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Showing posts from 2017

New Year's Resolutions 2018

I don't remember if I've ever blogged about my New Year's Resolutions so let's consider this my first time doing so. First of all, I'll talk about my writing resolutions because that's what this blog is all about. So here are my resolutions for the year 2018!
Submit my poetry and short fiction to literary magazines. I've only done this once and already got my first rejection. I have to admit, it feels quite refreshing. And I can finally consider myself a real writer. I'm not only talking about writing. I'm actually writing and trying to get my works published.
Post my poetry and fiction on my blog. I've already started doing that with my poetry. For now, I've been posting my first clumsy poems. I hope to get better with time. But of course, in order to do so, I have to write and practice my craft. If I know that I have to put something out there on my blog, that will motivate me to write and work on my writing more.
Work on my novels. Preferab…

Put a book in this child’s hands | My Poetry

Put a book in this child’s hands.

Trust me — it’ll do them good.

Give them time with their silent companion

And you’ll see — something strong will grow out of this seed.

It’ll give them big words and strong opinions.

It’ll be annoying, but you’ll get used to it and over time

They will settle down with solid ground under their feet

But with minds reaching higher than the sky.

April 16, 2017

My Bookish Blog

I've revived my old bookish blog at Books, Coffee and Cake!

The original idea behind the blog was to post book reviews and cake recipes but for now, I'm only doing bookish posts. I've signed up for a couple of reading challenges for 2018 and I'll also be posting quotes from the books that I'm reading. I may also continue my bookmark collection series.
So if you love reading and everything bookish go check it out!

101 Important Words | My Poetry

I've decided to start posting here my poems and maybe later flash fiction as well. This here is my first free verse poem in English written in April 2017.

I don’t write poetry.
Not enough slick and fancy words for it.
But if I did
I would write about a single mother
Struggling to put a smile on her child’s face
Or about a man lost in his life, looking out for the end of the day,
Hoping for it to be the end of the world.
I would write about a couple in love just for a moment
But what seems like an eternity
And about all the right words
Uttered at all the wrong times and places.
If I wrote poetry
I would write about all that’s important.

Writer's Ambitions | #amwriting

I've been thinking about my ambitions as a writer lately and I've come to the conclusion that I'm too vain. I know what I'm good at, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But because of that, I'm building up these castles of glory and recognition in my imagination. I want my novels to be good. Again, not a bad thing. But what I've come to realize is that I'm aiming a little too high. After all, I am a perfectionist (and I'm working on it!).
Who said that I only get one chance at any of my novels? It's my creation so I get to do with it anything that I like. Especially since I'm planning on self-publishing.
So I've come to the conclusion that I can start small and write and publish short stories or novelettes using the plots that I've already concocted in my mind. I can publish those and finally have this gestalt closed. And then just continue working on the novel version of the story.
When I come to think about it, many novels starte…

Cozy personal anonymous blog | Random Ramblings

I've been bulk editing the blog posts on my 'failed' Ukrainian blog and noticed one interesting thing. I have a lot of great posts there. Book reviews, English lessons, tutorials, posts on psychology etc. And then I have rants. All of the posts are written by me, but when some of them show my professional side, other make me look like a little insufferable brat. No wonder I had little to no success with my blog! People were subscribing to in-depth book reviews and educational posts but instead, I would occasionally give them whiny rants about politics or social injustice in general. Okay, I might be over dramatic here. My political rants were just as entertaining as my book reviews (I hope!). But I myself now unfollow people on twitter if they tweet too much about politics. I use Twitter mostly to engage with other writers and tweet about #amwriting (or at least that's my intention). So when I see too much politics on my Twitter feed, it's annoying at the very lea…

