An Update & Announcing #BLOGTOBER

Hello there friends.

pumpkin

October 2017

I know it has been quite some time, since I posted consistently here on michelle leigh writes. 

I was having some technical issues and it involved paying fees to upgrade my account, and I just had to really do some research and budgeting before I was able to figure out my next step. 

For now, I think I have one. At least a short term solution. 

I thought about changing hosts, and starting over. A new blog. Fresh Content. But I just couldn’t leave this one the way it’s been currently; inconsistent/not posting for months, and then what? I just decide to never come back to MLW? I couldn’t do it. It’s my baby. Besides, my current short story series “Move” was never fully finished so…keep an eye out for new chapters of that too! 

MOVE poster

RECAP from the beginning HERE

So I caved and purchased the upgrade. Not a super fan of the yearly cost, but I put 5 years of heart into this blog, I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. In fact, I now have my own domain- michelleleighwrites.com is my new site name. 😀

However, when my year mark resurfaces, I will re-evaluate and make the best decision for my blog from there on out. And if that means starting new then it will be an exciting adventure and I will of course keep you posted. Transferring 5 years worth of files seems like a tall order, so we will have to just see how things go in a year. 

In the meantime I have many things in store for the coming  fall months. 

Now, because I’ve been gone for what feels like forever, I wanted to start things off with a BANG! So I will be doing #BLOGTOBER. A blog post everyday for the entire month of October. And I have a lot of fun stuff planned, from movie and music reviews to fun party planning ideas, to fall love stories. It’s going to be a good time. 

DISCLAIMER: 

In the interest of transparency. I must admit I do not know where or who the idea of BLOGTOBER originated from. I didn’t even know it was a thing. I just thought of it, because I know on YouTube they do VLOGTOBER or VLOGMAS, where video bloggers post video of their everyday lives as content for the entire month of October or December. I was even more so inspired by one of my favorite youtubers, Kalyn Nicholson, who does something on her channel called #Youtober, videos posted for everyday of October. She explains it in last year’s video. [See Below:]

SNEAK PEEK FOR DAY 2…

sneak peek day 2

-<3-

*Images are all my own, except the images used in my “Move” Edit artwork*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOGMAS RECAP!

Before we roll into the new year I just wanted to do a little reflection/recap on #BLOGMAS.

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I actually did it!!!! 25 days, 25 posts- a post a day, everyday!

There were many times I doubted if I would stick to it. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know there are many times I let life sidetrack me from my blogging goals. 

However, this was something I set out to do, to see if I could actually meet the challenge. 

In the beginning, I felt it was pretty easy to post, because I had a few posts already scheduled and ready to go. It was just a matter of checking in on things and then posting to social media. So it was a breeze- then it got harder as I had to post in real time. Every day, I had to set aside time to make sure I could write, edit, and post all in one day. And this is when I realized just how difficult it could be.

With all the holiday things going on- the shopping, the planning, and other things in life like friendships, family, and work, it was difficult to stay on track. Towards the end, I was uploading minutes before midnight! But I made it!

I even blogged ON Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. I had planned to schedule those ahead of time, but it just got so stressful and so busy, with baking and last minute shopping for the little things. This Christmas was absolutely insane, a lot of traveling around, and it just felt like I was going and going non-stop. I have a new little niece so we had a lot of new special traditions this year. 

So in between all that, I was typing up posts on the go, on my crappy cell phone. Making myself slightly car sick! Lol. Hey, at least you can’t say that’s not dedication! Right? 

Needless to say not only was my cell phone giving me trouble, my laptop decided to die on me too! So in the face of this challenge I had given myself, it felt like there were a lot of obstacles against me. But I pushed past every one. I borrowed my mom’s computer, my aunt’s computer, to continue the journey, I typed notes into my cellphone, I excused myself on Christmas Eve and Day to upload on my brother’s computer, all on minimal hours of sleep and holiday stress. Just so I could prove to myself that I could do this. And I did. Wherever I went I had BLOGMAS on the brain. 

I know it may not be a big deal to some of you reading this, but to me, it’s a huge deal. I often let this blog slide, when I have a lot going on in my life, because it’s my blog, I can pick up whenever or wherever I want. But giving myself a challenge, made me feel like I was  being held accountable for something. Don’t get me wrong I felt rude at times sneaking away to write or sneaking off to work on a post/use someone else’s computer to post. (NOT THAT I USED WITHOUT ASKING PERMISSION, lol, because that would just be rude.) I just mean that I did feel bad doing something for myself in the middle of the holidays where your supposed to be sharing it with others. But it was important to me, and I think they all (or at least I hope they all) understood. I didn’t let it stop me from enjoying time with my family. I did what I had to do for BLOGMAS and shut the computer down and resumed my family time. 

Another thing I had to come to terms with when posting daily, (because I didn’t always have time to plan and pre-write) was that I couldn’t over-analyze my ideas for my posts. I got an idea, if it was feasible in a day, I ran with it. It usually will take me hours to write, edit and post. Especially if it’s a short story. But with BLOGMAS I was in a bit of a constant time crunch. So I had to leave my perfectionism behind. At times it was hard, because I felt like it wasn’t my best work, but BLOGMAS was a learning experience. You don’t have to love what you write, everyday, but writing everyday is great for a writer to do. 

My posts were all Christmas related, which was not my initial intension. But it kind of just happened that way, I guess I was inspired by the season. 

Another thing that was new to me, was posting regularly to my social media websites for this blog during BLOGMAS. In case you didn’t know michelleleighwrites is on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram! Come follow along! I’d love to chat with you! 😉 And as someone who personally doesn’t post to social media everyday, it took some getting used to. But it was a cool experience.

I know I also mentioned this to you guys at some point, how my WordPress account needs updating and I haven’t been able to do that yet, so my photo memory is extremely limited, and so it was a challenge to post without images. I always like to have an image accompany my writing, I feel like it adds a visual aspect. I had to go in and delete images to make room for the few new ones I needed, or work with images I already had. There were many weird obstacles during BLOGMAS, and usually when things like that have happened in the past in life, I would just be like “Oh well, it’s not working, I can’t do it.” But not this time. I set a goal and I met it! I think there was only one day where I posted to social media a few minutes late, but it was posted on the blog, on time, so I was in the clear! Lol. 

It was a long BLOGMAS journey, but it kind of flew by and the more the time passed, the days grew and the numbers on the calendar kept climbing, and I kept posting and it just started to become part of my routine and it started to feel really good. There were times I thought to myself, “I’ve got this,” and there were times where I was like, “Oh no, I’m going to miss my deadline!” But I did it, I posted every day from December 1-25 and I am super proud I was able to commit to it and complete the task I set out to do. For myself, but also for all of you. 

Thank you for reading… (and if you missed any days of the MLW #BLOGMAS series, I will link them all down below for you to browse.)

BLOGMAS -Day 1- Christmas Bucket List

BLOGMAS -Day 2- Christmas Playlist

BLOGMAS -Day 3- Christmas Movie List

BLOGMAS -Day 4- A Broken Heart For Christmas Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 5- My VLOGMAS Favs

BLOGMAS -Day 6- (Mini) VLOGMAS 2016 Update

BLOGMAS -Day 7- Single in Season

BLOGMAS -Day 8- A Christmas Story

BLOGMAS -Day 9- A Christmas Morning Memory

BLOGMAS -Day 10- Winter Wonderland

BLOGMAS -Day 11- The pressure the Holidays put on us

BLOGMAS -Day 12- Snowed Inn Christmas

BLOGMAS -Day 13- “A Husband for Christmas” Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 14- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 2] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 15- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 3] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 16- Cynical Shopping

BLOGMAS -Day 17- My Perfect Winter Day

BLOGMAS -Day 18- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 4] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 19- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 5] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 20- Give me your Light, Oh Lord.

BLOGMAS -Day 21- Winter [2017] Favorites

BLOGMAS -Day 22- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 6] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 23- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 7] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 24- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 8] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 25- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 9] Short Story

 

*STAY TUNED!

My 2017 Highlights/Memory Jar post will be up tomorrow!!! 

Have a very Happy and safe New Year’s Eve and if your feeling the romance tonight- check out some of my New Year’s Eve stories…

Kiss Me At Midnight…A Short Story 

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

*^ The second is a year after follow-up to the first, it follows the same characters.^*

For Old Times’ Sake

Once again Thanks for reading this year! See you in 2018!

-<3-

BLOGMAS -Day 6- (Mini) VLOGMAS 2016 Update

Last year I announced that I was going to be doing a Mini Vlogmas– that I would vlog from December 23-Decemeber 31st.  And I did. However, the editing process was put on a super long overextended hold- I didn’t start/get finished editing until late July/August 2017. While I loved documenting my holiday season with my family and friends, as I thought about publically posting the vlogs, I felt conflicted.

I fully intended on posting my journey of festive fun- full of good food and good company- when it came time to share, I just don’t think my entire family would have all been ok with their life being put on the internet. And I respect that, so I officially decided that I will not be posting these vlogs. Instead I think I will burn them to discs and keep them like my own little home movies to look back on.  

lights blogmas edit

However, I decided to share some pics of my Holiday/my To Do List/Schedule instead.

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December 23rd-Christmas Shopping

Straightened up my mess of a room.

Ran some errands/Went Shopping at some drug stores and grocery stores for stocking stuffers and all my baking goods.

Made Christmas goody bags for the kiddies in my family.

I shared some Christmas Cards I received from a few of my students.

I filled my stockings by the chimney with care.

Wrapped all Christmas Gifts.

December 24th- Christmas Eve

Did a little Get Ready with Me- hair, makeup, & outfit.

Baked cookies.

Went to visit my Grandparents and saw a bunch of aunts, uncles, and cousins as well!

Went to midnight mass (got baby Jesus blessed and put baby Jesus in our manger at home.) 

December 25th- Christmas Day

Baked more cookies!

Opened gifts at home with my family.

Went to visit some more family at my cousin’s house-and we all met the newest family member- my baby boy cousin.

December 26th-God Daughter Sleepover

My god daughter came to have a sleepover.

We played Barbies. (did a mini Barbie mannequin challenge haha)

Had a dance party!

Watched a Barbie movie.

Played dress-up.

Built a gingerbread house.

Had her favorite for dinner—TACOS!

Built a tent and watched a movie.

December 27th- Pamper Day

Lit some candles.

Did a face mask and hair mask.

Gave myself a manicure.

Did some other girly grooming bits like used a foot scrub and lip scrub, etc.

Ordered take out.

Watched some movies.

December 28th & 30th- Best Friend Christmas/Christmas Exchange

Had my usual Best Friend Christmas Day with my best friend Roe.

We built a gingerbread house.

Sipped on some homemade Coquito. 

Youtubed some Mark & Lexie from Grey’s Anatomy.

The 29th- was a super lazy/chill day/I didn’t really have anything to vlog.

Met my other best friend Jenny for dinner and dessert at a cute local Italian place. We had some wine and everything was just so delicious! 

We exchanged gifts.

December 31st/January 1st-New Year’s Eve/Day

Went through my 2016 Memory Jar.

Made glitter cups.

Went to my Grandparents and saw some aunts and cousins too!

Had an out door dance party and lit some sparklers.

***

What a fun, blessed week of family, friends, and happy memories I will cherish forever! 

When I finally finished editing all of these vlogs and I was about to upload them to YouTube and share them here with you on this blog, I started to feel something pull at me. And I just started to not feel right about including other people’s images. I love sharing my world with those who keep up with this blog. However, I have a lot of kid’s in my family and I think images of other people’s children should be treated with respect. And I just didn’t feel right putting anything up. I go into a more in-depth description of my experience with video and vlogging in my Video Update post. 

 

Have you ever vlogged before? What’s your take on sharing with strangers? 

-<3-

 

 

 

BLOGMAS -Day 5- My VLOGMAS Favs

lights blogmas edit

I love YouTube. I think it’s a super cool, creative way to express oneself. And some of the work these creators put out is so cinematic, it’s like watching a mini movie and I totally dig it! You can get really creative with this medium. So much so, that people are making careers out of it. 

VLOGMAS has recently started, and basically if you don’t know what that is, it’s when vloggers (video bloggers) vlog everyday of December leading up to Christmas day. I know there are a million vloggers out there in cyber space. But I thought I’d share with you, who I enjoy watching. So these are my favs…

Carrie Rad

Niki Demar

Michelle Reed

Alisha Marie

Each of these ladies are super relatable. Each with their own style and persona. I enjoy their content so much because I feel like if I were to run into them in the mall, or something I could totally have a great conversation with them over coffee and become besties with them. There are certainly more vloggers I enjoy watching, but right now these are the ladies I’m keeping up with this Vlogmas season. 

**Kalyn Nicholson is also one of my absolute favs, but she is not doing Vlogmas, instead she is waiting until mid December to do her own- 12 days of K-MAS. Can’t wait for that! She did YouTober this October (daily vlogging for the whole month) and it was seriously so good and I looked forward to her videos everyday. 

Who do you like watching this VLOGMAS season. Have you ever vlogged, yourself?

 

-<3-

 

 

Video Update

There are often so many areas of life we feel we need to be good at all the time. And often times we struggle trying to make that happen. It’s impossible. You can do anything but not everything. You can be anything, but you can’t be everything, to everyone, all the time. If you try to, you will break.

