Reading, Writing, and Living for Jesus

FA01BCCC-4490-4877-8801-ACBAE12913B9

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,

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png

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,

cropped-black-on-transparent2.png

I FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT

IMG_6169Β So, NaNoWriMo, that thing I signed up for? Yeah, that was a lot. Sorry I haven’t been blogging the whole experience, I was hospitalized for author related symptoms like stress and caffeine addiction (Joke. Kidding. I’m fine).

It did drain me though! There were moments where I was positive that I wasn’t going to make it. “Oh well, I thought, I’ll finish this book eventually, even if it takes my five or ten years…”

So, here’s my news. I finished my first draft! I finished the story! I typed “THE END” at the bottom of my manuscript, and it felt AMAZING.

BUT, don’t congratulate me yet. I came up 7,000 words (roughly) short of “winning” NaNoWriMo. My total word count right now is somewhere around 72,000 words (and climbing, as I do edits and rewrite some parts that were, admittedly, lacking a certain “finesse”). However, only about 40,000 of those words were from NaNoWriMo, so I’m under the 50,000 required for it to be an *official* win. I’m also shy of my original goal for my completed manuscript to be 80,000 words, but I know I’m an underwriter, and I can fix it as I edit!!!

So did I win officially? No. But I definitely won personally, and you can bet I’m buying myself a winner T-Shirt regardless! I deserve that reward, and so do you, even if you only wrote five words, five thousand words, or five hundred thousand words.

BTW: If you can write five hundred thousand words in a month, please call me. Teach me your wizard ways.

Everyone is a winner, every time they open their manuscript, write a couple (or more) words, add to their Pinterest aesthetic boards, redo their outline, get lost on Spotify finding songs that just make you FEEL like your characters are sitting right beside you. You. Are. A. Winner.

So don’t get caught up in the numbers game, celebrate your success!

I sure am!!!

Until next time,

Full Color Signature

NaNoWriMo: It’s not you, it’s me!

IMG_6170Oh, NaNo! I had such high hopes for us together, but I promise, it’s not you. It’s me.

It’s only day two of NaNoWriMo, and I’m already wayyy behind. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing everyone else’s progress reports, encouraging posts, and check-ins… But for me? Well. I really don’t have any progress to report!

I said from the beginning that I was only “loosely committing” to NaNoWriMo, but it’s hard not to feel discouraged when I haven’t put any words down on paper. But you know what? I physically can’t put any words down on paper right now.

Before I go on, I guess I should probably explain to you all just exactly WHAT #NaNoWriMo is. NaNo or NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which happens EVERY year in the month of November. People all over the world commit to writing an entire novel in a month. Sounds great in theory, right? Yeah. That’s about where it ends. Once you’ve signed up for NaNo, you’ve signed up for a whole month of stress, sleep deprivation, and eye strain from staring at the blinking cursor for far too many hours in a row.

Okay, I’m probably over exaggerating a little bit. NaNo is a great thing! I love that so many people love books and writing so much that we’ve dedicated an entire month to it! And I love how this event really brings the writing community together… For reals! There’s an entire official website for NaNo where all of the NaNo participants to chat, connect, and track their progress until they “win” (winning for most people means writing 50,000 words in thirty days) at the end of the month! People have even created Facebook groups for a similar purpose. Others do live videos on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. It’s a big deal! And like I already said, I love it!

But I also said earlier, right now, I currently can’t put any words down. Yes, I’m aware, you’re reading a blog post full of words, but these words are… More like a therapeutic journal for me than anything else. It’s easy for me to write here because I know I’m writing to all of you! My fellow book-loving, writer friends! You guys understand me and I don’t have to worry about structure here, meeting a word count, or whether or not I’m using the right tense verb for an action or the appropriate dialogue tags… Ah, the writer’s life.

The reason I’m having such a hard time is that I’ve been SO BUSY. If you follow me on Instagram you probably know from my stories that I spent all of last week in California for some family things. I went to a celebration of life for my grandma who passed earlier this year, I spent a lot of time with my cousins, parents, and loved ones, and I was otherwise just busy all of that week! I came back the day before Halloween, and I could already tell that all of the flying and running around had gotten to me. The next day was Halloween, which is a whole sugar rush of a different kind of craziness, and Piper (my toy Australian Shepherd) just started obedience school so training her has become kind of a priority. Still think I’m not busy? I’ve also got college work that just needs to be done, house stuff to take care of, and of course time that is reserved to be spent with my wonderful husband who loves me and supports me in everything I do and I couldn’t do any of it without him.

IMG_6198

So, I’m busy. You get the picture right? Well, all of that business has caught up to me and now I have an awful head cold. I guess you could say I’m literally not in the “head-space” for writing! My eyelids feel like the way about five million pounds and when I’m not sniffling, I’m sneezing! The thought of trying to write something for my WIP right now is just… too much.

So, these first few days of NaNoWriMo, I’ve been taking it easy. I told myself when I committed to this that it would be low-key, but it’s still difficult to see everyone else “running” this marathon so to speak, and me just sitting on my couch curled up under a blanket.

An AuthorTuber that I love recently did a video. Actually, she’s doing an entire NaNoWriMo series of videos on her YouTube channel, where she talks about comparison. When it’s NaNoWriMo, and everyone you know is posting how today they wrote thousands and thousands of words, and you’ve barely written a hundred, it’s easy to be discouraged. Yes, NaNo is a great opportunity to write 50,000 words. But more importantly? NaNo is just an opportunity to write! Something, anything. The whole point of this month is to celebrate writing, not to stress yourself out over making a word count. Even though I’ve been saying that all along I still need to remind myself.

Here is Bethany Atazadeh’s video (the one that I mentioned above) about comparison and getting discouraged during NaNoWriMo:

Actually, here is my own video that I also did recently sort of tackling the same topic:

I guess I need to take a bit of my own medicine! LOL!

Basically, I just wanted to send a message to everyone participating in NaNo. If you didn’t write 2k today, if you didn’t write 2k yesterday, and you don’t think you’ll write 2k tomorrow, that’s okay! That doesn’t mean you’re failing at ANYTHING. You are still an author. You are still a writer. Your word count does not determine your validation. Use this month for what it’s meant to be used for! Celebrating your love of writing! Not stressing yourself out so much to the point where you hate writing with the fiery burning passion of a thousand suns.

I’m still going to try to write this month! I’m still going to keep encouraging all my other friends who are also participating in NaNo! But I’m also going to stop when I want to stop, not push myself if I just don’t have it in me, and give myself a break when I need one. Because my success is not defined by a little digitized number at the bottom left hand corner of my screen. Sure, I want to write 50k, but at the end of the day, whatever I have written is still a success! Even if it was only ten words, that’s still winning in my book! And for all of you participating in NaNo as well, remember that you are working at your own pace. Nobody’s life is the same as your life! Nobody’s schedule is the same as yours! Don’t compare, just enjoy the ride and enjoy the process.

(And maybe spend a lot of time in December editing! Haha!)

Until my next post,

Full Color Signature