I WON CAMP NANO | a week by week recap + lots and lots of gifs


I did it.

I WON!!!!

I’ve never actually won NaNo before, so I feel really accomplished!! Week by slow week crawled by endlessly. And then, I realized: “I AM LITERALLY REALLY CLOSE TO MY GOAL”. And I wrote. And wrote. Until...I WON!!!!

April 1st-7th:

Yes! I am SO ready to write! Let’s do this thing. *is feeling the week one happiness* I’M SO HAPPY AND I BELIEVE IN ME.

April 8th-14th:

This writing a bunch thing is getting a little hard, but I believe I can make it!! I WANT TO GIVE UP THOUGH BUT I MUST NOT.

April 15th-22nd:

*distant sobbing* I’m not gonna make it!!!! *drama, crying, and chocolate* I JUST. CAN’T. DO IT. *dies slowly and painfully but doesn’t really die but just sits there a mess*

April 22nd-26th:

*is still in pajamas at 4pm* I. can. do. it. YES I CAN. *writes furiously* *cheers self on* CAN WE DO IT? YES. WE. CAAANNNN!!!!! *realizes that my manuscript is a complete mess AND that I shall have to edit it later*

TODAY (April 27th):

*suddenly realizes that I have 300 words till I meet my goal* YES. HALLELUJAH. THANK GOODNESS. *writes while checking word count literally every 2 minutes* *validates word count* *chews nails while watching site load* *crying, cheering, and sobbing when the numbers 10,006 pops up* I DID IT. ALL THOSE SWEAT AND TEARS FOR 10,000 STINKIN’ WORDS, BUT I. DID. IT. *jumps around in happiness*

I am just so relieved and happy, guys. April has been one of the most stressful months this year for me. Thanks so much for your support in my novel! I've got 10,000 words on it!!!! I'll try to write as fast as I can and get this done. I'm so excited to write the next book, and the next, and the next, and the next. I'm guessing this book will be somewhere between 20-40,000 words (I'm hoping 40,000, though).


Ok, I'm gonna go rest now. I'm tired. Really tired. Plus I have Bible study tonight, so, yeah. I MUST REST.
Ok, I'm too lazy to write questions right now. Just talk to me. Congratulate me tell me I'm crazy if you didn't do NaNo and hug me cry with me if you did. *flops down on bed* GOOD. NIGHT.


the sunshine blogger award (x2) | pizza and trains??

So, May and Emily both tagged me for this super awesome thing called The Sunshine Blogger Award AND I AM SO EXCITED TO DO THIS. I LOVE aaaalllll the questions the asked (I love answering questions) and just GAH. LET’S GET STARTED BECAUSE I LOVE DIS.
  • Thank the person/persons that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.
  • Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  • List the rules and display the award.

What do you do on a daily basis?
I write, read, eat, sleep, take a walk, and change my clothes on a daily basis. Those are, like, the things that usually don’t get bumped out of my day because of other things I need to do…*stares at growing to-do list*

Where would you like to travel to one day?
Umm...I’d like to go to Florida, and Atlanta, and Washington D.C., and London, and Paris, and...oh, the places I’d like to go. They’re too many yet not enough. ;)

What would be your dream future?
I’d like to go to college (I’d either like to train to be a nurse or do English. Maybe both), get married, have kids, become a famous author, and live somewhere near Minneapolis, MN (which is where I lived most of my life).

What positive things do you see when you look in the mirror?
I see a person that God created and someone who loves to write. I see a girl, I see a smile, and I see content happiness. I see satisfaction with who I was made as.

How has blogging influenced you?
Blogging has influenced me to be more responsible, to live my life before it’s over, to be appreciative of what I have, and to prioritize. Lots and lots of prioritizing.

If you had one free day to do what you want, what would you do?
I...do not really know. Maybe I’d have a family we know really well over for dinner and cook them something. :)

What’s a smell that you absolutely LOVE?
Guys. Please don’t think I’m weird buuutt….I love the smell of gasoline. It’s just like you’re sitting there in the car while your dad fills up the tank at the gas station and the gas starts pumping and you sniff the air and it smells. so. good. Like, I could breathe in that smell all day and LOVE it.

Who do you look up to and why?
I look up to God because He is the perfect role model, He is almighty, perfect, and overall just GOD.

If you could only pursue one hobby, what would it be?
Raising an amazing family of children. I’d love to be a mother when I grow up.

What’s your favorite food???
Uhh...I like sweet potato pie, chocolate, and gyros. GAH I LOVE GYROS SO MUCH. I WANNA GYRO.

