THH Giveaway

To anyone who’s joining this giveaway, please know that I am honestly thrilled and grateful to you. I’ll forever be grateful for all the support that you’ve given me and this story, because if there’s anything that keeps me writing, it’s the fact there are people like you around. Thank you so much!

By the way, I just want to reiterate that you can still join the raffle by tweeting and posting on Instagram using the #THHGiveaway just in case you want to up your chances!

(In case you stumbled upon this blog post before reading the mechanics, you can check it out here!)

 

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Life, Lately

For the past three months, I’ve been slaving over rewriting THH, and a lot of times I wanted to just give up and send it to Summit Media as it is. It was a constant struggle to keep myself motivated to rewrite and edit something I no longer feel passionate about, but now I’m glad to say that after so many sleepless, caffeine-driven nights, I’m finally done with it.

Okay, so maybe not yet, considering that the production of the book hasn’t even begun yet (working on the cover and some edits from the Summit Media editors, etc.), but I did send the “final” manuscript today and I am so, so glad.

One of main reasons why I found it so hard to edit it is because I feel like I’m no longer the same person who wrote it. Sure, it might have only been less than a year since I finished writing it, but in the span of the few months that have passed, I feel like I’ve learned and grown a lot as a writer.

And so it goes without saying that the person I am now would never have written something like THH. The plot, the characters, the language–I hate them all. (Well, maybe hate is too strong of a word to use, but still.) If it was up to me, I would have preferred not to get it published in the first place, but the contracts have been signed, and the opportunity was too good to pass up on.

In addition, I didn’t want to take away its essence for the sake of the readers who read it first on Wattpad, so even though I wanted to change it completely, I chose not to.

I admit that I’m not a good writer. At least, I’m not good enough to actually get a publishing contract. I see lots of stories on Wattpad that are way better than mine and I’ve talked to writers whose stories deserve to be placed on a shelf next to David Levithan’s or Jennifer E. Smith’s works but haven’t had much luck in jump-starting their careers as writers. And I’m aware that I’m not even half as good as they are.

Which is why I’ve taken it upon myself to make sure I’ll do my best to improve as a writer; to acknowledge my weaknesses and do something to address them–to step out of my comfort zone and try to write something that I can truly be proud of. It’s the only way I can honestly be happy for myself;  the only way I can tell myself that I deserve this opportunity.

This, however, brings me to the other story I’ve been working on for almost a year now. I started writing The Possibility of Chance Encounters last year July and to date, it has 70,000 words to it. Its readership response is overwhelming and it fares fairly well on Wattpad.

But I’m no longer the same person who wrote it last year.

This is why it’s been so hard for me to continue writing it. I keep seeing its flaws and mistakes and I no longer connect with the story. I’m too painfully aware of the plot holes and the questionable plot points, and the thought of continuing it makes me feel like I’m trying to transform an already spoiled dish to a high-class gourmet meal meant to be served in a five star hotel.

Bottomline is that I can’t continue writing it.

However, when I scroll down and look through the comments, I always feel guilty, and I try to motivate myself to finish it. I would open the Word file and try to write the next chapter, but I find myself second-guessing every element of the story, and I just can’t do it. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I can’t. 

At least not now.

So I’ve decided to put it on an indefinite hold. Maybe I just need to get some time away from it. Maybe I just need to get my writing back on track (because I’ve genuinely been unhappy about my writing lately). Maybe I just need to take a step back and try to breathe for a moment.

The pressure to continue writing it is suffocating, but I know I owe the readers an ending, so I’m not entirely deleting it. I just need to work on something that I’m genuinely passionate about–something that makes me feel like I have to write this, or else I might explode.

That comes in the form of the new story I’m planning to work on soon. It still holds a semblance of my past stories (read: cliched and formulaic), but I’m planning on easing into this “new territory,” so I might as well start small and work my way from there.

If any of you are readers of THH, then you’re all probably aware of the fact that Kyla’s father died from cancer when she was young. The whole dynamic of THH only worked because of this and while I was rewriting the final draft for it, I found myself adding in a bit of his story, and suddenly I found myself facing that “spark” that made me think “I NEED TO WRITE THIS.”

