Update Fall/Winter: All Is Well, Though Never Easy #amwriting #nonfiction 


It’s been a long while since I’ve given an sort of personal update. Part of the reason is there are somethings I can’t talk about at the moment. The other part has been life has felt incredibly busy and trying to keep up with everything on the reduced schedule I have has been a bit challenging. 

After an initial and yearly week or two dealing with SAD and becoming used to less light, I feel more energy again. Often I find when it comes to blogging, I have so many blogs to follow now, commenting daily is difficult. So you’ve probably noticed I do this less. I’m sorry I can’t keep up, but I’ve found in the last while, I need to maintain a balance in life or become overwhelmed. 

So I’ve been trying to keep up with my usual prompts and also for a couple of months in October and November I was doing daily poetry prompts for OctPoWriMo and November Notes. But I felt at least in poetry, my writing has been improving as has my knowledge of poetry forms. I’ve been so happy to be a guest blogger on Look Around, being able to continually collaborate with Spill Words Magazine Online, having work published on SickLit Magazine and have the possibility of poetry or short fiction pieces being published on a few other sites and/or magazines. 

Credit: http://www.spillwords.com – image used for my poem by this name!

Fiction is something I continue working on through flash fiction and other prompts. A larger story has developed from a piece called Teegan’s Potion. I have an idea this might develop into something much bigger, a longer short story or a novel. I would like to begin planning it out more. 

However, the other part of me is still working on my original novel on WattPad, doing a second draft. Lately, I’ve done about three more chapters and am hoping to put serious work into the novel throughout the winter semester. You can find my completed second draft chapters for How Was Last Night on Wattpad HERE. Events have changed and moved around from the first draft. Lately, I’ve only been able to do about three chapters, but I’m hoping to go through the remaining chapters, rewrite, and edit, and have one up each week. 

Sorry, I cannot promise this but I’m going to try to do this. Please let me know on this post or on Wattpad what you like and don’t like, or if you have any suggestions or thoughts. I’ve completed up to new chapter 12 in second draft. Also playing around with potential covers for this point in my writing. It’s a paranormal romance, so I’m unsure whether I want the cover more mysterious or more of a typical romance cover. What do you think? 

I was most disappointed not to have made it into the online MFA in Creative Writing I applied for for September 2017. My plan is to try applying one more time and to continue publishing pieces of poetry and short fiction until I’m in or not.

 I’m also looking at taking a couple of courses in the certificate program at U if Toronto. This way, I have more writing courses and hopefully more recent great marks, for my Academic CV. I’ll be able to see how my second application for the MFA goes next October. If I don’t get in then, I can work on completing the certificate. I’m not sure if I would try three-years. I’m just taking it day by day right now.


The other part of my life has been dealing with not having money from my disability company anymore. I’m coping with this, but it could take a year to come to a mind of resolution. In between if I could make the $300.00 a month I can make having AISH and CPP disability in Alberta, Canada, I would be most happy. I’m applying for different writing and blogging jobs on a freelance sight called www.upwork.com. They do take a small percentage, but it’s worth it if you can connect with good clients. 

I’ve had job offers so far but had to refuse because I cannot write and research full time. Not to mention, some of the people posting jobs have little clue how long writing up an article or blog from 300 to 1000 words takes, especially with research. They want articles fast and yet they want them to be perfect, free of errors. Some of them want this for only $10.00 an article – not even minimum wage per hour where I’m from. I’m hoping to find some good jobs on Upwork to earn extra money and gain some job experience part time and/or casually. I’m leaning more to the casual end I think, part time would honestly be too much. 

It would help me pay for a course in spring and fall and maybe a vacation. One of my bestest of best friend’s wedding is in Cuba. I was planning to before my insurance revoked my disability. But this is a long ways away, so I’m praying it might work out that I could be there and have a little vacation too. As of now, it’s not appearing hopeful.

Credit: http://www.melia.com

My Christmas shopping is finished. I’ve been baking cookies and squares. The best cookies are from this Neiman Marcus oatmeal cookie recipe. You grind the oats into flour in your blender. The cookie is soft and chewy and uses both white flour and the oat flour. I put in lots of chocolate chips and crushed pecans. I’ve become an expert at baking these and my whole family is addicted to them.

