An Update of Affairs

Howdy folks! I am, in fact, not dead, just apparently not super into blogging for the sake of blogging, especially not in the rather rigid, scheduled format I started posting with. It turns out, trying to come up with unique writing tips and curated lists on a weekly basis is hard to do while pursuing an engineering degree and running a side business in the middle of a pandemic.

I twice started long posts only to abandon both posts as drafts. One of them was about the books I read in 2020, if that tells you anything. Blogging, it seems, is not my strong suit. I would caution you, reader, to not get your hopes up that this update post means more content will be coming… but who, really, can say.

An update on Possum Paper Works

I’m pleased to say that Possum Paper Works the business is stronger than ever. In the last few months, though I’ve mostly ignored this site, I was accepted in to two different markets held by local community print shop Studio Two Three. Over these two markets, particularly the second, month-long Winter Market, PPW did amazingly well.

a bunch of notebooks of many sizes and styles sit on a rug with a box of books filled in frame

Before the market, I cranked out about 55 notebooks over the course of 15 days. The photo above shows all of the stock I initially supplied the market with. I thought for sure it would be enough. It sure looks like enough!

It was not. The Richmond community turned out in force! And rightly so–the market was filled with amazing works from local artists. After just the first weekend, I was emailed with a request for more stock. I ended resupplying twice, making 26 additional books total and adding multiple pre-made books. Somehow, I sent exactly 100 books to the market. Only 12 returned.

I’m currently in progress of listing the remains of my stock to Etsy. I also got a new printer for Christmas, so keep an eye out for potential lined(!) notebooks and guided gratitude journals in the future.

An update on me

Public universities are a disaster. But I’m graduating in Spring, hallelujah.

I learned the hard way in July why they say to keep the plastic guards on paper cutters. Luckily it was not bad enough to warrant a trip to the ER. It was, however, a useful lesson.

I’ve started intently following stationery blogs. The Well-Appointed Desk, The Gentleman Stationer, The Pen Addict, Pencil Revolution, and Comfortable Shoes Studio have all led to me buying more pens and pencils than fully necessary. If PPW notebooks aren’t your speed, Johnny at Pencil Revolution has started making leather-bound notebooks which are worthy of your eyes. If you need ideas for what to write in the books, I recommend checking out my previous post!

Until next time, whenever that might be, write on, folks!

ppw writing tip 9

It’s finally time. Only took 9 posts for me to get to the subject that started it all for me – making my writing better by keeping a journal. Are you ready to hear this writer and bookbinder’s take? Of course you are.

Writing Tip #9 – Keeping A Writing Journal

Since May 15, 2013, I have written in a journal every day. And I mean every day. Travel, food poisoning, the flu–none of those things have stopped me yet. Even when I could barely stay awake for more than a few minutes I managed to get a few words out. Good words? Maybe not. But that’s hardly the point.

I have made writing every day, even if it’s just a line or two, part of my necessary routine. If I can hold a pen, I will write. I’m not breaking my streak for anything.

The majority of those thousands of entries aren’t accounts of my day-to-day life. No, I write about the day-to-day lives of my characters. I note the shorter stories that popped into my dreams. I wander around in the plots and details of my storylines until I have a sense of what’s going on.

It’s been more helpful to my writing than I ever could’ve imagined. All of those tips that say to write every day to improve? They aren’t kidding. I look back on my early entries and I can’t believe I wrote so poorly.

I mean, in my defense, I was 13 and mostly recording the surprisingly dramatic adventures of my toys, heavily featuring all the rubber ducks I had in the tub. The content was always going to be a little iffy. Still, there’s gold in there.

I can look at old entries and find character details buried in the action and words that I love and never would’ve been able to express back then. Even if I never use the characters again, it makes me wildly happy to read their old stories.

In more recent years, my journal has been a fantastic way to keep notes for later. A good chunk of the dialogue in the novel I wrote over the summer came almost directly from what I had written in my journal the year before.

My favorite part is always when I find something I wrote and go, “Wow, I totally forgot about that.” That’s how I know writing every night is worth it.

Why you should journal too

I’ll keep this simple. There’s a ton of reasons why you should journal, and not all of them are just regarding writing. Here’s a few:

  • Writing more = better writing (usually)
  • It’s a great way to keep writing if you have a day job that prevents you from having the time or energy to write.
  • It keeps a record of tiny details about your stories for you to find later – continuity is helpful, y’all.
  • The more you write the more you have to read a year or two down the line – reading my old journals is almost like reading a book, and it never fails to keep me entertained.
  • Someday some ancestor of yours will get to read your notebook and find out what you were like. This may or may not be a bad thing, that’s up to you.
  • When you’re famous and dead your family can sell your books for lots of money or make some literature scholars very happy.
  • Journalling, regardless of what you write, has massive potential for positive mental health benefits.

