3 Tips for Writing Romance

Happy Friday!

Today, I want to share my 3 essential tips for writing romance.

Writing a romance your readers will fall in love with is no easy task. Often, authors opt for insta-love but unless it is done well, it is the slow-burn, hate-to-love, etc tropes that really grab at readers’ hearts.

Before we jump into my tips, I wanted to remind you that 2 weeks ago, I launched my freelance editing and writing website! If you need copy editing, proofreading, manuscript critiques, blog writing, social media content creation OR copywriting, check it out HERE. I’d love to work with you.

Now, let’s get into today’s post because it has been a while since I posted!

Here are 3 tips for writing romance your readers will love.

1. Know Your Characters Individually Before You Know Them Together

This goes for any relationship, real or fictional, but you must know yourself before you can be with someone else. When writing romance, you need to have a grasp on who your characters are. What do they like? What are they afraid of? What do they want? What is their family like? If you don’t, they will be two-dimensional people in a two-dimensional relationship. That makes for a boring plot line and dynamic altogether.

Here is a basic character questionnaire that you should ask each of your characters in order to vividly paint them on the page.

2. Figure Out How They Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Organically

A lot of the time, a romance in a novel feels unnatural and forced. It is as if the author wrote two characters, decided their audience would probably want some romance, and then pushed the two main characters together because hey, they were right there anyways.

When it is done correctly, it works really well, but if it feels too forced and convenient, you are going to lose your audience. Here are some ideas for how your characters can organically fit into each other’s lives.

  • Their pasts are intertwined (maybe their families are close or are enemies, maybe they are childhood friends, etc)
  • They both want the same thing
  • One of them has something the other wants
  • One of them saves the other

3. If the Romance is a Subplot, Treat It Like a Subplot

Unless you are writing a romance novel, the romance should not be the main attraction. I hate when I am reading a fantasy and the romance overtakes the world, the magic system, the other characters, etc. If the romance is just one aspect of many within the novel, it should stay that way. Of course, it can have its moments in the spotlight, but it should not overshadow the rest of the story.


Those are 3 simple but essential tips to apply to your story when writing romance. If you have any other tips, please feel free to leave them down in the comments below!

Don’t forget to check out my freelance website and subscribe to the monthly newsletter for more tips, tricks, updates, and freebies on writing and the business of writing. You can check that all out HERE.

Also, make sure you read my last blog post and check out my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: My Freelance Business Launch

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Writing Update!

An insight into my busy, writing-filled month!

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Happy Friday!

May has been a busy month in all aspects and because of that, I thought a writing update was in order. I will be sharing how I’m keeping busy and explaining how I kind of overwhelmed myself with work…as any creative workaholic does.

AZTEC INSPIRED NOVEL

I began this month with the goal to write 1,000 words a day for my Aztec novel but surprise, surprise, that didn’t happen. Overall, I did write 7,000 words or so which means this month hasn’t been a total loss creative writing-wise. There were a few factors that contributed to me abandoning this project:

  1. May has been an anxiety-filled month and I’ve found it difficult to write.
  2. I took on a paid re-typing project that has taken a lot of time.

At first, I definitely did beat myself up about not working on my Aztec project. Since we are quarantined, I figured I would finally have time to work on fiction projects that I neglected for most of the school year, however, here I am, taking on more random projects and having NO time. Although, I have finally accepted the fact that once I am done re-typing my client’s novel, I know I’ll have time to return to my own creative writing. There are still three months before I return to school (ONLINE school too) so I have time. We always have time even if we don’t realize it.

FLANELLE MAGAZINE

Due to having more time to enjoy movies and TV shows, I’ve found interest in learning about the entertainment industry during these trying times. If you didn’t know, I write articles for a fashion, art, and lifestyle magazine called Flanelle Magazine, and have been since March. This month, I did some research and wrote an article on the entertainment industry during COVID-19, which you can read if you click HERE. It would mean a lot if you checked it out because I spent a lot of time working on it!

I really enjoy writing for Flanelle Magazine because it offers me another platform to share my writing and reach a completely different audience than the one I have on here. It also allows me to build my portfolio and work with an editor-in-chief to improve my writing which I don’t have for my blog or creative writing. While I only contribute to it once or twice a month, it is nice to always have another project to turn to if I run out of them (which is usually not the case but still!).

RE-TYPING

I had never heard of people hiring others to re-type their novel before, but I discovered this paid position on my university’s job board and snatched it up. I won’t lie, it is a lot harder and much more time consuming than I anticipated but it has been a great learning experience. I would consider myself a fast typer, but as I mentioned above, this project is taking a lot longer than I would like. However, while I can’t talk about the subject matter of this novel, it has been super interesting to read through and learn about so that really does help.

BLOGGING!