How not to give feedback | #amwriting

I've already ranted about it on Twitter but I must be really triggered because I just can't stop thinking about what's happened. So here's my sob story of how I got my first "feedback" on my poem.
As I've mentioned before, I'm now working on a project where I aim to write a collection of poems and flash fiction untill the end of this year. I'm not that experienced in poetry so I usually write free verse. But this time I wrote a poem that actually rhymed, and I was very proud of it.
Another thing I should mention is that my poems are quite pessimistic. But I like them that way. Writing them makes me feel good about myself so I have no intentions of changing that anytime soon.
So I posted on FB about how writing sad poems makes me happy. And someone I know from uni commented that I should post it (wording it not very politely btw). And as stupid as I sometimes am, I posted the poem in the comments (with a smiley face, so it was kind of obvious that…

End of year projects | #amwriting

I've ended my last blog post with questions that I already know the answers to.
What should I focus on? What craft should I master?
The answers to those are drawing and writing. That's what I've been doing for the last two or three years. Maybe even longer. But I need to start producing better quality products and finish at least one goddamn project instead of jumping from one thing to another all the time!
So with drawing, I've decided to make the next 100 illustrations (that I'm going to show on my Instagram) in one style.
As for writing, and I've already mentioned it on Twitter, I want to write a collection of poems and flash fiction until the end of this year. I'm aiming at 100 pages. I was also thinking about illustrating it so I'll probably need about 50 works of fiction. I've already written 8 or 9 free verse poems in the last few days and started writing two poems that actually rhyme! Oh, and I should probably mention that I'm writing i…

What am I even good at? | Random Ramblings

I've mentioned it in my Back on Instagram post that I tend to scatter my attention too much. I can't focus and decide on sticking to just one drawing style. I have way too many hobbies and interests. And it's not a particularly bad thing. Not necessarily. But it means that I'm a Jack of all trades. And you know how the saying ends - "master on none". Because of this I often feel inadequate. I have enough time on my hands and I'm not that stupid, so why can't I get a grip on myself and master at least one thing? What is my problem?
I lack discipline. And it's not like I haven't tried being more disciplined. But I lack the concentration to stick to my own commitments.
Sometimes I think that maybe I have something mastered but just don't realize what it is because I don't have any recognition for it. But then again, if I don't have recognition then that probably means that I'm not there yet.
I need to work more. I need to focus.

Reinventing Old Story Ideas | #amwriting

I've written a new synopsis for one of my projects (you can check out the whole list here). The working title of it is KJUB or Young Entrepreneur's Club and it's a story about corruption in Ukrainian universities which is heavily based on my own experience.
When I first started writing the story in 2013, I thought that this is my plot. Corruption! But when I sat down to re-write the synopsis today, I've realized that it's only the setting. I don't have a conflict. It's just a story where a bunch of stuff happens. My characters don't have a problem to keep them up at night. They have some opportunity for growth but what I had in mind was not enough to actually be considered a novel.
So I gave it some thought and came up with a conflict for my novel. Then I asked my sister to read my new synopsis and she said "Why don't you add here some supernatural stuff? That would be fun." So I thought about it some more and came up with a way to do tha…

Back on Instagram

I've posted a drawing on Instagram today even though I've decided to stay away from social media for a while. But Instagram feels kind of different from Twitter or Facebook. Maybe it's because I mostly post my art there and I'm trying to turn it into some sort of portfolio.
I've been thinking about my art style lately. In particular about me not having one. I'm very inconsistent with my style, themes and art media that I'm using. I see other artists do this or that and I want to try it too. And then I post these experiments online. As a result, I don't work on developing my own style. And frankly, I don't know what I want it to be.
Some days I want to draw realistically, other days I'm doodling and drawing cartoons. Maybe if I simply produced all these drawings in a larger amount I'd be able to figure out what I like and don't like.
How do I build this habit of drawing more? Is it even possible at this point? Or am I too deep down the r…

poetry and me | #amwriting

Turns out I'm better at writing poetry in English than in my native language.
Yesterday I was reading Marina Tsvetaeva. Thinking about how poetry can be like a diary. It can document your life. Whenever something happens or fails to happen in your life, you can express it in a poem.
It's different than writing short stories because poetry mirrors your thoughts directly. It channels your feelings with metaphors.
It's like a stream of consciousness. You write it on the spur of the moment when you get so overwhelmed with emotions that you have to get them out on paper.
And it's beautiful.

