Preptober Week 3 – Determining Your Goals

Happy Monday!

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching so now is the time to kick our prepping into high gear, and get some stories planned. Today we will be discussing all things goals for NaNoWriMo and how to have an overall successful and productive month!

 

Step 1: Create Big SMART Goals

I always bring up SMART goals whenever I make a blog post centred around goals because these are the type of goals you need to focus on making. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time-bound, and by following these five words, you will create goals you can ACTUALLY achieve! When making goals, it is important to make them as directed and specific as possible and to make sure they are goals you can achieve in the time given. Some examples of my big, overall NaNoWriMo goals are:

  • Edit and re-outline character profiles, world history, and act I, II, III by October 31st – I specify what I want to edit and re-outline and also by what date = SMART goal!
  • Write 50k words by November 30th – This is a SMART goal because I determine how many words I want to write by whatever date, and I have achieved it before so I know it is attainable!

Step 2: Create Smaller SMART Goals

Now it is time to narrow our focus into the individual days of November and figure out what daily goals we can make to help lead us to success. The main goal in NaNoWriMo is to write 50k words in 30 days but in order to do that, you need to write at least 1,667 words per day. Maybe you can’t write that much a day though, and 1,667 words in a writing session is a rare, amazing occurrence. Whatever the case, you need to tailor these daily goals to your life and make them attainable so you are not letting yourself down at the end of the day and month. While 1,667 words are the average daily goal, maybe your goal needs to only be 1,000 words a day or maybe you write a lot and want your daily goal to be 2,000 words!

I also recommend if you have the time during the day, to split your NaNo writing session into two or even three sessions. For example, on the weekends (this is only what happens during Camp NaNo or NaNo, I don’t do this every weekend!) I like to write for three 30 minute sessions because, in the end, I finish the day with up to 3,000 words! That way, I still have time to get other things done but still get a lot of writing done. Figure out what works best for you in order to attain your personal daily goal so you can finish the day with the largest amount of words possible!

Step 3: Set Up a Reward System

Now that you have your big and small goals created, it is time to put in place a fun reward system! Whenever you hit a big, overall goal, like you write 50,000 words in NaNoWriMo, reward yourself with a big reward! For example, when I reach 50k I plan on giving myself a weekend free of writing where I get to watch Netflix and basically do whatever I want. November is not only busy because of NaNoWriMo, but also because school really picks up for me during this month so I know I am going to be exhausted by the time November 30th rolls around. When it comes to the smaller, daily goals, I like to give myself little rewards at the end of the week if I have written 5-7 days of that last week. Here are some smaller reward ideas!:

  • 30 mins of Netflix
  • A writing session at a coffee shop!
  • 30 mins at the gym (I know this might not be a reward exactly, but if you use some spare time to workout you will feel AMAZING. Trust me)
  • Reading time! (I don’t know about you, but finding time to read the books I want has been incredibly hard, so this will definitely be a reward for me)
  • Adventure to the bookstore

Step 4: Displaying Your Goals

It is important to have these goals AND your possible rewards displayed somewhere you will always see them. Whether that is when you first wake up or when you sit down to write, have them put up somewhere looking all pretty and exciting for you to see and be reminded of. I know you probably already wrote these goals down, but now take a clean piece of paper and make them colourful and lively; something that will catch your eye.

Okay! Those are the four steps to creating smart goals for NaNoWriMo! Now, to make sure these are truly smart and achievable goals, ask yourself if you know what your overall goals are for the month and how you are going to achieve each one. Know each step, or at least have it written out for you, and remind yourself of the deadlines and rewards for when you finish them!

I hope you found this blog post helpful and that you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below for more bookish and writing related content. Thanks 🙂

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The Shadow King

Happy Friday!

One sort of “resolution” for my blog was to share my own writing from time to time…so that is what I am doing! This is an older story of mine…maybe like from 1.5 years ago when I was 15, but I still wanted to share it because it is polished and well, finished. Can’t really say that about any other of my other writing projects…but anyways, if you want to critique it or give me feedback, don’t hesitate! Tell me you like it, tell me you hate it…whatever your heart contents.


 

Her cloak was a flashing torrent of black as she zipped through the forest. Gnarled roots twisted out of the ground, but the princess skipped over them with beads of sweat dripping down her face and thighs screaming of pain. Her blue nightgown caught on a root and she slammed into a tree trunk, gasping, pushing the hood of her cloak off of her inky curls. She dropped to her knees, exhaustion blurring the edges of her vision. Her eyes scanned around. The towering trees had swallowed her up, shielding her from the outside world with their bushy tops. When she looked over her shoulder there was no sign of her castle in the distance, its vine-twisted, cobblestone walls and candlelit windows now just a faint memory of bitter times.

