NaNo Day 24: Room Tour

Sooo… I kind of stayed up until 5:00 AM last night.

It wasn’t on purpose. I kept thinking I’d just make it to the next goal point in NaNo and then I’d head to bed, but then I’d pass that goal without noticing, so I’d continue on to the next one, and… Well. Eventually I caught up with my personal NaNoWriMo goal.

I started the day at about 34,000 words. I finished at just over 41,000 just before 4:15 AM. That’s the most I’ve written in one day in ages and I am thoroughly exhausted now, which isn’t boding well for getting a ton of homework done today. But it’s a happy sort of tired, and I’m considering switching my plans around and just getting the stuff for my Spanish project done this afternoon, then spending the rest of today on writing again. Perhaps I can finish before Thanksgiving, after all. (That would be REALLY nice for being able to focus on my final projects and papers over break.)

A while back (and by that I mean “in September”) I promised to do a tour of my dorm room. Getting the room put together has been a process over the past couple months, as I waited for different items like shelves and clothing hangers to come in, but it’s all done and good to go now, so I figured it was time to take you around. (Also, I am obligated to thank Kira for reminding me to do this, since she just put her bedroom tour up this week. 😉 )

Here we go.


First, here we have the view of my room from the door. My dorm room is a single this year, which means that I have it all to myself (although I still have to use a community bathroom down the hall). The downside is that it’s also smaller than some of the closets you see on HGTV, which means that I’ve had to be creative with storage.

1View of Room (2)


Here’s my nifty welcome mat. 2Welcome Mat (2)


A view of the entrance from the other side. The walls around my door and closet are coated in Command Hooks. Here I store my purse, a couple sweaters and jackets, and my winter coat. On the hook on the back of my door, I have my rain jackets and a couple winter scarves. In the corner is my Swiffer.

3Entrance from Room (2)


On the wall opposite all my outer gear, I have some posters and pictures to greet me when I get home every day. Top right is a print of Chicago, then some pictures of my friends and family, the name tags from my door freshman year, a Michigan sign my parents gave me for Christmas last year, a Ravenclaw house pendant, and a Shakespeare poster.

4Wall Beside Door (2)


This is my closet. I store my linens, cleaning supplies, etc on top, then my clothes are hanging on the rod and stored in the dresser and plastic drawers at the bottom. I organize the hanging portion of my closet primarily by style, with skirts (organized by cut, then color within that), then blazers/cardigans (organized by sleeve length, then color), tank tops, sweaters (organized by warmth), long sleeved blouses and t-shirts (three-quarter-length sleeves to full-length, also organized by style), then short sleeved blouses and t-shirts (scoop neck Ts, v-necks, fitted T-shirts, baggy T-shirts), then dresses (organized first by sleeve length, then by how formal they are). After that is a hanger with all my belts on it, organized by how often I use each of them. Basically: My clothes are scary organized.

I’ve got more Command Hooks all around here, holding up my towel, Turbie Twist (not pictured), sweatshirts, bathrobes, and scarves. I use one of the hooks to hang up the outfit I’m planning to wear the next day, for those nights when I’m feeling like being on top of things.

Because I brought my own desk chair in order to be more comfortable while working, the chair the university provided is hanging out over here (with my storage cube atop it, because space is at such a premium). Underneath the chair, I store my most-used shoes, so my tan combat boots, knock-off Uggs (I swear I only wear them around the dorm), some flip flops, and my fuzzy moccasins. Atop the white plastic drawers in the closet, I also have my rain boots and my dark brown combat boots, which you might recognize from my Katniss costume.

5Closet (2)


Beside the closet is my entertainment center. Basically: Bookcase and TV, beside refrigerator and microwave (atop my microwave are my water bottles, the spray bottle I use for my plants, and my portable humidifier). I have another photo collage of friends and family here, along with my Hunger Games posters (in the order they are because I desperately wanted to keep The Hunger Games above all my food like last year). You can check out my bookshelf tour here.

