Personal Posts

The Big Question: “Why?”

Hello!

Once again, I’m back with another repost/rewrite/thing. When I wrote this original post, I made it a point to say I was writing for others. I was writing for this selfless reason that made me look like such a giving, thoughtful artist. Yeah, that definitely wasn’t the case then, and it definitely isn’t the case now. I have, and always will, write for myself.

When I decided I was finally going to pursue writing and publishing as a serious endeavor, I sought out as much advice as I possibly could from anyone that seemed even remotely more experienced than me. Don’t get me wrong, I picked up a lot of really great advice along the way, but I also heard a lot of bad. One person I knew, who was writing and posting  his work publicly to FaceBook, was one of those people I sought advice from. I admired his voice and the style of his writing, as well as his confidence (which I had absolutely none of), so, naturally, I asked him for some advice. His advice?

You should always write for your audience. Always write for someone else. Writing for yourself is fun and all, but it doesn’t sell. You won’t go anywhere if you’re not writing for somebody else. Don’t write unless you have a purpose.

I took that to heart back then and did my best to focus on others, rather than myself. He’s not entirely wrong, though. You do have to consider audience when writing as that determines the genre, who will most likely read it, etc. But others shouldn’t dictate why you write. You don’t have to have some great purpose in your writing. There should be plot and structure, yes, but you shouldn’t be forced to write because of some underlying reason.

Sure, if you do, do it. Go for it. Fulfill that purpose to the ends of the earth. More power to you, but I’m not going to pretend that I am writing for anyone or anything. I am not writing for my dad, my brother, my sister, the president, Bradley Cooper, etc. I am writing for me. I like to write. If what I write sounds like hot, steamy garbage, who cares? If it never gets published? Oh well. If I post this repost and not a single person sees it, meh. I am writing for me. It’s cathartic, it’s fun, it’s something I’ve done and crafted for so long just because I wanted to be a better writer.

I write for myself. Don’t be ashamed if you do, too.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

I’ve Been Rejected

Hello friends, newcomers, etc. It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. Rather, it’s been a long time since I felt I had something worth blogging about. Recently, I’ve had a spurt of poetry submissions flying from my desk. As I’ve said time and time again, I never thought of myself as a poet. Yet, that particular form seems to be the only one my mind is capable of creating as of late.

Thankfully, I’ve had some good luck. I have a poem coming out in a magazine. I also have a short story being published in an anthology. Did I mention I’m also getting paid for these publications? As many of my writer friends know, it’s hard to find a paid publication, especially ones that take on new, unsolicited manuscripts.

Even though I’ve had so many positive outcomes from my publishing pursuits, and I’ve made sure to document it all on social media, there’s something I haven’t really talked about with anyone.

For every one acceptance email/letter I receive, I get about 10 of these:

Why do I bring this up? Because I almost always post on  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. about all of my accomplishments. No one sees the rejections. While, yes, it is a good bit disheartening to see a rejection in my mailbox, I am proud of my rejections. I am not ashamed. I created something I felt was worthy of being read. I put it out in the world to be judged, knowing that it may get thrown out, and my work does get thrown out. A lot.

Have I been ashamed? Oh yes. Countless times I’ve seen a rejection and instantly regretted ever sending any work out. There are plenty of rejection letters that my friends, family, and readers will never hear about. However, I wonder sometimes what my writer friends think. I know I like their posts and cheer them on for every success, but what about when they feel like they’ve failed? I feel like I fail 10x more than I succeed. I don’t want them to feel like they are alone. I want them to be proud of those rejections. I also don’t want them to be afraid of rejection because rejections do happen, especially to those who achieve success. You can’t have rainbows without rain, and all that jazz.

Be proud. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Be writers.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

I Went to a Writing Covention and…

20160303_122012[1]I have never been so well dressed in my life. As many of you know, I am still in college, though I just recently signed up for graduation in December (yay!), and being in college I’ve had the opportunity to join the English Honor Society: Sigma Tau Delta. This offers a wide range of opportunities for all college writers, and I definitely recommend joining if one ever has the opportunity to do so. One perk that I took full advantage of was being able to submit a piece to the national convention, which means I would get a chance to travel out of state, attend a literary convention, and present my piece in front of all my peers and colleagues for my college. Needless to say, I was beyond pumped.

