Middle-of-the-Month Check-In: July

Hey warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! How are you all doing? It’s been a month (how, I don’t know) since I last checked in and it’s that time again, so let’s dive in!

Me

  • An amazing friend of mine from Salt Lake City came to visit for the first time in two years! It was such an amazing day…
  • We went on a day trip to Denton, Texas! I’ll be posting about that on my other blog soon, including my shopping haul. 😜
  • I posted for Diamond’s Camp Happy Heart twice this month! Go check out her blog. It rocks.
  • My family finally found time to plant flowers! Between COVID in May and commitments we just hadn’t done it until now. I’ll insert a gallery of photos after this section.
  • The Star That Always Stays came out on July 12! It’s so good so far! I haven’t quite finished it though because….
  • I have a church camp and a conference in the next two weeks! This camp is the highlight of my year…. I love it so much! But two weeks away from home means a lot of planning and packing. It also means that all posts during that time are written and scheduled in advance so I won’t be responding to comments for a little while. But still talk to me! I’ll answer as soon as I get the chance.
  • Last but not least, my family went through our homeschool library! I may do a bookshelves tour in the future if anyone is interested. We have a lot of books. 😅😂

My Blog

My Writing

  • What Matters Most needs more development than I originally thought. I want to give it room to be the best possible so I’m taking a break until I can focus on it and then I’m expecting it to be nearly a year before it will be 100% ready for publishing.
  • I decided that, when I do NaNoWriMo this year, I’ll work on either What Matters Most’s sequel or I’ll work on The Lies I Believed. Since it’s narrowed down it will be easier to plan when October comes around.
  • I wrote two short stories and a poem this month. They are all posted above in the blog section.

You

For those who don’t remember, this portion will be where I feature my favorite little snippets of writing, photography, or art that you guys send me through my contact page! (For photography and art you will need me to respond before you can send the files.) For this month, I’m featuring Emma’s writing!


What is the purpose of a story?

Is it to entertain you, to occupy the dull hours of a night or day?

Is it to help you escape, to live in another’s world for a few hours, only to eventually have to return to your own?

Or is the purpose of a story to teach? Are stories merely nicely-decorated conduits for information, meant to make the learning go down easier? Are they like the flavoring in sickly-sweet cough syrup, which disguises the medicine’s bitter taste but doesn’t quite do it well enough to make the medicine taste good?

Is a story meant to promote a cause? To sell a product? To convince an audience to believe that what you say is true?

Maybe a story is all of these things.

But maybe not.

Maybe a story has one purpose, and one only—to glorify God, the best storyteller of all.

God is the ultimate author. He has written us here on earth so that we may glorify Him, and He is more than worthy of all the glory that our stories can give Him.

And every story bears the mark of its author’s Creator. In the triumph of good over evil, in the sacrificial love of a father or mother for their child, in the anguish of a heart groaning over the darkness of the world, and in the quiet peace that comes when that groaning heart finally sees the light

What is the purpose of a story?

Is it to entertain you? To provide escape or relief? To force-feed you a message, or to advertise?

No.

The purpose of a story is threefold: truth, goodness, and beauty.

With these three together, we will point to the Maker of all, who wrote the story of the world, and by whom our story is continually being written.

Truth. Good stories portray the world as both dark and light. The world is not safe, but the world is not hopeless. In it there is unspeakable cruelty and evil, but there is also unspeakable grace.

Good stories must point to truth. If they do not, then they have failed to display the Maker the way He truly is.

Goodness. A story with no light is no story at all. Yes, the darkness is pervasive, but to show only the darkness is to ignore the better half of the picture. There is goodness in the world, and a good story will show it: goodness standing against evil with courage and strength, and goodness that can never be overcome by the dark.

True stories must point to the good. For how can vice with no virtue show us a virtuous God?

Lastly, beauty. Beauty is the color to the painting of humanity. It takes a cold stone and makes it a marble sculpture; it takes cloth and paint and makes it a breathtaking masterpiece. What is true and good should be beautiful, and what is beautiful must be true and good.

