . . . it's kind of scary in some respects, because some of Lewis's words could perfectly describe what's going on today.
  • Oh, and I got a new bookshelf! And it's super pretty and big, and it's Amish, so, yeah, really nice and sturdy and high-quality. It makes me very happy. I still need to reorganize my books now that I have more space, but hopefully I'll find time for that this week.
  • December, on the other hand, was a much better reading month, because I was home for half of it and could catch up on all the reading I didn't do the rest of the semester. I spent the first week- well, mostly knitting, but when I wasn't knitting, I read Weave a Circle Round (which was excellent) and reread books to catch up for new releases. Then the week after Christmas I dug into those new releases . . . which means I basically killed myself with feels the week after Christmas by reading The Dire King and Oathbringer, but oh well. I regret nothing.
  • (Actually, Oathbringer wasn't that feels-heavy. Or hasn't been so far, other than the fact that I'm worried about Shallan. I suspect that'll change soon, though.)


  • Yep. The roommate and I are still watching Fairy Tail. We intended to get through three arcs before break, but only managed two, Daphne and Edolas arc. Daphne was ok; I was annoyed with Grey but otherwise it was pretty interesting. Edolas, on the other hand, happens to be one of my roommate's favorite arcs. I enjoyed it, though I don't think it's my favorite. It's definitely unique and interesting and all, plus it has Mystogan backstory and he's basically one of my top ten favorite characters in the entire show, maybe one of my top five, so yay for that- even if he wasn't actually in it half as much as I wanted him to be.
  • That said, the epic boss fight at the end was a three-way Dragon Slayer teamup and it was absolutely the best thing in that show to date. (Well, that and "A bunch of stuff happened and now we're here," and "Wait! There's an unnecessarily complicated explanation!", the latter of which basically sums up everything about the show and the former of which just amuses me a lot.) Gajeel ate the dragon, y'all. And that makes no sense out of context but yeah.
  • I also ended up rewatching a bunch of Fairy Tail episodes because I had a lot of knitting to do and couldn't decide on an audiobook. So . . . yeah. That happened.
  • In addition, my sister and I are watching the Lord of the Rings extended editions! She's never seen them- which is my fault; I keep asking her to wait for me and then we run out of time on breaks- and I need to watch them again, so yeah.
  • And we watched Christmas movies. Obviously. Before and on Christmas, we got through Rudolph (which is fine) and The Little Drummer Boy (which is . . . not like I remembered?) and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (which I'd never actually watched before and don't plan to watch again). Then after Christmas we finally got to the good ones: White Christmas and A Christmas Carol (the 1984 version, which features a ridiculous number of redheads for some reason).


  • . . . I don't even remember half of what happened in November, honestly. There was a lot of running around trying to get everything done, I know that much.
  • Towards the beginning of the month, I had mock interviews, both phone and face-to-face, for my Portfolio class, which went a lot better than I expected. I was pretty nervous going into them; even if my career wasn't at stake, my grade was, and I freely admit that verbal communication is one of my weak points. (As I told a friend one day, I'm a professional writing major, not a professional talking major.) The first phone interview was especially stressful, since several of the questions caught me off guard. But, on the upside, one of the people I interviewed with said she would've hired me if it were an actual interview, so that's pretty awesome.
  • Also, partially because of one of the interviews and partially because of my intro-to-the-major class, I found out that I might be interested in instructional design, not just corporate comm. They both seem to involve a lot of variety and a good mix of writing and design, which really excites me, and I feel like helping people learn, understand, and remember concepts and skills and such better would be pretty cool. I should have an actual class on the topic next fall, so we'll see what I think once I actually give it a try, but . . . yeah. I have another idea for what I might do with my life.
  • Midway through the month, I had a free Saturday night, so I decided to treat myself to some culture by attending my university's dance showcase . . . and all I have to say is: Wow. Seriously. Wow.
  • (Ok, I actually have more to say than just that.)
  • I didn't know until now that I really liked dance that much; like, I thought it was cool and impressive and pretty, but I didn't really get it? But the showcase had a lot of swing dancing and a lot of . . . I don't know the technical word, but it was less stylized, sort of? More rough and forceful and in-your-face. Like, the type of dance I'm familiar with, aside from Irish dance, is sort of like poetry, or hymns, where it's real, but it's also very graceful and elegant and probably highly symbolic but I don't understand the symbolism and it all seems very distant. But this dancing was more like really good, really exciting prose, even though it's still poetic in a way? And I could understand what was going on, and why the dancer put this action with this part of the song, and it just made sense. So, yeah. That made me happy.
  • And then the week after that was Thanksgiving break! So I got to go home! And it was lovely! And that's when I found out about my new bookshelf, because my family bought it for me as a surprise. Plus we had Thanksgiving with our Bible study, which was fun, and we put up the Christmas tree, and my mom made a pecan pie, and I didn't really get half as much work done as I meant to, but oh well.
  • And then I got back to college and it was finals and everything was running around screaming- mentally. Not literally. I leave the running and screaming to my friends.
  • Also, CHRISTMAS! I ended up photographing the campus Christmas celebrations for the newspaper, which meant I got paid to go see all the decorated dorms and stuff- which I wanted to do, but without the extra motivation, I probably would've ended early and missed out on some of what ended up being my favorite decoration setups. (Also, I got to see the inside of the newest dorm on campus and it is nice, let me tell you.) So, yeah. Best assignment ever.
  • Then I finally got to go home on Christmas break, where I spent most of the first week frantically knitting so I could finish Christmas presents on time. Christmas itself was lovely and more relaxing, for me at least, than some other years have been. Also, I acquired several of my favorite books from this past year, so yay for that!
  • Also before Christmas, my family went down (up?) to DC and visited the Museum of the Bible and the National Christmas Tree. The museum was pretty cool, particularly the exhibit on the history of Bible versions and translations and such. As for the National Tree, well, it's about how I remember it. Seeing it again was nice, but by that point I was tired (and hungry, because I missed lunch) so I didn't enjoy it as much as I might've.
  • And now it's New Year's Eve and my Bible Study always holds a party- with the countdown at 8 or 9, not 12, because small children- and I'm quite looking forward to that. Hopefully there'll be board games and the right people to play them with, but if not . . . oh well. I know there'll be good food and a chance to see friends, so it'll be fun whatever happens.