And finally, look up at the ceiling and name the first five things that pop into your mind.
Pizza, trains, markers, linguini, and lunch. XD Those are so weird...Like, pizza, and then trains? What?? My mind is messed up XD :P


What is your favorite devotional book?
I am currently reading Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin with a group of girls from my youth group. Every other Sunday night we all get together at a coffee shop, drink coffee, and discuss the chapter we are reading. It’s really fun. :)

What are five of your favorite blogs?

What is your favorite book, music artist/band, and movie?
My favorite book is any of the Keeper of the Lost Cities books, my favorite kind of music is modern Christian, and I like a lot of movies, but Miracles From Heaven has to be among the favorites. :)

Is there a story behind your blog's name?
This Journey Called Life is about, well, my journey through life where I write, read, express my love for my Lord, and ramble about whatever comes to mind.

What question would you ask your favorite author is you had the chance?
I would ask for tips and tricks on getting traditionally published.

What is the last movie you saw, and how did you like it?
The last movie I saw was...Beauty and the Beast about a week or so ago. I saw it in theaters with a bunch of girls from church and we had a blast. I loved the movie and all its new songs and how it goes more in depth with the characters and their backstories. :)

What is one tip you would give bloggers who are trying to reflect Christ in all their posts?
Write about what you are passionate about. Kind of like my post on homosexuality - I was feeling very passionate about that subject when I wrote it, so I let my heart guide my fingers. Although, you must remember to use your head a bit, too, because your heart can get out of control sometimes. ;)

What are your three favorite books that you own?
Umm...Martin Hospitality, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and the Love Comes Softly series. :)

What is one of your best memories from 2017 so far?
I switched from one church’s youth group to another church’s youth group this year, and I love this one so much more than the other one. I have a lot of new friends there and *cough cough* a guy I think is pretty cool, so. ;) :P

What is your favorite Christian Living post that you've read/posted in the last month?
Hmm...that’s a hard one. I’ve read so many lately...It’d probably be Amanda's amazing Easter post. All of her posts really inspire me. :)

Do you own any signed books?
I own Martin Hospitality by Abigail Claire, which I got signed by her. :)



  1. When did you start blogging?
  2. Which do you prefer -- farm life or city life?
  3. What’s your favorite book of all time?
  4. Pineapple or mangos? Why?
  5. Pens or pencils (or both)?
  6. How do you organize your busy life?
  7. When is your favorite time of day (or night) to read/write?
  8. Do you write poems? If you do, show us a few!
  9. How has blogging changed your everyday lifestyle?
  10. Have you ever had a gyro? How did you like it?
  11. What is your favorite song and who wrote it?
Do you think I’m weird for loving the smell of gasoline? Do you like gyros? DO YOU KNOW WHY THE JELLYBEANS PIZZA AND TRAINS POPPED INTO MY HEAD???


FOCUS - a bi-monthly writing linkup | caps + questions = i like those

*sigh* Don’t you just love answering questions? It’s like “I’M DROWNING IN CAMP NANO I NEEEEDDD TO ANSWER QUESTIONS”. I have lowered my already tiny goal to 10,000 words. And even though I did that, I am still drowning in words. AND JOSIE IS ALMOST TO HER 100,000 WORD GOAL WAAAAAAHT. *dies at the thought of writing that much* Don't you just love writing in caps? IT'S LIKE EXPRESSING ALL YOUR EMOTIONS WITHOUT HAVING TO WRITE THEM. Caps is good for anger and excitement. Yeah, it's good. :)

Thankfully, Allie saved me. She made this super cool thing called FOCUS (don’t you just love using all caps? I could do it all day).

Any who, I’ll be answering the questions that Allie has posted to save us drowning ants. Thank you, Allie. I am eternally grateful.


We're halfway through NaNoWriMo. How's your novel going?
Uhhh...good. I’m at, like, 8,000 words out of my 10,000 word goal so...good. I have some alpha readers reading along as I write (which is SO much fun, BTW. Like, when I decide to stop writing right at a cliffhanger and they’re like “NOOOOO PLEASE WRITE MORE” XD). I’m surviving! :)

Where are you struggling the most in your writing?
Not getting distracted. I’ll be typing away like “hm hm hm, da dee da” and then *notification sounds* “Oohh! Someone replied to my twitter post!” XD That’s pretty much life for me. It’s hard for me to stick to writing for more than twenty minutes straight. ;)

Where are you doing the best in your writing?
Ummm...uhhh...all I really know is that I’m writing and surviving. So, I guess I am doing best at not dying? :P ;)

Music helps. So, what are your writerly idyllic tunes?
I have a Spotify playlist full of my favorite Christian songs that I like to listen to (Beautiful Day by Jamie Grace, Overcomer by Mandisa, etc.).  If you want to check me out, my username is anika-joy and the playlist is titled { the favorites }.  (PS: I tried embedding the code for the playlist in this post but *distant sobbing* IT WON’T WORK. Oh, well. *sigh*)

Where are you in your word-count goal? And how do you do with word sprints?
My goal is 10,000 words and...sprints are cool. They help me get done writing because I’m like “I HAVE TO WRITE MORE THAN {enter competitor's name here} IN FIFTEEN MINUTES”. Yes, competition helps me finish.

