Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings


writing a novel

If We Were Having Coffee: Cleaning Up House


If we were having coffee, I’d tell you with the arrival of my grandmother coming down, things have been quite busy at home. She came to visit us a couple weeks ago to see progress being made on restoring our house back to normal. While she was here, things were initially moving slowly because they had just started getting to work. So she stayed a couple days longer so Mom wouldn’t have to take time off work.

While she was here, my grandmother Meme and I spent the first couple days around the house in case they had any questions for us. I helped Meme wash her car, and we went on walks while the guys were working on what needed to be done in order to get our house back to normal. I spent a lot of time with Meme the first couple days before I had to go back to work. But even when I was at work, I’d spend time with her when I’d get off until she left to head back home. It was a lot of fun having her for a week even if it was because of the stuff going on at our house.

But it wasn’t until she was back home in Pennsylvania that the progress picked up significantly. The popcorn ceiling where the water leaked through was replaced with more popcorn ceiling, the new bathroom flooring was put down, and plywood was placed on the living room floor until the flooring Mom wanted was eventually put down too. But with all the progress that’s been made came dirt. Lots and lots of dirt that needed to be picked up. Because of the amount of walking back and forth the guys who were fixing everything did and from tearing stuff up to put new down, dirt was getting in our house.


So we had to do some major cleaning of the house before they continued work last weekend and this weekend too. Things like wiping the kitchen cabinets and table down, wiping the walls clean, and getting rid of all the dirt on the stairs from their use. Doing this stuff on the weekend helped keep the house clean and left us with little less dirt for the next cleaning.  I also did some cleaning while Mom wasn’t at home so she could work on what she wanted to get done.

While I know we’ll be doing some more cleaning again soon, I know there’s very little left to do before they are finished. This makes me happy because we have nice new flooring that looks really nice and our house will finally be back to normal, which means I’ll get my bathroom back soon.


Our new living room floor. It’s cherry flooring and looks really nice in our space.

I also won’t have to deal with the way Mom is stressing out anymore. Ever since we discovered this leak, Mom has been so stressed out about all of it. So stressed that I sometimes feel like I can’t handle it. I’ve become so used to our current living situation that it’s not bothering me anymore. But for Mom, her house isn’t in order, which is something that stresses her out quite a bit. Sometimes I can handle it because it’s not too bad and because she’s okay after a little while. But I feel like with this, she’s stressed out about things that are out of her control. Things like the progress they are making on getting things restored to normal, and the way they are working on it. I want to tell her things are going to be okay, that these things take time and that our house will be back to normal before she knows it.

But she’s also stressed because she’s not always happy with their work. She makes a decision on something, then ends up not being happy with the way its implemented or they haven’t completely finished working on something and start working on something else, etc. She’s fine with their work, then isn’t. She’s not happy though because her house isn’t in order right now. So even if they are doing a good job, she’s going to find something wrong with their work or complain about how long it’s taking. She says what they’ve done is nice, but isn’t yet ready to appreciate it because her house isn’t back to normal. This is her whenever she’s stressed out about things. Especially when her house isn’t in order, which it hasn’t been for the past couple weeks.

But they are close to being done now. And we are doing things now until they’ve completed their job. Things like painting the bathroom, refreshing the bathroom doors, and painting the living room so as to make it look fresh as well as continuing the upkeep of our house. This stuff allows Mom to stay busy and not worry as much about when things will be completed. And so far, it’s been going really well. Everything looks really nice and I can’t wait for everything to be done.





Our bathroom renovations. We’ve repainted the walls to freshen them up and replaced our toilet and counter top space, but have kept our vanity cabinets. Lighting is also new because the old lights just didn’t work well with our new bathroom style. All I need is the mirror and the look will be complete.

Besides cleaning up house, I haven’t really been up to too much else. Doing these renovations have kept me so busy that I haven’t really been able to do anything else when I’m not at work. Speaking of work, things there are pretty much the same. It continues to be a stressful and tiring work environment to me. Every day there’s always some new drama that attempts to darken my mood. But I’m doing the best I can to work around it because that’s all I can do until I can get a job elsewhere.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you I’m still continuing to do a good job on laying off the caffeine. Now, I won’t lie and say I haven’t been drinking any soda at all. But if I do have any soda on any given day, I usually manage to do a good job of sticking to my intake of one soda a day, except every once in a while where I’ll indulge in drinking one more soda at the most. I think this is good for me because I remember how much soda I used to indulge in and am happy to see I can cut it off cold turkey.