Apparently, I haven’t baked them in a while. One batch is about five dozen cookies. One dozen I gave to my brother, and the other four dozen have been disappearing from the freezer at an alarming rate. Let me know if you want the recipe, I can send it to you. I will be making another batch when I replenish the chocolate chip supply. 

Credit: Brown Eyed Baker

I’ve been trying to keep busy, seeing friends whenever I’m able. My one BFF and I went to a Paint Nite event, painting penguins on wine glasses. At home you bake them in your stove so they are useable. It’s a cute craft, but I think the wine glasses themselves would have been nice with some wine in them 🙂 Hanging out with S again this Saturday for drinks a the Art Gallery restaurant and a naughty Christmas show at the Citadel Theatre. Also, always planning for the future.
Credit: Amanda Eifert

I finally found my perfect tattoo and am trying to arrange a consultation with the artist my hairdresser and friend Tess, suggested. It’s a peacock feather but very beautiful. Bold enough in black but also with shades of blue and maybe purple. So excited for this, even though it will hurt! It’s not this whole tattoo, just the peacock feather part. See below:

Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Have a blessed Christmas everyone! Remember the true meaning of Christmas and the hope a babe in a manger named Jesus became for all mankind. 
Credit: Lamb and Lion Ministries – Prophetic Facts – About the Nativity

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

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One Piece of Advice for New Bloggers – Network


 Prompt: Give your one best piece of advice to new bloggers in the blogging world.

http://www.theblogmaven.com

Blogging, such as anything you are learning that is new, is a process. Each time you write, each comment made on your blog, and each comment you make on another person’s blog, will build your strength as a writer and blogger. My best piece of advice for a new blogger is about the same advice you receive upon entering a first job or a new job: network, network, network! 

Make the effort to respond and get to know the people who are commenting on your posts. If you are followed by a person and you look at their blog and like it’s contents too, follow the person back. Read random blogs on WordPress to start finding other blogs which interest you and receive your favourite blogs sent to your email. Comment on and like the blogs you follow. Maybe you don’t have time to do this for every blogger you receive a blog from, but do it at least every few posts a blogger you like makes.The more blogs you can read, like, or comment on, the more people you can meet through blogging. Check-out blogs, bloggers you know, mention in their post. Look for bloggers who have commented a lot on blog posts you already enjoy reading. Reblog blogs that really touch your heart and/or you find meaningful. Remember to give constructive feedback when commenting.

Participating in writing challenges such as Flash fiction, six word stories, poetry challenges and WordPress courses, is also a fun way to meet people. Flash fiction for example, is a fantastic way to see how various people create a different story from the same words/picture. It is also an excellent way to learn how to write a story only using necessary words. Every word and sentence has to count when you only have two-hundred words to tell a story in. 

WordPress courses in writing, photography, and blogging are excellent in helping you improve the readership of your blog but also to make your blog appear more professional, and improve your writing skills. All WordPress courses are linked to a place all students in the course can go and share and read their own and other people’s work. It is a great way to meet people through these courses. More experienced bloggers/writers often have many pearls of wisdom to share. Best of Luck! 

A New Season Of Life


 

http://www.galmeetsglam.com
 
As I look at my past few blogs throughout December, it seems as if it has been awhile since I have given a general update of my life and where it is headed. I think I have talked about it in pieces in various works but I haven’t sat down and told the entire story.

The house feels empty after having everyone home during the holidays. It bothered me on Monday but now I’m feeling more relaxed and fitting myself into a routein again each day. I have spent a great deal of time blogging and reading other blogger’s posts. I’m at the point where blogging is taking a lot of time. I’m not complaining I like to do it and it’s part of the whole blogging experience, but I know if I want to do some of the other things I need to I might have to cutback in certain days. I’m especially thinking for university courses.

My main goal right now is to do an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of BC starting in May 2017. This gives me almost a year to prepare a portfolio on two to three types of creative writing; write up a five-hundred word essay about why I want to take creative writing; as well as submit university marks and three letters/forms of recommendation. 

