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dear future me,

I’m sure you’re reading this and laughing. You’re probably thinking, “What the heck were you thinking?” and the truth is that I’m thinking the same thing. Right now it’s nearly nine o’clock (bedtime’s calling soon) and I’m jamming to a sad song called “Older” by Sasha Sloan. I’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike me all day for this blog post, and you came to mind.

The past few weeks have been really interesting. I’ve been searching through old memories for answers as to who I’m becoming, as if I’ll get the answers that way. Today alone I saw three people I haven’t seen in years, people who watched me grow up and looked at me with the same shock in their eyes. It’s something we all say, over and over again, hoping that the truth will sink in, though it probably never will: Time’s flying, and time’s flying fast.

You probably know that, considering you’re reading this at a different time and in a different place. You’ll probably read this letter and think, “I thought time was flying then? But look at it now!” And I can’t disagree with you, because I’ll never understand how some years feel like snails are running the show, and others like we’re going faster than the speed of light. But you’ve always known the truth: You’re not in control, and that’s okay.

I wonder who you’ll be like. I pray you are kind-hearted and humble. Maybe you’ll stumble now and then, but you’ll be strong and won’t wallow in the past. You will treat everyone with respect and dignity, and you’ll write so much that your wrists fall off your hands (okay, I’m going to actually hope that your wrists are still intact). You will never lose your sense of wonder at the world, and you’ll make sure to travel as much as you can. I hope you go to the places you’ve loved before, and that you stare at the scenery and give thanks for the moments you had there: Rossville, Tennessee; Parkersburg, West Virginia; Malibu, California; Belgrano, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Columbus, Mississippi. 

But I hope more that you take care of the people you love. When I think of you, I see resilience. I think of where you’ve been, and then I think: Wow, I wonder where else you’ll go, and the people you will meet there.

The truth is that I don’t know you, but you know me. But I’ll meet you soon enough, because you’ll be here before we both know it. πŸ™‚

-K.

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Quality time with Dad // 1998, North Carolina

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Around the same time you started writing in 2007 (and who can resist a baby picture of Gen?)

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End of your freshman year of college (!!!) (Lancaster, CA // 2017)

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Never resist running up a random mountain to catch a glimpse of the sunset (Calabasas, CA // 2019)
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BEACHSIDE REFLECTION

Hello, my awesome readers!

Hope all is going well in your nook of the world. As for me, I’m passing through Meridian, Mississippi, on my way home from a little weekend on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. My face is tomato red, but maybe the weird sunburn will fade into a nice tan (I can only hope on this one lol). And though I’m excited to head home, this past weekend provided a few reflections I’d like to share with you all.

There is something about the ocean(s). Maybe it’s the mystery of the endless blue, and what swims within it. The tides shift and change, and yet waves keep pushing to the shore, revealing one man’s trash and another man’s treasure. (Okay, I couldn’t resist with that line.) In a world that operates in black and white, the sea reminds us of Earth’s last unexplored unknowns. And though many of you probably live near a coast or have been to the ocean many times in your life, there are still so many people out there who have not seen the ocean and may never get the chance.

But the magic allure of the ocean does not end.

As always I pray that this won’t be a rambling post. It is my wish that you guys gain something from these “reflection” posts. If you like to think a lot about the world around you, then maybe these reflection posts provide a fresh perspective for you. ❀

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What a beautiful sky! (Orange Beach, Alabama // May 2019)

1. YOU CAN’T CONTROL EVERYTHING

This may seem like a ridiculous observation, but it is very true: Though we may think we are the masters of our own universes, there are some things out of our control. I’ve probably harped on this in the past, but it’s a mantra I need to keep at the forefront of my mind.

As I’m getting older, I find a sense of confusion as to what is going to happen in these next few years. There are things I want to accomplish, but I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do it. Obviously mistakes will be made, and growth will be a huge factor as to how the invisible future clears up.

Though I am quite the believer in going with the flow, I do tense up when I consider the fact that there are so many unknowns out there: What will life be like in fifteen years? Will we have gone to Mars yet? Is it possible that extraterrestrial life exists? Are my friends going to live near me when I’m older? Will I have to move away? Am I really going to go buy another Diet Coke before the day’s over?

The answer to all of these questions is quite simple: Who knows? It’s hard to swallow the truth, and it burns sometimes, when things don’t pan out the way we expect them to. Yeah, if I could go back in time, I’d change some things. I’d probably change a lot of things, but then I’d be inevitably screwing up some other component to my life in the meantime.

It’s hard to recognize that we can’t control everything. It’s so hard, but it’s a reality to be remembered.


2. TIME DOES NOT MAKE SENSE (and probably never will)

As each ocean wave slams against the shore, another second has passed.

Though I hate to consider the power of time, there is an incredible resilience that belongs to it. Without time we are humans left to wander the world without proper direction. If it weren’t for time, then we’d lose a huge chunk of how important certain acts are.

Now, more than ever before, I have felt that time is flying by without any concern for me.  But guess what? That’s not for me to control (see #1). Since I’m the “queen” of my universe, so to speak, I feel that the world owes me something. But it doesn’t. I want what I want, and that’s because of my selfish nature. But this desire creates stagnancy in growth, along with a lack of appreciation for what’s to come.

It’s okay to be scared for what’s to come. It’s okay to miss what used to be, but remembering that life stops for no one. Time’s a selfish thing too, and it does not discriminate against anyone.

When I lived abroad in Argentina, I had a countdown of the days until I would return to the United States. My little notebook was filled with scratch marks from each day, as I wanted nothing more than to hop on a plane back home.

What’s wrong with this ideology?

Many things. For one, it’s never a good idea to wish away your moments, when some people are not as fortunate as us when it comes to how long we get on this planet. Secondly, my negative attitude caused me even more heartache. Thirdly, if I hadn’t gone to Argentina, I would have missed out on certain things that are quite defining in my young adult years: These people, memories, and experiences would not have prepared me for appreciation of who I am today. 

We must remember to give thanks for each day, especially when we really will never know when it will be our last.

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White, sandy beaches and the blue sea (Orange Beach, AL // May 2019)

3. BE APPRECIATIVE

To continue off #2, it is crucial to have appreciation for what has been given to you. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’re going… You have been given gifts, skills, and a life that is yours to live. You have a purpose that no one else has, and it is up to you on whether or not you’ll live with a spirit of thankfulness.

When I was a young chiquitita (a young kid hehe), my dad took me to Burger King for a morning croissant. I love croissants, and he was surprising me with the treat before a long day at school. Though I was used to my dad buying me things, I was also used to taking what was given and chomping away.

But that morning stands out in my brain for one particular reason. He handed me my food like normal, and I said, “Thank you.”

His big blue eyes widened and he stared at me, mouth agape. “What?”

“Thank you,” I repeated, taking a big bite of the bread.

“You don’t know how much that means, Katie,” he said, and my heart about burst.

My dad taught me something hugely important that morning. What was even better than that sweet croissant on my tongue was the knowledge that came with taking a moment to thank the person who gave it to me. My dad was doing something to show he cared for me, and a simple “thank you” was the least I could say to him in response. From that moment forward, I learned the importance of those two words.

Just saying thank you, however, is not going to cut it. Though I am a writer and emphasize the weight of words, sometimes I have to tap myself on the shoulder and say, “Words are just words.” What really matters is the intention behind what we say, and the spirit of appreciation is tightly linked to this.

We have one world, one life, and one opportunity to spread positive energy. One way to do this is through humility and remembering our blessings.


RAMBLINGS.

Well, I think about covers it for now. After you’ve read this, you’re probably sick and tired of my random tidbits, so please share your own! I’m interested in to seeing what you guys think when you look at something as powerful as the ocean. Does it scare you? Does it inspire you? Are you like me, and grow super philosophical? Or are you just hoping you won’t get a really bad sunburn?

(ALWAYS PUT ON SUNSCREEN!!!)

Thank you, my beautiful readers. You inspire me every day. ❀

Until next time,

-K.

