Camp NaNoWriMo: Guide to a Productive Month

I cannot believe the next session of Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner which means it is time to prep! Here is a quick guide to how to have the best Camp NaNoWriMo possible, and how to get the most out of it.

Image result for camp nanowrimo

Prep Your Writing for Each Week

At the end of each week, sit down and plan out what you are going to write for the next week. It can be a detailed or loose outline, but this is just a way for you to be more productive during the week. Knowing where you need to get to, and the steps you need to take to get there will make it a lot easier to write all the words. If you just wing it each day, you might get some writing done, but definitely not as much as you would if you know how to approach each day.

Focus on Maximizing Time Spent Writing Rather than Your Word Count

This is something I have recently realized and I am so, so glad I did. All these years I have been focused on getting the most words down possible each day, which meant some days I would only write anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour. I should have focused more on the amount of time I spend writing each day and you should too! Now instead of going into each day aiming for 2,000 words (which most days I don’t even hit), I focus more on trying to write for one whole hour each day, even if I somehow surpass 2,000 words. When I do this, I get a lot more writing done, and it takes more of the pressure off each day!

Develop Writing Triggers

It is the perfect time to start developing writing triggers to help you get into the mood for writing since Camp NaNoWriMo is still 12 days away. If you aren’t sure about what writing triggers are exactly, then here are some examples!

  • Drinks – Make a certain type of drink that you don’t have any other time except when you are writing…whether that is a different type of  flavored coffee, fruit infused water, or whatever you want but ONLY have it when it is writing time.
  • Candles – Find a scent that reminds you of your story and light it whenever you are writing. Maybe for a fantasy story you have a candle that smells like the forest, or for a contemporary you have one that smells sweet. Whatever reminds you of your story the most, use that!
  • Music – Making a writing playlist is a lot of fun (but don’t spend the time you should be writing making it), or a lot of authors have their playlists linked on their websites so you can check those out as well. Personally, I listen to the Hamilton Mixtape because it even has a song called “Wrote My Way Out” which always makes me want to write.

Let Yourself Take Days Off

It is really important to make sure you don’t burn yourself out so I recommend taking one entire day off each week. For me, I like to take Sundays off to spend those days relaxing and taking care of myself and you should too! It doesn’t have to be Sunday, choose whatever day works best for you, and spend the day replenishing your creativity and resting your mind. Here are some ideas of what you can do on your days off writing:

  • Reading
  • Self-care day
  • Watching movies
  • Working out
  • Journalling
  • Cleaning your work space

Find a New Work Space Each Week

Switch up the places you write each week to keep things fresh and inspiring. It can be a different place in your house or it can be somewhere outside of your house like the library, a coffee shop, or somewhere outside like a park. I don’t like writing in the same spot each writing session, and am always moving into different spots because it definitely stumps my creativity.

Those are five ways to have the most productive Camp NaNoWriMo, and I hope you enjoyed and found them helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, and social media accounts which are all linked down below.

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Writing Contests to Enter (No Entry Fees!) Pt. 2

It has been a while since I made a list of writing contests so I decided it was about time to make another. I put these lists together to hopefully inspire and motivate you to enter them, and make it easy to do so by having a bunch of their links at your fingertips! Anyways, here are a couple writing contests you should enter with NO entry fee.

Writers of the FutureAn international contest seeking sci-fi and fantasy submissions of no more than 17,000 words during their four quarters: October 1, January 1, April 1, and July 1

Scholastic Art & Writing AwardsWriting awards in various genres for American and Canadian students in grades 7-12. Deadlines vary depending on genre of award.

Bennington College Young Writers AwardSeeks both poetry, non-fiction, and fiction from grades 10-12 students from around the world. Contest is open from September 1 to November 1 every year. Poetry limit: 3 poems. Non-Fiction/Fiction limit: 1500 words.

Crucible: Poetry and Fiction CompetitionInternational writing competition seeking both poetry and fiction that is accepts submissions until May 1 of each year. Fiction limit: 8000 words. Poetry limit: 5 poems.

Polarexpressions: Summer Poetry and Short Story ContestAccepts fiction and poetry submissions from Canadians of all ages up until July 31 of each year. Poetry limit: 48 lines or less. Fiction limit: 750 words.

Micro Sweek Flash Fiction ContestInternational flash fiction contest that occurs every month, accepting flash pieces up to 250 words.