January Plans!

  • I need to decide on a writing project for the month. I should probably get back to work on editing Fight Song, but I need to do some research first. I'm thinking of setting another time-based goal for the month, probably something along the lines of a half-hour a day, because I know I can get that in but it won't cut into other stuff as much as the full hour I needed for NaNoWriMo did. I don't know; I'll decide tomorrow.
  • Obviously, classes start up again in about a week, so . . . there's that. All but one of my classes are for either my major or my minor (Graphic Design), which should be fun. I hope it'll be fun. I have to take an hour-and-a-half class on editing at 8:30 in the morning, which probably won't be fun, but what can you do?
  • I have reading to catch up on, of course. There's always reading to catch up on. I still need to read Exiles (yes, I know, I'm a terrible person) and a few other releases from this past year, plus I really should stop procrastinating on Wheel of Time . . . oh well.
  • Also, my sister and I are going to watch and rewatch (respectively) The Lord of the Rings extended editions! This is her first time watching LOTR, because I kept insisting that she wait for me to watch them with her, and we're both pretty excited. We wanted to watch them sooner over break, but I had to finish Blood in the Snow and she's a wonderfully patient person, so yeah.
  • I may have a few other plans too, but I'll talk more about those in my 2018 goals post, which should release either tonight or tomorrow. So stay tuned for that!
How were your holidays? Are you caught up on your 2017 releases, or do you, like me, still have some that you need to get to? Any fun plans for January? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)   


  1. Happy New Year! I still have a bunch of 2017 books to read (although a lot of them are because neither of the libraries I frequent have them).

    What classes will you be taking this semester? Besides the editing one.

    1. Yeah, that's definitely a problem. :P Thankfully, I have access to two separate library systems and so I can get most books that I want.

      I have Design Thinking, Adobe Illustrator, Corporate Culture, Documentation Design, and Earth Science. So, yeah. Not horrible, but not the best semester of my life. You?

    2. Those all sound...interesting. xD (And definitely not up my alley, lol.)

      As a lucky last-semester senior, I can take fewer than 12 credits and still live on campus and get full financial aid as long as I don't need to take 12 credits to graduate. SO. I'm doing my practicum (1 credit), doing a creative writing for young people part II independent-ish study (1 credit), and taking History of Non-Western Cultures and C.S. Lewis and the Oxford Circle. (So we're basically reading lots of Lewis and Tolkien. You should've come to Asbury, Sarah, lol. You'd LOVE this class.)

  2. Ahh so so much awesome and busyness!! I'm so glad you liked Turtles All the Way Down! It totally felt so real and really personal as well?! I love it when authors take that risk about putting more of themselves into a book. I know how hard that is, but ajfkdls it can really pay off. Also I TOTALLY get that procrastination about editing because then people get to read it.😂 I'm totally not procrastinating editing right now by reading blogs..*coughs* nope.

    Anyway I hope 2018 is a really successful year in college and with writing for you!!

    1. Hey, at least you're procrastinating with something good, like reading my blog, instead of browsing Pinterest for 3 hours. You're being social, building connections, finding other people to yell about your book later, etc.; that's totally productive. ;)

      Thank you! Same to you (though, obviously, not with the college thing).

      Thanks for stopping by!


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