Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4: Escaping Writer’s Block

It’s inevitable for you to feel blocked in your writing at some point, and just in case that is happening to you, here are a few tips on how to defeat the ugly monster we call, ‘writer’s block’.

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  • Identify the Source – First things first, you need to identify the source of your writer’s block. Some possible sources are: you just don’t feel like writing, you are stuck on what should happen next, or maybe you didn’t plan your story enough and have NO idea where it is heading. If you know what is causing it, it is easier to stop it.
  • Just Write – One way to get through writer’s block is to just write. Free write a page or just push through the scene that is troubling you. Either way, writing is the best cure.
  • Take a Walk – Taking a walk outside will help clear your mind, and help you figure out what to do next. Sometimes the cure to your writer’s block can be that you just needed to NOT write, but take a step back and let your mind solve the problem.
  • Figure Out Where You Went Wrong – Sometimes when I have writer’s block, it is because I wrote a scene that doesn’t flow right. What I do is re read the scene and then if I really don’t know how to fix it, I will delete it and rewrite it until it is good enough for me to keep going. Remember: Only delete it if you REALLY don’t know what doesn’t work in that scene.
  • Read! – Sometimes all you need is a way to release your creativity in another form than writing. Reading is a necessity for all writers, so if you are feeling blocked, read to help get your creative juices flowing. It also helps you strengthen your writing so there is really no loss from picking up a book at any time!

That is all for this final Camp NaNoWriMo weekly tips and tricks blog posts, and I hope you enjoyed. Hopefully you had a fun and successful Camp NaNoWriMo, and don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 3: Turning Off Your Inner Editor

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I am about 30,000 words into my book so far, and this is when I start wanting to go back and rewrite everything. That little voice inside my head is screaming at me to rewrite this awful jumble of words I call a book, and have everything make sense, and I am sure a lot of you have this problem to. Here are a few tips that will help when it comes to turning off your inner editor so you can move forward with your story!

  • Just Keep Writing – The most important thing when it comes to participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, or just writing your first draft, is to just keep writing! Get the words down on the page so you know your story and understand it. Don’t think about making it perfect, just get it done.
  • You Have Time – Unless you are under a deadline, you have time to finish writing your story before going back and fixing, well, everything. The world is NOT going to end if you do not go back and rewrite, or change that one paragraph that doesn’t sound perfect at this very second. Finish your first draft and when you are done you can go back! But the point is you have, usually, an endless amount of time to work on this, so just keep writing and don’t look back.
  • Things WILL Change In Your Story – It is probably for the best that you don’t go back and fix everything at this exact moment, because there is a possibility that you change your mind about a certain character or scene in your story. If you change it, it can require more work so just keep writing your probably crappy first draft, and by the end you will kind of know what you want to do with your story and how this will lead to this.

That is all for this quick blog post on tips to turn off your inner editor and I hope you enjoy. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2: Tips and Tricks to Stay Motivated!

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First week down, now bring on the second! The first week of Camp NaNoWriMo flew by and was a great first week for me, so I am hoping that the next three are the same. Anyways, sometimes the second week is when you start losing motivation for your project but remember to keep going! If that is the case, I have a few tips, tricks and inspirational quotes for you to keep that creative flame burning and help you chug full steam ahead with your project. Hope they help!