But I also feel I could use some more background in creative writing. I have taken a few courses here and there but most of what I have learned about creative writing has come through being self-taught or learning from other bloggers and writers. To fill the time until I can apply for my Masters I’m going to start work on a Certificate for Creative Writing online through the University of Toronto. 

It is only six courses and it has many options I can look at taking for creative writing courses and the online courses go throughout the year. So, I’m going to do one course in February and one course in March or April. They courses are ten sessions and go for two months each. The first course is an introduction to fiction. And I haven’t decided on the second course as of yet. But I’m excited to do writing courses. 

Not only because it keeps me busy and working towards a goal but also because it is difficult to get into the Masters Program at UBC. Since this Masters Degree is online and highly sought after, UBC only take twenty-five percent of their applicants. A certificate is some consolation if I can’t get into the Masters or if it takes me a couple of years to be accepted.

As for New Years Resolutions, I took a typical route and decided I needed to work on my health and fitness. So, New Years Eve I signed up for Weight Watchers online. It is reasonable at only $23.00 a month and it restricts your diet to a certain amount of points foods are worth. Fruits and vegetables are unlimited and worth no points. Weight Watchers is trying to encourage people to eat them this way. Also, you have a certain amount of fitness points each week and exercise does’t have to be hard or for long periods. I have done yoga for twenty minutes, gone on the elliptical all out for ten minutes, walked for 2o minutes at a brisk pace, and done seven minute intervals, and they are all great easy ways to get your fitness in.

 I felt after gaining weight again off a new medication and then not giving much thought to the way I ate over the holidays, weight watchers program promotes excellent habits to achieve. All through an application on my phone I track what I ate and how much exercise I’ve gotten. I track my weight and I’m also taking waist and hip measurements myself. The program is starting off well so I hope it continues that way. 

I was also inspired by Rosema from A Reading Writer to try POPSUGARS 2016 Reading Challenge. There are boxes for forty books to check off on this list.  And I invite anyone who wants to join me to simply print out the list below. I have tried to start doing the list but as Rosema tried to tell me, it requires a bit of research on your part. 

I do not want to commit to any book I have chosen so far except the book I am reading. I started with the easiest one #30. Read a book with a blue cover. My book I chose is called New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick. I read on my IPad but it has been giving me real problems lately so until I can replace it (hopefully soon) I have been reading in paperback again. It feels weird actually having to flip pages and use a receipt as a book mark. I hope to do a semi-regular post or part of a post on my progress on this list. 

 

http://www.goodreads.com New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog #2) – Beth Kendrick
 
Here is the basics of New Uses for Old Boyfriends. Lila is twenty-nine or thirty -years old. She grew up in a life of privilege and married a wealthy guy named Carl. At the beginning of the book Lila is moving out from her house having been divorced by her cheating husband (Carl). She has everything stuffed in her vehicle and she is going back to her home town haven and doesn’t have much money or a job. She was fired from her job as a late night sales woman on the shopping channel and Hawks her engagement ring for money. 

When Lila returns to Black Dog Bay she finds her mother is not in a good state either. When her father died he left her mother in debt due to his construction business. Lila’s mom thinks Lila will fix everything and has ran up her credit cards. They have to sell the house her Dad built for her Mom. The family fortune is gone and Lila’s mother is in denial. Lila can barely take care of herself. 

Lila decides to open up a Vintage Clothing Boutique. She tries to find new uses for old dresses and attempts to reunite with her high school sweet heart, Ben Collier. But she also discovers it’s too late for some of her old dreams. “She’s lost everything she thought she needed but found something — someone — she desperatly wants. A boy she hardly noticed has grown up into a man she can’t forget,” and a second chance at love.

Yes, it’s a chick book I know. But I think you know from some other books I’ve posted about, I like a good romance book at times. So far, I like it and find Beth Kendrick to be a funny and engaging writer. Thanks to my BFF Tara for the book. I’ll let you know what I think of it in the end.  

http://www.pinterest.com
 
Also, I would like to continue exploring new forms of poetry with you each day from Shadow Poetry. It’s a self study thing. I am hoping to be able to write with different kinds of poetry more easily and to learn about forms of poetry I’ve never studied before in a poetry course in school or WordPress courses on poetry. 

