My Goals for 2021

With 2021 around the corner and me being on my holiday break from work, I’ve finally taken the time to map out my goals for the new year and now, I’m here to share them with you!

I have a pretty lengthy list of goals, but a lot of them don’t have a solid end goal or point. Most of them are just activities or things I want to spend time working on throughout the year. Anyways, before getting into my goals, let’s chat about some tips for creating and achieving your goals.

5 tips for achieving your goals.

  1. Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time-Based)
  2. Make sure your goals reflect your intentions for the year (for example, my main goal is to grow my freelancing business so a lot of my goals are continuing to study social media marketing, etc on my own time, develop a marketing plan for my business, etc.)
  3. Develop an actionable plan for each goal
  4. Write them down
  5. Revisit them at the end of every month

My goals for 2021.

Writing

  • Finish writing The Obsidian Butterfly so it is ready for editing
  • Keep up blog schedule of posting once a week to each blog
  • Outline 2nd The Obsidian Butterfly novel

Freelancing

  • Have freelancing become my part-time job (get between 20-25 hours of work)
  • Create a social media/creative agency (make a website and new social media accounts)
  • Continue learning about digital marketing through online courses
  • Continue taking editing and writing classes (you can never stop improving!)

Reading

  • Read 30 books
  • Actually read all my assigned readings for school (I slacked a little last semester, I won’t lie)

Lifestyle

  • Travel locally more (if things get better, obviously)
  • Keep up my workout routine of going to the gym 2-3x per week
  • Get back on track with school (last semester, I only took 2/5 classes so I want to make sure I am doing full semesters from now on)
  • Prioritize my mental health (this means continuing counselling, focusing more on self-care, etc.)
  • Save more money
  • Develop a repeatable morning routine (it doesn’t have to be a crazy 1 hour routine, but it could just be reading first thing when I wake up)
  • Spend less time online (since it’s my job to be online, I want to cut down my screen time when I’m not working and spend more time outside or reading)
  • Meditate and journal almost every day

See? I have a pretty long list of goals for 2021 which I don’t always recommend. However, a lot of my goals are small things to implement into my days or weeks or even months. I am really excited to work towards achieving these goals because they help keep me on the path I want to be on for the next year. Like I said, I really want to focus on growing my freelancing business but I also have a lot of lifestyle goals because I definitely neglected that aspect of my life in 2020.

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what your 2021 goals are! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Post-NaNoWriMo Plans

Need a freelance editor, blogger, or social media manager? Visit my website HERE.

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

My Post-NaNoWriMo Plans

I cannot believe December is almost halfway over and I am only now just thinking about my post-NaNoWriMo plans.

Well, at least we’re here now!

For the last NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month: an international, online writing event that takes place every year during November and encourages writers to write 50k words in 30 days), I wrote around 25,000 words for my Aztec fantasy novel. However, clearly, I did not finish in the 30 days which means I need to keep working on it.

I hope that many of you, like me, took a little bit of a break from writing after NaNoWriMo ended. Even if you did not hit that 50k word goal, you deserve a break! While I only wrote 25k, I did write a little bit (almost) every day and that is a lot of energy. I didn’t anticipate taking a break from writing, but I have only sat down to work on my project a few times since November 30 and then decided that nope, I need to take a few days off. And that’s okay! My body and mind needed a break, but now, I feel the creativity seeping back in.

It’s time to talk about my post-NaNoWriMo plans.

Since the holidays are approaching and surprise, surprise, I’m not really doing much for my 11 days off both work and school, I do want to write a decent amount by the end of December. It would be really nice to hit 40k before 2021 and because I am at 30k, I think that is manageable.

When I think about the new year, CHAOS flashes across my mind. For the first few weeks of January, I will be in five classes until I figure out which one I want to drop. One of the classes is a one-month continuing education editing class (structural editing) that has a “work at your own pace” structure, so that won’t be too stressful at least. I am also working part-time at my current job (I’m a Communications Development Lead for Focal) and focusing a lot of time on building up my freelance business. My freelance business is actually doing pretty good right now, so I anticipate having projects at the beginning of the new year as well. If you didn’t know, I am a freelance editor, digital marketing blogger, and social media manager. Click HERE to check out my freelance website!

