Friday Five – the Summer 2015 Edition

I’m sorry the blog went so quiet this summer! Here’s what was happening when I wasn’t at my computer.

1. Events

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Photo credit for the cupcakes: Kelly Garrett

I had two events this summer, both in July. The first was at the Book Bin in Salem, OR; it was my second visit. But this time, I had the pleasure of meeting Allie and Corina as well as seeing booksellers Katie and David for the second time.

The second event was at Green Beans Books here in Portland, Oregon. This one was extra special, because it was my finale party–and you only get one finale party for your first series! So, I decided to make it fancy by bringing cupcakes, door prizes, and NEW GAMES.

The one in the bottom-left is Pin the Wing on the Turnleaf. The one in the top-left is Queen Titania’s Pavilion: you drew a card (see an example below), and then you rolled a die (not pictured). You had to do a little math, and then you moved on the board, which was all the squares laid out on the ground. (It would have been a bigger spiral, but it rained that day, which meant we had slightly less space than we planned.) Anyway, the person who reached the center first won.

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It was a lot of work, but I was so glad I put in the extra time—WE HAD SO MUCH FUN! I’m so grateful to everyone who came, especially the ladies that shut the party down (top right): Vivian came even though I signed her book already. Milena came all the way from Seattle, and Katie and Emma also came all the way from Seattle for the second year in a row. That alone would have made my day, but did you see the fantastic t-shirts Katie made (bottom right)??

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Katie also made me this beautiful bag, crafted with messages from YOU GUYS! I can’t tell you guys how much I love it!! Thank you so much for contributing. This bag lives in my room now, and it’s one of my prized possessions.

2. Visiting

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I’ve had a lot of people come to Portland to visit this summer. My mom and my dad (top row) came to help me celebrate OE&E‘s release date at the end of June, and as you can see, while they were here, I took the opportunity to show off how pretty my state is. 🙂

Sally van Allen came at the beginning of August (top/middle rows). We celebrated her birthday with cupcakes, food, and a whole bunch of fun paper streamers, which doubled as a necklace. (We also celebrated a little bit of news she announced by showing me a certain ring (!!) on a certain finger (!!!!).)

Kaitlyn Yopp (bottom row) stopped by on the tail end of her epic Pacific Northwest adventure after spending a few months in Alaska. We hung out at Peninsula Park together, and she told me stories about her epic summer.

Last month, I also ran up to Seattle to visit my friend, Maria, her husband Josh, and their adorable son JJ. JJ did not love me the first time we met last summer, and I am so glad that we got to hang out a second time—we bonded over a game we both love: Peek-a-Boo.

It was fantastic. This is the first summer I haven’t been under deadline since 2010, and it was hard for me to relax and have fun, even when people came out to see me. (For example, the first time Kaitlyn came to visit was the same week OG&I came out, which meant I was totally stressed out and building an author website instead of enjoying my visit with her.)

All of these people have known me since way before The Ever Afters came, and it was really special to visit with them. It helped me reconnect with the goofy part of myself I used to be when we were kids.

3. Job Transition

I’ve mentioned before that and go quiet when I’m having a hard time. And this is also true when I’m extremely busy:  The thing that has been sucking up most of my blogging time lately is trying to get a new job.

I know. I JUST got a new job—in March. It wasn’t a bad job, but because I’m not under contract right now, I really need to be full-time, which won’t work for the company I work for. Which means I have to hustle and make some changes.

It’s kind of an odd transition. I haven’t worked full-time since 2009, and I’m not certain which field to enter. Recently, someone asked me, What do you want to be when you grow up? I didn’t have an answer for her, because I’ve always known what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to a writer, and I became one.

But I do feel like I’m the kind of person that needs to have more than one career. I really like writing. I have enjoyed writing full time, but I also like going into the office every day. I like having coworkers. And I have missed those interactions.

So, I’ll keep you posted. It may turn out that I land a really random job. That would probably suit me. 😛

4. Birthday and Growing Pains

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I turned 29 at the end of last month.

I took myself to Cannon Beach that day. I told my friend, Angela, that I planned to do some relaxing and some soul-searching, because that was what I needed. Ending the Ever Afters has felt like the end of an era–both professionally and personally, and for most of last month, I focused so much on finding a job last month that I hadn’t given any thought to the OTHER changes I need to make.

So, as a present to myself, I took the day off to ponder in a beautiful place. Here’s what I came up with:

29 is really young. I always think I haven’t done enough, but I’ve accomplished a lot considering I haven’t yet completed my third decade. Plus, I studied some of the people I admire, and then I tried to discover how old they were when they started doing some of the THINGS I admire. At 29, they had done cool things, but they hadn’t started working on their strongest cultural contributions. At 29, some of them hadn’t even encountered the things that would be the focus of their life.

So, not only am I still growing, I can’t fathom the sort of person I’ll grow into. Maybe I haven’t even encountered what’ll become truly important to me. Maybe I’ll encounter something that will DEFINE the rest of my life! I could find this thing ANY DAY NOW.

I find this incredibly exciting.

I need to change my attitude. After years of finishing drafts and taking criticism and revising manuscripts and meeting deadlines and learning marketing, I’m reasonably okay at being a writer; I also need to learn how to be human, allowing myself to make mistakes and voicing my needs and giving myself some slack and recognizing both my limits, my strengths, and my emotions. Sometimes, I tend to figure out what everyone else is feeling before I realize how I feel. (That’s actually where Rory got that quality.)

Basically, I need to grow more comfortable being myself as I actually am—not keep chasing after my idea of what a perfect writer/person should be. In other words, I have some serious growing up to do.

5. Blog Goals

So, growing pains have begun; baby steps shall ensue.

One of those will be to grow more comfortable talking about myself. I may have mentioned before that that I really hate talking about myself. It’s totally true, but talking about myself is kind of part of my job. I want to take some steps to change that.

So I have decided that I will make some changes on this blog. And by changes, I mean goals*:

(*“Goal” means if I fall short of the mark, I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Because like I said, I’m trying to cut myself some slack these days.)

I want to blog 50 more times before my next blog anniversary. That works out to roughly once a week. But since I have sometimes gone on a blog hiatus** for like a month or so, I figured that it would be better to allow myself more flexibility than just ONE A WEEK.

(**I may still doing a hiatus. But I plan to announce it ahead of time rather than just disappearing for two months like I kind of did this summer. Again, I’m really sorry about that!)

I want to change the tone of this blog. I will be more honest about all aspects of my life, and I will also write more about my writing process.

Some of the new posts that are coming up will be answers to those questions you asked back in February. I am SO sorry that these have taken so long. I have been secretly working on them since this spring. I literally have a folder on my desktop that says, “Questions,” and most of them have turned into long posts, which I think/hope will be really helpful.

So, look for that later this month!

Those are my summer adventures! Some of them were inward journeys rather than outer troubles, which may make them less than exciting reading material.

Does anyone else have any summer adventures they would like to share?

23 Comments

  1. Brenda September 12, 2015
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