It Begins With the Book by Zoe Mathers

It begins with the book.

You started reading it the week before school. Your very first week of university. You made it to page seventy-two and are already both knees deep in the world and best friends with the characters. The night before school starts you read twenty more pages before placing it on the nightstand next to your bed and turning out the light.

The first day of school is a blur of racing from concrete building to concrete building and trying to remember that the concrete building with the blue door is where you history class is. The concrete building with the orange door is where your philosophy class is. After hearing the drone of your philosophy prof’s voice though, you hope you forget that your philosophy class is in the concrete building with the orange door and discover the coffee shop next to it instead.

The first day of school is a blur of faces. Some stick out more than the rest. Mostly the ones with bright smiles and who said hello to you first. You meet Michael. Michael is also a first year in history. He has floppy dark curls and a big grin that makes you smile back even though you’re so nervous your knees are bouncing. Michael makes you forget that your book is in your bag, the one you were going to read before class started and the one you read twenty pages of last night. He is the reason you forget to pick it up when you’re sitting on the grass during your fifty minute break. Instead, you stare out at the trees and the students walking by. The ones that dart past like bees narrowing in on a flower are all visibly first years. Their shoes are shiny, their coats aren’t missing any of their buttons, and their faces are slathered in makeup. The second, third, and fourth years all languidly stroll past you.

A lot of them have cracked, leather satchels and glasses sliding down the bridge of their nose.

That night you sit in bed on your phone. The book is still in your bag and the bookmark is still stuck between pages seventy-one and seventy-two. You found Michael’s Instagram after approximately fifteen minutes of scrolling through boys named Michael with floppy dark curls. He is from somewhere in Vancouver. He has, or had, a lot of friends. Lots of them are pretty, blonde girls all holding cups probably filled with beer or vodka or some other drink that would make your stomach twist. One boy with dark skin and short hair comes up in a lot of Michael’s pictures. Their arms are wrapped around each other. Their cheeks are pressed together.

You guess Michael and you will only ever be friends.

You put your phone down and turn off the light. The book still sits in your bag and it sits in your bag for the next night, and the night after that. Soon, its home becomes the bag.

It begins with the book but it moves on to other things too.

It’s almost October. School is three weeks deep into your life and already, its claws have torn it up into a shredded mess. You are struggling to keep the pieces from flying away. You are chasing and shoving them in your bag where your book still sits. When it fills up, you stuff them under your arms and even in your mouth.

In the second week of school, you lost your soccer ball. You thought you left it underneath the deck of your parents house, where it always is, but when you checked, it vanished. You miss kicking it down the field. You miss the wind against your face, in your hair and cushioning you as you bring the ball to the net.

It begins with the book, but it took your soccer ball too.

You don’t look for your soccer ball again. All the time spent busing to your parents house and then looking for it took away time from your history paper. The five page one on Canadian women in the second World War. It was due at midnight that night and you barely finished it because you spent all that time looking for your soccer ball. When you get your paper back, the mark makes you cringe and think about the soccer ball.

You could just buy a new one, but you don’t.

It’s a couple days into October now. The leaves are brown and their corpses stick to the soles of your shoes. The wind is blocked by your sweater as you hurry home, but you still shiver because you’re always cold now.

There is a bookstore on the walk home from the bus stop. You used to stare in the windows and then go in when you couldn’t hold yourself back. You would browse the shelves slowly and carefully, your eyes not leaving a single book behind. You would sit in the designated reading chair hidden between the young adult and children’s section and devour the first chapter of a book before buying it. Or decide it was bad and choose another.

But now you walk past the bookstore and stare into its empty, dark abyss cradled by the window. It’s closed and your reflected face is the only thing you see.

You walk away.

In your room there is a stack of unread books that you made for yourself at the beginning of the year. Before school started. You had plans to get through that stack of five books before the end of the semester. Your bookmark is still wedged between page seventy-one and seventy-two in the book that is still hiding in your bag and has been since the first day.

There is a brand new soccer ball that sits in the shadows underneath your bed. Your uncle got it for you because the reason you couldn’t find your ball is because his dog chewed it up. You haven’t touched it or even taken off the wrapping.