Anyways, back to the beginning of 2021: it’s going to be busy! But, I am determined to finish my first draft of this novel idea because I have been working on it for four years! That is crazy to me because in those four years, I haven’t even finished a first draft; I am constantly changing the story around and while I do think it was all for the best, I just want to right the damn thing. You know? So, I have been thinking about a word count goal for January and I think I want to do another 40k. This is a fantasy book which means it won’t be some short book –I’m anticipating around 100k. for a final word count.

That means, I want to finish the first draft completely by the end of February. Preferably, before the end of February, but I don’t think I will officially bring down the hammer until then. I do believe in being lenient with yourself, but sometimes, it’s time to just get it done. And this is that time. I am super passionate and excited about this project, even after four years, and it deserves to be finished!

I am a big believer in letting your story sit for a bit too, so I don’t plan on jumping into the second draft until April. Just in time for Camp NaNoWriMo! Fingers crossed I can stick to these deadlines without getting overwhelmed, but I am hopeful.

Sorry for the rambly post, but I really wanted to share my post-NaNoWriMo plans in the hope of inspiring any of you who are unsure what to do next. Especially if you didn’t hit 50k, like me!

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what your post-NaNoWriMo plans are! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My FINAL TBR of 2020

Creative Entrepreneur Blog

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

My FINAL TBR of 2020

Today, I wanted to share my final TBR of 2020.

This is a list of all the books I want to read before the new year, which I cannot believe is almost here.

Even though I am mostly out of my reading slump, I haven’t been reading very fast, or much at all, lately. I think I have been working on Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare for over a month now, however, in my defence, it is a beastly book. I have also started a few other books along the way which I will include in my TBR, but there are a couple new books that I am itching to pick up before 2021 too.

Fingers crossed that since school is wrapping up and I get a break from work for the holidays, I will be able to finish the year strong reading-wise!

Here is my final TBR of 2020.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Last I checked, I have 250ish pages of this book left which I am fairly confident I can get done this December. I don’t know why I picked this book up after my reading slump because 1) it is my least favourite in The Dark Artifices trilogy, and 2) it is almost 900 pages! But, I have been enjoying myself as I always do when I am in this Shadowhunter world so that counts for something.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Robin Wasserman, Maureen Johnson, and Kelly Link

Ghosts of the Shadow Market: Amazon.ca: Clare, Cassandra, Rees Brennan,  Sarah, Johnson, Maureen, Link, Kelly, Wasserman, Robin: Books

I call myself a massive Cassandra Clare fan, yet I haven’t picked this book up until now! Well, anyways, I have it and suddenly decided it was time to read it. While I am only 80 pages into it, I have been loving it. Reading more about the main characters in Chain of Gold is my new favourite past time because I am a huge fan of them all –especially Matthew. I have no doubts about finishing this book before 2021 because I have only sat down once or twice with it, and I am already almost 1/5 of the way through. However, like ALL of Cassandra Clare’s books, it is a chunky one.

The Round House by Lousie Erdrich

The Round House: A Novel: Erdrich, Louise: 9780062065254: Books - Amazon.ca

The Round House is a book I was assigned for school and even though classes are finished and I am supposed to be done this book by now, I don’t think I am even 100 pages into it. The thing is, it is such an amazing and important book. But, once again, it is the fact that I have to read it for school that is holding me back from picking it up and reading more than 10 pages at a time. That, and it deals with some very intense content matter. However, I do want to finish it. I am hoping that since school is almost over, I will be inspired to pick it up more often.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades: Amazon.ca: Meyer, Marissa: Books

I may have splurged on books this past weekend and one of the books I picked up was Renegades: a book I’ve heard marvellous things about. I had no initial intent on buying this book, but it was a good price for the used copy and something suddenly inspired me to read it. This is another BIG book, which might come back to bite me later on when I am half done every single one of the books on this list and then suddenly it is January 1st… Although, even if that happens, I think I am okay with that.