Additionally, I have been finding some of the products I received in Luxebox and some additional beauty items I received over the holiday are quite good. There is also some products I received I don’t like. I have a post idea for guys about shaving and what you need to take care of your skin. I did a Clinique Men and Women’s skincare but I think I will search around for some cheaper more common products you can find in any drugstore for this post. Additional ideas for posts pop up at will in my mind. 

Enjoy your days. I hope it’s not cold and snowing where you live. 

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Comfort Zones


There was a quote I read last night on Pinterest that has stuck with me today: “Great things never came from comfort zones.” It was coincidental that I came across this quote when I did because I was thinking about my life and believing that I am a little to comfortable right now. Some of that is not by choice, I still struggle with the new medication my doctor put me on this summer. I struggle with sleep and with energy during the day such to the point some days I wake up and know I won’t be doing much that day. But also, I recognize that I have to push myself on those days because sometimes if I just get up and go out, I start to feel better. 

I believe removing ourselves from our comfort zones is truly a way to bring new and exciting things to our lives. If we don’t push the line a bit, we never see what could be on the other side. I have really hoped to make new friendships and meet new people in my life. The trouble is sometimes I can’t keep up with new commitments. It’s a balancing act that I seem to always be playing. But just the same through social media I have been meeting new people. 

It is difficult to explain my situation to new people. A lot of people can’t handle a person who can only be out for a few hours and only some of the time. It hurts when you want to be a dependable person but cannot be. It hurts when you are valuable for a night but not valuable enough for a relationship, be it romantically or just for a friendship. But I’m learning to deal and I know that the kind of people I want in my life are authentic kind people, understanding, and funny. 

Some of pushing my comfort zone has come in just dealing with bureaucracy. I have been taking this course on ‘Residential Furnishings.’ But I can’t attend the class so I need a note taker. Finding one has been difficult and a month of classes have gone by. I feel like I have missed so much already and hope I can catch up. The first exam is October 20th. The office that helped me out with this at the U of A are not very knowledgable or helpful. They tried to have me go through student loans and the courses I’m taking aren’t part of credit courses, it’s adult education. I went through a whole process of discovering that and still haven’t got a note taker. So, I’m frustrated but determined I’m going to do this course so I can get my certificate. 

Also, yeah new shows on TV. I love TGIT. Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal. I’m upset that Scandal doesn’t seem to be on any Canadian networks, it’s my favorite show. But I watched all last season of How to Get Away with Murder so I’m caught up for that show. Do you have any favorite TV shows? How do you try to stay out of your comfort zone?

Thanks for reading! 

Life and Things


I’ve been keeping myself busy lately catching up on all the books I’ve downloaded hoping to read when I’m not busy. I wanted to tell you about one author I particularly like lately named Sykla Madi. She is an excellent writer and I especially like her books based on mixed martial arts fighting. She has an excellent series called the Consumed series: Consumed, Too Consumed, and Forever Consumed. It’s a series with romance with some fun fighting  and competition in it. Her most recent series are novellas: Broken, Twisted, and Damaged. That series isn’t finished so I am anxiously waiting for the next novella in the series. 

In the Broken series, Emily, a nurse follows home Jia, a man she doesn’t know who broke her tablet accidentally on the train home. Emily is poor and doesn’t have the money to fix her tablet. She ends up in an underground caged fighting competition with Jia where everyone fights, often to the death, to win money and work for a dangerous mobster. Jia protects Emily, while using her to locate his brother who supposedly was working for the mobster. A relationship develops between Emily and Jia who must work together to survive and free themselves from the hellish world of the mobster and underground fighting.

  

So, while I wait for Jia and Emily’s story to continue I have been trying to arrange to take the last course I will need for a Residential Design Certificate. I’m all registered but the complicated part is that the prof doesn’t think I can do well without having the lectures taped for me. So, since I am a disabilities student I can apply for money that might pay for the course and textbook and money for things like a tape recorder. You apply through student loans and it’s a ridiculous process. First, I needed to wait and get my Alberta Student number. Now, I need to wait one to two weeks to get a pin to access my diploma marks from high school. I mean I have a university degree, shouldn’t they want those marks? Then, both for the U of A and for applying for grant money I need to have my doctor write a letter and fill a form out for me. Once that is done, I can finally complete the application online to the Alberta government and the disabilities application to the U of A. And all this needs to happen before the course starts mid- September! 