I submitted a short story and *spoilers* my short story was picked! It was probably one of FB_IMG_1456698771494[1]the more exciting moments of my life. I received the news at around 11 pm via email after a long shift at work, and I immediately called and woke up my boyfriend to tell him the good news, along with my mom, step-mom, and grandmother soon after. I told my colleagues at work over the course of a couple of months, had them read the story if they felt so inclined, and they made me feel more confident than I had ever been. Also, my friends got together and bought me this amazing messenger bag that they surprised me with a few days before I would be travelling. I cried. I hugged them all. Little did they know, it was a huge boost to my confidence, reminded me that I was worthy of being loved, as well as assured me in my abilities as a writer. I now refuse to carry anything else.

Then began planning. I lassoed my partner-in-crime, my boyfriend, into taking the 16-hour drive with me and we were off to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Along the way we went through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois (where I paid my first toll fee), and Wisconsin. After an extended 19-20 hour drive because I just couldn’t drive anymore past 2 am, we finally arrived in Minneapolis. I read my story, met millions of authors and poets, ate at every northern restaurant I could find, got lost multiple times in the Mall of America, enjoyed hours in the underground aquarium, and countless hours enjoying the cold weather with my boyfriend. I have always said I would one day live in Portland, Oregon, despite having never been there. However, now that I’ve been to Minnesota, I don’t think I could picture myself anywhere else. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Unfortunately, our time in Minnesota came to an end and we made the extended 19-20 hour drive back through Iowa, Missouri (where I also received my first speeding ticket), Arkansas, and Mississippi. It was a trip I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It was my first trip completely on the road, completely independent of any guardian, and completely paid for by me. It was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to take part in next year’s Sigma Tau Delta convention.

Want to read the story I presented? Did I mention I was approached by another author with an offer to publish it in anthology? No? Well, more on that once we get the details ironed out. Until then, thank you so much for reading, and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures on here.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

I’m a Binge-Eater

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When I started this blog, I started it with the goal of running a kind of “shop-talk” blog. I was going to talk about books, writing, writers, and publishing, all as I pursued my dreams of becoming an author. I wanted to meet other writers, make connections, make life-long friends that I could Skype with over hot coffee and talk about our craft. I just wanted to write about writing.

However, the longer I write on this blog, the more I realize that I really needed this to write about myself. Call me egotistical, but hear me out. For the past nine months, I have been suffering with something I’m finally ready to admit is a problem: Binge-Eating. I binge. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to end. Other days, I feel like I can stop anytime. Regardless, food is my enemy. I think it stems from this lonely spell I’ve been under. I am introverted, people drain me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not lonely.

I’m an introverted, binge-eater who cries over Little Debbie wrappers because I feel utterly alone.

I don’t want pity. Believe me, I’m going to be okay.

I’m sitting at my desk, it’s 11:25 p.m. on a Tuesday night. I have a date with my boyfriend that I’m super stoked about, but not even five minutes ago I binged on some pie. I feel absolutely disgusting. I’ve been battling this and my weight for all this time. I’ll binge for a week, then the rest of the month, I diet and exercise to lose the weight. Once it’s off, I binge again. It’s this compulsive cycle I can’t seem to shake. I didn’t want to admit it until I woke up, looked in the mirror, and realized I don’t like who I am.

Once again, I don’t want pity. Think of this as word vomit. Public therapy. I need to say it. I need to put it out there that I have a problem, hold myself accountable so I can find a solution. I’m tired of suffering in silence, guiltily stuffing wrappers and containers in the bottom of the trash can so I can ignore the problem and so my family doesn’t find out.

I started this blog so I could write about writing. Now I’m writing about myself, and it makes me happy. I want to be better, and I’m going to get better.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

The Girl Who Doesn’t Care, Cares A Lot

I’ve always thought I was comfortable in my own skin. I don’t embarrass easily. As I demonstrate in the picture below:

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I’m willing to make a fool of myself for the sake of a laugh. Here I was, at my job, wearing two tree skirts – one as a poncho, one as a skirt – and a matching camo hat just because I thought it would be hilarious. I make jokes about myself in public, a lot of the times in the most vicious way possible. I have no shame.

Most of the time.

While I like to say I don’t care what people think, there are moments in my life where I realize that it’s impossible not to care. One moment being, the last time I went to the gym.

Every semester, my boyfriend and I make the valiant effort to go to the gym regularly. We’re already on campus, it’s free for students, so why not? Usually, it’s just the two of us. Then, the day came where he invited his friends. I didn’t care about the strangers seeing my obese body boldly bouncing around the basketball court, but, boy, did I care about my boyfriend’s friends seeing me.

When he said they were coming, I cried. I couldn’t hold them back, even if I tried. In that moment, I realized that the girl who supposedly doesn’t care, cares way too much about what other people think.