Song of the Dryad by Natalia Leigh

Song of the Dryad by Natalia Leigh

Okay, this is a book I do not plan on finishing in 2020, but I really want to start it over Christmas break. I bought the ebook version (because I have been led to believe I am getting a Kindle for Christmas…) over Black Friday because I have been meaning to pick up this book. Natalia Leigh is an author and also a YouTuber (AuthorTuber) who I have been watching for years. I thought it was about time to support her writing and I am also just excited to see what I think of this book! Maybe I will even do a book review. We will see.


Those are all the books I plan on finishing, or at least will try to finish, before the new year. I am really excited to have more time to spend on reading because at first, I neglected it because I was in a slump and then I neglected it because I was just too busy! I want to end the year on a positive and productive note by spending time doing what I love, which is reading, in the hopes it will start 2021 on a positive note as well.

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what books you plan on reading this month! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: How to Make Money as a Writer

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

How to Make Money as a Writer

Ready to pursue a career in writing? Here are a few ways to make money as a writer.

How do I make money as a writer?

Is getting my book traditionally published the only way to make money?

What other writing jobs, other than an author, are there even?

If you have asked yourself any of the questions above (or all three), I am here to tell you that you do not have to get a book published to make money as a writer. To be honest, that might be the most difficult way to make money as a writer and is not a reality for everyone.

Of course, to make money from writing takes time and skill. It involves crafting an impressive portfolio of writing samples that will make companies want to hire you or literary magazines want to publish you. It takes practice to improve your writing skills and get them to a level where people can and want to read them.

Today, I am going to breakdown what types of writing you can make money from, where you can go to make money from writing, and take you through the steps.

Here is your go-to guide for how to make money as a writer.

Types of Writing Jobs Out There:

  • Article Writing
  • Blogging
  • Press Release Writing
  • Ghostwriting
  • Copywriting
  • Content Writing
  • Creative Writing (Submitting to short story contests and literary magazines. Not a job exactly, but a way to make money from writing on the side with enough patience and practice.)

Some of these jobs overlap. For example, a copywriter can be a blogger and an article writer because copywriting is a form of advertising. It means to write in a way that promotes a company and encourages a client to take a particular action. This is something that can be done it multiple forms.

Where to Start

1. To Freelance or Not to Freelance

Do you want to be a freelancer, which is someone who works for themselves and is employed by other companies either for permanent, contract, or temporary work, or do you want to write for one specific company? This is the first thing to narrow down.

When choosing freelancing, you have to understand that it is a business. That means you need to build a website, keep track of clients, send contracts and invoices, as well as make sure you get paid. If you aren’t willing to put in the work to market you and your business, I would recommend becoming a writer employed by one company.

I love freelancing. I love running my own business and marketing myself (which is why I am a digital marketing writer). However, it isn’t always smooth sailing. It involves lots of long days, lots of rejection, lots of dealing with people, and lots of research. But in the end, it’s all worth it to me!

What’s important is figuring out what fits you best. If you want to try out freelancing, give it a go! If it doesn’t work out, you have other options.

2. Determine Your Writing Niche

The second step to succeeding in the writing world is to determine your niche. But what is a niche? A niche is a specific topic that you decide to write about. For example, I am a freelance digital marketing writer. That means that now, after taking some time to discover my own niche, I only write (for clients) content that relates to digital marketing such as social media, SEO, email marketing, etc.

It is absolutely essential to determine your niche, otherwise, you will just be a meh writer in a wide range of topics. You want to hone in on one topic and really educate yourself on it so that when clients look at your portfolio, they will see that you really know your stuff.

For the literary magazines and writing contest side of things, your “niche” could be fantasy short stories or contemporary poems. The more specific you are, the better chances you have.

Here is a list of more popular niches in 2020: https://www.writingrevolt.com/profitable-freelance-writing-niches/

3. Build a Website

This is especially important for freelancers, but even if you don’t want to freelance, I think it is a good idea to have a website as a writer.

You need a nice and clean website to showcase your niche, services, portfolio, testimonials, and contact information. If a company stumbles on your website and they can’t figure out what type of writing you do, or how much you charge, there is a good chance they will click off the website. We want to avoid those missed opportunities.