How Long Should A Blog Post Be?

One thing I had in mind for my blog was to make my posts shorter. Or rather just stop stressing out because they are not long enough. As if there are some strict requirements. I remember reading a long time ago an article on SEO suggesting that long blog posts rank higher in search results. But, ironically, a few days ago I saw someone tweet that they simply don't have time for that and that there's a greater chance that they will read a blog post if it is short.
It's nice to be reminded of these things sometimes.
Reading articles on blogging doesn't do me any good. It's better to keep it simple.
I like blogging and I've started doing it for fun. And there's no wrong way to do it as long as you're enjoying it.

Social Media Hiatus

Yesterday I deleted all of social media apps from my phone. It was a kind of a spur of the moment decision. I don't think I've got the mental energy to deal with social media right now, so taking a break looks like the right thing to do. It's not like I've been actively tweeting or posting anyway, so I don't think that anyone will even notice. Maybe staying away from social media will finally let me dedicate more time to my blog. Instead of sending ten tweets, I can write one blog post on the same topic. That will be a lot more beneficial to me from whatever angle I look at it.
Social media is fun but it has a tendency to distract you. Using it, I feel like I'm scattering my thoughts. It would make sense to later gather those thoughts into a blog post, but I only think about it and never act on my intentions.
And look at this! I'm already writing a blog post about my social media hiatus. My plan is working! I'm being productive. I'm getting things …

Broadening my horizons (and income sources)

You can never know, how your life may turn around or what new opportunities will show up on your horizon. Just a few weeks ago I was set on working on my Shutterstock portfolio, which basically meant trying to spit out as many illustrations a day as possible. Make them decent enough quality wise, and hope that my drawings will fill up some obscure niche and get their small share of sales before drowning eternally in a flood of more stock-worthy images.
Let's be honest. The quality and style of my drawings are "not there yet". Their level of "stockiness" is dwindling somewhere between "I've never drawn anything in my life" and "I took an art class in high school". I'm not complaining. I'm just trying to be realistic. I know what I'm good at. I can see how my skills have been improving over the years. And I'm still learning and improving every day.
Sentiments aside, I still need to stabilize my income and maybe even increa…

Summing up August

When I flip through my bullet journal, it looks like I've barely done anything in the course of this month. My "done" list consists mostly of doctor appointments and illustration uploads with an occasional blog post here and there. I guess I haven't been that productive in August partly because I needed a break after doing CampNaNoWriMo and weekly vlogs about it in July.
I'm not used to writing on demand, although only when I'm the one demanding it. It's probably a psychological thing, but when someone else requires me to do something, I just sit down and do it without overthinking it almost. But when I'm setting my own goals, that's where procrastination really kicks in. I can't be my own boss. I have no fear of authority hovering over me. I do however I please. At the same time, my past working experience has proven that I'm better off working for myself. There's a contradiction there, but I sometimes feel that living in Ukraine in …

Focusing on the Negative Positive

I'm a very negative person at times. It's probably due to the fact that growing up I didn't have that many things to be happy about. So I fell into this circuit of focusing on all the bad things that were happening, giving them my attention, allowing them to grow in my eyes and overshadow everything else. But it's like blowing soap bubbles. There's a limit of air you can blow into one before it bursts. Just as there's a point at which moaning and whining about your problems becomes annoying and kind of ridiculous.
I still often fall back into my bad habit until someone comes to comfort me and remind me of all the good things that I've now acquired. And that someone is usually my friend and fellow writer Jenny. Make sure to go check out her blog here.
It's been hard. I've had my share of life drama. There's still plenty left for me to ruminate on and feel sorry for myself.
Those people who have wronged me don't fee…


