Reading, Writing, and Living for Jesus

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Today I felt like it was time for a “proper” introduction post… More than a year after I started blogging!

*Technically* I’ve done an introductory post, but I think that’s just a “blog” thing in general. Your first post you introduce yourself and your blog and what its going to be about, despite the fact that your blog isn’t really about anything yet because you haven’t written it! Yep, I did one of those posts. While it served it’s purpose then of being THE FIRST BLOG POST, I don’t think it really captured the essence of what I want my blog and my platform to be about. So why not do an introduction now, now that I actually have something to introduce?

And if you’ve already been following me for a while, then stick around and read on anyways! You might learn something new about me or the history of my blog that you didn’t already know!

Here goes nothing…

In January of 2016, a lot of things happened to me. I got my first job, I realized that in a matter of months I’d be going away to my first semester of college, I had to start *actually* trying to learn to drive because when I moved to Arizona I was going to need to be able to get myself from the college campus to the nearest Starbucks, preferably legally and without accident.

More importantly however, I began to seriously develop my love for writing. And when I say develop, I mean hone my craft. Start learning and absorbing everything I could about drafting, editing, the publishing industry. I even started writing my own book that year, but it was merely a side-project that I was somehow still convinced would never be more than a hobby.

Well, well, well… A little over a year later, in the spring of 2017, I typed “THE END” on my first novel – if you can even call it that. I’ll spare your the boring and even gruesome details of its plot (it wasn’t good). But that feeling of finishing it was exhilarating, and I knew I wanted to write more. More importantly, I wanted to be published.

I started following “Authortubers,” which are, as the name implies, authors who are also YouTubers and make helpful tutorials and videos about the writing and publication process. Of course, one of the first things that many of these author tubers will tell you is that if you want to be noticed, you need to have a platform.

So, in the summer of 2017 I was even busier. I was getting married, moving to a house in Arizona, getting ready for another year of school, and in the midst of all of this, I made the crazy decision to buy a domain name because there’s no time like the present to start pursuing your dreams.

I didn’t actually launch my blog though. I bought a notebook and started writing down all my ideas, goals, hopes, dreams, anything that came to mind when I thought about “my platform.”

The first thing that I actually did, was create an instagram. I started posting mini book reviews and bookstagram photos, and making friends in the community. Then, after a few months in the spring of 2018, I finally felt confident enough to “go all in.” I set up my website, drafted some blog posts, filmed some YouTube videos – the whole package!!!

When it came around to creating a “brand” I’d always heard that your brand, your tagline, your blog name, whatever it is, should be to the point and specific. It should tell people who you are, what you do, and what makes you unique. I tried to come up with all kinds of crazy names. Stuff that rhymed, stuff that had alliteration, stuff that was catchy.

I felt like I didn’t have a “specific” enough brand. I didn’t want to be just a book blogger. Just a writer. I also wanted to share personal things as well. But every “rule” seemed to say that you had to pick one to be your niche. That’s when I realized… Jesus was the one theme that ran throughout all aspects of what I wanted my brand to be. So that’s what my brand became.

Reading, Writing, and Living for Jesus by Jenna Van Mourik.

So I’d like to introduce you to my blog, which serves exactly that purpose. To share the books I love, Christian Fiction mainly, that contain stories which share and spread God’s love. To write and promote my writing, in which I hope people will also find that same theme of God’s love running throughout. And finally, to share my life, whatever adventures it may contain, and to share how I do my best to live every day according to the way the Bible tells me.

If you like Christian Fiction, this is the place for you.

If you like writing, writing advice, and all the fun creative things that come with that hobby, then this is the place for you.

If you’re interested in my life, love pictures of cute puppies and ranting about little things like crunching leaves in the fall, blowing dandelion dust in the spring, going swimming in the summer, and playing in the snow in the winter, then this is the place for you.

If you love God, this. is. the. place. for. you.

I would be thrilled if you would subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already, and if you are subscribed, would you mind sharing this blog with a friend you think would also enjoy reading? It would make my day.

Of course, if blogs aren’t necessarily your thing, then let me remind you of all the other ways you can keep up with me and my “reading, writing, and living.” If you enjoy watching fun and sometimes humorous videos (i.e. vlogs, book reviews, challenges, and writing tutorials), then you might love my YouTube channel.

For artsy bookstagram photos featuring books you love and probably one to many props leaned up against a monochromatic background, you’ll love my Instagram.

And to keep up with me on a day-to-day basis, then check out my Twitter and my Facebook.

Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to read this ramble-y and somewhat long-winded introduction, even if it did come a little late! I really do appreciate each and every one of you.