  • Remember the First Draft is Supposed to Be Messy – This is one I always have to remind myself because the inner perfectionist and editor inside you deeply wants to go back and rewrite whatever you just wrote to perfection. But when it comes to writing a book that you want to actually finish before you die, then you have to shut off that part of you. It is okay for your first draft to be a complete disaster and make close to no sense because eventually you will write a second, third, fourth, or however many drafts it takes for you to make your book good. During those rewrites you can edit your work, but take pride that your first draft is messy because everyone else’s is too! The first draft is as bad as the book can get, remember that.
  • It’s Okay if You Don’t Really Know Where Your Story is Going – Sometimes your story gets the best of you and takes you in an entirely different direction than you ever imagined. That’s okay though because that is what writing is all about. Our stories change and shift for the better, and sometimes it isn’t always what we planned out. Let your imagination seize control!
  • Forget About Your Word Count – A word count is a goal for yourself, nobody else, so if you some days you cannot bring it in yourself to write up to it then that is totally fine. We all have days where our daily word counts are not realistic, but the point is that when that happens we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it. As long as you are putting something down on the page, consider that progress.
  • Read, Read, Read – When you are not writing, read, read, read. By reading, you pick up on what not to do and what to do with your writing. It gets your creative juices flowing and is not only beneficial but fun!
  • Write Like There Are No Rules…Because There Aren’t! – There are no rules when it comes to YOUR writing. Write the story you want and don’t put yourself in a box that contains your creativity. Just because you see that many writes do things one way, doesn’t mean you have to as well!

There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people’s books and write your own – Albert Einstein 

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build sand castles – Shannon Hale

Write a page, only three hundred words, and in a year you have written a novel – Stephen King

That is all for my Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2 post and I hope you enjoyed it!

Camp NaNoWriMo Update #3!

I thought I would quickly update you guys on where I am at with Camp NaNoWriMo because I got a lot accomplished this week already! My goal for Camp NaNoWriMo is 30,000 words because I figured with me working 32+ hours a week, I may have not have a lot of time for writing, but I have been proved the opposite. I am already over halfway over my goal and it is the only the eleventh day! Today I wrote 2264 words which brought my word count up to 17,264 words, which means I have just over 12,000 words to go. I actually already have 30,000 words technically, but that is only because I started writing a week or two before Camp NaNoWriMo, but by the end of the month I should have at least 42,000 words. My whole goal for this book is a minimum of 60,000 and I am hoping that I can keep it in the 70-80,000 range…but by the looks of it at the moment that will NOT be the case. I estimate that my first draft will end up being over 100,000 words easily which is really intimidating! One thing that has been helping me a lot this Camp NaNoWriMo, and has been motivating me to write more and more, is following @NaNoWordSprints on twitter (while you are at it, if you want to add me my Twitter is @Zoe_M8, I tweet when my blog posts go live and about writing and reading!) During the months of Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo, they have people who lead anywhere between 10-30 minute long writing sprints where they encourage you to write as much as you can it that time span, take a break and report what you accomplished, and then get back to writing. I have a lot of fun participating in them and if you need to get your word count up or just need some more inspiration to write, definitely follow them! As I am writing this blog post, my phone is buzzing with notifications from their page…

Anyways, that is all for my Camp NaNoWriMo Update and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Favourite Books of 2017 (So Far).

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep #1: Characters

Camp NaNoWriMo is two weeks away so get out your notebook and laptop, and get ready to write! Since I have done lots of blog posts on how to get story ideas and all that, I decided to do one on characters instead, just to change things up a bit. If you want to see my previous blog posts on how to get story ideas, I will link them below so definitely check them out!

Step #1: Creating Your Character

First things first, you got to create your character. You have to give them a name, an age, eyes, a nose and other physical appearances. If you are having trouble coming up with a name or an appearance for your character, then here are a few ways to help you fuel some ideas:

  • Pinterest (Search “Writing Characters” and “Writing Character Descriptions”)
  • Celebrities! Use your favourite actors, actresses, writers, athletes, etc, etc for some inspiration.
  • Family and Friends

Step #2: Getting to Know Your Character

Now that you know the basis of your character, and what they look like, now it is time to understand your character on a deeper level. Discover your characters backstory, their family and friends, as well as their personality. Are the ambitious? Are they sarcastic? Are they quiet? This is the time to really get to know your character so you can portray them in a 3D way. Here are some things you NEED to include when planning your character:

  • Weaknesses
  • Strengths
  • Fears
  • Relationships
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Emotional or Logical
  • Dreams
  • Regrets
  • Reflection on self

Step #3: Determine Your Character’s Goal/Needs:

It is very important to figure out what your character is striving for so you know how to move your plot. It is also essential to know what your character needs in order to achieve this, as well as be content. If your character doesn’t any goals or needs, the story isn’t going to be that interesting!

