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!

My Writing Routine!

Since Camp NaNoWriMo started, I have realized that I have a pretty solid writing routine. I only realized this a day or two ago when I tried to write in the morning, which is the time of day I don’t usually write, and it was so hard! Anyways, this is my writing routine and I hope you enjoy.

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~7:00pm~

I usually begin writing around seven in the evening, give or take. I just like writing later on in the day once things have settled and the sun has begun going down. I throw my phone across the room onto my bed, with it on Do Not Disturb, and then I warm up by re reading the last paragraph or few sentences I wrote the previous day so I know where I am going with the story, and this is something I recommend everyone do! With Camp NaNoWriMo happening, I have been doing their writing sprints on their twitter sprint page: @NaNoWordSprints, and there, they hold writing sprints that last anywhere from 10-30 minutes. When Camp NaNoWriMo is not happening though, I usually write for 30 minutes, take a break, and then keep writing.

~7:30pm~

This is usually when I take my first break, and during this time I go to the bathroom, and grab a drink or snack. Sometimes I write with tea, but it isn’t something I NEED in order to write, but sometimes during my break I will get some green tea (one of my favourite teas!). My break generally last 5-10 minutes, but is very important because you need to give your mind a break after a bit!

~7:40pm~

By this time I am back at my computer and ready to write! I keep writing and depending on how tired I am, or what time I have to be up in the morning, I will stop and hour or two later. If I am really into a scene though, I will write for HOURS without realizing and forget to take break, but in those instances its okay! I know its good to take breaks, but like I said, I get carried away easily with writing so I usually only take that first break.

~8:30-9:30pm~

I usually finish writing anywhere around this time and finish with somewhere between 1,000-3,000 words, all depending on the scene I am writing and how I am feeling energy wise. But yeah! I will close my laptop and that is my writing for the day.

That is all for my writing routine and I hope you enjoyed! Comment below any rituals or routines that you have when you write, because I would love to know ūüôā

 

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!

Writing a Book #1

Yes, I am writing a book! I started it just before Camp NaNoWriMo began this July, and have been going full steam ahead with the idea. I didn’t want to start making blog posts about me writing this book because usually I lose interest not too far into whatever I am working on, but now I am 20,000 words in and still excited about it! I thought I would share my hard, but fun adventure on my blog because I am sure there are a few of you out there also working on a book that can relate to all the struggles I am feeling. This is my first draft of my first book, which I have mentioned in previous Reading/Writing Updates, and am calling it “Project Night”. I won’t say too much about it, other than the fact that it is fantasy and has magical elements too it as well as Kings, Princes, Princesses, etc. My original daily goal for this project was 1,200 words a day, but I have amped it up to 1,600 words a day because my summer just keeps getting busier and there will be a few days where I won’t have access to my computer.

One struggle I am facing is getting to know my characters, but I feel like that is a common struggle for first drafts. Slowly as I dive deeper into the book, I understand my characters more and feel like I know them well enough to anticipate and write what they will do in certain situations. The first draft is definitely very, very messy so far but I know by the second draft I will have figured most things out.

I am really glad I decided to start working on my book at the beginning of summer break because I would NOT have time to start it during this coming fall. I am moving in August (which of course will affect my writing time sadly) and starting a new school so things would be way to hectic to dive into a brand new story. I do plan on finishing my first draft by September 5th of this year, and then allowing myself a week or two break from it before starting my first draft. I want to skim over my story, but another reason I am taking a long break is because I have heard that it is good to distance yourself from your story after you finish writing each draft so you come back to it with a fresh mind. The other obvious reason for taking some time off it is because the first week of school and whatnot.

Anyways, that was my first blog post on me writing a book and I hope you enjoyed! I do have a few questions for any others who are writing a book and they are:  do you listen to music when you write? If so what kind? and also what is your daily word count and do you find yourself being able to reach it easily or not at all?

Writing Goals to Set for Yourself!

I was recently sitting down at my desk, watching the new season of Pretty Little Liars, and decided I wanted to focus more on my writing this summer. So, I researched and thought of some writing goals I wanted to achieve by the end of the summer, and I wanted to share them with any of you who want to work on their writing as well!

  • Set Daily Goals for Yourself¬†– You can’t get anywhere with writing if you don’t set writing goals for yourself. I personally try to write 1,200 words a day, and sometimes more. Choose whatever you do but whether that is 200 or 3,000 words just determine how much you are going to write each day.
  • Set a Longish and Long-Term Goal¬†– Apart from a daily writing goal, you should also form a longish and long term goal for yourself. For example, I set a 100,000 word goal for myself to achieve by September 5 (which is when I start school). Currently I am at 12,000 words and since Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, I plan on completing 50,000 by the end July, which are my longish and long term goals!
  • Submit Your Work to Literary Magazines or Contests¬†– This is a really beneficial goal/tip for getting your writing out there. Write up some short stories that you poured your heart and soul into, and really define you as a writer, and submit them to literary magazines or contests. If you get published or selected, some pay you but even if you don’t, it is still good to get your name and writing out there.
  • Work on Different Aspects on Your Writing¬†– All writers have things to work on, no matter how published or good they are. For example, I think I could work on making my characters more 3D and real, which is something I have already been working on. I have created Pinterest boards with pictures that define my characters and I definitely feel like it is helping! If you think you need to work on writing clear, fluid plots, characters, or voice, there are craft books or courses that can hep you. You can also write stories focusing on the aspect you need to work on, and it will help.
  • Create Your Writing Social Media¬†– It is essential for writers to create blogs, Instagrams, Twitters, etc, that share their writing or just their name. I have recently created a “My Writing” page on my blog, that has a link to an anthology that features my writing in it, because then if people are interested, they can read it. This can lead to making other writer friends, or getting some beneficial feedback. It is also a fun project to work on in my opinion, and is something I enjoyed doing!

