Philosophy By Christy

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Camp NaNo - April & July 2020

April & July 2019 Camp NaNo

Camp NaNo April 2019


There are many struggles in life, but for me, sometimes it's finding the words to place onto the page. Writing is away to create new worlds, explore, and experience so many different emotions. Also to tell stories that matter. With reading we learn not only to write, but certain stories and characters will change us through out our lives. A proud Greek Latina. I’m Christy from South Texas.

*Header Image of Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) from BBC America’s Doctor Who

Blog Tour 2015

April Session

April 2017

September 2020
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Camp NaNo Winner 2020 -> Now Querying

Camp NaNoWriMo Winner – April & July 2020

If you haven’t been following my updates on my social media, or on my NaNoWriMo profile, I’ve won again during Camp NaNoWriMo 2020. In April, I won by completing 30 poems in 30 days for NaPoWriMo during the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo this year. This July, I revised my novel (that I completed in 2019) for the third time and won on the 19th with the goal of revising 50,000 words.

It really helped that I had good feedback to revise certain areas, but I still went through all the chapters to see if there was anything I could improve or add to enhance the story. Originally when I completed the story is was under 50,000 words. Not only did I add aspects throughout, but also a new chapter at the end. This final chapter really gives the story a better ending. After revising, I decided to submit to an unpublished novel contest, and start querying.

I will not know the result of the contest until October or November. So I pushed towards creating all the materials and fine tuning them for sending out queries to literary agents. I want to try out my options, before I go towards self-publishing, as I really want this book to be published. Even if I don’t publish this novel traditionally, I still plan on trying to traditionally publish in the future. I’ve even been thinking about what I’ll write next as I wait for responses. While I’m not thinking about my next story, I’m reading, and a bit of watching TV/Film/Web Series, from a writer’s perspective to improve my craft.

From the first batch of queries, I’ve received the first half back with rejections in a week. I’m still waiting on the second half. It seems likely I will received responses next Month, or no response back from them. Next month, or by September, I’ll send out another batch, determining on which agents are open for queries. The best part of the querying experience so far is being part of the #AmQuerying community on Twitter. I’m able to see how everyone is progressing, or struggling, which makes us realize we’re not alone, and also respond and follow fellow writers. Additionally, if agents have Twitter, it helps to see their updates as you wait for their response.

I also enjoy being part of the #WritingCommunity on Twitter as well, for similar reasons. I’ve enjoyed helping out my local writing group South Texas Scribes create a Camp NaNoWriMo group on the site so we could see our progress and support each other. The best win is that I’ve found ways to support fellow writers this month, while progressing on my own work, and knowing who supports me, because they’re always cheering me on and giving me good advice.

While I’ll be busy next month with querying, working on my next project, improving my craft, and working my amazing jobs, I still want to keep updating my blog as much as I can. It’s hard to be consistent with it, but I’ll try my best, especially if I have something to share. Take care, stay safe, and keep writing. Thanks for all the support.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2020: Revision Progress

Photo by Christy V.

One of my favorite authors Jo Whittemore mentioned, recently on Twitter, a quote from Margaret Atwood that she found insightful with revision: “Revision means re-vision. You’re seeing it anew. And quite frequently when you’re doing that, you see possibilities you didn’t see before…” It’s helped me at the start of Camp NaNoWriMo, where I’m taking the opportunity to use this month’s session to revise my novel for the third time for publication instead of creating something new.

Originally I had plans to write an update last week as I got started with Camp NaNoWriMo, but I took the opportunity to enjoy my birthday weekend at home and also on my novel. I’m already flying past 10,000 words revised, thanks to feedback from my friend and co-worker that has made me view my novel anew. You can see my progress on the NaNoWriMo website throughout this month, where I’m also interacting with fellow local writers and getting motivation. Normally, I focus on the big aspects first but those were going to take more time. So I did the small things that I could quickly complete first and that made it easier to focus on the big things that would take time. Just a reminder, everyone has a different way to write, and revise, even writers change their own setups over time. I’m thankful that most of things that I need to improve have been easy. I believe that comes from all the planning I did before I started writing the novel.

I started planning out my novel with figuring out my idea in my journal. So paper and pen, and then I moved towards the computer to really detail my plans with figuring out the story, the characters, the timeline, and the setting of certain areas. So that helped make the story have a solid foundation. My first revision focused on making sure everything worked. I did most of it on my own. I only received feedback on the first chapter, and had a friend read a few chapters. It gave me enough to view my novel with a different perspective, but with this second revision, I received feedback on the full novel, and it really provided me an idea what works and what needed to be improved.