I never have to worry about writer's or artist's block because whenever I'm not writing I'm drawing and vice versa. I constantly switch between projects and always have something to do. Always being productive and next to no risk of burning out.
Occasionally I drop my writing and drawing projects altogether and dive into crafts and handmade for a week. You can probably tell from all the pics of my cross stitch or crochet projects that I post on Twitter.
What can I say? I have a lot of interests.
But sometimes I start thinking that this little system of "time management" I came up with keeps me from accomplishing my goals.
They say that in order to master your craft you have to practice it every single day. Little by little. Step by step. Is it really possible to get better at drawing or writing if that's the opposite of what I'm doing?
When it comes to my drawings I can say without a doubt that it's possible.
I've been actively drawing, editi…

#CampNaNoWriMo weekly vlog 3-4 | #amwriting

Hello again! Here are my videos for the last two weeks of CampNaNoWriMo. It took me a while to upload the last vlog because, as usual, I've been having some internet connection problems.

I'll spoil the ending for you just a little bit, but I succeeded in reaching my goal of 30 thousand words last month! And I've already used my winner's coupon for the 50% Scrivener discount. Now I can't wait to transfer all of my writing into my Scrivener project and continue writing my story!

Hope you enjoy watching these vlogs and thank you for following me on this journey!

#CampNaNoWriMo weekly vlog 1-2 | #amwriting

Hey, guys! It's been a while since I've updated my blog. But I have an excuse this time. Ever since July started I've been participating in the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge (link). My goal for the month of July is to write 30k words of my current WIP (and hopefully get that 50% discount on Scrivener).

I'm trying to vlog weekly about my Camp NaNoWriMo experience and I'm really enjoying it so far. Of course, I've faced some difficulties as well. I had to learn some new tricks in Sony Vegas, the program that I'm using to edit most of my video. And I can't quite yet figure out what to say or not to say in my vlogs, which results in them being very long. But I'm learning as I go.

As for the writing part of the whole deal, I'm a little bit behind, but still feeling positive. I'm not trying to catch up anymore, but I'm writing every day and enjoying the process immensely.

And yes, there are a lot of cat clips in these vlogs. :3

Here are the first t…

My Master List of Projects | #amwriting

For the last few weeks, I've been decluttering my room and trying to organize my belongings. Those who follow me on Twitter probably know that I've even started making a catalogue of my home library. A project that will probably take me a few months since most of the books I own are old Soviet and early post-Soviet editions, which means I'll have to manually add them to the database. By the end of this project, I'll finally know how many books I own exactly. So that's something to look forward to.

I've also been organizing the files on my PC and Google Drive where I keep most of my writing projects and thought that it would be interesting to make a list of all of my projects so that it'd be easier for me to know what I'm supposed to be working on and track my progress. That's why I've decided to write this blog post and share it with you guys. I have to warn you though that I have a lot of projects and just came up with another one after a shor…

My "Fake" Personality

I've already vented about this once on Facebook but I figured it wouldn't hurt writing a blog post as well just to gather my thoughts and see where I'm standing.
My therapist thinks that my personality is "fake". That I only have a lot of interests because it's a way of making myself interesting enough for other people so that maybe they'd want to talk to me and be friends.
It doesn't count that I've always been that way and that when pursuing my interests I don't think about other people. I'm caught up in the moment, engaged and fascinated by whatever it is that I'm doing. And when I'm sharing my interests I'm not thinking about how I'm being perceived at the moment.
How can all this be fake?
My therapist once told me to do an exercise where I was supposed to "explore" my true self. Somehow she led me to the conclusion that without my interests I don't exist.
And I can only find my true self through mindfulne…

Turning Memories into Story Plots | Halcja's Podcast #1

Hi, everyone. I've posted the first episode of my writing podcast yesterday and since it was scripted, I thought, why not post the script as a blog post? So here you have it. There were some spontaneous bits in the podcast but I've tried to even it all up. Hope you enjoy it and find it helpful and interesting!

I've noticed two main ways how you can fuel your writing inspiration, using your own life. And I've also seen the two of them combined in a bad way but I'll talk about that later on.

