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, donโ€™t forget to let me know what your post-NaNoWriMo plans are! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Blog Post:ย My FINAL TBR of 2020

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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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

My Freelance + Writing Newsletter:

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NaNoWriMo 2020 Strategy

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

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

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

What am I writing this month?

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

My new writing routine

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

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

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

7:00 AM – Wakeup

7:30 AM – Write!

8:00 AM – Work

12:00 PM – Lunch

12:30 PM – Write!

1:00 PM – Work

4:00 PM – Finish Work & Take a Break

5:00 PM – School Work

6:00 PM – Eat Dinner

7:00 PM – School Work

8:30 PM – Write!

9:00 PM – Relax

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

Writing Live Streams

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

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

Other Writing Tools

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



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

Donโ€™t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for readingย ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Blog Post:ย Updated Freelance Website!

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Updated Freelance Website!

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

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

Thanks!

4 Resources for Writers

A list of resources that every writer must check out.

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

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

Here are 4 resources for writers.

1. Freelancing with Zoe Newsletter

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

2. CBC Short Story Prize Newsletter

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

3. The Write Life

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

4. No Write Way

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


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

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

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

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Blog Post:ย September Goals

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3 Tips for Writing Romance

Happy Friday!

Today, I want to share my 3 essential tips for writing romance.

Writing a romance your readers will fall in love with is no easy task. Often, authors opt for insta-love but unless it is done well, it is the slow-burn, hate-to-love, etc tropes that really grab at readers’ hearts.

Before we jump into my tips, I wanted to remind you that 2 weeks ago, I launched my freelance editing and writing website! If you need copy editing, proofreading, manuscript critiques, blog writing, social media content creation OR copywriting, check it out HERE. I’d love to work with you.

Now, let’s get into today’s post because it has been a while since I posted!

Here are 3 tips for writing romance your readers will love.

1. Know Your Characters Individually Before You Know Them Together

This goes for any relationship, real or fictional, but you must know yourself before you can be with someone else. When writing romance, you need to have a grasp on who your characters are. What do they like? What are they afraid of? What do they want? What is their family like? If you don’t, they will be two-dimensional people in a two-dimensional relationship. That makes for a boring plot line and dynamic altogether.

Here is a basic character questionnaire that you should ask each of your characters in order to vividly paint them on the page.

2. Figure Out How They Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Organically

A lot of the time, a romance in a novel feels unnatural and forced. It is as if the author wrote two characters, decided their audience would probably want some romance, and then pushed the two main characters together because hey, they were right there anyways.

When it is done correctly, it works really well, but if it feels too forced and convenient, you are going to lose your audience. Here are some ideas for how your characters can organically fit into each other’s lives.

  • Their pasts are intertwined (maybe their families are close or are enemies, maybe they are childhood friends, etc)
  • They both want the same thing
  • One of them has something the other wants
  • One of them saves the other

3. If the Romance is a Subplot, Treat It Like a Subplot

Unless you are writing a romance novel, the romance should not be the main attraction. I hate when I am reading a fantasy and the romance overtakes the world, the magic system, the other characters, etc. If the romance is just one aspect of many within the novel, it should stay that way. Of course, it can have its moments in the spotlight, but it should not overshadow the rest of the story.


Those are 3 simple but essential tips to apply to your story when writing romance. If you have any other tips, please feel free to leave them down in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out my freelance website and subscribe to the monthly newsletter for more tips, tricks, updates, and freebies on writing and the business of writing. You can check that all out HERE.

Also, make sure you read my last blog post and check out my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Blog Post:ย SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My Freelance Business Launch

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My Freelance Business Launch

Take advantage of my SPREAD THE WORD offer! Valid until August 14, 2020

Happy Saturday!

Yes, I am launching a freelance editing and writing business!

I am very excited to finally share this news with you all because it is something I have been planning and working on since May. Finally, after all this hard work my dream business has launched!

You can check out my freelance website HERE

On my website you will find:

  • Intro of who I am and why I started my business
  • The signup form to my email newsletter list (you will receive monthly emails FILLED with freebies and advice for writers, editors, and other freelancers)
  • Info about my FREE sample edit
  • My editing services & rates
  • My writing services & rates
  • Testimonials
  • My portfolio
  • How to contact me

If you have NO idea who I am, you are probably wondering why I am creating this business. What have I done that qualifies me to offer these services?

Who Am I?