A silver coin winked down at her from high up in the sky, sprinkles of gold-dusted around it. The moon. Had she been running for that long already? She looked around. Night had settled over the forest. It cast its thick shadows which danced in the small slivers of moonlight, and its crisp wind which swept through the leaves. Pinching her lips together, she pushed herself to her feet and wandered deeper into the forest. The princess’s shoulders tensed, her neck angled and grey eyes keen as they scanned around.

Crunch. She stopped, breath trapped in her chest and fingers halting mid twitch. Goosebumps sprouted along her arms as she took another step forward, the icy claw of fear seizing her throat.

Snap. Her heart leapt from her chest and onto the ground. She placed a hand over her gaping mouth. Past the darkness, something flailed from behind a tree, and a deep groan echoed throughout the forest. Fingers trembling and knees wobbling, she shuffled towards the tree, carefully skirting around it in a big arc. Behind it, a wedge of moonlight trickled down onto a pile of leaves. Something twitched on those leaves; a body angled oddly with a face concealed in the shadows of the night. The princess swallowed down the bulging lump in her throat.

“Hello?” she croaked and then cleared her throat, balling her hands into shaky fists. “Hello?” she called out again. A wheezy breath rattled in the lungs of the body at her feet. The princess grimaced. “Excuse me…are you okay?” Several heartbeats passed, and she was only answered by silence.

Help me,” a raspy voice hissed, and she whirled around, expecting to see someone lurking behind her but there was nothing. It was the lump on the leaves that spoke. She turned back around, her stomach flipping at the face which was now illuminated in the pale moonlight. It was the face of a young man with sickly skin so white traces of blue veins shone underneath, and dark streaks of blood and dirt were slashed across his cheeks. He blinked, his eyes a dull blue, like the sky before a rainstorm. The princess could tell his eyes were once a brilliant blue, maybe even like the ocean on a summer day, but now they were leeched of their colour and empty. His clothes were torn and tattered, and like his face, blood and dirt stained. Her eyes flicked down to his arms and legs, which had deep, bloody gashes carved into them. The princess looked away, fist pressed against her sealed lips.

“What happened to you?” she asked breathlessly. His blue eyes darted around nervously, and his skin was shiny with sweat. The princess’s heart twisted, and she reached down for his frail hand. It was ice cold and thin under hers. He glanced down at their hands, his entire body tremoring before relaxing.

“What happened to you?” She shook her head. “Who did this to you?”

“The…” he started, his voice hitching and his eyes wide. “The Shadow King.” The princess flew away from him like he had suddenly caught on fire, the blood slowly draining itself from her body. “I was a prisoner,” he continued, pulling his arms and legs to his chest, “for two years in his castle.” He shuddered, eyes fluttering shut as poisonous memories tainted his mind. A seed of uneasiness planted itself in her stomach, and she no longer felt as sympathetic for the young man as she did a few seconds ago.

“How did you escape?” she asked, shaking as that name rang inside her mind. The Shadow King. Her mother used to tell her stories of a king who lived underneath their land for centuries. An ambitious king made of darkness and shadows who was tired of living beneath the feet of humans. A king who was building up an army to take over the lands above. The only thing was that it wasn’t a story, but a fragment of history people chose to forget. Until now.

“He let me go,” the young man said, leaning over and coughing. A dark liquid blossomed on the ground next to him and the world tilted under the princess’s feet.

“The Shadow King doesn’t just…let people go,” she said as the young man rolled onto his back, sweat dribbling down his forehead and his chest heaving up and down. The princess bit her lip. “Tell me the truth.” The young man sighed and looked up at her through the corner of his eyes, defeat and exhaustion painted in grey all over his face.

“He-he let me go to-to,” he started, squeezing his eyes shut and grimacing. “T-to deliver a message to the King of Nordom.” The world around her faded, all noise becoming just a faint static in her ears. She shook her head, lips parted. What message would the Shadow King give to my father? What does this mean?

“What is it?” she asked, head snapping up as everything came back into focus. The young man stared blankly at her. She pushed the stray pieces of hair from her face and glared down at him. “I am princess Adelyn of Nordom,” she hissed viciously, startling him and herself. She had never known herself as the kind to hiss, or be vicious. The princess glanced away, shaking her head. “Just tell me. Please.”