Those are a couple of varied writing contests for you to enter, and I really hope you all consider submitting to at least a few! It is important to get your name out there and test the waters. A lot of the time contests you submit to will give you feedback on your story even if you didn’t win, which is very, very valuable. Use these contests to motivate you to write because then that inspiration will stay with you!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts where I post more fun bookish/writing related content!

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5 Goals Every Writer Should Set for Themselves

Even if you write for fun and that is all, it is still important (and fun) to set goals for yourself and motivate yourself to keep going. I love making goals for myself and here are 5 goals that I think every writer should have!

 

  1. To Finish That Story! – Whether it is a book or a short story you are trying to tackle, don’t procrastinate it, just finish the story! Remind yourself that the words don’t have to be good, just get them done and on the page. You don’t want to be a writer who starts things and then never finishes, because that is only setting yourself up for bad writing habits.
  2. To Write Every Week – I wanted to put to “Write Everyday” but I know for most of us (myself included) that is a struggle. However, still try to aim to write everyday if you can! Writing every week is a manageable goal and is really important because you want to keep that brain full of creativity. Whether you write 50 words or 6000 a week, some words are better than absolutely no words!
  3. To Read… A Lot! – Again, reading every day can be hard, but try to read as much as you can each month. Even if it is only one book a month that is still progress! You are still exercising your writing muscles by reading anything as little as one page of a book. Just keep finding books and stories you enjoy and keep reading. Here are some craft AND fiction books I recommend:
    • Stephen King: On Writing by Stephen King
    • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
    • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
  4. To Connect With Other Writers – This is a goal I always set for myself each week, because I always want to be connecting and interacting with other writers. It helps make you feel not so alone in your passion, and can also be a way to gain valuable information from those on different walks of the writing path from you. I highly recommend jumping on social media to find writers like you, or finding a local writing group that you can join! This will make the world of a difference and even if it might be out of your comfort zone, will be worth it in the end. Here are some places where you can find some writing friends online:
    • Twitter
    • NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo
    • Instagram
    • YouTube
  5. To Search for Your Voice and Style – This is a really important one because without your own unique voice and style, you won’t be able to reach your full potential as a writer. When you are first starting out it is natural to mimic a favourite author of yours until you find your own voice and style, but as you write more and more your voice and style will start to filter through. It is essential for you to harness all that and dive deeper into it so that you understand how you write because then your readers will too!

Those are my 5 goals that I think every writer should make for themselves and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and also my social media links below 🙂

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Writing Group Ideas

Recently the idea of starting a writing group/club at my school for my grade 12 year has been circling around in my mind, and I decided that since I have done all this research on ideas of what we could do each meeting, it would be selfish not to share some of these ideas with you! Anyways, if you are thinking of starting a writing group, here are some ideas and I hope they help 🙂

  • Write-Ins – We all have busy lives that sometimes get in the way of writing so write-in days are super valuable. Maybe once a month your writing group could devote a meeting to simply working on their own individual projects. Just having other writers around, working on their projects, will help motivate so many people that everyone will walk away feeling productive and inspired to write.
  • Critiquing – Another valuable use of a meeting could be devoted to critiquing other people’s works. You can get into groups or pairs, or if you don’t feel comfortable having someone read your work, then you don’t have to participate at all. A lot of writers will want to though, and will be so happy to get a free critique from a fellow writer.
  • Circle Chats – This is an idea that tries to get the whole group involved in discussing some topic related to writing. It may be the topic of writer’s block, finding the motivation to keep writing, or finding your voice…whatever it is, have everyone pitch in one tip or idea just to spread the knowledge and experience!
  • Prompt Days – For this idea, basically all you need is to come up with one (or a few) prompts. Write them up on a board or give everyone a piece of paper with it on, and then have everyone write a piece based off that prompt. It will help get the creative juices flowing and if anyone feels comfortable, they can share what they wrote afterwards!
  • Show and Tell – This is pretty self-explanatory, but have a mini open mic session! If anyone wants to share some work, devote a chunk of the meeting for people who want to share their stories. This is always a lot of fun and always makes me inspired to write.
  • Guests – Maybe you are able to get in a creative writing teacher, or a local author. If so, that would be amazing and add so much to your meetings! I really recommend doing some research and reaching out to some fellow creative people to see who would be interested.
  • Craft Book Club – By this, I mean instead of having a book club where you read fiction books, choose to read a book on the craft of writing instead. Something easily accessible for everyone or that a lot of people already own. Give a time period to read it and then sit down and discuss all the valuable nuggets of information you all discovered and how you plan to apply it to your writing.