Check out my website for inspiration. I am no website designer, but it certainly does the trick: http://www.zoemathers.com

4. Publish Your Writing Online

When I first put together my writing portfolio, I remember thanking myself for creating this blog when I did. For six years, I have been consistently posting blog posts on here and that gave me a strong writing foundation. Not only did it improve my writing skills immensely, especially my skills for writing for the web, but it helped me build credibility and an audience. I am a freelance content and copywriter which means when I contact a company, or am discovered by a company who is in need of a writer, they can see my years and years and hundreds and hundreds of blog posts that I have written. They are not all beautifully written, many were strewn together in less than an hour, but it shows that I can write a lot and fast. It also shows how much my writing has grown over the years. Kind of like a diary. (However, I don’t have many of my own blog posts in my writing portfolio.)

I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to build a platform where you post your writing on. Whether that is a social media account like Instagram or Facebook, or a blog, it will make jump starting your writing career a lot easier.

5. Create a Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of your best writing pieces out there. Mostly, they are samples already published online, however, if you are just starting out and don’t have a blog, they don’t have to be published.

When it comes to curating content for your portfolio, make sure you include pieces that showcase your skill, voice, and niche the best.

Want some inspiration? Check out my writing portfolio: http://www.zoemathers.com/writing-portfolio

6. Build Up a Cold Emailing List

Whether this list is full of literary magazines to submit to or companies to propose your copywriting services, build up a list of people to cold email. Cold emailing, when done right, can lead to new clients and is an essential step towards making money as a writer. I recommend building up a list of at least 50 potential clients before starting to send out emails.

Here are some tips for cold emailing:
  • Be Personable and Personalized – Be courteous; compliment their company, tell them why you admire them and want to write for them. To check if your email is personalized enough, if you read over your email and realize you could send the exact same message to the next company on your list without changing anything, it is not personalized enough.
  • Offer Up Your Ideas for the Company – Do they not have a blog on their website? Do they have a poorly written “About Us” section? Whatever it is, kindly offer up your ideas to them in a pitch. Tell them how a blog would improve their website and drive more traffic to it. And then, tell them how you would proceed to build up a blog for them.
  • Link 2 Writing Samples – Do not attach your resume or attach your writing samples. Instead, provide a link to your Google Drive where they are organized by category, topic, etc. Or, link them to where they were originally posted. You don’t need to overwhelm with samples either, so stick to two.

7. Create a CRM Spreadsheet

A CRM is a Customer Relationship Manager. Basically, it organizes your clients, or potential clients, so you can keep track of what project they hired you for, if they’ve paid you, if they contacted you first, if you sent them a cold email, etc, etc. It will be a time saver as you grow your writing career. It is also handy when submitting to contests or literary magazines. When it comes to the end of the year, the time when you want to reflect on your writing business and see how much you made, a CRM that process a lot easier. Trust me.

If you want a CRM template, subscribe to my freelancing newsletter HERE. My newsletter went out today (Nov 30) so if you sign up now, you can still get the template I included in this month’s newsletter! If it is past that date already, feel free to subscribe anyways and leave in the notes section of the sign up form that you would like access to my CRM spreadsheet! 🙂

Places to Find Writing-Related Work

Now that you have your niche picked out, a website built, and a curated selection of writing samples, it is time to figure out where the heck to submit your work or find clients.

Below, I have listed a few freelance job boards to help kickstart your process of making money as a writer.

A lot of the websites listed below are best for beginner writers, or those of you who want to build up your portfolio. Some of them, you can find well paying gigs, but on websites like Fiverr, you will start out not making too much per word. However, this is how I started and it really helped me learn how much my services cost and what my writing was worth.

Fiverr

Upwork

Freelancer

FlexJobs

Pro Blogger Jobs

Guru

We Work Remotely

LinkedIn (Much more credible and better for finding a full-time, non-freelancing job)

Now you have all the tools to get started! Remember, you won’t find success right away, and that’s okay. Some months for me are super busy with contract work and it is great, however, there are slower months too. Much slower months. That is the life of a writer, especially a freelance writer.


