Saturday, September 5, 2020

27

It's that time again, folks....


My 26th year, to say the least, has been insane. Obviously COVID has been raging for a large portion of it, which has made things #complicated, but even without that, 26 has been the year of insanity.

During my 26th year, I....

- Got out of a relationship
- Started dating someone new
- Quit my job
- Started working at an epic new job
- Moved out of my childhood home
- Moved into a cute cottage with my sister
- Finished writing a novel I'd been working on for years
- Started serving at church
- Went to therapy (which I can't recommend highly enough)
- Pierced my ears
- Pierced my nose
- Got health insurance
- Saw one of my favorite bands live (pre-COVID, lol)

Some of these are just fun things, but others have been Major Life Changes. During COVID. Send help.

Like, I'm not going to lie, some parts of 26 were really dark and difficult (read: March 2020). There have also been light spots (buying a PlayStation 4, friend dinners, meeting a cool human). But ultimately, this year has been the year of change. Maybe that's why I've tended to be more nostalgic lately. But! God is good. Even though I've had to get out of my comfort zone this year, I've grown a lot and it's rewarding to see how God used circumstances to grow me closer to Him. Heck yes!

This year for my birthday I just wanted to get off the grid a little, so my family and I hightailed it up to Ye Olde Writing Cabin to spend time in nature.

And eat cheesecake. That as well. I know the world isn't back to normal yet, and maybe things will be different for a while, but I feel strangely hopeful as I begin Day One of Year 27. And it's just nice to be with my family in a place of peace for a couple of days.

I can't believe I've been blogging long enough to have this many archived birthday posts, but if you want to peruse old ones, here they are: 2122232425, 26.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy! I haven't blogged in a hot minute because of all of the aforementioned life changes, but I still love this space and hope all of you are doing well.

I'll try to write soon, maybe. If there's anything you want me to write about, let me know. And tell me how you are doing in the comments!

Is this the real life or is this just fantasy,
E

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The One in Which Erin Finally Finishes Her Novel

So. It finally happened.

Yes, I, Erin Marie, of the smol book people, on the gorgeous day of May 2, 2020, finally Finished My Novel.

*Tosses confetti into the air and starts a dance party in the comments*

As lighthearted as I'm being, finishing writing my book is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life so far.

This ridiculous novel planted itself as a tiny idea in my teenage brain back in the tender old days of 2008 (a simpler time). Back then, I still had an iPod nano, an affinity for Aeropostale, and was worried about starting high school. Over time, as I grew as a person, so did my book. It morphed and changed over many drafts over many years.

After working on this book off and on for over a decade (largely due to procrastination, unnecessary rewrites, and my stubborn refusal to let it go), I could feel that it was time to finally finish it.

And now I have! Praise God. I seriously cannot describe what a mental weight off me this is. Maya Angelou really said it best: "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." For so long, that was me.

Image credit.
Kindreds: A Blurb

I'm not great at creating a book summary, but I shall give it a go. In short, my novel follows a family that travels back to their hometown after ten years of living somewhere else. It's about their adventures in the small town over the course of one summer. There's romance, friendship, familial love, grief, and an overweight flat-face tabby cat. Yup.

The Pinterest board is here if you want to see more visual inspo I used for the book.

Select character mood boards are also up on my Pinterest. I don't know if it's just me, but I work really well when I have Pinterest boards and visuals. That's just the way my mind works.

My Facebook Status After Finishing My Book:

I finally finished my novel last night! 🥰 If you know me well, you've probably heard me mention it once vaguely and then immediately change the subject. This book has been a story I've been working on for so long, and procrastinating writing for even longer. I never thought that it would take a global pandemic to push me to finish it, but I'm so glad that it is now out of my frantic writer's brain and onto the page. (They grow up so fast!) Next up: Editing and rewriting this first draft til it's logical and coherent. Send music recommendations. And coffee. 😁💜

It was very emotional to complete that last chapter.

I may have misted up. The characters in this novel have been a part of me for so long, and it's a bittersweet feeling to let go of them and finish their story. But it was necessary.

Image credit.
Right now, I am slowly working on editing my book, a process that I anticipate will take some time.

I wrote the majority of the book during quarantine(!!), and was working on it for hours each day, so it's safe to say that it was an all-consuming project. Part of me wants to power through the edits right away, but I also think there's value in stepping away from the story and revisiting it with brand new eyes (kudos to you if you caught my Paramore reference).

The only other novel-sized manuscript I wrote was in the seventh grade.

It was a story about a middle school superhero and was roughly one fifth the size of Kindreds. That is my only other experience with writing a full-length thingamabob, so editing this book is going to be a massive undertaking.

Which brings me to you, dear blog friends!

What advice do you have for me, O Wise Ones of the Word? I have limited experience with what happens after finishing a first draft - my #1 goal was always just to write the whole thing. What's your process for novel editing? Send help??

Feel free to leave any suggestions or ideas you might have below in the comments! (Please?) Sending back hugs and chocolate cake.

Don't dream it's over,
E

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Goodbye, Groundhog Day

This is the smol writing cabin I sometimes write about in posts. Spent a couple of days there quarantining and trying to put words on the page with my novel.


 There is no better way to describe the month of April than "Groundhog Day." Due to quarantine, it has felt largely like I've been living the same day over and over again. When I look back on April 2020 years from now, it is likely I will remember a lot of time spent indoors, searching for jobs, and novel writing (read also: crying, oops). 

Needless to say, April was not my favorite, though this month has found me getting closer to the Lord and taking steps of faith, for which I am so, so grateful.

I attempted a Domestic Pursuit and made boxed blueberry muffins the other week (it's a start). They were good! It's weird how something as simple as baking (and licking the batter bowl) can put me in good spirits.


In a way, April was ripping off the Band-Aid of my comfort zone. It was me pouring my heart out to God, securing a new job after a season of uncertainty, getting close to completing the novel I've been trying to write for years, and soon, Lord willing, moving to an apartment. It's all a fresh start. I've been listening to a lot of records again, which I somehow got out of the habit of, and one of the lyrics that's piercing me is from the band Whitney's second album:

"Tell me everything is just beginning,
I don't feel alive but I've been living.
Back when we were young, we would ride.
Though the changes come, you'll get by.
Anything could happen."

That's oddly how I feel now, entering May: Anything could happen. Maybe before that would have paralyzed me. I'll probably still have bad days, but I feel good things ahead for May. Starting a new job and moving out during Super Dark Pandemic Times might sound crazy, but this whole journey has been about faith and trusting God for me. Staying safe and smart, of course, but not fearful. I'm trying not to be afraid anymore, which is something that used to really take root in my life.

I'll still have my moments. I'll still miss people. I'll still look back on the past with rose-colored glasses, as I always have, but now it's time to go. It's time for a NEW THING.

Ok, but a NEW THING doesn't mean I'll stop listening to old favorites (I see you, Avril).


I hope all of you are doing well, taking heart!
That this time has given you a chance to reassess what is most important to you. For me, I realized that I want a slower, simpler pace of life. I want to trust the Lord more, and to listen to more music, to write daily, to take steps of faith, and to drink only decaf coffee. To read more books. What have you learned during quarantine? Let me know in the comments!

"I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord." - Ezekiel 34:15

Current Favorites: This song (*tears up*) | Also this one (my mood) | Reading outdoors

Entering a new season,
E