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Hiding my face because I can lol (Orange Beach, Alabama // May 2019)
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HONESTY

Well… It’s time to be up front with you guys.

Writing has not been that enjoyable lately. Though this blog has been a crucial outlet for me in the past year (and I have no intentions of giving it up), my love of novel writing has come to a screeching halt.

The good news: This blog isn’t going anywhere. One of my favorite things to do is plan these biweekly posts. What’s even more fun: Checking up on your own posts and going through our interactions. I will never get over how many international connections are established through this platform, and that is a beautiful thing.

The bad news: I’m not sure when I’m going to be publishing again. Though I’m very invested in my future as a writer, I have been struggling with the entire process lately. I am more than halfway done with a novel, Church Boy, that I was planning on releasing in June; however, I have lost all interest in the project, and nothing else has captured my attention in the meantime.

Now for some more details on this situation….


THE BACKSTORY.

I have been addicted to writing books since I was fifteen. As of now I’ve written nineteen completed manuscripts, hashed out many partial ones, and lived to tell the tale. I attribute this to my love of storytelling, and for a while the only way I knew how to tell stories was through novels.

For a while, I assumed I would pick up an agent like magic, strike out rich, and never worry about anything else. This is wishful thinking, but I believe that hard work paves the road for success. While that is true in many areas, there are so many hard-working writers out there who never get “discovered.”

Books are the core to my life. However, my core has expanded recently. (Okay, this is just a weird sentence, and I apologize.) Relationships, school, and everyday stress have left me fatigued in normal life. The hours I once spent hammering out books are now devoted to other interests and activities. Maybe I knew this instinctually as a teenager, that life would come about and leave me with less time to pursue this passion of writing, but I’ve found that I have fewer and fewer stories I want to tell as I grow older.


HOPE FOR FUTURE.

The quality of the stories I want to tell needs to improve, and I’m not denying that. I’ve admitted to myself that I want my writing to reflect my outlook on the world, and I’m not content to be associated with the writing I’ve been producing lately.

In the past, my outlook was very much centered around how many books I could write, and how many stories I could share with you all in a given setting. Though this taught me how to write effectively, my brain craves a new story that will fulfill what I want to share with you guys, and what I’ve put out in the past few years is not quite up to par.

I’m hopeful that my motivated spirit will return. The truth is that I’ve swallowed a lot of ideas in the past few years, and I know my mind has been chewing through all of it for a while now. That being said, I know the coming years will be some of the hardest of my life, and that’s okay too.

But for now I must be willing to challenge my writing in a personal setting before I return to the self-publishing world.


WHAT THIS MEANS FOR NEW BOOK, CHURCH BOY

As I’ve posted on this blog a few times, Church Boy is almost done. However, I realized in writing this book that I’m not happy with the story. I’m sick of that feeling of drudgery I get when working on this manuscript, and I have decided to toss it in the slush pile for now.

Who knows if I will finish it. Maybe I’ll come back to it at some point, but for now I want to focus on other matters in my life, and this book is not one of them.


THANK YOU!!!

Well, that’s what’s been on my heart lately. This blog is not going anywhere, and the twice weekly posts will continue as normal. I have been surprised at how much I’ve been  liking poetry lately, as I once hated it. Also I’ve been rediscovering my love of reading, which is important too.

Thank you guys so much for listening to these rambling posts! More positive energy to come, I promise. ❀ ❀ ❀

Until next time,

-K.

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This may be one of the most ridiculous blog cover images of all time… I feel like it exemplifies my sluggishness when it comes to my writing life lately. (Malibu, CA // April 2019)

 

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THE LAST 5 BOOKS I’VE READ

Well, it’s that time of the week again…

A blog post from yours truly! Thank you so much for reading this and supporting my blog, as you guys are such a joy in my life. It means so much to see views from all over the world. ❀

Today’s post is going back to my roots, when I shared my thoughts on certain books and movies I’d recently read and watched. Thanks to Goodreads, I’m able to easily remember the latest books I’ve read (considering I would not remember otherwise), and I really recommend this website/app to those who enjoy books. Goodreads is a way to keep track of what you’ve read and what you want to read in a user-friendly model.

So let’s jump in already!


1. THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

A romantic comedy set in modern-day Australia, The Rosie Project is an easy, enjoyable read for those who enjoy the genre. When Don Tillman, an analytical professor who isn’t the best in social situations, creates the Wife Project in order to find the perfect match, his world is tilted upside down with the introduction of Rosie Jarman, the opposite of what he’s looking for.

The Rosie Project has a unique point-of-view that cements the story. While rom-coms are hard to pull off in the realm of originality, Simsion’s Tillman is such a well-written and believable character that the book really revolves around his social awkwardness. These awkward encounters further promote the book’s comedic moments.

However, the book is rather predictable. Boy meets girl, and they fall for each other, get engaged, etc. As a romance writer myself, I’m just as guilty of satisfying what the reader wants (a promise of happily-ever-after, right?), but this book seemed to drop off at the last fifty pages or so. The first two hundred pages, I was really unsure what would happen for Don and Rosie, and I think Simsion got caught up in just getting the book done rather than tying the plot together at the end.

That being said, it was enjoyable, and a good weekend read during endless Tennessee thunderstorms.

Rating: β™₯β™₯β™₯ (out of a possible five)


2. REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier

A classic that defined the mystery genre for decades, Rebecca is Daphne du Maurier’s legacy. It’s a spell-binding story that was groundbreaking in its day for its dark themes. When Maxim de Winter brings his new wife, the second Mrs. de Winter, to his grand estate, Manderley, secrets of his first wife’s mysterious death are brought to life.

You may recognize Rebecca by its perfect opening line: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Supposedly there was an incredible Hitchcock adaptation of the book (though I would disagree, as I only got through five minutes of it), but the book is pretty incredible. It centers on the shy Mrs. de Winter, who learns to push back against Manderley’s evil housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who is obsessed with Rebecca, even after her death. Slowly, Mrs. de Winter discovers the truth behind Rebecca’s death, and I refuse to spoil this. You’ll have to read for yourself to figure it out.

Rebecca relies on suspense, and du Maurier is a pro at this. She knows how to hook you into the plot, despite its faults, and leave you curious as to what will happen until the very end. Du Maurier is incredible at description, and Manderley is the perfect backdrop for her creepy tale. While these elements grounded me in the story, I do believe that reading this book in 2019 is very different than reading it in the 1930s, when it was published. Mrs. de Winter is a let-down character, a weak woman who suddenly becomes strong at the end of the novel, and her husband, Max, is overly brooding and boring. The shift of the novel that changes how readers perceive the de Winters is a bit unbelievable and anti-climactic in comparison to the discovery of Rebecca’s death.

I still recommend this book to those who like twisted suspense stories.

Rating: β™₯β™₯β™₯


3. ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT by Stephen King

Stephen King is arguably one of modern American literature’s best writers. The unarguable king of horror, King has been a withstanding symbol in writing for decades now, and he remains as popular now as he was when he first came onto the scene. On Writing remains one of the my favorite memoirs, in my opinion, though it also acts as a manual for aspiring writers.

The book is split into two perspectives. King gives a peek into his childhood that inspired his writing that would eventually propel him into legendary status. The other perspective is his professional guidance on the writing front, in which he gives awesome tips that I am using now. (One of my personal favorites: Get rid of superfluous adverbs, such as, I was walking quickly.)

The way King writes is gold. He says things simply and magically, and this is really hard to pull off. However, I don’t think of King as a cocky writer; instead, he wrote this book as a response to a traumatic car accident that left him almost dead. And he knew he wanted to pass on his tips to future generations of writers, and this is quite admirable, in my opinion.

You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy On Writing. It has enough material to showcase how King went from a struggling teacher to one of the most successful writers known today.

Rating: β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯


4. THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

The most controversial book on this list (and I will explain more later), The Hate U Give is  the debut novel of young adult writer Angie Thomas, a native of my second-favorite state, Mississippi. Thomas is an honest, natural storyteller, and The Hate U Give radiates as a result.