When you get home, you either pull out your laptop and binge YouTube or go over your lecture notes on Canadian history, or you just sit there. You sit there and think about things that don’t mean anything. You think about Michael who you haven’t spoken to since the second day of school when you sat next to him but he was already talking to the boy with sandy hair and glasses. You think about all the parties on campus you missed because you were nose deep in a book. Not your books, but the books they make you read for school. The ones where when you open them and the words seem to run together into blots of ink that make absolutely no sense. You think about your kind-of-friends. The ones who you see on only on Friday nights. Even then, all you guys do is sit around, drink beer (which doesn’t make your stomach twist anymore) and watch “Friends”. Occasionally you all laugh at something or complain about homework. Usually the only talking between friends is the conversations of the two-dimensional ones on the TV.

And then finally, you think about the book you still haven’t finished. The one lying in your bag. The part you read was good. You wanted to know what would happen next. You still do.

You pull your bag into your lap and yank it out. A corner is creased and the cover feels a little damp.

You peel open the first page and then to where your bookmark is. You read the first word and then the second word. Soon you’re done the page and you’re sprawled out on your bed. The world in the story rises up around you and devours you without warning. But you don’t mind. The characters reach out for you, hands grabbing yours before pulling you in headfirst. But you wanted them to.

You are pretty sure you had an assignment due about an hour ago, but you don’t care. The book is better. The story brings you back alive as if you’ve been Frankensteined after years of being dead. Something flickers inside of you. It’s warm and faint, but as the pages fly by it grows hotter and brighter.

It begins with the book and then the soccer ball.

It took them both from you. It took the things that lit your spirit with brilliant colour but now you have enlightened the cold, empty space it left behind.

You need this book.

You need this soccer ball.

You were lost without the things that gave you life. You lost your way along the walkway with a dozen different paths all heading into a grey haze. You lost your way among the anxious crowd of other students all stumbling in every direction. You aren’t sure which ones to follow. You aren’t sure who knows where they are going. It takes you a while to realize that no one knows that yet.

But finally, a light has flickered in the distance.

 

Well, that was my random short story that kind of sums up the basic idea of what I have been feeling lately…It has been a struggle trying to find myself again and reconnect with the things that I love to do and make me, well, me. Without them, I’ve felt a little lost but I am slowly reconnecting with them again.

I hope you enjoyed, and 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! 🙂

Last Blog Post: Am I Participating in NaNoWriMo?

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5 Writing Prompts for Fall!

5 Writing Prompts for Fall.png

Happy Friday!

Fall is in the air! The days are shorter, nights are darker, and the air is cooler – all meaning my favourite time of the year is fast-approaching. In honour of that, I decided it would be fun to share 10 fall writing prompts to get your creativity flowing this fall. I have done a lot of reading and book related posts these past few weeks, so it is time for a writing-related post anyways!

Here are five writing prompts from me to you 🙂

  1. You turn the corner onto your empty and quiet street only to find it covered in the thick shadows of the night. The streetlights remain unlit and shadows seem to dance in the small pockets of moonlight. You grip your backpack straps and begin walking down the sidewalk but the sound of dry leaves crunching under feet echoes from somewhere down the dark street. You pause and squint through the darkness. The sound continues, suddenly appearing right behind you and you whirl around to find…
  2. Orange flames crackle and hiss from the red brick fireplace as you snuggle deep into the couch  with a cup of hot tea steaming in your hands. Just as you raise the cup to your lips, banging erupts at the door. Each knock is hard and followed by another. You freeze, slowly setting the cup down and rising to your feet. You knew this day would come, but you didn’t know it would be so soon.
  3. Where you’re from, Halloween is the day where monsters and creatures alike can infiltrate the mortal world without consequence. Although this year is different. This year they plan on taking over and elect you as their leader. What they don’t know is, is that you’re half-human and you’re family lives in the mortal world.
  4. The trail is littered with the colours of fall and the sky is hazy with grey clouds. You shiver but he offers you his sweater. You shrug it on and smile, but he suddenly looks pale. “You okay?” You ask and he nods, lips forming soundless words. “I love you,” he says suddenly and you freeze. He watches you expectantly for an answer, eyes hopeful, but you can’t say it back. You still haven’t told him the whole truth.
  5. The bus comes in five minutes but you’re only tugging on your shoes. You yank on your jacket and fish around in the pockets for your bus pass, but your fingers find a slip of paper instead. Its delicately folded and inside, a message is written in pretty cursive. The words make your heart drop: You have 3 days.

