Interview with Author Abbie Emmons! // Blog Tour

Hey, loves! Welcome or welcome back to my blog :) Today I have a really exciting post because I haven’t done one of these in quite a long time- it’s an interview with Abbie Emmons, author of 100 Days of Sunlight.

I was so lucky to be able to be part of this blog tour and to get to interview Abbie. She is a YouTuber, blogger, and now, an author! I have been following her journey for a couple years now, so it was definitely exciting to receive an early copy of her book (Also, how gorgeous is that cover?).

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Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:
When 16-year-old poetry blogger Tessa Dickinson is involved in a car accident and loses her eyesight for 100 days, she feels like her whole world has been turned upside-down. 

Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.

Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.

Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.

Now, the interview:

First, where did the idea for this book come from and when did you start drafting/writing it? Is it based off of real experiences/people/etc?

One day I was thinking about my own lifestyle and how much I use my sense of sight for everything I do: blogging, writing, making videos, reading, everything — and then I thought how different all that would be if, for some reason, I suddenly went blind. I pondered this thought for a few hours, and then suddenly the idea struck me: blogger girl loses her eyesight, meets a boy with no legs (unbeknownst to her) and he helps her overcome her struggles. That was all I had at the start, but it was enough to totally steal my heart and make me want to write the book IMMEDIATELY. 

How long was the writing process with this novel and was it difficult to write?

100 Days of Sunlight still holds the record for the fastest writing process I’ve ever had. I wrote the book for NaNoWriMo 2017 and finished the whole thing in 27 days. I felt super inspired while writing it and only took one day off throughout the whole writing process. It was truly a pleasure to write, from start to finish!

How has being on Youtube impacted your writing life, either in a positive or negative way?

It has definitely impacted my writing life in many positive ways! I love being able to connect with the writing community and share the struggles and triumphs of being a writer and author. I also love creating something every single week and putting it out there, getting feedback and building relationships with fellow writers. The only downside is that it does consume a lot of my time, which means I have to fight a little harder for my writing time. But it’s so worth it. 

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What would you say is your main character, Tessa’s, biggest strength in terms of personality?

I would say that her greatest strength is her empathy. Like me, Tessa is a very loyal and caring person and feels very deeply about everything. After the accident that renders her blind, she feels super frustrated and bitter towards her circumstances but eventually awakens to the realization that she still has a full life and many ways to experience the beauty in the world. I think this world needs more empathetic people, and I hope Tessa’s journey inspires my readers to awaken to their own truths. 

When did you first realize you want to become an author?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I’ve always loved stories and found them so magical, and as soon as I learned how to write, I was crafting stories of my own. However, it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I decided writing would be my career. I explored and learned a lot about myself in my teenage years, but the passion I kept coming back to was always the same: writing. 

I know this is a difficult question to answer, but what is your favorite book of all time?

This is SUCH a hard question, but if I had to choose I would say To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is such an incredible novel for so many reasons, and it is hands-down the most impressive work of fiction I’ve ever read.

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Can you describe the editing process for this book? Has the story changed dramatically from draft number one to now? If yes, in what ways?

The story hasn’t changed much since the first draft. In fact, I recently made a video explaining my editing process and comparing my first draft to my final draft if you’re interested in seeing a behind-the-scenes look! But because I outline so intensively before I sit down to write the first draft, I work out most of the story issues in advance and don’t have to edit much beyond wording and pacing in draft 2.

What has been the biggest challenge of the self-publishing process so far?

The whole self-publishing process is a challenge and a big learning curve. It’s something that you really can’t expect yourself to be great at the first time around. One of the things I’ve found most challenging is the back-and-forth formatting adjustments and making sure everything is flawless in the actual book files. It’s easy enough to update an ebook file, but print is forever! It’s been a little nerve-wracking to think about, but at this point, I feel confident that I have done my best. 

