Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4: Finding Value in Your Work

Week 4 is upon us, which for most of us means we have long lost that initial excitement of starting a new project. You may be feeling unmotivated whenever you think about sitting down to write, and may feel like the words that are coming out aren’t good. And you are probably right, they most likely aren’t good but that is the point of drafting! Here are a few tips to see the value in your work again, and gain back that motivation to power through the last seven days of Camp NaNoWriMo:

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  • Remind Yourself That This is Draft One – For most of us, this is draft one of our projects and because of that, the words are just there as a placeholder until you can think of better ones. The point of a first draft is to word vomit all your ideas and characters onto a document, and then later on you can come in with a broom and dustpan. But you can only do that if the words start out bad so get out those words!
  • Remember Every Writer Starts Out in the Same Boat – Even the most successful writers start with bad first drafts, it is just a given. Nobody has a clean first draft, unless you go back and edit everything you write but that would take forever so just keep going!
  • All Stories Matter – Don’t compare your story to someone else’s because all stories are valid and deserve to be told. Each story will be different and have a different effect on people, so don’t go comparing your story to Harry Potter just because it is a fantasy book that has magic in it! You will only end up feeling bad about your work and we don’t want that.
  • Enjoy the Process – When it comes to writing, you have to write with the present in mind, not the future. If you are writing to become a “New York Bestselling Author” then you are not writing for the right reasons, and will be most likely to only disappoint yourself. Enjoy the process of writing your own, original story, and fall in love with it!
  • Just Keep Writing – Don’t go back and edit anything, just keep writing. Keep the momentum flowing and when you finally write that last page your story, it will feel like a massive accomplishment, because it is! So work towards that rather than a fancy title like “NY Bestselling Author”. How many people can say they have finished an entire novel? Odds are not many so let that be your goal.

That is all for this Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4 post and I hope you enjoyed! I will have a week 5 one up next week so stayed tuned for that. Don’t forget to check out all the blog posts linked down below for more bookish-writing related content, and also follow me on social media!

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

Other Camp NaNo Posts: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

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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 🙂

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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 🙂

Last Blog Post: How to Become a Better Writer (Without Actually Writing)

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 3: Using Your Cabin

The great part about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you are placed in a cabin with a group of writers all going through the same struggles and hardships as you. If you don’t usually speak to people about your writing, whether that is because your town/city doesn’t offer many opportunities for that or because you are just shy, this is the perfect opportunity so take advantage of it.

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Tips for Making the Most of Your Cabin:

  • Introduce Yourself – This is obvious, but it is important to introduce yourself to your virtual cabin. Say your name and share a bit on what you are working on, and maybe throw in some struggles you usually have when it comes to your writing. You will be surprised by how many people will respond and begin introducing themselves as well!
  • Ask for Advice – A lot of your cabin members have most likely been writing for a long time, so ask for some advice! Maybe you need some help on flushing out your characters, or how to escape the cold, dead hands of writer’s block. Whatever you need there is a good chance someone in your cabin has an answer.
  • Motivate Each Other – There will definitely be days where you are not motivated to write, and just the thought of sitting down at your computer sounds draining. Guess what, you have about a dozen or so people at your fingertips if you are in need of some pep talks! And when someone else is in need of some motivation in your cabin, make sure you are there to offer some as well. I make sure I actively check out the chat room of my cabin because I want to be there for my cabin mates, and it is nice to always have the favour returned.

I know this blog post was a bit short, but I really wanted to emphasize on the importance of your cabin before Camp NaNoWriMo is over because boy, is it flying by. Now that you are done reading this, google “Camp NaNoWriMo”, log in and start up the chat in your cabin! Apply the 3 tips I gave above and make the most of your cabin while you have it. Also, don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below, and I hope you enjoyed 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

Other Camp NaNo Posts: My Survival Writing Kit, Catching Up

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Reading + Writing Update!

Another week gone so it is time for another update! I am happy with what I managed to get done this week because recently I got obsessed with The Greatest Showman because not only is the movie beautiful, but the music…I am obsessed. If you haven’t watched it then drop everything right now and go do that, it will change your life. I wish I could write to the soundtrack but I can’t help but sing along every time it comes on thus I would never get anything done.

I finished another book! Three already this month which is a record compared to the last few months, and I think I will reward myself for jumping into another book, which is The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, finally! I also plan on listening to the audiobook for Sapphire Blue by Kersin Gier, the second book in this time travelling trilogy. I really loved the audiobook for the first book, and am excited to revisit the books via audiobook. Other than that, I am hoping to finish The Girl of Fire and Thorns by the end of this coming week, because to stay on top of my reading goal I need to read three more books by the end of April. I can do that right? Even with Camp NaNoWriMo and homework and life? *nervous laughter*

As for writing, I am SUPER happy with my results. Most days I have been able to meet my goal…well actually not really but luckily the days I did pass my goal, I ended up writing 2-3000 words so I am still very ahead. Luckily I haven’t lost motivation for my WIP, but I do have a lot of ideas on what I will fix and change in the second draft because currently, I am just word vomiting whatever comes to mind onto this word doc. I also plan on writing a short story this weekend for the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Writing Contest because why not? It has a maximum word count of 300 words so it shouldn’t take too much time. Here are my word counts from last Sunday to this Saturday:

Sunday: 1524 words

Monday: 946 words

Tuesday: 2797 words

Wednesday: 3112 words

Thursday: 734 words

Friday: 1062 words

Saturday: 2136 words

Total: 22,373/40,000 words

That is all for this update and I hope you enjoyed. Good luck with your own reading and writing journeys, and don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below! Also, I finally made writing accounts on Instagram and Tumblr so give me a follow so I can follow you back 🙂

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How To: Read More

Lately I have been covering a lot of writing related topics, like how to write everyday and how to develop healthy writing habits, but it has been a while since I did a sort of “reading tips” post so here I am! I thought it would be helpful to give my personal reading tips on how to read more and quicker too and I hope they help.