Those are all the writing prompts I have for you today, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Also, if you want to support me and my blog, buy me a coffee with the link down below and get early access to my blog posts!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: September 2019 Wrap Up

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September Writing Goals

Happy Saturday!

I know it is still a week out until September, but I really wanted to think about what exactly I want to get accomplished during my very first year of university. I wanted to be realistic, but still make sure I got a little bit of my own, personal writing done because that is what fuels me as a person.

Also, I recently created a “Buy Me A Coffee” account! This is a really easy and simple way for creators to get support from their viewers so if you like reading my content, it would mean so much if you would consider contributing a little bit so I can continue making my blog a top priority during the school year. Thanks for supporting me regardless 🙂

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  • Write 1,000 Words Per Week – The key to success with writing, especially during busy times, is consistency. Even if it is small, setting a daily or weekly word count is essential to ensure I keep writing in my life. My ENTIRE degree is about reading and writing because I am pursuing English, so I know making time for my own writing will be a struggle. 1,000 words a week may not seem like a lot, but eventually, it will get me somewhere and that’s all that matters!
  • Write One New Short Story – I have had a couple short story ideas in my head over the summer, but I was in a weird funk for most of August (and I still am honestly) so I never got to actually writing them. I am kind of bummed about that, but I know if I stick to my 1,000 words per week goal, I will eventually be able to finish one short story.
  • Publish Three Blog Posts Per Week – A huge goal for me, especially during this first month of school, is keeping up my blog post count to ensure I do that for the rest of the year. I’ve realized over the last year, that eventually, I would really like to be able to profit a bit off of it because of all the time and energy I’ve put into it and the only way to achieve that is to be active on it!
  • Come Up With Two New Story Ideas – To ensure I keep writing a new short story every month, I have to actually have ideas. I want to sit down a couple times during the month with my notebook in hand and brainstorm some semi-fleshed out story ideas that are ready to go the next time I have the time to write. It saves a lot of writing time and is a good way to keep your brain creative!

 

Those are all of my writing goals for September 2019, aka probably one of the busiest months of my entire life, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post below, as well as my Buy Me A Coffee link and social media accounts which are all down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Attack of the Reading and Writing Slump

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Tips for a Successful Side Hustle

typewriter

Happy Thursday!

Sorry for no post on Monday, but since I am pre-writing a bunch of blog posts over the next two weeks before school starts (yes, I am actually being productive for once), hopefully, that won’t happen again for a while.

Anyways, today I will be sharing my tips and tricks that I learned throughout my two months of pursuing freelance writing as a side hustle! I love reading about this kind of stuff myself because I think it is a really good idea to have a side hustle. Something that you enjoy, and can profit off of even if you don’t make a whole lot.

Here are five tips from me to you!

1. Make Time for It

Because it is called a “side hustle”, sometimes it can get neglected more than it should. When you begin a side hustle, make sure you do have the time and energy to put into it! Figure out when and where in your schedule it fits in best, and carve that time out weekly for you to work and grow it. Just like a full-time job is usually from 9-5 and five days a week, maybe your side hustle can be from 7-9 and two or three times a week. Whatever works for you.

2. Make a Plan and Follow It

With any new career, especially if it’s freelance, it is essential to create a plan for it. You need to outline your first steps, your overall goals, and then everything in between. With this plan, it will be a lot easier to figure out what twists and turns you need to take in order to achieve success with your side hustle.

For example, my plan for my freelance writing business was to start small. I charged a very small fee for my first few blog posts in order to build up a little more clientele and background. As I keep going, I make my fee a more justifiable amount and continue to build up my portfolio!

Your plan doesn’t need to be incredibly detailed or long, but it should give you enough of a base to work off of.

3. Treat It As Important As Your Full-Time Job

Your side hustle should be important to you and therefore, worthy of your time just like your full-time job. If you look down upon it in comparison to your other job, then it will start to lack because of that. Remember that just because your side hustle is that, a side hustle, doesn’t mean it should get pushed too far away to the side. Make sure it is being seen, heard, and attended to!