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Thank you Abbie, for taking the time to answer all of these questions. It was such a pleasure to chat with her today, and I hope you guys enjoyed this post! If you want to check out 100 Days of Sunlight, you can buy it on Amazon or add it on Goodreads.

Thanks for reading :) See you next week!

jessica

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Goals For The Rest of The Year // 2019

Hey, loves!

We are over half-way through 2019, which I am still trying to process. But, I realized I haven’t been focusing on my goals as much as I wanted to. In fact, my goals have changed completely.

So, I thought that today would be a good day to set new goals for myself that I can actually try to achieve before the year ends. I want to make sure I end this year feeling good about the things I accomplished, so hopefully hitting these goals will help me do that!

Read 100 books

I am at 82 books read this year at this very moment! That is the most that I’ve ever read in a year and I still have 4 1/2 months to go. I am definitely aiming for 100 now, even though my original goal was 52. Audiobooks have been my best friend, and honestly, that’s the only reason I was able to read so many. Nonetheless, this is an exciting moment in my reading life :)

Finish my poetry manuscript

I wrote a lot of poetry during the school year, so I thought that once the summer came I would write even more. But, I didn’t. I think I wrote a total of 2 poems all season long. My manuscript is well over 1/2 way done, so I just need another 50 or so poems to finish. I want to get this draft done, so I can either start edits or work on another collection I have planned.

Run at least twice a week

I started going on runs at home and I love it so much. I moved to a new house a few weeks ago, so the new route possibilities I have are endless and the views are phenomenal. It has been making me feel so good, so I want to continue this for the rest of the year, especially when school starts.

Get my Netgalley feedback ratio to 85%

I am a horrible person and I constantly request ARCs even when I have a ton of unread ones. My ratio is currently at 71%, so I only have to read and review a few more to get to 85. I think it will be manageable as long as I don’t request any others.

Not purchase any more books until 2020

At the beginning of the year, I put myself on a book buying ban for all of 2019… but that didn’t work too well. I allowed myself leeway of up to 5 books, but I ended up buying quite a few more than that. It is definitely still under the amount that I bought last year by a TON, so at least I can say that. So, my new goal now is to just not buy any books until the year is over. I have close to 100 unread books, so I have plenty to choose from, and I really don’t need any more right now.

Continue posting once a week on the blog for the rest of the year

I have been really consistent with my posting on the blog this entire year. I have posted every Tuesday (with the exception of a two-week hiatus) since January. For a little bit, I was even posting twice a week. I would love to finish out the year strong on the blog and continue posting every single week. In September I am going to be changing my posting day (most likely to Mondays) because of my class schedule next semester, but either way, I will stay consistent.

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Those are all of my goals! I really think I can accomplish most, if not all, of these goals before 2020 hits us. What are some goals you still hope to accomplish in these next few months? Let me know in the comments :)

jessica

Lightspeed Planner Greatness Edition // First Impression

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

A few months back, I did a couple of posts featuring my Lightspeed Planner to show you guys how to stay organized for school and ace your exams!

Today, I wanted to reveal to you the new Lightspeed Planner- The Greatness Edition! The team was kind enough to send me a planner, so I wanted to do a review for you guys.

Physical Features

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First off- I am obsessed with the color. Rose gold? Beautiful.

I also really like the size of it- it’s pretty standard size; not too small, not too big. It has enough room for me to write down everything I need without being too clunky.

It also comes with three bookmarks to keep track of your monthly spreads, goals, or weekly layouts! That feature is definitely one that I take advantage of a lot!

Inside- Pages

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The planner starts with a few pages goal-setting layouts. These are things I refer back to throughout the year to keep track of all of my plans. You want to make sure you are staying on top of your goals and working towards achieving them! The planner makes it super simple with an easy to follow layout.

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The rest of the pages are monthly spreads and weekly spreads- my personal favorite! The monthly spread is a new feature that is not in the first edition of the lightspeed planner, and I think the update was a good one! You can keep track of all of your events for the month, as well as any specific assignments/exams/meetings (for school or work).

