J is for Jared #AtoZChallenge

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I know what you’re thinking. “She could have picked a more writerly-centered topic for J—like anything writing-related.” You’re both right and wrong.

This post is about the people who love us, encourage us, and hold us accountable.

I love Jared more than anything. We’ve been together just over a year, and he’s been an absolute freight train of encouragement for me. When we first started dating, he stalked every possible corner and crevice of social media for what I might be like as a person, and discovered my (then intermittent) writing on Goggles & Lace.

Being creative is cool, but, let’s face it, some of us are a little less than motivated when we’re feeling inadequate. If you’re like me, the more you have to do, the less likely you are to do it, and you just sort of pill-bug into blanket burrito and binge watch something you have tepid feelings about on Netflix for 77 hours. It’s not pretty, but that’s real life. I’m all about the bloggers and creatives that are all “PRODUCTIVITY AND CONQUEST!” Hell yes. I totally agree! Productivity and conquest… hypothetically. I want to be productive, and that’s a fact. I want to be able to power through novel after novel and edit a thousand things before lunch, but you know what? Depression and inadequacy are intensely real feelings, and sometimes it’s just hard to push past them.

In my last post, I talked about investing time and love into the things and people that mean the most to you. That’s still true. I mean that with every fiber of myself. Make those people feel loved and valued, especially if they reciprocate. It’s easy to drain yourself on people who don’t give a flying monkey fart whether you fail or succeed. Hell, I even have a few friends who are like, “Oh, damn. That’s too bad,” but are definitely feeling a little victorious over my failures. Whatever. You can’t make those people your priority.

Jared came to me at a time in my life when I was considering giving up. I tried to restart Goggles & Lace and move my career forward, but I didn’t have the emotional capacity to invest that love in my work.

And you know what?

Sometimes I’m just lazy.

There. I said it. I’m sometimes just like, “I want to eat mac & cheese straight out of the pot while not wearing any pants and watch Young Justice for the fortieth time.” (Also, when I say “sometimes,” I really mean “usually.”)

We all need someone to help us combat that feeling. There are great benefits to having that one person look at your writing and call you out on things! Seriously, I encourage you to sit down and make a list of things that your person is great about when it comes to your creative ventures. Then I encourage you to give them that list in some form or other. Here’s mine, for example:

  • Jared calls me out on my bullshizzle science. Science and math are his things, so when I’m writing science fiction and something doesn’t mesh, I definitely hear about it. I can ask things like “I need a sustainable off-the-grid energy source” and he can list me options and tell me how they work. I love it. It gives me jumping off points for further research.
  • He says things like, “So, how’s Amity Dawn coming?” because he knows when I’m not writing and it shames me into getting my butt into gear.
  • Jared is a reader, not a writer, so if I ask advice, I won’t get it the way he would write it. He tells me what he’d like strictly as a reader. I love it.
  • When I get into a really great writing groove, when I’m done, he wants to hear about it. He treats me like my writing matters, and you have no idea how much that helps. Even if he’s never read it.
  • “I need a bigger space for planning,” led to him securing me a 24×36 inch whiteboard for our wall.
  • He’s BUILDING ME A COMPUTER so I can do creative things, work, and… you know… also play games. The laptop is great, but it’s not a practical work space for me anymore, and he recognized that. He’s a godsend.

The bottom line is, it’s important to have someone who understands your needs, period. As a writer or artist, those needs are just a bit more niche than they might be if you were doing something else. Praise the people who care enough about you to treat you like your work matters.

Battle on. ❤

I is for Investment #AtoZChallenge

Where you invest your love-You Invest your life

When people think of investments, they tend to think of money, I think. At least, I did for a long time. Coming from a family who struggled financially my entire life was difficult, and everything I did or wanted to do was always put into categories of financial manageability. There were many years I went without school pictures or activities, was too afraid to be a strain on the family by asking for anything beyond basic necessity, and stayed away from social activities that would cost money.