4. Don’t Pour TOO Much Money Into Your Side Hustle

It is also important to remember that when it comes to the money aspect of starting your own side hustle business, the amount of money you pour into should definitely be limited. Because like I said above, a side hustle is that, a side hustle. Don’t pour all of your funds into it otherwise you may very well be left with nothing! And besides, a side hustle isn’t meant to take over your entire life and career. Usually, you begin a side hustle because you want to make a little extra money on the side doing something you enjoy!

5. Don’t Let It Distract You From Your Full-Time Job

For a THIRD time, a side hustle is a SIDE HUSTLE. While you need to give it a certain amount of time throughout your week in order for you to see actual development within it, you cannot let it take away all your time (especially at the beginning of its start-up) away from your actual job. You know, the one that is making you the real money to oh, I don’t know…pay for your food, your rent, your clothes, your life, etc, etc. Don’t neglect your full-time job because you have a shiny, new side hustle!

Here are some awesome books on pursuing a side hustle that you should definitely check out!

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days

100 Side Hustles : Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job

I hope you found these five tips on how to run a successful side hustle helpful! 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 🙂

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How I Plan + Write My Blog Posts

Happy Monday!

Currently, I am on a nine day long vacation visiting some family, but I pre-wrote these blogs posts so I don’t fall off the face of the earth…again. However, I thought this was a great opportunity to share you guys how I plan and write my blog posts. This is how I plan them whether I am going vacation or just figuring out my next line of content, but if you are thinking of starting a blog or want an insight to someone else’s routine, then this will be helpful!

I hope you enjoy!

PLANNING

Month by Month

Personally, I began planning out my blog content month by month. A few days before the end of each month, I will sit down and come up with at least most of my content for the entire month. It is super helpful if you are busy during the month and can’t always ensure you will have the time or energy to plan out your blog posts before they are scheduled to go up. Since I am starting my first year of university in around a month, this is what I’ve found is the easiest and most efficient way to make sure I am not neglecting my blog!

Have a Few “Staple” Blog Posts

By this, I mean have a few blog posts that you do almost every month. Whether these are reviews, TBRs, favourites, etc, etc, it is nice to have a few that you can fall back on when you are lacking creativity. A lot of the time, I will sit down at the end of each month and find that as I’m planning, I am slowly losing steam. When that happens, I just use my couple of staple blog posts so that there are days I’m not posting nothing even if it isn’t the most original idea.

Writing

Setting Aside Time

I post around 12-15 blog posts a month, so no way do I sit down and write them all for that month in ONE WHOLE DAY. Yeah, no. While I plan my blog posts out before the month even starts, that doesn’t mean I write them that ahead too. In fact, I usually write them the day before they are due to go up, or if I am feeling productive, I will write all three meant to go upcoming that week on Sunday.

This is just works best for me, and so far, has ensured that I don’t skip out on any blog days. If I know I have a busy week and will not be able to write anything for my blog, I will take a three hour chunk out of my Sunday to write them all up. To be honest, this is most likely what I will be doing once school starts although, the way I have it worked into my schedule as of now, is after my last class on Friday, I will work on writing up my blog content for Saturday, Monday, and Thursday of the coming week instead of Sunday. It is just what I think will work best, but we will see!

 

That is how I plan and I write blog posts, and I hope it was not only interesting, but helpful too! 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 🙂

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5 Websites for Beginner Freelance Writers

Happy Saturday!

I myself am a beginner freelance writer (check out my freelance writing page on my blog for more info!) and since June, have been on the lookout for jobs. Luckily, I have found some success so I wanted to share all the helpful websites I’ve used to find jobs, tips, and experience with any of you who in the same boat as me!

I hope this helps!

FIVERR

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This is an excellent website to start off on. It allows you to make a profile for free and post the gigs you want to do and how much you are willing to get paid for it. Without doing an excessive amount of promotion, I have managed to snag a few jobs on this website and it has been a great experience! I recommend starting off asking for a low price but then as you get more experience you can raise your pay. If you are a decent writer and fluent in English, you are almost guaranteed to get a few jobs on here!

FREELANCEWRITINGGIGS

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Not only is this website great for job postings, but it is also a good place to get helpful tips and tricks on paving your way as a freelance writer. I highly recommend delving into some blog posts of their’s because you will definitely learn a lot about this career and how to set yourself up for success. As I continue my freelance career, I will be spreading my wisdom, but until then, check out theirs!