If you haven’t noticed, I post three times a week now (except I didn’t post this past Wednesday but besides that) which has been super fun. I love posting a lot of content onto my blog because it is something I am so passionate about. Like Flanelle, it is a nice break from fiction writing and I find blogging a lot easier to do. I love sharing tips, recommendations, and advice, as well as whatever I am reading and loving at that moment. I love the community here and all the other amazing bloggers on this platform, and it motivates me to keep on blogging.

My schedule for posting on here always changes regarding school and whatnot, but since my fall semester is online, I am hoping I can at least keep up with posting twice a week. My ideal goal would be posting three times a week but since I plan on taking a full course load, that might not happen. I’ll try my best though because like I just said, I love to blog.

MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA INTERNSHIP

Being a marketing and social media intern is a new addition to my never-ending list of tasks, and I am so thrilled to have gotten this opportunity to enhance my skills on social media. I am interning at Gypsy Journals and am starting that new internship on June 1st.

My passion for writing led me to my interest in marketing and social media only this past year, and ever since, I have been doing everything I can to explore the business side of social media and of writing too. When I received this internship, it felt like a step forward towards the career I want which will involve writing and marketing on social media like a social media manager, coordinator, etc. I cannot wait to start it in the next week or so, and I will keep you all updated along the way.


Those are all my writing-related updates for the month of May, and I hope you enjoyed it! Yes, it looks like a lot and I won’t lie, it IS a lot, but it has taught me so much about balancing my time and still staying healthy mentally and physically along the way. I am nowhere near mastering these two things, but it is all a learning process.

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. I highly recommend checking out my last Instagram post because I started a new Insta segment called “So you wanna be a writer” where I talk about my writing journey, the opportunities I have found, and how to achieve your idea of success in your life. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: 4 Podcasts to Spark Your Creativity

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NaNoWriMo…But in May!

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Happy Wednesday!

NaNoWriMo, but in May is my way of making up for not writing at all during Camp NaNoWriMo this past month. I decided to give it an official name in the hopes it will motivate me to actually writing during May. Hence, Mayorimo.

Before I jump into what I am writing, my goals, and overall writing plan, I wanted to acknowledge that yes, this is my first Wednesday blog post! If you missed my last blog post (My May 2020 Writing Goals, which you can check out HERE), I announced that I will be posting three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since I finished school last week, I have more time to brainstorm and write content for my blog and I am very excited to do so!

Now, onto my goals, plans, and writing ideas for Mayorimo aka NaNoWriMo in May.

What Am I Writing?

Glad you asked! I am adding to my Aztec novella I wrote back in March. Currently, it sits at around 20,000 words and I really want to expand it into a novel. There is so much in this world and story to explore, and I know the story will benefit from a longer length. In the past few days, I have been brainstorming new plot points and characters to add to the story and it is reminding me why I love this story.

What Are My Goals?

I knew before I planned to do Mayorimo that I did not want to write 50,000 words in one month. During March, I spread myself thin trying to write and edit 17,000 words in like two weeks while juggling school. This resulted in creative burnout for ALL of April and only now, am I finally craving to write for my story. I do not want to be irresponsible and repeat the process that resulted in my burnout, so, I settled on a more attainable goal.

Every day, I want to aim to write 1,000 words. I chose this because I know if I sit down to write, I can easily write this many. And if I miss a day, it will not be too hard to catch up. That means by the end of May, I am hoping to have added 31,000 words to my story. This puts my manuscript at 51,000 words but I have a feeling it will need to be a liiitle longer than that since it is fantasy.

Reward System = NO Burnout

I also decided to try something new during this upcoming writing-filled month: a rewards system. I have preached before in past blog posts about the importance of rewarding yourself with breaks, treats, etc when writing a lot, but lately, I have not been following that. This time, I wanted to change that and reward myself with 30 free minutes after every single writing session.

At first, I debated rewarding myself at the end of the week. However, I hate not being “productive” for long periods of time so taking a day off from writing to do whatever is not appealing to me. It drives me crazy, especially during a pandemic when I am stuck at home all day. If I could go out and be with friends, that is a different story and in that case, I want to be anything BUT productive. However, whenever I try to take Saturday off from Coursera work or writing, I itch to do anything but relax and read or watch TV. I realized I benefit from taking small breaks every day and infusing them with things I enjoy.

So, after every successful writing session (where I write at least 1,000 words), I can take 30 full minutes to read, watch YouTube, play a video game, or catch up on a TV show. Sometimes, I won’t be able to right after, but as long as it is before the evening when I do typically relax more (because I think it defeats the purpose if I take my break when I am already relaxing!) I will call that a success.

My Tips for a Successful Writing Session

  • Find Your Creative Time

Having no school or places I need to be (except work on Sundays) has reminded me I am a morning writer. This is probably why I did not get as much writing done during the school year I think (other than me making excuses) because I had classes starting at 8:30 am sometimes. Spending 9 am – 12 pm on weekdays to work on creative projects has really shown me how productive I can be in only three hours.