Those are a few of the ideas I found or came up with while thinking about my own writing group. Remember, if your town/city doesn’t have a writing group and you want to be in one, create your own! It may seem daunting at first, but it will be worth it in the end! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post linked down below, as well as follow my social media accounts for more bookish and writing related fun 🙂

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10 Questions Every Writer Should Ask Themselves

Every writer is different. There is no secret formula that defines all of us as one, so it is important for you to establish what type of writer you are, and all the little habits you have that make you the most efficient writer you can be. Here are a few questions to help you grasp it!

1. Why Do You Want to Write?

2. What Books Inspire You and Why?

3. What Are Your Ultimate Writing Goals?

4. Are They Achievable?

5. What Genre(s) Interest You Most?

6. What Are Your Strengths and Weakness?

7. Are You More Productive During Short or Long Sessions?

8. Where Are You Most Productive?

9. How Will You Keep Yourself Motivated to Write?

10. Are You a Morning or Evening Writer?

These are all essential questions you must ask yourself in order to understand what kind of writer you are so you can be the best writer you can be. I hope these questions were eye opening and will help you on your writing journey on discovering yourself as a writer. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and social media accounts as well, all linked below 🙂

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Writing on Deadline

I am not a published author, or an author really of any sorts. I am a writer though, and being a writer means producing work. The pro of being an unpublished, unagented writer means you can take your time with your work, having the time to rewrite and polish it to “perfection”. However, getting in a habit of taking your time can really affect your career. You can’t spend too much time on one project if you want to get your name out there, you have to produce content on a regular basis, which means you need to work on time management skills so you can finish things by deadlines. If any of you are struggling with this, here are some of my tips for any of you working towards a deadline, or if you want to get in the habit of working on deadline.

Make a Plan/Schedule

Sit down and figure out when your deadline is. Maybe it is a month away or an entire year, whatever it is, figure out how many hours you need to spend each day to work towards this deadline and finish on time. Don’t put too much on your shoulders though, and find out what works best for you. Maybe you want to get 2,000 words done each day, but tackling 2,000 words every single day can be a bit daunting so split it up. Aim to write 500 hundred words in the morning, another 500 in the afternoon, and then 1000 at night!

Set Up a Rewards System

Writing is a mind draining task so reward yourself! Again, tailor this to what works best for you. Maybe if you write six out of seven days you get to take an entire evening off, or you get to buy yourself your favourite drink from a coffee shop. Whatever motivates you to keep writing, well that is what you should reward yourself with for a job well done.

Plan Out Each Writing Day

What I mean by this is to plan out what exactly you are going to write each day. Sit down the night after you finish writing for the day and map out the plot points or scenes you want to hit the next day. Just jot down a few notes and it will be so much easier to knock out your word counts because you will know what you need to get done and how to get there.

Remind Yourself Why You Love Writing

Sometimes while stressing about meeting word counts and getting work done on time, we forget why we love what we are doing in the first place. Watch some videos on writing or read a book you love, whatever it takes to remind you why you are putting all this energy into your story in the first place. Falling back in love with your work will make the biggest difference when you sit down to write because it will fill you with purpose and motivation to get it done.

Submit to Writing Contests

This is a great way to work on writing on deadline when you don’t have an agent or are not a published author. It is a deadline you set for yourself and if you don’t meet it then oh well! Usually writing contests reoccur every year or even every couple of months. Besides, there are so many amazing contests to submit to so you will never run out. I write short stories on the regular and submit them, and because of this I have gained really valuable skills such as producing quality work in shorter amount of times, and taking in rejection. I really recommend all writers do this!

That is all my tips for writing on deadline and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post which is linked below, and also follow my social media accounts for more writing and book related content 🙂

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Reading + Editing My Old Writing

I have always wanted to make a blog post on this, but there were a few things always holding me back. 1) I always thought this would be easier to share through video rather than a blog post 2) my old writing sucks. However, I thought it would be a fun post to try and tackle, and hopefully it will give you a few laughs because of how terrible my writing was! I like to think I have become a lot better over the years, but who knows.

