The Writing Process [BLOG TOUR]

Bursting the Bubble, Just for Fun

The Writing Process

I like to get involved with Blog Tours because they allow me to write about something entirely different AND show some love to great bloggers and writers that I know. Vanessa Shields is a writer with a wicked sense of humour and an impressive amount of poetry books under her belt. I am participating in this blog tour because of her and her lovely blog VANESSASHIELDS.com. I reviewed her latest work of poetry I AM THAT WOMAN and immediately fell in love with poetry all over again. Thanks for the invite to participate in this tour, Vanessa. You are a poetry goddess.

What am I working on?
My notebook is a cluster of ideas for short stories, novels, personal experiences, blog posts, and poetry. I am always working on something even if it doesn’t really do anything but sit in a folder on my computer or collect dust in a notebook in my drawer. Right now I have a YA novel, a general fiction novel based on my late uncle, and a sort story about 20 somethings going nowhere (AKA ME) started. I’m working more intensely on the latter and hope to finish it up before the deadline (I want to submit it to a new anthology).
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
In writing, I believe that it’s all about voice. Regardless of the genre I am working on, I hope to bring out the same voice as I have on this blog or in my diaries. It is distinctly me.
Why do I write what I do?
I write what feels right. I write about situations that effect me, I write about people I love and people that I hurt. I write about what I’m going through and then try to turn those into works of fiction in the hopes of sharing something different about the human condition. I am my most vulnerable while writing and I try to leave it all on the page.
How does your writing process work?
I write when I have time. I write when I make time. I write best early in the morning, when the house is quiet and I can see strips of sunshine flow through my shutters. I write a little bit everyday until whatever it is that I am working on is finished (I don’t like to jump from project to project). I have trouble “planning” anything that I’m writing. I start with a general idea and power through it. The story changes several times until it’s finished, which is part of the fun. My dream is to rent out a cottage or cabin on a lake and sit up there for a week and write. Write without any distractions or interruptions — I think that’s the only way I’ll get a decent novel finished.

Unfortunately this tour ends here. All of my writer friends are super busy writing novels and travelling so I couldn’t get them to join in. The good news is you got to learn more about my writing process and I re-introduced you to the lovely Vanessa Shields.

Until next time…

Love Always and Forever,

Vanessa Xo

Liebster Award!

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

liebster_awardThe lovely Lindsey over at Reeder Reads nominated me (yes me!) for a Liebster Award! Not sure what it is? Well, it’s a way for bloggers to share their favourite blogs and gain a little exposure themselves. It’s kind of a long process but it seems like it’ll be super fun, so I’m ready to give it a go. First I have to state 11 random facts about moi, then I have to answer questions given to me by Lindsey (my nominator), then I must nominate people/blogs that I love, and finally list questions for them to answer. Not sure if they’ll be into it but heck, why not? So here goes nothing…

11 Random Facts about ME!

  1. I recently discovered that I am TERRIFIED of kittens.
  2. I’m hate speaking in public and yet I always made it to the finals when it came to Public Speaking Contests in elementary school.
  3. I am obsessed with my iPhone, notebooks, and books in general.
  4. I decided to become a writer in the eighth grade after I wrote and presented a monologue in front of my class. I got 100% and my english accent was amazing — the monologue was about Harry Potter’s first Quidditch match.
  5. I don’t like massages — being naked and touched by a stranger makes me feel icky rather than relaxed.
  6. In the first (or second grade, I can’t remember) I peed my pants at school, right before I made it to the bathroom. I hid out in a stall until my teacher came looking for me.
  7. I love to travel and hope to head to Europe within the next few years.
  8. I will get married in a bookstore (preferably Ben McNally Books in Toronto).
  9. I cry every single time I watch Lilo and Stitch, even though Tangled is my favourite Disney movie of all time.
  10. I love having my nails and toenails painted.
  11. I work on my self-confidence every single day.

Answers to Lindsey’s Questions

What is the one book you could never ever part with or get rid of?

How can I choose just one?? Since interning at Random House and becoming a book blogger, I have so many books on my shelf that I want to keep forever and ever. So, if I had to choose JUST ONE that I could never part with, it would be impossible. There are three books I could never ever part with. I’ve reread Speak and The Alchemist more times than I can recall. They have both brought me to tears and have helped shape the person I have become. They helped me find my voice. As for The Aftermath, it’s a signed advanced reading copy of an amazing read but it’s much more than that to me. I spent a day with Mr. Brook and his daughter, accompanying them to stock signings and bookstores. It was a truly amazing experience with a wonderful author, who shared some advice that I will never forget.