My mother was fantastic, of course. She got me a class ring, tickets to every semi-formal and prom, bought my dresses, and managed to scrape together what I needed for field trips so I wouldn’t miss out. We were always fed and always had a roof over our heads, which is more than so many people get. I’m not complaining about my life up until this point. I’ve had a good life, though a hard one, and it’s taught me a lot. Hell, I didn’t even go to college until I was 28 because I was terrified of the crippling debt. The words “I don’t know, that’s a lot of money,” defined my life. When I heard them, regardless of who was saying it or their intention, whatever I was planning was pushed aside and I went back to school or work, deciding I wouldn’t be able to do it anyway.

Over the years, though, I’ve learned that money isn’t the only investment. Sure, investment and financial responsibility will take a person a long way in life, but it’s not the end all and be all.

Investments also consist of time, passion, attention, and love.

  • You wind up finding the people that become your tribe. The people that encourage you, no matter what the cost. If you want it, if you need it, you’ll find a way. Those are the relationships you invest everything into—it’s not about money. Family is important, but family isn’t just the small unit of people you were born into; it’s the group of people you build for yourself. Whether they’re permanent or transient, they’re the people who touch you, and investing time, attention, and love into those relationships, however brief, can change you for the better. I’ve learned this pretty intensely, after moving so damn much in my life. Not everyone sticks around, and that’s okay, but don’t let that connection mean nothing.
  • You find your passion(s). I love writing. I love working with creative people and helping them to become better at what they do. Investing passion into those things can be hard sometimes, since they don’t pay the bills just yet, but they add more to life than the “Well, I can’t afford to do that” moments. It’s not monetarily expensive to love something, but it’s more rewarding than fat bank account. (The bank account helps, I’m sure. I mean, we all like to eat, but think bigger picture for me, yeah?)
  • You will find love. I’m not saying romantic love, necessarily, but you’ll find love. Sometimes it seems bleak and lonely, and it’s hard to put in the effort to find people like you, who enjoy the same things you do, but you’ll find them. Hell, maybe you will find romantic love, which is great! My greatest hope for you, though, is that you find love in yourself and in being alone. You’re of value all on your own. Not just as a friend or a girl/boyfriend or wife/husband. You’re worth your own love more than the love of anyone else, and that’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes. Invest in self-love!

The point is, invest in the things that matter. Invest in yourself. Invest in health and awareness and love. Invest in the people that speak to your soul. Invest in your art and your writing and your music.

You’re the creative. You’re the ones who keep emotions stirring and that’s what keeps the world turning.

Battle on. ❤

What would you add to the list? What have you invested in that propelled you forward?

H is for Hopes and Aspirations #AtoZChallenge


Seems like the “this is what I want out of my career” posts are popular lately. Truth is, I want to be a published author. Big shock, yeah? I know. Pick your jaw up off of the floor, please. Your spit is leaking on the carpet.

That’s not all I want to do, though. My big goal is to become an editor for a publishing house. I want to get paid for making people’s work better and showing them how to improve their writing. But I don’t want to teach. Seriously. Teaching looks awful. Freelancing is okay, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

I love knowing that a writer can come to me at any point and ask me to work with them to improve their baby, the work of art only they could bring into this world.

I love taking a manuscript and being able to make little notes here and there, praising the author’s word choice or imagery.

I love knowing that those who come to me for a true run-through of their manuscript understand that I will not praise what needs work, but I will never tell them it’s bad. It’s never bad. It’s never hopeless. I can help you fix it. It’s what I’m here for.

My hope is simply to get paid consistently for doing this. I love what I do and I want to be able to afford to keep doing it. I’ve got a bit to go, about a year, left in my degree program, but hopefully I can snag a job someday.  Retail and customer service aren’t my forever-job. Ideally? I want to be traveling the world and editing and writing and just being a rootless wanderer. ❤ I’m broke, though.

What are your hopes and aspirations? Don’t be humble! What do you want out of your career? What would you do if you could do anything?