I hope this was helpful, and if you are in search of more writing and/or freelance-related content, consider checking out the links below! Thanks for reading 🙂

My Freelance + Writing Newsletter:

My Freelance + Writing Blog:

Last Blog Post: My Anticipated Releases

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

My Anticipated Releases

My anticipated releases before the end of the year!

Happy Monday!

Sorry for the little hiatus again!

ANNOUCEMENT: In celebration of NaNoWriMo being (almost) over, I am once again offering 10% off any one editing service when you book for or during December. Take advantage of the discount HERE as well as my free 10-page sample edit if you are interested.

In a quick update, I am behind on NaNoWriMo but I am 23k into my first draft so it is not a complete fail at least. On the reading side of things, I have been chugging along with Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare and am just over 500 pages into it. Since the end is in sight, I thought it would be fitting to talk about my anticipated releases for the rest of this year (which is almost over?!) because these are likely to be some of the next few books I will pick up.

Here are my anticipated releases for the rest of 2020.

Inanna’s Bargain by Claire Sulos

I am a sucker for any mythology, ancient civilization-inspired fantasy which is why this book grabbed my attention. Also, the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS. Inanna’s Bargain is a historical fantasy novel set in Mesopotamia during 2,284 BCE. I have not read any Mesopotamia-inspired fiction, so I am super excited to get my hands on this book. It actually came out this past Saturday, so if you are interested in it as well, you can check it out HERE. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Inanna, the goddess of love and war, sends our main characters who are half-siblings, Samri (a priestess of Inanna) and Kianu (a gala priest) to act as aid when a dire threat from the north appears. However, it is not a smooth journey to reach their king, and along the way, they encounter thieves, kidnappers, hybrids beasts, and much more. While their journey is dangerous, the two siblings grow closer along the way and this adventure-filled story highlights their love and familial bond for one another.

I cannot wait to read this book and it is not very long (298 pages), so I can already see myself flying through this story!

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

I did not register that this book is coming out in less than 10 days…and I haven’t re-read the second or third book in forever. I am not prepared! The past few days I have been juggling back and forth with the ideas of just reading/watching summaries on the series and then diving into it when it releases, OR re-reading the entire series first. The last few days of November will be crazy though, and part of December as well with school wrapping up so I don’t know what to do! Regardless, this is one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 hands down.

The first book, An Ember in the Ashes, follows Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier in this Roman-inspired militaristic empire. When Laia’s grandparents are killed and her brother kidnapped by the empire, Laia sets out to save him, disguising herself as a slave at the martial school in order to spy for the resistance that promises her brother’s freedom in exchange. There, she meets Elias, one of the best soldiers at the school but deep down, he dreams of being free of its chains. Eventually, their destinies intertwine and together, they threaten the entire age of tyranny they live in.

I love this series and I have since the first book came out four years ago. I cannot believe it is coming to an end but I am eager to see what happens! I follow Sabaa Tahir on Instagram and I already know she will not be easy on her readers.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)

This is another book that is already out; it came out earlier this week on Tuesday, I think, and also has such a stunning cover. I hadn’t heard much about it until recently, but once I did, I was really intrigued. When the Goodreads description said that it was “perfect for fans of the The Last Magician” I was like “that’s me!”…even though I haven’t read the sequel yet. This book has gangs and fueds and bloodshed and just sounds so good! I also believe it is inspired by Romeo and Juliet? I remember hearing the author doesn’t like the play so I am curious to see how that is transferred into the book.

For whatever reason, I had hard time putting this book into my own words so here is the Goodreads description:

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.


Those are three books that have recently come out, or are about to come out, that I cannot wait to get my hands on! Hopefully, you are also excited for them and if you have any other anticipated releases, please share them in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: NaNoWriMo 2020 Strategy

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

NaNoWriMo 2020 Strategy

My NaNoWriMo plans and the tools I’ve been using to have a successful start.

Happy day 3 of NaNoWriMo! Hopefully, your projects are all going well and if they aren’t, that’s okay too.