Okay, so today I will be editing an excerpt I found from one of my NaNoWriMo projects from back in 2015…so just over two and a half years ago when I was fourteen years old. I actually won NaNoWriMo that year, ending off at about 53,000 words which was awesome. However, the story I wrote was not outlined, and had no overall point to it really. It was fun though. It was a YA fantasy about an assassin with magical powers who scours the earth to take revenge on the people who killed her parents..other than that I cannot remember a single thing but here is the prologue I wrote for it! How this is going to work is I am going to paste the prologue below, and then paste it again where I make edits and notes and basically make fun of what I wrote. Let’s get editing!


Prologue

London, 1862

I stroke the wooden paint brush across the rough paper.  An image of what my perfect painting will look like flashes in my mind and relaxes the tense muscles in my hand. The paint brush takes full control over my small hand and lets colour bleed onto the page. Swirls of oranges and pinks swarm together, lining the green fields and creating the hazy sunrise. I swipe it across the paper one last time and grin at my final piece, knowing my father will be proud. I jump up to my feet and dust off my light blue nightgown and then zip out of the room like a buzzing bee that sees a flourishing flower.

I come to a skidding halt in front of my parents’ bedroom and a warm sensation washes over me as I put a huge childish grin on my face. Their bedroom is a fair size but quite empty. A scarred, ebony dresser with three wide drawers is pushed against the far wall, next to a tall window. The broken floorboards creak as I scurry onto their short double bed that is draped with plain white blankets and a few lightly stuffed cream pillows.

“Father! Mother! Look what I painted!” I announce happily, showing off my painting of the beautiful sunrise overlooking the luscious green fields. My father takes the corner of the painting and the corners of his lip turn up. He runs a hand through his messy brown hair and then passes the painting to my mother who slips on her reading glasses. A soft smile spreads across her face and she gives an approving nod.

Suddenly a loud bang echoes throughout the small house and voices boom from outside. My parents hastily bounce off the bed as if they have been expecting this and the next thing I know my mother is yanking me by the arm, leading me out of the room. I try to ask what was happening but my mother shushes me as she ushers me into my tiny bedroom. A candle burns faintly on my nightstand, next to my cracked leather journal that I write in every night before I go to sleep.

My mother wiggles open my closet door and shoves aside my clothes, clearing them away so we can see the back wall. I bite my lip, feeling worried and confused. Where was my father? Who are those strange men? Why were they here? So many questions swirl around in my head, making me dizzy and nauseous as if my father picked me up and spun me around like he always did when I was a small child. It was fun while it was happening but after I would have to lie down to settle my stomach.

“Mother, I don’t feel well.” I whisper, my voice shaking. My mother gently places her hands on my shoulders and stares at me with her emerald eyes, the ones she passed on to me. She twirls a strand of my curly brown hair around her finger then releases it. Her eyes are filled with tears which trigger the ones that swim around in mine.

“You cannot feel sick, Katie. You have to be brave, smart and strong,” She whispers sharply, “Now, you need to exit out of this tunnel and then run as fast as you can away from this house. Do not wait for your father and I because-” Her voice breaks a little bit but she continues, “Your father and I may not make it out.” I look at my mother and I am about to ask why they cannot just come with me now but loud footsteps pound in the hallway and she quickly whips open a secret door and throws me inside. I glance down the long tunnel that stretches far then wraps tightly around a corner. A few torches are hung on the stone walls, providing a few patches of dull light. I spin around but my mother shuts the door, leaving me alone in the confined, musty tunnel. My legs tremble as tears streak my pale cheeks, dripping off onto my nightgown. I want to kick the door open and be with my mother and father but they told me different. I quickly back away from the door then start sprinting, trying to stifle the sobs that pour out of me like a rushing waterfall.


Prologue

London, 1862

I stroke the wooden paint brush across the rough paper.  An image of what my perfect painting will look like flashes in my mind, and relaxes relaxing the tense muscles in my hand. The paint brush takes full control over of my small hand, and lets bright colours suddenly bleeding onto the page. Swirls of oranges and pinks swarm together, lining the green fields and creating the a hazy sunrise. I swipe it across the paper one last time, and grinning at my final piece. knowing my Father will be proud, I think to myself as I jump up to my feet, and dust off my light blue nightgown, and then zip out of the room like a buzzing bee. that sees a flourishing flower.