G is for Gumpathon! #AtoZChallenge

Alright! Back in February 2013, I put together a writing challenge called the Gumpathon! It’s a 30-day challenge, not unlike the NaNoWriMo events, that encourages writers to finish off any drafts they’ve started! If you have a single novel you need to hammer out, just want to throw together a short story anthology, or have a handful of projects that don’t exactly have endings, THE GUMP IS FOR YOU!

But you know what else? I’m expanding it this year. I want to include all creatives in our little Gumpathon. Artists, finish that painting, sculpture, or installation you’ve been working on! Musicians, spin us something beautiful! Crafters, crochet an afghan! Put all of your vacation photos from last year into a scrapbook! Sew that skirt!

So, here’s how it’s going to be. I can provide the writing side of this, but if you think the crafting, arting, etc community should have some guidelines of its own, suggest some! My contact page is above, or you can just post on my Facebook wall! Let’s complete the guidelines so we can make this a yearly tradition, right?

Awesome. So, here are the writing rules:

The Rules:

  1.  Set your own goal and stick to it. No flip-flopping. Pick a word count you want to achieve within the month, and make it happen.
  2.  The write-a-thon starts at midnight on 1 May 2016. To clarify, you shoulduse a novel or project you’ve already started!  You just cannot count anything prior tothe start date.
  3.  All word counts must be reported by 31 May 2016, 11:59:59 PM. You can do this on the Gumpathon Facebook page or the Kit MacConnell Facebook page! We don’t have an actual site for the Gumpathon yet, but that may change in the future.

If anyone has any ideas for rules or even rewards, feel free to pitch them.  And if any non-Gumpers want to be a part of the community, check us out on Facebook: Writers with Gumption!

E is for Excitement #AtoZChallenge

Coming off of Monday’s let-down was rough. I spent months preparing for that job, wanting it, being positive, crafting a hell of a set of application answers, the whole nine. The “you’re amazing and we’re sorry we couldn’t accept you” email, while cordial and warm and still very thoughtfully put together, hit me like a brick wall. I guess I never expected that I wouldn’t get the position. I worked so hard to be what this company needed—but you know what? This should be a lesson in “you are enough.” Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Just because they didn’t pick me doesn’t mean I’m “less than” the other applicants. It just means I wasn’t the right fit.

It’s okay to “not fit.”

Being a unique human being is hard sometimes. You want to shine and be seen and make a difference, but I guess… so doesn’t everyone. That’s okay, though. That job may be in the future for me, and I will reapply when the time is right.

For now? I got a job! I can leave the print-hell that is OfficeMax and work customer service from home! Why is this better, you ask? Because I don’t have to get yelled at face-to-face on the daily, and I don’t have to stop production on large-scale print jobs just so I can get yelled at face-to-face by a total stranger. Sure, it’s still customer service and I will still be getting yelled at and blamed for all of the world’s problems, but I won’t have the weight of a dozen printing projects, five other employees, and a breakdown of communication settled on my shoulders at the same time. The first two years of that position was great. I wasn’t always exclusively print, either, so I suppose it broke things up a bit. It wasn’t until this past January that I stopped being able to deal with the growing drama at another store I was shipped to.

Besides, now I can be home to cook for my other half when he gets home from his strenuous OfficeMax day.

For a writing blog, I’ve written very little about writing the last week or so. Lots of changes in the wind!

How are your spring and summer seasons shaping up?

D is for Disappointment #AtoZChallenge

I woke up this morning to a very polite email telling me I was not picked to interview for the job I wanted. I’ve been trying to spin this into something positive for the last 6 hours—maybe it just means I can focus more on my writing, maybe I can put more effort into school and consider getting my masters, maybe I can work harder honing my graphic design skills.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Fact is, I should have been doing those things all along. I put all of my eggs into one basket over the last few months and it didn’t pan out. Everyone keeps telling me to stay positive and not let it get me down. “These things take time.” What things? Getting a job? You know what? Sometimes it feels good to be negative.

Sometimes it feels damn good to wallow in self-pity.

I work in an industry where my time and skills are undervalued because we’re conditioned to believe that we’re not worth anything, that retail isn’t a real job.