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  • Audiobooks, Audiobooks, Audiobooks – Honestly, audiobooks are the best things ever, and while I realize they aren’t for everyone, I do recommend listening to them especially when you are falling behind in your reading. Lately I have only been listening to them when I walk to school and back, or just walking somewhere in general, but even those few minutes each day helps a LOT. I just started my re-read for Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier two days ago and am already about 120ish pages in (which is pretty good for me during the school week). I recommend listening to audiobooks you have physically read before if you have a hard time paying attention to them in general.
  • Read In Short Sprints – Like writing, reading in short sprints throughout the day will amount to more than you think. Maybe you are really busy during the day so try reading for a few minutes when you wake up, on your lunch break or any other break, and then another few minutes in the evening. Even if it isn’t a lot, it will be more than if you didn’t read at all.
  • DNF That Book You Can’t Seem to Finish – Maybe the reason you aren’t reading a lot is because you are reading a book that is just dragging you down and wasting your precious reading minutes. You don’t have to love every book, and don’t force to read something you don’t want to read.
  • Read Multiple Books At Once – Like the audiobook one, this one might not be your cup of tea. However, reading multiple books at once is a lot less daunting than it seems. I tend to read two or sometimes even more books at once (usually not planned) and I make sure I devote time to each time. Sometimes I will read one book in the morning and work through the other one later that day. Sometimes I will even devote entire days to different books. Try it out and if it doesn’t work, oh well!

Those are a few of my personal tips on how you can read more and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the links below to more of my blog posts! Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: How To: Develop Healthy Writing Habits

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How To: Develop Healthy Writing Habits

When writing, it is important to develop habits that benefit you physically and mentally. Sometimes we get in the habit of developing unhealthy habits though, which is why you should probably sit down, read this blog post, and figure out how to apply these tips to your life. I really hope this will help and I hope you enjoy!

What Are Some Unhealthy Writing Habits?

  • Staying Up Too Late or Too Early Every Day Writing
  • Beating Yourself Up For Not Meeting Your Daily Word Goal
  • Setting Writing Goals That Are Way Out of Reach
  • Not Taking Breaks

What Are Some Healthy Writing Habits?

  • Writing During Your Prime Time, But Also Getting 7-8 Hours of Sleep
  • Setting Realistic Daily Word Counts and Overall Writing Goals
  • Taking Breaks Every 25-60 minutes for 5-10 minutes
  • Allowing Yourself to Take a Day Off If Your Mind and Body Needs It!

How Can YOU Develop These Healthy Writing Habits?

  • Set Up a Writing Schedule That Works Around Your Sleep Schedule – Sleep is so important because if you don’t get enough it will be really hard to function the next day. Find out what times work best for you and your creative flow, but make sure it works out that you are still getting a decent sleep.
  • Create SMART Goals – SMART (Specific – Measurable – Agreed upon – Realistic – Time Based) goals are what format you should be looking to whenever you make goals. These are the most productive goals because you should develop an action plan to tackle these realistic goals, and make those steps towards that goal SMART goals as well. For example, if your goal is to write 30,000 words by the end of the month you have already created half of a SMART goal. You have your pretty realistic goal and a deadline. Now you just need to figure out how many words per day you need to write, and I also recommend having a little reward for you at the end if you accomplish it.
  • Take Breaks – I recommend timing your writing sessions in what feels best for you. For example, maybe you work better in shorter sprints so set timers for every 20-30 minutes and then take a 5 minute break at the end of each short sprint and repeat that until you are done for the day. If you like writing for longer sprints, maybe one hour at a time, then take about 10 minute breaks. You don’t want to burn out and your fingers and brain do need a short break every so often.
  • If You Write Every Day, Take A Day Off Every Once and a While – I don’t usually write everyday (except I try during Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo) because I am also a full time student, but when I do, I find myself really needing a day off every once and a while. Sometimes I will take every second Sunday off, which is a day I reserve for doing school work and blogging and other projects other than whatever I am currently working on. If that sounds appealing to you, try it and don’t feel guilty about taking that much needed day off!

Now, to develop these habits I recommend applying them to your everyday life for at least a week straight because if you do it only every once and a while, you will not develop these habits. It may be a hard week, but it will be worth it once these habits become part of your writing routine!

Those are some ways to develop healthy writing habits and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below, and don’t forget to keep writing 🙂

Last Blog Post: Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2: Catching Up

Other Writing Blog Posts: Things All Aspiring Writers Should  Do, Balancing Multiple Writing Projects 

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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.

Last Blog Post: Things All Aspiring Writers Should Do

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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