For those of you who are not familiar with the idea of police brutality in the United States, Thomas offers her opinion on the subject through this fictional portrayal of sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, who witnesses the murder of her friend when they are pulled over for speeding. The book is unafraid to be itself, and I appreciate this.

While I expected the novel to be very politically charged, I was happy to realize it wasn’t as much as I thought it was going to be. (While I do not want to go on a rant, I enjoy books that are not political. To be honest, I would not have read this book unless it hadn’t been required for a creative writing class.) However, Thomas does a good job of showing a society she sees as flawed while respecting others’ viewpoints on the issue.

That being said, the story itself was not my favorite. I’m not a fan of young adult fiction or teenage characters, and I haven’t ever been. I’ve always been a person to read adult fiction, as I like adult perspectives. Therefore, this story, though serious in nature, was not as interesting to me. You don’t have to agree with my opinion, but I hate love triangles and petty teen drama, and I did not understand why I was reading this book in a college classroom.

The book is important, and I won’t argue that. But it’s not my favorite.

Rating: β™₯β™₯β™₯


5. SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: AND OTHER LESSONS FROM THE CREMATORY by Caitlin Doughty

A total shift from young adult and romance, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a book I’d NEVER thought I would A) read, or B) enjoy. However, Doughty is an incredibly interesting person and writer, and this shines through her memoir/informational guide on funeral homes.

What in the world? you are probably asking. I asked the same thing before I dived into this book.

Caitlin Doughty is a mortician who specializes in cremation, and she is unabashed in her approach to the United States’s funeral home practices. She offers historical background, witty opinion, and clever stories that inform her readers on the misconceptions of mortuary work. Now this book is not for people who are uncomfortable around death, as the entire book revolves around it. What I love is Doughty’s direct and honest perspective, and it’s a unique career path she chose.

Read this book if you’re curious as to what morticians do. Hey, maybe I liked it so much because it wasn’t required for class or written for teenagers. Sue me.

Rating: β™₯β™₯β™₯β™₯


MOSTLY AVERAGE.

So, if we’re being honest, the past books I’ve read are… In, my opinion, average. Though I am a very critical person, I do know a great book when I’ve read one, and I’m hoping to be impressed soon!

What are some of the books you guys have read recently? Do you have any recommendations for me? I love when you tell me what you enjoy, as you are exposing me to authors, novels, and genres with which I would not otherwise know. πŸ™‚

Until next time,

-K.

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Books, books, books… Random books from my shelf (Tennessee // May 2019)

 

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5 SUMMER OBJECTIVES

Hello, my beautiful and wonderful readers!

You guys are constantly inspiring me in so many ways. I love reading your posts and comments, as you are part of a community that challenges my writing and storytelling in amazing ways. Thank you for taking a chance and reading these posts!

Now that I am back home in my emerald nook of Tennessee, I’d like to share some objectives with you that will pertain to my summer. While I have a few ideas jotted down, I’d ask you guys to consider thinking of your own objectives. With summer approaching, a new season is upon us. Before we know it, fall will roll around, and then winter. (The opposite is true for you guys on the opposing hemisphere, and whether that is a good thing or not is for you to decide.) However, what I’m trying to say is: It’s time to make some goals, and stick to them.

So, without further ado, here are some of my missions for Summer 2019.

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Is it Bigfoot? Is it Katie? Who really knows? (Random Utah mesa // April 2019)

1. WRITE AT LEAST THREE NOVELS

If you were with me last summer, you may remember that I challenged myself to write five books within the span of four months. Somehow I completed this task through a strict daily quota system that put my brain and wrists to the test. I promise I do not write this with the intention of bragging; we all have different paces that work for us. I did this challenge because I knew college was coming, and I cannot write (or write well) when I am at school. Since writing is my passion, I knew I had to expel as much creative energy as I could in a short amount of time, and it worked.

This summer I am going to tone it down a little bit. Five books in four months is a cool personal goal, but I understand that the quality of those books may not be the best, as each completion was a race to finish. Therefore, I’d like to slow down a little bit this summer, and focus on certain stories I want to tell.

  • Church Boy is a (somewhat religious) romance novel that will be out by June 1. I am currently writing this novel, but it won’t take me too long to finish. I am super excited to see your reactions, as this book will be a return to my roots.
  • Book that matters: While I am not sure what this book will be yet, I write one book a year that I keep to myself. These books are my best ones, and I am afraid to share them with the world, as I truly want to send these to literary agents and get ’em published. (I should make a blog post on this soon.)
  • Maybe one more romance: Romance books are the easiest for me to write. On good days I can crank out over three thousand words, as I know exactly how to tie things together between my lead characters. Therefore, when I’m under a time crunch, romance books are the perfect way to expel my creative energy and have some fun in the meantime.

2. COMPLETE MY INSTRUMENT RATING (flying stuff hehe)

I’d be remiss not to mention my other love. Now that I’ve completed my private pilot rating, I’m onto the next step: My instrument rating. This will take a few months, and I should be done by the time summer is over (although I don’t want to speak too soon, as I am the queen of terrible weather). We’ll see how it goes, but I’m aiming to fly as much as I can in order to build hours and gain more flight time.


3. PERSONAL GOALS

Well, I don’t want to get too explicit when it comes to my personal goals, but I have a few things I want to work on this summer. Miss Givenchy, you may or may not remember what I am talking about, but I’ll be a little cryptic on this one for now.

  • A certain August date
  • Readjust to Tennessee life
  • Branch out more
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We’re back at that random Utah mesa, but this time in color (April 2019)

4. LESS TIME ON PHONE

While I was at college I spent way too much time on my phone. Instead of picking up a book or writing, I was on my phone, consuming pointless information that does my brain no good. Though I’m getting better at restricting my phone usage, there is definitely still an addiction that cannot be good for my body. Therefore, I’m going to limit my time on the phone. This will not affect my blogging capabilities, as this blog means the world to me, and I enjoy reading your posts so much. ❀


5. MORE WATER

Here is another important goal for my summer. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I love Diet Coke, but I drink way too much of it. Though I am drinking more water in the present, I want to consume even more. As a twenty-one-year-old, I still battle acne, and when I drink more water, my skin is not as prone to annoying pimples and whiteheads. (I cannot believe I am admitting to this on my blog right now haha). But it rings true: More water, healthier skin! Healthier everything, really.


YEAH!

What are your summer goals? Your goals for this approaching season in general? Though some of you are not big into strict guidelines, I do think jotting down a few things would help you approach your life in a different way. These things don’t have to be super life changing (but they can be!). These goals just need to help you become who you want to be. πŸ™‚

Therefore, I’m super excited to hear your updates, and to update you on my life too. We have so many things to look forward to, even when we think we don’t. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox for now.

Until next time,

-K.

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I did not ask to be this cool. Wow, I am such a weirdo. However, a certain thanks is in order to my photographer and sweet poppa Lawrence, who traveled with me two thousand miles to ensure I’d make it home alive. Next blog post will be on my favorite stops on our journey from California to Tennessee! 
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GET TO KNOW ME

Hello, my favorite readers!

You guys seem to have enjoyed my past Q & A posts, so I thought it would be fun to do a little “Get to Know Me” special where I highlight some (hopefully) interesting things about myself. As you guys know by now, I’m quite the dork, but maybe this will enlighten you more into who I am behind the computer screen. πŸ™‚

So, without further ado, here we go.

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Spacey Katie (Valparaiso, Chile — November 2017)

I PLAY THE PIANO AND THE UKULELE.

Music is an integral part to my writing process–and to my life in general. There is not a day that goes by when I am not jamming to some sort of song, whether that be humming away or screaming lyrics in the car or annoying my roommate with my ukulele skills.

(Side note: Toro y Moi is a legend. Go listen to his new album Outer Peace ASAP.)

My grandparents love music, and they were the first ones to instill the importance of it into my life. When I was seven, however, my mom decided to sign me up for piano lessons–and I had no interest in learning to play, despite my love of running around and singing to myself just about anywhere I happened to be.