The Writer’s Journal, The Possum Paper Works Way

Step #1 – Find a notebook you can’t wait to write in.

my journals
Four years’ worth of my journals – including the first book I ever made!

Go into Barnes & Noble (or their website) and find the leather journal that makes you swoon. Hunt down 20 cent composition books during the back-to-school season of sales. Find a journal software or app you can jive with. If you’re feeling extra awesome, order a snazzy Possum Paper Works book or a custom journal from another bookbinder!

Your journal doesn’t have to be fancy. At all. My first one was a $10 Spider-man journal from Walmart, and I got similar style books for most of the first 6 or 7 journals I filled.

Now, I love the Barnes & Noble books. I had two that I got as gifts, and my current journal is another one from their line. I spent $35 for a journal that will last me over a year now that I don’t always write a full page. It’s basically the only thing I’m willing to buy from B&N.

I like lined paper books, because I tend to write linearly when I use pen and I sometimes write more when I use paper. You might be more of a blank-page bullet journalling type (see the end of this post for more resources about that!), or your journalling might be sporadic and on-the-go and need to stay on your phone. Find the book (or app) that sounds like it’ll fill your needs the best.

You can also always make your own book. Just be aware that if you do that…you might not ever want to stop making books…

Step #2 – Figure out what time of day you’re most likely to write during.

This is dependent on a couple of factors. Mostly, you want to figure out when you’ve got at least five or ten minutes of free time, and when you’re most motivated to sit down and focus for a little bit.

I’ve kind of given up on focusing most of the time. I write while scattering back and forth between the TV, my laptop, or whatever else has my attention that night. Sometimes I do actually want to write, and suddenly find myself wishing I had more than 1 page. But I make rules for myself. No more than one page, and these days, no more than 5 entries per 2 pages. It makes sure there’s something written, no matter how short.

A neighbor of mine always writes right after she wakes up. That’s when she’s at her peak. It might work best for you too, writing a few lines before you even get out of bed.

You could write whenever, but I definitely recommend sticking to a set time whenever possible. Making it a daily routine, as regular as your cup of coffee or brushing your teeth, will help you stay with it longer, and thus write more.

Step #3 – Get to it!

Don’t sit there staring at your blank notebook. I know you don’t want to mess up the nice paper or the lovely blank screen. I get that. But come on, dude. You want to write? You’re gonna have to write.

Don’t look at me like that.

This took me nearly a week to write, okay? I get it. Writing sucks. Still. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…to write, you…have to write.

But it doesn’t have to be all that awful.

Journal to improve your writing – but let yourself write about anything you want.

Write about stories and character ideas. Write tiny sections of dialogue, worldbuilding, that stupid little scene where your characters make a bunch of terrible cow puns.

But write other things too. If you had a crappy day and you can’t think of anything other than whatever drama’s on your mind, write it out. If you need to work through something going on in your life, let your journal be your therapist. There’s a reason journalling is touted for its positive effects on mental health.

Plus, it’s actually a lot of fun to keep a normal “diary” journal too, even if all you write for it is one line at the start of every writing entry like I do. It can show you how far you’ve come as a person and not just as a writer.

If rules help you meet your writing goals, set rules. But don’t be afraid to break them.

Don’t get discouraged if you miss a day.

That’s okay. I promise. You’re not me. I am a dangerously stubborn being. Not everyone works at their best under pressure.

A few years ago, I had to force myself to break my own “one page a day” rule. My mental health was in the toilet, and most nights writing a full page made me feel worse with the stress of trying to come up with enough to fill a page.

One night, I decided I was done. I wrote a few lines, and stopped. I didn’t write again until the next night.

Not once have I regretted it.

Let yourself take breaks. It’s as important in journalling as in everything else in the world. Not every novel has to be a masterpiece, and not every journal entry has to be something you’ll ever look at again. That’s fine.

I promise.

"A writer’s journal must not be judged by the standards of a diary. The notebooks of a writer have a very special function: in them he builds up, piece by piece, the identity of a writer to himself." - Susan Sontag

Have fun with it.

Use your favorite pens. I started with Uniballs I had lying around, then got more as I found out how much I adored them. I used a red pen every fourth night to switch things up.That was the extent of the “fun” of the journal, other than the joy of writing.