I was right back to that middle school version of myself who would hide in the gym bathroom, sobbing because I knew those girls and their boyfriends would start calling me a dike or a man the moment I walked out in my gym uniform. That’s when I developed my defense mechanism – making fun of myself before other people could. If I call myself a fat dike before others can, then they can’t hurt me. I’ve let the world know about my insecurities as if I’m confident about them. In reality, I’m just trying to protect myself from someone who might try to use them against me.

I have no shame because I’m ashamed.

That’s right, I’m ashamed of myself. “Why?” my boyfriend asked when, after fifteen minutes of hiding in the rec center bathroom, crying, I emerged to let him know why I was self-conscious. I knew those guys in middle school. They weren’t the ones who made fun of me, thankfully, but it took me right back to that place when I didn’t have any way of defending myself. I was a jolly green giant target of a pre-teen, lumbering about just waiting to be picked on. I lived everyday waiting for a snide remark, which was always followed by the vicious laughter of those who were just happy they weren’t the ones being picked on.

I’m still that twelve-year-old girl who finds solace in gym bathrooms and weeps at the fear of people finding out she’s not as confident as she may seem, or that she is actually insecure about being overweight, masculine, tall, or all of the above.

And I don’t write this because I want people to feel bad for me. That’s the exact opposite of what I’m doing. I realized that just because I act confident on the surface, doesn’t mean I actually am. I have insecurities, just like everyone else. That person you may be jealous of because they are confident, funny, and everything you may think you’re not is actually just as insecure as you are.

Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.

Watch your words, and always do your best to be kind, especially to yourself.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

Why I love to read?

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When I was I bored, I read Junie B. Jones and laughed at her antics.

When my sister was sick and away in the hospital, I could pretend she was staying with Amelia Bedelia and would be coming home soon.

When my parents were divorcing, I realized it wasn’t as scary as the Goosebumps books stuffed beneath my bed.

When I was angry, I could calm down in the arms of my favorite teen heart throbs (Tamani from Wings and Dimitri from Vampire Academy, I’m looking at you).

When I was alone and felt like the world may crumble around me, I could run and run and run forever with the characters in Stephen King’s Cell.

Even today, when I don’t think I’m going to make it, I can pick any book on my shelf and escape for awhile. That’s what books are – glimpses. Glimpses into worlds I will never see. I’ve made friends that I can’t talk to, met people that don’t exist (or did, but don’t anymore). I’ve had adventure after adventure – I’ve had a life full of impossibles made possible by words on a page. I’ve lived so many lives, all while never leaving the comfort of mine. Why I love to read?

Reading has made my life richer than any job or promotion ever could. Reading is happiness.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

P.S.

And parents, please read to your kids.

Personal Posts

My Birthday Giveaway (21 years in the making)!

Howdy y’all!

Today just so happens to be my 21st birthday, and rather than drown myself in legal alcohol purchases, I have decided to give a gift to YOU… er, well, FIVE of you, that is.

My book The Mind, the Body, a horror short story collection, came out last year in October. I purchased five author copies, signed them, and have started a Goodreads giveaway. Anyone living in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia can enter for FREE to receive one of the five copies. All you have to do is make a Goodreads account and enter here: CLICK ME!

And while you’re there, add me as a friend (if you want to become a fan, that’s cool, but I’d much rather make ya my friend, ya know?).

Help me celebrate my birthday by making this the best birthday book giveaway in all my 21 years on this Earth (this is my first birthday giveaway, but who’s counting?). Enter, share, and let’s have fun!

Don’t have time to enter today? That’s okay! The giveaway ends March 27th, so you have plenty of time! Just make sure you enter by then, or you will miss your chance at FREE BOOKS!

Finally, thank you all so much for the emails and the posts, wishing me a happy birthday. I can’t thank you all enough for all the kind words and well wishes. You make my heart full.

Thanks for reading and/or entering!

-Lissy

Personal Posts

2 embarrassing reasons why life as an author ISN’T glamorous.

Very rarely do I find things embarrassing. The most embarrassing things are the funniest. So, for the sake of laughter, I share with you two reasons (experiences) that show you why life as a writer (or my life in general) IS NOT glamorous. At all. Not even a little bit.

  1. So, as a full-time student, part-time retail associate, and whenever-time writer, I often find myself creating time where I probably shouldn’t. For example, after a particularly long day of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in class and 5:30 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. at work, I found myself filled to the brim with weary inspiration. The moment I stepped through the door, I was already forming what had to be the novel of this generation (it actually ended up being a jumbled up pile of word vomit, but who was judging).It was at this time, approximately 11:10 p.m., I began crafting my masterpiece. I didn’t get done until approximately 2:00 a.m., which gave me about 3 hours of sleep before I had to wake up for my turnaround shift. I quite literally crawled from my desk to my bed and passed out without fuss. Didn’t change clothes. Didn’t shower. Nothing. As you can imagine, I was a sight (and a smell) to behold the next morning.Bleary and monstrous looking, I grumbled and tumbled out of bed into a fresh pile of clothing I had neglected to hang up the day before. Still half-asleep, I happened to find a fresh pair of khakis and my work polo. Without much thought, I slid both on and went on about my way. I’ll spare you the details on the rest of my “morning beauty routine.”