Beautiful stories point to our Creator better than any dry prose. He is true beauty. And how can something remind us of Him—our father, lover, and friend—if it is not beautiful?

This is the purpose of a story. Every good story bears the mark of our God, and our God is true, good, and beautiful.

Perhaps, using stories, we can fight back the darkness and let our light shine more.


That was really thought-provoking and beautiful! Don’t you agree?

I’ll be putting up a submissions page soon (hopefully. A lot is going on, so I won’t promise it immediately), since the contact page is somewhat difficult for files. But next month’s Middle-of-the-Month Check-In is already open for submissions! Make sure you submit your best work in 1 image or 1000 words or less and keep it clean please! I can’t wait to see what you guys have for me next month!

Now I’d like to take this last paragraph to ask you some questions because you warriors are amazing. You can answer as many or as few as you want, but this is my chance to get to know you better and to learn what you guys want from me! So here we go. What have you done this month so far? How are you doing? What would you all like to see from me in this next month? How are your projects going? Let me know in the comments! See you soon!

Why I’m Taking a Writing Break + What That Means

Hey warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today’s post is a little more serious than sometimes, but I’d like to update you on some amazing changes to come and the small sacrifices I’m making so they’ll work. Let’s dive in!

What I’m Doing

I’m going to start by explaining what I’m changing so you won’t be disappointed after I deliver the exciting news. To begin with, I won’t be working on What Matters Most for the next month. I’ll work on some other projects and be working toward exciting things, but I will not be revising or preparing to self-publish What Matters Most yet.

I’ll also drop out of Summer of Stories contest, not because I don’t love it but because it’s one more thing to post, one more thing to write, and one more thing to do when I already have too much in all three categories.

I’m not going to post every Wednesday on this blog or on SSS. I already said that on SSS but I forgot my own plan and went ahead and posted yesterday. 😂 But I’ve been posting Wednesday and Friday here, and I can’t keep it up. Instead, I’ll post on SSS one Wednesday and here the next. If I miss a Wednesday, I will apologize but I will not pressure myself about Wednesday Words posts.

For followers of Charlotte O Juice, she is officially saying good bye… kind of. I love her and don’t want to say goodbye, but I currently can’t be under the pressure of a fourth blog, especially one getting 0 views. So Charlotte will live on here, in some way shape or form. It is yet to be determined. But perhaps she should have a photography corner somewhere on the blog?

Why I’m Pausing What Matters Most and What That Means

I’m pausing What Matters Most in order to focus on my platform for a moment. In other words, I’m pausing for you guys. I’m also pausing to give myself a chance to grow and work toward a goal I have for next year.

I needed to take that stress off my shoulders so I can really throw myself into the awesome things I’m working towards!

This means that, when I hit 100 followers, I won’t be self-publishing the book. Not this year. It was my original goal, but I don’t think it would be best for me or my story. I’m sorry if anyone’s upset, but I doubt anyone is extremely disappointed because I’ve hardly given you reason to care for the book. That changes now.

Now for the best part of this post….

What I’m Working Towards

In the coming months and years, I have a lot of dreams. Here are some of my goals in the future:

  1. Launch an email list (Partially started and officially coming very soon! It will contain ways to vote for what I post here, sneak peeks, and exclusive writing Q&As!)
  2. Join the Author Conservatory (and do a post with one of their instructors promoting it, as well as sharing just how much I’ve changed since joining just their community two years ago)
  3. Share more snippets of writing (including bonus snippets for books, with scenes that aren’t in my books or scenes from different perspectives)
  4. Share more How I Write posts (What do you guys need? Let me know in the comments, so I can make sure I get everything you guys need!)
  5. Post more book reviews and interviews with authors (because supporting other authors is literally one of my favorite things to do)
  6. Write a sequel to What Matters Most (that dives into the perspectives of the previous book’s villain as well as some side characters, switching from all girl perspective to all boy perspectives)
  7. Start a writing class that would run for a year (teaching you how to write a novel in a year, using my writing book from my giveaway and other resources all over)
  8. Host a contest or two (because you guys are amazing, and I want to help you show that to the world!)
  9. Self-publish What Matters Most and its sequel around the same time (so nobody has to sit there wondering what happens next.)

In order to get there, I’m going to be working on simply growing for a little bit. Like a theme park where you can’t ride the roller coaster until you’re a certain height, I won’t be prepared to take these leaps and bounds until I’ve learned more. I’m not perfect. In fact, I’ve found even better character profiles since I wrote the post “26+ Things You Should Know About Your Main Characters.” So I’m going to learn for a while, stress less, and try to really store up knowledge and energy for when I start reaching for these goals.

As I do that, I’d like you to come along! Until my email list launches, the best way for you to do that is to subscribe! Another amazing way you can help me out is to comment what you’d love to see from me, what I’m doing well, and what I might want to fact-check or work on. Meanwhile, I’m also hoping to support you! Submissions for my Middle-of-the-Month Check-In: July are open! For those who don’t know, I explained it here, too. This month, there isn’t a theme. But there might be one in the future! Until then, the only rules are to keep it PG, at 1,000 words or less if it’s written, and to submit it through my contact page with your name or username and a blog or social media link. Please do not include the link to your blog or media if it contains content that might trigger or upset someone without including potential trigger warnings. I want to protect everyone here, and I’d rather not have to hunt through your blog to do that. I’ll be choosing my favorite entry and sharing it here on the blog when I post my next Middle-of-the-Month Check-in!


I hope you enjoyed this post and are excited for what’s to come! What posts do you want most from me? What goal are you most excited for me to reach? Are you submitting an entry to my Middle-of-the-Month Check-in? Let me know in the comments! Have a great weekend, warriors!

Middle-of-Month Check-In

Hey, warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today’s post is a little different from my usual ones, and, if you guys like this, let me know so I can make it a regular thing! I’m just going to give a brief life update and writing update (not all that much… these posts aren’t meant to be stressful or cause anger/offense/jealousy!) I’ll divide it into four sections. Let’s dive in!


Me

  • I have been pretty tired lately, which has meant less productivity.
  • I got back into a blog schedule, which means that if you follow all of my blogs you’ve seen some fun content!
  • I recently helped with my church’s VBS. I’ve never worked harder and this was my third, but it was so worth it… even if I did wake up early and come home with a headache every day.
  • I took my first ACT test and went to a public school building for the first time since second grade! That was interesting….

My Blog

My Writing

  • I got back into journaling for the most part after struggling during VBS
  • I’m about to dive into the alpha edits of WMM
  • I rediscovered an old story that… if I ever get time… I might fix.
  • This month hasn’t been the best, writing wise.

You

This portion will be where I feature my favorite little snippets of writing (no more than 1,000 words please and try to keep it short and very clean), photography (again, clean please), or art (you know by now) that you guys send me through my contact page! (For photography and art you will need me to respond before you can send the files.) I’ll try to feature as much as possible but I may not be able to feature yours, although I will try to respond with positive feedback because everyone rocks! If you guys like this, I might start adding themes. For this month, I’m going to feature Maggie’s amazing short story, since it really embodies the theme of Words!


“More.” The little boy’s smile was contagious as he

watched the teenager add a scoop of strawberry ice

cream to his cone.

“More.” The woman took the cup of water from her

husband, who held her hand while she went through

the pangs of childbirth.

“More.” Adjusting the tire pressure slightly, the man

grinned at his grandson as they admired his very first bicycle.

“More.” The young woman winced as the dress was

tightened, then smiled at her beautiful wedding dress in the mirror.

“More.” The man’s greedy hands closed around the

coins, tossing them to his comrade.

“More.” Taking a couple flower pedals from her

husband, the woman sprinkled them over the new

grave of her son.

Words.

More words.

But less words.

mean more.


Isn’t that amazing?! I love it so much!


Now I’m going to take this last paragraph to ask you some questions because you guys rock! You can answer as many or as few as you want, but this is my chance to get to know you better and to learn what you guys want from me! So here we go. What have you done this month so far? How are you doing? What would you all like to see from me in this next month? If you’re an author, what’s your current project? What are your plans and hopes for your writing? Do you like this post? Would you like to see more of these? If I do more of these, should I do themes or leave them open to anything? Let me know in the comments! See you soon!

Why I Journal + A Peek Into My Journal

Hey, warriors! How are you doing today? I’m excited, since I get to talk about a big change I recently made in my life in today’s post! I’m going to tell you the reasons I journal, show you my journal, and give you my best journaling tips. Let’s dive in!


Why I Journal

On May 18 this year, I made a choice. I was already planning on launching my blog on May 20th, the nine year anniversary of the tornado that changed my young life, so, after reading an inspirational magazine(don’t judge ok? Magnolia Journal is helpful) I decided to call the day my new year. Kaley’s New Year. You may already know the details of that from this post on my private blog (sorry if I don’t let you in; it’s private for a reason. Still, I might if you request it.) but one of the changes I decided to make was to start journaling.
So I did; on May 19th I was so excited I wrote an introduction and from May 20th on I’ve written an entry every day possible. I try to start each day with the date, a word of the day, and the time my first entry starts. Inside I list what needs done and, at the end of my day, I recap just a little and rate my day. Some days I’ve had insanely short entries and skipped several parts but I’ve tried my best to write one every day. I’ve only missed two days this far and I’m at over 50 pages.
But why do I journal? Because I need to be freely confined. I need a plan each day, but I also love to be creative and able to do whatever I feel like doing. I have certain things that need done, but I also try to have fun and chill time. I journal to remember, to mark my growth. I journal to process what’s happening to me and I journal to vent feelings and thoughts I just don’t need in my way. I journal to figure out why I’m doing what I’m doing and I journal to figure myself out. It’s been amazing.

A Peek in My Journal

Here’s a snippet of my journal…. It might not all make sense and it might be a little weird but it’s who I am. I like it. (Click on the pictures to see them better.)

So You Want To Journal?

  • Here are some things to keep in mind if you journal or want to start journaling:
  • Journaling isn’t hard! You don’t need to write five pages every day. Last night I wrote less than five sentences. That’s fine! If you need to skip a day, don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay.
  • You don’t need a fancy journal. I’m using a fairly small one that fits in my back pack by Soul Scripts, my favorite journal brand, but it was a gift. Any journal works fine!
  • Try and make a set time to journal each morning and evening if you can. It’s good to start the day with goals and end with reflection time. But if you only have ten minutes to journal a day and it’s at lunch time, that’s still fine!
  • If you didn’t notice, journaling is forgiving. Why? Because a book can’t talk back and it’s whole job is to help you learn and grow into a healthier, stronger, wiser person. It isn’t very healthy or wise to beat yourself up.
  • I love to start each entry with a word and its definition when possible because it gives me something to think about as I dive into my day.
  • I also love to end the day with a rating and a short bit about why I rated it that way. It shows me what I like and what I don’t like and I get to know myself even better.
  • A journal with blank spaces for page numbers is amazing because you can fill them in as you reach them. It’s so thrilling to realize, “hey! I’ve written twenty pages!”
  • Be honest with yourself. Some days aren’t good days and you don’t need to pretend they were. But often, bad days have some highlights. Don’t drop the good all together, but know that there’s a little light even in the rain and that it’s going to rain sometimes.
  • I took notes from a conference in my journal at one point and wrote twenty pages in two days. Your journal doesn’t just have to be for to-do lists and reflections. It holds anything and everything!
  • I try to bring my journal with me when I go places because sometimes you need to calm down even in public and a journal is a place for silent ranting. It’s also a continuous check-list with things you need to do and things you want to do, as well as dates of when things happened. It’s a great thing to have on hand at any time.
  • A journal is great inspiration and practice for authors, too! If you keep one, don’t slack on your writing skills because this is a place where you want to put words on a page daily. Make it worth it!

I hope this post was helpful! Do you journal? Do you want to try? What journals do you like? How do you journal? Let me know in the comments!