Thats what writers do. They spin plates and see how much they can get away with.”

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Paper book or eBooks? Why?

PAPER BOOK FOREVER AND EVER. I love writing notes in my books, I love the smell of the pages, and the sound they make when you flip through them. I love bookmarks and holding a book in my hand — no matter how heavy it makes my purse or my luggage.

If you could travel to one place in the world (all expenses paid), where would it be and why? 

England. It is super literary and I like their accents.)

If you could meet one author (dead or alive), who would it be and why? 

I met Michael Ondaatje at a book signing so I guess the answer would have to be Anais Nin or Dorothy Parker or J.K. Rowling. I just can’t decide.

Do you play music while you read?

Not usually, it depends on my mood or how loud everyone in the house is being.

If you could create a dish with any cookbook author, who would you want to cook with?

I’m not big on cookbooks, although I should be because my cooking skills are lacking quite a bit. I would have to say Chuck Hughes and not just because he’s super dreamy.

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Okay, it’s mostly because he’s super dreamy.

If you were given $5000 to spend in one store in the world, where would you do your shopping?

TED BAKER LONDON.

Do you have a favourite quote? Can you share it with us? 

I look up quotes like they’re going out of style but here is one I’m currently obsessed with…

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If you had to be a member of a literary family, which family would you join?

The Weasley’s or the Weird’s.

Do you have a bad habit when reading? Twirling hair? Clicking your tongue? Tapping your foot? 

I tend to bite my lip or furrow my brows.

Who is the one author or book that has changed the way you read?

Every book I’ve read has changed the way I read. Every experience is different and I appreciate them all. I can’t answer this one! GREAT QUESTIONS LINDSEY! ❤

Liebster Award Nominations

Kaley from Books Etc. trained me on my first week interning at Random House of Canada. She is a treat! Sweet, supportive, and one of the most bookish people I know! I knew I made a friend for life after only a WEEK of working with her.

Amanda from Not A Model Blog has a writing style that makes me swoon. Her words are like butter on a crusty, freshly baked loaf with an aroma that lingers for days. She’s a lifestyle blogger who writes about everything from fashion to everyday beauties to travel diaries to book reviews. Her posts have a powerful honesty about them and are just as wonderful as the writer herself.

Romi from Confessions of a Chick in Paris is a self-published author with sass and unbelievable whit. Her success and determination has inspired me beyond belief.

Deanne from My Fash Avenue is my go-to blog for fashion inspiration. I’ve been following her blog practically since its conception and to see how far it’s come is truly inspiring! She’s made a huge name for herself in the fashion blogging world and I’ve loved following her along the way.

Casie from This Is My Life is someone you’ve heard me talk about more than once. She’s an influencer and personal friend of mine. She was blogging before blogging was cool and I am so thankful for all of her advice and help since the start of My Pen, My Voice.

* Questions for the nominees *

1. What is one book you’ve reread over and over again?

2. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

3. Who would play you in the movie of your life?

4. Why did you start your blog?

5. What’s your go-to outfit?

6. Who is your biggest inspiration?

7. If you could have coffee with one person in the world (alive or dead) who would it be? What would you ask them?

8. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Thanks to Lindsey for the nomination! I would like to mention that had they not already been nominated, Lindsey and Maria (from I Believe In Story) would have been on my list as well! To all those who had stumbled upon My Pen, My Voice because of Lindsey, it’s nice to meet you! I hope we’ll be seeing each other again soon!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Remembering the good/ don’t be late/

Bursting the Bubble, Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

tumblr_lzm1tn9vAf1qzlvmiMy biggest pet-peeve is waiting for people. When I tell you that I’ll pick you up at 10:30 am, I expect that you’ll be ready and at your door at 10:30 am, not 10:32 or 10:40, 10:30! It’s something I’ve had to get used to and I love love love my best friend to bits in spite of the fact that she is always late (mostly because she runs out of her house looking like this and it makes me laugh <3). 

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Yesterday, it was my boyfriend’s turn to be late. I parked my car in his driveway and waited as patiently as I possibly could. As frustration mounted and smoke blew from my ears, I tried to focus on anything else but the time. I stared at the back of his car, his window reflected moving trees and changing clouds. They swam across the window changing shapes until I could see them no longer. As I sat still, everything around me moved. Whether you’re feeling angry, frustrated, sad, jealous, or just plain down in the dumps the entire world is still moving, why not just move with it? The world waits for no one! So think of the good things and get your butt moving!

