Camp NaNoWriMo + Short Hitouts Notice

Hullo, world!

You might be wondering what happened to me last week. You were probably pouring yourself tea (or coffee) waiting for March Afternoon Tea with SJ to go live at three.

But it never happened.

Yes, I do apologise about that. If you’re subscribed to my email list, you’d probably know, but the green pepper accident happened. Here’s the excerpt straight from that section:

My Sad Disclaimer About Why There’s No March ’21 Afternoon Tea

Some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t do my AT this month. This is because I had a painful and kind of hilarious accident that weekend. 

Saturday, I had a seminar (which was super empowering) all morning, then I had work in the afternoon and I realised I won’t be able to update my blog. Which is just fine, because I thought, “Hey, I’ll do it Sunday!”

Sunday came, and I was helping mum empty green pepper seeds. Green pepper, as all normal people know, is not something to be handled–well, with bare hands. I’m not normal, I used my bare hands to get the extremely hot seeds out. My hands are red, my face is red, everything I eat is spicy, and still I’m not sure. I think, “Hey, I’ll do it Monday! It’s not ideal, but I can’t type like this.”

Monday comes. I wake up with my hands (esp. my fingertips) practically glowing, I’m starting to feel miserable, and mum googles symptoms. It turns out there are a lot of abnormal people out there who suffered just like me and put out tips of all sort to relieve the pain starting with washing with oil and ending with drinking vodka. I would have liked to try the vodka option, but I ended up doing everything other than that and spent Monday in agony. Tuesday was work, and by that time I’d given up seeing a March ’21 AT on my blog. 

The End. 

So yes, that happened. Cut short to the chase, quick stats for March are the following:

  • Read 19 books (Which now makes 50 books /120 books I’m planning to read this year)
  • Wrote 9K in an experimental WIP
  • Loose concept edit of [ETT] which is part 1 of Juliet
  • Printed out [ZWEI] and did a quick read-through
  • Printed out Woodstone Book 1 and did a quick read-through
  • Life happened a lot. Just saying.

And now to the real topic of the day…

Camp NaNoWriMo Season is Back!!!

Yes, that’s right. I just started Camp NaNoWriMo! *inserts cheers and fanfares* Like usual, I won’t be doing it on the website because, reasons. After spending much time debating which WIP I should work on, I’ve gone back to Woodstone Abbey…spring is WS season, y’all.

Check out the story :: Explore the world :: Read My Progress Report

I first thought I’ll go for half-WriMo which would be 25K, but I might do the full one given the progress I’m making so far. We’ll see, we’ll see…

But What of This Hit-Outs I Hear About???

Yes, you heard right. I’ll be on a short hit-outs for the month of April to focus on Camp NaNo and also my life where I’m doing lots of exciting shiny things™. Given the schedule, I don’t think I can fit in blogging on top of everything else I’m doing, so I’ll be taking a break. But don’t worry, I will be back for April Afternoon Tea. Hopefully I won’t jinx it again. 🙂

And that’s it for now!

How did March go for you? What are some of your plans this April? Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

5 Steps to Recharge After A Major WIP

Hullo, world!

I’m back again with another Author Health blog post. *inserts fanfare* Today is a kind of special post for me, since it’s officially December…the month after NaNoWriMo! (Or Meno-WriMo in my case.) Although I didn’t reach my goal of 50K this year (I wrote 28K), I’m glad with what I did get down on paper…literally. 

And if you did win NaNo, or even if you didn’t, I know that December can be that weird month where you’re wondering if you want to keep writing or take a break or do something else. If you know what you’re doing this month, great! But if not, and you’re super conflicted (like me), let’s take a look at the 5 Steps to Recharge After A Major WIP and decide from there. 

Are you ready? 

Here we go…

1: Rest (Don’t write anything!!) 

Yes, you heard that right. No matter how many words you’ve written last month, now is actually a really good time to take a break. Be that one or two days or a week, take a break. Writing is an exacting business. No matter how you wrote (easy as a breeze or shoveling horse feces, & c.) taking some time to rest is vital when recharging. I recommend checking out my previous Author Health post, 5 Self Care I Like to Do, for ideas to rest. 

People should follow Zenitsu’s style.

2: Read books (Ones that you love)

And of course, as writing is exhaling, we read to inhale. Reading books is a vital activity to supplement the creativity and energy you used up. What often happens for me is that  I tend to avoid reading in the genre I’m writing, so I end up having to stick to books that are outside my commitment. This is good for when I’m writing, since I don’t get distracted with stories that are more polished than mine. 


I can only go for so long without reading dark academia or fantasy or YA. So now that I’ve gotten the complete Harry Potter box set for my birthday, I’ll indulge in that and dense academia books I’ve been placing on hold. (Plus there is that thing where I have a stack of books overdue…)

3: Review Ideas (Re-reads and excavations)

And here comes the part I dearly love: reviewing ideas! This is where I drag out incomplete drafts and old ideas collecting dust bunnies on the shelf and excavate them. I might re-read the drafts or expand ideas I already have to see if they “spark joy”. I might even come up with completely new ideas that keep me awake at night. 

Here, you shouldn’t let your logical side into the equation, meaning you stop thinking about deadlines or the order you were planning to move forward in your writing. 

I personally struggle with this a lot, since I have this idea that I should have some kind of schedule in a year to finish certain WIPs by a certain month. But instead of mustering up strength to plow through a story that’s not clicking with you emotionally, you should write one that weighs on your heart. Because, you never know which work might be your last. (I know, I always lean into the morbid side of  things.) 

I know, I love this guy too much.

4. Examine.

This is the stage you can let your logic decide things. After you find a project that speaks to your soul, stop a moment and figure out where you are in your life. 