How to write stories from your own experience
1. Non-Fiction. Essays and Autobiographies. The first way is to just write down your memories of the past events, exactly how it all happened, or at least how much of it you remember. In this case, you'll be using the first person POV and past tense. It's similar to writing a diary but with adding more structure to the stories. You can have your main focus on the events, and also elaborate on your own thoughts or feelings, and …

Internet Drama and Support

I was going to write a blog post about internet drama because it just so happened that I had to block two people on facebook this week. But when I opened a new draft a funny thought ran across my mind.
I don't need this anymore. I don't feel like venting and complaining. No more need to take screenshots of comment wars and post them on my FB page.
And the reason for this change in heart is that this time I know that it won't go unnoticed and ignored. I know that if I write on my FB page that I'm having a bad day or that something has happened there'll be people who'll support and cheer me up.
When I was blogging and using social media in my native language I'd oftentimes feel  that I could write just about any horrid thing you can think of, even a blog post consisting solely of the f-word, and still won't get any reaction from my readers, who were mostly people that I actually knew in real life, so it wasn't like I was expecting this huge wave of f…

"Saving my dead father"

As some of you may know, I've recently uploaded the first episode of my podcast in English, where I elaborated a little on why exactly I decided to start writing fiction in English.

But what's been really bothering me for a while now was why have I bothered with all of my Ukrainian projects for so long before switching my keyboard from UK to EN. Over the time I've had a lot of projects that were aimed at promoting Ukrainian language and culture or creating content in Ukrainian. I've had a couple of blogs and rpg-forums, a youtube channel and I even volunteered for a few translation projects. There are at least a handful of Wikipedia articles translated by yours truly and I've also subtitled some TED talks. I'll stop here before it starts looking like I'm bragging, but I did a lot of stuff which could put me in the category of a patriot and language enthusiast. But I'm not... Not really.

10k Celebration Post | #amwriting

This week I've hit a new milestone. I know that 10k words might not seem like alot but considering that it's the first time I'm actually serious about my writing project, I see it as quite an accomplishment.

What I've got so far.

• 10 078 words

• 2 chapters that I consider finished

• about a dozen scenes and dialogues for chapters to come

• an actual outline that doesn't look too bad and it wasn't forced unlike the ones for my previous projects

I love my characters and I really enjoy writing this story. I'm still learning, but I don't let this discourage me. Even if I'm doing something wrong, I'll have plenty of time to fix everything when I get to editing.

I've noticed that every other time when I'm writing a scene a thought pops into my mind "wouldn't it be funny if he did this or said that?". Because of that I'm now pondering if I was right when identifying my genre as romance. There's still plenty of conflict an…

Researching Characters | #amwriting

I've been working on some character development this week. And let me tell you! It's not an easy task to manage!
They say that you should write what you know. But who'd want to read a book where every other character is a writer or a blogger? And maybe an English tutor, an accountant and a QA engineer (kudos to mom and sis). I guess there is a handful of other professions that I'm slightly familiar with thanks to my relatives and friends. But is this knowledge enough to write a proper MC? I don't think so.
But thank goodness for the Internet! If you don't know something from experience you can always google it. So writing an interesting character really boils down to lots of research.
I've decided to make a few of my characters lawyers and I have absolutely no frikkin idea about lawyers and what they actually do. Okay, I've seen lawyers on TV. But that's already a fictional representation, so it's probably not a very good idea to use other work…

Change of plans | #amwriting

I haven't updated my blog in a month. I've promised myself to be consistent. I've decided to do it the right way this time. I even had nearly finished drafts of blog posts waiting to be published. And still I haven't made an effort to polish them off and update my blog.
I can think of many excuses for why I've failed to stick to my own commitments. But the truth is... I wasn't even thinking about my blog in the last month. I didn't feel the need to update it.
I've only started blogging here a few months ago, so it's not like I'm ditching a serious project. I'm not yet serious here with this blog. It's just a place for me to let out some steam and practice my English writing. So I won't let the fact that I haven't updated for a month worry me too much.
I was thinking about the bar that I was trying to set for this blog. I came up with a few interesting ideas for it, like the DLS. But I'm not that sure that I really want to wr…

Random Ramblings

I was supposed to have a DLS blog post ready for today but it's not ready yet due to some unfortunate circumstances so I've decided to write and upload something more random today. Who knows, maybe this will eventually become a tradition.

