The Hardest Photo I Ever Took

My birthday is in May, conveniently placed around final exams. Because of that, I don’t often get the chance to do many exciting things to celebrate – maybe catch a movie, grab a meal in the dining hall with some friends, but that’s about it. It’s not as bad as it sounds, actually. I enjoy those small moments and the little things that make birthdays special.

My 20th birthday was on a Saturday, and so I met some of my friends for lunch on campus. It was a beautiful day – the sun was out, the weather was warmer, everything I could’ve asked for. As we were leaving the dining hall to go back to our dorms, we went down a sidewalk that was lined with blossoming trees. One of my friends stopped and asked, “Maggie, can I take your picture in front of these?”

3 photo a
Taken on my 20th birthday: May 5, 2018.

I take my photo once in a blue moon. I’m not really camera shy, I just prefer to be the one behind the lens rather than in front of it. But it was my birthday after all, and the trees really did look fantastic, so I walked over to them and smiled.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but as I look back at this photo and the good memories it holds for me, I realized that if I took a photo like this five years earlier, I would’ve hated it.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I, like nearly every other teenage girl at some point in her life, felt insecure about my appearance. A lot of us go through that in our middle school and high school years, and despite the fact that I was cyberschooled, I didn’t get a pass.

I’m going to be blunt in this post. Please don’t take that as self-deprecation or looking for pity. I just find it easiest to write this if I’m being completely honest.

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Writer’s Life: Senior Seminar Ideas & Inspiration

It was a dark and stormy night. A young woman sat at her desk, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The light from her laptop reflected off of her glasses as she frantically typed away at her keyboard, desperate to meet her word goal. Her workshop is counting on her, she reminded herself. And so is her grade point average.

If that’s not a glimpse of my past, then it’s definitely a prophecy about my future.

This semester, I’m taking a “senior writing seminar” course and our big assignment is to plan and complete some type of writing project. For me, I’m plotting out and writing 50,000 words of a novel. In addition to fiction, I know there are also students writing literary non-fiction and graphic novels.

So yeah. Lots of pretty neat stuff is happening in Writing Seminar.

I’m sure you’re thinking by now, “Maggie, what is YOUR project about? We’re all dying to know!” Or maybe you’re not thinking that, which I understand. But if you actually are dying to know about my project, keep reading!

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Roasted Reads | 6 Thoroughly Disappointing Books

It’s autumn. Leaves are falling, the nights are getting longer, and there’s a chill in the air. It’s the perfect weather for a roaring bonfire. And you know what we do with bonfires?

We roast things.

Look, we’ve all been there. A close, trusted friend (or – gasp – a family member) recommends a book to us. They claim it’s the best use of ink since the first Bibles rolled off of Gutenberg’s printing press. And you trust them, so you decide to give it a try.

And you don’t like it.

Maybe you don’t hate it – maybe you’re just apathetic about it. And then when your friend/family member asks you what you thought, you’re caught in an awkward position. Do you risk your relationship by telling them the truth, or do you lie to spare their feelings?

I’ve read more than my fair share of what I would call “overrated” books. Not all of them are bad books – in fact, in many cases, I think they’re pretty decent works of literature. But the more I think about them, the less I like them. And mostly, I just think they need to be taken down a peg or two.

So gather around the campfire, readers. I’m about to roast some books.

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September 2019 – Month In Review

Happy October! It’s supposed to be autumn here but we had two days that were 90 degrees Fahrenheit (about 32 Celsius) which is definitely not normal for central Pennsylvania. Please give me colder weather and apple cider (which is the SUPERIOR fall beverage). I want to wear my sweatshirt.

School started this month (more on that in a minute) and it was a bit of a struggle to get into the swing of things this year. Because of that, I wrote a grand total of one blog post this month. But it’s a good one! It’s about books: Making the Most of Required Reading

On a related note: I’ve decided to revisit how and when I post things on my blog, and you can find all the details here: Blogkeeping: New Schedule!

And finally, you can check out my 1 Second Everyday Compilation for September!

Read on for the rest of the month!

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Blogkeeping: New Schedule!

When was the last time I rearranged my blogging schedule? I think it was a few years ago. Not counting when I switched from doing Week in Review to Month in Review, it was October 2016. Fall of my freshman year of college. Now I’m a senior. Funnily enough, I seem to have found myself in a similar situation to the one I was in four years ago: My academic schedule is kicking my butt, and I need to reassess.

You may have noticed (or maybe you didn’t) that for most of September, I didn’t post anything. That wasn’t really an intentional decision, but in retrospect, I’m glad I did that. Last fall, I took a “sabbatical” from blogging for a month, and it was very refreshing. This past month has felt the same. Plus, it gave me a chance to step back and think about the best way I can continue to publish posts regularly while not getting overwhelmed.

A weird thing about blogging is that whether I write or don’t write, it can be frustrating. Sometimes words are hard, but you just have to push through and write them, and it’s like pulling teeth. Other times, you’ve just had enough with writing and you just want to lay on the couch and contemplate your existence.

