Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

An Atrocious Word Count and a Couple of New Scars

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Hey there! Guess where I was this weekend! I'll give you a hint, it wasn't fun. I was in the hospital. So Saturday I started writing a post about the first week of NaNoWriMo but didn't get around to finishing it, and I thought "Hey no big deal, I can just finish it later tonight." But then I started getting really bad pain in my stomach, and I ended up spending the whole night curled up in a ball of pain. It was a really tough night. I went to the Emergency Room the next day, and they told me that it was most likely my appendix, so there wasn't really much choice except to get it removed. So that's what happened. I am now one organ lighter, with an atrocious word count for NaNoWriMo, and a couple of new scars.

 I was already behind with my word count before this happened. I had a tough time deciding what project to work on, and switched on the second day because the project I had originally chosen was giving me a lot of grief with the setting. My story is going really well even though the word count is about 12,000 words behind. I figure since I won't be doing much this week while I recover I should be able to cut that number down considerably. Everything went well with the surgery, and now I'm just tired, sore, and glad to be back in my own bed again. I made sure to file away everything I learned there in order to torture my characters with later. I've thought many times that if my characters ever met me in real life they would love to slap me in the face for all the stuff I've made them go through, and with what I'm planning for these characters, now I'm certain of it. 

How are you doing with your world count? Are you holding up under the stress of NaNoWriMo alright? What do you think your characters would do to you if they met you in real life? Hopefully none of you have had to take a trip to the hospital recently, but if you have don't forget to let me know about it in the comments! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Goodbye October

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." -L.M. Montgomery

You know October is my favorite month, sure all the other months are great, but there's just something special about October. And no, I'm not just saying that because my birthday happens to be in this fantastic month, or Halloween either (Though the dressing up and candy is fun). Fall is my favorite season, with all the lovely leaves, hot drinks, crisp air, school, warm coats, rainy days, and the very best of fall takes place in October. Everything feels different in October. Everyday feels almost magical, like there's endless possibilities for adventures scattered through your everyday life.

And now October is coming to a close, and it's time to say goodbye to the best month.


November is coming.

And I'm sure you know what that means. 

Are you ready?

Because even if you're not. It's still coming.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

It's that time of year again. Leaves are changing colors, the air is slowly turning crisp and cool, apple cider and pumpkin flavored everything is in season, and it's time you start planning what you're going to be obsessively writing next month for the event that makes everyone say "NaNo- what now?" when you tell them about it. 

Yes it's almost time for NaNoWriMo!

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NaNoWriMo is one of my favorite times to write. I've done it twice before, winning once, and failing once. It's true that November can be extremely busy, but what I love about NaNoWriMo is that it makes your novel a priority in your life, and gives you step by step goals to finishing it. Honestly I hardly ever get any writing done except when I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April or July, or NaNoWriMo itself in November.

I still haven't decided what project I'm going to be working on this November, since I have so many potential stories rattling around in my brain, each telling me that it is the best idea in the world and must be written as soon as possible. So it's hard to choose. Should I go with the new Mystery series I thought up? The sequel to The Paths of Thyme? The fantasy adventure I've been brainstorming all summer? The novel I didn't complete last November? Or any of the other ones? I guess I'll have to get back to you when I finally decide which one to write.

What about you? What do you plan on writing this November? Are you going to be participating in NaNoWriMo? Have you ever done it before? How far did you get? Any helpful ideas about choosing which story to write for NaNoWriMo? Please comment below!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Deviant Art Account Update

You may or may not recall, a little more than a year ago I shared a post with you welcoming you to check out my account on the art website, Deviant Art. Well I had to let you know that that account was deleted a while ago, and I have since then created a new one. Which has had quite a lot of traffic lately. I currently have over 20 pieces of art and am still going strong! So head on over to Deviant Art and check out my new account! Follow me if you have an account and you'll get updates every time I post something new!

Here are a few of my favorites I've done recently:

Don't forget to comment! Do you have an account on Deviant Art? Do you enjoy drawing? What do you think of these art pieces?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Goodbye Pen Name

You may or may not have realized that I've been using a pen name on my blog for quite some time now. I've never really been the biggest fan of my last name so I chose a different one to write this blog under, and kept it for a few years now. Lately I've been thinking though and I think it's time to say goodbye to my pen name. 

You see, names are important, even if we don't like the way they sound, there's no escaping the fact that our names are part of who we are. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to use a pen name, and I am by no means telling you that you shouldn't use one. But for me using a pen name was in part, hiding from who I really am. I was trying to be someone else, someone who I perceived was a better person than I am. I was trying to be perfect, but it dawned on me, that's not what I really want. What I really want, is to be real, authentic. I want to be me. Nothing more, and nothing less.

So in order for me to take a step in the direction of authenticity I'm saying Goodbye to my pen name now. (By the way, my real name isn't really that horrible honestly, it just doesn't flow all that well, but that's okay) Signing off as Andrea Nan for the Last time, and signing back in as Andrea Monsma.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

10 Things I Learned From Summer Camp

Back at the start of the summer I posted that I got a job as a camp counselor, and you may have been wondering how that went. Well let's just say it was pretty crazy, and also a lot of fun. But at the same time it was difficult, as working with people always is. I learned quite a bit over those few months, about myself, and how to deal with others, which were my main goals going into that job. Thinking back on it. I managed to narrow those things down to a list of 10. 

So here are 10 things I learned from summer camp:

1. Being friendly and kind reaps countless rewards.

2. Sometimes you just need to take a break. Just because you can do more doesn't always mean you should. Be careful or you'll burn yourself out.

3. Don't forget to smile! Even if you don't feel like it, fake it till you make it. Smiling can actually change your mood believe it or not.

4. Don't take yourself too seriously, loosen up a little. Laugh, be a little silly sometimes. It makes life a lot more fun. 

5. Art draws people to you, don't be afraid to share it.

6. Never ever just accept someone else's opinion of another person without getting to know that person yourself. Everyone has biases and the only way you'll know the truth is if you make your own judgement.

7. Sometimes you find real gems of people and you should never let them go.

8. You never know how people really feel about you until you until you get to know them more.

9. Communication is key in everything! Without it, nothing works.

10. Never give up. Just keep moving forward. It's okay to ask for help, there's nothing wrong with that.

Don't forget to comment! I always love to hear from you! What about you? Did you learn anything over the summer? What did you do? Have you ever been a camp counselor before? What kinds of things did you discover through that experience? Did you find any of these things helpful?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Taking You With Me

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Hello again everybody! It's been awhile. You know, it seems like all the posts I have posted on this blog lately have been either: I'm going somewhere, or I'm back again. Which really isn't fair to all you readers, and for that I'm sorry.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and have come to a decision. I have determined that from now on I'm  taking you with me.

So take this as the last I'm back post, because next time I go somewhere, you'll all be right there with me.

So stay tuned for a lot of new adventures because we're just getting started!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy

I'm sitting at my desk trying to fill out paperwork and somehow write a coherent to do list, while a half empty duffle bag sits on my floor surrounded by piles of clothes and other items. I'm leaving later today to become a camp counselor for the summer at a nearby Christian summer camp, and needless to say, I am very, very busy.

For the past two weeks I was working at a hostel right off the Appellation Trail, everyday, designing flyers, cooking, cleaning, running errands, and whatever else was needed. I was crazy busy, and I discovered something rather interesting. Before I got that job I was in a creative rut, I couldn't seem to write anything, or even want to look at my many projects, but after working for several days I could feel my stagnant creative blood start to flow, and ideas started to pop into my head again.

I discovered that the busier I am, the more creative I become. Which was actually a bit of a relief. I was starting to wonder if I wasn't cut out to be a writer, but it turned out that it was just a rut I fell into and when I had lots to do it was enough to lift me out of it. The only flip side to that is that when you're really busy you hardly have time to write anything down, post on your blog, or work on any other project, but at least you aren't trapped in that rut anymore.

So now you know a bit of what I've been up to since I last posted, I'd like to promise that I'll post more soon, and I hope too, but I'm going to be even busier than before, so we'll see what happens, and I hope you can hear from me some more soon. I mostly wanted to let you all know that I'm still here and haven't evaporated into thin air.

What about you? What have you been up to? Can you relate to being crazy busy? How does it affect your creative life? Leave a comment below! I always love hearing from you!

