NaNoWriMo 2021 Week 3

Happy Monday!

How did week 2 of NaNoWriMo go for you? Did you hit all your goals? Did you miss all your goals?

The important thing is that you’re still trekking along, whether you’re ahead, on track or behind.

Before diving into this update, make sure to check out my week 2 update to hear about how week 2 went and what my goals for this week were.

NaNoWriMo Week 3 Update

Week 3 has probably been my best week this entire NaNoWriMo. I hit two out of three goals, which is good enough for me!

  • I wrote everyday Monday-Friday
  • I wrote at least 800 words per day

However, I didn’t hit 15k. But that’s okay! This week was absolutely crazy. Not just for me, but for everyone who lives in my city. This isn’t writing-related, but this week has been out of a sci-fi movie or book, so I feel like it’s applicable to share.

On Sunday night (November 14), B.C. got hit by a horrible, horrible rainstorm. It was so bad that it wiped out major highways and basically, flooded everything. I live in Victoria on Vancouver Island, and I wasn’t able to go to school on Monday because the road I take was completely underwater…literally.

Some massive semi-trucks were driving through it but they were struggling, and several other vehicles were on the side of the road flooded and broken down after trying to get through the road. My tiny little Volkswagen Beetle would have no chance.

Anyways, thankfully, things dried up by Wednesday, but that’s when the next “disaster” struck. Due to the heavy rainfalls, the Malahat (our main highway connecting us to the rest of Vancouver Island) was shut down for repairs. However, this is how we get certain items, such as gas.

Do you see where this going?

On Wednesday, I had planned to fill up my car around 11 am on my way to school because I was almost empty. My drive to school is a 10 km drive each way, so I definitely needed gas to make it home.

Around 10 am that day, I get a text from my boyfriend: “You might want to fill up your car now. There’s a gas shortage.”

What?

I didn’t really understand or believe him, but I was like okay, I have a lot to do (I had just gotten home from the gym and showered, but now it was time to get started on blog writing for my clients) but I really need gas. So, I went to the gas station, which is about a one-minute drive away from my house and tried to fill up my car. I spent $0.70 before it ran out!

I am fortunate enough to have never experienced this before and it was weird because this is something that I didn’t see coming this soon.

Lots of people had started to arrive at the gas station and I felt a little panicked. I really needed to make it to school that day and realized I was going to need to fight for gas (LOL).

Anyways, I drove a few km up the road to the next gas station…it was completely out of gas. I drove to the one across the street where a small line-up had formed, however, they had gas! I re-filled my car and lived happily ever after.

There are gas trucks filling up gas stations around Victoria, however, people chose to panic and hoard gas so even today when I am writing this (Saturday), there are still people who aren’t able to get gas to drive to work or school on Monday. Thankfully, the gas stations have limited everyone’s gas intake to only 30 litres, but this still causes some complications for people who need extra for work, like my dad does for his landscaping business.

Isn’t that crazy? This is a reminder to never hoard items, whether it’s food, gas, or toilet paper. Only take what you need!

Okay, now let’s get back into the writing stuff.

Here’s how much I wrote each day and my total word count for the week.

Monday, November 15: 1,047 words

Tuesday, November 16: 1,138 words

Wednesday, November 17: 886 words

Thursday, November 18: 1,058 words

Friday, November 19: 907 words

Total Week 3 Word Count: 5,036 words

Total Overall Word Count: 13,628 words

I’m pretty impressed with this and think that this pace of 5k words a week is manageable for me.

Week 4 Writing Goals

  • Write 1,000 words per day
  • Write Monday-Friday
  • Hit 20k

I am going to count week 4 as November 22 to the end of NaNoWriMo, so my next update will be going up on Wednesday, December 1. Therefore, I think these goals are very realistic for me. Especially since the end of November is the busiest month for students like me.

Let me know how your NaNoWriMo is going in the comments below, and I will talk to you in my next update 🙂

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NaNoWriMo 2021 Week 2 Update

Surprise, surprise, I am back with an update of week 2 for NaNoWriMo 2021!

Make sure you check out my week 1 update before reading this one 😉

Let’s just dive into this update because spoiler alert…I did not hit my goal of 10k by the end of week 2 OR my goal of having a 2k writing day.

