Reading + Writing Update!

This week was definitely a slower week, reading, writing, and really everything wise. It was a long and hard week and I can easily say I am happy it is over. However, I obviously got some reading and writing done so here is my quick update!

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Earlier this week I decided I needed a break from fantasy and was in desperate need of a fun, light hearted contemporary read. So, like always, I turned to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han! No surprise there. I am actually about 30 pages away from finishing so I might even be done by the time this goes up…if that is the case, I will probably pick up American Panda by Gloria Chao next because who actually sticks to their TBR? Not me, that’s for sure. Like I said, contemporaries just sound really appealing right now so why not?

As for writing, I am still ahead! Although, not as much. I am about a day or two ahead because I ended up taking another day off. Like I said, it was a hard week but I am hoping to get back into the swing of things this coming week. If all goes as plan, and if I manage to push through the current scene I am writing which is a) unplanned and b) difficult, I should reach my 40,000 word goal by Wednesday. But does the writing stop there? Of course not! That puts me at maybe halfway through draft one so there is still a long road ahead. Anyways, enough rambling! Here is my daily word counts from the past week:

Sunday: 1,551

Monday: 2,770

Tuesday: 1,732

Wednesday: 0

Thursday: 1,281

Friday: 0

Saturday: 2,490

Weekly Word Count: 7,642 words

That is all for this reading and writing update and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below, as well as my social media accounts. I have been super active on Instagram and Twitter so definitely follow those 🙂

Last Blog Post: Popular Books I Haven’t Read

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Popular Books I Haven’t Read

Up until this year I had been pretty caught up with all the hyped up new releases, but since the school year started I have fallen so far behind it may take YEARS for me to catch up which is why I am making this list to remind myself to actually pick these up eventually. If any of the books I list are amazing, let me know so I can get to them sooner!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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I cannot tell you how much I want to read this book, especially sine the movie will be out in the near future. This is book has seemed to be read by everyone and their sister, and has received amazing reviews so it only makes me want to read it more. Honestly, I have no good excuse to why I haven’t picked this book up, other than the fact that I have been trying to read the books on my shelf first!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adyemi 

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This was a book that I had no idea about until about a month before its release date and I immediately became obsessed. I want to read it soooo badly and everyone seems to love it so I am hoping to get my hands on it soon! I do know that it is a massive, fantasy book though so maybe I will wait till the summer so I can devote a solid three days to reading it.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black 

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The Cruel Prince is actually a book I own, so I could read it whenever and knock it off the TBR. However, my current TBR is sky high and sadly The Cruel Prince is somewhere close to the bottom…that isn’t to say I don’t want to read, because I really do! I adore books about faeries and lots of people I know have loved this book, so I am looking forward to diving into it when I get the chance.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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Okay, technically I have read this book, but even after finishing it I could not remember a single thing I had just read. Why? I have no idea. The parts I very faintly remember, I do remember enjoying though. I really want to re read this book and then jump into the sequel, because I own both and also because I feel really bad saying this because I know it is a lot of people’s favourite book!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 

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I really enjoyed the TV show adaptation of this book, but yes, I haven’t read the book yet. I know, I know, I am ashamed as well! However, there are quite a few mixed reviews on this book but since it does cover an important topic, I do hope that I will eventually get to it. Let me know if it is worth giving a read, or if I should just stick to the TV show!

Those are a few of the many popular books I haven’t read yet, and don’t forget to let me know which ones I need to read ASAP! Also, make sure you check out the blog posts linked below for more bookish/writing related content 🙂

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2: Catching Up

Welcome to week 2 of Camp NaNoWriMo, the week where most writers lose the initial excitement of their project and struggle to put words on the page! Or were you already there? Personally, I haven’t struggled with this as much as I usually would, but I do know a lot of people who have so this blog post is for you! I wanted to give a few of my tips for what I do when I need to catch up on my words, and hopefully any of you in need of this will find it help 🙂