In other news, this week has been a very interesting one. The election came up and I was able to go out and vote. But despite my vote, Donald Trump has been picked to be the President of the United States. While I was upset because he’s not the man I’d like in power of our country, I’ve come to terms that I can’t change what’s happened. He might not be the President I want, but we are stuck with him now for the next four years. Hopefully he won’t be as bad as I think he’s going to be, but we won’t know for sure until he’s inaugurated into the White House next year.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I haven’t done too much writing lately. With the way things have been at work and home, I just haven’t felt as up to it as I’d like. Meaning, I haven’t been working on my novel as much either like I was planning on doing. Hopefully, that’ll change this week but we’ll just have to wait and see.

I’d also like to say before I’m done I’ve started reading a different book. The last book I was reading wasn’t catching my interest anymore so I decided to reread a book I enjoyed while I was in college. So far, I’m enjoying The Diviners as much as I did when I first read it for a Young Adult Literature class I took at Columbia College.

For now, that’s really all I have to say. I’ve had so much going on in my life, both at home and work that’s been keeping me so busy that I’m sorry I haven’t gotten the chance to post as much here on my blog. I hope with this week I’ll be able to change that, or at least get some sort of writing done. But regardless, I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful weekend and I’ll catch up with you on coffee again soon!





My NaNoWriMo 2015 Experience

As the month of November comes to a winding close, I want nothing more than to talk about my experience with National Novel Writing Month this year.

While 2015 isn’t the first year I attempted to write a 50,000 word novel (I tried once back in 2012. But I didn’t get too far because I was too busy with college life and just wasn’t able to fully commit to participating), it has been such a great experience for me for many reasons.

It has changed me. Changed the way I write, the way I see my own writing and my own understanding of how the writing process works. It has made me understand myself too in ways I didn’t understand myself before. Made me understand why I write and what I love the most about the whole writing process.

But with my NaNoWriMo 2015 experience, I’ve also experienced a lot of ups and downs. I’ve crossed some hurdles I didn’t expect to have to overcome and made it through all in one piece. And while I didn’t come close to reaching the 50,000 word mark, I’m glad that I got to have this experience and that I was able to challenge myself through the written word.

During the month of November, I experienced a lot of challenges that I believe were a major part of why I wasn’t able to cross the finish line and make the 50,000 word goal. While I know I really have nobody but myself to really blame, I think the challenges I have faced are what a lot of writers experience when putting themselves to the difficult task of completing a novel in one month.

Writers block: During November, I faced a lot of periods where I just didn’t want to write. At all. I just wasn’t able to find the inspiration or motivation to want to add to my story and bring it further to life. And as a writer, I am the type of person who whenever they go to write a story, wants to write the story chapter by chapter in chronological order. Because I have a difficult time going from chapter to chapter and writing segments from further chapters to be included in the story. So whenever I’m writing and just lose momentum, I lose momentum. And once it’s lost, I can’t get it back. So I have to wait until the cloud of writer’s block isn’t hanging over my head before I can go back to writing again.

However, there are ways to combat writer’s block that makes the time you’re stuck in it pass quickly. One of the things I do the most whenever I face writer’s block is find other things to do with my time until the cloud goes away. This allows the writer the chance to give their mind space from the story, even if it’s for a little bit and come back to writing the story whenever writer’s block is no longer hanging over them. The reason I find keeping myself preoccupied whenever I’m hanging in a writer’s block cloud to be a good way to deal with it is because I already know I can’t completely get rid of writer’s block so instead of fighting it, I embrace it and allow myself the chance to take a break from whatever writing project I’m currently working on.

What makes writer’s block a challenge during NaNoWriMo is that it makes reaching the 50,000 word count a difficult task. It also makes you possibly loose interest in wanting to write during NaNoWriMo altogether too. However, writer’s block can also be seen as a peaceful break from your novel. Because while the task of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month is daunting, your mind does need some down time too so that you have space left in your head to write the novel so that you can reach 50,000 words.

Personal life: Whenever you have a lot of personal stuff going on in your life, finding the time to write and wanting to write at all can sometimes make the month of NaNoWriMo difficult.

While at times I’m very happy to have participated in NaNoWriMo this year, there were some moments where I didn’t want to participate at all. And you can thank that for all of the personal stuff that decided to happen days before NaNoWriMo began.

