Back At It Again

I know that some of you started following me because this started off as a blog about writing, and then it started talking about traveling with a little bit of lifestyle content thrown into the mix. And then all of the sudden, the writing content stopped. There was a little travel content here and there, but it mostly became a lifestyle blog.

Let me tell you what happened…

My friend died.

Some of you who started following me because of my writing content may have noticed I haven’t done a full blog post about writing since around August or September of 2017. At that time, I was growing frustrated with my “current” work in progress because I was overwriting. My original word count was supposed to be around 85,000 words but I was starting to believe the story would really end up being around 110,000 words.  Yeah, that was a big baby. I know. But the real issue with the story was that there was just too much content. All the stuff that was there was needed information told in a way that wasn’t direct exposition. I was introducing too many of my plots at once. So I decided to take a month off from writing. I was supposed to use that time to figure out how to trim down my bloated first act or simplify the entire story.

By October, a very close friend of mine had died. His death was life altering for me because I always felt he was the one that got away. I live in North America and he lived in South America. We met during his high school study abroad experience. We became friends the moment he sat down next to me in French class. We started walking to and from school together because of how close we lived to each other. We became inseparable that year, with all of our inside jokes and shared curiosity.

Over the years, throughout high school and college, we stayed in touch. His death destroyed me because he was my biggest regret. I regretted the fact that I wasn’t brave enough to let him know how I felt when we were younger. By the time we were in college, we’d talked about things and even tried to visit each other once or twice. But he was in med school in Brazil and I was studying film in the U.S.

He was only 21 and cancer had stolen him.

Unbeknownst to him, he had leukemia.

My mother is currently in remission from the same type of cancer that killed him.

He was almost done with medical school.

He’d just delivered his first baby in May 2017. I can still see the photo of him smugly grinning as he carefully cradled a newborn baby; he and his instructor dressed in matching light blue scrubs and hair caps. That image will forever be burned into my mind because it’s the last smiling image I saw of him before the waves of “condolences” and “gone too soons” crashed against my computer screen, sending me into a black hole of depression that made me abandon social media for two weeks and writing for five months.

I failed NaNoWriMo not because I was busy, but because I couldn’t write. I had no creativity left in me. The story was dead. All I could think about was what this world had lost. We’d lost someone who was trying to do something good for the world. We’d lost someone who knew what he wanted to do and how to do it. I’d lost someone I’d loved and I knew I’d loved him because, outside of my father’s death, I’d never felt so hollowed by the news of death.

And so, after five months, I finally seemed to have recharged. For the first time in five months, story ideas are organically germinating in my mind. For the first time in five months, I feel like I have agency in my life and I’m not faking it.

 

Eight Goals For 2018

Hey everyone, welcome to 2018. Another year has come and gone and with the changing of the year, comes new goals and new achievements.

Here are my eight goals for 2018…

1. Lose 30 lbs

I know, I know. It’s a bit cliche but weight loss is a goal of mine this year but until like most people, I have an actual quantitative goal here. Plus, I started my weight loss journey last year when I went from a size 16 to a size 14. I think it’s super important to have an tangible weight or size in mind when trying to lose weight. It makes the process not so mysterious. There are tons of people who want to lose weight and get fit but because their goal is so aloof they never achieve anything because they never have a set goal to reach. I also think it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself when it comes to weight loss. Losing 30 lbs is very doable over the span of a year. It’s actually doable in the span of 3 to 4 months but that requires a lot of dedication and focus.

2. Read More Books

I haven’t read a book for fun in four years. I know, that’s crazy, right? I used to devour books but college killed that for me. I had to do a lot of reading for school, whether it was literary novels, textbooks, screenplays, articles from pretentious scholarly journals, or non-fiction books. By the time I was done with those, I was burned out and didn’t want to do anything but watch movies and television, which wasn’t all bad because that helped me with my studies. But I would like to get back into the habit of reading for fun again, especially genre fiction.

3. Make More Meaningful Connections

I’ve touched on this subject before on the blog. I want to make more friends but I want these relationships to be more meaningful. I’m still young so in theory, it should be easy for me to find people to link up with. But I’m starting to realize not all friendships are genuine. Sure, I was aware that there are some friendships that exist purely out of envy. This is where you get the frenemies complex. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I went through a lot of personal stuff last year and when I really needed people to lean on, the people I considered my closest friends didn’t even reach out. It was the first time in a long time that I honestly felt like I was alone and I was really hurt by it all because I’m usually the emotional support in my group of friends. To know I couldn’t receive that same support, especially when I rarely ask for it, made me see my friends in a very different light. And so, developing more meaningful connections is a major goal of mine for 2018.

4. Write More

This one is very self-explanatory. At the beginning of each year, I always set a goal for myself in regards to the amount or types of creative pieces I create. This year, I would like to write at least two novels and a screenplay. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. As long as I keep to my deadlines, this should be pretty achievable. I just have to stay motivated and plan accordingly.

5. Take A Trip

I’m really trying to focus on saving money this year, so I don’t plan on doing a lot of travel but I would like to take at least one trip this year.

6. Take More Chances

I’m a pretty cautious person. I’ll even admit to being an overthinker but this year, I would like to put myself out there more. You know, engage in some crazy activity and be more socially adventurous especially since my physical location isn’t going to change much this year. This also goes hand in hand with developing more meaningful relationships. I really want to have a more exciting social life. I sometimes feel like I’m all work and no play. I want to change that.

7. Find A Job

Well, actually, I have a job but it’s not in my degree field which is understandable because I have a scriptwriting degree and I don’t live in California or a very big city for that matter. St. Louis is a hub for start-up companies that relocate the moment they get enough funding. We’re not a bustling city and the only work I could probably find St. Louis with my scriptwriting degree would be in theatre because we actually have a decent theatre scene here, but I dislike writing stageplays. The world is cruel and full of irony.m, I know. After some serious thought, I realize I’m selling myself short. Sure, my degree focuses primarily on writing for film and television but I also had to take the same core curriculum as the students that majored in journalism, public relations, and mass communications. If I can’t find a screenwriting position in St. Louis, maybe I should search for a job in one of the related industries.

8. Stop Doubting Myself

This is a big one for myself and it’s also going to be the hardest to achieve for several reasons. It’s easy to achieve goals such as travel, writing, or job hunting but it’s much harder to achieve goals that depend solely on your inner self. There is nothing I can work towards. Nothing I can plan. Nothing I can save for. This is a goal that has to be achieved based solely on my ability to believe in myself.