2017 · magic · melanie kristy · Uncategorized · writing

Did I Fail NaNoWriMo? / What Happens Next?


November is over. There is no more National Novel Writing Month. We are on to holidays and shopping and drinking hot chocolate and driving around looking for Christmas lights (at least, I am), and moving on from our awesome or disastrous attempts at writing 50,000 words of a novel in November.

So tell me. How did you do?


I wrote 3,000 words in the first week and then stopped because life got in the way.

I’m here to tell you, though, that just because you didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo, doesn’t mean you failed. That art of writing is not a win/ lose situation. There’s no competition for great art. So maybe you didn’t get enough words. Maybe you gave up half way through. Maybe you couldn’t get past the first 3,000 words. It doesn’t matter, it’s all great.

Just because you didn’t win doesn’t mean you didn’t accomplish something, and that’s what is more important. If you’re a writer or want to be a writer or used to be a writer and you participated in NaNoWriMo even for half a day this year, you accomplished something great. You accomplished something that most people will not do in this life time. You imagined a plot, you thought up characters, you dug into the dusty areas of your mind and committed to writing something. So be proud of yourself for that.

What happens next?

Well… you keep writing. You revisit what progress you’ve made so far. You give yourself more goals, and maybe think about figuring out what kinds of goals are realistic to you, and you keep on going.

For years and years I’ve passively thought about finishing a novel. It’s been a very long time since I’ve written something to completion. All those goals were so passive, that I never even visited my novels or started fresh. I wanted to make certain seasons “the one where I write a book”. And then I’d put that idea back on the shelf and move along with my life.

First off, it’s okay to not write a novel. It’s okay to not publish anything. It’s okay to only ever write for yourself or your friend or your lover.

But if that’s not enough for you, I suggest you do something different.

Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to spend December thinking about the novel I started. I’m going to figure out where I really want to go with it – I realized that PLOT is my main issue with this current work, mainly that it doesn’t have one – and I’m going to figure out how to get there. And then I’m going to make 2018 the year I write and complete a novel. I’m telling you all now. I’m not going to table this idea. I am going to make it happen. I’m going to be responsible for birthing an entire YA novel.

And that’s what happens next. For me, at least.

Tell me what’s next for you. Tell me how you did. And we can figure out where to go from here.

2017 · favorites · Uncategorized

November Favorites 2017

album: Finally It’s Christmas by Hanson. Of course a Hanson album would be on here, especially if it’s a Christmas one in November. This cd came out in last October and I waited until my birthday to listen to it. My friend Erin and I blasted the album and tried to talk over the songs while driving down to the Cape for birthday lunch and mall wandering. Watch the nostalgic music video, too.

book: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera. I just recently (finally!!!) started reading Adam Silvera’s books, and I’m kind of sad that I only have one left. Both books that I’ve read have been amazing so far. They Both Die At The End follows two characters – Mateo and Rufus – who got the Death-Cast call just after midnight on the day this book takes place. This means sometime in the next 24 hours they’re going to die, but neither one has any idea how. Join them as navigate their last day together.

television: I’m revisiting Boy Meets World, a long time favorite, on Hulu and I’m really enjoying it. It’s just the right combination of old time nostalgia paired with awesome characters and fun episodes that I pseudo remember to keep me interested.

podcast: I’ve downloaded way too many podcasts lately, and I haven’t really gotten into the rhythm of listening to them consistently, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Straight and Curly (A Podcast for Self Improvement Junkies).

videos: Gala Darling started a 6 week series called the Wonderland Sessions and I am loving them so far. There are two videos up and she hardcore talks about real shit, feeling awesome and how your vibration affects other peoples’ reaction to you. Watch the first video here

youtuber: Jessica Out Of The Closet / Jessica Kellgren-Folzard This girl has so much style! I randomly found her as a suggestion on my YouTube homepage, and I subscribed immediately. She discusses disabilities, chronic illnesses, clothes and much more, and she always has an amazing and upbeat attitude. Her vibe is infectious!

essential oil: lavender is my standby favorite scent. It makes me feel calm and happy, and I use a roller ball all the time just to force me to stop and change my vibe & recenter my mind

app: ibotta has helped me earn money back on certain items that I buy. It can be fun to scroll through and see what promotions are happening at the moment. Use my referral link to sign up and we both get paid https://ibotta.com/r/vmeuhhd

What did you love in November?


Writing & Journaling & November & NaNoWriMo & Life

There are so many things to do, you guys. There are Podcasts to listen to, people to meet, places to visit. There are pictures to take and laughs to be had. There are books to be written, by me. Sometimes there’s so much to do that I get overwhelmed.