“The Shadow King said,” the young man started slowly and hesitantly, licking his dry lips, “that the world will not end in a bang or a crash, but with one scream at a time…u-until there is nothing left,” he paused, lips shaping invisible words. In his lap, his fingers fiddled with each other. “A-and that end is the next Harvest moon.” The world was a carpet being yanked out beneath her feet. Her knees wobbled and she fell onto the forest floor. The next Harvest moon? That was only four days away! Her stomach flopped and flipped like a fish out of water as fear washed over her in monstrous waves, her skin clammy and chest tightening until no air was left. She dragged her eyes to the young man. He was suddenly still and unmoving. Pushing herself to her feet, she walked over to him, arms crossed over her chest as if to defend her from the bitterness of reality. He still didn’t move. Not even when a stick snapped under her foot, the sound echoing sharply throughout the forest.

“Young man?” she asked, bending down next to him and shaking him gently. No response. She leaned over him and gasped. His blue eyes were open and glassy, and he wasn’t blinking. Letting out a soft breath, she closed his eyes with her fingers before scrambling away and retching beside a tree trunk. Tears trickled down her cheeks in winding streams, sobs silent but stabbing pains in her chest. She stared up at the night sky.

The King’s message played over and over in her head. She realized what she had to do. Adelyn had to go back. She had to go home to her parents and warn her people, despite all the mistakes they made she still loved them.

It was only a matter if they would love her back.

Slowly she backed away from the dead body on the ground, and then spun around, breaking into a sprint. The tears continued to roll down her cheeks, the same words playing on a loop in her mind, inching her closer to the edge of insanity.

The world will not end with a bang or a crash, but with one scream at a time. Until there is nothing left.

Those words sounded insane, the product of one who sees ghosts and talks to the moon like she is a friend, but the princess gripped those words to her chest as she ran through the forest, cradling their power and hoping that it was all enough.

How to Write More During NaNoWriMo

Okay, before we get into this post I just wanted to let you guys know that this blog post is a collab with descript.com! I am really excited to be collabing with them because their website works really well with what a lot of my blog posts have been about lately (prepping for NaNoWriMo) so honestly, it was the perfect time for them to approach me. Of course, I would not be collabing with them if I didn’t really think their website would be helpful to you all and it definitely is so I cannot wait to tell you all about it below! Okay, now to the actual blog post…


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NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is all about trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and that is no easy task by any means. To help make it a little easier though, I will be sharing 5 tips on how to write more during the month of November and get a little closer to that 50k goal! If you have been keeping up with my blog this month, you probably noticed that I have been posting Preptober posts every Monday to help with prepping for NaNoWriMo. However, this is a little bonus, Preptober blog post because it is Wednesday, not Monday so I hope you enjoy!

Descript.com

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As I mentioned above, this is a collab with descript.com. Basically, Descript is a transcribing website where you can record audio for a podcast, video, or even your NaNoWriMo project, and then insert that audio onto their website. They will transcribe your audio and allow you to physically edit the words you spoke! It is great because if you don’t have the time to sit down and physically write, you can talk out your story and transcribe when you get the chance. It is also a great way to break through writer’s block because sometimes we just need to talk things out and get those creative juices flowing to finally find the motivation to write again. If you want to learn more about how descript.com can help you overcome writer’s block, especially during NaNoWriMo, check out their super informative blog post all about it HERE. Also, if you decide to give their website a try (you get 30 mins of it free when you sign up, but it is pretty affordable if it is something you think you will use!) let me know how you liked it and what you used it for 🙂

Freewrite In the AM

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One thing I have gotten back into recently is journalling right when I wake up in the morning. I sit down with some coffee at around 6am and try to write at least a page of my thoughts, feelings, and goals for the day. Journalling is a great way to get your creativity flowing early on in the day and it sets you up for writing success later on. Instead of writing about what’s on your mind though, especially during NaNoWriMo, you could freewrite a short story or part of your NaNoWriMo project just to get you started for the day. This warms up my mind and helps me crank out 1-3k words each day!

Listen to 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang!

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Whenever I am feeling unmotivated or I just really need to sit down and get some words down for the day, I know that I can always count on the amazing podcast 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang. I have been a HUGE fan of this podcast for over 2 years now…wow, that’s a long time, and I recommend it with my whole heart. It features people of different creative backgrounds like writers, actors, and literary agents who offer really useful advice for pursuing creativity. I always finish each episode itching for my computer so definitely check it out throughout the month of November!