And that’s okay!

It would have been awesome to hit 10k yesterday, but things just got too busy and it didn’t happen. Once again, that’s okay. I have to keep my head up and keep moving forwards.

Tip #1: Acknowledge “failure” and then move on

At first, I was a little bummed but I asked myself these questions: Does not hitting my goal of 10k impact my story at all? Nope. Does it ruin my story? Nope!

Then let’s just keep going. So, that’s what I’m doing.

Despite not hitting my goals, I’ve decided to still reward myself because I had a great writing week regardless. (I’ll get into the exact numbers in a minute.) I deserve a jade roller and sheet face mask whether for working on my story or because I powered through all my school work.

So, after dinner tonight, that’s exactly what I am going to buy at the store. Treat yo’self!

Now, let’s get into how much I wrote.

NaNoWriMo Week 2 Update

Monday, November 8: 1,184 words

Tuesday, November 9: 1,061 words

Wednesday, November 10: 1,051 words

Thursday, November 11: 801 words

Friday, November 12: No words

Saturday, November 13: No words

Sunday, November 14: No words

Total Week 2 Word Count: 4,097 words

Total Word Count: 8,592 words

Once again, no words were written Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, so that kind of segues into my goals for week 3 of NaNoWriMo. (Oh my gosh this is going by so fast.)

Week 3 Goals

  • Write on Friday
  • Write at least 800 words every day
  • Hit 15k

Let’s see if I can hit these goals, but if I can’t, that’s okay! Repeat after me, “That’s okay.”

Okay, good. Now, that’s it from me, but how did you do this past week? How many words did you write? What is your reward for getting through the week? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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NaNoWriMo Week 1 Update

Here’s how my NaNoWriMo week 1 went!

Hello! Happy November.

This year, despite my insane schedule as I wrap up my first semester back at school, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo 2021. I honestly can’t help myself!

For the last couple of years, ever since I start college probably, I have not been as active as a writer as I used to be. If you’ve been here since the beginning, I used to write a lot. Like every single day and thousands of words at a time. Of course, over the years I haven’t had as much time to write, but every time I think about the years I did have the time and energy, it fills me with a warm feeling because I just love writing so much.

And I want to experience that again!

The first tip that I think is essential when it comes to NaNoWriMo, is picking a word count goal that works for you and your schedule. Rather than making this a month that you have to hit 50k, make it a month where you just encourage yourself to write more often than usual. That way, you’re still pushing yourself towards a goal for the month but you aren’t expecting something of yourself that you might not be able to do.

Tip #1: Pick a word count that works for you

So, while I know I will not hit the 50k goal you usually strive for (and you will see why once I get into my update), my goal for this November is to write at least 500 words 6 days a week.

NaNoWriMo Update

I am a morning person, so for NaNoWriMo, I am carving some time in my morning routine to spend writing. This time started out as 7:30-8:30ish am but is now more like 7-7:45 am.

I love to write when it is dark outside so I can pop on some word sprints, turn on my mystical lo-fi music, and have a candle burning, as well as my gold fairy lights on behind me…just picture how perfect that atmosphere is for writing. It inspires me and helps me really harness my creativity.

This is my second tip for NaNoWriMo: Creating a specific atmosphere when writing. This is super helpful because it programs your brain to know that when you set up those lights or turn on that music, it is writing time.

TIP #2: Create a specific writing atmosphere

Just remember, creating your writing atmosphere can be as simple as lighting a candle or having a cup of tea at hand. Don’t overcomplicate it. If setting up your writing atmosphere isn’t something feasible you can do every day, you might want to simplify it.

But this is just something that has really helped me out.

Another thing that has contributed to my first week’s success is Campfire. Campfire is this awesome tool for writers that allows us to map out our plot, create world maps, and build out our characters in a visual way. I use the free version of Campfire to plan out my plot. It’s nice because I can just log on, glance at my plot timeline, and then know exactly where I’m at in my story.