I haven’t decided on what I will do with myself after this course. I feel a strong pull towards Creative Writing and would really like to start a Masters in Fine Arts at the UBC. I could only do a course at a time but I think I can do it. My other direction of thoughts goes to the U of A and a certificate in drawing. I’m actually a pretty good artist and I would love to get that certificate. But I might love writing just a bit more.

Being single again isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I guess I wasn’t as in love as I thought because even though many activities remind me of A, I have no desire to go back to the way things was. I have some freedom back and I like that. It’s more time to spend with family and friends. As for dating, I just think it’s a little fast yet to go there. I just don’t want to waste time with guys I know there’s no connection with or just want sex. I guess a lot of girls are just good to sleep with whoever but I’d like to get to know the person so I can trust them before I give that out. It makes me old fashioned but I think someone who is interested in you for your whole package is better then some guy who is just thinking about sex. 

Going to the salon tomorrow, coffee Thursday, and out for lunch Friday. The rest of the time I’ll be reading and waiting for that letter from the Alberta government. Also, thinking about getting a new iPad. My old one is 16GB and full. I need something with more memory. Take care all! 

How’s Your Year Shaping Up So Far?


Prompt: How is this year shaping up so far? Write a post about your biggest challenges and achievements thus far.

It’s a difficult task to look at your year in terms of challenges and accomplishments and put it all in perspective. I suppose I’d prefer to turn the question back on you and have you comment on how your year has been thus far? Any takers? But in all seriousness it’s been an okay year. Nothing to brag about but nothing to get upset about either.

My biggest challenges I think revolve around my health and will for much of my life. If you think of yourself going to sleep most of you wake up with a full battery or a full amount of mental and physical energy. When I wake up in the morning I have three hours worth of physical energy in my battery and two hours worth of mental concentration. It was extremely disappointing for me when I lost physical and mental energy last summer and went down to the amount I currently enjoy. For me this means less time I can be out at night, less time I can be with my friends conversing, and less time I can spend studying for classes or spend reading. I really miss it! It also means less time I can spend walking around sight seeing and shopping on vacation and that hurts to as you know I am going to Las Vegas in two weeks. 

Plus, the amount of exercise I can physically do is sad indeed. Recently, I have started doing 7 minutes of exercise a day — 15 squats, 15 push-ups, 45 seconds plank, 15 toe raises, 15 bicycle crunches, 15 knee raises, and 15 diagonal knee raises — and it was extremely tough beginning that and I’m proud I can do that but it still kills me that I can’t do more and that that is less then I have ever been able to do. Keeping my weight down is always an issue since I can’t exercise but I eat very carefully and try to eat small healthy portions. Of that I am proud.

I am proud of my online classes even though editing is not always the easiest task for me because of the detail involved. But I go over my work a number of times and mistakes are becoming easier to pick out as well as copy editing symbols easier to remember and use. I am also proud of myself for submitting fiction in a course and receiving good and bad comments I can learn from and rewrite some of the fiction I submitted.

I managed awhole year without a dog in the house. This may not seem like such a big accomplishment but when you are at home all day it is nice to have a companion. And I really miss Nikki at times, I still miss her, but I have managed to live without sharing my food, without tumble weeds of hair, without Nikki pestering me to go out every 5 minutes, I have managed to live without cuddles, without dog kisses, and barking every time someone comes to the door. These aspects of pets you adore and hate but you learn to live with them and miss them when they are no longer there. 

I have taken many writing courses and thus, improved my writing. I have learned to think of new ideas to write about, to write pieces of fiction, and to give compliments and constructive criticism to other bloggers. I have written a lot of poetry some good and some bad and I have taken many pictures both good and bad as well. 

To sum up my year, it has been a year of difficulties health wise and learning writing wise and I couldn’t be happier to have the year turn out like it did. Now is your turn, how was your year?