In the drawers in my bookcase, I store my DVDs, the mugs not on my shelves (I have a LOT of mugs), hair stuff, medical supplies (because we all know I need a massive first aid kit), and other random junk.

6TV and HG Posters (2)


Here’s ze futon. This is where I spend the majority of my time (and where I’m sitting right now), because I mean: laziness. It’s propped up on bed risers so that I can store more drawers under it, where I keep the rest of my shoes and some of my food. Off to the left you can see part of my loft/writer cave, along with my backpack and, just above the pillows, the very top of my guitar case, which I store between the futon and my desk. (Behind the desk is my exercise hula hoop that has not seen the light of day since I moved in.) I have a 3D print of Times Square hanging off the side of my bed, above the guitar. (Off to the very right, you can see my recycling bin and main trash can. I’m really good at being responsible and taking those out often, obviously.)

7Futon (2)


The wall behind my futon as more posters and such. Here we’ve got a free Star Trek Into Darkness poster my family picked up for me when they went to an advanced screening of it last May, a Camp NaNoWriMo poster, more Shakespeare, a concert poster from Darren Criss’s tour this summer, Divergent faction stickers, a Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone poster, some butterfly wall decals above my full-length mirror, and a Divergent poster Hannah made for me (I wasn’t a big fan of the official movie posters, so she made a cooler one).

You can also see one of my intense plug strips at the bottom of this picture. I have a lot of electronics. They take up a lot of plugs.

8Posters (2)


Next up: Writer Cave! To the right is my desk, and to the left is the dresser the university provided me with that I basically converted into food storage. On the side of my dresser is the white board I write my weekly schedule on, and beside it (not pictured) is my laundry hamper, which is currently overflowing due to the proximity to Thanksgiving and free loads back at home. You can just make out another NaNoWriMo poster off to the left beside my window, behind the plant.

(Also: Check out that totally comfortable pink rolly computer chair. Much better than the blue plastic mess they gave me, right?)

9Writer Cave (2)


This is my desk. It’s a little bit cluttered, but that’s how I like things. My furniture this year didn’t come with a shelf built into the desk, so my family got creative and build one for me instead (my family rocks, if you didn’t know). On it I’ve got a tissue box, hand sanitizer, a wood turtle I got in Costa Rica a few summers back, and some more pictures. Below the shelf is another white board (plus pin board)–this one with encouraging messages on it. In front of it is my Nook, a cup of dry erase markers, my stapler (currently useless because I ran out of staples last week–whoop-de-dooo), a lamp, my desk organizer (pencils, pens, Sharpies, highlighters, paper clips, binder clips, etc), a stack of Post It notes, and my necklace tree. To the left are all of my school books, folders, papers, etc. You can see my NaNoWriMo daily goal chart taped to the right, and some miscellaneous papers with blog post and story ideas, etc, to the left. I have Post It notes and a couple other things stuck up all over the top of my desk. Most of them are quotes to use in novels, reminders about different plot points in the stories I’m working on, etc. Some of them are quotes from people I admire.

10Desk (2)


Here are three of my plants. I have four in my room right now. The two on the right are spider plants (the little one is the big one’s baby–born and raised in the dorms). and the little pine tree in the mug on my window sill is a giant sequoia my mom and brother gave me that hasn’t gotten quite giant yet. (But little Suzie is getting there.)

11Plants1 (1)


Here’s my dresser. Off to the furthest right you can see a little of my inspirational phrase poster-thing. It’s all “live your life with abandon” and “this is your life… make it beautiful” and I’m like, “High-five, inspirational phrase poster-thing–I think I will.”

On the top shelf of my dresser, I have a lint roller, my makeup and face care stuff, then my books, along with a Navy Pier mug, a MLibrary rubber ducky, a Michigan megaphone-thing, and a gift bow (my best friend and I have a traditional of giving each other bows for our birthdays, so this is one of those).

