Hey, What’s up, Hello! | Challenging My Writing Skills

It’s me, Brandi from xobrandilarissa, and I am revamped!

In case you have not noticed already, I redid my whole webpage and edited/removed some old posts.

I decided to “turn over a new leaf” with my blog; how so, you ask? Let me tell you.

A few months ago, I started my Writing Prompt Wednesday, which lasted…. not long. At all. I also attempted to do a “Top 10 on the 10th”, which was cool for a while, but also died out. I posted some book reviews here and there, while occasionally sharing some book hauls; my blog was seemingly just a place to write whenever I felt like it. Which, in theory is great- I should just write whenever I feel like it. That’s how hobbies work, right?

Well, I don’t want writing to just be a hobby for me.

But, over the past few weeks I had done some thinking. If you know me at all, you probably know that I have the intention on keeping with my writing for many, many, many years to come. So, this led me to ask the question: if I am only writing “whenever I feel like it,” how am I suppose to become a better writer? Just sit around and wait for the day to come when everything falls into place?

No, of course not.

I consider myself a persistent and determined worker, so I am clearly not the type to just sit around and wait for good things to happen to me.

Think of a basketball player. They don’t just play basketball whenever they “feel like it” and just await the greatness and talent to reach them; they work hard and they practice.

So, yeah, back on track: that had been my thought process for the past few weeks.

I came to the conclusion that I am interested in challenging myself more as a writer. I wanna push myself to try challenging writing prompts, to share most in depth/thoughtful book reviews, and basically just reach inside my soul to pull out all the creativity I could possibly find.

In March, I started writing for Odyssey which has been a very beneficial experience for me. I was responsible for submitting an article once a week, so that had seemingly kept me “on my toes” looking for any inspiration that would come my way. But, since I started writing for Odyssey, my personal blog- that had meant a lot to me for the past year- had fallen by the wayside. I didn’t have my personal escape and my own freedom for creativity with Odyssey as I have had with my blog.

Though writing for Odyssey “distracted” me from my personal writings, it was incredibly helpful in gaining confidence in my writing, which I now realize was something I fiercely needed. A requirement for Odyssey, as a writer, was to share my articles each week on Facebook. Each week, I would be surprised by how many people not only just opened my articles to read them but took the time to compliment me on my writing and even share it with their other Facebook friends.

Because of the compliments, because of the shares, and even because of a simple “like”, my confidence in my writing increased and it provided me with a sense of accomplishment and pride I had never quite felt before.

Then in the beginning of May, I accepted a position with Odyssey as the Editor-In-Chief for my local community. Having no prior experience with editing, this was quite the challenge to rise up to.

But, I did it.

The following weeks after accepting the position, I learned and gained more leadership, communication, and other similar professional skills. I was in charge of a team that averaged about 13 writers. I hired approximately 8 writers throughout my time as EIC, and I myself had recruited them, interviewed them, and read their sample essay.

When I originally took over the team, the writers had little to no communication with each other. By the end of my time with Odyssey, the communication among the group increased; this was the main goal I had when I began my time as EIC.

I rebuilt a great team of talented, dedicated writers and I pride myself in that job well done.

However, once summer came into full swing, life got busy. I became more interested in the bookstagram and book blogging world, posting a bookish related picture on Instagram every day while trying to keep up with book hauls and book reviews. My interest in creative writing also grew, causing me to stem away from journalism and news related writing, which was the type of writing I published with Odyssey.

In addition to other personal things, it became too much to juggle all this and Odyssey.

It was a difficult decision, but I stepped down from EIC. I will miss writing articles each week, I will miss my writers and I will miss my managing editors.

Saying goodbye to Odyssey is difficult, but I am looking ahead to the future.

For all of you that have encouraged me and supported me throughout my writing adventure, I thank you plentifully- and do not fret! I am no where near being done with my writing. As I said already, I plan to continue my writing for, well, forever.  I love doing it and view it as a way of freeing my inner thoughts and emotions; I will never give up on writing or say goodbye to writing.

Having more free time in my future, get ready for more posts on my personal blog, such as book hauls/reviews, poems, short stories and anything in between. My goal for the rest of the summer is to challenge myself in regards to my creative writing!

Within the next few days, I plan on getting a story started on Wattpad, which I am super excited yet nervous about.