(This wasn’t the worst paragraph ever, it just had a lot of words I didn’t need in it…clearly due to all the crossing out I did. I like to think I have gotten better at keeping my sentences to the point, and not adding useless words just for the heck of it because it can become a serious problem down the road!)

I come to a skidding halt in front of my parents’ bedroom, and a warm sensation washes over me as I put a huge, childish grin on my face. Their bedroom is a fair size but quite empty. A scarred, ebony dresser with three wide drawers is pushed against the far wall, next to a tall window. The broken floorboards creak as I scurry onto their short double bed that which is draped with plain white blankets, and a few two lightly stuffed cream pillows tucked underneath.

“Father! Mother! Look what I painted!” I announce happily, showing off shoving my painting into their faces of the beautiful sunrise overlooking the luscious green fields. My father takes the corner of the painting it, and the corners of his lip turn up. He runs a hand through his messy brown hair and then before passing the painting to my mother who slips on her reading glasses. She slips on her glasses, a soft smile spreading across her face as she gives an approving nod.

Suddenly a loud bang echoes throughout the small house and voices boom from outside. Bang. The sound echoes through the house, footsteps booming from down the hall. My parents hastily bounce jump off the bed, a strange look passing between them. as if they have been expecting this and the next thing I know my mother is yanking me by the arm, leading me out of the room. My mother lunges towards me and grips my arm before yanking me out of the room and down the hall. I try to ask what was is happening but my mother shushes me, as she ushers ushering me into my tiny bedroom. A candle burns faintly on my nightstand, next to it, my cracked leather journal. that I write in every night before I go to sleep.

(Again, these last few paragraphs weren’t awful…although if I were to get to them to what I deem “good” I would have to scrap it all and rewrite it. For the sake of this blog post, I tried to save as much as I could, only crossing out words and changing the wording slightly. It is so weird seeing my writing process from when I was fourteen, seeing how I worded things and shaped sentences. Parts of it make me cringe, a lot, but it is nice to see that I have grown a lot as a writer!)

My mother wiggles yanks open my closet door, shoving and shoves aside my clothes, clearing them away so we can see the back wall. I bite my lip, feeling worried and confused worry and confusion pushing down on my chest, their strong hands squeezing my pounding heart. Where was my father? Who are those strange men? Why were they here? So many questions swirl around in my head, making me dizzy and nauseous as if like when my father picked me up and spun me around like he always did when I was a small child. It was fun while it was happening but after I would have to lie down to settle my stomach.

“Mother, I don’t feel well.” I whisper, my voice shaking. My mother gently places her hands on my shoulders and stares at me with her emerald eyes., the ones she passed on to me. She twirls a strand of my curly brown hair around her finger then releases it. Her eyes are filled with tears which trigger the ones that swim around in mine.

“You cannot feel sick, Katie. You have to be brave, smart and strong,” She whispers sharply,“Now, you need to exit out of this tunnel follow this tunnel to the end. There you will find a ladder. I need you to climb up it and then run as fast as you can away from this house. Do not wait for your father and I because…” Her voice breaks a little bit but she takes a staggered breath and she continues, “because your father and I may not make it out.” I look at my mother and I am about to ask why they cannot just come with me now, but loud footsteps pound in the hallway and she quickly whips open a secret door and throws me inside. A tear slides down her mother’s cheek as she pushes past me, fingers gripping a doorknob sticking out of my closet wall. The door swings open and my lips part. I try to speak, try to let the pressing questions in my head fall from my lips but my mother pushes me through the secret door, and suddenly, I am swallowed up my darkness. I glance over my shoulder, down at the long tunnel I glance down the long tunnel that stretches far behind me before then wraps wrapping tightly around a corner. A few torches are hung on the stone walls, providing a few patches of dull light. I spin around but my mother shuts the door with a loud sob, leaving me alone in the dancing shadows in the confined, musty tunnel. My legs tremble as and fat tears streak my pale cheeks, dripping off onto my nightgown. I want to kick the door open and be with my mother and father but I know I can’t they told me different. I quickly back away from the door then start sprinting, trying to stifle the sobs that pour out of me like a rushing waterfall.

Okaaay. Well that was fun, wasn’t it? Very cringey at times but honestly, it was a lot better than I expected. It was really fun to look back on my writing and realize what I do better now then I did back then. I encourage you all to do the same if you are feeling a bit down on your writing because by reading your old work, you will finally be able to see the progress you have made as a writer. All the progress after spending hours glued to your laptop, lost in a world created by nothing but the vast of your imagination.