Currently, I am a second-year English and Professional Communications student at the University of Victoria. However, because of my ambition and dedication, I have already succeeded in the writing, editing, and digital communications fields.

Writing Experience

For over 5 years, I have written in various genres and received numerous awards and publications. My short stories have won first place and received several honourable mentions and publications from ZG Communications, Polar Expressions Publishing, and L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future. Since 2016, I have posted (almost) weekly to this blog and have created over 700 posts and grew an audience of 800 followers. I have several articles published by Flanelle Magazine, who I frequently freelance for, and The Martlet.

Editing Experience

Since January 2020, I have been a substantive editor and proofreader for The Albatross, an academic journal at the University of Victoria. Shortly after, in February, I began my volunteer position as a newsletter writer and editor for the MS Society. In April 2020, I completed substantive edits, copy edits, and proofreading for the biography, Fransesca: A Remarkable Life by Katrina Pavlovsky.

Digital Communications Experience

In June 2020, I began my internship as a Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Gypsy Journals where I help manage and create content for Pinterest and the blog. I create SEO friendly captions and blog posts filled with keywords and hashtags that draw in the right audience. Starting in August, I will be a full-time Communications Development Lead at Focal, a marketplace for people to find the perfect photographer.

For samples of my writing and editing, check out my portfolio HERE


Make sure you spread the word and check out my freelance website on its launch day. I have dedicated an incredible amount of hours to creating this dream of mine, and it would mean so much to me if you would join me.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Blog Post: August Reading + Writing Goals

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5 Tips for Writing a Novel

Writing a novel isn’t easy, but here are 5 tips to help you out

Happy Monday!

Writing a novel is hard, which is why I have put together 5 tips that will make writing a novel just a little more easier.

Of course, there are the basics that go into writing a novel such as outlining before writing. Outlining includes creating 3D characters, mapping out the world your story takes in, knowing your plot points, etc. However, I will be covering novel writing aspects that you might not think about as often.

Here are my 5 tips for writing a novel.

1. Dedicate a Time & Place for It

This is a basic tip, but it is one of the most important tips out there. If you do not dedicate a specific time and place for writing. In order to write a novel within a reasonable amount of time, you must carve out a certain time to write it and be consistent with following it. For me, my mornings are for writing. That is when I sit down and know it is writing time. I do not sit down only one morning in the week either, every morning where I do not have to work, I use that time for writing.

It is also helpful to have a writing space, or even a few. These are spaces where you sit down and feel inspired to write. Having these spots trains your brain to know that when you sit down there, it is writing time! For me, this is just my desk but I have a nice setup going there with my candle, laptop, and lo-fi music.

2. Know EVERYTHING About Your World

While you do not need to know everything about your plot, it is essential to know everything about your world and characters. You do not need to share everything about your world or characters with the readers (at least, not right away or even ever), but it is important for YOU to know that information. Even if it never gets included in your book!

However, here are 3 things your reader MUST know:

  • Where are the places your story takes place? Describe them for your reader; make it vivid and descriptive
  • How does your world work? Who is in charge? What type of government is it?
  • What are the rules of your world? (This is especially important for fantasy novels)

3. Think of What You Want (or Wanted) to Read and Write It

Think back to when you were younger, or to whenever you pick up a book. What are the things you were hoping for within it? What did the book not have that you wanted? These are things you should think about and write down and then, when you are outlining your plot, include them.

This is why I read lots of books that are similar to my own during the outlining phase. It helps to warmup my mind and prep me for creating a plot that will hold my own attention first, which is crucial when writing a novel!

4. Welcome Surprises and Twists Within Your Story

It is important to follow an outline, but sometimes your story has a mind of its own. These are the times when we have to let our story go where it needs. Often, this makes the story more exciting too. The times where my plot has deviated from the outline created a more thrilling story overall. Those are scenes that felt more natural and less plotted out compared to the scenes I did map out. However, both are important!

Of course, your outline is there for a reason, but if you want to add in a new scene because it feels right, don’t shy away from it!

5. Hold Yourself Accountable, but Don’t Be Too Harsh!

It is nice to have a few friends who can hold you accountable for you writing goals, but I think it is also important for you to hold yourself accountable. Like anything in life, we cannot always rely on others. However, that is not an opening to be harsh on yourself! Be flexible and realistic with yourself, just like you would for a friend that YOU are holding accountable.