    I arrived at work, we opened the store, and I went on about my business, putting out freight and assisting cashiers. One of my cashiers, however, asked why I wasn’t picking up the store phone. It was then I realized I had forgotten to even pick it up that morning. So, I rushed back to my station to pick it up.

    However, when I went to slide it into my pocket, I realized I had no pockets. Huh. Well, that’s weird. I had just bought those pants not even two days before, and I swore they had, had pockets in them. I stopped, and I assessed myself. I placed my hands at the front of my pants where my pockets should have been, then dragged them around to my back side where my pockets actually were. With a little more feeling around, I also discovered my zipper was back there, too.

    Just then, my manager walked in. The same one that helped me open the store this morning and probably had seen my pants for the last 2 hours that I had been at work, yet hadn’t said anything. So, I straight up asked him,

    “*InsertManagerNameHere* Why didn’t you tell me I had my pants on backwards?”

    He gave me a shrug, then said, “I figured you were trying to make a fashion statement.”

    A fashion statement, indeed.

  2. This story happened long before the first one, but it involves the same manager. However, he didn’t just assume I was making a fashion statement. Perhaps this incident actually led to his action in the first story, or rather the lack thereof. Even worse, maybe now he just assumes I make these kinds of mistakes.As per usual, I had just gotten out of class at 3:00 p.m. and was heading to work for my closing shift. On days where I went to school, then worked, I tended to just wear my uniform to class. I wasn’t there to impress anybody (and I’m still not). So, I didn’t care if people saw me in uniform, and I was just too lazy to change clothes in the middle of the day. Especially since I’d only be wearing them for a few hours anyway.Well, when I got to work, my manager was standing at the door, just surveying the front end. Then, I walked by. There was a noticeable side glance, then a second take, and finally a flat out stare. Sure, I thought it was a bit strange, but it was just another day of work. Plus, I figured if it were that big of a deal, he would’ve said something. However, he didn’t say anything until I had already gotten on the register and checked out two or three people. Then he came up and asked,

    “Alyssa? Do you have a defective shirt?”

    I gave him a look, and rather than just look at my darn shirt, I asked,

    “Why?”

    He pointed.

    “Your tag is on the outside.”

    Then I looked, and behold. Rather than wearing my pants backwards for a few hours, I wore my shirt inside out to school and to work for an entire day. Yet, they still promoted me a few months later. I think they keep me for the lulz.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Personal Posts, Writing

3 things you need to do when your hobby begins to feel like a job.

It’s been a long, long, long time since I’ve actually stopped and enjoyed the process of writing. I went through a short phase where I just kept telling myself, “It’s okay, it won’t be long until I can write again,” and that was enough for me. Then it got to the point where I would put things ahead of writing time. I had to prepare for my promotion, then I had to train once I received the promotion, then I had school, then I had tests… Those things do take priority, but even during down time, when none of those things had any hold on me, I still found myself saying, “It’s okay, it won’t be long until I can write again.”

I had become the one person I always blogged about, trying to avoid. I became the writer who talks about writing, but never actually does.

Sure, yes, I do have a lot going on right now. Senior year is right in front of me, and a new job with more responsibilities on top of that eats up a lot of time… Not to mention squeezing in cuddle time with the boyfriend, which I must say I do desperately need during the week. But I have never considered writing a burden or a chore. It never felt that way to me, and even though I have made it out to seem that way, it still doesn’t.

I just miss the time when it was just all for fun, and back when I could sit there and write for hours upon hours, much like how I used to read – another hobby which has met the same terrible fate as writing. Now, life takes so much precedence, I find everything to be tiring. Everything is work, now, even when what I’m doing is supposed to relax me after work.

Writing used to be my life, then reality seeped in and tainted my brain with all of this adult gobbildy-goop.

But, as always, one thing has helped to remedy my terrible predicament: a list. I’ve discovered a few tactics to fight against the adult gobbildy-goop, and while I still haven’t mastered it, I’m getting better. Onward to the list!