PROBLOGGER

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ProBlogger is great for posting a variety of jobs daily, and I have found some really interesting freelance gigs on here! I haven’t been successful yet on this website, but it has definitely opened my eyes to the type of writing gigs I want to keep my eyes open for and pursue. Don’t feel discouraged if like me, you are unlucky at the moment on this website because as long as you are trying and applying to different positions, something will eventually come!

BLOGGINGPRO

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There are more than blogging jobs on this website, but I personally love it for the blogging jobs it offers. There is a great variety and includes some pretty interesting ones that catch my eye. Apart from the jobs, there is also helpful wisdom that they offer that you can read. I know they offer tips about succeeding with WordPress which is super helpful to know if you are pursuing freelance blogging jobs like myself!

INDEED

Image result for indeed

Indeed is not only good for any type of jobs but also writing jobs! I look on here daily for local positions as well as remote, and a lot of good stuff comes up! Because of that, I definitely recommend adding this to your list of freelance writing websites because you never know what local or remote positions could come up that are a perfect fit for you. Unlike the other websites, they don’t include writing or freelancing tips, but these jobs are pretty trustworthy and less likely to be scams like they can be on some of the other websites. I’ve even been successful a few times!

 

Those are the 5 best websites for beginner freelance writers and I hope you enjoyed and found all of this helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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How I Write Screenplays

Hello!

I thought it would be fun to share my writing process for screenplays, because I have noticed it’s a little different than my writing process for say, a short story or novel. This is definitely because when writing a screenplay, you should only be writing one because it is a story that has to be enjoyed on a screen, not on pages.

Here is my process and some helpful tips on how I write screenplays!

Part One – The Conflict

For me, the main conflict is what comes to me first, or is what I try to search for first. It has to be a conflict that once again, can only be acted out live rather than in words. It has to be complex and fleshed out enough in order for me to connect it with the right characters and the right plot line.

WHAT MAKES GOOD CONFLICT?

  • There’s a Reason for It – Sometimes, we have conflict that seems to arise from nowhere. Make sure there is a reason and cause for your conflict because otherwise, it won’t be believable.
  • It’s Interesting – This seems obvious, but it’s true! Make sure your conflict is entertaining and exciting otherwise with the rest of the story will fall flat. Ensure there are multiple sides to the conflict and ways it can go wrong that create tension for your story and characters.
  • It Can’t Be Solved in One Minute – A common problem related to conflict is having your conflict solved TOO easily. One character stabs the villain and then BOOM, it is over, done, sealed, solved. No, conflict should include a journey to solve and should have a believable solution when that finally occurs.

Part Two – The Rest of the Story

Before characters, I like to come up with the rest of the story because I like to fit the characters into it. Kind of like a puzzle.

I also use the three act structure like I do with my short stories and novels. It is a way of dividing up the story that works for me, because it doesn’t separate it too much.

Here is how I make use of each act:

Act I – The Beginning: introductions to characters + the world, introduced to conflict, goals are created

Act II – The Middle: goals are being sought after, story deepens, realizations occur, journey begins

Act III – The End: achievement of goals is in sight, story lines come together, a solution is made evident and is coming, tension

That is how I structure my act I, II, and III, and looking back, it looks a little all over the place, but hitting these key points within each act helps me create a fleshed out story.

Again, it is exactly how I structure my short stories and novels, but one thing I try to focus more on in my screenplays is action, action, action. What is happening that keeps up the story’s pace? How can I keep up tension, suspense, interest, etc? My goals while screenwriting is making sure things are happening and moving forward in a way that makes sense, and in a way that keeps people interested.

Part Three – The Characters

Now comes for another essential part to any story: the characters. Some people don’t like to do characters last, but I do because I like to figure out how my characters fit into the story, and how they contribute to it.

Questions to Ask Your Characters:

  • What is your goal? Is it the same as most of the characters, or different?
  • Are you trying to stop someone or something?
  • Are you trying to help someone or something?
  • Is there anything that would stop you from achieving your goal(s)?
  • What would help you achieve your goal(s)?

Again, very action related. What drives them? What stops them? Screenplays in my head are always go, go, go. You aren’t concerning yourself with too much exposition or fluff, it’s dialogue and action which is one thing I really do enjoy writing!