Plan Goals for Each Writing Session

I don’t always do this but I wish I did because it helps me immensely in determining how productive my next writing session will be. After a writing session, I like to first off, take a step back and breath because I probably had been writing for a while. Secondly, I like to take a piece of paper and a pen, and looking at my outline, see what major(ish) beats I need to hit next. These are just 1-3 major (or minor, but still important) points I need to hit in the next scene in order to make it exciting, interesting, and also easier for me to write. This way I still let my panster side run wild in the next writing session, but I have a loose map I can still follow so I don’t get lost. I recommend trying this to see if it works for you and if it doesn’t, that’s alright! If it does, that is awesome because it always helps me so, so much when I do this.

Set Aside 1-2 Hours of Self-Care Each Day

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I talk about taking breaks a lot in my writing posts but it is just something that all writers need to keep being reminded of, so here I am, mentioning it again. I’ve talked about how you can set aside one day a week for self-care, or like an hour at night every once and a while, but I am back with a slightly different tip. I am challenging you to take 1-2 hours every. Single. Night to focus on yourself. After a day of writing, working, and existing, you need time. So, take this hour or so to watch TV, read, or just lie down and exist. This is super important to do, especially during NaNoWriMo, so you don’t burn yourself out. I get a little wound up when NaNoWriMo hits, and usually spend a lot of time at my computer and my back does NOT appreciate that. So, my goal for this November (apart from writing 50k) is to take a 1-2 hour break for just me every night (probably 8-10pm) to relax.

Those are my 5 tips on how to write more during NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out Descript.com and their blog post all about how to use their website to overcome writer’s block because it is a really cool and efficient way to write this November! Also, make sure you check out my last blog post and all of my social media accounts linked below for more writing and bookish related fun. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Preptober Week 2 – Are You Planning Enough?

 

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Preptober Week 2 – Are You Planning Enough?

Happy Monday!

First of all, before we get into this Preptober post, I wanted to apologize for not having my usual, weekly reading and writing update up yesterday and having this blog post up later than usual. I’m Canadian so it was my Thanksgiving weekend (and still is) and I was visiting family and just did not have time to sit down and write a blog post, let alone pre-write blog posts for the week which is what I usually do. But that’s ok! I am back now with this brand new Preptober post that I hope you all enjoy 🙂


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Are you prepping enough?

This is a really important question when it comes to preparing for the event that is NaNoWriMo because it has time constraints and a massive goal surrounding it…and because of that, you don’t have the time to continue outlining in November because that is the time you need to spend writing your story! So, to make sure your prepping doesn’t get carried out in November, here are some tips and tricks and things to keep in mind during Preptober.

Sit Down and PLAN

Sit down with your notebook right now (well, after you finish reading this post!) and plan out your characters, world, history, plot, and the overall synopsis of your story. Just sit down and go through all of that, making as much progress as you can in each section. Those are 5 things that you MUST have in-depth, detailed planning for otherwise, you will still be planning in NaNoWriMo.

I recommend having at least 2 pages of information for each character, like AT THE VERY LEAST. This will include their age, race, family, likes/dislikes, personality, past, etc, etc. When you plan out the world and the history, I recommend planning it out like it is a book that is going to be read in schools across the world. However, remember that you are always, always going to know more than your readers, so if you have a lot of info about your world and its history, don’t freak out about trying to fit that all into your story…no, no, a lot of that is just for you so you can write the best story ever. With your plot, this is where you can tweak things depending on the type of writer you are. If you are a plotter, you are going to have pages of plot and like, every scene plotted and connected to others. If you are more of a pantser like me (although, I have been forcing myself to plan a lot for this project), then you are going to want to just have enough to get you through your story. I recommend having a good idea of the beginning, middle and end, and how all those parts are going to connect. These are all super important things to plan, and you need to make sure you plan all of this otherwise you might get disappointed when November 30th comes around and your still several thousand words short on your project.

Ask Questions

Okay, when you finish planning and plotting (and this does take time, like at least a whole month sometimes!), you need to figure out if you actually know what you are writing. Yeah sure, you can sit down and fill a notebook with info but that doesn’t always mean that you are ready to write your story. That is why we answer some questions about our project just to make sure. Here are some questions I ask myself:

  • If someone asked me what my project was about, what would I say? How would I describe it? Do I have a good synopsis that someone who has no knowledge of my story would understand?
  • How would the characters in my world react to some of the things happening in MY world? Or things that happened in my world a long time ago? What part would they have in it, or would they not have any part in it at all?
  • Do I know my ending? Do I know how I am going to get there? (P.S. I don’t always know my ending, but I have noticed over the years that it really does help to have an overall idea on what that ending is…it makes for a better story and also makes it easier for you to write and edit.)
  • If I had to teach a history lesson of this world I created, what would be the 5 major events I would focus on? These are the 5 major events that people in the future could not ignore or forget. How do these events affect this world now? 
  • If my characters were all together and witnessed someone in need (someone fell down, dropped their groceries, etc, etc), how would they respond? Who would help? Who would pretend they didn’t see it and carry on with their day? Who would just watch? 