TIP #3: Use Campfire

If you didn’t know, I have been writing this story for…maybe 4 years now. The story has changed so much since then, however, one reason I have only finished a full draft once or twice is that I don’t plot it out. For this NaNoWriMo, I really tried to prioritize plotting Act I, II, and III, but only have Act I and II completely done. So …I need to get on that! But Campfire makes it much easier.

Ok, enough rambling. Let’s dive into my first week of NaNoWriMo at a glance!

Week 1 At-a-Glance

Monday, November 1 – 1,753 words

Tuesday, November 2 – 732 words

Wednesday, November 3 – 532 words

Thursday, November 4 – 444 words

Friday, November 5 – 615 words

Saturday, November 6 – No words written

Sunday, November 7 – No words written

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 4,495

I am impressed with the amount I ended up writing last week. As you can see, I didn’t write at all on the weekend, and that’s because I felt a little tired and uninspired. I had a busy week and knew my body needed to rest, so I let it because that’s the best thing you can do for yourself. (And because of that, I had a really good writing day today!)

I would have liked to hit 5k during the first week, but oh well. I didn’t really have any expectations for week 1 (other than to write 500 words per day), but for the second week, I’ve decided to create some loose goals to help me get a bit more writing done.

WEEK 2 GOALS:

  • Have a 2k word day
  • Hit 10k
  • Participate in a live writing sprint

Anyways, that is all for my quick NaNoWriMo Week 1 update! I hope you enjoyed it, and make sure to keep an eye out for my week 2 update next week 🙂

Q: Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?

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Reading Update + November TBR

Hello! Long-time no blog, but as always, I’m back to share a reading update and my November TBR.

I am back full-time in school and working part-time, but finally, I am figuring out how to manage my time in order to get back into the swing of blogging.

Before I get into the reading update, I have been fairly active on my NEW blog where I chat about travel tips, share travel guides, etc. If that’s something you’re interested in, make sure you check it out: Travel and Tea Blog. (Right now, with everything going on, I’m focused on West Coast local travel.)

Reading Update

August was a great reading month for me. I did the bulk of my reading for the year that month (I’ve only read 12 books this year…) thanks to my amazing Kindle and the amazing thrillers I was picking up, such as One of Us Is Lying, Ace of Spades, and The Box in the Woods.

On the other hand, September was a super hectic month, but I did get one book read at least! That is, my millionth re-read of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I was in the mood for an easy and light read, and hadn’t visited this book and characters in a while. As expected, I flew through it in a matter of days.

Now it’s already October, which is crazy! But so far, it’s been pretty good reading-wise. I’m currently making my way through two books right now: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune and As Good as Dead by Holly Jackson. Since it’s spooky season, I’m focusing on As Good as Dead, since it is the third book in a thriller/murder-mystery series, but I am already over halfway through The House in the Cerulean Sea. (And loving it!)

The House in the Cerulean Sea: Klune, TJ: 9781250217288: Books - Amazon.ca

I was skeptical about As Good as Dead, but I am enjoying it just as much as the first two in the series. The plotline is vastly different and completely took me by surprise, which I can’t say happens too often. So, I have been flying through it, to say the least, which is why I am already 85% through… I’ll definitely be able to finish before the end of the month.

As Good as Dead: The Finale to A Good Girl's Guide to Murder eBook :  Jackson, Holly: Amazon.ca: Books

Looking forward into November though, I don’t have a rigid TBR, but there are a couple books I would like to get to. November will be insanely busy with school, but hopefully, by reading on my Kindle, I’ll be able to get through at least one or two. (Who else reads insanely fast on their Kindle?)

November TBR

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

I don’t know which Harry Potter book I will read, but come November, I would like to read some atmospheric books since winter is approaching. I’ll see which one I am feeling closer to the time, but I have a feeling it will be one of the first three since they are the shortest…

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Before diving into this sequel, I will need to watch or read a recap of the first book since it has been a hot minute since I read it. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time now and what better time than during chilly November? Fairy books always give me winter vibes and I have heard nothing but good things about this sequel.

There it is! My reading update and November TBR after rising from the dead.

What are you reading? Let me know down below in the comments ⬇️

Talk soon!

Author Interview with Alicia Dean

Join me for an interview with mystery, thriller, and paranormal romance author, Alicia Dean!

