poetry collection #5 // Blogmas Day 13

I’ve been extremely into poetry recently, so I thought I’d share some more of it on here (even though I just did recently).

If you didn’t check out the last installment of this series, you can click here to do so.

I revealed that I started a poetry instagram account on that post, so if you want to follow it, you can do that here :)

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Please let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you write poetry, please feel free to share it with me, too!

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How to Ace Your Exams // Blogmas day 6

They’re here. Those dreaded finals. I have no idea how they managed to sneak up on us so quickly, but they did. Now, all that’s left to do is study, and hope that things turn out okay!

To make things a tiny bit easier (hopefully), I have compiled some of my favorite study tips and habits that I use into one post for you guys. The goal is that they help you out a bit, so that finals don’t seem too daunting.

Make a schedule

Write down when all of your exams are onto a calendar. Then, fill in what days you’re going to study for them. Now make sure you stick to it. College exams are hard. Most of the time, you can not cram all of the information into one night and do well on the test. It’s just not possible. So, start by studying a little bit at a time, every day for at least a couple of days leading up to the exam. Also, getting things done ahead of time, likes essays and projects, helps a lot, too! It gives you more time to focus on studying once exam week comes around.

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Keep a to-do list

I absolutely love to-do lists, in case you didn’t know by the amount of times I’ve mentioned them in previous posts. They just help me feel so organized and productive. The feeling of checking off everything on your list can’t be beat.

Recently, my obsession has been the Lightspeed Planner! It simplifies to-do lists by giving your three things to focus on each day (one thing that you must do, one you should do, and one you could do). This way you can easily prioritize your main tasks for the day, and break down bigger goals into easy, manageable steps.

For example, I have a three part assignment due for one of my classes, so for the must do section, I wrote the first part as my goal for the day. I focused mainly on accomplishing that task, and then the next day I put the next step of the assignment down, etc.

Find what works for you

Everyone has a different way of learning. The things I do to study may not work for you. It’s important to figure out what kind of learner you are, so that you can adapt different studying techniques to best suit you.

I am a visual learner, so I like to include lots of pictures/diagrams in my notes, and I use colorful pens and highlighters. It’s just what works best for me. But I am definitely not someone who can learn by listening. So, watching youtube videos of people discussing the topic does not help me at all.

Study Guides are your best friend

I know that I just said to find out what’s best for you, but I am a huge believer in creating study guides, so I just have to include this. I feel like study guides are so useful, not matter what type of learner you are!

If you learn by writing, you can make a handwritten study guide, and it will help you retain the information.

If you learn using visuals, you can create a study guide online and include lots of pictures and charts.

If you learn through listening, you can have someone read your study guide out lot to you.

If you learn orally, you can read it out loud yourself, or have someone quiz you on the information.

Study guides are just great, I promise.

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These are all of the tips I have for you guys today! I hope that at least one of them was helpful for you, and maybe you’ll take something away from this post!

Also, feel free to leave your own tips down below. Maybe they will help someone else out.

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Why I started Blogging // Blogmas Day 5

It’s crazy to me that I started blogging (seriously) a little over three years ago. Time really does fly. I still remember when I first created my website, and the thrill of all of the new possibilities ahead of me gave me goosebumps. Back then, this site was not called Kisses From Jess (I honestly can’t even remember the very first name of it), and my posts were mainly fashion and beauty related.

Today, we are here at Kisses From Jess, a name that stuck for about two years now (after some heavy rebranding), and I write about books and writing- things I am truly passionate about.

These past three years have been full of ups and downs, and I have changed, learned, grown so much despite it all.

I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the reasons I began blogging in the first place because it was a decision that truly changed my life.

I needed a creative outlet

So, before this blog, I actually gave Youtube a shot. Many of the friends I met online had Youtube channels, and I used to watch other content creator’s videos constantly. I thought it was perfect. But I quickly discovered that Youtube was not for me. I did it for about a year, and then I quit.

But I was feeling so restless. I needed to put my creative energy into something else, now that I wasn’t filming and editing videos. I’ve thought about blogging before, and I had a Tumblr account back in the day that I was on constantly. So I figured, why not give it a try?

I love to write and wanted to explore this passion

I also thought of blogging over other things because I love to write. I have been creating stories and writing poems for as long as I can remember, and English was always my favorite subject.