These are just SOME question ideas you can ask yourself and of course, tailor to your own story. I recommend asking anywhere from 10-15 questions because they will really test your knowledge on your world and characters to make sure you are ready for NaNoWriMo. If you have trouble answering one or two questions, maybe head back to your outline and go over what you wrote, adding whatever needs to be added so you can answer these questions!

Make a Story Bible

What is a story bible? Why do I need one? These are both very valid questions that guess what? I am going to be answering right now! So, a story bible is a handy little notebook, a piece of paper, the backside of a napkin or really whatever, that has some basic info on your story that is ready for you to access whenever. It can have the first and last names of characters, the five major historical events that affect your world, or just really anything that is necessary to your story and will be needed lots. For example, my WIP deals with lots of mythology so I have the names of some immediate gods and also character names in my little, handy notebook. It is great to turn to while writing instead of having to dig through all your notes to find whatever it is you need. It saves time and stress so make one and fill it with whatever you need.

There it is! My three major tips to make sure you are planning enough for NaNoWriMo and are chugging along on the path of success. I really hope you found this all helpful and for even more tips, check out my last Preptober blog post here where I give a quick overview on how to get ready for NaNoWriMo this year. I link a lot of great worksheets for building characters, world-building, and creating your plot so check those out! Also, make sure you check out my last blog post and social media accounts which are always linked below for more writing and reading related fun. Thanks!

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Preptober Week 1 – Getting Started

Happy October!

October is one of my favourite months because it is rainy, spooky, and also the month before NaNoWriMo, Preptober! I will be spending Preptober working on re-outlining my WIP to write technically draft 3, but since I didn’t fully finish writing draft 2, I’m going to call it draft 2.5. But anyway, in today’s post I will be talking about determining your NaNoWriMo project and getting ready for a month of prepping. I hope it’s helpful and let’s just get into it!

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Quick Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Project:

  • What genre is it?
  • Who is telling the story?
  • What are the major plot points in this story that you NEED to hit?
  • Who is it for? Young adults, middle grade, adults?
  • How would you describe it in one sentence?
  • Why are you writing this story? For yourself, for someone else, just because?
  • When are you going to try and write? Early mornings, late at night?
  • What are 3 things that you do to motivate yourself to write? Go for a walk, read a book, watch some AuthorTube?
  • What are you going to use to write this story? A notebook and pen, your laptop, a typewriter?

Step 1: Meet Your Characters

Who are they? What do they do? Who are their friends, their enemies, their lovers, their family? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their fears? Their passions? What do they hate? If they could change one thing about themselves, what would that be? There are so many questions to ask them and on Tomi Adeyemi’s website (author of Children of Blood and Bone), she has a great selection of character sheets for you to print off so click HERE for them!

Step 2: Create Your World

Whether you are creating a magical world or writing a story in our world, you still need to build it. If you are creating a brand new one, draw maps, write up the world’s history like its battles, leaders, etc. Know who the leader of it is and how the political system works and such. If you are using our world, how do your characters and plot fit into it? Where does it take place? What year? What month? Here is a link to someone’s blog post I found for some more ideas of what to consider in your world if you need some more ideas!

Step 3: Build Your Plot

Now that you have your characters and world, build your plot around them. How do they interact with the plot? What sort of plot would make sense with these characters and world? I would recommend having like 9 main plot points that you need to hit throughout your story, and then connect them with the strings (subplots) to keep your story at a good pace and still interesting! Again, Tomi Adeyemi has some amazing posts regarding plot so for more ideas and insight, click HERE. Just scroll down until you see the PLOT related posts but as I was linking this, I realized that she also has a FREE plot course! That is amazing so if you are interested, click HERE.

Step 4: Keep Organized

You have this information so make sure you keep it all organized! Separate characters from world building from the plot but keep it in a place where you can easily access it whenever you need. I recommend a physical notebook over keeping things on your laptop, but whatever is easier and works best for you, do that! If you prefer staying organized on your computer, I do have some recommendations that I’ve used and liked in the past: Scrivener, Evernote, Word, Google Docs.