Happy Monday!

Today I have an exciting post and it is an author interview with mystery, thriller, and paranormal romance author, Alicia Dean! I asked Alicia a series of questions about her writing process and her books, so I hope you enjoy 🙂

1. How did you first fall in love with writing?

When I was a child, I loved to read. And my own stories started forming in my mind, and I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a writer.

2. Is there a book or series that has shaped your writing?

There are many books that stuck with me and shaped my writing. Over the years, there have been different influences. One of my earliest influences, other than Pippi Longstockings and Amelia Bedelia, LOL, were Harlequins, then Sweet Savage Love. Although, I oddly have never written a Historical and don’t really read them now. I discovered Stephen King and Michael Connelly and my interest morphed to murder. 😀 

3. What does your current writing process look like?

A haphazard mess. 🙂 I have difficulty being creative in the evenings, so my goal is to rise earlier than normal and spend at least an hour writing. But, as of late, I haven’t been able to stick to my goal. I at least try to write a minimum of 10 minutes a day, no matter what else is going on so that I at least accomplish something and stay connected to my story.

4. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Traveling, watching MLB and NFL, reading, watching TV, hanging with my kids, friends, and family.

5. What is your favourite genre to write in?

Suspense/police procedurals. Though I also enjoy paranormal.

6. Do you have a favourite book of yours that you have written? Or at least, a current favourite?

I think Without Mercy might be my all-time favorite of my own books. Though I enjoyed writing Soul Seducer a great deal too.

7. You have several books being re-released. What inspired this decision?

I self-published them originally, because, at the time I wrote them, they didn’t fit in with what The Wild Rose Press was publishing. And, for some of them, they were written with a group of other authors for a specific project. Since that time, TWRP has begun accepting a wider variety of genres. I love being an author for The Wild Rose Press and I thought releasing them through TWRP would breathe new life into them.

8. Soul Seducer is the first book of yours being re-released this week on April 14. Can you give a summary of this story?

My heroine, Audra, is a nurse who has a near-death experience, which opens a portal, more or less, between her world and the world of reapers. She is able to see and communicate with grim reapers after that. One of the reapers is beyond evil and he takes people ‘before their time’ which is painful for the person and damns them to an eternity of torment. Another reaper, who becomes my heroine’s love interest, is trying to stop him. Everyone in Audra’s life is in peril, from her patients to her friends and family. 

9. Your re-releases are getting brand new covers. Out of the ones that have been revealed, do you have a favourite?

It would either be Soul Seducer or Once Upon a Gothic. But it’s difficult, because I love them all.

10. Where can we find the re-releases of your books?

You can find them at Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3wNIpjg or on my website: https://aliciadean.com/books/

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Check out my last blog post: April + May TBR

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April + May TBR

An insight to my slightly ambitious TBR for April and May.

Once again, I have risen from the dead after three-and-a-half months of university and work to bring you my April and May TBR!

April is one of my favourite months because classes come to an end (finally! My last class is April 12th) and summer starts. While I will be working full-time all summer (life update to come!), I plan on spending a LOT of time reading and writing.

Around this time last year, I was in a horrible reading slump, but it is quite the opposite this year. I feel more inspired to read than ever lately, probably because I just finished Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare, which of course, I loved! Regardless, I have a fairly ambitious TBR for April and May and here are those books on it:

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Archenemies: Amazon.ca: Meyer, Marissa: Books

The sequel to one of my favourite recent reads, Renegades, Archenemies is a book I had meant to pick up earlier, but as always, life seems to get in the way! Now, two months after I finished Renegades, I am finally diving into this book and am already around 100 pages in–and so far, I’m liking it.

Renegades takes place in a world like ours where superheroes or “Renegades” are part of reality and have established peace and order after the chaos of villains. Nova, a prodigy with allegiance to the villains, is on a mission to seek vengeance for the death of her family–which takes her to the Renegades headquarters where she will pose as one of them. However, she can’t help but grow close to one of the Renegades, a boy named Adrian, which complicates Nova’s overarching plan to take them all down.

