blog life · Writing

Liebster Award

For years and years, I have wanted to keep a blog. I have at least half a dozen in various stages of disrepair and abandonment floating around in the dark, dusty spaces of the internet. But since meeting the most wonderful people in the world – Nicole Evans, Joyce Chua, and Meredith Crosbie – and starting our own writing blog (which goes live on Friday!), my motivation has come galloping back. Mostly it’s saying “Don’t be the only one who doesn’t blog, Becky” and I’ve got to say, I’m fairly decent at peer-pressuring myself. I can’t promise that I’ll have a new post every week, but I will try to post at least once or twice a month. Or, you know, link to someone else’s blog.

To start off this blog, I thought I’d actually complete the Liebster Award, which Joyce nominated me for, like, two months ago. (Sorry Joyce!) I figured it will give you a fair sense of who I am. You’re supposed to nominate people after you’ve finished the Liebster Award, but since all the writers I know have already completed it…um.

Anyway, here we go!

Write about a favourite blog that is not yours.

I adore Laini Taylor’s blog mostly because I love Laini and I’m obsessed with everything she’s ever written. I also can’t stop refreshing Victoria Schwab’s twitter feed, which I know isn’t the same as a blog, but it’s got writing tips, so I’m hoping it counts?

Share 11 facts about yourself.

Here goes, in no particular order:

  1. I’m barely 5 feet tall. I like to round up, even though I hate heels.
  2. I wrote my first book when I was 13. It was a handwritten mess of pages, started on a cranky Thanksgiving evening, and was basically a superman re-telling with a female lead.
  3. I have nine siblings.
  4. I love art and I’ve fallen in love with colored-pencils, even though it often takes about 100 hours to finish one piece.
  5. I can’t ever sit still, so if I’m watching TV, I’m also simultaneously jogging on my treadmill, knitting, or painting.
  6. I sit on a yoga ball when I’m working. This helps with #5.
  7. I once flew a helicopter. It was the best thing ever and if I was five inches taller (and had more money), I’d totally get my helicopter flying license for all those times when a helicopter magically appears in a field and you need to save the day and fly everyone to safety.
  8. I get to marry my best friend next year and every single day I can’t believe how lucky I am to have met him.
  9. I once let my sister dye my hair purple. It was supposed to last two weeks and fade by the time I went back to work. It lasted 2.5 years. It probably would have lasted longer, but I cut it off.
  10. I lived in England for a year and studied in the same library where they filmed Harry Potter.
  11. I can’t live more than a 10 minute drive from the ocean or I go crazy. There’s something about it that gets into your blood.

QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEES

1. What is your strangest writing habit/routine?

I used to write on a bus. I commuted each day to work on a coach bus, two hours in, two hours out, if there was no traffic. But I could only write if there was no one sitting next to me, and I wrote better when it was still pitch dark outside, so there was nothing to distract me from the words I was supposed to be putting down on the screen. I also had a specific seat I liked to sit in. I was very particular – everything had to be just so. I think back to it now, those five a.m. rides, and how annoying my constant typing must have been to all the other commuters on the bus trying to sleep. Now, with the craziness of life, I’ve learned to write whenever I get a chance – sometimes at the breakfast table, sometimes in bed before I go to sleep, sometimes at the edge of a dock, sometimes squeezed into the passenger seat of a car surrounded by sailing equipment. Rarely do I actually get to sit down at a desk for any prolonged amount of time and just write. I’ve learned to lose myself in the story instantaneously. It’s more productive that way.

2. What is your biggest regret in life?

I lived in England for a year for school, and I was so homesick, so depressed, that I was barely able to make the trip between the library and my bedroom. I wish I’d been able to pull myself out of it and explore the city, make friends, go on day trips. More than anything, I wish I’d made the trip to Scotland – only a train ride away. If I have one regret, that’s it – that I didn’t take advantage of the time I had when I was there to explore and learn.