Below the shelf is my little makeup mirror and some hair clips and other supplies, some drawers with some more jewelry (note if you’re considering robbing me: the most expensive thing I possess is a fake diamond necklace from Claire’s I got for ten bucks for my senior prom). Beside the drawers are some more pictures and my mini globe. Along the plastic backing behind this portion of the dresser, I’ve taped up some more pictures and a couple other little things–a ticket from a production of my favorite Shakespeare play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and a thank you postcard from the Office of Letters and Light from donating. In front of all this is my money tree, which isn’t doing too hot right now unfortunately.

As I said before, I use my dresser primarily for food storage. I’ve also got some more hair, makeup, and first aid type stuff in it (I’m REALLY accident prone).

12Dresser (2)


Climb up the ladder to the top of my loft, and this is what you see. This is the head-side of my bed, so I’ve got my pillow (covered by the duvet), a backrest pillow, some mooore pictures of my family and friends, and a lamp. To the left, out of sight, is the little shelf where I store the books I’m reading, my glasses, etc. The curtain to the left is my blackout curtain, for the mornings after those nights when I’m stupid enough to stay up writing until 5:00 AM.

13Pillow (2)


The ceiling and walls around my bed are coated in glow-in-the-dark stars. It’s beautiful at night.

14Ceiling (2)


Here’s the foot of my bed: More pictures, an Allegiant poster (all this Divergent stuff, by the way, I picked up at the Veronica Roth book signing in October), a fleece blanket, a pillow a family friend made for me (I couldn’t find the duvet I wanted in twin extra long, so we bought it queen-sized and she converted it for me, then used the extra fabric to make this adorable pillow), a couple super fat and fluffy stuffed animals (the big green one is Frogger, the little one is Frogger Friend), some more plugs, and my fan. Hiding behind the pillow is Whiffer, a little stuffed dog I’ve had since the third grade.

Behind this portion of my loft is a fairly large empty space (we’ve nicknamed it the “Dead Body Space” because it’s the perfect size to hide someone) (note that I did not come up with this–blame it on my friends). I use it for more storage. Back there right now are a couple containers with spare supplies and another fleece blanket (that one I use for snuggling on my couch, so that I don’t have to heave down the one on my bed whenever I want to warm up).

15Foot of Bed (2)


… And here’s one last shot: the view of my room from my bed. It’s small but cozy and I spend probably 80% of my time in here, doing homework, writing, watching Netflix, etc.

16View from Bed (2)


There you have it! A tour of my room that goes into far more detail than you’d ever actually want to know.

Do you live in a dorm room? What’s it like? (Please tell me it’s at least larger than mine.)

day 24

Homework time.



NaNo Day 11: Bookshelf Tour

Sooo… after an overall slow writing day yesterday, I finally hit the first big turning point in The End Where I Begin around 9:30 PM, took off running, and FINISHED PART ONE!

I normally don’t write novels in parts, but this one naturally lends itself to it, so I’m just sort of going along with it. And I’m SO EXCITED to be done with the first part, because while stuff obviously happens during it, it is primarily focused on setting up the universe and establishing characters. So now that that’s done, I get to move into the fun part of messing with everything I’ve established, which is, you know, fun.

Plus, although I didn’t reach my weekend goal of 23,000 words last night (only about 22.3k), I do have today set up as a break day in order to do homework, and I ended up with less homework than I was expecting, so: Look who’s finally going to be all caught up by the end of the day! Hopefully I can even get a little ahead and stay that way throughout this week (but that might just be a pipe dream).

As you’ve probably figured out by now if you’re a regular reader of this blog, my novels pretty much always lean towards the action-y side of YA. Nobody’s really sure how it happened, because I’m really girly and almost literally could not hurt a fly if I tried (I passive-aggressively killed some fruit flies this semester by setting up a trap atop my microwave when they invaded my room, and I have felt guilty for it ever since). But I live for car chases and epic-final-battle climaxes, and the books I chose to bring to college reflect that.