Step 5: Create a (Loose) Schedule

One thing I stand by is to try and stick to a schedule during the first week of NaNoWriMo. If it doesn’t work out, then whatever, just write when you can, but if it does stick then you will get so much more done! You will get in the habit of writing at certain times and when that time comes, you will actually feel like writing. Or at least feel like you should be writing. For example, recently I have been getting up a little earlier on weekdays and writing a bit. Sometimes only for 30 mins but sometimes even more than that. It allows me to start my day off being productive and makes sure I get some words in each day. I also write in the later afternoon after I get home from school and relaxed a bit, but before dinner time. These are the times that have recently been working for me but sometimes change. And that’s okay! I recommend spending October trying to figure out a potential writing schedule because if it works, NaNoWriMo will be sooo much easier.

More Fun Things to Get You Ready for NaNoWriMo:

Videos: Preptober|Planning Your Novel for NaNoWriMo – Kristen Martin

NaNoWriMo Prep|Survival Kit – Natalia Leigh

Blog Posts: NaNoWriMo Prep #1, #2, #3, #4 – by ME!

That is all I have for this week’s Preptober post and I hope you enjoyed and found it helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts all linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

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All About NaNoWriMo

The month of November is fast approaching as well as October, two very important months for writers. While I have talked about it quite a bit on my blog, I thought it would be helpful to make a post where I put all the information you need to know about NaNoWriMo and Preptober is for you to learn about it.

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So, What IS NaNoWriMo and Preptober?

First off, Preptober is a time during the month of October where writers plot and outline the story they will be writing in November for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month” and is an online based event where you try to write a first draft (50,000 words) in one month. You can make an account at nanowrimo.org where you can create your project, meet writing buddies, and also see if there are any local, NaNoWriMo events near you. It is a time for writers across the world to come together and get their stories on the page.

Do You Have to Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days?

While that is the ultimate goal, it is completely alright if you don’t achieve that. The point of NaNoWriMo is to motivate you to write more than you would if you didn’t participate, and even if that is only 100 words, that is still a success. Don’t let that daunting word count goal keep you from joining because it is still a lot of fun!

Perks of NaNoWriMo?

Well, apart from getting some productive writing done, there are sponsor offers that NaNoWriMo offers to the participants and winners of NaNoWriMo. Even if you don’t write 50k, some goodies are still offered to you. Here are some past examples of sponsor offers: a certain percentage for both participants and winners off of Scrivener, money off of online writing community subscriptions, and much more!

Like I said before, it is also a great way to meet writing friends whether that is online or in-person which is always great. There is even a NaNoWriMo YouTube account where they post writing tip videos and virtual write-ins all year round that comes in handy during November when you need to get some writing done! Lastly, on Twitter, NaNoWriMo has a word sprint account where during Camp NaNoWriMo (writing even that takes place during April and July every year and is the same thing as NaNoWriMo except you create your own goal) and NaNoWriMo, they host writing sprints that are incredibly helpful in getting words on the page.

Tips for NaNoWriMo?

  • Use October wisely to prep yourself for a full month of writing. Plan out everything possible and more so you don’t waste any time adding to your outline in November!
  • Figure out how you write best before November. Do you write better in short or long sessions? Morning or night? With tea or without tea?
  • Make yourself a “writing motivation pack” full of things that wrangle you free of writer’s block. For example, I watch AuthorTube videos when I need some inspiration and listen to fantasy playlists to get me in the mood for my project.
  • Keep up with my blog posts during October and November where I share tips and tricks for the two months!

That is all I have to share about Preptober and NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed! In October AND November, I will be posting weekly posts all about preparing for NaNoWriMo and staying motivated while writing, so keep your eyes opened for those. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as all my social media accounts linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Things I Learned From Writing the 1st Draft

 

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Things I Learned from Writing the 1st Draft

The best way to learn about writing is by doing it, and while I have written my fair share of first drafts, I still learn a lot each time I sit down and begin a new story. On April 1st of this year, I sat down to write the first draft of my WIP I like to call “Project Mystic”. This is by far my most developed project and is something I am still working on today, but boy, did I learn a lot after writing its (AWFUL) first draft. Today, I am going to give a list of all the things I learned while writing its first draft that helped me become a better and more understanding writer.