The formatting of screenplays is the only thing I don’t enjoy doing, which is why I use templates! You can Google a screenplay template, or if you have Scrivener, they have an awesome screenplay template on there which is what I used for my writing class last year.

Hopefully you got some good tips for writing a screenplay, especially if you never have attempted one before! I really recommend it because while I prefer short stories and novels, learning the process of writing a screenplay has definitely made me a better writer overall.

 

That is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! 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 🙂

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Camp NaNoWriMo – Plans, Goals + More

Happy Monday!

Today is the FIRST day of Camp NaNoWriMo, so I thought it would be a good idea to share with you all what exactly I plan on working on this month. What story am I tackling? What’s my word goal? Well, all of that will be discussed right now.

At first, I was not going to make this because once again, I am working on my Aztec mythology story that oh, I’ve worked on for the past 3 or 4 Camp NaNoWriMos. What I am most excited about though, is that I’ve managed to stay in love with this project even after all this time. Usually, I write an idea (as a short story) and then edit it a bit and boom, done. I don’t ever have the desire to work on it more. However, this is a story I just have not been able to get how I want for whatever reason, but that only makes me want to work on it more. I am definitely getting closer and I am willing to take the time it needs to get there.

To be honest, apart from my word goal of 17,000 for this project (and I might write a short story if an idea comes to me), my main goal of this month is to fall back in love with writing. Actually, now that I think about it, that is not the right way to phrase it. I still love writing and there hasn’t been a moment where I stopped, but over this past month or so, I’ve definitely neglected it and it has not made me feel good. I was busy so I am not blaming myself, but I really want to spend this month working on my writing and getting back into the routine of it. It always brings me joy but I just want to make sure I am actively doing it. These past two months have been some of the greatest months of my life in all aspects, mentally, physically, socially, etc, etc, but one part (or two, but they kind of go hand in hand) that has been lacking is writing and reading. I have been neglecting my passions and while it has still been a fun and good time, there is this part of me that feels incomplete just because I am not carving out that bit of time each day to focus on what fuels me as a person. As we got to the end of June, I definitely felt myself lacking and gathering energy from a dry well. Yesterday though, I spent a good hour reading and just enjoying literature and it felt AMAZING. I also finally finished a book and I think it is either the first or second book I finished in June…however, I am still on track for my reading goal!

But yes, this month is, of course, me trying to reach my goal of 17k words, but overall, I am striving to recenter myself as a creative being. Already I have written my words for today and it was my first writing session in a long, long time. I wrote 1, 846 words and it filled me with the sort of happiness you only get when you are pursuing what you absolutely adore. I cannot wait to sit down again tomorrow and write some more words, but I am trying not to push it at the same time. I write when I feel like it (I do aim for the mornings still though), what I feel like (still on my main project), and how long I feel like. So far, it’s going great, and I hope your Camp NaNoWriMo is as well!

That is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Tips for Creating Your Writing Portfolio

Happy Monday!

Whenever the summer approaches, I get in the mood of wanting to finally start putting together my writing portfolio (which I never actually do, but this year I will!!) so I thought I would share with you guys what I’m doing to get mine prepped and ready, and some tips on how you can do that as well. I’ve done a post like this in the past, but since then, I’ve learned some more valuable tips and tricks when it comes to making it. Anyways, onto the post!

What Is a Writing Portfolio?

A writing portfolio is a collection of your best-written works that are on display for future employers to look at, offering them examples of your writing for them to debate whether they want to hire you or not. These are the pieces that you have put a lot of work and effort into and are the pieces you believe showcase you as a writer best.

Examples of Pieces:

  • Blog posts on topics related to what you are interested in and associated with
  • Short stories
  • Essays on topics you are interested in and associated with
  • Poems
  • Excerpts of FINISHED novels
  • News articles
  • Screenplays
  • Stage plays

TIPS:

  • Make Sure Nothing Is More Than 2 Years Old – You want to showcase your updated writing skills because every time we write, we get a little bit better. After 2 years, you definitely would have gotten a LOT better, and you want to exhibit that to potential employers!
  • Write Pieces Associated With Your “Brand” – By this, I mean don’t write things you think employers want to read. Write about what you usually write about because that is who you are as a writer. You want to come across as authentic as possible in your portfolio.
  • Incorporate As Many Writing Styles Possible – If you blog, write poems, and write short stories than that is great! Incorporate as many writing styles as you enjoy doing because that will make your portfolio much more diverse for potential employers. Personally, my portfolio will include blog posts, short stories, poems, essays, screenplays, and news articles (in the future) because those are the things I like to write.
  • Only Showcase Your BEST Writing – Don’t add something in that you just wrote and only gave a quick look over. Put in pieces that you’ve been working on for a while and have gotten your full attention.
  • Develop a Portfolio Over Time – The thing about creating your writing portfolio is that it takes time. You can put some pieces you’ve already polished up into it, but it is something that you should add to over time. For example, I’ve just written a few pieces that I am pretty proud of over the last 2 months, but this summer, I am going to be working on them a bit more just so they are the best they can be.
  • But Give Yourself a Timeline – I know I said let it develop over time, I do mean this, BUT you want to have something useable ASAP at the same time. What I’m doing is I am trying to get at least 4 of my already written and edited pieces (that I will work on over the summer) in my portfolio (which will be accessed through my blog) by the end of summer…so August 31. It is just a good idea so you are giving yourself lots of time, but not an infinite amount that means you will never get it finished.
  • Use As Many Pieces As Possible – Don’t use every piece you have ever written, but the more the better. I read an article that suggested you have anywhere from 10-35 pieces. Again, the 35 pieces end of it would be your portfolio after a few years of adding to it, but still, it is good to provide future and potential employers with lots of examples of your writing.

That is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! My main tip though is to take your time. Put effort into your pieces and good things will result because of it. Anyways, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts (because I am active on Instagram again!) linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: How To: Write + COMPLETELY Edit a Short Story In ONE Week

 

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How To: Write + COMPLETELY Edit a Short Story In ONE Week

Happy Friday! (Just kidding. I decided to post this a day early so happy THURSDAY!)

This past week, I have been writing like a madwoman because as always, I put things off to the last moment. This “thing” I put off was a writing scholarship portfolio that is due actually today when you are reading this, so fingers crossed, the submission process for future Zoe went well.

Anyways, I always do things last minute, especially writing things, so I thought I would give some of my tips for fast-drafting and polishing up a short story in a short time span. Also, apparently May is short story month so this is the perfect time to share this blog post with you all. Hopefully, you all find this helpful and if you have any tips of your own, make sure you leave them down below!

  1. Outline, Outline, Outline – Even if you aren’t a huge fan of outlining (like myself), I highly, HIGHLY recommend writing out an outline before fast-drafting. Even if it is only a sentence of what happens in the beginning, middle, and end, then that is better than nothing and will help you so much while drafting. This will save you from those moments where you pause your writing sprint because you have no idea where you are going with this story.
  2. Do More Than One Draft – When it comes to short stories, I will try to do a draft a day. Especially if I have at least one week before it needs to be finished and ready to go. If I am even shorter on time, I’ll write draft one in the morning, draft two in the evening and so on. Personally, I like to write at least three drafts. Sometimes more if I think the story desperately needs it, but usually at three I decide it is a good time to let it sit for a moment before diving into edits.
  3. Start With the BIG Edits – Honestly, I do not know the “right” or “proper” way to edit. I do what works best for me which is making the huge changes first. This means cutting chunks out, re-writing sections, and adjusting dialogue and character descriptions. Also, just overall trying to get to my word count goal. I personally don’t see the point in starting with the little edits because I end up slicing up my drafts and barely any of the words survive to see the next day!
  4. Now For the Little Edits – Now, after glossing up your story and finally, FINALLY getting it to your desired word count, it is time to focus on the smaller, yet very important things. This is things like grammar, italicizing words, fixing word order, etc, etc. The little things that make the sentences flow nicely and make them sound beautiful.
  5. Let It Sit – If you have the time to spare, let your story sit for at LEAST one day. If you can afford to give it more, than great. Usually, I only have one day. So, I will give my story that one day and then usually the day it’s due (yes, I know, I’m SO on top of things), I will give it a final tweaking. No big edits though because that could start a total disaster.

Those are my 5 tips for writing short stories while under tight deadlines and I hope they were helpful! 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 🙂

Last Blog Post: Writer Spotlight – Margaret Atwood

 

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