Well, food, retail, and the service industry in general, have been meagerly paying my bills for thirteen years. To everyone who keeps telling people aiming higher than $9 per hour that they should be grateful they even have a job, I have a few choice words for you. They mostly involve self-fornication, though, so we’ll keep them quiet.

Of course I’m grateful to be employed, but I, we, shouldn’t have to be grateful to be treated like garbage and then ‘tsked’ at when our plans to be better fall through.

Sometimes it feels good to be disappointed and angry and negative.

I’m not saying it’s good to stay that way, but today? Today, I need to be disappointed.

Tomorrow will be better.

Battle on.

C is for Creative Encouragement #AtoZChallenge

C! I’m running behind, I know. The thing is, with C, I really wanted to reshare something I experienced last year; something that would stress the importance of fostering creativity in the kids hitting the terrible school systems we’ve left behind. So, here it is:

Kids freak me out. I realize that makes me weird and unrelatable, but it’s a fact. I tend to talk to them like they’re tiny adults, and it doesn’t always go over well. (For instance, my sister and nephews lived with me for a short time, and, one day, out of nowhere, Caeleb, four-years-old at the time, bursts out with a pretty emphatic and frustration-fueled “Jesus Christ!” My sister instantly turned and glared at me. “He got that from you, you know,” she said, before appropriately disciplining her son and stressing that ” we don’t repeat the bad things auntie says.”) I just don’t relate well to kids–or maybe that’s not true. Maybe I relate too well to kids and the results are mostly just me totally getting what it means to be a kid and mentally devolving into exactly that.

I don’t know. I’m not a psychologist.

Punchline: I don’t “get” kids. Or parents. Or parenting.

Fade In: OfficeMax print center on June 5th.

This sweet German woman had been coming in off and on all day yesterday, handing me this cute little book her six-year-old granddaughter made. She wrote it and illustrated it herself, and even spelled words correctly and used certain words in correct context that six-year-olds typically don’t have a great grasp on. It was impressive, and the drawings were super cute. “Animals Small Stories,” it’s called, and it’s comprised of three stories, each a few sentences long, about a turtle, a bunny, and a koala. The grandmother raved about the little girl’s intense love of writing and drawing, and wanted to give copies to everyone in the family.

That’s impressive. I remember being about six and writing my first story about a little girl named Mara. I can’t recall exactly what it was about, but I wish my mother had kept it. It was a nostalgic thing.

Anyway, the final time the woman came in, she brought the little girl with her. They played while I made copies, and all you could hear throughout the whole store was the little girl’s hysterical laughter while she and her grandmother passed the time. When I was through, I handed the books over, and I asked the little girl, “Did you write this story?”

“Yes,” she said, ducking a bit behind her grandmother and tugging a bit at the little bow holding her hair in a ponytail at the top of her head.

“Well,” I said, leaning down and thumbing through the book, “I think your story is really good and your drawings are awesome. Are you going to make more books like this one?”

She edged out from behind her grandmother and leaned a little on the counter, fidgeting slightly. “Maybe. I think so.”

“Yeah? You should. This is really good. And when you’re done, you should bring them here so I can read them. I’ll make you more copies and you can tell me all about them, okay?”

“Yeah, okay.” She was beaming. It was probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen in my entire goddamn life. Next, though, she turned and whispered to her grandmother as I was ringing them up and bagging the books.

The woman laughed. “She wants us to make a copy for you, too!”

Again, probably the sweetest thing in the entire history of sweet things. I made a copy for myself and stapled the spine like the others, before sliding it across the counter. “You need to sign it now,” I said. “When you’re famous, I’ll get to show everyone. Can you sign it for me?”

And she did. Scrawled her name right across the back cover (she didn’t want to write near the drawings so I could look at them) and capped the pen like a little pro. I now have a copy of a Chloe F. original.

Moral of the story? Encourage little kids in their creative efforts. A little girl, hiding behind her grandma, totally came out of her shell and gave me a copy of something she created because she got some encouragement from a stranger.

A little kindness goes a long way.