What encourages you to keep writing?
I am a part of a super amazing chat full of some super amazing and encouraging girls (and boy -- I’m not forgetting you, Jon! :P)! Let’s see if I can name them all...there’s Abi, Autumn, Brianna, Chloe, Hann, Hannah, Jesseca, Jonathan, Julia, Mary, Soliel, Sarah, and Savannah. XD I only remember half of their URLs (sorry, guys!). You all are super duper amazing. <3

PUSH! How much will you try to write one of these days to burst forward in your word count?
Umm….*cough* I’m only 2,000 words away from my goal, so probably none. :P

What's your strategy for focusing?
I have none. I just tell myself “NO CHOCOLATE UNLESS YOU FINISH THIS” and I do it. :P

What is your favorite element of your novel?
The characters. Definitely. Gared and Blaire and the beast…*sigh* So much sarcasm in one place. Don’t you just love it? ;)

What is your plan after your first draft?
I plan to edit what the alphas told me to edit, recruit some beta readers, edit by what they said, edit by what I said, and...start on the next book in the series. SO MUCH EDITING. *dies* I really hope I am able to get this series published traditionally (I hope…). It would just be SO amazing!!!! If I can’t, though, I may or may not self publish...I’m not sure. I REALLY want to traditionally publish it, though.
Do you like answering questions? I do!! DO YOU LIKE WRITNG IN ALL CAPS??? How's your Camp NaNo going? Are you behind, ahead, right on schedule, or finished? If you're finished, that's so cool! Keep writing, my friend. :)


it's WIP time | the rose's shadow

I have been wanting to share more about my current WIP and Camp NaNoWriMo, The Rose's Shadow, after doing #thewriterstag,  and I'm so glad finally be doing so. I have never written a whole post about just one WIP before, so I hope that this one is enjoyable and not (too) long.
I have always liked the idea of fairytale retellings, and Beauty and the Beast was one of my absolute favorite fairytales of all time. So, I decided to give retellings a try and start planning for a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Now, you wouldn’t understand the title really well unless you read the whole book, but to keep it short, the book is called The Rose’s Shadow because Aaron (the Beast) feels like the Enchanted Rose is casting a shadow over his life (because it cursed him). Hmm…I guess you can understand the title without reading the book… :P
I don’t want to ramble on for too long, so I’ll give you the blurb/synopsis so you can get the whole feel of the book. I just wrote this one up in my notebook, so I don’t know if it will be the official blurb yet.
a rose. a beast. a curse.
Blaire is the first of twelve princesses and the heir to the throne of Celene. But, before she can become queen, she must find a co-heir, and that proves to be hard work. A selfish prince wants to claim her - and her crown - as his own, but Blaire’s not going to let that happen.

When Blaire’s second to youngest sister, Cora, falls into a unknown illnesses in the night, she and Colene - sister number two - must ride out into the stormy night to save her.

Blaire is separated from her sister in the woods when a lion attacks them, and she stumbls across a hidden castle and a prince beast who is cursed to be doomed as a beast all his life, unless he can fall in love with a maiden and gain hers in return before the last petal of the enchanted rose falls…

That wasn’t very good, but I’ll have to sit down for a while after I’m finished with the book and write out a good one. ;)
Now, I told you all that Blaire is the oldest of twelve sisters, right? Yeah, I know that’s a lot. A retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses is a possibility in the future…
Any-who, I was thinking of having The Rose’s Shadow being second (the first will be a The 12 Dancing Princesses retelling) in a series of Chronicles with thirteen books in them, each one focusing on each girl. The first one (the 12 Dancing Princesses retelling) would focus on all of them, and then twelve more focusing mainly on one girl. Wouldn’t that be awesome?? I’m SO excited to write them all…
I’m actually thinking that I’ll write the first book after I write all of the other twelve books so that I can get to know the characters better. That would help a lot in character development and what-not. So, here I am, starting The Rose’s Shadow, which focuses on Blaire.
Okay, after all that talk about twelve princess, you are probably wondering all their names and what they look like, right? Don’t worry, I’ve got that covered.
Meet the twelve princesses of Celene (from oldest to youngest):