So far I’m 3,000 words into my NaNo novel that I seemly abandoned one week into November. I had a cold, then a birthday and then it was Thanksgiving. My brain has since moved on to Christmas and all things festive. I’ve been mentally sorting out all these things. I decorated my room with Christmas lights and now it feels more hygge and comforting. I’ve been watching Boy Meets World on Hulu when I should be sleeping. I’ve been starting books and leaving them to gather dust. I’ve been making lists of things to buy for Christmas gifts.

I’ve also been trying to journal. The way I journal these days is so different than how I used to do it. I’m not even sure how that was before. It was like I used to talk to myself. I used to tell the stories of my times. I would talk about what was going on, or how I was feeling. And now when I journal it turns into me writing lists. A lot of times I’m writing lists I’ve already made before. Sometimes I start out writing my feelings, but my mind stops working that way. I get distracted. And then I don’t write anything.

I’d like to figure out how to retrain my thoughts. I’d like to go back to talking to myself via journal entries. I’d like to have a record of my days. I’ve been reading a lot of random things about minimalism lately. I look at minimalist aesthetic images online. I’m in a few Facebook groups. I’m not sure if I could ever be a minimalist, though. Someone in one of my groups mentioned they had just finished burning all their journals. Some days I think about that. They** (minimalists) say that you don’t need sentimental things because you have the memory inside you, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the truth. I think the pictures and journal entries and blogs are documentation that you lived. They’re reminders of things that happened, because our memories aren’t always that good. That makes me start asking myself what the point is to all this. I certainly don’t want most people to read my journals when I die. I remember as a kid using my journal to speculate about what sex feels like. Even typing that here feels weird. It’s just a normal thing. It’s a normal thing that I don’t need people reading when I die. And yet, I don’t want to let go of that. People don’t need to read my endless budget recalculations and lists of people I’m giving gifts to, either.

All of this makes me wonder: what’s the point?

And I say this in a way that’s only slightly brought down by a bout of moodiness and seasonal depression. I don’t mean it in a way that’s indicative of the hopelessness my brain has felt before. Though I admit to sometimes following down that mind path.

I just wonder.

What’s the reason behind all this?

What am I doing this for? What are you reading this post for? I think the blog specific answer is about connection. I miss the blogging days when you felt connected to other bloggers, and when blogging wasn’t about making money. I think that’s why I struggle to blog these days. I feel like I’m doing it wrong. I’m sitting here writing out my thoughts, and it’s not the “right” way to blog. Who sets those rules, and who says I need to follow them, anyway? No one. They’re just thoughts. Standards. Unspoken ideas.

So we’ve reached almost the end of November and I’ve seemed to abandon yet another novel. I saw a post online the other day, and I think it was in my Timehop, where I’m sad that I had to do grad school work and real work and that I don’t have time to write all the novels and become an author. That sentiment made me pause.

Because right now I do have time for those things. And I’m not using that time to my advantage. I’m filling that time with things and ideas that sometimes I think are pointless.

I’m going to think on that for the month and get back to you guys. I’m also going to blog more. I actually don’t care what a standard for blogging is. I don’t want to make money off my thoughts, at least not like this. I want to make money off well polished essays and fiction novels.

And someday I will.


Uncategorized · writing

I’m Always Going to Attempt National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month, also lovingly referred to as NaNoWriMo (for those who can’t pronounce it think: nano – rye – mo) has been part of my life since I discovered it during my Sophomore year of college in 2004. I immediately took to the challenge to create my own characters and write a non fan fiction novel. Inspired by Vanessa Carlton’s White Houses I wrote and completed that novel, “won” NaNoWriMo, uploaded it to Livejournal (no, I’m not linking you to that terribly written novel, nice try!) as I went and happily set it aside.

I have signed up almost every year since then. I have attempted to write a 50,000 word novel in most Novembers. Some years I have “won” (to win: you complete the challenge of writing the 50,000 words), others I gave up in days or weeks. There were some years I worked on rewrites and didn’t have anything original. Other years I was determined and faltered.

November is a busy month. The holidays are just beginning, autumn is in full swing and Thanksgiving comes up really fast. It’s also my birthday month. I’ve come to love November as a month of busyness, cool weather and writing, and so each year when I get the reminders about NaNoWriMo I dive in. Or at least I try to. I write blog posts about it, I try and seek out new writing friends and I stare in front of my computer for more time than I normally do.

This year is no different.