Battle on! ❤

B is for Bathys #AtoZChallenge

I’ll bet you thought I was going to say “books,” didn’t you? Well, joke’s on you. Books are awesome. I love reading and writing and smelling them like a creep, but I feel like this lends a certain predictability to my life to be talking about them on the B-themed post. So, maybe I’ll be predictable for you next year.

For now, B is for Bathys.

Bathysmal: adjective – \bəˈthizməl\

: of or relating to the bottom of the deeper parts of the sea, especially those parts between 100 and 1000 fathoms deep 1

Today is about world building, at least to some degree. I’ve been working hard on Amity Dawn, trying to catch up and hash out the mess I made for myself in my previous outline. Sometimes it’s nice to escape the work-in-progress and make notes on other things. Bathys is just a place with no real substance, yet. I needed the break from the obsessing about Kadri and her crew, and fiddling with world building that doesn’t involve my current world seemed like the thing to do.

And, you know what I decided I needed? An underwater city that housed a semi-aquatic race of people. Those people have not entered the developmental stage, yet, though. It’s more the location. You’ve got your Greek allegory for hubris and a challenge of the power of the gods in Atlantis. Then there’s the cartoon version of Atlantis that seemed more… Aztec? I dunno. Milo was cool, though. I guess I just want to pull away from the “sunken city” aspect of ocean-dwelling people.

Remember, though, this is for fun. I may not even write about it. Bathys should be a cultural mix, I think. Maybe rooted in Greek culture, but overall, I feel like it should be a hub of awesome. Trade and art and understanding. I want Middle Eastern and Asian elements that are kind of draped through the Greek backdrop.

I’m not really discussing much, here. I just needed a sounding board. So, for now, B is for Bathys and I needed this post for my creative sanity.

What are you working on? Any extreme world building going on for the #AtoZChallenge or Camp NaNoWriMo?

 

 

 

  1. “Bathysmal | Definition of Bathysmal by Merriam-Webster,” Dictionary and Thesaurus | Merriam-Webster, accessed April 9, 2016, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bathysmal.

A is for Amity Dawn #AtoZChallenge

Funny story. I’ve been crazy sick for about a week and a half now, and haven’t actually managed to get a damn spot of writing done in that time. It’s put me behind in Camp NaNoWriMo and in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. I’ve had little time and mental capacity to prepare for either, so here is a quick shot into Day 1 of the writing challenge.

A is for Amity Dawn.

This novel is one I’ve been working on for years now. I started it before I started going back to school and before I accepted a full-time position with OfficeMax, and, because of those life-improving hindrances, I’ve gotten a whole shitload of nothing done. Amity Dawn has been on the back burner for so long, it’s nauseating, and­­­ I’m ready to wrap it up.

This is where Camp NaNoWriMo comes in. I’ve never won a Camp event. I’ve been participating steadily since Camp began, but it just doesn’t have the competitive edge that the core NaNoWriMo event has. It feels less imperative to win. Then again, I’m probably just lacking any sort of self-discipline. I need to buckle down. I now have beta-readers on a chapter-by-chapter basis, and Boyfriend, light of my life, likes to poke at me to see that I’m meeting quota. He’s a doll.

All in all, though, with Amity Dawn as my biggest project to date, I think I could use that poking. From him, from my betas, from anyone who wants to give it. At least until I can fall into the groove of writing habitually again. I’ve come a bit off track.

This post isn’t structured. It’s not about keeping on topic or on task, but about coming back to something I love. A love that writing for a degree and writing for other people has pulled me away from. Well, not anymore.

Amity Dawn follows a strong female lead with problems that pull her off track and try to take her away from what’s important. It’s something I’m identifying with more and more. I’ve found her relationship with the double-agent and I’ve touched her emotional turmoil with the political climate. I’ve even found the good in her that she didn’t think existed anymore—or at all. I’ve found a deeper vein of humanity in my main character than I expected even existed, and now I think I’m ready.

Out of the whole mess of being sick this week and the last two years of “I’m too busy to really love anything,” I think I’ve been given what I need to complete this project in a satisfactory way. At least, in a way that I can mold into something greater.

Battle on! ❤