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  • Stretch Your Daily Word Count A Bit – By this, I do not mean add like 1000 words to your daily word count, but maybe a few hundred. Adding two or even three hundred a day will make a massive difference in the end, and might even allow you to fully catch up within a week or two. Try this if the next tip sounds a little daunting to you, because I can wholeheartedly confirm that this will help.
  • Writing Marathon!!! – So if you have a day where you a lot of free time, I recommend trying to write as much as you can. Make sure you give yourself a few breaks here and there, but if you have the time, spend a couple hours just writing. You will be amazed by how much you can get done, and it might be enough to fully catch up and even get a bit ahead. All depending on how far behind you are of course!
  • Remember, Do Not Stress About It! – Camp NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a fun, personal challenge to see how much you can get done. I mean, that is why you set your own goal! If you are falling behind, and don’t know if you will catch up, don’t stress about that number at the bottom of your WIP because you are getting a lot more done than you would if you weren’t participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. Whether you get some words on the page each day or not, it isn’t the end of the world.
  • Freewrite It – Maybe the reason you are behind might not be because you skipped a few days, but because the words just aren’t coming. If this is the case, maybe try and loosen your grip on your outline and just go with the flow. Write what feels right, even if it doesn’t make sense next to your outline or your original outcome of your story. It will get your creativity flowing, and remember, the first draft is just you word vomiting anyways, so it doesn’t have to make sense!

Those are a few tips on how to catch up if you have fallen behind in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked before for more writing and reading related content 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

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Reading + Writing Update!

This week has been incredibly productive reading and writing wise so I am especially excited to share my progress with you all today!

It is currently April 8th and I have already finished two books already this month! For me, that is crazy because for the last month or two, two books is all I have managed to get done. It also means I am only reading one book instead of four, which is also a relief. Last night I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and overall I enjoyed it, but I absolutely flew through those last one hundred pages because it was so good! Highly recommend. Now I will be finishing off Labyrinth Lost which I have about one hundred pages left of, and then diving head first into The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, a book that has been on my TBR since what feels like the beginning of time.

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I cannot believe the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo is done. It went by so fast and I am incredibly proud of how much I managed to get done, all on top of also writing a short story for a literary magazine. My daily word goal to achieve 40,000 words by the end of the month is 1,334 words, and the days I did write, I easily achieved that. My average was actually about 2,000 words a day which was great, because the words just kept flowing! However, I wrote absolutely nothing on Thursday and Friday because a friend from out of town came, but I managed to catch up on Saturday! I will leave my daily word counts below though just to see how well I did. Since I took two whole days off I am going to try and not do that again because catching up was a little stressful, especially this specific weekend when I have to study for a chemistry midterm and have about a billion assignments due…but it was nice to see I could actually do it.

Day 1: 2,086 words

Day 2: 2,216 words

Day 3: 1,344 words

Day 4: 2,000 words

Day 5: 0 words

Day 6: 0 words

Day 7: 2,389 words

Weekly Total: 10,035 words

That is all for my reading and writing update and I hope you enjoyed! What books did you just finish? How is your Camp NaNoWriMo going? Let me know in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post and my Camp NaNoWriMo ones linked down below.

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2018: Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

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Things All Aspiring Writers Should Do

The title says it all. Yesterday I was reading some craft books and I came across some really good tips for aspiring writers. I wanted to share them on my blog to help other aspiring writers as well, so that they can be their best writerly self!

  • Don’t Worry Too Much About Building Your Platform – Yes, having a presence on social media is important, but first you need to finish whatever project you are working on. You don’t want to spend valuable writing time working on posting pictures to your Instagram (unless you did all your writing for the day!) when you could be taking steps closer to finishing your manuscript. Besides, you have so much time after you finish your manuscript to take on social media.
  • Attend Writer’s Conference/Writing Groups – It is so important to reach out to other writers not just over social media, but in person. Going to writer’s conference lets you do that, and you can also make valuable contacts from established writers, editors, publishers, agents, etc. They are also a lot of fun to attend! Writer’s groups are equally important, and most places have one so do some research and make some writing friends! Those people might become your critique group which will be an incredibly important asset to your writing journey.
  • Reflect on Your Writing Process in a Journal – I express this a lot, and that is to write in a journal! It is a great writing exercise to just allow yourself to free write about really anything, but it is also a good way to remind yourself how far you have come and where you are at. Write down what you have accomplished in this past month, or even year. Just seeing in words what you have done will make you feel better about your writing.
  • Set Goals and Stay Accountable – When it comes to goals, set big ones but not entirely out of reach. You can even write these goals down in your journal and make sure you tell yourself why you want to achieve them and how you are going to do that. Another tip when it comes to setting goals is to create a deadline for these goals. If that deadline is too long sometimes you won’t start thinking about that goal until it is almost to late. Personally, I make overall, big annual goals that I set out to achieve each year, but I also create bimonthly goals (two months) that are stepping stones to these big goals.
  • Always Ask These Three Questions About Your Story – Whether you are outlining or sitting down to write, always ask yourself these three questions about your story: Who is my story about? What is their goal? What will keep them from that goal? It will remind you what path you need to take in your writing, and fuel new ideas!