  • Create a Writing Trigger

By trigger, I mean find something that you listen to, drink, or smell whenever it is time to write. For example, my writing and editing trigger is lo-fi music. When I hear it, I just feel the urge to write and be productive. That is when I realized it is my writing trigger. It is helpful to have one because it really helps set the mood to write, especially when you do not feel like it.

  • Plan Out What You Are Going to Write

Plan out at least three plot points (they can be as small as your character speaking to another character) you want to write during that writing session before you sit down to write. Even if you have it in your outline, write down the three main plot points you are writing that day on a queue card or sticky note. That way, you are focused on what to write and not distracted by the rest of your story.


Those are my plans and goals for Mayorimo, and also some tips to ensure a successful writing session! Let me know what projects you are working on during May because I’d love to know.

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media which is all linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: May 2020 Writing Goals

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Silver and Gold by Zoe Mathers

Happy Friday!

I guess Friday’s have become my posting day and I am proud of myself for keeping up with it for the past three or so weeks. Actually, that’s partly a lie because I posted it on Thursday last week. Nonetheless, I’ve been posting!

Today, I have another creative writing piece I wanted to share. This is a poem I wrote last year but it was a lot of fun so I decided it would be a good post for this week. Also, since I have been actively writing (for once), I thought it would be nice to show that!

Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

P.S. I have a “My Writing” subheading now and you can find it on my home page! It has links to essays, poems, short stories, and some of my favourite blog posts written by me so check that out if you want 🙂


Night bleeds victory in rushing streams

Across the sky

Like a snapped pen

Spilling black ink

Across a blue shirt.

 

The united army of silver ascends the sky

Moon and stars geared and sheathed

For vicious combat

Against the golden sun.

 

Silver swords

Against golden guns

And for once

The blade proves mightier.

 

Stars spin

To the jig of freedom

While the moon shifts in the worn fabric

Of her returned throne.

All forget the bitter tang of mortality,

All ignore the thunderous ticking

Of the watchful sunrays below the horizon

Like the shifting hands of a clock.

For their time is finite

And then divided

In this raging sea

Of darkness.

 

But the moon,

The playful and silver queen,

Has tasted a sugar, sweet drop

Dripping from the spout of the endless spiral

Of “what if?”

 

What if

The sun never again conquers

The night?

 

What if

The sky never again glows golden

With warmth?

 

What if

The moon seizes the opposing thrones

Of twisting shadows

And blazing light?

Birthing a world

Where she keeps her crown

And the stars continue their whirling,

Their twirling,

Their swirling,

Like victims of faerie fruit

Never pausing their dance

Until Death snuffs their lights.

 

But what if

They are the prey

In the sun’s vigilant hunt?

 

What if

They are already snagged in his web

Points and curves caught between

His golden threads?

 

What if

Those streaks of “shooting stars”

Are not their clumsy friends

But the sun’s stream of bullets

Splintering the darkness

Into jagged and golden shards

Of war?

 

Shocked by the sun’s sudden blinding glare

As the final stroke hits dawn

The silver queen tumbles from her throne

Her screams stolen by the fleeing night

Her silver beauty outshone by morning light

Her name fading

With the retreating silver stars

And paling sky

Who glance back to see the round body

Of their queen

Slip into the abyss

Of her black sea

And “what ifs?”


I love writing about the sky, specifically the night sky, which is what inspired this poem. Obviously. I am also 99% sure it was one of the pieces I added to my creative writing portfolio for a scholarship I applied to last year. Since I got the scholarship, I am assuming the poem is not half bad but let me know what you think in the comments!

Also, 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 updates on my writing and reading.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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It Begins With the Book by Zoe Mathers

It begins with the book.

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

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

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

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

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

You guess Michael and you will only ever be friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You walk away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It begins with the book and then the soccer ball.

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

You need this book.

You need this soccer ball.

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

But finally, a light has flickered in the distance.

 

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

I hope you enjoyed, and don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Last Blog Post: Am I Participating in NaNoWriMo?

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Tips for Creating Your Writing Portfolio

Happy Monday!

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

What Is a Writing Portfolio?

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

Examples of Pieces:

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

TIPS:

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

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

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Cowering Through Life – A Poem

Hey guys! Sorry for the late post but I really wanted to share a poem I wrote with all of you, but I forgot to schedule it for this morning which meant I had to wait until I finished all my classes…anyways, it is up now for you all to read. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

You hum

your soft melodies

while wandering down

the hall,

but glance over your shoulder

with wide eyes

and bitten lips

to see if anyone heard.

You write

little stories in your leather

bound journal,

but constantly peer over your shoulder

as if someone recently called in

for story theft

and you’re the next target.

