The Half-Mature Monster on Holiday

Nature-Summer-WeirdoI work at a school and during summer break calm descends upon the world. Meaning I have more freedom to take vacation days and get home earlier. Before breaks, I spend a lot of time dreaming up all of the things I’ll finally do–go on hikes every day, wake up early and write, read stacks of books, hang out with real human beings.

But then my time off finally comes and once the writing’s done and my Nespresso’s gone cold, I find myself looking ahead at the gray sprawl of time with unease. Distrust.

Okay, I should note that the writing’s never done–by “done” I mean when weird line squiggles and fjifeifejeef lousy up the blank page instead of words. When I’m fed up and begin to wonder if there’s even any purpose to ANYTHING.

With my first book in the far-as-I-can-take-it-for-now pile, bequeathed to the nameless gods for judgment, I’ve been trying to find all sorts of ways to keep myself occupied :coughsanecough:. I’ve taken up more freelance work, started booktubing, inked some bad doodles, hobby gorged under the guise of professional development, and now I’m working on a second book…

This isn’t a sequel or anything like that, it’s a completely new story with all new characters for a different age range. It may seem odd, like I’ve given up on my first book, but I haven’t I swear. Still, I’m not the type who can twiddle her thumbs while waiting and I’m sure that’s not the done thing anyway.

At that LA Times Festival of Books I went to Leigh Bardugo (author of The Grisha trilogy) advised the aging YA panel audience to work on something unrelated while you query. And it was like I’d been given permission to step away from this being I’d put every ounce of myself into; that I’d worked up from the cellular level using an insecure science that leans heavily on the Delete key.

Writing books is like magic. You spend countless hours working on this thing and then not much happens and then you start over again. See? Magic.

I don’t mean that don’t listen to me. Anyway, I’m determined to have some capers both on and off the page. I’m probably not going to hike every day (who even does that?). But I am hiking with a human being tomorrow. And my dishes are washed. Hey maybe I’ll spend the rest of the summer trying to turn into an adult only to reach fall before I’m fully cooked and instead become some horrible half-mature monster. Or maybe I’ll just eat at more restaurants and give this shiny new book some legs. Anything can happen when you have a little time.

Writing Superpowers


Superpowers. We have them (well…we have the imagination to pretend we do).

Power Nap Maneuver

Writing-Super-Powers_Power-NapYou thought it necessary to stay up until 2 a.m. for the seventh night in a row because you have all of those blog entries to write in addition to manuscript revisions and if you don’t tweet right now–#writing–you will never sell a book for as long as you live. But your brain seems to be on strike… Now why would that be? This is a job for the Power Nap Maneuver! The Maneuver includes the ability to sleep through a mid-day session of the fiercest 20-kid game of hide-and-seek-while-violently-and-blindly-throwing-a-ball-around. You may startle awake when projectiles smash into your gated door or threaten to cave in your roof, but you’ll be back in Mr. Darcy’s arms a second later like nothing happened.

Caffeine Super-Charge

Related to the Power Nap Maneuver, the Caffeine Super-Charge allows you to pay no heed to the normal hours/quantities of coffee beverage intake to which one is supposed to ascribe. There’s writing to be done! Have a grande cappuccino at 6 p.m. and pop a pod into the Keurig three hours later. It ain’t no thang.

Freudian Mindmeld
Writing Super Powers_Mindmeld

While your friends think they’re having a casual chat with you, you’re actually stealing into their brains to psychoanalyze their every word. The Freudian Mindmeld is enhanced by the ability to store this information for years and unconsciously incorporate it into stories written down the line. This ability does not always come with the common sense to artfully mask stories based on real events and people so that they can’t be traced back to a source.

Bubble of Solitude

It may not be a fortress, but it gets the job done and it’s transportable. How do you like them apples, Kal-El? The Bubble of Solitude can be cast anywhere at any time. At a party when you’re randomly and suddenly struck by a solution to that sticky plot problem you’ve been struggling with? Break out your journal and cast the Bubble of Solitude. You won’t even notice that one guy with the electrical tape pasties doing a strip tease for his best guy friend.

Reading Deathray

I’m sorry, LeVar Burton; reading isn’t a leisurely romp through flower fields on butterfly wings. Books must be dissected and consumed, one after another. With the Reading Deathray, you are able to destroy sentences and paragraphs while analyzing word usage, symbolism, and form and structure at alarming speeds. Stand back, citizens! You don’t want to witness this chilling inkbath.



My Nerdist Way Character Sheet

I finally got around to creating my character sheet using The Nerdist Way template  as I mentioned I might do a million years ago. I thought this activity might prove entertaining but was otherwise unnecessary because I already know what I want to do with my life. But looking at myself from the outside even at this stage was unexpectedly informative.

The point of creating a personal character sheet is to better understand yourself, your strengths, and weaknesses, and then use this information to take control of your life.


I did learn something new about myself. My long-time assumption that I’m Lawful Good aligned was disproven. I decided to take a few alignment quizzes, answering each question honestly, and it turns out I can be a real self-serving jerk.

Here are a couple of the quizzes I took in case you’re interested in finding out where you stand:

Dungeons & Dragons Online Alignment Test (this is obviously designed for players of the online game, but something tells me you, like me, are capable of pretending you live in a fantasy world) — I scored plain ol’ neutral here.

Truly Lawful Productions D&D Alignment Test — I scored 47.2% Good and 17.9% Lawful, with a Neutral Good result. I did not expect to score so low on the lawful scale! I swear I don’t jaywalk.

Not even a million OKCupid quizzes can capture the full spectrum of our identities, but I thought the D&D take was interesting and fun. Knowing your own mind is important to a great number of life concerns and too often we only see ourselves in passing.

Close-Up-CharismaChris Hardwick, author of The Nerdist Way, advises against sharing your character sheet because you’ll want to be completely honest about your abilities while creating it. But I think it’s silly to hide my low numbers. It’s a well-known fact that I have almost no charisma.

The exercise gave me a chance to think about areas where I have basic skills that can beClose-Up-Photoshop improved upon; skills I didn’t think important to writing until recently. Like improving my ability to destroy flash photography, as illustrated by my da Vinci-like artistic representation.

It’s good to step back sometimes, even when you think you’ve perfected the blueprint to your success. I tend to get tunnel vision when faced with a massive task. I’ve been faced with a number of massive tasks lately and looking at the big picture has been difficult.

So here I am, in all my flawed glory. What would your character sheet look like? What attributes and weapons can help you move forward with your goals?

Nerdist Way Character Sheet