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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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 🙂

Last Blog Post: How To: Read More

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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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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

Welcome to week 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo! It is day 2 and hopefully you have begun writing and are hitting your daily goals. If not, that’s okay too because it’s the thought that counts, right? Today I wanted to share with you my Camp NaNo survival kit, a kit of all the things I personally need to have with me when I sit down to write. Don’t forget to comment below what your survival kit has in it because I would love to know!

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Green Tea

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I drink green tea religiously so it is a necessity to have next to me when I am writing. It keeps me awake and energized and it gets me into the mindset that it is writing time! Having a designated drink or snack will really help develop a writing routine, or even just drinking or eating something you love will get you excited to sit down and write.

My Outline

This is something that everyone needs next to them. Whether it is in a notebook or on your laptop make sure your outline is accessible in case you need to refer back to something while writing. Having it next to you means it will take less time out of your writing session to remember that character’s cat’s name or what day of the week it is in your story. Personally my outline is very research heavy and the research includes a lot of complicated, weird names so I find myself referring to my notebook a lot.

NaNoWriMo Word Sprint

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I only use these during Camp NaNo, but I find it really helpful and wish they did writing sprints throughout the year. These sprints are found on the NaNoWriMo Word Sprints Twitter page here  and are a fun way to do anywhere from 5-60 minute word sprints and get all the words down! It is also fun to connect with other writers and go over what our word counts were and what we are writing.

My Favourite Book

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Having a book I admire so much next to me just motivates me to keep writing and going. Currently that book is Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (or really any book by Cassandra Clare) because it has been my favourite book since it came out, as the first book, Lady Midnight, had been before. Try this out and you will be surprised by how motivated you feel whenever you get stumped on a scene or lose momentum but then  look at that favourite book of  yours and suddenly you are ready to go.

Those are the items in my Camp NaNo survival kit and I hope you enjoyed! Let me know how your Camp NaNo journey is going if you are participating, and if you aren’t then what are you working on? Don’t forget to check out the links to some blog posts below!

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

Camp NaNo Prep Posts: Outlining Tips, Creating Characters, Research

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Reading + Writing Update!

This is my second time writing this because airport wifi is terrible and didn’t want to save anything I had written.

Anyways, I wanted to say sorry for falling off the face of the blogging world for the past week. I was on vacation and while I originally planned to upload during my time away (I even pre-wrote a few for the first few days I was on vacation in California), I ended up not writing anymore and not having any inspiration either for posts either. However, it was a nice creative break especially since April is going to be a month filled to the brim with writing and reading related things! So since I am on my way home and will be back tonight which is Saturday although when you see this it will be Sunday…anyways expect a normal upload schedule for next week!

I didn’t get as much reading done as I originally hoped, but I did manage to get some done while traveling. Going into this vacation, my original plans were to finish Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova and read about 100 pages of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I did not accomplish any of that. I did get to about 150-something in Labyrinth Lost which means I am halfway through the book and still got a good chunk to go. The book started off really strong and I was interested and excited, but towards the middle things became a little confusing for me and the pace kind of just lulled. I do plan on finishing it though and I am really hoping it will pull through for the last half! As for The Book Thief, I think I only read about 50 pages meaning I still have 150 pages left to go, and all of that has to be read by Wednesday! Anyways, I also started reading an unexpected book that I picked up because I happened to be in the right city when a certain author was having a book signing for her new book…and that book is I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman! I just happened to be in San Diego the right day, and I was so excited to see her in person and listen to her not only talk about her new book, but also the writing struggles she had gone through in her career. I have read a few of Gayle Forman’s other books, such as If I Stay, Where She Went, One Day, and One Year, so I was really happy to meet an author that I thought so highly of. It was a lot of fun and was actually my first book signing! I would definitely recommend keeping an eye open at your local bookstores for events like these because it was worth it.

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Wow, that was a long reading update so get ready for a probably lengthy writing update too! As this post is coming out, it is Sunday, April 1st, AKA Camp NaNoWriMo day 1! I have been viciously planning and researching and tying up all the loose ends of my outline this past week, and only just now am I (kind of) ready to write. I have left my outline loose on purpose because I have realized over the years I work better with less structure so I don’t lose inspiration and momentum throughout writing. If you too are just finishing your outline, or looking for some inspiration to give you that final push then check out my Camp NaNo prep posts which will be linked down below. Overall I was really proud with all the work I got done on my outline during my vacation, and it just proves to myself how passionate I really am about this project and now I just cannot wait to dive into this new world! Another writing project I want to start on is this really short story idea I have that was inspired by a literary magazine’s current submission prompt, so fingers crossed I can quickly pump out that story for April 6th which is the deadline! Hopefully I am not putting too much on my plate but I am sure I can get most of it done…right?

Anyways, that was my really long reading and writing update and I hope you enjoyed! Keep an eye out for my upcoming blog posts this Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday because I will be returning to my regular posting after my unexpected hiatus. Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below for some more writing and book related content!