Because I’m in a dorm room, I have very limited space for books, and I can only have a small percentage of my actual personal library with me. So: A tour of the books that made the cut for bringing to college.


My Bookcase

bookshelf 1This is the primary place I store my books at school. It’s divided into semi-themed sections. Which are:


Top Left: Ally Carter & Co.

bookshelf 2The top left cubby has my Ally Carter collection (all signed but United We Spy), plus a few random YAs I haven’t had a chance to read yet, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, just because it fit the slot I had left. The random YAs are Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (also signed).


Top Right: Lauren Oliver and Friends

bookshelf 3The top right cubby contains my Lauren Oliver collection (including my signed ARC of Requiem), three of the four books from the Young Authors Give Back Tour (What’s Left Of Me by Kat zhang, Taken by Erin Bowman, and Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard–you’ll see where the fourth tour book is later), and some of the thinner contemporary books I have with me (again, because of fitting-into-the-space reasons): The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, my signed copy of Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and The School Story by Andrew Clements. (Not pictured: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Because I think the gremlins stole my copy.) (And by that, I mean that I’m pretty sure I loaned it to mi madre and she hasn’t had a chance to finish reading it yet.)


Center: Rick Freakin’ Riordan

bookshelf 4The center section of my bookcase is dedicated to Rick Riordan. Here we have all five books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, plus two of the books from Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune and The Mark of Athena. I unfortunately only have The Lost Hero as an e-book, and the big hole to the right, there, is waiting for House of Hades, whenever I can afford to purchase it (or someone makes me really, super happy by buying it for me, instead).


Bottom Left: The Best Thing Since Shakespeare

bookshelf 5Bottom left is Harry Potter by JK Rowling (aka The Queen of Modern Literature). We’ve got all seven books, plus the British edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.


Bottom Right: Dystopia and More

bookshelf 6

bookshelf 7Bottom right is The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth (two copies of each book–the two in the bottom picture are my unsigned copies; the stack in the top picture are signed), the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

All together, that makes up my bookcase, but it’s not the only place I store books in my room. Half the shelf above my dresser is also dedicated to them.


My Bookshelf: Everything that Didn’t Fit Anywhere Else

bookshelf 8

bookshelf 9

Here I have all the books that didn’t fit into either any of the categories or available spots on my bookcase. Some of these are classics and books from when I was little that I love, some are more how-to/guide book oriented, and a lot of them are books that I’ve been meaning to read/finish reading but just haven’t gotten around to yet.

The furthest left are a few of the literary magazines and collections I’ve been published in, followed by Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter: The Official Guide, James Harriet’s Animal Stories by James Harriet, The Little Book of London by David Long, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and David King, The Action Hero’s Handbook by David and Joe Borgenicht, The Handbook of Practical Spying from the International Spy Museum, and Marley y yo por John Grogan (Spanish edition of Marley and Me, obviously).

After this is 1984 by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Inheritance and Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, the Holy Bible, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (I know, I’m terrible), Wool by Hugh Howey, and Yonder by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Lloyd Bloom.

Down in front is The Bard’s Guide to Abuses and Affronts by Mr. William Shakespeare, and Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary and Spanish-English Dictionary.

And then finally, the one other place I store books in my room (outside of my desk, obviously, which only has school-related books):


The Shelf Beside My Pillow: What I’m Currently Reading

bookshelf 10Usually I have several books plus my Nook stacked here, but since it’s NaNoWriMo, I’ve been trying to limit the temptation. Right now I have the fourth book from the Young Authors Give Back tour here (I told you it would show up eventually), Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.


There you have it: the books I brought to college! (That just took so long to put together.)