The personal stuff that happened to me helped inspire me to write The Swan & the Crow but also hurt me too.

Originally, I had planned on making The Swan & the Crow based off of Beauty & the Beast because I’ve always wanted to write my own adaptation of that fairy tale. While there are some elements of that story hidden in my novel, The Swan & the Crow is actually inspired by my own recent heartbreak.

This year, I met a really wonderful guy. During the course of our relationship, he made me feel like the happiest I’d ever been in a really long time. He made me feel loved, important, special. Like he would always be there whenever I needed someone to talk to during my darkest moments and that he cared about me as much as I care about him. I opened up to him in ways I’d never been open with anyone else and with each moment I talked and spent time with him, I fell deeper and deeper in love with him.

For the first time in my life, I found love in the most unlikely of places. But then, my heart was broken in two. He decided that he no longer wanted to commit to being in a relationship full time (his exact words for why he ended our relationship) and ended our relationship this October. Since then, I’ve been experiencing a train wreck of emotions from pain and sadness to anger and frustration. I’ve had some good days, some bad days, and felt everything in between.

This heartbreak at times made writing this novel a difficult task for me.

However, I used the pain and my new experience to push me onward. Instead of letting it control me completely, I used it as inspiration for my new story. I used it to help get me out of what I still feel deeply and begin the process of opening myself up to healing. Of letting go, moving forward into brighter and better days and an endless future. Of accepting what happened and not letting my anger and frustration over the breakup control my actions. Of opening myself up to further love and learning forgiveness.

Personal life getting in the way of writing is one of the things writers have no control over. If something in life gets a writer down and they need time to heal and adjust, they do the best they can under the circumstances to write.

But for me, whenever I’m down and feel as broken as I have, I use writing to heal. I write about whatever experience is hurting me so as to express myself completely and so as to get a better understanding of the problem and why it’s troubling me.

Because writing is one of many things that helps me whenever I find myself in an emotional funk. It is the one of many things I feel like I can do to get out of that feeling and begin the process of healing.

And while I would like to say writing this novel while all of this personal stuff going on was easy, it wasn’t. Not at all. I had some days where I just didn’t want to write and choose not to because my emotions were getting the best of me and I was getting nowhere with my story.

But in the end, I pushed on. I didn’t let my personal life get in the way of writing my story. And while I haven’t finished The Swan & the Crow and am nowhere near close, I wrote until the last day of November.

Self-doubt: One of the biggest challenges a writer faces while writing is self-doubt.

Is my writing good enough? Why does any of this matter? Who would want to read my novel anyway? These are some of the many lingering thoughts that enters a writer’s subconscious at any given moment when writing.

When a writer finds themselves at the end of their rope, they begin to experience self-doubt over the work they’ve created. They begin to question every thought, idea and story they’ve created. They begin to doubt, to seriously believe their work isn’t good enough. That nobody would want to read it and that every person that reads their story will absolutely hate it.

Every writer goes through this. Every writer experiences the feeling that their work isn’t good enough. That their work is flawed and that they will be criticized for it.

And I know I was no exception. During NaNoWriMo, there were many moments where I experienced self-doubt while working on my novel. I doubted every character I created, every action I allowed my characters to make, and every decision I made with regards to the story I built up.

But despite my own personal thoughts on my novel, I pushed on, ignoring the voices in my head telling me it’s not good enough. And I created it. I created a story that is uniquely my own and despite my self-doubt, I did the best I could to make it work.

I did the only thing a writer can do when they experience self-doubt: ignore it. Because no matter what, you’ll never think your story is good enough, no matter how many times you edit it to perfection. So the best thing a writer can do in order to get their voice heard is ignore it and make the most of the story they’ve put their hard work into writing.

Despite facing these challenges during NaNoWriMo head on and not getting past the word count, I’m extremely proud of the writing I’ve produced because of it. While I don’t think The Swan & the Crow is the best work I’ve recently written, my plans are to continue working on it.

Overall, I found my NaNoWriMo experience to be very rewarding. While I dealt with a lot of difficult challenges during the month of November, I also felt like I learned more about myself with each word I wrote. I learned what I do to cope with personal problems and what some of my strengths and weaknesses are in my novel writing.

NaNoWriMo was a very rewarding experience for me and I’m looking forward to participating in it again next year.

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