Before I knew it, I’d already planned the whole novel from the first chapter to the last one(which is something I’d never even done before, considering that I’m a pantser) and I’ve resolved to write that first.

I sincerely apologize for being unable to update TPOCE. I promise that I’ll do my best to reconnect with it in the future–I swear I will–but I’m hoping you’ll allow me this change of pace because writing it feels like a chore, and if I’m not happy with what I’m doing , then why should I subject myself to writing it?

I just need to work on something that will remind me why I wanted to write in the first place.

I’m sorry.

Why I Write

I think it’s safe to say that we all get sad every now and then. Even on a good day, there’s always that one thing that somewhat ruins it. It’s the same with a week, or a month, or a year. Along the way, there’s always a time where life decides to be a bitch on steroids and suddenly makes you feel like you can’t go on.

At least, that’s how it is for me. I’ve always been an introvert. I don’t like being in big groups of people; I hate crowds (I hate concerts, for one); and I would always just stay in the sidelines listening to conversations, speaking just once or twice or not at all. And every now and then, when I suddenly fall silent like that, my mind always takes me to the things that have never failed to make me feel sad–my father, for one; failing classes; my flaws. They just keep resurfacing, no matter how many times I try to push them away.

I’ve always been a fairly happy person, but I also carry things that weigh me down.

I suspect it’s the same for any of you and if it isn’t, then you’re lucky, but in any case, what I really wanted to say is that it’s okay to be sad. It’s normal. It’s human. It’s not something you can just “turn off,” and it’s definitely not something that disappears when someone tells you to “choose to be happy.”

It’s not as simple as that. It’s never as simple as that.

I’ve yet to discover how to really deal with this emotional baggage that drags me down, because no matter how many times I tell myself that these things shouldn’t matter, they never really leave my thoughts.

So far, however, I’ve come up with a way to deal with them: I write.

I think that’s pretty much obvious since that’s basically pretty much all I do. I’ve started keeping a journal. It’s not filled with day-to-day entries, but I write in it when  I feel like I have something to write. Writing helps me sort my thoughts out, seeing the words on ink and paper, somewhat tangible and far organized from the mess that is my mind.

Aside from that, the stories I write have helped me too. I almost always add some family complication, as well as character flaws that resemble my flaws, and when the main character resolves these complexities, I feel like I’m getting closer to solving the issues I also have to deal with. Like their journey becomes mine too and the lessons they learn are lessons I’ve learned too.

It’s not a foolproof way to make the sadness go away, but so far, it’s helped me a lot, and I’m pretty sure writing had helped a lot of other people as well.

I’m not saying you also have to write. What I’m saying, however, is that you need to realize that distracting yourself from your unhappy thoughts is not the right thing to do. You shouldn’t just push them away (like I normally have done over the years). You shouldn’t do something just so you can “get your mind off things.” Doing so will never guarantee you genuine happiness.

Instead, try to think about them real hard. Try to magnify them, to bring them closer. Acknowledge them, accept them, understand them so you know how you can resolve them. Don’t just keep them bottled up to pretend that you’re happy, else you will never be truly happy.

It’s okay to be sad. What’s not okay is to pretend you’re not when you are.

I don’t know how to really deal with the problems that continue to bug me, but I do know that running away from them is never going to solve anything,

Before the Year Ends

As the last few days of 2014 quickly pass by, I realized I’ve been writing a lot of things to do for 2015, but I haven’t really tried to think of how I should spend the rest of 2014.

We’re down to two days until the year officially ends and I think it’s just appropriate to make these last couple of hours worth something.

Make a list of things you should do to end the year right. They don’t have to be things you have to do; just things you feel like you should do.

Here are the things I’ll be doing:

1) Write my goals for 2015. Aside from stuff in my New Year’s Resolution, I also have some other things (whether petty or important) I want to accomplish. It’ll serve as more like a road map of the things I want to do over the course of the next twelve months.

2) Write letters to my friends. Call me old-fashioned (and corny) but my friends and I have all gone to different universities and even though we all have these other means of communication, it’s just not the same as being with each other for real. I feel like we all have a lot of catching up to do and I don’t know. It just feels like the right thing to do to jump-start another year of our friendship.