I knew that this was something I wanted to do more of, and eventually share it with the world! Blogging allowed me to do just that. Now, I share a lot of my poetry on here, and I even post writing updates on books I’m writing (how crazy is that?!).

To develop new relationships and meet new people

Finally, I wanted to meet likeminded people that I could connect with. It’s hard to find people in real life that are as passionate as me about writing and reading and all of the other things I post about.

I attended a Vo-Tech high school where the focus was on studying medicine and health. I realized that is something I no longer want to pursue in freshman year. I was surrounded by people who were passionate about studying medicine, while I was more interested in creating new stories.

Blogging allowed me to meet so many amazing people who I now call my friends. I really don’t know where I’d be without the support of so many of these people.

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That is it for my little post today. I hope you found this inspiring, and maybe it will make you want to start your own blog! As always, feel free to leave any comments down below, I love reading all of them :)

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poetry collection #4 // Blogmas Day 4

Sooo.

I made a poetry account!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you would know that I love to write poetry, and it’s something that I’ve been doing for a while. I’ve shared my work here in the past, and I will continue to do so from time to time, but I wanted to take it more seriously.

One of my life goals is to publish a book, and more specifically, I would love to publish a poetry collection. I want to work on my craft and actually share the pieces I’m proud of more often.

If you would like to follow it, click here! I will be posting multiple times a week, and it is something I really hope you guys will enjoy.

I tried to be pretty unique with my theme, and so far, I’m loving it! Let me know what you think :)

Here are the first two posts, if you want to get a bit of a sense of what it looks like!

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I hope you guys enjoy these poems and consider following my new account. It would mean so much to me :) Have a beautiful day!

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NaNoWriMo- Last Update // Blogmas Day 2

It is officially December, which means the end of NaNo has come. What started out really well ended in complete disaster for me.

I tried really hard but life took over, school got in the way, and I got very overwhelmed.

End total:

25,000 words.

I only hit 1/2 of the word count goal for NaNo.

But I don’t think of this as a failure. I wrote more for my novel than I have ever written before, which is a huge accomplishment for me in itself. I wrote daily for the first two weeks, and then sporatically for the last two weeks. Even though I didn’t write everyday for the entire month, I still developed many writings habits, and I’m sure they will continue for a long time!

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Before this, I couldn’t even write more than 1,000 words of a novel before giving up.

25,000 words is a HUGE thing for me. I never thought I’d actually be able to do this much. I will continue to work on my novel (at my own pace now), and I will write the words “the end” one day. Whenever that may be.

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I would love to hear all about your NaNo’s! How did you do? Did you win?

Let me know in the comments!

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NaNoWriMo week 2 update- spoiler alert: things are getting tough

Another week of November has passed, which means we are 1/2 way through NaNo (and I’m posting this on my birthday)!

The first week of NaNo went really well for me, which you can read all about in my week 1 update.

Unfortunately, the second week has been very far from successful. The second week is hard for everyone, especially if you’re not used to writing so much everyday (like me). I lost my momentum, and I felt like I was spiraling down with no way to stop myself. 

For the first two days of this second week, I was just extremely busy and only managed to get about 600 words in each day. That meant I was very far behind, and catching up is extremely hard to do when you’re supposed to be hitting 1.6k words a day.

The next two days were pretty good, and I wrote over 2k words for both of them! But, I was still behind by over 1k words.

The next day was my worst day up to this point. I only wrote 200 words, and I was feeling super discouraged. Plus, school was starting to catch up with me and I was feeling very anxious because of it. I was probably almost 4k words behind at this point. 

Things just didn’t look good for me when it came to NaNo.

BUT

I’m here to remind you not to give up. NaNo is hard. Writing in general is HARD. Even though writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, it is still work. Which means there are going to be days where I’m not going to feel like writing at all. And that’s okay.

This week was full of ups and downs for me. I had some of my worst writing days this week, but I also managed to hit my highest word count in a day (over 3k words!). 

I’m still behind on the target word count, but I’m not giving up!

I have decided to change gears a bit with NaNo, and although I’m still going to shoot for 50k, my goal now is just to write everyday. Even if that means putting down 20 words and stopping there, I’m okay with that.

After all, the whole point of NaNo is just to write and be surrounded by a community of people who like to write, too.