Ex: Katniss volunteers in her sister’s place for the Hunger Games – Goal: To keep her sister safe

Step #4: Establish a Character Arc

Every character is flawed, just like every person in the world. So while all characters start flawed and end flawed, there should be a few things that they change to help them become a better person. Make sure you establish this character arc because it is so, so, so important that your character has made some growth by the end of the story!

Ex. Your character is afraid of the monsters under their bed, but by the end of the book they have conquered that fear.

That is all for this Camp NaNoWriMo Prep and I hope you enjoyed. If you need some help with story ideas, then definitely check out the following blog posts:

https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2016/11/02/how-to-come-up-with-story-ideas/

https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2017/04/13/where-to-find-story-inspiration/

What To Do After Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is over, and now you are probably thinking, now what? Well, here are a few suggestions and some tips, to help you figure out what to do next.

Option #1: Decide How Important the Story is

Sometimes we write stories that we just don’t feel connected to, and believe me, this happens to me all the time. You may be really excited to write something, but then half way through you realize it isn’t really working or you just aren’t enjoying it as much as you hoped. If it isn’t something you want to continue with, save it, because maybe someday you will come back to it. If it is something you love though, definitely look at making it better!

Option #2: Keep On Writing

You may have achieved your goal of ten, twenty, thirty, or maybe even fifty thousand words, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you finished your story. If you still have more story inside you, keep on writing! My goal was pretty small, being only ten thousand words, and I am definitely not finished it so I know what I will be busy with for the next few months.

Option #3: Second Draft

Maybe you did achieve your goal and you are completely done your first draft which is awesome! But that also means you have a second draft to write. I used to never write a second draft for anything, whether it was a NaNoWriMo project or just a short story, but trust me, it helps so much. If you didn’t plan on writing a second draft, definitely reconsider and maybe spend another few months writing it to make your story even better and cleaner.

Option #4: Take a Break

After writing a lot for an entire month, it can be a lot on your creative brain, so if you feel like you need to, take a break. There is no shame in taking a step back and taking some time away from what you just wrote. I find that it helps to take a break after I write a lot, or finished something, because when you go back maybe a few weeks later, you will be able to see any little or big mistakes you made.

Option #5: Enter it in a Contest

Writing contests are amazing because not only can you win cash prizes, but you can sometimes also get some feedback on your story. Maybe you finished Camp NaNoWriMo feeling really confident with your story, so edit it a bit and then send it in to a few different contests to see what happens! If you need some writing contests to enter, check out a blog post I wrote not too long ago where I list writing contests with no entry fees.https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2017/03/29/writing-contests-to-enter-no-entry-fee/

Those are five suggestions on what you can do after Camp NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: April 2017 Wrap Up!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #4

Tomorrow Camp NaNoWriMo begins so here are a few writing tips to help you get motivated for a month full of writing.

Tip #1: Have a Compelling Problem

We already have read hundreds of stories where the princess is rescued by the prince, so create a character and story with a compelling and new problem. Maybe their problem is that they are given a clock that is counting down till the end of the world! Just make it unique and something that gets a reader, and you, excited.

Tip #2: Have Flawed Characters

Nobody is perfect, even if they are a prince or princess in a happy, magical world. Everyone has flaws whether it is they are too proud or just have a chip in their tooth. If your character is too perfect, than your readers will not be able to relate on any level to them.

Tip #3: Stick With It!

Camp NaNoWriMo is a time for you to just write. It is not meant to be perfect so just get out the words. Have too many grammar mistakes, forget a comma, or have too many long sentences! You can edit all of later so just write.

Writing Prompts:

  • She smirked as she tossed another teddy bear into the roaring flames.
  • Her garden was more lethal than pretty.
  • They were known as The Faceless, and they knew everything.

That is all for my very last Camp NaNoWriMo Prep and I hope you enjoyed!