They are blank so you can fill them in yourself each month, which I love. If you use the planner for school, you don’t have to fill out a spread for the summer months, and then pick right back up for the next year without losing/wasting pages!

The weekly spreads are also blank, but these are more to track your priorities for each day. At the top of the page, you can list out your top 3 priorities for the day, as well as a time you want to get them all done by. This is similar to the last edition of the planner, but now there is room for more tasks. On one side you get a spot for each task that can also be used as a schedule. Then, there is a blank spot for notes. This can be used as a shopping list, reminders, or just notes about the tasks themselves!

This is super convenient for me. I plan on using this planner for school, so on the left side I will be writing out my classes each day, meetings, work schedule, etc. On the right side is where my homework will go for each class, and the top bar will be for my to-do list each day.

I am so excited to finally start using this planner! I hope you guys love it as much as I do.

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Overall, I am very pleased with the changes to this new planner. It feels as though it was made for me. I will be using this very, very frequently, and will probably buy more for future use! If you want to check out the planner and get one for yourself, be sure to check out the Lightspeed website.

See you soon!

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Author Interview- Caitlyn Siehl !

Hello everyone ! I am here with another interview today, this time w/ Caitlyn Siehl. She is a poet who I admire so, so much. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months back, and she is so sweet.

More about Caitlyn: Caitlyn Siehl is a writer and editor from New Jersey who originally gained traction in the literary scene via her poetry blog, which was created in 2011. She is now the author of two bestselling poetry collections; What We Buried and Crybaby. Her fiction has been featured in Hooligan Magazine and is forthcoming in the anthology [Dis]Connected: Volume II. She has also worked as a Managing Editor of Persephone’s Daughters literary magazine, been co-editor of two poetry anthologies (Literary Sexts and Literary Sexts 2), and been a guest poetry judge at L’Éphémère Review.

Caitlyn is currently working on new fiction, several secret poetry projects, and expanding her book Crybaby for it’s re-release as a second edition. ​In her limited free time, she enjoys driving across the country to look at bigger, better trees and listening to D&D podcasts.

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Can you start by introducing yourself and what you do?

Well hi there! My name is Caitlyn Siehl and I’m a writer. I started out posting angsty poetry on Tumblr, and it grew into a huge passion for me. I’m branching out into prose as well, which is exciting for me.

At what age did you start writing poetry, and why did you start?

I started writing poetry when I was 17. I had just started my first year of college and I was feeling very lonely and isolated, so I decided to cry about it on the internet and, guess what? It worked! I met so many people who I’m still friends with today.

What has the publishing process been like for you? What was the hardest part?

I kind of got lucky my first time around. My blog really took off, and after my work had circulated around the internet, I was contacted by a small press and asked to publish a book with them. It was an amazing experience, and one I wouldn’t change for anything. The hardest part was putting the poems in an order that actually told a story. Part of me wanted to just throw a bunch of poems on the paper, but I decided that I wanted them to fit into a larger narrative.

What was the best part?

All of it. Every second. Signing preorders, talking to people who loved it, seeing people get tattoos of my words. I loved all of it.

Are you working on any projects right now, and can you share anything about them with us?

I’m working on a second edition of my second book, “Crybaby,” as well as a secret joint poetry collection with a writer friend of mine. Keep it on the down low! :)

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself with several poetry books under my belt, and at least one novel out in the world. I have so many projects that I hope come to fruition in the next 5 years.

Where does the inspiration come from? Are most of your poems based on real life or fiction?

The inspiration comes at random times. Sometimes I’ll hear a song or a line from a song and an entire experience that I forgot about will flood back into my head. And it’s definitely a mixture of both real life and fiction. Most of the time it’s easier to tell the truth by talking around it; fictionalizing certain parts so that it’s easier to talk about. Not always, but sometimes.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Oof, too many to count! A few off the top of my head: Sandra Cisneros, Richard Siken, Margaret Atwood, Bob Hicok, Anne Carson, and Aracelis Girmay.

What are your goals (writing or life wise) for this year?

I’m keeping my goals rather small and attainable this year. I’m trying to put out two collections of poetry and I’m also trying to get my novel started.

Finally, what advice/tips do you have for people who are just starting out with poetry?

It’s hard but it’s worth it. Social media is its own beast and it can be really discouraging when you’re just starting out and trying to make a name for yourself. Be patient. Tell your truth. Take care of yourself. Remember why you started and don’t ever forget it. Keep going.

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Thank you so much Caitlyn! I’m honored that you agreed to do this interview, and I loved all of your answers :)

I have another interview lined up soon, and I’m so excited to share it with you guys, so be sure to come back in two weeks to check that one out!

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Interview w/ Poet Rachel Clift- Poet Series #1 // The Interviews Are Back !

If you’ve been following my blog for long enough, you know that I used to do interviews very frequently- with Youtubers, Bloggers, Authors, Poets, etc.

I miss sharing those because I think that they can be very inspirational, and in my opinion, they’re super interesting! I like to get to know the people I look up to better, and this is one way to do that. If you want to check out more interviews I’ve done, you can find them under the “lifestyle” tab at the top of my site.

I decided that I wanted to do a “poet series” of interviews since I am currently working on my own poetry collection. This is a great way to highlight some poets that I personally love, and hopefully some of you can connect to them as well!

Today I have a poet who I’ve followed on Instagram for a really long time. She is so sweet and such an amazing writer. Let’s go meet her!

First, can you start off by introducing yourself and what you do?

I go by R. Clift, but you can just call me Rachel. I’m a poet, writer, traveller, and storyteller. I’ve been using social media for about a year now as a tool to reach people and hopefully offer some inspiration and a sense of togetherness.

How long have you been writing and why did you start?

I’ve been writing poetry since January of 2017, but I’ve been enchanted by stories since before I could speak. I began writing poetry kind of on a whim, I signed up for a class at my university last minute and ended up with a professor who changed my life. His name was Arthur Smith, he was incredible. He passed away last November. I wish you could’ve met him.

Where do you get the inspiration for your poetry?

It depends on the day, it can be anything from a falling leaf to the loss of a family member. Every poem I write has a backstory and probably about 90% relate directly to a person or event in my life. A part of me wants to start sharing some of the backstories, but I haven’t quite decided how yet.

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What are your plans for your writing this year?

I just announced that my first book will be released this summer! So that’s exciting. More news will be coming soon on that. I have a couple more projects in the works too, but they’re not ready for the light so for now just keep close. One day they will be.

What tips do you have for someone just getting into writing poetry?

Be honest with yourself and your words. Write every day, even if it’s just a to-do list in your journal. If you make it a part of your routine, it will come even more naturally to you. If you get blocked, go experience something new— draw inspiration from that. Find the beauty, the poetry, in the ordinary and mundane. I promise it’s there if you pay attention. As long as you have the courage to put a pen on paper, you’re headed in the right direction.

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Thank you so much to Rachel for taking part in this interview! Make sure you check out her Instagram and give her a follow :) See you next Tuesday!

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Q&A #2 !

Hello, loves! It has now been a little over a year since my last Q&A, so I thought I would do another. I want to share more of my personality on here, and since I’ve gained new readers since my last post, this is a good way to get to know me.

Thank you to everyone who asked me questions- definitely be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter so that you can be part of the next one :)

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Favorite book?

If you’ve been following me for a long time, this should not come as a surprise- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is my favorite book of all time, and I own 3 copies of it now. I want to buy as many editions of it as I can, and that is something I plan on doing!

Some other current favorites are: Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman and Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett!

Favorite genre?

I am definitely a contemporary reader opposed to fantasy or anything else. Within that category, I love mysteries and thrillers, and romance (but I’ve been leaning more towards mystery/thrillers recently).