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

The Storm Runner (A Storm Runner Novel, Book 1): Cervantes, J.C.:  9781368016346: Books - Amazon.ca

One of my reading goals for this year is to read more Latinx-based books by Latinx authors (being part Mexican myself). The last few years, there has definitely been a surge in these books, which makes me SO happy. However, now I am just trying to keep up. The Storm Runner is inspired by Mayan mythology, but other than that I am going into it blind. The only other thing I know is that it’s published through Rick Riordan’s publishing house, so I’m sure it’s good!

Inanna’s Bargain by Claire Sulos

Another mythology-inspired book, Inanna’s Bargain has been on my reading list for around two months because it is inspired by Mesopotamian mythology, which is something I have never read before in YA. I am super intrigued to see what I think of it, and also learn about Mesopotamian mythology. The last time I read about Mesopotamia was in grade eight, so I don’t really remember much about it!

Inanna’s Bargain follows, Samri, a priestess of the goddess Inanna, and Kianu, a gala priest and an acclaimed dancer. The two are sent on a mission by Inanna to help the king intercept an evil that threatens them all before it is too late. This story is all about family love, as the two protagonists are half-siblings, dangerous quests, and magic.

After Hours (anthology) by AC Arthur

After Hours by A.C. Arthur

I have wanted to expand my reading taste lately, and since I have became an author assistant (more info in my life update!) for this romance author, it is the perfect time to do so. I know I will like romance, but with school and work, it has been hard to read more adventurously. However, I am a few chapters into this book already and I’ve been enjoying it. With summer around the corner, it is the perfect time to get into romance too!

After Hours includes multiple stories all following workplaces romances as well as sexual harassment, and how the strong female characters deal with it. I think this is really important to read about, especially with movements like Me Too coming into light, so I am looking forward to seeing how AC incorporates them into her stories.

The Sweetest Valentine by Lacey Baker

The Sweetest Valentine: A heartwarming, feel good holiday romance  (Sweetland Valley Book 1) - Kindle edition by Baker, Lacey. Literature &  Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Another romance book on the list, and this one takes place around Valentine’s Day, but hey, there’s no rules for reading holiday-themed books! This book takes place at a wine and chocolate festival (yum!), bringing together Hollywood actor, Kelan, and Sweetland-native, Sydni. However, while their relationship runs smoothly at first, the threat of Sydni losing her shop and an unbelievable career opportunity endanger their love story. I’ve been in the mood for romance lately, so this will hopefully be a satisfying and quick read!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising: A Novel, Book by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Paperback) |  www.chapters.indigo.ca

This is by far my most anticipated release for the month of May and one of my most anticipated releases for the entire year. I am a huge fan of Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, as well as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, so I am fairly certain I will absolutely adore this book.

This book takes place in Malibu in 1983 and follows the Rivas family, a fascination by everyone in Malibu being the family of famous singer, Mick Rivas. The story follows the children of this family: Nina, a talented surfer and supermodel; Jay and Hud, a championship surfer and a talented photographer; and baby sister, Kit. It is their annual end-of-summer party, however, by the end of the night, the party becomes completely out of control–leaving the Rivas mansion in flames and secrets slowly unravelling. (Did I mention how excited I am for this book…?)

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince: Amazon.ca: Black, Holly: Books

While I have read this book before (and really enjoyed it), I never got around to picking up the sequel, The Wicked King. Recently, I snagged the sequel at the bookstore, only to realize I barely remember anything from the first book. Before I can dive into The Wicked King, I am going to re-read this very popular and hyped up book, which lucky for me, lived up to the hype. I am not complaining though because like I said, I really enjoyed this story and flew through it.

If you didn’t know, this book follows Jude, who when she was seven, her and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the Court of Faerie after their parents were killed. Ten years later, Jude still struggles to fit in amongst the fey, yet she wants nothing more than to achieve this. To win her place in the Court, she must defy the faeries who despise her and her sisters for being human, and channel her own faerie-like trickery and mischief.

Those are the 7 books I want to read during April and May. Let me know if you have read any of these before, as well as what your thoughts were if you have, and also what’s on your TBR! As always, I would love to know 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Post-NaNoWriMo Plans

Need a freelance copywriter or social media manager? Visit my website HERE.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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