I will be participating in CampNaNoWriMo the month of July, which I am SUPER EXCITED and SUPER NERVOUS for! It is my first time participating in anything NaNoWriMo related, so I am hoping this goes well and that I stay motivated and get to my word count

I also have a special project that I plan on starting during CampNaNoWriMo! This project will be shared with you guys but however not for a while! I am really excited about this project and I hope it will end up being another essential step towards a successful writing career.

I am looking forward the next few months to come; I have big plans for my personal blog and my writing, and I can not wait to see everything finally pull together.

It’s time for me to continue to challenge my writing skills.






Meeting Jesse Andrews

A few weeks ago, I got to meet Jesse Andrews (author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) at my local book store- Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, PA.

It’s a lovely, cozy little book store and it’s always a welcoming place to shop with the kind employees!

I went to the signing with my mom; it was my first book signing I have ever been to- and it was a great one!

The evening started out with Jesse Andrews being introduced, and him sort of describing his life growing up in the Pittsburgh area (pssst which is where I grew up and where the signing took place.) He talked about growing up in Pittsburgh, his college experience, and his “adventure” to becoming a writer. Then, he talked about his books and read an excerpt from his new book The Haters. 

Basically, my mom and I spent the whole time smiling and chuckling because Jesse Andrews is a pretty rad and hilarious dude.

Then, I got an author to sign a book of mine for the FIRST TIME EVER ~~~~

He signed both books of his, The Haters and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. As I was chatting with him, my mom decided to let him know that I am “an aspiring writer *blushes in embarrassment* *but is secretly happy mom told him because I was too scared to*





Also, a fun little tidbit for anyone out there interested: After the book signing, I went next door to the Starbucks to catch up on some work and some blogging. While sitting there, Jesse walked by and gave me a friendly wave. So, yeah, that’s super cool.

Thank you, Jesse, for writing hilariously heart warming books and for continuing to return to little old Pittsburgh. I will always recommend your books to people, as well as tell everyone how generous, funny, and talented you are!



My 10 Favorite Fictional TV Show Characters..ever!

Happy Top Ten on the Tenth!

**Disclaimer: Subject to change because of amazing new TV shows that will come out**

Hi, guys- so this blog post was very, very, difficult for me to write; who are my top ten fictional characters from any TV show? This is a seemingly impossible question, but after days of mulling this over in my head, I finally have the list down.

10. Van Montgomery (Reba)

9. Tina Belcher (Bob’s Burgers)

8. Jessica Day (New Girl)

7.  Ben Wyatt (Parks & Rec)

6. Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)

5. Chris Traeger (Parks & Rec)

4. Nick Miller (New Girl)

3.Haley James Scott (One Tree Hill)

2. Uncle Jessie (Full House)

1. Chandler Bing (Friends)

Whose in your top 10 favorite characters from tv shows?! Let me know in the comments!

Hope you guys enjoyed my first top 10 post 🙂



Sunday Night Thoughts

I remember when I was little, I looked forwards to Sunday nights; weird, right?

All my favorite Nickelodeon shows were on Sunday nights, specifically I remember Unfabulous with Emma Roberts. I admired her character so much I began writing my own songs like she did (looking back on it it’s hella embarrassing.)

I would get my clothes ready for the week, trying to pick the cutest outfits so I could impress the “popular” girls.

I would get to see my friends again! I was too young to really see my friends every weekend, so I looked forward to Monday’s so we could be reunited.

I loved my teachers! I was definitely a teacher’s pet. (Sorry notttt sorry.)

I loved school then; I really enjoyed it. I liked my friends, my teachers, and learning.

I looked forward to going to my elementary school every day.

Now, I pretty much live at school. I did a complete 180 on my feelings towards school.. I hate it. I have some good friends whom I love, but sometimes I feel like my interests are too eclectic and varied.  Sunday nights, I don’t have Unfabulous or any show really to watch anymore. I don’t pick out my clothes for the weekend anymore because who do I have to impress? All that sits in my head on Sunday nights is the frantic schedule ahead of me: classes, work, tests, homework, studying… rinse and repeat.

College is hectic, college keeps you busy, college raises your stress level. No wonder everyone hates it.

When did we learn to hate school?

I miss the way Sunday night’s used to feel back in the day.

I wanna be excited about school again.