Those are several tips I managed to collect from some craft books and I hope you enjoyed! Since this post was based off of craft books, I left a short list below of some of my favourites that I think both aspiring and established writers would benefit from. Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post also linked below.

Last Blog Post: April 2018 TBR

Craft Book Recommendations:

Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market

Novel & Short Stories Market

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2018 Biannual Bibliothon Day 5: Rewrite A Scene From A Book

Happy day 5! Sorry this blog post didn’t go up sooner, I was having a hard time coming up with decent content for today’s challenge, wondering if I should just skip it or not because I don’t have much time to work on it…but in the spirit of the Biannual Bibliothon, I decided to just go for it.

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For today’s challenge, hosted be @readerrayna, basically you just have to rewrite a scene from a book and then incorporate magic into it. I love to write, so I was really excited for this challenge, however, I forgot how difficult it would be to write something with someone else’s characters and story. I did it though, and it was a lot of fun! The book I chose to write a scene from is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and is the scene where Charlie, Sam and Patrick are driving through the Fort Pitt Tunnel really fast and Charlie says, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” Yeah? Okay, let’s do this!


Patrick and Sam shared a grin as I slipped into the backseat of Sam’s pickup truck. I guess I looked confused because Sam smiled and winked at me before tossing her keys over to Patrick. He caught them and suddenly the air was filled with the sound of the engine sputtering to life.

“Tunnel.” Sam said immediately, as if that single word meant something. I could see it meant something to Patrick because the grin on his face widened. Soon we were zipping through the traffic, the light of the city blurred by the raindrops streaming down the windows. I pressed my nose against it, feeling the coolness and listening to the fast pop song pulsing out of the radio. I still had no idea where we were going and I said this aloud.

“You’ll see,” Patrick said teasingly. “But it’ll totally blow your mind.” Sam chuckled at her brother, pulling something out of her pocket. It was silver and thin, like a writing utensil. She pressed the tip to the dashboard and drew, gliding the stick in loops. I leaned over, resting my chin on the shoulder of Sam’s seat to see what she was drawing. She pulled back, and I could see that the whole dashboard was filled with shimmering infinity symbols.

“Why?” I asked but they just shared a mischievous look.

Suddenly Patrick sped up as we neared a tunnel. I could see the yellow lights that flooded from its mouth like a hungry beast. I gripped the worn seats, my heart loud in my ears.

“Do you trust us, Charlie?” Sam called out over the roar of her old truck’s engine. I just pressed my lips together and nodded. We were in the tunnel now, its end nowhere in sight. Sam laughed carelessly and crawled next to me in the backseat, opening the back window. I stared at her as she slipped out, her dress billowing around her in the winds, a look of wonder on her face. Patrick glanced back and smiled softly as she held out her arms, threading her fingers through the wind. All I could do was watch her.

“Prepare for lift off.” Patrick mumbled. I turned around. We had reached the end of the tunnel now, the yellow tunnel lights fading and the dark city returning. Sam climbed back in, her cheeks flushed and her eyes wild.

“Hold on tight,” she whispered, gripping my hand as the truck lurched upwards. I gasped, probably crushing her fingers in my grip. The truck’s wheels skimmed above the road, floating higher and higher in the air as Patrick pressed his foot on the gas.

“What-” I started, stomach tight. I looked at the dashboard, eyes widening at the infinity symbols which were now glowing with silver, the light growing brighter and brighter. Beside me, Sam didn’t look scared. She let go of my hand and pressed it against the window as she looked down at the city. I swallowed nervously and turned to my own window. The city buildings were tiny from up here, the cars winding down the busy roads like black ants scurrying for food. I felt big. Bigger than a city that made me feel so small. A laugh escaped from me. It was amazing.

I tore my eyes from the window and looked at Patrick and then at Sam, and then back at the shrinking city below where we were just known as nobodies, misfits. But up here we were everything, the stomping giants of the sky. I looked out the front window at the dark clouds, seeing only a vastness in front of us. Patrick and Sam were watching it too with wide eyes.

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.


 

And there we go! I hope you enjoyed my little scene, sorry if it isn’t that great, I just had fifteen minutes to spare so I quickly wrote that but I still hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to check out my two posts from yesterday: 2018 Biannual Bibliothon Day 4: Holiday/Winter Fantasy Bucket List + Day 4: Reading Update! Also, stay tuned to for my reading update coming tonight. I can already tell you it will be a bit better than my one from yesterday!

