October 2020 | Month In Review

You know, I’ve been writing these “life update” posts for quite a while now, and I think I’m starting to run out of interesting things to say at the beginning of them. Maybe I should start sharing fun facts instead? I don’t have anything this time, but stay tuned for next month and maybe I’ll have something interesting to share.

Anyways, I wrote two blog posts this month, so make sure you check those out if you missed them!

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September 2020 | Month In Review

It’s fall. It’s cold. It’s dark. You know the drill. But hey, at least you have my blog posts to keep you company!

I know it’s October as I write this, but here’s my September wrap up, starting with what I blogged about:

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NaNoWriMo and Starting Fresh | Writer’s Life

2020 has been one of my most sporadic years for blogging and writing, despite the fact that I had some pretty big dreams when the year began. With my college graduation on the horizon, I was looking forward to having more time to dive into many of the projects I’d started over the years.

As you may have noticed, things didn’t quite go as planned.

I’ve talked before about breaking my own rules when it comes to blogging and the need to take a break from writing sometimes, so I won’t rehash it here. Long story short: deadlines and goals are good, but giving yourself grace is important too. (And who hasn’t needed some grace in 2020?)

I’ve gotten to the point where I can usually tell when I’m getting burned out – I get bored. Projects and hobbies that, at first, felt exciting and new to me lose their shininess. As I’ve said before, sometimes you have to push through – in other words, dig deep and rediscover what made you fall in love with that project or hobby in the first place. Sometimes you need to step away entirely until you can look at it with fresh eyes.

Other times, though, you need to find a middle ground.

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Small Adventures

Hello. I’ve been taking some time away from the internet and my computer in general lately, so I haven’t been around to write very much.

I’ve been spending my weekends going on “small adventures” in my area while the weather’s still nice, so here are some photos in lieu of words.

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8 Online Learning Tips From Someone Who’s Done It Before

It’s September 2020. There are a lot of… Things happening in the world, and as a result, school looks different for a lot of students. Some are completing all of their education virtually for the first time, while others are doing a “hybrid” of online and in-person classes. Even for those who are learning face-to-face have to make accommodations for classmates who aren’t able to do the same.

It’s a very different world. Being in school was already stressful enough, and now we’ve got to deal with this too? I don’t blame you if you’re nervous. And for those who had a challenging adjustment from in-person to online classes last spring, you’re probably wondering how on earth you’re going to manage another semester like this.

I have good news though: It is possible to be a successful student in cyberspace. I’m no expert, but I did attend an online school from when I was six years old until I graduated high school at eighteen, and I think I turned out okay (though my parents may beg to differ). I picked up on a few tricks along the way, and in light of this new and very unique school year starting up, I thought I’d share some of them.

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Book Blurb Wishlist

Do you ever just look at stuff that you wrote years ago and think, “Wow, what on earth was I talking about?”

I have that experience pretty often. I’ve had this blog for almost five years, you know. But this post isn’t about how cringeworthy I might have been when I first started this blog – in fact, it’s actually about one of my favorite posts I wrote in the early days of Maggie’s Musings.

Even as a high school student, I had a bone to pick with story tropes. Not much has changed in that regard, at least. I wrote a post about my “Book Blurb Blacklist,” 15 things that would immediately turn me off from reading a book. It was a delightfully snarky post, and looking back now, I still agree with pretty much all of it.

However, there’s a question that has gone unanswered for far too long: What are the things – tropes, phrases, whatever – that make me actually want to read a book?

I aim to answer that today.

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July & August 2020 | Month(s) In Review

I did many, many things these past two months. And no, I wasn’t just playing Animal Crossing all the time. It was things like service trips, dogsitting, moving, starting new jobs…

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

July and August were sort of scattered months for blogging (I mean, I did miss my July Month in Review post…), but here’s what I wrote about:

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My First Apartment

BIG NEWS: I have my own apartment now!

By now, I’ve lived at my new place for about two weeks, and I’ve managed to not set anything on fire or break any appliances, so all things considered I’m doing pretty great! It’s been so nice to have my own space, and now that I’m 99% settled in, I wanted to share some photos and maybe talk a little bit about it.

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July 2020 Camp NaNo Recap | Writer’s Life

This past July I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, a more lowkey version of the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge that takes place every November.

For those unfamiliar, the November NaNo challenges writers to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel in 30 days. For a lot of writers, the deadline provides the right kind of motivation they need to finish a project. In fact, there are several published books that began as NaNoWriMo projects!

Camp NaNoWriMo follows the same format, but it’s more flexible. It takes place twice each year, in April and July. Participants are able to choose their own goals, and they’re encouraged to try some “non-traditional” NaNo projects. For example, some writers use this time to edit an existing project, write poetry, or even work on things like a graduate thesis or non-fiction.

So as I was saying, I participated in the July 2020 Camp NaNoWriMo. If you remember my Writer’s Life post from a few months ago, I spent May and June of this year re-working my outline for Project Quest in hopes that I could start working on my third (!) draft in July.

I was able to reach my goal of completing the outline – with the understanding that it could change, of course. For July, I set a goal of writing 25,000 words with the hope that doing so would get me through the first act of the novel.

So how did I do?

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10 Books I Want to Read Before I Collapse from Exhaustion at the End of 2020

In 2020, I set a goal to read 65 books. I set it a bit higher than my previous reading challenges, which were usually in the 45-50 range, but I knew I would be able to meet it.

The thing is… I wasn’t really expecting to meet it so soon.

Since I no longer have my big reading goal looming over me, I want to be more intentional about what books I read throughout the rest of the year. This is for two main reasons:

  • I still have some smaller reading goals to complete, like reading #OwnVoices diverse books and nonfiction books.
  • I may or may not have gone on a book shopping spree the last few months, and now I have several books on my shelves that I should read before I buy any new ones.

Charmaine did a list like this at the beginning of July (which makes a lot more sense, since she still had half a year to work with), so I stole it felt inspired by it and decided to make my own reading commitment for what’s left of the year.

So without further ado, here are 10 books I want to read before the end of 2020!

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