June Wrap-Up!

june wrap up

June was a pretty good month for me. I’ve relaxed a lot, read, written, and generally enjoyed myself. I can’t believe my summer vacation is already almost halfway gone, though!

Shout out to the Supreme Court for finally ruling in favor of gay marriage. There aren’t words for how great it is to see America take another step towards true equality.

white house

52 Letters in the Alphabet reached 300 followers this month! Thank you so much to all of the people who have read, liked, and commented on my posts, and the super amazing people who have decided to follow my blog! You are all amazing. 🙂

Last week, I started taking a ballet class at a local community college for PE credit at my high school (that’s a very long story…). I’m enjoying the class, but doing ballet four days a week for at least two hours a day has left me mentally and physically drained. My productivity has taken a nose-dive; I’ve rewatched a lot of Psych and Scrubs episodes instead of writing…whooops.

Thankfully, my reading hasn’t suffered too much from my exhaustion. I read nine books in June, which puts me perfectly on track to achieve my goal of reading 20 books this summer. My weekend vacation helped a lot with this total, and without it, I would be painfully behind, to be honest.

I discussed whether reading books quickly actually improves or detracts from the reading process. I also had my sixth book haul, though I’ve already read most of the books I bought. I’m itching to get more new, amazing books to read (and I’m taking recommendations!).

Here are the books I read this month:

I reviewed four of the nine books (I’ll catch up this month, I promise!): The Perilous Sea (Elemental trilogy #2) by Sherry Thomas, Uprooted by Naomi Novik (this one is AMAZING), Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. I also reviewed the first book in the Elemental trilogy, The Burning Sky, which I read in May. Using my last ten book reviews, I made word clouds to analyze my word choice during reviews.

I had 16 posts this month! That’s one post almost every other day, mathematically, and I never broke my goal of having at least three posts a week. I am so proud of myself for at least sticking to blogging when I lagged in the fiction writing department, though I did discuss the importance of balancing the writing time I devote to this blog with the amount of man hours I put into my WIP.

I took part in three Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books I’d Like to See as Movies/TV Shows, Top Ten TTT Topics I Wish I’d Taken Part In, and Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015. A lot of my June reads made that last list.

In the writing world, I added 10,740 words to my WIP, Devil May Care, bringing my overall total up to 64,000 words! I also read through and did some light edits on the first 50,000 words, and updated my various spreadsheets that I use to keep track of everything. In regards to this blog, I started my series of posts talking about the process of writing the second draft of my WIP, Second Draft Journal.

On this blog, I took part in one of Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Contest with my short story “Just Another Dead Guy” and shared my poem “Little Echoes.” I wish I’d shared more writing, and I plan to get back into poetry in July.

So there’s my June! Pretty good overall. How was your June? What books did you read? Did you write? And what are your July plans?

Balancing Blogging and Writing (Second Draft Journal #2)

I’m starting a series of posts called my Second Draft Journal. It’s nothing fancy, just a collection of posts inspired by and following my progress as I write the second draft of my novel, Devil May Care. I’ll talk about everything from writer’s block to character development, but today I’m focusing on how being a blogger affects me as a fiction writer.

ever feel like this?

I love being a blogger. I like that it is an easy outlet for writing and that I get to be a part of a reader/writer community.

However, as I’m working on my second draft of my WIP, I can’t help but notice that when I’m blogging, I’m not writing fiction. If I have a random pocket of time, I am much more likely to sit down and write a blog post (like this one) than commit myself to Devil May Care. Blogging is easier for me, and I can do it while watching TV (I’m rewatching an episode of Psych right now). If I’m writing my WIP, I’m really working hard to make my fiction writing strong. And that takes a lot more focus, energy, and commitment.

Especially during summer, focus, energy, and commitment are not exactly my bywords. Television multitasking is much more my style. So here’s my question: am I blogging too much, sort of using it as an excuse to avoid fiction writing? Where is the balance between blogging and writing?

I like that blogging gives me a break. If I have actually written during a day, blogging is a nice break that keeps my mind thinking about writing but also lets me relax. Blogging has helped me develop a conversational writing tone and pushed me to go outside my comfort zone occasionally. Blogging has an element of instant gratification and real-time feedback, which my WIP (which I keep fairly private) lacks. Blogging and fiction definitely work together positively in my mind, sort of a left/right brain interaction.

If you ask me if in five years, I’d rather be a successful blogger or a published fiction author, I’d say an author 100%. But I also know that I don’t want to stop blogging, and I like that I’ve kept myself committed to three posts a week.

Going forward for the rest of my summer (I only have like six weeks left! *crying*) I am going to try to make sure that however long I spend blogging, I match with fiction writing. Will I be able to do it every day? Probably not, to be honest. But I have to find a balance, and this seems like a good starting point. Does this mean I might have less blog posts, might read a few less books? Yes. But sometime  soon (eventually) I’m going to have to prioritize my fiction writing, and this summer is the right time.

What is the relationship between blogging and writing? To you writers out there, how do you balance your time blogging and your time writing?