A Name Change and Wrapping Up 2017

What? I changed my name?

Hold the panic.

I’m still Jess. I know, it’s been a while. Hi. *waves, like the ocean*

If you take a look at the top of this page, you’ll see that I changed my blog’s title. I feel like the new name, The Crafted Passion, more accurately reflects what I’m trying to do here in this space, which is carve out a corner of the Internet for myself to store my literary tidbits, perhaps much like a squirrel collecting nuts to survive the barren winter. It’s important to keep your passions safe from the ravaging wind, the driving snows (which I also have blowing around on my blog now thanks to a cool WordPress feature) the gravitational force of the moon, and anything else the outside world decides to throw at you. And we all know that life has really good aim, and if you don’t make the effort to craft your time so that you can accomplish what you want, your time will end up crafting you.

So if you get anything out of this post, I would want it to be: be like the squirrel. Don’t let the mean old world carry away your life.

Anyway, the days are shorter now, and one of my favorite things to do is sit in the glow of Christmas candles with a big mug of hot chocolate and daydream.

This past year has taught me more than any other that I am in control of how I spend my time, and that time better be put to valuable use when it comes to relationships and responsibilities. Despite all the challenges of life, prioritizing is important. I’m also really bad at it.

That’s why, as I complain all the time, it’s taken me so long in between posts. And my schoolwork certainly didn’t make it any easier to write more for fun. But now finals are over and I have about a month free of classes. And a wonderful book full of writing prompts that my best friend got me for Christmas and that I hope to start putting to good use.

So what did I accomplish this year? Let’s look back at some of my highlights and where I hope to go in the New Year.

  1. My Book

    This was the year I finally took Loud Whispers seriously. I finished up the first draft back in March, but it’s grown so much in subsequent revisions, which I’ve written about previously and won’t bore you with again. Perhaps even more important than finishing the writing, I’ve actually let people read it. It sounds small, but this has proved a fruitful step in the revision process. Until recently, I was obsessively protective of my work, but getting other eyes on it has forced me to take my ego out of it and be brave. It also led to my first rejection letter, but not to worry. I hope to break out my red pen and proofread a printed copy after the holidays.

  2. My Play

    This fall semester, I took a class in something totally new – playwriting. It was a great opportunity to learn the format and storytelling techniques of the stage. I ended up with a 10-minute play that shamelessly starred (mooned?) a character from the novel. It’s called Moonquakes, which are like earthquakes, but on the moon, and yes, they are real. In case you were wondering. Which I’m sure you were. Because who doesn’t want to learn about cool lunar phenomena? If you want to learn more, I heard that John and Hank Green mentioned moonquakes in a podcast. I’m toying with the idea of expanding the play into a full-length script or taking the idea and turning it into a spinoff of my novel of some sort.

  3. My Radio Show

    Further developing my public speaking skills and confidence, this semester I hosted a weekly hour-long radio show, during which I mostly sat back and played some indie/alt jams (when I wasn’t having technical difficulties, which was at least once every show). I had some quick interviews with friends and talked about cool things going on. Overall, a great use of my time that I can’t wait to dive back into in the new year.

  4. My Journaling & Yoga Habits

    So I’m still not the best at this, but I’m working on getting into a relaxation routine to calm my mind. I’m one of those people who has to write thoughts down to get them out of my head (in case you couldn’t have guessed). And yoga is great.

  5. Generally Being a More Authentic Person

    Like I said, this year challenged me, and challenges force the truth out of you. So I think I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to tackle 2018 with some fresh goals and honest expectations of what I can do.

How was your year? And of course, I send you my warmest holiday wishes!

Squirrel Hoarding Walnuts
Me as a tiny woodland creature.

Slow Down

It’s December 1st. For many people, that means the first day of Christmas. For others, Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving. And don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays. But I’m like, “please chill.” Winter pun not intended.

Some people close to me (and I love you dearly still) bragged about how they got most or all of their Christmas shopping done. I, on the other hand, have barely started. Now that’s perhaps mostly because of a million other commitments and less jolly tasks clogging up my brain, but also because I don’t want to feel pressured to rush to Christmas.

It will be here soon enough. I’d much rather live in the moment and be able to enjoy the gradual lead-up to the actual day than lose all the enjoyment in a frenzy of preparation and stress.

Because who likes either of those? As a college student, my life is always a strange mix of preparation and stress (insert sweaty/nervous emoji here).

Above all, this season should be about giving and shifting the focus away from myself.

I love looking at shiny lights, but let’s remember to light up our hearts first.