About when writing started getting hard, I started using a different kind of Uniball, with a bunch of their colored Signos brightening up my collection. It made a huge difference. One night more recently I was feeling lackluster again and I used a Papermate Flair pen that I’d just gotten. I doodled all over my margins, and while my writing wasn’t as hot, the emotion was there, and I actually managed to get a bit done.

It makes a difference, if you can have a little fun with your journal. It really does. 

Just remember, if it’s hurting you more than helping, stop and re-evaluate. Writing itself isn’t always fun. That doesn’t mean you have to make yourself feel worse by doing it.

Finally, it’s never a bad idea to tag your entries.

Man, I wish I had started doing this as soon as I started writing.

What I mean by tag is have some kind of short word or acronym you can use to show what you wrote about on any given day.

I have dozens and dozens of stories. The shorter ones don’t tend to get tagged, but if it’s taking up more than three nights of writing, I try to always put a little note up by the date of the entry that tells me what the story or universe I’m writing about is.

If that tag’s not there, and I’m trying to find a specific bit of information, I’ll fly right by the page and never find it. When you’re dealing with hundreds of entries, that’s not ideal. At all. Trust me on that.

my journal
A set of recent pages from my journal. Note the lines up top with the one word tags! And the way I just kinda gave up on the red entry…

Need more inspiration?

Not enough guidelines? Not the type of journalling you’re interested in? Don’t despair!

My own Pinterest board of journal inspirations has tons of images and how-to guides sure to inspire your own notebooks, so be sure to check it out!

Here’s a couple of writers with their own tips on keeping a journal:

Cole Smith Writes

This post looks at a more traditional style of keeping a writer’s journal – and has free journalling resources.

Nicole C. W.

A collection of 7 categories of things to put in your journal.

TCK Publishing

How to use bullet journalling methods for writing!

Megan Rutell at Page Flutter

A super in-depth look at Megan’s personal writing journal, filled with tips and tricks for you to borrow.

Happy writing!

possum paper works logo

Other writing tips can be found here.

Need a place to put your writing? Check out my line of notebooks on Etsy!

For your pinning pleasure:

writing tip 9 journal summary

possum paper works product roundup

Heads up! This post contains affiliate links. For more information about what an affiliate link is and what they mean for you, see my privacy page.

Sheet Ghost Product Roundup

It’s October. You know what that means?

It’s spooky season, y’all.

And by spooky I mean “weird adorable puppet ghosts singing Beatles songs”, of course. I had a video here, but the Mouse Machine seems to have done as it does and removed it.

Look, man. It’s not Halloween for me without the Vincent Price episode of the original Muppet Show. The Alice Cooper episode is also superb, but the Vincent Price episode is where it’s at. Uncle Deadly is the best.

But, like, those dancing ghosts? Best part. I have a little ghost decoration that looks a bit like those puppets. It’s a year-round feature these days.

Similarly, Peanuts comics and the It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown were constants in my childhood, and with those characters came the eternal bedsheet ghost. You know the one, the amorphous blob of a costume spawned from the cheap white sheet with holes cut for eyes and nothing else. It’s a classic.

All that to say, I like those traditional-style sheet ghosts quite a lot. I’ve never been a big fan of horror, but creepy-cute works just fine. More than fine, actually. With that in mind, let’s get started on the spooky sheet ghost product roundup!

sheet ghost product photos

1) StolzKraft, Little Ghost in Glass Bottle

A little handmade friend in a bottle! What’s not to love? No really, I’m in love. I don’t know what I’d do with this little guy, but I want one (Update: I have one now, LOVE IT). This Etsy store has lots of other little ghosts in a variety of dioramas to choose from, so check them out!

2) Quirk By Ally, Ghost Spooky Sheet Costume Enamel Pin

I can hear the implied “boo” in this pin? The little shoes and jeans make it even better. Seriously, this would look so cute on a bag strap or a hat, maybe next to a pin of your local cryptid. If you have one. Apparently my area is a little lacking in proper cryptids (Update: also have this super quality pin now! My aunt found a theme for Etsy gifts…).

3) Art of Tranifer, Love Ghosts Art Print

Just the right mix of spooky and sweet. The detail on the lavender especially gets me. This artist has tons of other ghost and mild horror-inspired artworks, so if this exact design isn’t to your fancy, you can find many other beautiful works at their shop (Also have this print! Just as lovely in person!)!