Those are 5 tips for writing a novel and I hope they were helpful. If you have any more, leave them below in the comments so we can help each other out!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Blog Post: July Writing Goals

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July Writing Goals

My June reflection and writing plans for the month of July

Happy Monday!

I cannot believe it is already time to talk about my July writing goals, but here we are, only 2 days away from finishing up with June.

June was an interesting month. No a single word of creative writing got written, but I was pumping out the blog posts, Instagram posts, and whatnot. So, it was an incredibly productive month, but for July, I really want creative writing (specifically my Aztec novel) to be one of my main priorities. Especially since it will be Camp NaNoWriMo!

Before we jump into my July goals, let’s reflect back on June.

  • Finish Re-Typing: I did finish this today actually, so yay! A checkmark for me. My goal deadline was June 12 which was quite a while ago, but I got it done before July and that is all that matters. This project was challenging, but a lot of fun because I got to read this person’s story and learn a lot. I cannot say anything about the story or its author because of legal reasons, but hopefully I can sometime in the future!
  • Finish Writing Act III of The Obsidian Butterfly: This is my Aztec novel idea and I’ve been working on it for over three years but it has changed a lot structure wise over the years. I really wanted to finish outlining Act III in June, but I decided to scrap my outline and re-start. Fingers crossed I get it done in the next 2 days…
  • Write 10,000 Words of The Obsidian Butterfly: Ha, this did not happen.
  • Write 2 Articles for Flanelle Magazine: I didn’t write 2, but I did manage to write one article about this hair product called Wetbrush. I don’t think it is on the website yet, but I’m glad I was able to contribute something this busy month.

While I didn’t achieve every goal, June was still productive and I am proud of it. Things change and goals have to be adjusted due to these changes. I still like to set some goals each month, however, because it helps keep me on track during the month. Now, let’s discuss my July goals.

JULY WRITING GOALS

WRITE 25K DURING CAMP NANOWRIMO

During Camp NaNoWriMo, I want to at least write 25,000 words for The Obsidian Butterfly and get back on track with this project. I only have 2 months left before school, and since I plan on doing a full course load AND working part-time, I want to go into the school year with a good chunk of this novel’s first draft written (even though technically, this is like the fifth draft). This is still a lot of words, especially since I am working and interning in July, but I think it is doable.

WRITE 2 ARTICLES FOR FLANELLE

Once again, I am bringing this goal back. I have written a few article ideas out, I just actually have to sit down and write them. Like I mentioned before, I enjoy writing for Flanelle because it allows me to write things I wouldn’t post to my blog such as how the film industry is impacted by this pandemic and how art is as well. If you want to check out my articles, here are the links:

COVID-19: The importance of keeping art alive in quarantine

5 Ways to stay creative during quarantine

COVID-19: How is the entertainment industry adapting?

Post One Book Review to Blog

About a month ago, I was given a book to review and I really want to get that up on my blog this coming month. I haven’t done a book review since House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig, so I feel like it is time to write one up. The book I will be reviewing is A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden so stay tuned!


I decided to keep my July goals short and sweet because I know I have a lot going on. It is important to not expect too much for yourself when setting your monthly goals, or really, any goals, because that is setting yourself up for failure. Well, most likely. I hope you enjoyed hearing what I have planned for July, and make sure you comment your goals for July if you have them planned already!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Blog Post:ย Tips for the Creative Entrepreneur

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7 Tips for Conquering Camp NaNoWriMo

Your in-depth guide to achieving your goals and winning Camp NaNoWriMo

Happy Friday!

Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, which is why I will be sharing 7 tips for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo this July.

What I like about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you get to set your own goal. Instead of a word goal, you can have a page goal or even an hour-related goal. It allows you to really tailor it to what you can honestly achieve. Don’t feel forced to try and reach the 50,000 words in one month goal. Do 20,000 or even less if you want!

Even with a flexible goal, it can be hard to make the time to write. Especially with everything going on in the world right now. I recommend using your writing time as you hour or two in the day to escape. While it is essential to be present during some of the crises we face today, it is important to know when to take a breather. Channel all the anxiety, fear, and anger you are feeling into your writing and enjoy your absence from our crazy world for a little bit.

Read on to explore the other 7 tips I have for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo.

1. Spend Time Creating an Outline

Having a guide to what you are supposed to write, and where you are supposed to take your story is one of the main things you MUST do in order to win Camp NaNoWriMo. Even if you are like me and consider yourself a pantser, try and write out the main points of your story and characters in some tangible form. That way, if you don’t feel like writing or don’t know where to start, you will be able to turn to that outline and feel comforted that at least past you knew where the story must go.