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The other night, while congratulating a friend on her engagement and squealing about how 2014 is going to be an amazing and busy year, I was asked what happened in 2013 that made it a good year. It took us, a collective group of three, quite a while to name anything at all that hadn’t happened recently or wasn’t a HUGE MONUMENTAL GREAT THING. We tend to forget the tiny good things, don’t we? The following day I had to read through my posts from 2013 just to remember what happened last year. So many good things happened that I can’t believe I’d forgotten them! Looking through photos and posts left a smile on my face and a fire in my heart. It’s nice to look back and remember. Why don’t I do that more often? I’m trying to find a way to turn my blog posts into a book – it IS my diary after all. Any ideas?

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo 

Remembering the good/ don't be late/

Bursting the Bubble, Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

tumblr_lzm1tn9vAf1qzlvmiMy biggest pet-peeve is waiting for people. When I tell you that I’ll pick you up at 10:30 am, I expect that you’ll be ready and at your door at 10:30 am, not 10:32 or 10:40, 10:30! It’s something I’ve had to get used to and I love love love my best friend to bits in spite of the fact that she is always late (mostly because she runs out of her house looking like this and it makes me laugh <3). 

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Yesterday, it was my boyfriend’s turn to be late. I parked my car in his driveway and waited as patiently as I possibly could. As frustration mounted and smoke blew from my ears, I tried to focus on anything else but the time. I stared at the back of his car, his window reflected moving trees and changing clouds. They swam across the window changing shapes until I could see them no longer. As I sat still, everything around me moved. Whether you’re feeling angry, frustrated, sad, jealous, or just plain down in the dumps the entire world is still moving, why not just move with it? The world waits for no one! So think of the good things and get your butt moving!

clouds-1

The other night, while congratulating a friend on her engagement and squealing about how 2014 is going to be an amazing and busy year, I was asked what happened in 2013 that made it a good year. It took us, a collective group of three, quite a while to name anything at all that hadn’t happened recently or wasn’t a HUGE MONUMENTAL GREAT THING. We tend to forget the tiny good things, don’t we? The following day I had to read through my posts from 2013 just to remember what happened last year. So many good things happened that I can’t believe I’d forgotten them! Looking through photos and posts left a smile on my face and a fire in my heart. It’s nice to look back and remember. Why don’t I do that more often? I’m trying to find a way to turn my blog posts into a book – it IS my diary after all. Any ideas?

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo 

Forget me not…

Lifestyle/Personal

A year ago today I blogged about lattes and Kensington Market, self-imposed stress and a horrible complexion, and how a trip downtown with one of your favourites can cure it all! One year later and so much has changed, except for my horrible complexion and self-imposed stress, so I can’t wait to spend Sunday downtown with my mentor. Casie is always so full of positivity and after our conversations I always feel motivated and ready to take on the world! I miss that feeling.

In other news, I’ve been blogging at least four times a week for the last three years and I must admit that I’m running out of material. I don’t want this to turn into a blog about NOTHING and I don’t want to blog just to blog, so I’m cutting down my posts. I’m only going to write when I have something worth writing about or something that I can’t help but share.

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Don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s me and I hope you understand.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Forget me not…

Lifestyle/Personal

A year ago today I blogged about lattes and Kensington Market, self-imposed stress and a horrible complexion, and how a trip downtown with one of your favourites can cure it all! One year later and so much has changed, except for my horrible complexion and self-imposed stress, so I can’t wait to spend Sunday downtown with my mentor. Casie is always so full of positivity and after our conversations I always feel motivated and ready to take on the world! I miss that feeling.

In other news, I’ve been blogging at least four times a week for the last three years and I must admit that I’m running out of material. I don’t want this to turn into a blog about NOTHING and I don’t want to blog just to blog, so I’m cutting down my posts. I’m only going to write when I have something worth writing about or something that I can’t help but share.

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Don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s me and I hope you understand.

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

the only way out is deeper in.

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

“The only way out is deeper in. It’s what you don’t yet know that can save you.”
Irini Spanidou, Before

Whatever it is that you’re going through, good or bad, pour your whole being into it. Eventually you will get out of the rut, you’ll move onto something better, or you’ll realize that where you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be. I don’t know why that quote pricked my heart, why it made me feel so… hopeful but I hope it does the same for you. I hope it helps you get through your week and pushes you to keep moving forward. Sometimes I feel like with everything I’m doing, I’m getting no results. Did you know that I’ve thought about giving up this whole “blogging” thing? I’ve thought about giving up on a job in publishing (magazine or book) and settling for whatever company will take a look at my resume. But then I realize (thanks to the thoughtful advice of my parents) that you have to keep going if you want something to happen — the only way out (or onto something better) is deeper in. Maybe your path with change, maybe your dreams will alter, but you’ll achieve them (it’s what will save you).