Eventually, I fell in love with music. Though I am not as adept at the piano anymore (since I am thousands of miles away from my piano at home), it’s still a soothing activity for me when I can play.

Last semester I picked up a ukulele and couldn’t stop playing it. Eventually, I bought myself the instrument for $30 on Amazon and have not stopped strumming away. There’s something about the beachy, relaxing ukulele that really captures my heart while I am in California, and it’s such an easy instrument to learn.

If you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument, the ukulele may be your best bet!

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My sweet baby uke (February 2019)

I WROTE MY FIRST BOOK AT FIFTEEN.

All right, guys. This is a fun fact, but it is also quite funny to think about, now that I am twenty-one. I can only imagine what you guys are thinking: That book is probably trash. And I’m not going to disagree.

Here is a brief teaser of this book, Whatley, written in 2013:

Clare Witfield is a young, aspiring singer in New York. However, Clare has a troubling past that has forced her into hiding from her abusive family. When she meets Jimmy Whatley, things change a bit and she finally lets someone take a piece of her broken heart. After a misunderstanding leaves the two apart, Clare makes the biggest mistake of her life: finding another man. As Clare hurries through abusive relationships she swore she would avoid, she learns lesson after lesson: trust your instincts.

However, it is really fun to look back at as a writer. I understand that as we grow older, our writings develop as well. The sixteen-year-old me wouldn’t be caught dead writing what I’m working on now, and vice versa. That’s okay. And it’s fun to compare!

No matter what, the big takeaway for me is that this book solidified my love of writing. Before Whatley I wrote short stories, but nothing was ever super tangible. This book taught me my “quota system” (1,000 words per day) and how you must be diligent and actually get to work.

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Whatley (2013)

I AM AN INFP PERSONALITY TYPE.

If you guys haven’t checked out the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, you need to. According to this test, there are sixteen personality types based on four major points: E/I (extraversion, introversion); S/N (sensing, intuition); T/F (thinking, feeling); and J/P (judging/perceiving).

Therefore, I’m an introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceptive chica (haha). INFPs are classic mediators: We want our worlds to be drama free, and we aim to help others with their conflicts. INFPs are idealists whose sense of the world is open and free. We account for about 4% of the population.

If you guys are curious to see what you are, I’ll include a link for you to take the free personality test. 


I AM A BOOKAHOLIC.

Books cleanse souls. It amazes me that so many people don’t enjoy reading, though I understand we all have different interests and focuses. However, that being said, there is a tremendous value in reading, and I will proudly identify as a bookaholic.

At college, I don’t have as much time to read for fun, but it is more than just a hobby for me. Books have given me fresh perspectives, opportunities to travel all over the world, and a sense of purpose. It allows readers to perceive new universes and experience new things.

Are you a bookaholic? If so, what is it that makes you love reading? And if you aren’t, why is that the case?

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Megan and me, two friends who prefer hanging out at bookstores over other activities (November 2016)

I AM A PART-TIME UFOLOGIST.

What in the world does this mean? Well, let’s travel to outer space for a moment. UFOs are unidentified flying objects (lol), and ufologists are the brave men and women who study them.

When I was a little girl, I started watching weird documentary movies on the Travel Channel, History Channel, and wherever else I could find them. I’d learn all about ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster, el chupacabra, and–my personal favorite–aliens.

As I got older, my interest in space only grew. I love learning about our galaxy, space travel, and all sorts of out-there things. Naturally, I’ve been studying UFO phenomena since I was a teenager.

In all seriousness, I’m not sure if alien life exists or not, but it’s fun to think about. It’s always a great conversation topic, to ask people about UFOs and wait for them to give you an inquisitive eye. πŸ˜‰

The Mutual UFO Network, an organization devoted to solving cosmic mysteries

I HAVE A FIVE-YEAR-OLD GUINEA PIG NAMED FLUFFY.

There are always two routes this will go. 1) You will enjoy the following pictures of my guinea pig. 2) You will scream and think my pig is actually a rat.

When I was a junior in high school, my younger sister asked for a hamster. Now, mind you, I wasn’t allowed to have pets growing up (except a few Betta fish). But my sister asked–and she received. (Younger siblings, I gotta tell ya.)

When we went to the pet store, we were a little put-off by the hamster selection and maneuvered onto the guinea pig exhibit. This little creature was being bullied by a big poppa guinea pig that looked, well, like a rat. However, there was a golden-haired guinea pig who was so plump and adorable, and we all pointed at her and knew she was the one.

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First pic of baby Fluff (sometime in 2015)

Fast forward five years, and we’ve got a big, fat Fluff of a creature. She is the size of two guinea pigs, runs around and squeaks nonstop for kale, and is a great stress relief during hard moments. She is a docile pig, though she can be sassy and doesn’t like to be petted too much.

While I used to think all rodents were gross, Fluffy is a gorgeous girl who is definitely a part-time model.

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Fluff in her youth (sometime in 2016)

THERE YOU GO!

I hope you learned a little more about me in this post. I know I usually write things about the way I perceive the world, so I thought it would be different to give you a little more of my backstory. There is something about the internet that connects us as readers and bloggers, and there can be a layer of mystery surrounding both parties. Therefore, I hope you feel like you can understand more of who I am and why I write the way I do. πŸ™‚

Just know that I am a happy, healthy human who wishes the same to all out there. Please leave any comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you guys, and it really means the world to me that you read my materials.

Until next time,

-K.

❀

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Give me a map, some stars, a blue jacket, and I’ll be set πŸ™‚
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19 RESOLUTIONS FOR 2019

Hello, my dear and wonderful readers!

2019 is upon us, and if you’re like me, you probably have some resolutions up your sleeve. While every day is a perfect start to aim for a new goal, New Year’s Day is always a nice reminder to freshen things up a bit!

I hope you all have been thinking of some resolutions of your own, but I thought I would share 19 of my personal resolutions for this defining year! And remember–everything is what you make it.


1. More water

I’m addicted to Diet Coke, so this doesn’t really need more explaining, other than the fact that I need to incorporate more water into my diet. Maybe some of you rely on coffee to get you through the day, and while an occasional cup of joe or gallon of Diet Coke is permissible, I plan on setting certain days as water-only days. (We’ll see how this goes.)

2. Track Tuesday

Some friends and I have recently implemented “Track Tuesday” into our weekly schedule. This simply means that we take one night out of the week to exercise, whether that be jogging (for me and Miss Givenchy) or weightlifting (for the chicos). It’s probably better to exercise more than once a week, but for now, this is a good starting point.

3. Speak my mind

Recently I read a news article entitled “Are you a people pleaser?” My answer would be an emphatic yes. I let others control me in so many aspects, and sometimes I never reveal what I’m truly thinking. Enough of that! It’s important to say what you think, or people will always take advantage of you.

4. Learn to go for it

We’re put in certain situations for a reason. 2018 taught me to remember that you’re in charge of your own life, and 2019 will be the year of going for it. What do I mean by this? I’m simply saying that we only have a set time on this Earth, and we waste so much time, whether that be playing video games, spending hours and hours on the phone (see #5), or, something relatable to all of humankind, worrying.

Therefore, I say that we spend our time going for it. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Channel your discomfort into new passions, new memories, and new discoveries.

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Memphis Zoo (December 2018) Attempting to skate: I am terrible, but one day I won’t have to hold onto the wall the entire time. πŸ˜‰

5. Less time on phone

A few days ago, I checked the “screen time” on my iPhone and almost threw the thing at the wall. I spent seven hours on that thing in the span of 24 hours, which is absolutely unacceptable. There are so many other things I could have done with that seven hours: Hanging out with family and friends, working on new books, planning trips, making money. Instead, I was watching pointless videos, reading nonsense facts online, and lying around with nothing to show for it.

It’s time to spend less time on all technology, because the physical world around us is too amazing to forget.