I hope you enjoyed this very long blog post and don’t forget to check out my last blog post, which is linked below! Also, follow me on social media so I can follow you back 🙂

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Writing Rituals Tag!

I didn’t have time to pre-write any posts for this coming week yesterday, which is what I usually do so I have a blog post scheduled for Monday. Well, actually, I did have time, I just didn’t spend my time wisely. Anyways, I thought it would be fun to do a tag so that is what I am doing! I have seen most people do this tag on YouTube but I have no idea who created it…anyways, let’s get into it!

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

When it comes to what day, I usually write whenever I have time. However, I tend to write later in the evening because that is when I am (usually and hopefully) done my homework for the day, and any other things I had to get done. This is usually around 7pm and my writing sessions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours!

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

This has always been fairly easy for me because when it is time for me to write I go to one of my “designated writing spots” like my bedroom or a coffee shop, plug in some headphones and then write. I don’t get distracted too easily while writing, which is funny because with anything but writing, I have the attention of a goldfish. I guess I really like it!

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

For the most part I can remember what I wrote the day before, but sometimes I will read over the last paragraph I wrote just to refresh. Usually I just open my document and start writing without really thinking much about it.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

Whenever I am feeling uninspired I go straight to the Hamilton Mixtape on Spotify because all the songs are a lot of fun. One song that I specifically turn to while writing is “Wrote My Way Out” because that is basically the theme of what I am doing. I definitely recommend checking it out!

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

When I am struggling with writer’s block I try to read a favourite book of mine, or just one with a story I really admire like Harry Potter. I will also go straight to YouTube and watch some of my favourites like Kristen Martin and Natalia Leigh. After watching a few of their writing tip videos, or writing vlogs, I am usually ready to write!

What tools do you use when you’re writing?

Other than Word I don’t use any tools with writing. Well, I usually have my notebook with all my character info and just overall plot info next to me, but I try to keep the tools to a minimal while writing. The more complicated the more time taken out of writing, right?

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

My computer? I write on it so if I didn’t have that then I wouldn’t be able to write at all. I have tried writing out stories by hand, but I mess up a lot and also my wrist starts hurting. So yeah, my laptop.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

Sometimes I will have green tea next to me while I write which really gets me in the “writing zone”. This keeps me going with some caffeine which then becomes words on my laptop screen.

How do you know when you’re done writing?

I know that I am done writing when I feel that I have written everything I can for that story. When things are either settled with my characters and world, or very unsettled, meaning I am setting myself up for the next writing session. But yeah, I just know when I am done when I am done…if that makes sense.

That is all for this tag and I hope you enjoyed. I tag all writers to do this because it was a lot of fun! Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below for more bookish/writing related content, and also follow my social media for writing and reading inspired posts!

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Drafting 101

Drafting is hard. Especially the first draft because all you can think about is how much it sucks! This is currently what I am struggling through, as I have hit the half mark in my novel I have dealt with a lot of hardships facing my draft. Here are a few of my tips on how to make drafting suck less, and how to motivate yourself to keep pushing through it!

Step 1: Accept It

Remember, all first drafts are awful. Even the most successful writers have terrible first drafts that they feel like tossing in the flames, so remember that you are not alone. Just accept that your first draft isn’t going to be amazing, and your second draft probably won’t either. Writing takes time, and it is going to take more time if you don’t accept it!

Step 2: Keep Writing

Now that you accepted it the only thing you can do is to keep writing. If you don’t keep writing your story will only be in your head, and you can’t rewrite and edit nothing so get those words down!

Step 3: Take Notes Along the Way

While your writing your draft it is important to just get it done, but also write down the ideas that pop up in your mind along the way to make your next draft even better. I have my little idea notebook next to me when I write so I can quickly jot down any ideas that come to mind, but then get right back into writing my story. Having these new ideas at your fingertips will make writing your next draft easier to write, since you will already have an idea of what comes next.

Step 4: Reward Yourself

Reward yourself! Maybe if you write everyday for an entire week, or five days a week (whatever works best for you), treat yourself. Tack on an extra thirty minutes to your TV or reading time, or take yourself to a coffee shop. Whatever you want most give that to yourself for keeping on track with your writing! (This is something I am doing because I have had a hard time keeping up with writing my draft!)