Monday, March 23, 2015

What I Learned About Writing From Cinderella

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I went to see the new Cinderella movie at the theater yesterday with my mom and my little sister, and I really enjoyed it. It was a very sweet and beautiful film. I loved the way it combined the original story from the Grimm brothers with the classic Disney film, as well as adding many other small things that deepened and enhanced the plot from the original tale. The set, costumes, acting, music, and everything was superb. After those two familiar words had flashed across the screen, "The End" and the credits began to roll, we still sat there. Letting the story cement in our brains, listening to the music, and watching the seemingly endless list of names scroll by. We watched as first the actors, director, and producers swept past, followed by department after department. Everything from casting, to costuming, to catering. From music, to makeup, to medical. The credits just kept coming, and I was astounded. Sure, I knew how much work goes into a movie, especially since I had helped make several short films, but it never really hit me the massive amount of people and departments that were involved in one seemingly simple film.

It got me thinking. Thousands of people were involved in one film. Making one story come to life, took all those people, in all those departments. Yet as a writer, I set out on a journey of creating a whole new world, a book, a novel filled with many different characters, perspectives and beliefs I may not hold myself , places I've never been, foods I've never tasted, things I've never done or seen personally, and I do this all by myself. My point is, it takes that many people to create one simple fairytale on screen, but when you're a writer, you do it in a book, using only words, and you do it by yourself. You take on the responsibilities and duties of so many people. You write a world all by yourself, and yet it's not an unusual thing for me or for others. It's true that there's a lot more work involved in creating a movie, but it's still a huge undertaking to write a novel. And what's more, we do it by ourselves! 

I love being independant and working by myself when I write is just fine with me, but I was thinking about the massive amount of people it takes to create a beautiful movie like "Cinderella", and wouldn't my novel turn out better if I reached out to people a little more? I mean one person working on such a big project alone, is actually a lot if you really think about it. Wouldn't it make my book better if I joined a writer's group? Interacted on a forum somewhere? Asked for help with the plot points I'm not sure about? Went to people who knew more about the historical background I need for my novel than I do and ask their advice? Find some trusted friends to read and give feedback on my novel? Wouldn't that make it better? The more people that I allow to help me, the better perhaps? I know it's easy for me to get stuck in the mindset that my novel is all mine and nobody else can touch it, but I'm writing it so that others can read it, aren't I? So doesn't it make sense that I should be willing to let other people help me along the way? Sometimes I can't do it all by myself, and though it hurts my independant pride, there are times when I just have to say, "Alright, I need some help." and be willing to accept the help that so many people around me are willing to give. 

It always surprises me that there are so many people out there who want to help me, and I just have to ask them. Perhaps I should learn a valuable lesson from Cinderella, and the thousands of people who worked on it. Sometimes to make something the best it can be, you just need a little help, from other people, or perhaps from a fairy godmother, if you happen to be so lucky as to have one of your own.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

New York City Pictures

Last week I went on a day trip with my family to New York City, it was a lot of fun, and we got to see lots of neat things. The city is huge so we walked a lot and our feet were pretty sore by the time we were done. It was amazing to see all the famous places I've always heard about, and seen on TV, though they all seemed a lot smaller in person. I guess you can make anything look bigger with a little movie magic. Anyway, all the buildings and different types of textures and structures makes the big apple a great place for photography. So here's a few of the pictures I took in NYC.

Times Square and Mcdonalds, you know you can find these everywhere...

The Lady Liberty. She looked a lot smaller, but I guess we were a bit far away.

Signs of the Times. I love the visual interest this scene has with all the different signs going in different directions.

The Nine Eleven Memorial. White roses stuck in the carved names of the remembered. 

Souvenirs, and these are even smaller than the original! Pocket sized. 

Times Square and Broadway at night. Seriously all those signs and flashing lights are enough to give anyone a seizer. I'm telling you, it's a safety hazard...

What about you? Have you ever been to NYC? If so, what did you think? If not, where have you been recently? Comment below!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

YWAM Story- Life Change

About a week after I got to YWAM (Youth with a Mission) for my DTS (Discipleship Training School) we had a get to know you night. All us new students and all the staff sat on chairs in a circle, in the center of the circle there were a lot of different cards with pictures on them on the ground. I'm not really sure what the pictures were originally from or for, maybe they were poetry prompt cards, or maybe something to use in counseling, or something. Regardless, what we were using them for was to represent how we felt then, starting the DTS, and how we wanted to feel when it was all over. As everyone searched through the pictures I pondered how I felt, and what I wanted to get out of this experience. 