6. Read more books

In today’s society, we are constantly pounded by information. It seems as if everywhere we go, an excess of knowledge is available at our fingertips. While this has its positives, there are also some negatives to this sort of reliance on technology, especially considering #5.

Therefore, I will challenge myself to read more novels in this upcoming year. Books are great methods to relieve stress and relax, and it is a great way to entertain your brain. When I am overwhelmed by the world around me, books are a source of escape. Therefore, it is time to read as much as possible!

7. Don’t be so cryptic

Some of you may have no idea what I am writing about on this, but I bet some of you can relate. Simply put, I am pretty cryptic. I am not the biggest fan of people knowing where I am or what I am doing, and I have gained quite the reputation as “Kryptic Katie.”

In 2019 I will work on being more open with people. It is important that we remember our loved ones do truly care about us, and it is important to keep them in the loop.

8. Go to church more, pray more

Prayer is a beautiful, wonderful thing, and I urge all of you to try it out. I have been slacking on this front, but I truly believe in the power of belief and faith, and so I want to pray more this year.

9. Spend more time with those I love

It is time to be bittersweet: Time is passing by, and we’re growing older, each and every one of us. It is time to realize this, because when we let our days go with no thought for the future, we can sometimes forget how important the present is–and to treasure each moment.

Therefore, we need to spend more time with the people we love, even when it feels mundane or boring or annoying, because there will be a day when we won’t see them again.

Rejoice in the relationships you have, even in the low points. And in 2019 we should work on spending more time with the people we love.

10. Write a novel that matters

Writers, listen up!

This is the year we need to actually write something–and something that matters! What does this mean? Doesn’t everything we write matter? Well, if I’m being completely honest, I find a difference between some of my novels. For example, a romance like Mystic Mississippi does not have the same value as one of my magical realism books.

Different genres exist for different purposes, but I want to write something that has symbolism, magic, and value for my readers. This will be the year when I write something out of my comfort zone, but something that needs to be written.

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Malibu, California (December 2018)

11. Extend the olive branch

I have spent so much time thinking of outcomes and possibilities and what-ifs instead of actually pursuing what matters (#4, anyone?). However, I have also learned that it is imperative to be kind and good-hearted to both the people I meet and the people I know.

I’m sick of losing relationships, or not even getting a chance to develop these relationships, because I haven’t extended the olive branch. I make mistakes, and I want forgiveness. I don’t want to hide away in my transgressions, but instead to find growth and develop as a person.

Olive branch, even when I am stubborn.

12. Dress up more

Well, this is going to be an interesting resolution. My entire life, I have been a fan of super casual clothing. In summertime, I am in t-shirts; in winter, I am in t-shirts covered with sweaters. However, going to college has taught me that there is value in dressing up, even if it’s just a little better than normal.

While dressing up doesn’t define a person, it can matter in the realm of relationships. Our identities are personified in so many aspects, and the way we dress ourselves can present certain characteristics before we even say a word. Therefore, I have decided I want to banish the t-shirts (even if just for a few days per week) in favor of a more stylish look.

13. Learn to cook better

This is a huge one. I am so sick and tired of eating microwaveable meals at college, and when I come home and have access to a kitchen, I’m always making pasta or sandwiches. Therefore, I want to expand my cooking abilities.

14. Wear glasses more

This may seem a little random, but it is! I have terrible vision and rely on contacts for 99% of my waking life. However, I want to wear my glasses more because, well, it is just a change, I suppose. Plus, my friends refer to my alter ego as “Glasses Katie.” Pretty ridiculous, I know.

15. Learn the ukulele

In December 2018, so only a month ago, a few friends introduced me to both the guitar and the ukulele. They love to play, and since I am always around them, I found myself strumming the ukulele one night. My friend Even taught me some chords on the “uke,” while my friend Matt worked with me on guitar.

Christmas break rolled around, and I found myself missing the ukulele, and missing it a lot. So I did a quick search on Amazon, bought one for $30, and have been playing non-stop since. My fingers are calloused, my family annoyed with my endless songs, and my brain on fire.

The ukulele is such a peaceful, happy instrument, and it is so much fun to play. I totally recommend for you guys to check it out, even if you aren’t the biggest fans of music. It’s very easy to learn, and I hope to develop my abilities this year.

16. Clean more

This should be on everyone’s resolutions list, if we’re being quite honest. While I am all for individuality, cleanliness is a must. It isn’t the most fun thing to keep up with, and I’m guilty of being a slob, but it’s time to grow up and keep a clean work space and living arrangement.

17. Exfoliate the skin

Okay, here is a slightly more comedic point on this resolutions list. Recently I got a facial at the spa (now that experience should be a blog post) and was told to exfoliate my skin more. Time to live up to that tip.

And for those of you who have never had a facial… Get one done this year. It is an interesting experience, to say the least.

18. Talk about things that matter

So often we get caught up in the mundane life that what really matters is swept under the rug. We lose sight of the people we love, and our own feelings are ignored. This is why we have to be intentional to discuss things–and the things that matter most to us.

In 2019 I hope to be both myself and open to new conversations. I want to hash out my opinions and listen to others’, without fear or annoyance or pre-judgments. But this also means that I hope others will respect my own thoughts, and be open to talking about these issues as well.

19. Remember to do what I love

It is no secret that writing is my passion, and it’s my favorite thing in the world. (And I’m sure this is true for a lot of you who are reading this blog.) However, we must remember to make time for our passions. We must be intentional, we cannot cave into boredom or laziness, and we must remember who we are in the process.

People and circumstance will always wear on us, just like eroding winds carving out chunks of canyon. But this doesn’t mean it can’t create something beautiful, and we must use our experiences to further what sets our souls on fire. At college, I lose sight of my writing, because there are so many other things to do. But we cannot always think like this, or we can lose our contentment and drive.

Do what you love in this year. It’s worth it.


YOUR RESOLUTIONS.

Now it’s up to you: What do you want to resolve of yourself in this upcoming year? Already a week of January has flown by, and the year will follow shortly. Make sure to think of your own list, and stick to it, because if we don’t make the first step, we sure aren’t going to make the entire journey.

Until next time,

-K.

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It’s your year.

 

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2018 REFLECTION

2018 is coming to an end, and that means it’s time for a bit of self-reflection… So here are six major takeaways from this year!

1. Things Happen for a Reason

No matter if it’s a wildfire or a sudden inspiration to become a pilot, this year has taught me that things happen for a reason. This doesn’t mean things always work out in the way we want them to, but it does mean that there is typically a hidden layer to why and how the universe reveals itself to us.

2018 has become one of my most definitive years. At the beginning of 2018, I was boarding a plane to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I was a nervous wreck. Though I’d lived abroad for four months prior, Christmas at home made me realize how much I love my home country, the United States, and my family and friends here in Tennessee. I was pretty upset that I was going back to BA, but when I got there, things weren’t so bad after all.

I traveled to some of the most incredible places on the planet: Ushuaia, the southernmost tip of the world, and Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. But this doesn’t mean that places are what make a person’s life: I truly strengthened some of my friendships, and this is key to why 2018 has been such a defining year in my life. (More on that to come.)

When I came back from Argentina, I challenged myself to write five novels over my summer break, and BAM! It was one of my most productive breaks, and my writing repertoire grew drastically. Time flies when you love what you’re doing, and… My heart learned to open up a little bit more.

In the summer of 2018, I started flying. As you guys know, I had a recent revelation to follow the flying path as my career, and I cannot be more excited for the future with this. It has become one of my favorite things to do, and a true blessing when I need to escape from normal college drama that occurs at my school in California.

In the fall, I moved back to Los Angeles, where I became a college student once more. School was pretty easy, but the reason I love college so much is because of my friends, who have made my world go round for the past few years. I love them so much, and it will kill me when I graduate early (this will be part of a good 2019 Resolutions post) and fly on home to Tennessee permanently.

We went to Yosemite in October, survived a wildfire in November, and prayed our way through December. I almost missed my flight (saved by only two minutes) home for Christmas, recently got over food poisoning, and am waiting for what’s coming next. At this point, I’m ready for just about anything–and that’s what makes life so exciting.