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My Writing Routine!

I made a blog post about my writing routine sometime in 2017, but it has changed a lot in the last month so I decided to make a revamped version so you guys can see what my process of writing looks like! I hope you enjoy and make sure to comment what your writing routine looks like.

6:00pm

Lately I have been writing at this coffee shop like three minutes from my house. It’s big, quiet and has lots of cute writing nooks. Since I go there to write multiple times a week, I usually just order a green tea so I don’t run out of money by next week. Once I have my tea, I open Spotify on my phone and listen to Spotify’s “Productive Morning” playlist because it is a massive playlist of calm music. I cannot write easily to music with lyrics, which is why I like this playlist so much, so if you are in search of a playlist like that then check it out!

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6:15pm

By now I have my music playing, my tea, and my Word document open on my computer so I dive into writing. I try not to write with any particular goal in mind, because I have realized that it is a lot harder for me to write with the pressure of reaching a goal of say 1000 words. Despite that, it is unusual for me to leave the coffee shop with at least 1000 words done.

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7:00-7:15pm

This is the time I usually finish writing for the night unless I am so distracted by my writing that I end up staying an extra thirty minutes or so. Sometimes this happens but I am usually too tired to stay any longer. As long as I get 1000 words down, I feel accomplished though!

That is all for my writing routine and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: 5 Resources for Writers!

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5 Resources for Writers!

The internet has created an insane amount of resources for writers, but here are 5 of my personal favourites to help narrow down the picking. I hope you enjoy!

Writing Exercises

Feeling stumped? Check out this website for writers where they have an endless supply of generators to get your creative juices flowing like random first line, character, plot generator, and a “what if” scenario. I could spend hours just playing with the generators, so this is definitely one of my go to websites when I have absolutely no idea what to write.

Pinterest 

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I could not make a writing resource post and not include Pinterest, because it is the holy grail when it comes to visualizing your story. Not only can you create boards of your story setting and characters, you can also scroll through their endless amount of creative writing prompts. When I really need to picture a setting or character of mine, I automatically go to Pinterest, and also if I want some writing prompts! Check out my Pinterest linked below because I have a board with a lot of writing prompts I have found over the past year.

WritersDigest

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If you are a writer, you have definitely checked out the WritersDigest website because it is amazing and so helpful. Not only do they have writing contests and classes, but they also have free writing downloads that are really interesting and helpful when it comes to striving to pursue writing. Some of my personal favourites of the free downloads are “How Do I Write and Sell Short Ficition” and “Selling Your Work Online”.

The Write Life

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I follow them on Twitter and I always look forward to the bits of information they give out, because it has really made me aware of things I wasn’t before, like the fact that you have to write a cover letter when submitting to literary magazines. What a life saver! On their website, you will find tips on freelancing, craft, blogging, marketing, and a few other things so definitely click their name and it will take you to their website!

Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard is the author of a few different YA books, one of the being the bestselling book “Truthwitch” and on her website is the motherload of writing advice. If you sign up to her newsletter, you will also occasionally receive newsletters on writing in your email (not very often though so don’t worry). Honestly, you could spend hours on her website soaking up every bit of information she has shared with us aspiring writers and I really encourage you to check it out!

Those are my 5 favourite writing resources that I always turn to when I need ideas or advice, and hopefully you found them helpful! If you have any writing resources you use, comment them below because I’m always looking for more. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Balancing Writing with a Writing Life

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Reading/Writing Update!

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I have read 3 books this week…crazy I know right. And they weren’t rereads either! Each one I really enjoyed, and have just made me more motivated to read. The last book I finished was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, and I picked it up at around 9pm and finished it at 12am. It was so good I couldn’t put it down (except for the collective twenty minutes I had to get ready for bed and clean my room) but it was just so gripping I had to know how it would end. I don’t know exactly what to pick up next…I feel like an easy contemporary but I also kind of want to start on This Savage Song…hmm. I think I am going to pick up This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab because I have heard nothing but AMAZING things about it so I am curious to see if it lives up to the hype. Also this is my first Victoria/V.E. Scwab book so yay!

As for writing, I have been writing about 1000 words a day since Thursday, and am loving getting back into writing. Last night after finishing We Were Liars, I could not sleep because one, I was too sad and two, I really wasn’t tired at all, so I got my laptop and started writing. I wrote until about 2am and finished with just over 1000 words which I was really happy about. From past writing experiences I have realized that if I get the urge to write, I need to just write because otherwise it can be really hard to get myself to sit down and write. It is easy once I get going, but as they say, starting is the hardest part.