Those are a few writing goals that I am setting for myself, and you should to so I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: June 2017 Wrap Up!

Websites for Writers

There is an endless supply of writing tips, tricks and tutorials on the internet, and in this blog post I have picked quite a few great websites below so here they are!

  • Creativity Portal¬†http://www.creativity-portal.com/¬†– This website is great for getting story ideas because they have a wide variety of prompts for you to pick from. I haven’t used this website for any story ideas yet, but it is fun to scroll through them and see what ideas there are.
  • Writers Plot Twist Generator¬†http://writers-den.pantomimepony.co.uk/writers-plot-twists.php¬†– Another generator website, but this one is instead used for plot twist ideas which I think is very unique. Sometimes it is hard to come up with a plot twist, so having a website like this at your fingertips is a great way to get ideas.
  • Daily Writing Tips¬†https://www.dailywritingtips.com/¬†– If you subscribe to Daily Writing Tips newsletter, then you get writing tips everyday. Even if you think you know the basics to writing, it is always nice to get daily, new writing tips that inspire you to keep writing.
  • Helping Writers Become Authors¬†https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/¬†– I found this website not that long ago, but it is filled with free stuff that is incredibly useful. If you subscribe to their newsletter, you get a few freebie books that are packed with writing tips and how-to’s that will stick in your head.
  • Making a Living Writing¬†http://www.makealivingwriting.com/¬†– This website is good for freelancers, especially newbies. It has tips on how to make it in the freelancing business, as well as how to make your writing stronger.

Those are a few websites that I recommend all writers check out and I hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Writers + Small Towns!

Writing Craft Book TBR!

I took out a LOT of craft books this past weekend, so I decided to share the titles with you guys in hopes that you check one of them out! Craft books are a great way to better your writing skills, and I always finish one feeling more confident with my writing style.

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Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Brabury – This is a very famous craft book that I have heard a lot about, so I decided to pick it up and give it a read. This craft book consists of eleven essays on the pleasures of writing from the one and only, Ray Bradbury. In this book, Bradbury shares what he learned from his writing career, and shares his enthusiasm for writing.

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How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fasted Way to Improve a Manuscript by James Scott Bell – I don’t feel the most confident in my dialogue, so I decided to take a book out on it to get better. This book obviously focuses on dialogue and how to make what you characters say more authentic and real. It is so important to have strong, realistic dialogue otherwise the conversations between your characters fall flat!

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A Writer’s Coach: A Guide to Words that Work by Jack Hart – There is no particular reason I picked up this book, but I haven’t read this book yet so I thought I would give it a shot! You take away something valuable from every craft book, which is why I take advantage of everyone I see and read it.

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Story Engineering by Larry Brook – I have read another Larry Brooks craft book called, Story Physics, and really enjoyed it so I thought I would try this one! I really enjoy how Larry Brooks presents his writing tips and tricks in his books, because it is very easy to find and then write down. I like to write down anything I find useful or interesting in craft books, and this is one that I had pages of ideas on!

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Story Genius by Lisa Cron – Again, I saw this book and haven’t read it so I just had to pick it up. I flipped through this book a bit, and already saw some interesting topics in the table of contents. When looking for a writing book you should flip to the table of contents and check out what they will be talking about, because that is how you know that it covers topics that are relevant to you!

That is all for my Writing Craft Book TBR and I hoped you enjoyed!

 

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/

Tips for New Book Bloggers!

I am always figuring out new things about blogging, but I thought I would share some of the things I have learned in the past year and a half.

  • ¬†Write what you want because this is your blog and you get to write what you want. Don’t worry if people don’t like the content on your blog, because at the end of the day, as long as you are producing content you want it’s all okay. This goes for more than just blogging too!
  • Add pictures and videos! Pictures and videos that have to do with what you are talking about just add to your blog post and make them much more fun and interesting.
  • Remember that it doesn’t matter how many people follow your blog, or like your blog post, it only matters if you like what you produce. Of course it is always lovely when someone likes your blog post, follows your blog, or takes the time to write you a comment, but if you create a blog post just for the publicity of it, then you are not doing it for the right reasons.
  • Produce lots of content. People like to follow and read blogs that produce lots of content weekly, rather than a blog that posts once or twice a month. It is understandable if you don’t have the time to write a few blog posts a week, but at least strive for one or two lengthy blog posts a week!
  • Proofread and edit your blog posts, because nobody wants to read a blog post that they have to decode because of the huge amount of grammar and spelling errors you made. It only takes an extra minute or two and it makes your blog posts look 100% better!

That is all for my blog post and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Summer 2017 Reading List!