I can already see how things have a definite purpose in the way they work out. If I had started flying at sixteen or seventeen, I would not have ended up going to California for college, and therefore I would not have met the people who have been truly inspiring to me for the past few years. I would not have gone to Argentina, which taught me to appreciate my home even more, and I would always think, What if I’d just…

But we can’t always think like this. We have to remember that things are going to happen like they were meant to happen, but we still must make decisions in response to the choices we face. Which leads me into the next point…

2. Plan Accordingly

This year has taught me that things will happen, and you just have to adapt to whatever is hurled your way: But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for what will come.

Life is never guaranteed, and so it is imperative to be thankful for what you have. I am so guilty of this, expecting that things will go my way, but instead I’ve learned that having a back-up plan is always important.

3. People Are in Your Life for a Reason

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ROACHES!!! πŸ™‚ (December 2018) Even, Maggie, me, Laiken, Matt

I love meeting people! Though I’m not the most extraverted, outgoing person in the room (that would be my one-of-a-kind Momma J), I have found that people are what make life worth living, and each person has a story no one else can tell.

Over the past few years, I have really learned to appreciate getting to know people. As a storyteller, I find inspiration in diving into people’s personalities and what makes them tic. I want to know why people are the way they are, how they came to be that way, and if it’s possible that people can change.

Here is something I’d like you to think about: Pick one person in your life, somebody you have met in the past year or two. You didn’t know that person before, didn’t even know they existed! But now, on the other hand, you know all about this person. You know the intricacies of their personality; you know their history, their backstory; you can’t imagine life without them in it.

And just think… What if you hadn’t met this person? What if you didn’t get to know this person? What if you had met somebody else instead? Human connection is wild, and it’s incredible. Some people aren’t big into interaction, and others thrive off of it.

There are eight billion people (and counting!) on this planet. Don’t tell me that the people in my life aren’t here for a reason, that the souls I know now were just random specks of cosmic dust floating through the universe.

When I was eight years old, my sister was born. I remember my mom being pregnant with her, and I remember watching her grow. I was there for the ultrasounds, I felt her kick against my mom’s stomach. I held her newborn body, and I’ve watched her turn into the beautiful young woman she is today.

People are in our lives for a reason.

When I was in third grade, I switched schools. Growing up, and now even, I was never a big fan of school. I loved to learn, but the social side of things always got under my skin. Kids can be so mean, and I have always loved peaceful, calm locations. School just ain’t that way. But I met two of my best friends there, two people who have been in my life for  ten-plus years now. In the spring of 2020, I will be in one’s wedding.

People are in our lives for a reason.

When I was eighteen, I got in my car, drove across the country, and settled into college a thousand miles away from home. I’d received a friend request on Facebook from one girl who was going to be my suitemate, and I was excited to meet her. When I finally did, I learned she was from Wisconsin (cheese, my favorite food), had a mouthful of a last name (Miss Givenchy), and wanted to go to Argentina (me too, lol). Flash forward a little bit: Chica became my best friend, roommate, and ultimate pusher of the buttons.

People are in our lives for a reason.

By the time I was nineteen (last year), I was on a plane to Argentina. I knew a few people, including my best friend, but was pretty nervous for the rest of the seventy-plus group also going abroad with my college. But God provides: My friendship with Maggie only grew, and we made an incredible batch of friends in our first semester: Even, Chase, Hannah, and Laiken, to name a few. Hannah and Chase left after one semester, and our friend group shifted. But then, out of nowhere, a chico named Matt appeared for second semester. The Roaches were born, and they scuttle always. πŸ˜‰

People are in our lives for a reason.

I cannot imagine my life without the aforementioned people. I cannot imagine life without my family, both in Tennessee and West Virginia. I’m a realist, and I know friendships change, and I know that I haven’t met so many people who will make my world in the future (future husband, where you at?), but for now, I am so thankful and blessed by the people here today.

4.  Be Realistic (and Dream Once in a While)

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Malibu, California (December 2018)

A dreamer burned into a realist.

When I was eighteen, I thought I’d move to Los Angeles, strike it rich as a writer, and never have to pay taxes. Oh, how things change. At twenty-one, I expect to move home after graduation, become a full-up pilot, write as much as I do now, and one day get discovered (for my writing, that is). I’ll pay Tennessee taxes, marry a good-hearted church boy, and have beautiful children.

It is important to incorporate reality into dreams.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Flying over LAX (November 30, 2018)

A big part of why I didn’t start flying sooner was because I was afraid. Looking back, I laugh. Fear keeps us from so many things, and it is crucial to overcome this. If we wallow in our fear, nothing can be accomplished.

The more we step out of our comfort zone, the more we will feel comfortable trying new things. I’ll admit that I’m not the riskiest person when it comes to trying new items on the menu. For example, I’m not a fan of fish, or anything that comes from the sea, river, lake, etc. (I can attribute some of this to one summer, when a kid chased me around with a cooked crawdad.) But I wouldn’t know this if I didn’t sit down and try it.

2018 has taught me to step out of my comfort zone. Travel South America? Check. Learn to fly a plane? We’re getting there.

Maybe there’s something you want to do. Maybe you’ve wanted to do it forever, and maybe it’s a recent goal. You’ve got nerves, you’ve got jitters, you’ve got insert whatever lie you’re telling yourself. Get out there and go for it! Pursue that dream, as long as you’re realistic. πŸ˜‰

6. Be Yourself

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Do people change? This has been a constant question I’ve had for years, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Growing up, I was pretty quiet. I was a good listener, had close friendships, and wanted nothing more than to get the heck out of dodge. Though I’ve retained most of who I was, the high school version of myself was pretty different than the Katie of today. I’m still the same person who prefers writing to just about anything else, but the Katie of yesterday wouldn’t be as interested in digging into people’s hearts.

And sometimes, growth comes with a case of heartache, because you have to adjust to the new you, so to speak.

But once you find yourself, stay true to who you are (however cheesy and cliche this might sound). There really is no other you out there, and you have so many contributions to society to make. Here are some examples of this:

  1. Speak your mind, in a respectful way. In 2018, I learned this the hard way, when a woman confronted my friends and me in the airport over our political beliefs. Fun times!
  2. If people don’t like you, so what? Some personalities just don’t melt, and you can’t make people fall head over heels for you. People should want to be near you, just because you are who you are!
  3. Don’t be afraid to do what you love. For me, when I’m in my writing zone, nothing else matters. Though I hate writing in public, sometimes you just have to go for it.

YOUR REFLECTION.

I hope this year brought you nothing but happiness and excitement, but if we’re being realistic, I’m sure you went through your fair share of ups and downs. You probably had good months, bad months, and lukewarm months.

It’s your turn to reflect. What are some of the lessons you learned this year? Maybe they’re tough, but I’m sure they are important. Don’t forget to listen to what you’ve learned, or you’ll just end up making the same mistakes over and over again.

2019 is just around the corner, so be sure to get ready for your New Year’s Resolutions (expect a post on that subject soon). πŸ™‚

Until next time,

-A reflective K.

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21

Somehow I have spent twenty-one years on this planet. Every year that passes offers new challenges and anticipations, and through the ups and downs, things always seem to take a surprising turn.

Just since turning eighteen, I’ve lived in three different places, and all over the world: Memphis, Tennessee; Los Angeles, California; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’ve solidified my first love, writing, and found a new one, flying. I’ve made incredible friends and grown into more of my true self. (More on this later, I promise.)

I cannot wait to see what’s in store for me in the next twenty-one years of my life, but I’m pretty thankful for the ones I’ve had so far. Therefore, I’m going to be a little ridiculous and offer up twenty-one things I’ve learned since my introduction to Earth on December 1, 1997.

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21!!!

1. Drink lots of water, but treat yourself to that Diet Coke once in a while.

This will sound so ridiculous to so many of you. I have a (little bit) of an addiction to Diet Coke, as I don’t drink coffee or tea. It’s always been my drink of choice, so I’ve learned to limit myself so that I get my daily water intake. Water makes the skin glow, I’m telling ya!