3. What kind of music do you listen to, especially when you’re writing?

I listen to all sorts of music – country, pop, rock, some rap, classical. I’m really not picky. I love music most in the car, when I’m on my own and I can listen to it as loud as I want to. Generally, I tend to listen to the same artists over and over again, though I once tried to listen to 100 different artists in one month. My fiance is a musician, so I’ve gotten a much bigger music education lately – lots of classical, orchestras, symphonies, operas. But when I’m writing? I can’t listen to anything. It’s very strange. I used to listen to lots of music when I wrote. I had loads of elaborate playlists, set by scene and pacing. Now I need silence.

4. What is one skill you have always wanted to learn?

I would love to learn an instrument. I have a guitar. It’s tiny because I’m tiny. When I first got it, I practiced everyday for thirty minutes. It came with me everywhere. I was convinced I’d be the next Taylor Swift or something. I haven’t played in over a year, but I’m hoping to start up again.

5. Who’s your biggest writing inspiration?

Maggie Stiefvater is by far my biggest writing inspiration, though I could probably say the same of Laini Taylor or Victoria Schwab. I admire their perseverance and I adore their stories.

6. What was your favorite book or series as a child?

I was obsessed with the Heartland Series by Lauren Brooke (though, I just googled them and learned they were all ghost-written by Linda Chapman?!). I’d get a new one and then disappear into my bedroom and refused to emerge until I finished the book. I think what I fell in love with in these books wasn’t necessarily the horses, but the idea that someone could be so amazingly good at one thing, in this case, taking care of the horses. And, of course, I adored Harry Potter. I read the first one so many times I had the first eight pages memorized. Also, I cannot forget Sarah Dessen. Her books got me through high school.

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

I love the place I grew up – the lovely Cape Cod. I’m super lucky because my fiance has a house there. It’s the only place that’s ever felt like home to me. There’s this wonderful sigh of relief every time I cross the bridge to it. I remember my mom once told me that the ocean gets into your blood, and it’s true. I can’t stay inland for very long without getting anxious.

8. If you were stranded on a desert island with three books/series, what would they be? (“How to Build a Raft” and the like don’t count!)

Hmmm….does the Harry Potter series count? There’s enough of them to keep me busy for awhile!

9. What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is driving. Also dying in a car crash while driving. I still drive – I have to, especially since it’s my favorite place to listen to music – but it makes me anxious to get behind the wheel every time. The craziest thing is that I love cars. I’d love a Tesla more than anything. But driving it? That’s a totally different story. I read a blog post once by someone who said that the reason they didn’t like driving was because they could imagine all of the other drivers’ expectations of what they should or shouldn’t do, and I think that’s definitely a big part of it. I’m a generally anxious person, and one of the things that fuels that is my attempt to figure out and meet other people’s expectations, and I can’t do that when I’m driving.

10. What is one author quote that you identify with the most? (It can be about writing per se or life in general.)

Victoria Schwab tattooed the words “Rise Up” on her wrist after the American election. The words really resonate, not just because of the election, but because they encourage me to actually rise up to the challenge of writing the best story I can write. So many times, I get bogged down in self-doubt and give up on stories. But the idea of “rising up” makes me want to rise above those doubts and learn to become the best version of myself so that I can write those stories as truthfully and honestly as possible.

11. What made you decide to be a writer and where do you see yourself in five years?

I started writing when I was 13, as a way to create the sort of world I wanted to be living in – a world of magic and space travel and stars. I was also a lonely, self-doubting child around that time, so I gave that first character the sort of perfect, best friend/boyfriend that I wish I could have had. It was an escape of sorts. A way to live the life I wanted when I couldn’t live it in reality. It gave me a place to go when school was hard, when I felt bullied, when the pressures of studying got to be too much. But the act of writing stuck, and I’ve written something every year since. In five years, I’d love to have a book published (don’t we all??). I have no idea if this will actually happen, but I’m working towards it. I’ve reached a point where I’m willing to work hard to get there, and I have an amazing group of writing friends now that motivate me to improve and reach for these dreams. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed reading and that I didn’t scare you away!