You duck

past mirrors

on your way out

of the bathroom,

hair a black curtain

you snap shut

on the rest of the world,

as if you have seen the other side

and know

just how terrifying it truly is.

You cry after

locking yourself in the bathroom stall,

head against the door,

arms wrapped around your waist

as if you are the comforting friend

to yourself,

but you stifle the sobs with a hoodie

and then walk out

after checking the blue door’s

cracks.

You hope nobody sees

anything

yet you do it

in the middle of the street

behind the bushes

along the sidewalk

like a silent plea

for help.

You paint your face

with makeup;

brown glitter around your eyes

to brighten up

what light your tears took.

Concealer under your eyes

to hide those sleepless nights.

Pink blush on your cheeks

to flush life back in

your sallow skin,

even though you lost the tinge

a long time ago.

You paint your face and

sing in halls and

write in journals and

run from mirrors and

cry in stalls

like you are being hunted

and the hunters

prey on

humanity.

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creative writing assignment.

Happy Wednesday!

Today, I thought it would be fun to share a creative writing assignment I wrote for English because I thought the prompt was really interesting and fun! Basically, we had to write a short paragraph (200 words or less) on something we would want a teacher to teach us. Let me know what YOU think I want to learn from a teacher from reading my assignment, and then comment below your idea so we can put the clarity of my writing to the test! Ha, anyways, I hope you enjoy 🙂

The pen is said to be mightier than the sword. So, why do these words I bleed onto the page drip between the cracks of a sharpened voice? You can clutch my words against your chest, crumple them in your fist, and use them to blot your tears. Yet, so often chosen are the spoken words whirling around. Why? Spoken words can fly free amongst the birds, but eventually, the sun’s merciless breath will melt the wax fastening them together. With wide eyes we then watch them plummet into the sea, confidence their hamartia. Remind me why I keep writing despite this. Why I empty my soul and let it pour into the pen gripped right here between my fingers. Will I have it in me to try again? To pick up this pen and write? Remind me that my words can last centuries, like the ones scrawled in the books I devour because spoken words are too wild to tame inside a book. So, teach me how not to let my words get lost in the shouts and rustling of paper. Help me to ensure that my words will live on forever, safe in the hands of those seeking strength.

Yep, that’s it! Short and sweet, right? Anyways, I need to get back to reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, a MASSIVE philosophical book I’m reading for an amazing scholarship opportunity. Let me know if you’ve read this because I am only a few pages in but have discussions churning inside me. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts linked down below! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading & Writing Goals – March + April 2019

 

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Reading + Writing Update!

Happy…Monday?

Yeah, I didn’t even realize it was Sunday yesterday until I woke up this morning, checked my phone, squealed with excitement that it is Christmas Eve, and then realized I wrote NO blog posts over the weekend. I had a fun blog post all planned out for today, but instead since I never wrote it…I will just be posting this update. Anyways, let’s get into it!

This week I finished 2 books which felt great because one of them was Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare! I have been reading this book for almost 3 weeks now and it feels strange to wake up and not sit down with it in the mornings, a cup of coffee at my side and fingers eager to flip those bible thin pages, but I was dying to see how it ended and now…well, now I have. I am trying to write up my review of it but my thoughts are all over the place and muddled in confusion, so who knows how long this will take to put together. This week, I also finished The Outsider by Albert Camus for my English class, and surprisingly, I really enjoyed this book. In no way is it something I would pick up “for fun”, but as a book meant for analyzing and studying, oh my-there was a LOT. Meursault as a main character is so interesting and different that it distracted me from the boring, plain plot line. Apart from those 2 books, I am still listening to City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare but I only have just over 5 hours left. My goal is to finish it this week so I can focus on reading/listening to The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, another book I am eager to pick up before the year ends. Yet another book I am still making my way through is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have around 100 pages left and I usually manage to read 50 pages a day, so fingers crossed I FINALLY finish it in the next 2 days. Lastly, I picked up Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones on Saturday, a German fantasy story that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. While I am only 100 pages in so far, the story is quite slow (as I’ve read from reviews) but I am really hoping it picks up soon because I think I’ll enjoy it! I am trying to read 6 other books by the end of 2018 to hit my reading goal, so I am trying to pick up the pace when it comes to reading and blast through as much of them as I can…wish me luck!

While I am taking a break from writing, I have been struck with a really fun and exciting idea for a story (short story or novel, I’m not quite sure yet). If this idea continues to pester me, I will give in and write it, but I am holding out because I can still feel how depleted my creativity is. I am worried that writing would scrape the last flecks of creativity left inside of me, but if the idea calls, I kind of have to answer. Right?

Anyways, that is all for this late reading and writing update! I hope you enjoyed, and make sure you let me know what you managed to read and write this week because I would love to know. Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Reading & Writing Goals for 2019

 

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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 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites