April Update: Cookies, Writing, and YouTube

*Deadpans* What a time to be alive. But in all seriousness, it’s quite a curious feeling to be living through an event that will most likely be considered a major global historical event for the upcoming decades. I hope all you lovely people have been staying safe, healthy, and sane. Okay, maybe the last one might be a bit too much to ask, so let’s settle for mostly sane.

I’ve been surviving quarantine life pretty unscathed so far–school has has (un?)fortunately been keeping a good chunk of my time busy. One thing I’ll say about Zoom University: somehow it is more mentally exhausting than going to a normal in-person lecture. I think it’s probably something about staring at a screen for so long. That said, I do truly appreciate all the professors who have had to scramble to make the transition to online teaching, which I know is not easy.

Student focus tip: Expand the Zoom window to full screen and try to participate in the class at least 1-2x per session.

I’ve found it so incredibly easy to zone out during Zoom lectures (I mean, nobody’s gonna know if you’re on your phone scrolling through Instagram, amirite?), so making a conscious effort to really pay attention to class has been critical for me. Plus, you’re already paying that tuition $$$, so might as well get its worth.

Also, is it just me or has baking taken off as a hobby since the #QuarentineLife started? I do enjoy baking sweet treats once in a while, and recently discovered THE BEST chocolate chip cookies recipe that I’ve already made 4 times because it is that good. I actually accidentally found the recipe because I didn’t have any brown sugar, so had to search up a recipe that specifically did not require it. Be warned: the dough is kind of dry/chalky, so I added 1-2 tablespoon of water just to help mold the dough into balls.

Cookie tip: Definitely refrigerate the dough for a couple hours–I used to skip this step but it makes all the difference.

In terms of writing, I’m still plugging away with THE SECRET CURRENCY. I’m so close to finishing my Chaos Draft (aka Zero Draft). Motivation has definitely been up and down with me in terms of this WIP, but I think I’m gaining momentum as I near the finish line. I’ve also found setting aside 30 minutes a day to simply write instead of worrying about hitting a certain word count goal has done wonders for my commitment to writing. But then again, the world is low-key ending outside, so I’ve cut myself some slack if I skip a day or two.

I know the beginning will definitely need to be reworked big time, and my setting and character development need to be fleshed out. But right now, I’m just focusing on getting the big plot pieces in place.

Drafting tip: Set time goal that you can realistically commit to on a regular schedule for your writing. Exit all non-writing essential tabs and put the phone away during this block of time. Break up the block into smaller 15-30 minute chunks if needed.

And finally, YouTube has been such a savior for my sanity (that, and Netflix). I’ve definitely started watching a lot more YouTube videos, including some of my favorites below:

MadFit — Pick a couple videos for a 30-40 minute at home workout session. I love how there are specific playlists that don’t require any equipment.
The Financial Diet — I figured I might as well brush up some budgeting and money management skills while stuck indoors.
Eddie Woo — Guys, I normally am not a fan of math, but Eddie is such an engaging and amazing speaker/teacher I’ve started watching his math videos just for fun. One of my favorites is Dividing By Zero.
Alexa Donne — the author of BRIGHTLY BURNING and THE STARS WE STEAL spills the tea and need-to-know on writing, editing, drafting, and being an author. Her videos are styled like a podcast, which is perfect for listening while cooking
Shelby Church — a lifestyle blogger with some interesting videos that I enjoy watching from time to time if I have a spare 10-20 minutes between classes.
BestDressed — I’m by no means a fashionista (sweatpants and t-shirt are usually my jam), but this vlogger’s down-to-earth personality is so fun to watch! Plus, the channel covers more than fashion–from apartment hunting to Work From Home Tips, Ashley’s videos always lift up my mood.

Boredom Buster Tip: Check out an interesting YouTube channel where you can learn something new.

So, that’s it from me on my end for now! How are you handling #StayHome?

3 thoughts on “April Update: Cookies, Writing, and YouTube

  1. Great post and great ideas, T.A.! Same here – I’ve been cooking, writing and of course watching a LOT of TV. And I’ve been trying to write blogposts most every day about what to do at home, in order to help others find something to occupy themselves with in these strange days – I must say I’ve never loved blogging more than now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Roberta! And that’s such a wonderful idea to share boredom-buster activities for all of us stuck at home–and I reckon blogging can be one of them 🙂 Stay safe and healthy!

      Liked by 1 person

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