I’m well behind my word goal of 2000 words per day (In fact I’m at about 2600 for three days). I’m finding myself busy, because I don’t want to say no to certain things just because of words. I’m always finding myself busy, though, so that isn’t very new or different. I’m documenting my journey through my Instagram stories so be sure to add me on there. My writing has been more of an exploration than scenes. I still haven’t figured out what the plot is and I’m learning that’s my overall issue with writing anything. I can come up with characters and lives and overarching feelings and emotional changes, but I can’t figure out what actually happens to get my characters there.

It’s okay, though. I’ll figure it out. I’m determined.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in second grade. This was also the first time I was exposed to computers. It was 1991. We wrote in MS DOS on computers with green screens and even greener words. We wrote our own versions of children’s books we loved. I asked for a computer for Christmas when I was seven years old.

My relationship with writing has been a complicated one. It was lush and flourishing when I was younger, and I find that the older I am the more I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write. Years of writing classes and workshop combined with reading amazing novels has made me feel incapable. It’s all a mind game, though. And this is what’s driving me this year. Facing the mind game. Facing myself. Pushing through.

So I’m here, committed. I also want to write about this process. I want to get back into documenting and I’d like to help myself discover what it is that I have to say.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Tell me about your experience so far.


Melanie Kristy · Uncategorized

Things I Am Loving

It’s midday on a Tuesday, I’m wearing a lot of pink today and I’m thinking about when I should dive in for my snack of mixed nuts and crazy dark chocolate. The weather has been too warm for fall, leaving my apple picking adventures from Sunday to be too sweaty, and involving too many bees. But I survived, richer in apples and one thing checked off the Autumn list. Here are some other things I am loving right now.

  • doing fall (& festive) things. This list includes apple picking, and having plans for a corn maze, and a renaissance festival
  • my in real life book club Of Books And Tea Book Club, which I will start writing about soon in my blog Of Books And
  • Yoga with Adrienne
  • walking before work on my late dates
  • my new job/ position (more on that, soon!)
  • writing gratitude lists
  • upcoming musical plans


ps. You can find me on Heroine Training, as I wrote a Fit For A Heroine Guide to Plymouth, MA


On Time & Nostalgia 

Time is a weird thing. Growing up in New England I’ve come to mostly measure time in seasons and school years. I take comfort in the changing seasons, there is a certain amount of predictability – even when the weather is all over the place. I can count on the changing of leaves and the pumpkin spice lattes. I can count on Bath and Body Works to have candles that smell like Christmas.

Looking back on everything I feel like Time is illusion. Is it moving in a linear fashion? Am I 5 and 13 and 22 as well as 32? Am I feeling these heartbreaks all over again and again because my heart it stuck in last September?

I always assumed that as an adult I would have Things “figured out”. (Didn’t we all?). I thought that time would make sense. That I would get used to the changing of seasons and they would just become a thing that happens. But no, every time the season changes for me two things happen: I lament  time lost where I did not do Summer “enough”. I did not take advantage of the weather the “right” way. And also, I get excited and nostalgic. Especially for Fall as it is my favorite. For some reason it’s still littered in heartbreak. I bathe in nostalgia and try to pave my way through.

And yet here I am. Still working out the way time moves. Slowly, all at once…

Maybe not at all. 

And of course, far too quickly.



Melanie Kristy · Uncategorized

September: Breaking the Grind and Daily Writing

Words are something that used to come easy to me. I could sit and write a poem in math class. I was always jotting down story ideas. I had lists of ideas for blog posts. I would journal all the time and seek out pen pals. Now I feel like the words are still there but they’re stuck in a glass cage, struggling for air. I’m not sure what to write about, and my ideas feel like they fall flat. Forget poetry, because words themselves ache in a way that makes them unable to be magical or lyrical. They were are. Words and words, a series of 26 letters put together with spaces and punctuation.

I’ve been aching for creativity. I feel like I am under water watching as my life goes by. I feel like the thoughts inside my head get cemented there and pushed away into the depths of memory, forgotten because they don’t matter.

It’s so easy to fall into the daily grind. I see it over and over. I do it far too often. Routine isn’t always nourishing, especially when it’s full of empty thoughts and actions, mindless phone games and constantly checking social media.

I want to be more deliberate with my time. I want to make the most of all these seconds we have to call our own, and I want to create something out of nothing. So for September I am challenging myself to write the words I need to say. I’m challenging myself to get out of my mindless bubble, to write reviews on the media I consume and to engage in different ways. The first way I am doing this is to write and (hopefully) post here every day in September.

Want to join me?