3) Prepare my planner and journals. To be honest, I’ve been hoarding a lot of blank journals lately (I’m a shopaholic when it comes to journals and pretty notebooks) and SUE ME but I just feel like I have my shit together when I organize my thoughts on paper.

4) Get laid. HAHAHAHAHAHA I’m just kidding.

5) Look back. A few days ago, I browsed my 2014 Facebook history and I don’t know. It made me think of how much has changed in the course of 365 days and how much more could change tomorrow.

6) Write a letter to the future me. I’m planning to open it at the end of 2015. Just for the heck of it.

7) Relax. The year had been a sfressful one for me. It would be good if I could just let go of all the stress that accumulated over the semester. Reread your favorite or rewatch your favorite movies. Paint. Write. Sing. Treat yourself to something you don’t usually let yourself have. You deserve it.

8) Have fun. It always boils down to this, doesn’t it?

It seems like a lot, now that I’ve listed them down (I really should have come up with this sooner hahaha), but meh. I’m used to cramming anyway. (THIS IS THE LAST TIME I’LL CRAM I SWEAR.) (Nah, it probably isn’t.)

I Dare

So I found this picture somewhere and I thought of sharing it to all the other bookworms out there:

2015 to read

But for those of you who aren’t that into reading (if such a person even exists), I also have something in store for you.

So I recently watched Sleepover (2004) after a long time and for some reason, watching that and finding that 2014 Reading Challenge thing made me want to come up with challenges for myself this 2015 and I decided, as per usual, to post them here for you guys too.

I dare you to

1) Step out of your comfort zone. Learn something new. Find a different hobby. Go to different places. Do something you’ve always wanted to do but never did because the mere thought was scary.

2) Admit something you’ve never admitted before. It doesn’t have to be something big as long as it’s something you’ve been in denial about. Or whatever.

3) Clean your room. Hahahahahaha no seriously I really need to do this. And while you’re at it, redecorate it and reorganize your stuff and I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to put all sorts of stuff in my room but it’s always filled with the most random trash that decorating it had always seemed pointless.

4) Join a contest. Singing, writing, dancing, cooking, drawing, painting, eating. Literally anything you love doing. It’s not like you’ll lose anything by joining.

5) Talk to someone you’ve never talked to before. Whether it’s the wallflower hanging around the sidelines or the random stranger on the subway or a new classmate or whatever.

6) Give away something important to you. It can be your favorite book or shirt or shoes or painting or whatever you hold dear to you. Give it as a gift to someone as important.

7) Speak out. Don’t let anyone take your voice away.

8) Throw away the things you don’t need. And I’m not just talking about material things.

9) Do something you’ll probably regret later but is totally worth it. Does this even make sense? I hope it does.

10) Stop pretending to be someone you’re not. Because you don’t have to and you should never feel as though you need to be someone other than yourself.

(Yes, yes, I do know that was the most random shit ever.)

a to-do list for you

Like I’ve said before, I’ve always been pessimistic, ill-tempered, cynical and generally negative about life, but I’ve decided to change that part about me from now on, which is why I came up with a to-do list that might help inspire having a positive outlook in life and thought it would be nice to put it up for you guys too. 🙂

1.) Write down at least one good thing that happened to you today on a small piece of paper and put in a jar. Keep doing this everyday. 

It doesn’t have to be something big or anything. It can be as simple as “The line in Starbucks wasn’t long today” or “My crush talked to me about the assignment” or even just “I actually had enough sleep.” Don’t forget to put the date. I got this idea from something I read on the internet and thought it was a good idea.

2.) Look for motivational or inspirational quotes and write them down on a notebook. Do this at least once a week. 

They don’t have to be big quotes from famous people or whatever. They can be things a friend could have told you or even something you came up with. You can just write them down simply, but you can also turn the notebook into an art journal and be creative. You may draw, practice handlettering or calligraphy or make a collage or anything to inspire you.

3.) Make a list of at least twenty things you’re grateful of. 

Don’t lose the list. If you’re kind of person who uses a journal, you can write these there so you don’t lose it. That way, you can keep adding to it.

4.) Make a playlist with songs that make you happy. 