I will let my train of thoughts lead me wherever it wants to go and maybe later pick out interesting thoughts for more serious standalone blog posts.

Quotes | The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy by Agota Kristof

I was going through some old blog entries from the times when I was blogging in my native language, and came across a collection of quotes from one of my favorite books The Notebook by Agota Kristof. It's actually a trilogy but for some reason the Russian translation which I was reading goes by the name of the first book from The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy.
I read this book in the summer of 2012. The Twins Trilogy was hands down one of the weirdest books I've ever read. The plot kept on twisting and turning and by the end I wasn't sure what to believe. It's probably high time to re-read this book and see if I now have a different perception of it.
It is a story of two twin boys during the Second World War. Or at least that's what's on the surface. I dare you to read this book and discover its mysteries for yourself!
Here are some of the quotes from the book that I would like to share with you today. I couldn't find these particular quotes in English so a…

Reasons Why I Get Angry | Let's Get Personal

Sometimes I get really angry and frustrated with myself. My head is overfilled with ideas but I keep on tripping over my own feet and can't move forward. I get jealous looking at people who bring my ideas to life and succeed whereas I can't even get started.
I'm not angry because they came up with the same ideas. No. I'm not that sort of naive people who think that they can claim ownership of ideas or are afraid to tell someone the idea for their novel because they don't want anyone to "steal" it. Many people observe the same world that you do, the same laws of logic apply to everyone, so it's not surprising that the same idea may pop up in the minds of different people. What really counts is how you act on it.
The problem is that I more than often lack the proper resources to make my ideas a reality. And it makes me so angry.
As a part of my plan to get over these circumstances, I've decided to start this blog. This is going to be my outlet. A b…

Dissecting Literature Series Intro

Hello there, friends! Today I'll tell you about what I have in mind for this blog when it comes to book-themed posts and reviews. What I've noticed from my previous blogging experience it's common practice to review books, be it ARCs or something you've picked out from your home library, giving the potential reader a general idea of what to expect from the plot and characters. Personally, I was never able to do that sort of book reviews.
When it comes to books it's always personal for me. Books trigger something in me, provoking thoughts and bringing out feelings from deep within. Every book has something that goes beyond the story. It has a piece of the author's heart and soul. The more I read the more I see how many books are written from the personal experience of the author, which they often admit themselves. Books are a reflection of the author's personal surroundings. And you can notice it in every book once you start paying attention. Whether it'…

Knowing Your Own History

I don't hide the fact that my knowledge of history is mostly limited to highschool classes. And that can be boiled down to a handful of dates and basic understanding of the events. If I had to do a general knowledge trivia quiz I don't think I would do so well. For the longest time I was convinced that my limited knowledge was due to my inability to retain historical information... and partly to my teacher's screechy voice. But in my second year at the university I had to take a Modern History of the Western Countries course. Our lecturer was boring and corrupted (like too many university teachers in Ukraine), but the teacher assistant was still young and innocent when it came to peddling grades, and he obviously loved the subject of history. Suddenly history became more than just a boring string of dates and dry facts. It was no more faceless and random. That class was the only one from my times at the university where we were actually encouraged to discuss the material …


Hello everyone!

This is my new blog. It's going to be a place where I share my opinions on different matters (oftentimes books) and my experiences of living in Ukraine. Partly I'll try to turn it into a sort of portfolio with my illustrations.

That's the basic concept that I have in mind. We'll see where it gets me.

Starting something new is always very exciting and a bit intimidating. Will it work out? What do I do to make this new experience worthwhile?

I won't write long-winded introductory posts listing facts about me. There'll be time for that. I'll stop for now but come back to you with new posts and ideas shortly.

Stay tuned.