That is all for my reading/writing update and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: 5 Goals Every Writer Should Set + How to Stay Accountable

P.S. All the pictures I use in my heading and blog posts are NOT mine. I do not take credit for them because I am an awful photographer, but if you are the owner or know the owner of any of the photos I use please tell me so I can give them credit!

5 Goals Every Writer Should Set + How to Stay Accountable

It is essential to have goals if you are a writer, especially if you plan on going somewhere with your writing. Most important though, it is essential to actually stick to those goals because otherwise you won’t find yourself where you want to be by the time the next year comes rolling around, and trust me, it will come a lot faster than anticipated. A lot of people make the mistake of setting these massive goals and then giving up two weeks into the new year, so today I will be sharing some of my personal ideas, goals and tips centered around creating and sticking to writing related goals!

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  1. Write Everyday – If you are a writer, you probably already write everyday. I know I do, even if it is not related to my fiction writing. Writing everyday includes writing a story, essay, blog post, or even a journal entry, really anything that relates to using your writing muscle. This is a really easy goal to make, and honestly it may be the easiest one to keep up with. Just set aside anywhere between ten minutes to even an hour in the morning, afternoon or evening and write in your journal or even a quick blog post. The point is, to be a writer, you have to actually write.
  2. Submit to At Least One Literary Magazine or Writing Contest – It amazes me how many people don’t take the opportunity to submit their work to literary magazines or writing contests, especially if it is completely free for you to do! Submitting your work to magazines is a great way to get your name and work out there and the writing world, and even possibly make some money off of the thing you love to do. If you need some recommendations for literary magazines to submit to, definitely check out my blog post where I share 10 literary magazines that are completely free to submit to!
  3. Read, Read, Read – This is an obvious one, but it is one that needs to be  enforced because sometimes we get so caught up with our writing that we forget to read. Reading helps motivate and inspire us to write, and is an essential ingredient to creating a story. Even if you are caught up in writing your own story, don’t forget to crack open a book even if it is just for 15 minutes a day.
  4. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo/NaNoWriMo – Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo give you the motivation (and excuse) to write during the month of July and November, and give you a reason to connect with other writers from around the world. Even if you do not reach the goal of 50k words in a month, as long as NaNoWriMo gets you to write something I see that as a huge success! So definitely add participating in Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo to your goals for 2018 because it is such a fun and beneficial experience. it will amaze you how much of a manuscript you can get done in a short period of time.
  5. Connect With Other Writers – This had never been a goal of mine until this year, when I realized how important it is to connect with other writers. Writing is a lonely task, and if you have someone else to discuss writing with, it will make it less lonely. Also, by connecting with other writers you can share your work with each other, get feedback and learn how to give feedback too; all things that benefit and create a well-rounded writer!

BeFunky Design

When it comes to staying accountable to your goals, it is important to one, create goals that are not too far out of reach, but just far enough to get you out of your comfort zone and two, create goals that you control the outcome of. By this I mean not writing down I resolve to win one writing contest this year…because while that would be amazing, you are not in control of who the judges choose. Instead, choose a broader goal like I resolve to enter one writing contest this year. Now that is something you can control. And finally third, create goals but also create a plan to achieve those goals. It is easy to write down I resolve to enter one writing contest this year, but how are you going to actually do this? Are you going to write everyday for two weeks before the contest? Are you going to start editing three days before? These are important things to think of when writing down your goals, and it will make them so much easier to achieve when you know exactly how you are going to do it.

Ways I stay accountable to my goals are by treating myself to a reward if I write everyday for a week, or accomplish a goal by submitting different pieces of work to a few literary magazines or writing contests. If you reward yourself, you will find yourself feeling more motivated to accomplishing the goals on your list. Another way I make sure I accomplish my goals, is by setting reminders on my phone because sometimes I honestly just forget. Sometimes I need that reminder to sit down and write for thirty minutes, or sometimes I forget that a writing contest deadline is coming up. Writing it down isn’t always enough.

 

Those are some goals every writer should set and also how to stay accountable. Hopefully this was somewhat helpful to you, and gave you some ideas of what goals you should set of yourself as a writer, but if you have some more goal ideas definitely leave them in the comments! If you liked this blog post please like it so I know to make more, and also don’t forget to check out my last blog post: 10 Literary Magazines To Submit To (NO FEES) 🙂