So far, NaNoWriMo is going really well for me! I am a few hundred words behind but considering I haven’t been in a writing routine for a long time, the fact that I am only 500 or so words behind is impressive.

What am I writing this month?

This month, I am working on the novel version of Project Mystic, an Aztec mythology-inspired story that for the last while, I have been writing the novella version. However, I decided that after three years of working on this story, it is time to write the damn thing. I am going for the 50,000 word goal but that is more like the “oh, well it would be a bonus if” type of goal. Instead, I am focusing more on writing a good chunk of words every day. And some days, that just isn’t 1,667 words.

My new writing routine

Ever since I started working full-time and doing university part-time (and running my freelance business on the side too), I thrive off routine. However, I get suffocated when there is too much routine but somehow, I’ve found a great balance. For example, if I really don’t feel like writing or reading or doing some other hobby, I will make myself do it but only for 10 or so minutes. If I am still not feeling it by that 10-minute mark then I have learned it is better not to push it. Thankfully, reading and writing have been the only things I’ve wanted to do lately!

This writing routine most likely won’t stick around for long, but hopefully it will for the rest of NaNoWriMo because I am loving it! Like I said, I am not super strict on writing 1,667 words per day, but I am trying to get a solid amount done each day. With work and school, it is hard for me to find enough time to only sit down once and bang out all my writing in 30 minutes or an hour (like I used to). Instead, I have started breaking up my writing sessions into short sprints. This is something I used to do but then it stopped working but now it is back in full swing and has been working great.

Here’s a little insight to a normal day routine:

7:00 AM – Wakeup

7:30 AM – Write!

8:00 AM – Work

12:00 PM – Lunch

12:30 PM – Write!

1:00 PM – Work

4:00 PM – Finish Work & Take a Break

5:00 PM – School Work

6:00 PM – Eat Dinner

7:00 PM – School Work

8:30 PM – Write!

9:00 PM – Relax

That is the basic idea of my day but once again, it changes day-to-day. Some days I spend time with friends, some days I do less work (because I work from home and can make my own schedule) or less school, and some days I only do two writing sessions. It all just depends and it is important to remember to be flexible!

Writing Live Streams

I have always recommended writing live streams in the past, but so far this year, I have used them religiously each time I’ve sat down to write. Maybe that is because I am really using the writing sprint method this year. Some of the 30-minute writing chunks in my daily routine are more like 10, 15, or 20 minutes sprints, depending on the situation.

Some writing live streams I have been loving are Davaisha’s (grapefry) and Natalia Leigh, Brooke Passmore (bytheBrooke), and Mandi Lynn‘s group streams.

Other Writing Tools

Another writing tool I have been LOVING is a writing prompt book called Coffee Break Writing by John Gillard. I got it for super cheap at the bookstore and is filled with 100 prompts. So far, I’ve done this every morning for the last two weeks or so. It is a great exercise before my morning writing session to do because a lot of time, I write a piece for each prompt that is based of my NaNoWriMo project. I highly recommend it!



How has NaNoWriMo gone for you? Let me know in the comments below, and also share a snippet of your story if you’d like. I wish you all the best of luck for the first official week of NaNoWriMo!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Updated Freelance Website!

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

Updated Freelance Website!

Did you know I have a freelance editing and writing website? Well, I do! I just gave it a complete makeover and would really appreciate if you checked it out.

Along with various editing and writing services, I now offer digital marketing services. If you are in need of any of those, you might find exactly what you need on my website.

Thanks!

Let’s Talk About Motivation

My journey while lacking motivation for the last 6 months and how I found my way back to reading and writing.

Hello! Long time no see, I know. Life got busy but I am back today to have a talk with you all about motivation.

From May to early October, I struggled to find motivation to do the things I used to do so easily: read, creatively write, and eventually, blog. At first, I was like, “Okay, I just need a little break because I’ve burnt myself out.” This happens; burnout happens. However, little did I know, I needed 6 months to gain back my motivation!

That’s okay though. Even if it doesn’t feel okay in the moment (because it really didn’t), we all need breaks and sometimes, those breaks are longer than others.