It was easy for me to find my first card. A perfectly organized silverware drawer. Every spoon, fork, and knife perfectly in it's place. That was my life before. To everyone on the outside it looked like I had everything together, I behaved just like a good christian girl, I went to church and bible study every week, I knew the bible well, including a lot of historical background, especially about the old testament. I had a loving family, a few good friends, a big room all to myself that was perfectly organized, I had everything that I could want or need, every spoon and fork in it's place. A perfect life, but I still felt stale, empty, and I was confused. What could I be missing? Leaving my home and going on YWAM was the hardest thing I had ever done. It was the first time I had ever left my family for a long period of time, and I was so homesick. It felt like my whole world was flipped upside down, my whole silverware drawer, all my spoons and knifes falling in a big jumbled mess on the ground. That was my first card.

As I searched for what I wanted my second card to be, I thought about why I had come to YWAM in the first place. Firstly God had told me to go, and I had reasoned that it probably wasn't a good idea to say no to the God of the universe. But there was another reason that I went too, and I realized that it was because I wanted to change. I wasn't satisfied with the way my life was before. I wasn't satisfied with myself either. I wasn't satisfied with the emptiness. I wanted more, and I knew I had to change to find what I was longing for. I wanted to know God, and to know myself. To have deep relationships with others. To finally have my own adventure instead of always reading about the adventures of others. I wanted to really experience life. So I found my second card. 

On the second card I picked there was a picture of a guy in a red hoodie, with a backpack, and a book under his arm, walking towards an unknown future. To me he looked like he was setting off on an adventure, not afraid to really live his life, and that's what I wanted. I wanted to be fearless, to be strong, and life my own life. I wanted to stop being so shy, to stop second guessing myself, to stop worrying about being judged, and not be strangled by perfectionism. I wanted to really know God, really know myself, and really know others, with no pretending. I wanted to be the kind of person I had always wanted to be, to just live my life to the best of my ability and let that be good enough.

 Now that I have finished my DTS I  feel more like the second picture than the first. I feel more alive, more willing to take risks, and have adventures. I feel more free than I ever felt before. Right now I'm not sure what my next step in life is, but I know that I'm never going back to my perfect silverware drawer life of before, and I'm glad of that. Now I'm just going to keep heading forward, towards my next adventure, what ever it may be, trusting God that He knows what He's doing. I'm not stopping, there's no turning back now, and I'm glad of it.

Friday, February 27, 2015

I Have Returned!

Hello everyone! I  have returned from my long absence from this blog. It's good to  be back! The last few months I've been inactive and I'm sorry about that. I've been doing mission work with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in Asia. It was an amazing, and life changing experience. Now I've graduated from my DTS (Discipleship Training School) and I'm living with my family who moved to another state while I was gone. Needless to say this is a challenging experience, especially since I've gotten used to a different way of life in the last five months, but it's where God wants me at the moment, and that's good enough for me.

So I'm sure you all would like to know what's been going on in the last five months since I haven't been very active in posting. Well, I'm not even sure where to start. So much has happened, it's very hard to put it all in words. On my DTS I learned so much about myself that I never knew and grew a lot, especially as I experienced a completely different culture in Asia. I also drew so much closer to God, and now I have a wonderful amazing relationship with Him, as well as other people. I made so many lifelong friends, that I miss very much right now.

I've now been home for two weeks and I haven't done very much during that time. Mostly just adjusting, catching up with my family, reading, getting to see the new town, watching some great animes, and trying to unpack all my stuff and get it organized enough so I can find my scissors and my earrings when I want them. It's still a huge mess in my room with boxes everywhere and I can never find anything, but it's coming along, I plan on getting a job soon but I'm having a very hard time deciding what  I want to do.

Well in the writing area I've been working on a new story off and on while I've been at school and so far I'm very happy with  how far it's come. I also got some good friends to read "The Paths of Thyme" for me and give me some feedback, so I should be able to start editing that soon. I've also had several new story ideas while I've been gone that are currently in the early planning stage. I tried to complete 100 for 100 but I wasn't able to keep it up for long with my crazy schedule. As for NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) I stockpiled a lot of words on my new story during November but ultimately fell short of the final 50,000 word mark.

So that about covers it I  think. In the near future I will be posting some pictures from Asia and a few stories about what happened there. I also have a very exciting project in the works that I hope to share with you all in a month or two. I will continue to post on this blog, and a lot more often than I have in the past months, so you can look forward to that.

I would love to hear what you've been up to in the past few months while I've been gone, so please comment below, I love hearing from you!