For example, last year’s NaNoWriMo, I made the mistake of listening to my heart more than my head. *shudders* I was applying to Ivy Leagues and similar schools, trying to balance my school load, getting a perfect ACT score, and applying for scholarships and financial aids. (Spoiler Alert: I didn’t get any of those things done!) In the midst of this, I felt like I really needed to write my story…you know, it was like I had to write it at that  time or else I won’t be able to say the same things with the same intensity of feelings. Insane, right?

Well, my mental health took a nosedive, and I was a wreck. All because I didn’t properly examine my priorities. 

Me last year.

Once I decided to place it on hold, though, it helped me realise that there was something more important I should be focusing my energy on.

Okay, that was kind of a long analogy, but it’s really important you stop for a moment and examine your priorities. You’ve already done a great job showing up to write last month. Do you have something you can only do right now other than writing? If  yes, you shouldn’t be writing now. As much as it might pain you to do so (and believe me, I understand), take a break for writing. Finish whatever you need to do first, then come back to writing next year. That way, you can have a fresher start. 

If no, then you are ready to take up your pen again! (Or keyboard.)

5. Restart!

And that’s basically it. You can go back to the all-time adrenaline high of plotting and worldbuilding and sabotage. I’m still undecided on which project to tackle at the moment, but I know I’ll be drinking Earl Grey and hot chocolate like water while listening to heist music!  

Because, in the end, that’s what authors do. 

By now, you might have figured out I’m using these GiFs as an excuse to promote Kimetsu-no-Yaiba…

What did you think? Do you think you’ll be writing this month? Or not? What are  some of the projects you’re interested in tackling? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

My Not Wri-Mo Thing + 5 Last-minute Preptober Checklist

Hullo, world!

I’m back again from the collab. If you missed it, check out Brooke’s post here and mine on her blog, Words In Her Soul. Brooke is an amazing person and I had so much fun doing this!

This past few weeks have been kind of tough for me as I started a new job which was mostly night shifts. I never thought  I would have to come back home at such ungodly hours like 5 am. But I’m recovering, and I only have one more day to go, so that’s a score. 

Today you will finally be let on about my plans for November. If any of you recall last year, you’ll remember me dying halfway through the month. (Not to mention the emotional breakdown I had. That was kind of ugly.) It’s because I was a senior last year grinding my soul to get into Ivy Leagues. (News Flash: I didn’t get in!) That time was pretty heart-breaking for me, really, that I want to jump back in time and give my 17-yr-old self a hug. 

What I mean is this: If you’re a senior, stay away from the insane writing challenge that happens in November like the plague. You should take care of yourself first. 

Now that I’d gotten the ugly portion of the introduction out of the way, let’s dive into my Not Wri-Mo thing. 

As some of you may already know, NaNoWriMo–the organization–has been promoting liberal ideas. It’s easiest to see that on their Instagram (i. e. Variations of their logo as LGBTQ2+ flags, etc.) and if you receive updates, some of the things they say or encourage is frankly a little overboard. At least to me. 

Now, I’m not saying that they shouldn’t promote these things. They have their freedom of speech, and anyone who doesn’t agree does not have to support them. But as a Christian, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should probably find an alternative path to November’s Writing month. Because, you know, I love NaNoWriMo! I don’t not want to do it! I prayed a lot about this the past three months, and I realised I could still do NaNoWriMo…But on a different platform. 

This year, I’m self-hosting Meno-WriMo on WriteTrack. Meno is “Remain” in Greek, and I pulled up John 15:16 as the central verse to go with the challenge. It is a bit lonely as I’m doing this by myself, but if anyone is on WriteTrack, you can find me there as S. J. Barnard. 

Okay. Now that it’s out of the way, here’s my 5 Last-minute Preptober Checklist. Because, as you all know, I have a tendency to push things to the last minute. Super healthy exercise for Planners. 

1: Decide on a book to write 

Easy, right? Except I’m in the middle of Elijacomb 17 right now, and I also kind of want to revenge-finish Elektriem from last year…

2: Make a playlist 

This one I’ve already finished. I’ve started making Character Playlist advised by Brooke, and frankly, we’ve written all about it on the collab last week. Playlist rulz!

3: Stock up on tea, coffee, and cocoa 

I cannot stress this point enough. I did a mini-study when I was in my science research-ship, and having warm beverages beside you do kind of help when trying to bang out an insane amount of wordcounts. Trust me. 

4: Find a Journal 

This, I believe, I talked about a few posts ago. WIP journaling is a good idea to do, and I plan to use mine sort of like a half-BuJo, half-idea notebooking thing. I did this for Woodstone Abbey  (which was my Camp NaNo project this year) and I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. This way, you won’t forget that MC’s best friend’s name. 

5: Have fun! 

I know, I sound like a broken record. But seriously, have fun with it! If you don’t enjoy writing (or at least can’t even pretend to enjoy it), what’s the point? Of course, you might be like, “This is the one thing to kick start my dormant writing life!” I totally understand that. Yet at the same time, writing is something we do because it sparks joy. I personally come alive when I write. So do please have fun with it. Or try to pretend. 

+1: Enlist a crying buddy

I almost forgot. You will probably suffer…And I know, this comes after my ”have fun” speech. It sounds paradoxical, but trust me. You will have some days when you just want to give up because you deleted everything you’ve written the past hour. That’s where your crying buddy comes to pick up your bones and helps you stand up again. (For me, it will be my sister. Thanks for volunteering!)

And that’s it for today. Wow, I feel like I stuffed a lot of details into this post! Thanks for bearing with me 🙂

Are you going to write 50K this November? Do you have a “crying buddy” to pick up your bones during and after November? Let me know in the comments below: I’d love to hear your thoughts!