My main anxiety during these 6 months of barely reading or writing for myself was that I was never going to read or write for fun again. That terrified me! The idea that these two activities I had spent the last 6-8 years doing religiously, and that had become a HUGE part of my identity, possibly losing interest to me made me panic. What would I do if I didn’t read or write? I still don’t have an answer to this question because I didn’t need to answer it (thankfully).

It’s not like I didn’t try to read over the last several months. It’s not like I didn’t try to write. I started about 3 or 4 books between May and October, and only finished one (Daisy Jones & the Six –which is one of my ALL-TIME favourite books so this barely counts! I can read this book in a day regardless of how busy or tired I am). One book in particular, I was 400 pages into and only had 50 or so before the end, but I just never had that initial interest in it. By page 400, I had NO idea what the plot was or who the characters were –and this wasn’t the author’s fault, it was mine. My attention and interest wasn’t there. I looked at these books I was trying to read and felt no desire to open them.

The same goes for writing. I attempted Camp NaNoWriMo in July and got around 5,000 words down that month. To put it lightly, shit hit the fan that month and even if I was in the mood to write, I wouldn’t have gotten anymore done than I did. I can’t even tell you what I wrote that month because I was so disconnected from my passion to write.

However, this month, something flipped inside of me. Suddenly, I am reading 3 books and enjoying all of them (Fifth Sun by Camilla Townsend, Beloved by Toni Morrison, and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare)! I think I spend more time reading than I have in the last 2 years. Suddenly, I am furiously outlining a new version of my Aztec mythology-inspired story for NaNoWriMo (mostly thanks to the Surrey International Writers Conference that happened this past weekend that turned my small spark to return to writing into a forest fire!). Also, now I am writing this blog post.

Basically, my point for this post is to reassure you that just because you are not reading or writing right now, and haven’t for the last month or two months or more, doesn’t mean you will never return to them again. Even if you don’t, that’s okay.

Reading and writing are such monumental aspects of my life that it made me sad and anxious thinking about never returning to them again because for me, they bring comfort and clarity to me. They always have and without them, I felt blind. Over quarantine, my anxiety definitely skyrocketed and it still isn’t great, however, ever since I found my way back to reading and writing, it has been so much more manageable.

I didn’t rush myself back into reading and writing. I only got 5 or so pages in each session, but I never pushed past that. And sure, I was disheartened that I didn’t want to continue, but that’s because I didn’t realize how badly my body and mind needed a break! So, here is your reminder to embrace that break. Work on other hobbies, discover other hobbies, spend more time with friends and family, or whatever else interests you. Reading and writing will wait for you; they will still be there when you’re ready to come back.

Now, I wanted to talk about something very, very new in my life that has helped me stay motivated and productive. This sounds sponsery, but I swear it isn’t! In one of the webinars from the Surrey International Writers Conference, the host talked about tools that help her stay productive and she mentioned Habitica. I swear everyone has heard about this but me. If you haven’t though, I highly encourage you to check it out! It allows you to keep a list of habits you want to keep, daily reminders you want to achieve, and a to-do list for that day, all laid out on one page in front of you. When you check each task off, you get coins and items. Basically, it is a game, but this game inspires me to check off all my tasks because I want that new pet or potion!

(Sorry for that random tangent but seriously, check it out if you haven’t!)

I hope this post was as enlightening and helpful for you as it was for me experiencing it and then writing about it. I also wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you for continuing to read and spread love on my blog posts even though I haven’t posted in over a month. It makes me smile to see comments and likes still coming in –it truly makes my day!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Favourite books of 2020…So Far

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

My Favourite Books of 2020…So Far

I cannot believe it is already September and that there is less than four months until 2020 is over. It’s been a crazy year, that is for sure.

Today, I wanted to share my favourite books I’ve read during 2020…so far. Warning, this will probably be a short list because I’ve been in a HUGE reading slump since May. Nonetheless, I have read some good books so let’s talk about them!