What books do you like to keep around?

day 11


GUTGAA Meet and Greet

It’s Monday, which means it’s GUTGAA Meet and Greet time! If you’d like to get in on the writer blogfest action, make sure to visit the Gearing Up to Get an Agent website HERE.
Quick bio: My name’s Julia Byers, I’m eighteen years old, and I’m a freshman at the University of Michigan, where I’m studying creative writing and drama (and loads and loads of required Spanish, due to the college I’m in). I like writing and acting (if you couldn’t tell by my concentrations), I’m a vegetarian, and I watch an obscene number of Youtube videos. I’ve written four novels, am currently writing a fifth, and I would love to get to know you if you’d like to leave a comment. 🙂
Now, to complete the Q&A:
-Where do you write? 
At home, I write a lot in bed, propped up against my backrest pillow. Now that I’m at college, though, and my bed’s lofted so it’s sort of hard to hang out in, I write at my desk. Here’s a fun lil’ picture:
-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A photo collage of my friends and family. (Cue the universal “awwww” sound.)
-Favorite time to write?
Back in high school, it was during classes (honestly, I have no idea how I maintained my GPA), but now that I’m at college and everybody has promised that things will be more difficult, I’m probably going to be writing a lot in the evenings.
-Drink of choice while writing?
Water, although I’ve also got a pretty solid supply of tea and apple cider mix with me, for when it’s cold.
-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
It depends on the project. I used to hate listening to music when I wrote, but now I really enjoy listening to movie scores to help get me in the mood for certain scenes (it especially helps when I need to write something angry or sad but I’ve just had a really good day).
-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
Junior year of high school, I had to write a short story for creative writing class, and at the time I was going through this phase where I really liked a guy but he didn’t care about me that way in the least, and I started having these dreams where we were together, which was obviously awesome while I was asleep but sucked when I woke up. I started thinking about what it would be like if I could get everything I wanted all the time, like I was in a dream–and BOOM: Dreamcatcher was born.
Of course, back then it was just an idea for a short story for creative writing, which ended up not even getting beyond the first couple of paragraphs because it seemed like too big of a story to do in the word limit my teacher had set (no duh, seeing as it turned out being 82,000 words long), so instead I wrote it for NaNoWriMo my senior year, and I turned in this really awful short story about saving prom to my teacher (which can be read HERE, if you’d like to laugh at its horribleness).
-What’s your most valuable writing tip?
It’s one I’ve heard time and again during the past half a year or so, from Chris Baty and the-lady-giving-a-speech-at-UMich today, alike:
It’s by John A. Shedd, and it basically describes the challenge all of us aspiring authors have to overcome: We have to take our beloved stories, build them and build them and build them, loving them all the time–and then we have to let them out into the world, to be judged and rejected and battered by storms. Because although it’s easy just to go into our cozy little writing corner and write away to our hearts’ content and never show our writing to anyone, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to share our writing with the world. That’s why we write.
To everybody from GUTGAA, it’s nice to meet you, thanks for stopping by, and good luck with all your writing endeavors! We’re on this journey together, and I’m so glad to be a part of it. 🙂

Wordy Wednesday (“Packing”)

I move to college exactly one week from today. And I’m kind of just going around and hugging everything in sight, right now, and telling everybody how much I’m going to miss them (I’d like to point out that I’m moving like an hour from home–it really should not be that big of a deal).

I’m also doing a ton of laundry and attempting to figure out how to fit all of my stuff into a dorm room. Fun times.

In honor of the move, this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem I wrote yesterday about packing my clothes. I guarantee you that there’s more to it than that description merits.


Sit in dark, clutch t-shirt

Hold it in, hold it to you

Cannot give in, cannot fall

Fold shirt, smooth wrinkles

Place on bed, in the Discard pile

Growing, beside the smaller


Leaving, leaving now

So soon to say goodbye,

Cannot hold it in, cannot hold on to

this goodbye, it’s gone too soon

And now it’s a memory and it hasn’t

even ended yet, but it’s fading

Fading, fading, fading to Dark

And I will miss you,

Will you miss me?

I cannot, I cannot lose you

Not now, after I’ve lost all the other memor—

Pick up t-shirt and move it to


I cannot lose you,

Not quite yet.


Mind helping me out and voting for what next week’s Wordy Wednesday should be?