All this to say, I’m shaking things up on the blog because I’m a loose cannon. Just kidding, if I don’t have a plan, I shrivel up and die like a neglected succulent. Actually, I’m giving myself even more of a schedule so I don’t have to spend all week freaking out over what I’m going to write.

First Friday of the Month: Month in Review for the previous month! The monthly wrap-ups you know and love. Nothing changing here.

First Monday of the Month: A list post! People call these “listicles” but I strongly dislike that word and I will never use it again. These would be posts like “Making the Most of Required Reading” and my “Junior Year Soundtrack.” Thoughts that are more organized in a list format. Like BuzzFeed, but better. We hope.

Second Monday of the Month: #WritersLife – in other words, updates on my writing. I’ve got plenty of projects going on right now, including one for my senior seminar class that I haven’t talked about here yet, so I’ll have a lot of material to talk about. This could look like a lot of different things – maybe a snippet from something I’ve been working on, fun facts about a character, or a Q&A session! Think something along the lines of my “Favorite Lines from Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019

Third Monday of the Month: General musings in a non-list format. The content might vary, but it would be more essay-like in form. Not that they’re actually essays. Or maybe they are? I don’t know where to draw the line. Whatever you call it, they’ll look similar to “Why Group Projects (Usually) Don’t Work.”

Fourth Monday of the Month: Tags and linkups. I’ve done these before every so often, but they’re a lot of fun and I think they would add some more variety to the blog. I’m hoping to participate in The Language of Worlds linkup often, but other months, I might do something like the Character Duel Tag.

Fifth Monday of the Month: It’s a SURPRISE! These only happen every couple months, so I’m gonna plan them as I see fit. You’ll just have to wait and see!

And that’s it! Blog posts will still be coming out when you expect them to, the content will just be a little more consistent from month to month.

As always, thank you all so much for continuing to stick with my blog. I appreciate every like and comment – they always bring a smile to my day. I couldn’t ask for better readers!

Until next time!

August 2019 Month In Review

I know I’m only a week off of my normal schedule, but let me just tell you something – it feels like it’s been an eternity since August happened. I’m glad I made some notes for myself, because I’ve forgotten just about everything I did last month.

Before I launch into that though, here are my blog posts from August! I was a little bit off of my normal rhythm due to traveling, but I’m still proud of what I was able to write this month:

You can also check out my 1 Second Everyday compilation from August below!

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Making the Most of Required Reading | Seven School Books I’ve Actually Enjoyed

Most people don’t like required reading. Not even English majors. There’s nothing that kills my motivation more than someone handing me a paperback and then telling me I will be graded on my ability to read, comprehend, and analyze the words inside. I love reading. I wish I could do it more often than I do. It’s just that I have the kind of personality where the instant someone tells me something’s required, even if I will probably enjoy that something, I’m determined to dread it.

Sorry, professors.

Actually, I’m not all that sorry, because in sprite of my bad attitude, I have enjoyed a lot of my required reading. At the very least, I’ve only hated one or two books (and generally with good reason, so I don’t feel all that bad). Since school recently started for a lot of us Americans, I thought I’d take some time to talk about the books that make me love being an English major.

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The Language of Worlds Linkup #7

To make a long story short, I was on a student leadership retreat last weekend fighting mosquitos, so I didn’t have a chance to write a blog post as usual. Instead, I’m participating in the Language of Worlds linkup, hosted by Liv K. Fisher.

If you’re unfamiliar with the linkup (since I’ve only done it once before), Liv posts 10 questions every two months for bloggers to answer about their writing projects, characters, or writing life in general. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m excited to participate again and talk about my fantasy work in progress, codenamed “Quest.”

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Afterwords: Top 5 Heroes

As I did in my previous post about book heroines, today I’m revisiting my three-year-old top five heroes list. And, like I said in my previous post, I’m certainly not diminishing the awesomeness of the characters I wrote about before (although, if I’m being honest, there are a few that I haven’t had many thoughts about in the years since). The characters of Artemis Fowl from Eoin Colfer’s beloved series and Sage from The False Prince are still some of my favorites.

But like I said before, I’ve read a lot of books since then, and I think it’s time to give a few other characters some love too.

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Afterwords: Top 5 Heroines

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post that was appropriately titled “Top 5 Heroines.” It was, as you might guess, a list of my favorite heroines from books. Now, even though I wrote that blog post three years ago, I still stand by it. There were some really awesome female characters on that list: June Iparis from the Legend trilogy, Cammie Morgan from Gallagher Girls, Deryn Sharp from the Leviathan trilogy, Reyna Ramirez-Arellano from The Heroes of Olympus, and Stargirl from Stargirl.

But I also wrote that blog post three years ago. I’ve read (and re-read) a lot of books since then, and I’ve fallen in love with both new characters and old. So while I still love and adore all of the ladies on my original list, I thought it was a good time to show some appreciation for a few of my other favorite heroines.

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