2. Write until you can’t write no more.

DAILY QUOTA! For my usual readers, you guys have heard this many a time by now. The daily quota system has instilled a sense of accomplishment in the scope of my writing. It is a constant battle to make myself write, but over time it becomes easier.

Set a daily quota for yourself, and see how much your writing improves. It’s gold!

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15-year-old Katie working on a book (circa 2012)

3. Listen with open ears and a full heart.

When people come to you, it is imperative you give them a chance. Now, some are definitely users, who will take your time and crush it between their fingers, but I truly believe most people have decent hearts–and they want your opinions.

Listening is key. People know when you are listening, both in how you respond to them verbally and with body language. Friendships are formed on two levels: Hard times and good times. There are two slices of you, in your happy times and terrible times, so if you want people to respect you, you must respect them first.

4. Pray, even when things are good.

I’m so guilty on this one. I tend to take advantage of the good times, and when things crash over the cliff, it’s like, “Okay, now it’s time to pray.”

This is not the point of view we should take. Give thanks for all you have, always. And if there’s something on your mind, pray to God. There have been countless times when I treat prayer as a genie’s bottle, expecting an immediate and resounding yes to my situation. But that’s not how life works.

So pray in advance! Things aren’t guaranteed to be easy, but there is a sense of peace when one closes his or her thoughts and allows the truth to come to light.

5. Say hello first.

When you’re out and about, you are exposing yourself to so many people, those you’ve met, haven’t met yet, and will never meet.

Isn’t that a weird thought to consider? We pass hundreds of people a day (or none at all, if you prefer the company of your home, hehe), and most of them we will never get to know.

So, when you get the chance to see someone you know or someone you don’t know or just someone in general, why not say hello first? Why not extend that olive branch, and see where it goes?

Another tip: Call people by their name, and do this often. This reinforces a stronger bond if you use a person’s name, because he or she will feel closer to you. (Maybe I watch too many psychology videos on YouTube.)

6. Be realistic (with a splash of optimism).

While optimism is a great trait to have, realism is where it’s at. We have to shoot for the stars, but be prepared for a failed rocket launch. (Hopefully that didn’t sound too pessimistic.)

I believe that being realistic (with a splash of optimism) allows you to accept the reality of your situation while pursuing your dreams. It’s not a fool-proof plan, but it works for me. When things go wrong, understand that it will eventually come back to being right, as is the cycle of the world we live in.

7. Sing whenever you can.

Some of you probably aren’t big music fans, but others of you are. I am obsessed with music, and not a day goes by when I don’t have my half-broken headphones jammed in my ear canals. Music helps my writing ten-fold, and I truly enjoy singing to myself like a real weirdo.

When I’m stressed, a guaranteed cure is to hop in my car, pump up the jams, and sing as loud as my vocal chords will allow me. It’s a great therapeutic tool–and one I recommend whole-heartedly.

8. It’s okay to say no.

When I first went to college, there was no way I could say no to anything or anyone. I loved being asked to do things and hang out with people, even if it was jeopardizing my mental health or what I actually wanted to do.

One night, a few friends staged an intervention to teach me how to say no. While at the time it seemed ridiculous, of course I could say no if I really wanted to, it became apparent that I really had no idea to say that simple word and not let others trample me. And so with this help, I became confident in my ability to say “no,” even though I do have quite a few relapses now and then.

Say no if it’s going to compromise your values, your happiness, etc. You have to do what makes you feel best, as long as you’re not hurting others in the process.

9. Time flies, so do what you love.

It kills me when I talk to people who have no sense of what they love to do. This is because I was lucky and found writing at an early age, and it has always been the driving force in who I am and why I am the way I am.

Therefore, I do believe that once you find what you love, you should pursue it (in a realistic way, to keep up with #6 on this list). If you love reading books, why not read as many as you can? If you love politics, why not get involved in your local community government?

If you’re not sure what you love, then you will find out in time. But I hope you find it soon!

10. Patience is key.

Patience is key, and unfortunately it’s a key I lose often.

Sometimes I look at my life and think of the things I haven’t done yet, and I lose my patience. Or when there are certain situations that I wish would take a different course, and then don’t… Or just the general bitterness toward a situation that makes you want to rip out your hair…

Patience is huge. It’s a skill, and it’s something we all should have. Things aren’t always meant to go our way, and we have to be okay with this. And it’s okay, because there’s typically something much better in store, right around the corner. πŸ™‚

11. Spend time with the people you love.

A few years ago, I took a “Love Language Test” to see what my specific “love language” is. A love language is the way you appreciate people’s love for you. For example, mine is “Quality time,” as I find my happiness in the time I get with a person. Others include physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, etc. It just depends on how you are!

Though I found the quiz quite corny, I did realize that quality time means the world to me. What is the point of living without the people we love? Nothing beats a good movie with friends, a shopping trip with my mom, an episode of 100% Hotter with my sister…

If you’re interested in finding out your love language, here is a link to a quiz to find out.

12. Hop in a car/bike/your own two feet and go someplace to clear your head.

This connects to #7 for me, because I love connecting my music to driving off into the sunset and clearing my head from all the nonsense that happens. So much pressure can be put onto our shoulders, and therefore it is important to remember that there is more to life than what the world throws at us.

Find a nook that inspires you, and go there in these moments. It is a great way to relieve that tension, and you’ll feel better as a result.

13. Exercise isn’t as bad as you think.

I’m not the biggest fan of workouts, because I’d much rather stay in bed, work on a book, or watch pointless YouTube videos. That being said, exercise is another great way to relieve stress and listen to your body.

When I work out, I like to jog. It can get boring, but that’s when you can spice it up by listening to music or watching pointless YouTube videos on the treadmill instead of while in bed. πŸ™‚

Trust me, even though I am writing these 21 tips, it doesn’t mean I don’t stumble (and stumble all the time, too).

14. Travel when and if you can.

Traveling is expensive and, at times, pretty daunting. However, it is an amazing way to see the world, gain fresh understanding, and try something new. While I have always liked to travel, the bug didn’t really bite until I moved to California and went abroad for the first time.

But it shouldn’t matter where you go, as long as you are going with amazing people and have access to food/water. While specific locations obviously can be indications of an amazing experience, I’ve found that it is often the unexpected that truly solidifies a great memory.

15. Know that everything doesn’t need to make sense.

Why do I feel like I need to know everything that is happening in the world around me? Who gave me the authority to feel like the queen of my own universe, when there are seven billion other souls walking around this planet?

When it comes down to it, we are all selfish, and we expect the best things to happen to us, just because we are, well, alive. But that’s not how it works: Things happen that we can’t control. Sometimes, the events in our lives just can’t make sense at the moment they happen, but that doesn’t mean clarity won’t come down the road a little later.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, realizing that answers aren’t always clear and perfect. Sometimes, the answers we truly need can leave us helpless and lonely before the truth is fully revealed. We have to be willing to accept this logic, or life will never make sense to us at all.

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Calafate, Argentina (March 2018) Comparing myself to a condor, I suppose

16. It is okay to let people go.

This may be the most challenging conclusion I’ve come to at 21, because I love people, and I truly think life is nothing if there aren’t people in it. (I hope everyone thinks this too, I should add.)

But this is something I have been really struggling with lately: You have to do what’s best for you, and this can mean closing a door, the book you’re reading, the conversation you’ve been having.

Only you know what is best for you–and you have to be willing to protect yourself if others are bringing you down.

17. Have fun, but remember the opportunity costs.

Econ lovers, here you go: Opportunity costs. You have to enjoy the life you’ve been given, but you can’t slack off when it comes to your future.

For me personally, this relates to my current college experience. Friends are awesome, and you have to take some time for yourself, but what about future careers and opportunities? You can’t let the future slip through your fingers because you’re too committed to your present, but you also can’t let your present slip through your fingers because you’re so invested in your future.