Last Blog Post: April Anticipations

Camp NaNo Prep: Outlining Tips, Creating Characters, Research

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Prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo #3

Welcome to week 3 of prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo 2018! Today I thought it would be a good idea to talk about researching when outlining because it is a really important part of the outlining process, more so for some than others. I know for me, my current WIP requires a lot of research and often I am asking myself these two questions: what do I really need to research? and how much is too much research?

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When it comes to researching, I recommend researching as much as you can. Do as much as you think is necessary and even a little more. It is important to know more than your readers will, so even if you don’t plan on injecting every bit of this research onto the page, it can come in handy later on. Okay, now onto the first question!

What will I really need to research?

This question depends on what kind of research you are doing. If you are researching an entirely different civilization for your book, it is pretty obvious that you will need to know what they wore, what they ate, what their government was like, what the common day looked like for them…basic things that we know about ourselves. For example, maybe you want to write a book that takes place during Ancient Greece and you are focusing on Greek mythology. Clearly you will need to research everything about the gods and the rich myths and legends that come with this ancient civilization, but it is also important that you know what they ate and what they wore and maybe even throw in a few common phrases people would say. Every little thing you throw in will add to the authenticity of your story and make it that much better. However, if you are not researching a civilization but maybe you need to know about a certain job like a scientist, that means it will be handy to know what kind of scientist they are, their pay, their hours, their duties, etc.

How much research is too much research?

The next question might be the most important one because while I just said above to research a lot, and that is true, but there is researching a lot and than there is researching too much. You should take the time to carefully research what you need to but don’t let the research take too much time away from the actual writing of your story. For me, I am giving myself 3 weeks to research (already 1 1/2 weeks in) and then wherever I am at, I need to stop and write. By the end of 3 weeks I should know enough about what I researched to actually start on my story, thus not allowing me any excuses. I recommend setting yourself a time span like this, and if you don’t feel it is enough time by the end of it, don’t worry, write anyways. You can research along the way or just blast through your first draft and research more afterwards for your second draft. The point is, don’t let researching get in the way of you writing, especially with something like Camp NaNoWriMo!

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That is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading + Writing Update

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Prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo #2

Last week I went over some brief tips on outlining your novel for Camp NaNoWriMo and now we are going to dive a little more into that, but focusing on characters! Characters are incredibly important to any story…if they are done well. Here are some tips to creating three dimensional, fleshed out characters!

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Creating Characters 101

  • Use Real People for Inspiration – It is really helpful when starting out to use real people to help you with your character sketch. As you go on, you’ll start adding new pieces that you came up with yourself, but until then it is like starting off with a template!
  • Make Them Diverse! – Make every character different. In the real world everyone has different skin colour, hair colour, voices, personalities…so reflect that in your characters. Having a diverse cast of characters not only makes your story more realistic, but it allows readers  to connect with them easier because they will see themselves in one or more of your characters.
  • Fears? Ambitions? Those Are Important – I have fears and ambitions, and so do you. If we both do that means ALL your characters do as well. Make sure you write this down, along with all these others tips, because sometimes we think we know what our characters fear or what they strive for, but it is important to actually write it down. You can use this in your story to bring more depth to your character and make them actually feel real.
  • Give EVERY Character a History – Everyone lives a different life, and just because a character isn’t as important to the story as the main character, they still deserve their own story. It also makes them easier to write because if they have a backstory you get to know them better. Maybe they were orphaned at a young age and moved around from house to house which is why they don’t get attached easily…whatever you feel is right for that character but just create it!
  • Know What Will Make or Break Them – Everyone has something that will make or break them. By this I mean we all have something that would make us the happiest person on the Earth, but also things that would deeply hurt us. Characters have this too! Something can bring them to the verge of breaking (or the happier alternative) and you can use that and bend it at your will throughout the story.
  • Know Their Motive – Again, whether they are the main character or a side character, it is so important to know what is motivating them to do whatever it is they are doing in your story. Just like how every person has some driving force in their life, like maybe they want to be a musician. If that is what their motive is at the moment then that means they will do things in order to move forward like buy an instrument and take lessons. It is the same with your characters, especially your main character. Something is motivating them and you need to know what.
  • Write in that Character’s Perspective – Even if you don’t plan on writing in that character’s POV, pull out a journal and just freewrite as that character. Write what their usual day looks like, write about them going on a walk…just writing in their perspective will make you understand them better and that will really show when you introduce them in your short story, novel, etc.

Wow that was a lot longer than I expected but hopefully it was helpful! It is so important to know as much as you can about your characters, but also your entire story and world before diving head first into Camp NaNoWriMo because otherwise you will hit some major roadblocks along the way.

Anyways, that is all for this Camp NaNo prep post and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading + Writing Update!

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