  • First drafts really do suck
  • Only time will make your writing good
  • Your ideas will change with each draft, and that’s okay
  • Sometimes our thoughts don’t translate perfectly onto the page…and that is also okay
  • The more you love your project, the faster you will get through that horrid first draft…don’t waste your time on a project you aren’t passionate about!
  • You have to be okay with things not going according to plan otherwise you will spiral in on yourself
  • Just get it done. No matter how crap it is, just keep on writing
  • But remember to take lots of breaks…whole day breaks, weekend breaks, evening breaks, whatever fits your needs
  • First drafts can be as long or short as you need them to be, there is no right length
  • Stretch…a lot. This goes for whenever you are sitting at your computer for long periods of time, whether its when writing your first draft or not
  • The writing routine/schedule you are using for your first draft might not hold out the entire drafting process, and it probably won’t be the same routine you use for your other drafts or other projects. Be flexible
  • If you change something from your original outline make sure you add it into your outline right away! You don’t want to write it in and then have no idea where to go from there
  • Be patient and enjoy the process of writing your first draft

So there is my rambly list of things I’ve learned from writing the first draft and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and my social media accounts which are all linked below! Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: October 2018 TBR

 

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Tools for Writers

All writers have some tools up their sleeves that they use whenever they write, but in case you are in search of some new ones, here are a few of my personal recommendations!

Grammarly

Image result for grammarly

I recently got the free version of Grammarly and not only is it great for essays and other school assignments, but it is also great for short stories and other creative writing projects. I wouldn’t recommend it for poetry, but if you are submitting a short piece to a contest/literary magazine, I would recommend giving it a try! The free version catches any obvious and common grammar errors, and also helps drive you to write stronger sentences. Sometimes when using creative pieces in it, it isn’t the best, but for those grammar errors, it’s really useful. (I’m actually using it right now to write this post)

MyWriteClub

Image result for mywriteclub

When it is not NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo season, I like to use MyWriteClub to track my writing progress. I am not the best when it comes to keeping up with always putting my daily/weekly word counts in…but that is something I am trying to form a habit of. If you like tracking your progress, especially if you have multiple writing projects, I definitely recommend this website!

Pinterest

Image result for pinterest

I am 99% sure I put this in every writing tool related post, but it’s because it’s probably the best tool out there for writers. You can search for writing prompts of all genres, setting inspiration like forests, castles, etc, characters, and outfits. It has everything you need on one website/app but just make sure you don’t spend too much time on it. We all get a little distracted by Pinterest’s wonders sometimes, but try not to get sucked into the deep, dark hole too often.

Craft Literary

This is a great website where you can submit your own work and also where you can get helpful writing tips. There are lots of websites similar to this one, but I decided to give this one a try one day and really like it. If you sign up for their email you also get some extra tidbits and don’t worry, they don’t bombard you with emails every day or even every week.

Prompt Generator

I absolutely love using this website if I just want to write a fun, little story, or I can’t seem to rack my brain for one, single idea. It is also great if you are in a writing class and need to write a lot of stories because after searching our brains for ideas for hours, our brains kind of turn to mush. What I like to do is spend maybe 15 minutes on this website with my notebook in hand just writing down all the prompts it gives me so whenever I am in need of one, I just can flip through it quickly and pick one.

Those are 5 of my top writing tools and I hope you give them a try if you haven’t already! Make sure you comment some of your favourite writing tools because I am always looking for more to explore. Also, check out my last blog post and all my social media accounts linked down below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: 5 Books That Surprised Me

 

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Going Into College As A Writer – Tips, Tricks, and Things To Keep in Mind

Helloooo everybody!

Today I have a post I am really excited to share and really enjoyed putting together. I will be talking about going into college as a writer because I am a writer in my senior year, meaning I am applying for colleges this year and going into my first year in about elevenish months… Because of that, I put together some tips, tricks, and important things to keep in mind when applying for majors, minors, scholarships, and also just approaching your years to come.

Applying

First off, it is important to figure out what you are going to college to study. Is it related to writing? Is it not? These are all really important things to think about and decide before you apply for your dream school(s). Obviously.

As of now, I plan to study English and minor in Professional Communication because those are two things that could benefit my career as a writer. It is important to realize that you become a better writer not by studying it at college, but by constantly writing new things. That is the only way to become a stronger writer and you can’t go into your first year and expect that studying writing or English will instantly make you a fantastic writer who will 100% get published. It can be helpful to study something apart from writing or English that will benefit your writing like history or business; something that you can make into your back up plan or just help yourself become a more diverse writer.