As the summer comes to an end, the self-bashing comes for not doing half of the things I wanted to. Summer is kind of like New Year’s Eve in that way, don’t you think? We make so many promises to ourselves and then life happens.

I’ve been really thinking about my relationship with video and film making. And because of this, I’ve learned a few things. I wanted to get really real with myself about this topic.
To back track just a bit, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree. I studied Mass Communications with a concentration in Film and Broadcasting. The dream-the goal- to write for television. And yet when I look at all the video projects I’ve actually finished…the total number is not many. Many unfinished scripts/ideas for scripts collecting dust too!

Back in college, I had to do a few projects- one was a music video which I did for The Civil War’s Poison & Wine and the other was a concept video which was about throwing away stereotypes- it was very abstract and I titled it “Tearing Down The Label Makers.” It’s crazy because I feel like the message holds even more relevance today. Then I worked on my thesis which as you may know was a documentary about a day/or days in the life of my Grandmother who had been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. I did two versions of that for two separate classes- one was the full version, and one was an abridged trailer version entitled Vai Com Deus.

“Poison & Wine” Video Shoot-

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“Tearing Down The Label Makers” Video Shoot-

Tearing Down the Label Makers

Neither the music video nor the concept video have been uploaded to YouTube, although considering these two were my very first video projects I am still very proud of how they came out and the messages behind them. I’m seriously considering sharing them. Providing the actors give their permission for me to do so, actually I’m pretty sure I had them all sign release forms!

During my college years I also attempted to shoot a script I wrote called Dumb Luck. A lot of time and production went into that but, it never got finished and the footage has been difficult to revive since my college computer died on me and I’ve gotten a new one. I am hoping to revive that and get that up, it’s super raw,  and you can definitely tell I was just starting out but the story is juicy. We only got to shoot the montage sequence. But a few years ago I shared the script, if you’d like to read that…click HERE.

“Dumb Luck” Prop Pictures

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“Vai Com Deus” process-

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Since I graduated I’ve done a few little side projects that are actually finished- I shot a yoga video for my cousin, a poetry video for MLW- to name a few and a couple of vlogs. The vlogs are less planned and less cinematic of course.

Yoga Video Shoot (Behind the Scenes) (this is not available to watch,  even though she was happy with the result-the video was for a school assignment and my cousin didn’t want it uploaded.)

“Secret” Society Video Shoot/Vlogs (Behind the Scenes)

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Then there are more video attempts- there are bits of footage shot for a zombie horror short that my brother and I had been working on. We even got as far as building a timeline of the clips in editing, but then…life. Life came in, things got busy, I got distracted and something else needed my attention.

“Inhumane” process- (Behind the Scenes)

20160418_20195320160417_235705Inhumane

Its 4 years now since I graduated and it seems that every time I get close to the idea of shooting something- I may do well for a brief time but then cue the rut.

The other day I was going through some old paperwork and things, trying to organize my room and I came across some old scripts and video treatments/storyboards. Both were horror related. One was the zombie short titled Inhumane, the other titled Head Over Heels (which I think would be a bad ass Halloween upload). And when I see these scripts and how the planning process was beginning it makes me want to get back into video. But then I hit a wall and the reality sinks in. There’s just no realistic way. For the past-I want to say 2 years- I have been well involved/invested in the engagements, weddings, bridal/baby showers of many people that are very close to me. And I have had to really dedicate my time and my funds to them. When I think about doing something short/simple- I think how I don’t have the actors, or the equipment, to do so.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, my brother is a photographer and he has a lot of equipment that I’ve used in the past. But I’m very weird about using it, mostly because he’s very particular about it, lol. And I get nervous I’ll do something wrong! And so because of that I am very weird about asking him for help. I feel like it’s a burden, especially now that he is newly married and he and his wife are expecting their first child. Even though he has been hounding me to get back into shooting Inhumane, I know he simply doesn’t have the time, we don’t have the people, and quite honestly there are just so many other things I’d love to shoot instead. #HeadOverHeels #MysteriousAttractionTeaser

I also don’t have the best sound equipment or the best editing software either so it’s kind of like a million things weighing against me. I think about how people would perceive the work I put out. “Didn’t she go to school for film and video? This sucks!” That’s how I feel they would judge it. Along with all the other worries, I fear I may not be good enough at it.

I know this may seem like I’m complaining and I’m not. I don’t want pity. I understand that life is fast paced and ever changing. I love being asked to be part of special moments in people’s lives. People who mean the world to me. But sometimes when everything seems to happen all at once it can be very overwhelming. And we all know that I can get overwhelmed pretty easily and my anxiety definitely tends to spike a lot more when too much change is happening.