Here are my favourite books of 2020…so far.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel eBook: Reid, Taylor Jenkins:  Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

If you follow my blog, you know Reid’s other book, Daisy Jones and the Six, is one of my all-time favaourite books. However, I do love The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo too. This story follows the life of Evelyn Hugo, an actress from the 50s who has finally allowed a reporter to come in and write the story of her life. Something she has never shared before. It is such an addicting story and I am pretty sure I read it in like three or so days. A lot of people prefer this over Daisy Jones, but I just love movies or books following bands from the 60s and 70s which is why it’s my favourite. This book still gauged an easy 4.5/5 stars from me though.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Amazon.com: The Last Hours: Chain of Gold (9781406358094): Clare,  Cassandra: Books

Who saw this coming? Everyone, probably. Of course, Chain of Gold is on my favourites list because it was just amazing. Once I finish all the books I am halfway through (and have been for months), I am dying to give this book a re-read. Chain of Gold is the first book in another prequel to The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices series, but a sequel to The Infernal Devices. It follows the children of The Infernal Devices characters and ugh, I love these new characters so much. I cannot wait for the next book! Honestly, this may be a favourite of all-time! 5/5 stars

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

It has been a while since I’ve found a new fantasy series that I wanted to explore. I’ve been caught in the vicious cycle of re-reading books, but The Last Magician took me by surprise. On a whim, I picked it up for cheap at a bookstore in Hawaii but I ended up loving it! I had heard good things about it, but I had NO idea what to expect which is why I liked it so much I think. It follows Esta, a talented thief who is transported back into 1902 to steal an ancient book. There is an abundance of morally grey characters (which I love) and the story sucked me in once I hit page 100. I highly recommend everyone check it out if you haven’t already! 4.5/5 stars


Like I said, this is a short list because I have only read 20/50 books this year…and most of them have been re-reads (I’ve read Daisy Jones twice this year!). However, I am happy I’ve explored some amazing new books like the ones listed above!

Just in case you forgot, I have a freelance editing and writing website! I offer various editing and writing services, so feel free to check it out HERE.

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: 4 Resources for Writers

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

4 Resources for Writers

A list of resources that every writer must check out.

As a writer, it is nice to have a handful of resources to turn to when you are need of some writing tips, motivation, or places to submit your work.

To help you out, I’ve curated a list of my most favourite resources. These are the ones I always go back to and keep bookmarked on my laptop!

Here are 4 resources for writers.

1. Freelancing with Zoe Newsletter

If you didn’t know, I have a freelance editing and writing website! On my website, not only do I offer a bunch of different services, but I also have a newsletter you can sign up to. My newsletter comes out at the end of every month and is filled with tips for freelancers or wanna-be-freelancers. That includes business, writing, and editing advice so if that sounds interesting to you, sign-up for my newsletter by going to my website HERE!

2. CBC Short Story Prize Newsletter

This is another great newsletter filled with writing tips. It is from the CBC Literary Prize which annually, hosts a non-fiction, poetry, and fiction writing contest. I like this newsletter a lot because it offers a lot of insight from past winners on the steps they made to create a story that could win the contest. I find this not only inspiring, but really helpful when it comes to my own writing.

3. The Write Life

For the last year or so, this has been a go-to resource for me because whenever I had a question, I would Google it and a post by The Write Life always came up. They have a vast variety of advice and tips on blogging, freelancing, publishing, marketing, and more. Basically anything a writer needs, especially one with the goal of becoming a published one. If you need ideas for places to submit to, The Write Life has a lot of great recommendations you should check out (this is how I found them)! Especially for people in the US.

4. No Write Way

No Write Way is an Instagram Live series by author, V.E. Schwab that eventually, gets posted onto her YouTube channel for us to watch whenever we please. It is a series where she brings on other wonderful authors and interviews them about their writing journey. Common questions answered are how did you get into writing? What is your process like? What book of yours would you hope to outlive you and why? It is super inspiring for aspiring writers and you will walk away feeling motivated and educated on the craft of writing!


Those are my go-to writing resources that I highly recommend you all go check out. If you have any other resources that you always go back to, please drop them in the comments below!

Need a writer or editor? Check out my freelancing website HERE!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: September Goals

Instagram on the App Store
Twitter icon
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...