I decided to study English because while I want to write novels, I also want to write short stories, articles, essays, and blog posts. I want to become better at grammar and structure because those are two things I can easily improve in, and English is all about that. My Professional Communication minor will also help that because it focuses all on business and social media writing, two things that could help me find jobs still related to writing. While being a fiction writer is ideal, that will only come in time and while we should aim high and follow our dreams, we need some realistic revelations sometimes as well.

Scholarships

Lots of scholarships require you to write essays about yourself or your career plans so if you are a writer, it would only make sense to focus on the scholarships where you can let your writing skills shine. Keep an eye out for the ones that requirer longer essays because students who don’t like to write will definitely stray away from those. I also recommend submitting just to writing contests overall because you can get prize money for them too. Find essay and short story contests, or whatever you feel most comfortable writing and submit! Sometimes writers forget that this is an option and really, it is a great way to make money for school! Here are some contests I recommend:

Reminders

  • Writing classes won’t exactly make you a better writer, especially if you enjoy writing YA fantasy or whatever genre stories. Writing classes at colleges are geared toward writing stories of “high class” literature and it’s important to remember that.
  • While it may be your dream to study writing, sometimes it’s best to major in something apart from that passion…you might start to hate it or doubt yourself by the end of it all.
  • Writing is the only way you will become a better writer. Focus on your own stories in your own genres and trust that success will come within time.

That is all for this 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 below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: How I Became a Writer – Storytime

 

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How I Became a Writer – Storytime

While most writers were avid readers since a young age, that really was not the case with me. While I enjoyed stories, I liked having people read them TO me rather than read them myself. I was a very active and outdoorsy kid who would rather run free outside with friends then sit inside for hours. However, I did read the Magic Tree House and Geronimo Stilton series occasionally despite them being way under my age level at the time. My fourth-grade teacher told me to try and branch out my reading a little bit more but if anything, that only hindered my growing love of reading and I stopped for a few months.

When it comes to a writer’s journey, reading is really the start of it all. The falling in love with storytelling and characters and a life apart from our own. And finally, the chance to create our own. While my true love and passion for reading came a little bit later on in my life, I made up for the lack of reading as a younger child with one of my favourite games at the time called “what-if?” I played this almost every day, coming up with different scenarios to ask my mother and that was when my love for storytelling sparked…even though I didn’t realize it at the time. And while I wasn’t reading a lot, I was playing make-believe games with my friends all day every day, and was creating worlds of my own in my head to live in. However, reading did come full force into my life when I was ten years old. I had just moved to a new school in a town close to where my family lived and I spent more time with my older cousin who introduced me to a movie called Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. I absolutely adored the movie because of its characters, story and of course its mythology. I had to have more and to my luck, it was a book series. A fantastic book series as well that led me to, later on, realize how terrible the movie was. But it was what got me into reading and became the only series I read for a solid two or three years. Eventually, I expanded my horizon to the spinoff series, The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, and also The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth. Around this same time, when I was thirteen years old, my eighth grade English class teacher gave us the assignment to write a short story. Since we had just finished a unit on fairy tales, I decided to write a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood where Little Red Riding Hood was an assassin trying to discover the murderer of her family and the kidnapper of her grandmother. It was…awful, but of course, at the time, it wasn’t that bad. That was the turning point of my passion for writing because my teacher gave me such kind and uplifting feedback that I wanted to keep writing stories…and I did!

Writing this story opened the gateway to writing for me and I needed to write more. One day, my younger brother came home from school with a flyer advertising a local(ish) writing contest looking for ocean-themed stories. I submitted to two contests previous to this one with no such luck, but at age thirteen I was anything but unmotivated. I wrote a story inspired by the recent and sudden death of my brand new pet fish, except in the story the fish is flushed down the toilet by its owners who didn’t realize the fish was actually dead. I wrote about the fish’s adventures in the ocean as it tries to figure out where it is and what to do next. Somehow…it won. I, of course, was ecstatic and winning this contest gave me even more validation that maybe I could do this. That moment made me realize that I could potentially make money off of writing and turn it into my career with time, practice, and motivation. Since then, I haven’t stopped writing because that is the best thing you can do to move your career forward; write. Practice and practice and practice and eventually, success will come. That is something I’ve learned in my four years of being an active writer and is ultimately the most important realization. Without stories to share, you won’t get anywhere as a writer.

Thanks for listening to my story on how I became a writer and I hope you enjoyed! Let me know in the comments how you became a writer, and the journey you’ve taken to get to where you are now because I’d love to know. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Favourite Books of 2018…So Far

 

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