Since I checked off almost everything early on, I’m focusing on adding more details with the characters, the setting, and a bit more on certain aspects that happen in the story. With this feedback, I’m going through each chapter with my manuscript in a Google Doc, where it outlines per chapter and move around easily, and keeping track the short synopsis of each chapter and word counts by chapter and full manuscript with each draft on a Google Spreadsheet. My system works for me, but like I mentioned before, there might be a better version for you. You’ve got to experiment and continue to do so.

I’ll do my best to update my progress in the next few weeks. I’m determined to win the upcoming unpublished novel contest for a chance to get published. Submissions are due in September. I think I’ll get everything done in time with my progress so far. Keep me motivated with your support. I really appreciate all the support from my incredible team that always makes me a better writer.

Plans for Camp NaNoWriMo – July Session 2020

From NaNoWriMo logo for Camp NaNoWriMo 2020

The writer’s job is never done. I’m working on getting my novel (drafted last year) published, but with recent rejections have made me realized that it needs more revision. So I found a good friend and co-worker willing to provide me feedback for revision. I will use this feedback to work on revising my novel during Camp NaNoWriMo’s July 2020 session. As I do so, I plan to update my blog weekly of my progress, and maybe share some creative writing, if I’m able to. Keep track of my progress here. It might not share much on my blog next month, as I want to focus on revision, but I want you all to keep me accountable. I look forward to your support.

July is also my birthday month. The first Friday is my birthday. So I’ll likely update on the first Saturday of my progress, and the next weeks either Friday or Saturday. One of the things I want for my birthday is to get my novel published. I will do all that can next month to make that happen. Camp NaNoWriMo offers winners a discount for Book Pipeline’s 2020 Unpublished contest. I’ve already won the discount for Camp NaNoWriMo – April 2020. This led me to focus my energy on this contest as way to get my novel published. The deadline to submit is September 5, 2020. A few friends of mine suggest that this is a good idea. I’m very hopeful. Even if it doesn’t work out, I’ll have a better manuscript and synopsis to work with towards publishing. Either traditionally or self-publish. No matter what I want this novel published, and move towards publishing more of my writing.

I will focus on revising the big aspects on my novel first, and then focus on smaller aspects or by chapters second. The feedback I’ve received so far suggest that I have to make my synopsis clearer, and expand my novel through plot development and the characters. It isn’t a major rewrite of the whole novel, but the minor revision and edits will make a difference on how readers process my novel. I look forward to receiving the feedback at the end of this month. This feedback will provide me a blueprint towards my revising during Camp NaNoWriMo – July 2020. Since I have a bit more time in the summer, I’ll able to focus more on my writing. After revising and editing, I plan to focus on what I can work on next. Hopefully one of them will be another novel, but I want to keep my options open. I am determined to continue to focus on my writing for the rest of the year and beyond.

Stay tuned to my blog for the latest updates on my writing as well as any possible creative writing I decide to share. I truly appreciate all the support, especially by those who are part of my team.

A Story For You: Writing Gifts

Photo / Drawing by Christy V.

Mary Shelley wrote her novel Frankenstein because of a ghost-story competition within a literary group. In many cases, we get inspired to write different stories for many reasons. Sometimes we reveal what inspired us and other times we let the audience figure it out. Recently, I was trying to figure out what gifts I could give to friends of mine for their birthdays. I thought about writing short stories for them. They challenged me to write stories that were inspired by them in some way. During the week that I’m sending their gifts, I felt like sharing how creating these gifts also inspired me to step up my writing skills.

I’m thankful to have friends in my life that support me and my writing. So it was special to write two short stories as a way to show my gratitude for their support and especially their friendship. It started off with thinking about ideas that they were interested in, and connected with me. Once I had some ideas, I narrowed down those ideas to plan out how I would write out the short stories. I wrote some notes and drew this mermaid, which is a hint to one of my stories, in my journal. Then I started typing out the stories into Google Docs.

One of the stories came to me really quickly, but I realized that both would delve into ideas that mattered. I find that I’ve been doing more stories like that lately, and I enjoy doing so. Some thing that Jeremy Jordan inspired me to become a better writer, and led me to my friends. I did a bit research, and started writing out the first story that seemed to flow out of me, which included mermaids. I did a bit of revision and editing afterwards, but I felt good with it. I look forward to sending it soon. The second story took a bit more time to write and revise. It was closer to reality and I wanted to write it the best way I could. I had to do a bit more planning after I had originally planned to get a better idea of what would happen. I’m thankful it turned out better than I expected.