18. You aren’t a writer unless you write.

This is going to sting: You aren’t a writer unless you write.

There are always excuses for why we don’t do things: I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’m busy. Well, you’ve got to stand up to those negative thoughts, and sit down and force yourself to get to work, or you’re going to be stuck with a blank page for the rest of your life.

Write! Don’t let anything stop you.

19. Talk about things that matter.

Some of my strongest relationships stem from pure honesty in conversations. Does anyone really like small talk? I don’t mind it most of the time, but then I realize that I want to know what’s really going through people’s minds. I want to know if they’re anxious or happy or confused or in love, thinking about Big Macs and summer getaways to Bali or an awkward encounter with a family friend. Everyone is so unique, and there are so many stories to tell.

I’m the kind of person who wants to dig in deep. I want to talk about God and politics and the future, and I’m drawn to people who are similar.

Find the things that matter to you, and find people with whom to talk about them! It’s cleansing.

20. No one is better than anybody else.

This may not apply to everyone, but I definitely feel as if we as humans are constantly assessing the people we pass by and judging whether or not we are better dressed, more attractive, wealthier, cooler, insert adjective here. It’s why people are attracted to people who look and act like them, right?

But here’s the thing: No one is better than anyone else. The homeless guy on the street is just as valuable, just as important, as the successful guy driving a Porsche right by him.

21. Give thanks in all you do.

We only have so many trips around the sun (got this from a classic Kacey Musgraves lyric). Therefore, it’s key to be thankful for everything we’ve got, because each person on this planet has things of value.

You’ve been given one life. Treat it with respect, even when things are not as good as they could be, even when it feels like there is nothing to be thankful for… I guarantee you that there is.


THERE YOU GO.

21.

Such a good number in my opinion. Every number, though, is a good number, because it signifies that there is more time, more opportunity, more hope. No matter how old you may be, I hope these 21 things can impact your outlook and give you something to think about. When it comes down to it, we’re all on a journey for answers, and we must be willing to listen if we want to live life to its fullest!

I hope you guys have had a great beginning to December. The holiday season is in full swing, and that means Christmas is just around the corner!

Until next time,

-K.

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Don’t be afraid to be yourself! (Huacachina, PerΓΊ, April 2018)

 

 

thoughts

(no more) WASTED TIME

Sometimes the hourglass of time feels even more oppressive than normal…

This is going to be a little bit of a “venting” post, because I want to admit something to you guys. It’s not going to be Earth-shattering or panic-inducing, but it is something that you can probably relate to.

So here we go: Do you ever feel like you blink, three months have whipped by, and you’ve wasted a HUGE chunk of time?

Yup.

Okay, I want to clarify: I do not feel as if I have completely wasted the past three months. I am a full-time college student, student pilot (LOL, one of these days I will finally have my license), and writer. On the social side, I hang out with a bunch of roaches (I promise, this is an endearing term) 24/7 and try not to pull out my hair due to the infuriating ways of other twentysomethings. But these things make me so happy, and I love flying and my ridiculous friends.

That being said, there is a continent of me that has been underwater for the past few months. This part of me is like Atlantis waiting to be rediscovered, and I’m sick of drowning in something I’ve caused for myself.

I’ve been writing less and less these past few months, and I can attribute it to multiple things. I knew that I wouldn’t be writing as much this semester, which contributed to my goal of finishing five novels over the summer, but I did not realize it would be this bad.

In the past three months, I have started three novels, left all of them in the dust, and waited for magic to pull me up from the bottom of the ocean. However, that’s not how writing works. I truly believe good writing comes from stretching the writing muscle, and I’ve been atrophied for quite some time.

It’s not that I don’t have material, because being away from home gives me tons of material, as you can imagine. It’s not that I don’t have the time, though my California life does get tiring. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, because writing makes me happiest (although it’s getting closer and closer to a tie with flying).

So what have I been doing to myself? Isn’t it true that if you love something, you’ll do anything to be doing it? What’s wrong with me?

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Santiago, Chile (November 2017) I am happiest when I write. I also like being a weirdo in Chilean planetariums.

CAUSES

School

Unfortunately, I do have to go to school, and this takes up considerable chunks of time. A bonus fact: I am in a creative writing class that claims the time I could use to write what I want to write, which feels pretty counterproductive.

Friends

I love my friends to death, but it is a constant battle between wanting to hang out and be with them versus taking time for myself (AKA writing). This semester I have been pretty bad at remembering to swallow my introverted pill and catch a few hours to write and recover.

With any sort of social group, there are going to be things that take up headspace, and I can pinpoint certain components of this to the reasons why I haven’t had the right mentality to write. πŸ˜‰

Flying

This is the only school that matters to me right now. I am in full-blown study mode and since this is going to be my future career path, I know I need to focus more on this part of my life now. Therefore, some of my writing time will be snatched up by flying, but that’s okay. I just have to reorganize my priorities.

What do I want to write?

The three attempts I’ve made over the three months have been varied: There is a psychological thriller, Southern Gothic drama, and cheesy romance. I think I’m struggling with what I want to write, because I’m not a genre-specific writer.

My mind has been elsewhere

You’ve got to be in the game to write, and even more committed if you want to write well. With normal life comes normal struggles, including bouts of stress and exhaustion, and this affects writing as well.


SOLUTIONS

Clear that headspace

What does this mean, you may be asking? Well, for me, it means getting the heck out of dodge. When I’m feeling suffocated, I grab my keys and hop in the car. A nice drive cleanses my mind, especially when I’ve got the windows down and the music on full-blast. Other methods include a nice jog or hike, a heart to heart with a friend, or brainstorming a story at a coffee shop.

Take time for myself

All right. We all know that there are extraverts (those who feed off social interaction) and introverts (those who need time to recover after a social experience) in society. There are even people who are ambiverts, a blend of both extraverts and introverts.

I used to be very introverted, got more extraverted in college, and now consider myself to be an ambivert. There are moments I live off social interaction, but moments when I desperately need to be by myself.

The cure is normally writing. But these past few months, my cure has been missing, and therefore I’ve felt really strange as a result.

You have to take time for yourself, no matter where you are in life or who you are. When it comes down to it, we all have to live with, you guessed it, ourselves. It feels good sometimes to take a breath and a moment for yourself.

In these moments, when I stop and let my mind ramble on and on, I gain some of my best plot ideas.

Force myself to do it

Daily quota, where you at? If you’ve read some of my earlier writing posts, you know I am infatuated with the concept of the daily quota, in which a writer commits him or herself to a set word limit per day. It is a great way to rehearse the art of writing, even if you have no idea what you want to write about.

While this worked for me in years past, it has been missing in my way of life for the past three months, so it’s time to reestablish THE DAILY QUOTA!

Cut out negative energy

Negative, convert to positive. Those terrible feelings that are bringing you down need to be cut out, and there are multiple ways to do this. Prayer works. Eliminating bad influences works. Trying new things works. It just depends on who you are and how you handle situations, and you know the toxic aspects of your life.

Why have those toxic aspects when they only cause more problems in the long run? I know what mine is, and I’m going to try my hardest to rid myself of its influence.


NO MORE.

 

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A winery near Salta, Argentina (October 2017) Describes how I feel when I cannot write. πŸ˜‰

There has got to be a “stake in the ground moment” in which you are the one who knows what is happening versus what should be happening. This comes into all facets of life, whether that be with writing or relationships or choosing to cut out a Diet Coke addiction (yeah, right).

Therefore, I’m going to say, “No more,” to not writing. I’m going to scream it from a mountaintop if I have to, because my happiness is improved ten-fold when I’m working on a project.

Now let’s connect this to your life. What is the thing that you’ve been neglecting? Maybe it’s a person you haven’t been talking to. Maybe it’s a hobby you’ve forgotten. I’m sure if you think super hard you’ll be able to think of something. My request for you all is to think of this thing and work your hardest to mend the situation. You’ll know the solution if you can identify the problem.

Until next time,

-K.

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Nevada/California Border (August 2016) Describes how I feel when I’m writing. What a dork!