I hope you are all having a successful NaNo, which to me means making any progress on your novel at all. 

Good luck with the next fifteen days, and remember- you automatically win NaNo just for trying :) 

NaNoWriMo tracking & reward system | week 1 update

Hello everyone! Today marks one week of NaNoWriMo! I’m happy to say that I’m actually surviving, and I’m on target with my word count. I didn’t know if I would even make it this far, so I’m extremely proud of myself and all that I’ve accomplished. I’m past 10k words at this point! That is so crazy to me.

I didn’t realize that all I needed to get myself to write was a bit of a push. I wish that I had forced myself to participate in NaNo in the past, like I did this year. Maybe I could have written multiple novels by now.

I think what’s really helping me is my tracking and reward system! If you didn’t see my last post, you can check it out here. I mentioned the Lightspeed Planner, which I have been using since the start of the month. I am absolutely loving it! I would highly recommend checking it out and possible buying one for yourself.

Here is what a blank page looks like:

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How I use it for NaNo:

Each day looks slightly different, but I always write my word count goal in either the “must do” or the “should do” spot because it is a huge priority for me. I don’t plan on ever putting it in the “could do” category unless I absolutely have more important things taking up my time. If it’s in the “should do” category, it’s because I have a big homework assignment that I need to complete before I can write. Otherwise, it always goes in the “must do.”

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As for the notes section, I use that to track my actual progress. I write down how many words I started the day with, then I write how many I ended with. On the right side, I put down the total words written that day. If I am on target for NaNo, I give myself a star sticker for that day. I really want to keep that streak going and have a star every single day, so this is another motivating factor. The planner also has a little pocket in the back, so I can keep all of my stickers with me!

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In the planner, there is also a performance tracker. You can rate yourself on a scale from 10-100% based off of how well you performed in a given day. The way I use it is that every 10%=200 words. Therefore, 100% means I wrote 2000 words! It’s very hard for me to write 2k words in a day, so I haven’t yet reached this. However, it motivates me to push myself so that I can get as high up as possible. My highest was 90% one day, which I am extremely proud of!

Rewards System:

The back of the planner contains some pages for you to set your goals. I’m using this as a rewards system for each milestone I hit in NaNo. Here’s how it looks:

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  • 10k words- Chick-fil-a trip
  • 25k words- clothes shopping
  • 40k words- buy myself a book
  • 50k words- get the new Kindle Paperwhite!!

This has been a great way to push myself to keep going. I want the Kindle Paperwhite so bad, so I’m only letting myself get it once I hit 50k words. Ideally, this would be by November 30th, meaning I won NaNo. However, if I don’t make it, I’m still going to use this to make sure I finish this draft after NaNo is over!

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I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! I am loving my system and how well it’s been working for me so far. Let me know if you have a system of your own and how it works for you, cause I’m always open to new ideas.

Also, check out the lightspeed planner, which you can buy here!

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my NaNoWriMo 2018 plans // pt. 2

Hello everyone! This is the second part of my NaNoWriMo 2018 series, so if you haven’t read the first one you can click here to do that. In the first part, I talked about my goals for prepping before NaNo, and I have definitely been working on those. They are not completely done yet, but I still have a week of October left, so I know I will get them all done before November begins.

In this post, I want to talk a bit about my outlining process and explain what my novel is about!

I am calling it “Project X” for now, because it does not have an official title yet. From now on, that is what I will be referring to it as! Some of you may remember that over the summer I was working on a writing project with the same name. That project sort of turned into this one, so that’s why I am keeping the name. I combined some ideas into one, but the concept as a whole is brand new.

What is it about?

The story follows Summer as she goes to visit her father in New Jersey for the months before she begins her freshman year of college. Her father has a new girlfriend, she starts a new job, and she’s going to be moving to a new state soon. All of these changes are happening way too fast for her. Until one day she runs into Noah and starts to fall for him. He might be the only thing keeping her from reaching her breaking point. However, they’re both hiding something from each other. Can a relationship still form despite the secrets? Or will it end in disaster for both of them?

The story is still forming and a lot can change! However, this is the main gist of it. It is definitely going to be more of a character driven story, and I hope to make the reader feel very connected to at least one person. Their personalities are all so different, and they each go through a lot of growth throughout the book. Let me know what you think of it :)

Outlining Process

Outlining is so much fun for me, but it takes a long time and requires a lot of work. I have been using a notebook to outline, because I like to have a physical form of the story- it feels more personal and almost like a work of art to me.