All you can do with writing is do your best, and hope it is received well. Even though my friends are supportive, I still wanted them to get my best work. Keeping them in mind, made writing these stories a different experience because normally you don’t know who your audience is, but you can imagine it. I brought in ideas that made me think of them too, which made the writing personalized. I hope someday to share these short stories in some way, but I’m glad that I was able to write them for my friends as birthday gifts. Thank you to them for helping me to be a better writer, and inspire me to keep improving on my craft. Most of all, thank you for being my friend. I wouldn’t be me without you. Check back next week as I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo’s July session.

Moving Forward With Writing

Credit: Canva.com

Two rejections of my novel, and I’m moving forward. I know my novel is worth publishing. I’ve always known the power of writing. In recent years, as well as this year, I’ve realized that I’ve grown as a writer because I’ve realized how much writing can make an impact.

It can empower. It gives voice to what we believe matters, and what is right. It gives us a chance to express how we feel and what we struggle. We can demand change for the better. We have the power make our words make a difference. It’s up to us.

Everything we do, we have a chance to change from the way we were before. That’s what writing is also powerful. We have the chance to look at our words each time and see what we can do to make it stronger. We can realize our faults and move with understanding.

I’ve realized that even though I enjoy stories that explore a new world. I rather have stories that bring a message that impacts. It’s something that connects. We can’t make that happen if we don’t keep moving forward to tell stories, and take risks towards sharing our writing.

I know I’m privileged. I have so many opportunities, especially for my writing. I am willing to wait. I’m thankful to know people that are willing to help me improve, including my novel. When I do get published, I want to be able to amplify others, but I know I can do that today. There are many voices that aren’t given a chance to be heard.

How do we move forward? We have to plan and make steps forward. We have to support others when we can. Be thankful for every victory. Even setbacks will teach us to grow. Do what you can to focus on your goals that will lead towards success. We all have we need within.

The Path of Passion

Credit: Canva.com

One of Meg Cabot’s characters advised in her latest book, ‘No Judgments’: “Find what it is you love to do, and then do that thing as much as you can… That really is the meaning of life.” This quote really impacted me this week. Last year, I learned how valuable it was to follow the path that worked the best for me. It led me to better jobs, but also a revival with my writing. I have always loved writing, but I felt I had finally found more time to focus on my writing, and took a different approach to improve my skills, especially storytelling. I made the decision to make my writing more a priority. I’m working towards making progress towards becoming a full-time published author. Writing is my passion, especially creative writing. I don’t want to stop.

I’ve found what I love to do. I want to write as much as I can. Passion has led me here. I believe passion led you here as well. Now that we have found what we love, what do we do now? That is where we have to put in the effort as much as possible, even if it feels like there is no time in the day. This is why the pomodoro technique is helpful. Focus on your writing for 25 minutes, even if you don’t write for another sprint, you’ve written something today. It’s helpful to do several of these writing sprints a day whenever you feel you have a short amount of time, or you need to focus on what you’re working on, even revising. After the sprint, you can take a short break, and come back later. Another aspect that can help is to plan ahead. I don’t mean every aspect, but the big ideas written down. It provides a map for you to figure out what to do as you’re writing and revising. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, even meditating and journaling before you start can get your mind focused on the task ahead. There are different tips and suggestions, but remember we’re all unique, and we are continuing to grow. So you need to figure out what works for you. At the end of the day, it’s about making progress with your writing.

I’ve been inspired lately not only with my novel, but to write short stories for two friends of mine. I don’t know what I plan on doing with the stories after they read them, but it’s been a wonderful adventure coming up with the ideas and bringing them to life. It’s another reminder how much it matters to me to find stories that people want to read and worth reading. Even though I’m writing with them in mind, I have found that I’m expanding my writing skills. So it isn’t only a gift for them, but for me. I look forward to having them read the stories. It also helps to be working on these stories as I wait for news on my novel. I have found it’s important for me to keep writing. It is what makes my life worthwhile. I hope writing, including mine, impacts you to keep doing what you love and bring meaning to life.

The Value of Taking Risks

My journal open and ready for writing. – Photo by Christy

Jeremy Jordan once said, “A risk isn’t a tiny step, it’s a leap. A leap blindfolded while having a parachute ready to go if need be.” He continued by talking about how reaching a bit outside our comfort zone every day will help us grow and change us. I’ve taken leaps in different ways in my life, but thankfully they have lead me to grow. When things weren’t working out in my life, I made changes. When I realized what I needed to do to reach my dreams, I took chances and made them come true. Taking risks isn’t easy. We don’t know what will happen when we take that leap. It’s like when Jeremy has talked about with auditions. He doesn’t play it safe. He brings all that he’s got, and hopes for the best. It’s something that can be applied to with life, but also with writing. You can’t hold yourself back from letting your writing reach it’s full potential. Sometimes holding back can be the negative tapes that you’ve allowed to run through your mind, and other times it’s not making the steps towards submitting your work.