4) Dark Art Imagery, Halloween Greeting Card

This ethereal greeting card has a Poe-etic message inside for all your Halloween card needs. Invite your friends to share a pumpkin carol with you! Leave thank-yous for the spirits in the graveyards when you take a little graveyard dirt for a spell! If this card sells out, be sure to check the seller out for more Halloween inspired photos and cards.

5 & 6) Katherine Blower, Strawberry Fields & Walter

“Strawberry Fields”….hm….Beatles….ghost…someone’s on the same page as me. Katherine Blower’s art collection features tons of lonely ghosts, and I really want to make friends with all of them. Walter, this poor ghost. Walter needs a friend. The Strawberry Fields ghost has the butterflies, at least. But I want to give Walter some love.

Anyway. Go find Katherine Blower’s art, and enjoy the adorable spirits.

7) Beyond Infinite, Ghosts 1 / Black Art Print

This print is pretty popular on Society6, and with the bold black and white design, I can see why–it would look awesome on a spooky gallery wall. The high tops are probably my favorite part, the nostalgia levels at peak points.

8) Pretend Planet, Sheet Ghost Party Art Print

This has a weirdly Tim Burton-esque style that I love. Or maybe more Edward Gorey. Regardless. Like an office party from half a dimension over, this print is ready to add a bit of odd charm to your walls.


If this hasn’t been an exhaustive enough list of wee ghosties for you, here’s some more art I love:

LittlestSpookShop, LittlestSpook Pin

MikaMilkyWayy, Little Ghost Sticker Pack

Burchfiel Studios, Musical Sheet Ghost

The Crankiest Crafter, Vintage Ghost Sticker

Tyler Walls Illustration, Spooky Brudda Art Print

Little Spooky Studios, Spooky Forever Art Print

Soundnew, Ghosties Art Print

And happy Halloween! And by Halloween I mean October. Which is all Halloween. Fight me.

possum paper works logo

Check out more product roundups here!

If you’re still hungry for more arts to shop, may I recommend my own lines of notebooks on Etsy and my art on Society6 and Redbubble? Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this blog running!

writing prompt literary list graphic

Howdy! Here we have a new list of writing prompts for your perusal, featuring fantasy-based works. And apparently most of the fantasy and sci-fi books I have hard copies of are by cis white guys… 🙁

We can make it work.

Writing Prompts – White Cis Guys Fantasy Edition

Okay. I do read fantasy and sci-fi written by people other than cis white guys, I promise, I just haven’t bought new books in a while. I don’t have easily accessible copies of the Charlaine Harris, Seanan McGuire , and Kim Harrison books that I’ve enjoyed in the last year, nor can I include Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, having lent my copy to a friend.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t like the books that I selected from. Quite the opposite – the 7 selections here all come from books and authors I love. And one TV show. I have a massive book with all the Firefly scripts.

Although, whenever I read H.G. Wells I can pretend that I’m reading a book by a bad-ass bisexual lady, thanks Warehouse 13. And look, The Invisible Man is just a deliciously creepy book with a strangely sympathetic monster. I do love a good monster.

Anyways, as always, change things up and don’t be a plagiarist.

Actually, that’s your mission for this assignment – mix these prompts up into something new! Fantasy and sci-fi needs more diversity, and it starts with the stories being told. I can’t do it alone, friends.

Alright, so let’s delve into my unfortunately white guys heavy collection of science fiction and fantasy, and use these prompts to make it better. Honestly my brain has started writing a story already just from the prompts I’ve found. I hope they inspire you too.

7 Fantastical Writing Prompts

“Why come to me? Why not a private investigator?”

“Because you know about…” She gestured, fitfully.

“About magic,” I said.

Storm Front, Jim Butcher

“But it gets dark.”


“Aren’t you afraid?”

“Of what?”

“The dark.”

“Why should I be?”

– “Pillar of Fire,” Ray Bradbury

“What happens to the soul of a man who dies between the stars, far from his native world?”

– “The Haunted Space Suit,” Arthur C. Clarke

“The girl is a witch!”

“Yeah. But she’s our witch.”

Firefly Ep. 5, “Safe,” Drew Z. Greenberg

“There have been no wizards since [him], and you would never in this world  have beaten him. But I tell you this – he would never in this world have beaten you.”

“I am ready then.”

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

“I could have swore I heard a voice.”

“Of course you did.”

“It’s there again”

“Don’t be a fool. You think I’m just imagination? Just imagination?”

“What else can you be?”

The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells

“Where is she?”

“Gone. The darkness took her.”

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

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Other writing tips and prompts can be found here.

Need a place to put your writing? Check out my line of notebooks on Etsy!

For your pinning pleasure:

white guys writing prompts pin