If I had given up I would’ve never entered the HTC One contest, nor would I have won the opportunity to WRITE a post on one of my favourite blogs. But today, that happened. My post is up on THIS IS MY LIFE and I couldn’t be happier, it’s a blogging dream come true and I’m optimistic that slowly but surely — if I keep working hard, good things will come.

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___

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Transition. Period.

Family Time, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal

I can’t sleep or function because I am in a “transition period”.

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Transition periods are scary for two reasons: you’re not doing what you want to with your life AND you have no idea WHERE your life is headed. I’m applying for jobs, going back to the old pizza place a few nights a week, working on a novel(ish), and focussing on my blog to keep myself busy but I still feel uneasy. I’m waiting patiently and trying to stay motivated but when people ask me if I’ve found a job yet, this happens…

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I’M DOOMED!!!!!

When that happens I get ahold of my support team, order an iced coffee, and forget about everything. I had two incredible conversations with two of my favourite people yesterday. They reminded me to keep my eye on the prize, to take life one day at a time, and to remember my goals. There’s no need to get lazy or forget what you want just because it’s not happening when you want it to. I need to remember that I CAN get what I want if I don’t give up. If I keep trying, keep networking, and keep writing, good things will come.

It’s just a transition. Period.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo 

** GIFS FROM The Intern Tumblr.

Book and Blog Tour(ish)

Book Reviews, Lifestyle/Personal

IMG_1793Many of you know that I published my first book in February of 2011. My Pen, My Voice is not only my diary but also the inspiration behind this blog — behind the reason for sharing my writing online. I’ve decided that I haven’t quite finished with My Pen, My Voice, as such I’ve sent copies out to various bloggers in hopes to get some honest reviews of it. Positive or negative I will post links to the reviews right here, via Twitter, and Facebook. Below you will find the dates and blogs that my book will be reviewed on (as more bloggers sign on, I’ll add them too).

I’m a little nervous about all this since some of these reviewers have never met me and therefore have no reason to give me a positive review. They have promised to tell me their honest opinion and although I advocate honesty and I promised to share ALL reviews, including the negative.

The fun will begin on July 22nd and continue every Monday after until the end of August (hopefully). If you’ve read my book, feel free to share your thoughts and insights on these blogs or right here in the comments.

July 22nd – Review on I Believe in Story by Maria Vicente

July 29th – Review on Books Etc. by Kaley Stewart

August 5th – Review on Ham and Eggs by Karlee May

August 19th – Review on Words of Mystery by LLN

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Stay True.

Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal
Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker

The most difficult thing about blogging (writing) is staying true to the voice of your blog. It’s difficult to stay true to the brand you created when there are so many other blogs and brands to be intimidated by. I created this blog as a space for my personal thoughts, as a space to practice and improve my writing, as a place to learn more about myself, as a place to share great books. Admittedly I’ve lost sight of my voice a couple of times. Sometimes I didn’t even recognize the woman holding the pen, I didn’t hear my own nasally soften-spoken voice when I read my posts over again. The important thing is that I noticed and I put myself back on track.

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Another difficult part of blogging (writing) is privacy — what do you share? What do you keep to yourself? I’ve had people tell me that they follow my blog in a tone that makes me feel like they know more about me than I think they do. I’ve had people tell me that I should be careful. That my generation doesn’t know the importance of privacy. Well, that’s what social media is, letting people into your life, into your home. It’s scary how BIG social media has become in my life, I’m even applying for jobs with SOCIAL MEDIA in their description.

Sometimes I sit back and think oh my gosh, I’m sharing my thoughts with who knows how many people. On top of that it’s on the INTERNET, FOREVER. After the initial nausea from that thought subsides, I allow myself to think other thoughts. My Pen, My Voice is a brand. It is a brand that I created. It’s ME, it’s who I am and what I represent BUT I get to choose what I share. Along with this blog I have two other notebooks with me at all times. One is a diary and one is the rough beginnings of my novel — neither of which I share on my blog.

I think people forget that there’s a person behind a blog, a twitter account, an Instagram account etc and what they share is only fraction of their lives. They let you see what they want you to see.

I am my truest self when I write.

 I write with honesty, intention, passion, and determination, but please don’t forget —

My Pen, My Voice is just one side of me.

Love Always

Vanessa Xo