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #3

Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, so here is my third post on helpful tips to help you come up with an idea, and also meet your word count!

Tip #1: Dreams and Daydreams

If you are like me, and have crazy, adventurous dreams, then there is a chance they could become something more than dreams. Sure, dreams can be confusing and down right insane, but that’s where you come in to smooth out all the details! Just make sure you write them down whenever you have them, because they could easily spark an idea for a story.

Tip #2: Find a Writing Prompt and Go With It

I love writing prompts, especially for writing short stories but they work for any type of creative writing. Writing prompts are very intriguing because it is a short, simple sentence that you have to take and amplify. I like to think of writing prompts as the skeleton of a story, and then you add the rest to make the skeleton into a live person (yes, that was a weird analogy). If you are feeling stumped when it comes to writing, then definitely search up so writing prompts!

Tip #3: “What If”

When I was younger, I said “what if” so many times that it drove my mother crazy. Now that I am a tiny bit older, and write, I can apply allll my what ifs to a story. What if dinosaurs ruled the earth still? What if everyone had magic? What if fairy tale characters/creatures accidently got exposed to our world? There are so many what ifs that you could never run out of ideas!

Writing Prompt: You bump into a genie who offers you three wishes. What are they and why?

That is all for this Camp NaNoWriMo Prep and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the first and second blog post from this prep series, and also check out my last blog post: April 2017 TBR!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #2!

Here is my part two of Camp NaNoWriMo prepping and if you don’t know what Camp NaNoWriMo is, it is an event that takes place twice a year, in April and July. During these two months, you have exactly one month to complete a word goal of your choice. Basically you try to write as much as you can, you can connect with other writer’s and also collect some prizes from sponsors! I really love taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo so I am super excited.

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  • Tip #1: Outline!
  • During Camp NaNoWriMo, you are trying to pump out as many words as you can so it helps a lot to outline. You don’t have to go crazy with it, but make sure you know where your story is going in the long run because otherwise, it is going to be a lot harder to get your story into words if you don’t know how those words connect.
  • Tip #2: Avoid Prologues
  • Unless it has a very significant role in your story, try and stay away from prologues. They can be boring and have no real contribution to your story which makes the reader lose interest very quickly. If you can, avert prologues at all cost!
  • Tip #3: Never Use More Than Said to Carry Dialogue
  • Obviously you can also use asked or answered, but try and stay away from the really fancy verbs such as surmised or theorized because for one, some people might have no clue what the words means and two, it just drags out dialogue for no reason! You can definitely throw in a different verb to shake it up every once and a while, but be careful of overusing them.

Writing Prompt: There’s a wedding that needs to be stopped…

Writing Quote: Writing is the painting of the voice. – Voltaire

That is all I have for today and I hope you enjoyed another part of Camp NaNoWriMo Prep. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #1

Camp NaNoWriMo is less than a month away so until then I will be posting lots of writing prep blog posts to help all of you get ready for this long writing journey ahead!

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Tip #1: Break Up Your Writing Time!

If you have trouble for writing for a long time, it can be helpful to break up your writing time throughout the day. When it comes to NaNoWriMo, the more time you spend writing the better, so if you want to try and get 2 hours of writing in a day try and break up your writing blocks to 30-45 minutes and have one in the morning, afternoon and evening. If you can write for a long time though then definitely just keep on writing!

Tip #2: Use a Thesaurus

If you don’t have a wide vocabulary (like myself) then it is handy to have thesaurus.com open or a thesaurus book nearby. Using more complex words than happy, sad, etc, can make your writing much more stronger which in the long run, will be very beneficial.

Tip #3: Write As If You Are On Deadline!

In NaNoWriMo you are on a deadline but if you don’t finish by the end of the month that’s okay because at least you tried. But if you write as if your book needs to be finished and handed into your agent by the end of the month, you may feel the urge to write more and more and more.

Helpful Writing Websites: http://www.writersdigest.com/ , http://writingfix.com/ , http://www.teenink.com/

Writing Quote: Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted – Jules Renard