I started with a short summary, and then created pages for my main characters. This took a lot of time, because each character is so unique and requires my full attention. I’m glad I took the time for this though, because I know my characters so well now and how they will react in different situations. It will be a lot easier to write them because of this.

I then decided about how many chapters I wanted the story to be, and I wrote out different plot points and events that I want to occur on post-it notes. This is very helpful because I can stick them on different pages, but move them around if necessary. Starting with the first chapter, I wrote out some bullet points of what would happen in each chapter. I am almost midway through at this point (I plan to have 28 chapters), so I just have a little bit more work to do.

It’s a little hard to describe how I outline through words, it would be much easier to talk about in video form, so I suggest checking out some authors on Youtube who talk about how they outline!

The story is really starting to come together, and I am excited to see where it goes, once I actually begin writing!

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Are any of you participating in NaNo this year? Let me know what kind of story you’re writing down in the comments (if you feel comfortable). Good luck!

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my NaNoWriMo 2018 plans !! pt. 1

November is right around the corner, and if you’re a writer you know what that means- it’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) time! Basically, the goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. It is incredibly difficult and requires a lot of work, but can be done.

I have tried participating in the past, but always occurred at times in my life where I was too busy or lacked inspiration. However, I have been really focusing on writing and making it a bigger priority over the past few months because it is something I want to spend my life doing.

I have already begun prepping for NaNo this month with a new storyline. The majority of my outline is still blank because I had just started figuring everything out but I have a ton of ideas. I just need to organize them and put them in the correct sequence.

My goals for October are…

  1. Finish the outline: Obviously this is incredibly important for me because I am NOT a pantser. I need to have my stories outlined and planned, or else my life will fall apart and I will go crazy.
  2. Create a writing playlist: This is something I have high on my list because it would be so helpful. I think music while writing really sets the vibe and helps you get into the mood of your story. I know not everyone likes this, but for me it is extremely important.
  3. Begin some writing: School is a lot of work. I didn’t believe people when they said college is hard. I knew it would be, but I didn’t think it would be as bad as it’s been. So, I want to start some of the writing (which I know is kind of cheating) so that I don’t get unmotivated or beat myself up on the days that I don’t have as much time to write.

I have a lot of work to do to prepare for the upcoming month, but I am excited to get started with a serious writing project again!

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I will update you guys at the end of the month and give you my outlining process and a glimpse into what my novel is going to be about! For now, this is all I’ve got for you :)

Let me know in the comments if you are participating in NaNo this year!

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a reflection on my first week of college

Before you read this, I just have one thing to say!

I originally had no intent to ever post this. I wrote what I was feeling because I felt like I had no one to talk to and I really needed to let this all out.

I am now in my fifth week of school, and I feel a whole lot better. I’m getting used to it, making great friends, and doing well in all of my classes. I might even be starting to love it! There really is an adjustment period, so if you are feeling the same way as I was, just give it time.

And for everyone who is not in college yet and is reading this, don’t worry. It’s not as bad as I made it seem. I tend to exaggerate things (a lot), and I feel completely different about school now.

Ok, on with this little open letter!

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I hate it.

I was anticipating this for months. Living on campus, being surrounded by friends, going out all the time, having freedom and more time to do whatever I like.

Instead, I feel stressed. Anxious. Lonely. Different.

I always relied on my ability to handle change and adapt to any and all circumstances. This is a change that I was excited for- I literally counted down the days. But I feel so lost. Like I’m missing a part of myself and don’t know how to get it back. Everyone around me seems to be doing so well. People have already made the friendships that they’re going to keep for life.

I feel like I’m so behind and having a hard time adjusting while everyone else has it so smooth sailing.

For the first time in my life, I miss home. I miss my room. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I even miss high school. That is a sentence I never thought would come out of my mouth.

I have always seen people older than me post about their experiences online and they all look like they are having the time of their life. That is the experience I wanted. I want to love this school so much that I’ll miss it when I’m home for breaks. But I can’t see that happening.

I know it takes time. Everyone tells me that. But it just doesn’t feel like it will change.

I’m trying to stay positive, but it can be really hard sometimes. Here’s to hoping next week gets better.

Xo, Jess