You might want to steer clear of depressing songs about heartbroken people and stuff. This way, if you’re ever feeling down, you can listen to a playlist that does not contain anything that might make you feel even worse.

5.) Write yourself letters from the future. 

If you’ve read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (which you totally should), then you’re probably familiar with this. If not, then the idea is to write a letter addressed to you from your “future self” and the people you think are part of your future. Make up a future for yourself.

An example:

I know you’re going through a hard time right now, but I promise it will get better. One day, you’ll walk into that coffee shop and I would spill my coffee all over you. It will be love at first sight, but we wouldn’t know that yet. You would be furious with me. You almost yelled at me because you had to go to an interview for your dream job–or for what you thought was your dream job–but because I ruined your shirt that day, you ended up realizing that it wasn’t really the job for you months later; that you would rather be doing something else. 

When we met again by chance a year later, you grabbed me by the elbow and looked at me, and at first I didn’t recognize you: You looked different (your shirt was clean, for one). Less uptight. Happier. Then you reminded me of the day in the coffee shop and you asked me if I wanted to go get coffee. “Only if you promise you won’t spill yours on me as payback from last time,” I had said, and you laughed and promised me you wouldn’t; that you only wanted to thank me for ruining your shirt (you never liked it anyway; the collar was too tight and the fabric was scratchy.) 

In any case, you will be happy. It may not look like it right now, but I promise it will get better. 

Love, 

Your Husband

Or something like that. I hoped this illustrated my point well enough. Then you can write from the point of view of your daughter or son or best friend or boss or whoever is included in your hypothetical future.

I kind of suggest doing these all in one journal (except, of course, the jar and playlist, though you can write down song lyrcis if you want to). It doesn’t really have to be pretty or anything, but it can be like your very own “Positivity Journal.” You don’t have to do them in order and you don’t have to write the letters all at once. You can write those when you feel like you need to write them (like if you fail a class and you’re convinced your future is ruined, you can write to yourself about how you’re living the dream and stuff). Add pictures. Collect moments. Give yourself something to look back to when you’re feeling as though your life is never going to get any better.

I know it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. I know, at one point in our lives, that we all feel as if the whole world is crashing down on us. We can’t help it because bad things just happen; things that are completely inevitable.

It’s up to us, however, to learn how to deal with those–and while this list isn’t exactly the solution, it’s better than nothing.

If you have any ideas of your own, don’t hesitate to comment below and tell me about them. 🙂

of failures

3  We’ve all failed at one point in our lives. This semester had been extremely hard for me. I don’t know if I’d become too lax but I messed up. Big time. At this point, I’m honestly just trying not to cry (again) and instead hope for the best when the grades come out. (Of course, I’ll be expecting the worst.) In any case,my failures for this semester had actually been dragging me down for a long time now, and I’m trying to be positive about it since I realized I’ve been too pessimistic and negative and just generally shitty when it comes to dealing with things that upset me. The thing about failure, however, it’s inevitable. It always lurks around the corner, just waiting for the time to strike, and when it does, it knocks you back hard enough to make you stumble. This is a cliched way of talking about failure, but it’s true enough. It’s only important that we learn how to deal with failure.

1) Acceptance.  Some people tend to go in denial about their failures, perhaps not even consciously. Often we justify them, or blame someone else for them. I, for example, have been blaming one of my professors for a class I’m pretty sure I’ve failed, but to be perfectly honest, I should have seen right from the beginning that it was my fault.

2) Acknowledge your flaws. Think back to the moments that eventually led to your failure. What did you do wrong? For me, I know it’s because I procrastinate too much. I don’t put in as much effort as I should do. I’m too stubborn and prideful to2 ask for help when I don’t understand my lessons. I’m shit at prioritizing things. List them all down. Look at them for a long time. Look at yourself for a long time.

3) Strive to be better.  Move on. The painful truth is that we can’t ever turn back time. We can’t undo those failures and we can’t change the past for whatever it’s worth. It’s a pretty shitty setup, if you ask me, since we’re stuck living this pretty much linear life, but we just have to deal with that. All we can do now is look at those flaws you’ve mentioned and think about ways to get rid of them. It’s too late to save your past, but the future awaits a better you.