If you don’t enjoy outlining, carve out an hour each day for a week or so to spend on your outline. Include an Act I, II, and III with at least 5 major events that occur in each one. Spend time thinking about your characters too. Who are they, what do they like, what are they afraid of? (Check out below for some key questions to ask your characters!) You can make outlining fun too. Put on some music or a podcast and break out your stash of coloured pens and highlighters. I love colour coding when outlining because when you look at your outline during a writing session, it will be easier to find what you are looking for.

2. Install Writing Triggers

Writing triggers are great for getting your mind and body in the writing zone. A writing trigger can be anything from a certain beverage you only drink when it is writing time, or a playlist that you curated specifically for writing. They ensure that when you drink them or smell them or hear them, you will feel obligated to write and hopefully, have a good writing session.

My writing trigger is any lo-fi music, but I do enjoy the Chilled Cow the most. Usually I will just plop my headphones and listen to the Spotify playlist, but sometimes I will play the YouTube videos. They are relaxing and a nice background noise to ensure my mind doesn’t wander because this is the biggest problem I face when writing!

3. Complete a Trial Week of Writing

Before July, take a week the month before to test out your writing schedule. This will show you if it will actually work in your day-to-day life, or if you need to choose a different time of day. Make sure you spend 7 consecutive days testing out your writing schedule. Don’t skip a day or two in between! If you realize your schedule isn’t working, you will save yourself SO much time instead of discovering this when you are actually supposed to be writing. This trial week also serves as a great writing warm-up!

How to Find a Writing Time That Works for YOU:

  • Ask yourself, “When do I have the most free time?” because this might be when you need to be writing!
  • Decide if you are more of a morning or night person. This will tell you when you are most creative and productive.
  • Ask yourself, “Do I work better in writing sprints or straight working sessions?” because this will ensure you get the MOST out of your writing time.

4. Aim Lower…You’ll Achieve More

As backwards as this sounds, it is true. If you sit down knowing you need to write like 1,200 words, you might feel a bit intimidated. If you tell yourself that yes, 1,200 words would be nice but for now, I will just try to hit 1,000 words, there is a good chance you will be able to surpass that. This is because once you hit that 1,000 words mark, you will realize another 200 isn’t too bad. You are already warmed up and the creative juices are flowing, so what’s another 10 or 20 minutes?

5. Reward Yourself

I discuss having a reward system often because it is so important and a huge contributing factor to your success during Camp NaNoWriMo. You need to curate your reward system according to you. For example, some people enjoy experiencing some small rewards after every writing session like a special coffee from the coffee shop or a TV episode. On the other hand, others will enjoy larger rewards after a successful week like going to see a movie or taking an afternoon off.

Rewarding yourself will encourage you to keep writing. It will show you that all your hard work does pay off, thus making you want to keep doing it! Make sure you set limits to your rewards and also guidelines. If you want to have a big reward at the end of each week, how many words minimum do you have to write? Or in your daily sessions, how many words do you have to write? You must know this before you reward yourself, otherwise you will be tossing out rewards left and right, or none at all!

6. Join a Writer’s Group

The great thing about social media is that you have a community right at your fingertips. This is incredibly helpful amidst all of this COVID-19 chaos. Whether you join a group of likeminded writers who are also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo on Twitter or Instagram, having others who will hold you accountable to your goals will help you conquer Camp NaNo.

Check in with each other at the end of each day and discuss if you achieved your goal for that day or if you didn’t and why. These people can help you work through your struggles and offer you advice because most likely, whatever you are feeling regarding writing, someone else in your group has experienced it too. That is the great thing about forming a community. You will feel less alone in this lonely passion and having those connections will encourage you to write even more!

7. Remember that Camp NaNo is Fun!

Remember that the only person truly holding you accountable is yourself. Don’t hold yourself to insane standards, but also do not let yourself slide too much within your goals. Achieve what you can, work hard, but enjoy the experience. At the end of the day, Camp NaNoWriMo is an event where you set your own goals and spend time doing what you love: writing!

Ask yourself: “If I don’t hit my Camp NaNo goal, what will happen?”

Nothing! It just means you have more of your story to write, but guess what? You (probably) have lots of time left to do that in next month and the month after that!

Camp NaNoWriMo (@CampNaNoWriMo) | Twitter

Those are my 7 tips for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed. If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

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