NaNoWriMo Week 4 – Last Week Check Up

Happy Monday!

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I can’t believe it is already the last week of NaNoWriMo! Where has this month gone? While I haven’t been participating in writing 50k this month, I’ve still been celebrating writing and writing a LOT this month. I wanted to use this last NaNoWriMo weekly blog post to do a little last week check up and give some tips on how to really take advantage of these last 5 days so I hope you enjoy!

  • Write During Every Bit of Spare Time – There are only a few more days left of NaNoWriMo, and even if you are close to your goal or not, use every last bit of November to get some words down! You might not have time or energy once the buzz of NaNo is over, so take advantage of all this fun and write, write, write. Instead of reading, write. Instead of watching Netflix, write. Instead of eating…just kidding, eat AND write!
  • Use NaNo Sprints – NaNo sprints on Twitter will be your LIFE saver these last few days in motivating yourself to sit down and WRITE. These are different lengths of sprints where after them, you can talk with other writers about what you got done and how you’re feeling after each writing session. It’s really helpful because the last half of NaNo can be an uphill battle I tell you.
  • Check Out the Write-In Live Streams – Make sure you check out NaNoWriMo’s YouTube channel for some past live streams where the amazing people of NaNoWriMo film videos of them doing writing sprints. They are really motivating and I recommend them if you are having trouble sitting down and writing. Usually, they are an hour long and a lot of the time I sit down and write for that ENTIRE hour…even when they are talking about what they wrote. Super helpful!
  • