5 Tips for Writing a Novel

Writing a novel isn’t easy, but here are 5 tips to help you out

Happy Monday!

Writing a novel is hard, which is why I have put together 5 tips that will make writing a novel just a little more easier.

Of course, there are the basics that go into writing a novel such as outlining before writing. Outlining includes creating 3D characters, mapping out the world your story takes in, knowing your plot points, etc. However, I will be covering novel writing aspects that you might not think about as often.

Here are my 5 tips for writing a novel.

1. Dedicate a Time & Place for It

This is a basic tip, but it is one of the most important tips out there. If you do not dedicate a specific time and place for writing. In order to write a novel within a reasonable amount of time, you must carve out a certain time to write it and be consistent with following it. For me, my mornings are for writing. That is when I sit down and know it is writing time. I do not sit down only one morning in the week either, every morning where I do not have to work, I use that time for writing.

It is also helpful to have a writing space, or even a few. These are spaces where you sit down and feel inspired to write. Having these spots trains your brain to know that when you sit down there, it is writing time! For me, this is just my desk but I have a nice setup going there with my candle, laptop, and lo-fi music.

2. Know EVERYTHING About Your World

While you do not need to know everything about your plot, it is essential to know everything about your world and characters. You do not need to share everything about your world or characters with the readers (at least, not right away or even ever), but it is important for YOU to know that information. Even if it never gets included in your book!

However, here are 3 things your reader MUST know:

  • Where are the places your story takes place? Describe them for your reader; make it vivid and descriptive
  • How does your world work? Who is in charge? What type of government is it?
  • What are the rules of your world? (This is especially important for fantasy novels)

3. Think of What You Want (or Wanted) to Read and Write It

Think back to when you were younger, or to whenever you pick up a book. What are the things you were hoping for within it? What did the book not have that you wanted? These are things you should think about and write down and then, when you are outlining your plot, include them.

This is why I read lots of books that are similar to my own during the outlining phase. It helps to warmup my mind and prep me for creating a plot that will hold my own attention first, which is crucial when writing a novel!

4. Welcome Surprises and Twists Within Your Story

It is important to follow an outline, but sometimes your story has a mind of its own. These are the times when we have to let our story go where it needs. Often, this makes the story more exciting too. The times where my plot has deviated from the outline created a more thrilling story overall. Those are scenes that felt more natural and less plotted out compared to the scenes I did map out. However, both are important!

Of course, your outline is there for a reason, but if you want to add in a new scene because it feels right, don’t shy away from it!

5. Hold Yourself Accountable, but Don’t Be Too Harsh!

It is nice to have a few friends who can hold you accountable for you writing goals, but I think it is also important for you to hold yourself accountable. Like anything in life, we cannot always rely on others. However, that is not an opening to be harsh on yourself! Be flexible and realistic with yourself, just like you would for a friend that YOU are holding accountable.


Those are 5 tips for writing a novel and I hope they were helpful. If you have any more, leave them below in the comments so we can help each other out!

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: July Writing Goals

Twitter icon
Instagram - Free social icons
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play
Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income ...

7 Tips for Conquering Camp NaNoWriMo

Your in-depth guide to achieving your goals and winning Camp NaNoWriMo

Happy Friday!

Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, which is why I will be sharing 7 tips for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo this July.

What I like about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you get to set your own goal. Instead of a word goal, you can have a page goal or even an hour-related goal. It allows you to really tailor it to what you can honestly achieve. Don’t feel forced to try and reach the 50,000 words in one month goal. Do 20,000 or even less if you want!

Even with a flexible goal, it can be hard to make the time to write. Especially with everything going on in the world right now. I recommend using your writing time as you hour or two in the day to escape. While it is essential to be present during some of the crises we face today, it is important to know when to take a breather. Channel all the anxiety, fear, and anger you are feeling into your writing and enjoy your absence from our crazy world for a little bit.

Read on to explore the other 7 tips I have for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo.

1. Spend Time Creating an Outline

Having a guide to what you are supposed to write, and where you are supposed to take your story is one of the main things you MUST do in order to win Camp NaNoWriMo. Even if you are like me and consider yourself a pantser, try and write out the main points of your story and characters in some tangible form. That way, if you don’t feel like writing or don’t know where to start, you will be able to turn to that outline and feel comforted that at least past you knew where the story must go.

If you don’t enjoy outlining, carve out an hour each day for a week or so to spend on your outline. Include an Act I, II, and III with at least 5 major events that occur in each one. Spend time thinking about your characters too. Who are they, what do they like, what are they afraid of? (Check out below for some key questions to ask your characters!) You can make outlining fun too. Put on some music or a podcast and break out your stash of coloured pens and highlighters. I love colour coding when outlining because when you look at your outline during a writing session, it will be easier to find what you are looking for.

2. Install Writing Triggers

Writing triggers are great for getting your mind and body in the writing zone. A writing trigger can be anything from a certain beverage you only drink when it is writing time, or a playlist that you curated specifically for writing. They ensure that when you drink them or smell them or hear them, you will feel obligated to write and hopefully, have a good writing session.

My writing trigger is any lo-fi music, but I do enjoy the Chilled Cow the most. Usually I will just plop my headphones and listen to the Spotify playlist, but sometimes I will play the YouTube videos. They are relaxing and a nice background noise to ensure my mind doesn’t wander because this is the biggest problem I face when writing!

3. Complete a Trial Week of Writing

Before July, take a week the month before to test out your writing schedule. This will show you if it will actually work in your day-to-day life, or if you need to choose a different time of day. Make sure you spend 7 consecutive days testing out your writing schedule. Don’t skip a day or two in between! If you realize your schedule isn’t working, you will save yourself SO much time instead of discovering this when you are actually supposed to be writing. This trial week also serves as a great writing warm-up!

How to Find a Writing Time That Works for YOU:

  • Ask yourself, “When do I have the most free time?” because this might be when you need to be writing!
  • Decide if you are more of a morning or night person. This will tell you when you are most creative and productive.
  • Ask yourself, “Do I work better in writing sprints or straight working sessions?” because this will ensure you get the MOST out of your writing time.

4. Aim Lower…You’ll Achieve More

As backwards as this sounds, it is true. If you sit down knowing you need to write like 1,200 words, you might feel a bit intimidated. If you tell yourself that yes, 1,200 words would be nice but for now, I will just try to hit 1,000 words, there is a good chance you will be able to surpass that. This is because once you hit that 1,000 words mark, you will realize another 200 isn’t too bad. You are already warmed up and the creative juices are flowing, so what’s another 10 or 20 minutes?

5. Reward Yourself

I discuss having a reward system often because it is so important and a huge contributing factor to your success during Camp NaNoWriMo. You need to curate your reward system according to you. For example, some people enjoy experiencing some small rewards after every writing session like a special coffee from the coffee shop or a TV episode. On the other hand, others will enjoy larger rewards after a successful week like going to see a movie or taking an afternoon off.

Rewarding yourself will encourage you to keep writing. It will show you that all your hard work does pay off, thus making you want to keep doing it! Make sure you set limits to your rewards and also guidelines. If you want to have a big reward at the end of each week, how many words minimum do you have to write? Or in your daily sessions, how many words do you have to write? You must know this before you reward yourself, otherwise you will be tossing out rewards left and right, or none at all!

6. Join a Writer’s Group

The great thing about social media is that you have a community right at your fingertips. This is incredibly helpful amidst all of this COVID-19 chaos. Whether you join a group of likeminded writers who are also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo on Twitter or Instagram, having others who will hold you accountable to your goals will help you conquer Camp NaNo.

Check in with each other at the end of each day and discuss if you achieved your goal for that day or if you didn’t and why. These people can help you work through your struggles and offer you advice because most likely, whatever you are feeling regarding writing, someone else in your group has experienced it too. That is the great thing about forming a community. You will feel less alone in this lonely passion and having those connections will encourage you to write even more!

7. Remember that Camp NaNo is Fun!

Remember that the only person truly holding you accountable is yourself. Don’t hold yourself to insane standards, but also do not let yourself slide too much within your goals. Achieve what you can, work hard, but enjoy the experience. At the end of the day, Camp NaNoWriMo is an event where you set your own goals and spend time doing what you love: writing!

Ask yourself: “If I don’t hit my Camp NaNo goal, what will happen?”

Nothing! It just means you have more of your story to write, but guess what? You (probably) have lots of time left to do that in next month and the month after that!

Camp NaNoWriMo (@CampNaNoWriMo) | Twitter

Those are my 7 tips for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed. If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments below!

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 🙂

Twitter icon
Instagram - Free social icons
Pinterest - Apps on Google Play

NaNoWriMo…But in May!

typewriter2.JPG

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

See the source image  Buy Me A Coffee

 

@zoermathers

 

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

How I Edit My Stories

Happy Friday!

In honour of Camp NaNoWriMo (which I am failing!), I thought it would be fun to share my editing process. I always like reading about how other people write and edit, and I thought it would also be a great way to inspire you to finally sit down and work on your current WIP.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy 🙂

STEP ONE: What Type of Edits Am I Doing?

This is where I like to start off on; asking myself what type of editing my story requires. If you are unaware, the three main types of editing are substantive editing (content editing), copy editing (grammar, sentence structure, etc), and proofreading (formatting errors like a missing period, sentence indentation, etc…small things). Usually, each round of edits I do contains the first two types. I will look for content mistakes as well as grammar mistakes because I find it hard to not change a misspelled word or delete a repeated word if I see one. Proofreading is always left for last though.

Some people like to focus on one at a time, and even recommend doing substantive edits first and then copy edits. I found that for me, I have a hard time ignoring the copy edits so I just do both at the same time. I will say, doing both at once does mean you have to comb through the manuscript a few extra times (sometimes), but I have not had a problem doing that with speed and efficiency. Like writing, it is important to figure out what process works best for you.

STEP TWO: Remind Yourself, or Determine Your Word Goal

As an someone who overwrites, I always write with a goal in mind but sometimes (or most of the time), I easily surpass it. Over the years, I’ve found it easier to just keep writing and worry about that later though. When I finish writing the story, I will figure out what word count I need it to be and that will be another task in the editing process.

An excellent example of this is when I was writing my Aztec story in March. My word goal was 17,000 because it was for a writing contest and that was the maximum word count. However, my final draft was 22,000 words! That is 5,000 words over the limit but yes, I did manage to cut it down to 16,999 words. That is why I recommend not worrying about your word count while writing. Just write. Even if it seems daunting, you really can get your story to wear it needs to be. When reading your story over and over, and editing it over and over, you understand what needs to be in it and what does not. So, go into editing with a word goal in mind.

STEP THREE: Set Daily or Weekly Editing Goals and a Final Deadline

I like to set a page count goal per day when it comes to editing. Although, maybe your goal is to edit for two hours every day. Figure out what works best for you, and what allows you to get your editing done in a productive and timely manner. It is then important to set a deadline. This can help you figure out what your daily or weekly goal too, if you are unsure of how much you need to get done each day/week.

Right now, I am freelance editing and working on a 220 pages manuscript. I was given a month deadline which is coming up this Sunday, but I was able to finish two rounds of edits a couple days early because I stuck to my daily goals. For the first round, my goal was to edit eight pages per day, six times a week. When it came to the second round, I wanted to edit faster so I switched my goal to 15 pages per day, five times a week. It has worked really well and as of yesterday, I was able to finish them. This allowed me to give one final skim through to make sure I did not miss anything, and not feel rushed when submitting my client the edits.

STEP FOUR: Time to Edit!

Once I figure out my plan for editing, I get right into it. I like to edit with lo-fi music playing, whether that is in my headphones or on my computer screen with the ChilledCow videos playing (if you know, you know).

I like to get all my writing related tasks done in the morning. Before, I gave myself from 9-12 but since I am not currently writing anything new (I always decide to take a break during Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo, as I always manage to do), I have switched it to 10-12. Since I am also working with a client right now, that is my top priority so I like to work on that first thing. It takes me anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour to get my editing done for the day. It’s nice to have a schedule because then you aren’t spending your whole day editing! As a writer and overall creative person, you have other projects to devote time to. Having a schedule and a goal allows you to work on them.

STEP FIVE: The Final Round

Proofreading is essential and I feel like a lot of people wave it off after they finish four rounds of substantive and copy edits. However, I have caught so many mistakes while proofreading even though I had just gone over it four times before. I like to do at least one round of proofreading, but I do try to do two if I have the time. It’s is incredibly important and should not be overlooked!

If a project is short, like the one I am working on, I like to do two to three rounds of edits. However, if it is longer, I like to tack on an extra round or two. If it is already a polished manuscript though, sometimes it needs less editing because I barely found anything the first time. If it is not polished, sometimes it will need more work and care. It all depends on the project!

 

Those are all the steps I take in my editing process and I hope you found it interesting and helpful. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts because yes, I am finally posting to my Instagram again!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Stay Home Reading Rush TBR + Tag

See the source image  Buy Me A Coffee

 

 

@zoermathers

 

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

 

 

WIPs, Camp NaNoWriMo + More

Happy Friday!

This week zipped by because of how chaotic and absolutely insane it was. Not only were there assignments and projects and readings for school I had to tackle, but as the entire world knows, the COVID-19 virus has escalated intensely in the last few days. Where I live, there are only 3 known cases at the moment, but my school is still considering shutting down for a few weeks. My fingers are crossed that this doesn’t happen because we have less than a month of classes left and I would really like to finish them. That, and get marks for all the assignments and projects I have poured HOURS into! Of course, if that is the safest option for everyone then I understand but hopefully, it does not come to that.

Anyways, amongst the chaos, I have somehow found time to write so today, I wanted to share this rambly, chit-chatty post all about my writing progress and plans for the coming month.

Currently, I am writing a short story/novella based on my Aztec mythology idea and decided earlier this week that I was going to scrap what I had already written of it (around 3,000 words) and start fresh. Usually, I would highly advise you NOT to do this, but sometimes it is the best thing you can do for your project and this was one of those rare cases. I have not written too much for the new draft, but I have clocked in around 1,300 words which is better than nothing. Another plus is that I have really enjoyed writing this story and it does not feel like a drag to work on it anymore. That was my main problem with this story before. Every time I had to force myself to work on it and I never had any clear sight of where I wanted to take it. Naturally, I am a pantser so sitting down with only a rough idea in mind is how I typically write my stories, but I had no motivation or inspiration with where this story was going to start. So, long story short, I changed my idea a bit and plan on finishing my first draft (which should be around 17,000 words) sometime next week…preferably mid-week but we shall see.

Some other projects currently on the go for me is a project for one of my classes. I decided to create a zine which is a collection of various pieces of your own work. This is for my fine arts class and for it, I am writing poems and flash fiction pieces that will tell one story throughout the entire zine. At the moment, I am trying to make it so it switches between poem and flash fiction, but overall, I will just have to see what works best for the story and flow of it. I am also including some art pieces which is kind of new for me. I used to draw a lot when I was younger and I am not being modest when saying I am not the most talented drawer…but I think it will be an interesting addition to the zine. Also, a necessary one because you need art for the front cover at the least! This is due by April 3rd so I have some time but I would rather start now than leave it to the last minute. So far, I have a flash fiction piece and a poem that I am still working on. I’ve also been practicing the types of drawings I want to include. The theme is very whimsical and mystical so it has been a lot of fun so far!

Leaping into the future just a bit, I have decided to re-think my Camp NaNoWriMo plans a little more. After starting this little zine project, I thought it might be fun to work on a short story collection rather than one novel or novella project. For years, I have been working on this Aztec story, and of course, in between, I have devoted time to other projects, but this zine idea has really inspired me to take a break from that world this coming month. For now, I am thinking of just including short stories into this totally separate project from my fine arts one, but I might include other forms of written pieces as well. Basically, I am giving myself creative freedom for April which could either be a brilliant or self-destructive idea.

 

There you have it! Those are my current projects and future plans for writing and I hope you enjoyed. Let me know below what you currently have on the go, as well as if you are participating in Camp NaNo this year because I would love to know. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, and also my social media accounts which are all linked down below!

Thanks for reading and stay healthy 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading on a Budget

See the source image  Buy Me A Coffee

 

 

@zoermathers

 

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

All Things Camp NaNoWriMo: My Plans, Ideas + Tips

Hellooo

Can you believe it’s already almost March? Aka the month before Camp NaNoWriMo! Me either.

Since it is right around the corner, I decided to make a post discussing all my plans and ideas for Camp NaNo since I actually plan on participating. I finish classes by April 3rd and don’t have exams until the 18th and 24th so if all goes as planned, I will have a lot of time to write.

Anyways, time to discuss all things Camp NaNoWriMo!

So, what am I going to be working on this April?

If you have been following my blog for the past 2 years, you would know that during April 2018, I worked on a novel idea centered around Aztec mythology. Basically, I will be continuing on with that. I am starting fresh though. I’ve changed a lot of things about the story and my approach to it, so I am hoping to just get a solid rough draft that gives me a good idea of how I want to go about it. And hopefully, it sticks.

That is not to say I haven’t been working on it all these years though. I worked on it during Camp NaNo July 2018/summer 2018, and I’ve also worked on short story versions of it since. I love the concept, the world, and the mythology, there are just a lot of possibilities and I’ve had a hard time decided which route I want to take it. However, I am just going to keep working on it until it feels right.

What’s my word count goal?

Like I said, I finish classes in early April and only have two final exams later on in the month. That being said, my goal is going to be 15,000 words. I don’t think it is a good idea for me to write 50,000 words after only writing here and there for the past several months, so I decided to give myself a smaller yet still, significant word count to try and hit.

My tips for Camp NaNoWriMo: Time management, motivation, and ideas

While I haven’t successfully completed NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNo since last year, I’ve still participated in it my fair share of times (and have won a few!) so I thought it would be nice to share some of my tips and tricks for writing all the words.

#1: Set aside time to write

Wow, isn’t this the most basic tip of all?

But in all seriousness, this is a common yet extremely overlooked tip. A lot of the time we plan to write at some point during the day but we don’t slot a certain time to do it. I recommend keeping a certain time in mind when you want to sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, for example, if you put aside an hour at night but get a lot of writing done during the day by chance, then congrats! If you want, you can still write in the evening but you got your writing done!

Just having some sort of time period you plan on dedicating to writing, even if it’s not precisely that time, is incredibly important and helpful to your success with writing.

#2: Create a productive atmosphere

If you’re office or room or kitchen or wherever you write, is a mess, tidy it up a little before you begin writing. I’m not saying you should get out your sponge and mop and deep clean the place, but at least clear the space around you. I am very guilty of not doing this and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my productivity levels, whether I am writing or doing homework, when I take care of the space around me.

#3: Start of your writing session with a warm-up

I used to rave about writing prompts and I still stand by their value! Sometimes I do this when I don’t feel in the mood to write. I will find a prompt on Pinterest that interests me and write a little story for 5-10 minutes inspired by that prompt. It helps to get my creativity flowing and sometimes, aspects of that little story make it into my current project.

Another thing I’ve noticed from doing these warm-up exercises before my writing sessions is I can write for longer periods of time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do this every single time I write, but I try to save it for when I feel the most uninspired.

 

Those are my plans, goals, and a few tips for Camp NaNoWriMo this April! I hope you enjoyed and found the tips useful. Let me know if you plan on participating in Camp NaNo and what you are working on because I would love to know!

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: Silver and Gold by Zoe Mathers

See the source image  Buy Me A Coffee

 

 

@zoermathers

 

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

Am I Participating in NaNoWriMo?

Happy Thanksgiving for all you other Canadians!

I thought it was time to give a little update on where I’m at with my writing and if I am going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year since it’s only been recently that I’ve gotten back into blogging. I’ve been going back and forth about it a lot because it’s only been recently since I managed to get a grasp on managing my time and passions. However, I decided that I do really want to try NaNoWriMo this year and just see how it goes. Honestly, even last year when I had more time to write I struggled with it, so I am a little skeptical about me getting anywhere near 50,000 words this November. Might as well try though because me attempting NaNoWriMo this year is all about trying to get back into the routine of writing.

But yes! I am participating, or at least attempting to participate, in NaNoWriMo 2019. I am not 100% sure which story I am going to be focusing on, but I’ve been slowly planning out both so either I’ll decide right before Novemeber, or I will switch between them during the month. One is a fun, “trying-to-get-back-into-writing” story while the other is the Aztec mythology one I’ve been working on for over two years. I am really excited to get back into writing, and hopefully this will push me to write a little bit every day even amongst the rest of life going on because that is something I haven’t done in a while! I miss writing constantly and having it be a prominent aspect of my life. It is the same with reading. I read a lot for my degree but it isn’t the same as reading for my own enjoyment. Once again, once I get a better grasp on managing my time, I will be able to easily fit both into my schedule which I cannot wait for.

Oh! Another writing-related update is that I have decided to become a double major (this could change, but as of now, I am pretty set on the idea) in English AND writing. I did not want to just major in writing, but I really enjoy the idea of having to make time for my own writing. Even if it is an assignment, once you get past the first year level of writing courses which I have, you get a lot more freedom with your stories that you hand in and share with your critique groups. You are also supposed to pick to genres to specialize in at first, so I’ve decided to choose fiction and creative non-fiction. Let’s see if I actually follow through with this, but I hope I do because it would bring creative writing back into my life for the rest of my school years which is really important to me. I never realized how much I needed writing until I stopped for an entire month.

Anyways, that was a little, rambly update for you all on my writing and thoughts about NaNoWriMo this year! Stay tuned because the next blog post should be a random short story I wrote which I think will be a lot of fun to share as it is the first short story I’ve written since I’ve slowly gotten back into writing.

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

Last Blog Post: 5 Writing Prompts for Fall!

See the source image  Buy Me A Coffee

 

 

@zoermathers

 

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

Camp NaNoWriMo – Plans, Goals + More

Happy Monday!

Today is the FIRST day of Camp NaNoWriMo, so I thought it would be a good idea to share with you all what exactly I plan on working on this month. What story am I tackling? What’s my word goal? Well, all of that will be discussed right now.

At first, I was not going to make this because once again, I am working on my Aztec mythology story that oh, I’ve worked on for the past 3 or 4 Camp NaNoWriMos. What I am most excited about though, is that I’ve managed to stay in love with this project even after all this time. Usually, I write an idea (as a short story) and then edit it a bit and boom, done. I don’t ever have the desire to work on it more. However, this is a story I just have not been able to get how I want for whatever reason, but that only makes me want to work on it more. I am definitely getting closer and I am willing to take the time it needs to get there.

To be honest, apart from my word goal of 17,000 for this project (and I might write a short story if an idea comes to me), my main goal of this month is to fall back in love with writing. Actually, now that I think about it, that is not the right way to phrase it. I still love writing and there hasn’t been a moment where I stopped, but over this past month or so, I’ve definitely neglected it and it has not made me feel good. I was busy so I am not blaming myself, but I really want to spend this month working on my writing and getting back into the routine of it. It always brings me joy but I just want to make sure I am actively doing it. These past two months have been some of the greatest months of my life in all aspects, mentally, physically, socially, etc, etc, but one part (or two, but they kind of go hand in hand) that has been lacking is writing and reading. I have been neglecting my passions and while it has still been a fun and good time, there is this part of me that feels incomplete just because I am not carving out that bit of time each day to focus on what fuels me as a person. As we got to the end of June, I definitely felt myself lacking and gathering energy from a dry well. Yesterday though, I spent a good hour reading and just enjoying literature and it felt AMAZING. I also finally finished a book and I think it is either the first or second book I finished in June…however, I am still on track for my reading goal!

But yes, this month is, of course, me trying to reach my goal of 17k words, but overall, I am striving to recenter myself as a creative being. Already I have written my words for today and it was my first writing session in a long, long time. I wrote 1, 846 words and it filled me with the sort of happiness you only get when you are pursuing what you absolutely adore. I cannot wait to sit down again tomorrow and write some more words, but I am trying not to push it at the same time. I write when I feel like it (I do aim for the mornings still though), what I feel like (still on my main project), and how long I feel like. So far, it’s going great, and I hope your Camp NaNoWriMo is as well!

That is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! 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: Why I Love Libraries

 

@zoermathers

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

 

@zoematherswrites

 

Camp NaNoWriMo 2019 – How’d It Go?

Um, TERRIBLE.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was hit by a nasty flu that literally kept me in my bed and dead for over a week. However, I did get some stuff done as evident by the one or two Camp NaNoWriMo updates I wrote before falling off the wagon. Anyways, I hope for any of you who participated, it went well and you are happy with all your new words! If you didn’t reach your goals, don’t worry, I understand. But there’s always July, the next Camp NaNo session!

Okay, so during April, I wrote a total of 13, 486 words out of my goal of 20,000 which I bumped up mid-month to 25,000…ha, ha, ha. This Camp NaNo was a little different than usual for me because I wasn’t writing for one project, I was doing a few projects because of scholarship essays and whatnot. So, already, I was a little scatter brain because I was jumping from one project to the next and to the next. However, I did get all the essays I needed to get done, I just didn’t end up working on my last goal which was my Project Mystic story. But whatever, I’ll get a move on that this month.

How did I end up failing so miserably?

Well, I could blame it on being sick, but honestly, halfway through the month, I started getting busy. I had friends come and visit me for an entire weekend, I also had family come visit too, and I also had a lot of big assignments for school swamp my vision from writing. However, I do know I could have found some writing time in there. I was definitely losing speed during the end of week 2, and then week 3 was mostly editing everything I wrote, and then the last week was when I was wiped out from the flu. After that, I never regained my writing routine again and honestly, I am STILL struggling. I think this weekend I’ve written about 3,000 words which is great after a week of absolutely nothing, but I need to get back into a routine of writing every day. I love writing every day because then I am not chased by the guilt of not writing, and also, writing every day is something I find easy enough to do if I try. I have NOT been trying lately though so starting today, I am going to wake up early(ish) and get some writing done before school. My goal is only 500 words because I don’t want to expect too much too soon, but hopefully, I will get a bit more than that.

Here are some of my tips for getting back into a writing routine:

  • Figure Out What Time You Write – Tailor your writing time to when you are most creative. For me, this used to be in the evenings but over the years, I’ve realized I have switched to being a morning person. This means I need to wake up a little earlier than usual if I want to get some writing done, but it’s worth it because most of the time, the words flow out nicely.
  • Start Small, End Big – By this, I mean start with small, manageable daily goals and then slowly increase them. For example, aim to write 500 words for one or two days, then raise it to 750 words and do that for one or two days, then to 1000 words and so on. It helps you work back up to whatever you used to do without overwhelming yourself.
  • Plan Out Your Writing Sessions – Sometimes for me, figuring out what I am going to write after NOT writing for a while is really overwhelming. This is when I find planning out my writing sessions helpful. I will look at where I left off in a project or what I need to work on and then write out my next plan of attack. That way, I know exactly what to do when I sit down to write.

While April seems like a flop when you look at my target word count compared to my actual word count, it really wasn’t! I did get everything I NEEDED to get done and that’s good enough for me. I always talk about how life happens, and sometimes we physically and mentally cannot write, and that’s okay. And it is! So, here is your daily reminder that it is okay to flop sometimes because we all need it at some point.

Anyways, thanks for reading this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! Let me know if you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo this year, and how that went, and also if you are participating in the next session as well in July because I’d 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: May Reading + Writing Plans!

 

@zoermathers

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

 

@zoematherswrites

How To: Stay Sane This Camp NaNoWriMo

Image result for camp nanowrimo

Happy Thursday!

Today I am going to be talking all about tips and tricks to stay sane this Camp NaNoWriMo to ensure you have a productive and great April. I hope that you are all well on your way to your goals, and if not, that’s okay! Here are some tips to not lose your mind whether you are working yourself to the bone or grinding your teeth trying to catch up.

  • Take a Break – I had to get the obvious one out of the way, but honestly, just take a break! Have a hot bath and read, take a walk, read, bake, or draw. Just take a break from writing and let your mind settle. Sometimes we think we are fine and don’t need a break, but trust me, we do. If not, we will just burn out in a few days or so of keeping up a crazy pace. For example, right after I write this blog post, I am going to be taking a nice, long, hot bath and dive deeper into Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.
  • Make a Writing Plan for the Next Day – This really helps me feel like I have a handle on my life. Sometimes planning the whole month or week in advance can be intimidating and completely overwhelming so I recommend finishing the day, seeing what you get done, and then planning what you think is possible for you to get done the next day. For example, I wrote around 700ish words today so I am going to aim to write around the same tomorrow because one, that is a plan I know I can achieve, and two, it is not too overwhelming a word count.
  • Organize Your Writing Area – Sometimes when our space is cluttered and chaotic, our minds are too. Take a minute or two to clean off your desk or kitchen table, or wherever you write. Put those dirty coffee cups into the dishwasher, place those pens back into your desk, and stack your loose papers into a neat pile. Once you finish cleaning it all off, sit down and just breathe.
  • Stretch Every Twenty Or So Minutes – It is day 11 of Camp NaNoWriMo and already my neck, shoulders, and back are KILLING me. I try to stretch my neck and legs out every so often because otherwise, I wake up the next day feeling like I’ve run ten kilometers. Make sure you are keeping yourself healthy both mentally and physically!
  • Switch Up Your Writing Location Often – Since the fresh energy of week one is over and we are working through week two, I really recommend switching up your writing place as to not let your creativity stale. Move to the kitchen table or living room or a coffee shop near your house or even outside. Just change it up and keep your creativity flowing.

That is all for this blog post, and I hope you found it helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts linked down below. Good luck if you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, and remember to keep going! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Why It’s OK to Feel Weird About Calling Yourself a Writer

 

@zoermathers

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

 

@zoematherswrites