It can be scary. Not as much as being fearful of physical dangers. That fear or doubt can stop you from being the best version you can be, and especially the best writer you could be. You have to stop comparing your work to others, and reminding yourself that you’re unique and have the power to improve. You can’t let the thoughts that others might think that you’re impatient and quick to submit your work. There is no rule that applies to everyone with writing. No matter what anyone says. If you’re ready, you need to take that risk, even if it means that you learn that you needed more time. Most of all remember, the best writers have already had years ahead of you and teams to work with. Even their work that they submit isn’t perfect, it’s the best that they can do and they are willing to work with others to improve it. So what do you do? Some cases it’s taking an effort each day to meditate and journal out your thoughts before getting started. In other ways, it is accepting you’ve done the best that you can do, and taking that chance because you never know what will happen.

I’ve submitted something recently that I’ve been working on for awhile, but recently put in a lot of effort to revise and edit to make it ready to submit. I’ve grown to enjoy not only the process of writing, but also refining my work. Especially more so when I create a deadline for myself. It pushes me to get more done and take chances. When I submitted, I felt it was the best that I could do on my own (with a bit of feedback). I still feel that way. I’ve realized that every time I’ve submitted something, I’m proud of what I’ve written, but I know with more help, I can make it even better. The act of submitting my work will provide me more feedback, but most of all, I hope to receive more help towards accomplishing my dreams. We need to be open to feedback and assistance because eventually even writers need a team, filled with supporters and people wiling to put in the effort.

I’m thankful for the team that I have so far, but I know needs to expand. I hope others will be willing to take the risk to help me become the best writer I can be. If you know me, you know I love this quote, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” The best team is always there to support you and work with you to make incredible things happen. Stay tuned. I hope to share good news soon. In the meantime, I plan to create more blog posts. Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far in my writer’s journey.

30 Poems, 30 Days 2020: New Normal (Day 30)

Credit: Canva.com

When we return, we’ll be in the new normal

Let’s not rush there yet until it’s safe

We’ve lost too much already

It will take planning, work, and time

I believe it will be worth it when we do

We can see the changes now

A lot of people being more cautious

Technology used for good more than ever

We need it to educate, work remote, and connect

Yet not everyone has access and we must change that

Our new normal means wearing masks until a vaccine

Social distancing is the key, as much as we can

We can’t be part of intermission forever

So we need to create space in each building

Blended learning could be an educational revolution

We’ll need to be creative to change how we work

We can’t go back to the way things were

Only look back to the past to see all we’ve overcome

That even our difficulties lead us to victories

That even we cannot imagine yet

I’ve studied enough history and stories to know

We’ll find a new normal that changes the future

It’s up to all of us taking the best steps forward

I believe it will lead to better chapters ahead

By Christy V.

30 Poems, 30 Days: Lucky (Day 29)

Credit: Canva.com

He was fortunate to find a home at my aunt’s place

As time has passed details have drifted away

As my aunt’s life changed for the good

He had to find a new home

Before then when my aunt and uncle were away

I found myself making sure Lucky was okay

Did he have everything he needed?

As if I was serving a king

Even as a noblewoman, I still had some power

Nothing like my mother who’s anger he understood

He was mischievous when he was alone

He knew he was free to do as he pleased

Knocking things down or making a mess on the floor

But he knew he was fortunate to have a caring home

Everyone enjoyed his charming presence

When he wanted to be around others and pampered

Always there when we needed a bit of self-care

I wish my aunt had been able to keep him forever

As he was the only true pet I’ve ever cared for

As I was never given a pet like a cat, or a dog, as

My dad will never let me forget what happened to the fish

And insist that we still don’t have the space

But I know now Lucky wasn’t free

It would cost me a lot to have one like him

Even though he rested everywhere almost all the time

Maybe someday I’ll have a pet worth the cost

For now I’ll do my best to remember

One of the best, as Lucky will always be favored

By Christy V.

30 Poems, 30 Days 2020: Writing Zone (Day 28)

Credit: Christy V.

When you’re a writer, even a poet,

Time seems all that you want

You write like you’re running out of time

When given the time, the space to write

You dread the blank page or finding errors

You don’t want perfection, but something that matters

Something that feels real, even if it’s fantasy

Your favorite space is when the words flow

Being in the zone is what you want

Imagining your characters telling you to finish

Hearing a voice that has something to say

Emotions that break through the page

Writing in your own way, no matter what,

If you’re not writing, it doesn’t feel right,

You find reading solace, especially for inspiration

When you have time, you want to be

Busy writing or reading because

That’s your favorite place to be

No matter where you’re at in space and time

Never interrupt Emily’s writing or mine

By Christy V.