I just think that in life you often have to prioritize and these things in my life have been coming one after the other and they need special attention. I’m the type of person who really wants to show up for you on your special day/during your special time. My relationships with my family and friends are everything to me. And so I give 150% every time. (Or at least I really try too!)

With my bank accountant taking some serious hits over the past few years, lol-so has my time management skills. I can multi task…sure…just ask my computer- I can have 8 different tabs open at once and hit all of them. But I can’t say with absolute confidence that I can multi task well all the time. I just end up overwhelming myself and needing to narrow things down. Focus on one thing at a time. Rightfully so…no? I mean how much wedding/baby events/day to day responsibilities can one girl take at once? Ya know? It’s a lot. But thankfully, thank god it’s mostly beautiful, happy stuff, all deserving of celebration. I will always be grateful for that.

Needless to say I know there are ways around this funk I’ve created for myself. I know that fear of inadequacy, lack of funds and time are a huge part of why video has taken a back seat. But I want to try and make some solutions to these problems.

Dear Michelle,

ACTORS ask people I know/ research sites that can help find actors willing to participate for low funds or pizza! Haha. Asking people you know, can be difficult, it doesn’t always work out. My film and video professor used to always tell us to have a plan B because people aren’t always reliable and it can break your heart when a project falls through the cracks. This I know first hand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked family or friends to be apart of shorts and they cancelled on me because of work or life in general got in the way. It happens, I get it. But creatively, it’s heart breaking. Another thing to consider when filming is to keep the shorts abstract- quick cuts- simple images-

Avant Garde it- experimental film, experimental cinema- a mode of filmmaking that rigorously re-evaluates cinematic conventions and explores non-narrative forms and alternatives to traditional narratives or methods of working.

TIME make time- plain and simple. Plan it out, and stick to a schedule.

SPACE/LOCATION keep it local, go where you know- use people’s homes, lol.

FUNDS keep things simple/super low budget- use house hold items.

EQUIPMENT use equipment you have, or ask to borrow equipment in advance.

EDITING SOFTWARE use what you have and make it work.

FEAR“Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.” -A Cinderella Story. Your never going to not be fearful of new challenges. You just have to decide how bad you want it, and be brave enough to just do it, to hell with what people think! 

When you’re just starting out, or easing back into something Don’t Expect Perfection! If things are a little janky, it’s ok, it’s better to shoot footage than not try at all. And Vlogs do count. I’ve noticed I like vlogging when I have some cool things to do, I just have to get better at the editing turn around. Mini Vlogmas is still only partially edited. :/ As is the Gender Reveal Party Vlog for my brother and sister in law and a Family Trip Vlog to Great Wolf Lodge we took last Summer. I also shot a bunch of footage of a Polar Express Trip and my best friend’s engagement night. Really got to get back to editing!!!!

*Current Update– Since I last scheduled this post (which was a while ago back in the Summer when I was what I like to call bulk blogging) I have edited my butt off and have finished editing Vlogmas, The Gender Reveal, The Great Wolf Lodge Trip and The Engagement. I however am torn as to whether or not I should post them on YouTube/link them on this blog. I know have alluded to the fact that I would post them, I’ve mentioned it in many blog posts [including the Vlogmas announcement], however I am not the only person in them and I don’t know if others would appreciate their images being out on the internet. I know- why announce Vlogmas, take forever to edit them, and then never post them. The truth is I did do a small Vlogmas, and I did edit them, but I don’t feel 100% comfortable sharing videos of my family. I may just keep them as home movies for me, and my friends and family. But I am excited that I got so many of them done. That’s a win for me!

When things start to settle down on the wedding/baby front, I will start to save up for some new equipment. In the mean time, I just have to do it. Pick up the camera I do have and shoot something. Stop worrying about how crappy it might turn out and just dive in. I know I’ll feel better once I do. And the excitement and natural high of doing something I love will come back. I just need to do and stop second guessing, stop making excuses and just use the time I do have for myself wisely.

The reason for this long winded post is because I needed it. Sometimes you need to reflect on all the ways you let life pass you by in order to make you realize that you need to try a little harder to make your dreams come true. Be a bulldozer – and plow through the writer’s block, through the lack of inspiration, through the Summer Blues, through the funk that I’ve been in, and just go for it!

So here’s hoping to change my mind set! Wish me luck. No Scratch that- Wish me determination!

 

*All images and videos are my own.*

-<3-