Until next time,

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A Recap of CFRR – My First Ever Reader/Author Event

I’m sitting here working on my book, “UNTITLED,” because despite the fact that I’ve written 70,000 words, I still haven’t figured out which three I want on the front cover! Beside me is Alysha, fellow blogger and good friend from the blog For the Love of Christian Fiction, who is talking to her parents on the phone and telling them about the many mishaps and adventures we’ve had on our trip.

I look up, there’s bugs on the ceiling. I look down, there’s holes on my bedding. The outlets fell out of the wall. Alysha nearly lost her life to a picture frame, followed by a terrifying encounter with a vending machine. To my side, there is a lamp with a broken lampshade that won’t even turn on. Stains on the sheets. I’ve had nothing to eat but ramen made with warm sink water (GROSS! The hotel lied about microwaves and fridges… Don’t get me started on the shuttle that they were supposed to have that also doesn’t exist). As I’m sitting here in this mess, all I can think of is, “One day I’m going to be a published author, and then I won’t stay in motels like this!” At the same time however, it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Went to CFRR (Christian Fiction Readers Retreat) with Alysha. We had such a good time, and I met so many amazing authors and bloggers!
  2. Explored Washington D.C. with Alysha!
  3. Favorite stops included the library of congress,
  4. and the Museum of the Bible!!! I promise one day that I’ll do an entire post about the Museum of the Bible, but for now I hope you enjoy this.
  5. Alysha and I also filmed a couple of collaborative videos on this trip. You can watch the one that went up on my channel HERE. (It’s a vlog of our travels, as well as a fun challenge we did: hiding books in Washington D.C.!)

I know one day I’ll look back on these days of pulling change together to make it to my first reading/writing event, editing while stuffing my face with Cup-of-Noodles, and walking ten miles JUST to see the Washington Monument, and be so happy. It will all be a part of my journey, a part of my story. Of course, hopefully by then, I’ll be at another event, staying in a hotel that actually has a microwave, and maybe even signing some books of my own.

Until next time,

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Healthy Habits for Writers and Readers

Hello everyone and thank you so much for clicking over here. Today on my YouTube channel I published a video called “Healthy Habits for Writers.” These are little tips and tricks for things you can do to make sure you’re still being active and leading a healthy lifestyle, even if you have a desk job or don’t get out much (I mean, why would you want to get out, when you could be surrounded by books, am I right???).

Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think of this type of content for the future by clicking over to the YouTube video and commenting their, and subscribing to my channel if you haven’t already.

Until next time,

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#SupportGoodBlogs #SupportGoodContent

img_8457Hey! You! Yes you!

Here’s the thing about writing… you thought you chose this career because you hate numbers, right? Wrong! Numbers are even more important to writers than they are to mathematicians!

Example A:

A writer goes in to interview for a professional writing job…

Writer: I know my resume only has fast food worker on it, but I have a degree and I’m really talented!

Interviewer: oh that’s no problem, we accept entry-level people all the time. How’s your freelance writing going?

Writer: uhhh

Interviewer: Well, do you at least have a blog!

Writer: oh, yes!

Interviewer: Tell me the numbers

Writer: *stares in horror*

Now, the writer could try to explain that they have hundreds of followers on IG, maybe even thousands on Twitter or another platform – but does that matter to the publishing industry professional? Well, it’s important, but it’s secondary to how many people *actually* read your writing. img_8459

Numbers are important! And for bloggers and book reviewers? The same rules apply. Book blogging is EXPENSIVE. Have you seen the price of books? So a lot of us work with publishers or professional services to get free review copies of books. But no publisher is going to send a free copy of a book to someone, who’s reviews are only read by their mom and the 80 year old cat lady down the street from them who only signed up for the mailing list by accident while they were trying to order more cat food. They care about numbers! What happens when you don’t have numbers?

Blogger in blog post: Hey guys, and welcome back to another book review and blog post! Sorry, I don’t actually have a review for you this week… I didn’t have any books to review! I guess the future of this blog is pretty much… Well…

*silence*

Don’t even get me started on authors and indie-authors! The internet and internet traffic is one of the only opportunities they have to promote their work and *literally* make a living!!! Especially for self published Christian and inspirational authors, who don’t have the marketing team of a big publishing house to back them up. Without support and “numbers” – they might not be able to keep writing, because putting food on the table takes precedence. 

img_8461The internet is SATURATED with content. But it’s not all *good* content. Because what sells? Greed, deceit, drama, and negative content. Not necessarily the good stuff we want to fill our minds and hearts with, right?

This makes it even HARDER for a blogger whose goal is to create inspiring, faith-based content to break out into the industry. Because faith-based content, isn’t always the popular kind of content. Do you want to keep seeing positive content in your inbox? Then you need to start supporting the bloggers that bring that content to you, because it’s hard work. 