Step 5: Remember You Are Writing the Story YOU Want to Read

This is the most important step because if you aren’t writing the story for yourself, then what is the point? It is hard to write a story that you don’t want to write, or writing a story you aren’t passionate about, because then it will feel like a chore. Write the story you most want to read, and that will be the core of your motivation when it comes to writing.

That is all for this quick drafting 101 tips and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and also follow me on my social medias! 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Writing Plans

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My Writing Plans

I realize that I talk a lot about tips on what you should do with your novel, and how you can improve your story, yet I never talk about my own plans for my own stories! I give brief updates here and there, like what genre it is or how much I write each day or what my current word count is, but I don’t give much info about what my hopeful outcome of it is. That is what I wanted to talk about today so settle in because this might be long.

So as many of you know, because I gave weekly updates and whatnot, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo this April of 2018. My goal was to work on my fantasy idea, inspired by Central American mythology by the way, and get about 40,000 words into it by the end of the month. I actually achieved this, and plan on continuing with it until the end of May when I hope to have my first draft fully completed. Once I have this messy first draft completed, I am going to take most of June off to let my story settle, but also because finals! I am in my grade eleven year, which is kind of important so I really need to focus on getting good grades rather than the personal lives and challenges my characters in my fictional story face…or at least that is what my mother says! But despite trying not to write in June, I do want to sit down towards the end of the month and write down all my ideas and thoughts for draft two…possibly even reading over draft one if I feel in the mood to torture myself.

Even though my dream has always been to be an author, I haven’t actually focused on writing a full novel since I was…maybe thirteen? I have been very focused on writing short stories because they are short and sweet and work well with my school schedule. It means I don’t have to commit to one story for a long time, and I don’t have to devoute any certain amount of time a day that I usually don’t have. However, since I am nearing my final years of high school, I realized there are a lot of scholarships and fellowships I can apply for if I submit twenty or so pages of my current work in progress. At the time of realizing all this, I didn’t have a work in progress, but I did have an idea, so I thought I should give it a shot. I sat down two months before Camp NaNoWriMo and started outlining and researching more in depth on my idea and then bam! It was suddenly April and I was off and writing. I am a panster, so I had a loose outline that has vigorously changed throughout the course of writing the first half of my book. Which is okay, but sometimes I end up writing myself into a deep hole, but that is the whole experience so who am I to complain, right? But yes, I plan on sending my first, hopefully very polished, twenty pages of my WIP into different scholarships and fellowships to try and see how good I am. I encourage you all to do the same because it is nice to write towards a big goal. It gives me motivation every time I don’t feel like writing.

The deadline for the main fellowship I have my eye on is Novemeber 30 of this year, so I have about seven months which may seem like a lot, but honestly it will go by so fast. A lot will be happening for me in the next seven months (finishing grade 11, finals, summer trips, starting grade 12, starting to apply to universities, etc, etc) so I need to keep writing if I want to have a good product by the end of November. I have a very tight schedule with my manuscript that I need to be hard on myself about (also because I am still writing short stories and submitting them, so I need to manage time when it comes to that as well). As soon as it is July 1 (the next session of Camp NaNoWriMo by the way, which is perfect timing), I need to be at my computer and pumping out the second draft which needs to be completed by the end of August at the very latest. After that, I will leave it for the first few weeks of the new school year so I can settle into grade twelve, and then come back and figure out what I need to focus on for draft 3 which means reading it over draft two. October, also known as “Preptober”, will be me writing the third draft and then November will be the month of polishing the first twenty pages! Honestly, any of the pages from twenty-one to two hundred can be awful, but the first twenty pages are what I need to focus on since that will be what I am submitting. They need to be clear in my overall idea, rich and different…which is a lot of pressure for only a few pages!

But yes, that is a very, very rambly update on my current writing plans and goals. Will it be easy? Nope, not even close since I am walking into one of the most important years of my school career, but where is the fun in it if it isn’t the least bit hard?

Make sure you let me know what your writing plans are, and also check out my last blog post which is linked below as well as my social media accounts 🙂

Last Blog Post: After Camp NaNoWriMo: Now What?

Other Places You Can Find Me:

Twitter:@zoermathers

Instagram: @zoematherswrites

Tumblr: @zoematherswrites

Pinterest: @zoermathers