I found these beautiful girls on Pinterest and added some names and descriptions to them.  (Here’s a link to my Pinterest board: LINK). I think that these girls are exactly how I envisioned the twelve princesses.
I also have a mock cover that I made for The Rose’s Shadow that I think is really cool. I just  used Canva and Picmonkey for this one. It’s pretty simple, but I think it looks nice. :)

I will be doing another It’s WIP Time post in a little bit so that I can tell you guys a LOT more about The Rose’s Shadow, because this post IS getting a little long, isn’t it? I hope you all have a great day or night!
Do you like the idea of a Beauty and the Beast retelling? Are you excited for the chronicles? Which sister are you most like?


#THEWRITERSTAG | i switched (again)???

So, I’m not writing that super cool element novel for Camp NaNo anymore.

I’m gonna work on The Rose’s Shadow.

*cue explosion*

Yeah, I know. I keep on switching novels!!! But, hey, I’m actually gonna keep this one (hopefully…).

Any who, I’m going to write that super cool element novel in July!! I’ve decided to save all that awesomeness for Camp NaNo in July, so...yeah!! I figured out that I kinda needed some time to prepare and plot and research.

Anyhow, Cait (the super cool person blogging over @ Paper Fury) did #TheWritersTag yesterday!! And, I gotta tell you, oh my word I just NEEDED to do it as soon as I read it. THE QUESTIONS OH THE QUESTIONS IN ALL THEIR GLORY.

Like Cait said, feel free to use the tag if you want to, but make sure to link back to the hashtag on twitter!!


I write fantasy, contemporary, historical, and medieval fantasy in genres.

In styles, I write in either 1st or 3rd person, and present or past tense. Usually, if I am writing in 1st POV, I am using present tense, and if I am writing in 3rd POV, I am using past tense. I switch it around sometimes, though.

In topics, I write about life, love, God...pretty much anything that comes to my mind. It also depends greatly on the story’s plot and characters.


I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. But, from the time I was 7 to when I was 9, a young lady named Corinne lived with my grandparents and worked on their farm for them, and we would go over there at least four times a week. I used to spend hours taking drawing lessons from Corinne, talking with her, and we loved to lie out in the tall grass or play with the baby goats in the summer.

I also loved to come up with my own little stories and make illustrations for them, so, Corinne taught me how to write down my own stories on white printer paper and staple them in a fashion that they looked like a book.

I think my first one was about a princess who ran away to find her destiny. After that, I made many more about dragons, magical trees in the middle of a dark forest, and little boys bringing dinosaurs home as pets! I started writing fantasy, and I guess that is really the genre that really calls to me.

So...5 years I’ve been writing. But, I did not start taking writing seriously until I was 11, a bit more than a year ago, when I started blogging.


I write for me, and I write for God. I write to use my talent to serve and bring joy to other people in the world. I write because I love it, and I write because I need to sometimes escape from my own world in another way than my favorite book (because, I’m not lying, I read so much it’s unhealthy). I write for the sake of writing.

Plus, I can’t really express my feelings unless it’s through writing. My mom receives many notes expressing my inner deepest thoughts because *coughcough* I cannot speak them out loud.


Anytime after 8:00pm. It’s when the ideas and inspiration come!!

  • When everything just makes sense and you get, like, 3,000 words down at one time.
  • WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR NOVEL #best.feeling.ever
  • When you PUBLISH YOUR NOVEL. I’ve only done it once, but oh, it felt so good.

  • When you get writer’s block. #worst.feeling.ever
  • When you just can’t anymore but you want to so bad. IT’S LIKE, “MY FINGERS ARE KILLING ME BUT I MUST WRITE!!!”
  • When you have so much editing to do and it’s killing you. #iHateEditing


Simple -- I don’t. Seriously, I just go read books. Books have all the answers.


Ahem, as a matter of fact, I am. I am right now working on The Rose’s Shadow, a Beauty and the Beast retelling. LET THERE BE SWORD FIGHTS, AND DRAGONS, AND TALKING TEACUPS!!!!


  • Finish and send The Rose’s Shadow to beta-reader’s. I already have some alpha readers reading as I write, so next is betas!
  • Write 5k in a day.
  • Learn how to write a proposal to an agent and possibly write one? This one will be...hard. Very hard. But, I SHALL (try) TO DO IT.
Are you tired of me switching WIPs? (Sorry!) Are you doing Camp NaNo? If so, watcha workin' on? How far have you gotten? What's your word count goal?
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