Over a thousand of you follow me on IG. Almost 200 on YouTube. On my blog? Ten of you. Ten. That’s like… one percent!!! 

I get it. We all hear the phrase *link in bio* but when do we ever actually CLICK the link in bio? Hardly ever. It’s not as accessible to us. We’d rather scroll. img_8458

Well guys, it’s really easy to get my reviews and follow my blog! All you have to do is click the link once, and go and sign up with your e-mail address! From then on, my posts will be sent right to your inbox. No more clicking and refreshing and clicking and refreshing. And as for me? No more posting messages like this!

And I’m not being greedy here. I want you to go and follow ALL of the blogs. Any reviewer, writer, or author that you know… If you like good content, support good content – because without support, that good content might start to disappear. 

I mean, for real. Even if you’re not interested in book bloggers or author blogs or review blogs. Chances are, you’re on WordPress because you like SOME kind of blog. You may even run a blog of your own! Lifestyle? Crafts? Tech blogging? Whatever it is, whatever blog you have, whatever blog you love – the message is the same! Support that blog. The numbers don’t just matter to us writers and reviewers, they matter to anyone who is trying to turn their dream into reality. To make their passions their full-time job. If you know someone pursuing a creative endeavor, you need to support them.

img_8462You know that I’m giving shout outs to other bloggers who share my blog on my Instagram stories. Even though I can’t speak for other bloggers, share share their blogs too, and share this message if you agree with it. Don’t forget to hashtag it #SupportGoodBlogs and #SupportGoodContent. Because it takes a village, and each of you are a part of my village!

Let’s all keep supporting each other and building positive communities, alright?

I’m going to keep reaching out to other bloggers, because I don’t just want to be the speaker on the soapbox. I want to practice what I preach too. If you think you have a blog that I’d be interested in supporting, be sure to comment it! I’m also going to start committing more time to this platform, and investing in this blog more. I can’t expect a following to arise suddenly, when there isn’t much content to be consumed. Good thing is, it’s the New Year! It’s the perfect time to start fresh and set goals, and these are just some of mine. I hope supporting fellow creators is on your list too!

 

Until next time,

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Fall Favorites – 2018!

A few of my favorite things from this Fall, the best of them all! Books, candles, and ALL of the things!!!

IMG_7344 There are so many things to love about this season and time of year. Now, hear me out, I know that this is completely insane. Fall is what really? A time where pretty much all plant life dies and decays by turning into various shades of red, orange, and brown until ultimately the leaves wither into nothingness in preparation for the coming harshness of winter. Still, there’s nothing more magical than the latter months of the year in my opinion. As crazy as it sounds, fall to me means rebirth and rejuvenation! Those darkening leaves and cool breezes? I find them beautiful.

Maybe it’s because of my allergies that I associate springtime with a general feeling of death, but we’ll save that for another post!

As you can see, I LOVE fall. Or have you not gotten that message yet? Here are a few of the things that have been making my fall-time even more beautiful!

  1. Karen Witemeyer Books – Every fall, I normally settle in with my blankets, a candle, and the entire When Calls the Heart collection (AKA, the Canadian West series). Something about Canada and historical fiction just screams fall to me. While I haven’t gotten around to my annual reread of When Calls the Heart, Karen Witemeyer’s books have been a great alternative for filling all of my historical fiction needs!
  2. Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette – One of my favorite things about this fall has been being apart of the launch team for this book, getting to read it and promote it! It’s a fantastic read and I’d recommend it to anyone! Conni is, and probably always will be, a Biblical fiction queen!
  3. CANDLES – Ok, we’re book nerds. We love reading. But you know what makes reading instantly better? Every. single. time.??? Reading near an open flame. A cozy candle, bonus points if it’s pumpkin or cinnamon scented, makes reading all the more enjoyable during these cold, rainy evenings. Just make sure you read a safe distance away from your candle. I shouldn’t have to say this, but JUST IN CASE, this is your friendly reminder that books are made of paper, and they can and WILL burn if they come into too close of contact with fire!!!
  4. WRITING – True. I write all of the time. But there’s something about falling back into a chair, staring pensively out the window watching the storms ensue, and tapping a pencil on the crisp, blank pages of a notebook. In those moments, we authors have ultimate power.

Of course, there’s more. Isn’t there always more? Be sure to watch my Fall Favorites YouTube video on my channel for even more wonderfully fall-ish recommendations! Tis the season to be… fall-y? Whatever. Just watch the video! And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss a single update or bookish review/recommendation! Until then,

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