Do you like to re-read books? If so, what book have you re-read the most?

I like to re-read certain books. I only re-read if it’s been a really long time since I read a book (4+ years), or if I really, really, really loved it. I always feel bad re-reading books since I have so many unread books on my shelf, so I’ve only re-read a handful of books.  I really want to change this mindset and start re-reading more often.

But, the one book that I’ve re-read the most is (wow, what a surprise) To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve read it four times, and I plan on doing another re-read in a few weeks!

I have a post about books I want to re-read (but I’ve only gotten to one of those, oops).

Sort of unrelated, but I love to rewatch movies and tv shows! I have a really long watchlist on Netflix, but for some reason I always go back to the same 5 or 6 shows and movies!

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Favorite YA couple?

I have to go with Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before for this one! It’s been years since I read the trilogy, but the movie definitely helped to reinforce my love for them!

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What’s a book you would rewrite?

This one was really tough for me to choose, but I think I would go with The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon for this one. I gave this book two stars because as much as I was happy to see the representation and subject matter, I didn’t love the rest of the story.

If I were to rewrite it, I would probably make the characters either older (meaning adults in their late twenties to early thirties), or I would change the relationship to friendship rather than romantic love. I just really didn’t like the “love at first sight” trope. It’s definitely one of the better executions of it that I’ve seen, but I really dislike the trope as a whole.

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That is all for this post! I hope you guys enjoyed it, and if you want more q&a’s from me in the future, definitely let me know :)

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How I’m Staying Organized in 2019

* this post is in promotion with Clever Fox planners, but all opinions are my own *

Hello everyone ! If you saw my last post, you would know that I have started using the Clever Fox Planner this month, and I am really loving it! Today I wanted to make a post about how I am using my planners, not just that one, for 2019. I have a system that will probably change as time goes on, but for now it is something that works for me!

Planner 1: School

The first planner that I am using is my Clever Fox planner, which I decided I would use for school! I was originally going to use this one for my creative projects, but because it is a lot bigger than my other planner, it will fit all of my assignments better. Plus, it is undated, so after this semester is over and I am off for four months, those pages aren’t being wasted because I can use them for the next year.

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The picture that I have is of my January spread which actually has all of my creative projects on it, but that will be changing starting next month. Instead, I will assign a color to each class I am taking, and will include all of my assignments for that month.

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The weekly spread is where I will write down all of my day to day homework assignments, as well as my work schedule and other meetings or plans with friends.

Planner 2: Creative Projects

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As for my creative projects, I will be using this Ban.do 2019 planner. I am obsessed with the look of this one, and it is something that I wanted to purchase for myself for a few years now. They no longer sell the design that I have, but I linked the same planner with a different pattern.

It is smaller than the other planner, which I like because I can carry it in my bag with me.

I will be using this one for scheduling blog post and videos, as well as days to take bookstagram pictures, write poetry, work on my draft of my novel, etc. It will be solely dedicated to planning out my creative projects, because those are something that I am taking more seriously this year.

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The monthly spread will once again be color-coordinated for each project, and the weekly spreads will have my day to day to-do lists.

Journal: Goal Tracking

Finally, I will be using an art/junk journal that I have to track my habits and my goals each month. I might eventually switch over to just doing this in the Clever Fox planner because it does give you space to do so. For now, though, I like the way I have mine organized.

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That is all for how I will be staying organized this year! If you have any questions about the system, please leave them in the comments :) See you next week!

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Clever Fox Planner- Unboxing and Review

Hello loves! Today I have an exciting post- I collabed with Clever Fox to unbox one of their planners for you guys! I got the Pro planner in the color blue, and I am LOVING it.

I have been looking for a bigger sized planner to use for my creative projects for a while, so I was really excited to get my hands on this one. I love that it has three bookmarks so that you can easily find different pages that you are looking for, and I love the stickers it came with. I will definitely be using those a lot.

I also love the front pages where you can create a vision board and outline your goals. It is definitely something that I really like because, again, I am using this mainly for my creative projects. Those pages will be great to track progress and stay on top of my goals.

There is so much room to write everything down, and overall I really love it.

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The one thing that I wish was different is that I don’t like how the monthly spreads are all together at the front, and the weekly spreads are in the back. I wish that those alternated so that you can see the monthly spread right before the weekly ones. However, because it does come with the bookmarks, this is something I could get used to easily.

I would definitely recommend giving this one a try if you are looking for a new planner this year. They have a variety of sizes and styles to choose from, so I’m sure there will be one for you!

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If you want to purchase one yourself, I have 3 10% discount codes, so just leave a comment with your Instagram username and I will message it to you :)

For 2019, I made a schedule for my posts, so they will be up once a week on Tuesdays, so be sure to stop by next week!

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A Thank You. Recommending Bloggers // Blogmas Day 25

Merry Christmas y’all! I know Blogmas technically ended yesterday, but I wanted to add an extra day to thank everyone who has either been very inspirational to me, been a great friend, or just someone I love to read! I am going to be sharing some of my favorite bloggers for you guys to check out because they deserve the world!

Thank you all for everything. I wouldn’t be where I am without all of your love and support. This community means so much to me, and I just want to give back by shouting out some of my faves!

Merry Christmas again, and see you in the new year !

Meltotheany

Kalinasbookblog

Ambsreads

Taytalksbooks

Abookathought

Justanotherbookinthewall

Brilliantlybookish

Sprinklesofdreams

Emmareadstoomuch

Classyxbookreviews

Kerrithebookbelle

Midnightwanderer

Thecursedbooks

Tarynandherbooks

Drizzleandhurricanebooks

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Tag your favorite blogs down below! Let’s spread the joy :)

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2019 Life Goals // Blogmas Day 16

I recently did a post where I talked about my reading goals for the year, but I wanted to include some of my “life-related” goals, too!

I am a super goal-oriented person, so setting to-do lists and making bucket lists is my absolute favorite thing ever. So, here are the things I hope I accomplish this year :)

Save $1k

I am the absolute worst at saving money. I made myself the goal of saving 1k in my bank account between September and December, but that just didn’t happen. I work a job at school which means I get paid minimum wage, and I can only work a certain number of hours a week. But, I plan on getting a job over summer break outside of school again so that I can save more money, and I’m just going to be more conscious about it in general.

Finish my poetry manuscript

I’ve had a name and theme idea for a poetry collection for months, and I eventually want to publish it. So, this year I want to work on drafting together all of the poems, organizing, editing, and then finalizing the details of it so that I can eventually send them off to a publisher or self-publish it!

Finish the first draft of my novel

I don’t plan on publishing an actual novel for a while, I want my debut as a novelist to be something I truly love. However, I want to finish the first draft of my current WIP, even though I know it will never be published. It’s great practice though, and would make me so happy!

End my second semester with straight As

I have been working really hard this year so far so earn the grades I have, and I want to keep this streak up next semester! School is my number one priority right now, and I want to do well.

Get a summer job/internship

Like I said earlier, I want to get a job over the summer to save up some extra $$. It really doesn’t matter where it is at this point, I just want to find something!

Hit 1k followers on here

I am so proud of this little blog I started when I was a little sophomore. It’s been through a lot of ups, downs, and changes, but I love where I am today. Numbers are not something I focus on heavily, but it would be nice to reach this number!

Hit 500 followers on my poetry instagram

Alongside the last goal, I also want to hit 500 followers on my poetry account because poetry is something I want to take more seriously this year. The reason for setting this number is just because it will hold me more accountable when it comes to posting. I want to make sure I consistently post on the account.

Go on a road trip with friends

I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip with my friends, but we’ve never been able to actually do it. It would be so much fun, and hopefully I get to do it in the future!

Let me know what your goals are in the comments below :) See you tomorrow!