  • You have to become double-brained.
    Unfortunately, this is the hardest thing to accomplish, and it certainly sounds that way. You have to separate the work brain from the writing brain. Or, in my case, I have to separate the Work Brain, the School Brain, the Writer Brain, and the Intern Brain. In most cases, I’m sure it’ll be more like triple-brained, or quadruple-brained, but double-brained just sounds cooler. The best way I have found to achieve this is to utilize every second of downtime to decompress. Leave a pause between each brain so you can start fresh. This is easier said than done, especially with all of the wonderful social media to sink hours and hours in. You need time to just turn off for a little while. Have a few moments to yourself with no distraction in any shape or form. This way, you won’t lose your precious down time doing something unproductive both mentally and physically.
  • If you can’t find down time, don’t stop moving.
    As I disclaimed earlier, I still have yet to master this list, especially with the first point. I have a terrible social media addiction. 99% of the time I’m glued to YouTube or FaceBook, just scrolling or passively watching something, not being actively engaged with anything that is happening on my little iPhone screen. So, until I get my media addiction under control, the only real way I’ve found to stay motivated is to ride the high, so to speak. If I just got done with a paper, I immediately move on to one of my personal projects. I “ride the high.” Granted, I do occasionally burn out because I forget I need to stop, but keeping the productive fire alive is one of the best ways to find a renewed spark with your own work. Do what you have to at work or school in the best way you can, then carry that motivation home with you. Do your homework, then move right into your own project.
  • You have to accept that being good at something requires hard work.
    It’s just the way the world works. If I ever want to be a serious author (make money doing what I love), I have to work for it. I need to treat it like a job, like it’s something that just has to be done because it has to be done. Sometimes we have to think of things like they are work if we ever want to get better. Otherwise, my writing will always be “just a hobby.” And even if you don’t necessarily want your hobby to become your means of financial stability, you want to be good, right? Then you have to work for it. Some people have that natural, raw ability, but those are the exceptions. Not the rule.

It’s okay to slack off sometimes, but when you’re making excuses just to avoid doing what you love because it feels too hard… then you’re avoiding progress. There’s a reason it feels like too much work. If it’s not worth fighting for, then is it really worth doing at all?

Let me know, and comment below! Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Personal Posts

How I define my writing style

It’s… contemplative. Introspective. Thoughtful. It is what most would call…

Boring.

Most people wouldn’t dare define their own writing as boring, but I’m doing just that. Why? Because it says a lot about who I am. While we’re told not to take bad reviews personally, and I tend not to, I do find it interesting that when I see a negative review, I automatically begin picking apart my personality before I pick apart the writing in question.

Yes, it’s a bad habit.

Yes, you still shouldn’t take bad reviews personally.

And yes, I’m a complete loon for using a review on my writing to review myself, but I look at it this way:

Writing is a part of me. If there is something wrong with my writing, I need to address why I write this way before I can even begin to address how to fix it. I’m not trying to fix myself. I’m trying to find the source of why I write the way I write.

As I’ve said before, I am an introvert through and through, which makes me a black sheep in my family. My mom was class clown in high school, she’s still a socialite today and is one of the most outgoing people I know. My dad was a football player, won dance competitions, and is so charismatic still today that he could sway the Devil away from sin if he wanted to. Then, there’s me.

I am an awkward potato. I’d rather sit behind a screen and talk to people who I can’t see and who can’t see me than I would actually going out and meeting people. I’m my most comfortable alone. Me, myself, and I, are my confidants and where I find peace. I’m hardly ever lonely, though that doesn’t mean I don’t long for company occasionally. I just like my thoughts, my quiet, and myself. I’m proud of myself, and I love myself. I like spending time with myself.

That’s how my writing is, too. My main characters spend a whole lot of time in their own heads. It’s boring to a lot of people… but the way people think is so interesting to me. I think the most dynamic prose can take place all in a character’s head. Besides, all of our favorite stories came from someone’s thoughts, ya know?

That’s not to say action is boring. On the contrary, action is much more popular and fun. After my last bad review, I’m going to try and deviate as much as I can from thought and add more action. Is it going to be better? Maybe. I won’t know until I try.

I’ve just finally accepted that not everyone is like me. It’s embarrassing to admit it took me so long to accept, but what can you do? Not everyone likes to just sit and mull around in their own heads. Even less like to read about other people doing it, but that’s the reason I write that way.

My style is my personality.

What about yours? I’m curious to see how everyone’s writing style aligns with their personality, or how their taste in books relates to their personality. What do you think? Is it okay that personality and style are intertwined? Or is it a writerly sin? Please, let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
Want to guest post? Want to trade posts?
Same goes to you! 
Don’t be shy!

Want to check out some books?
CLICK HERE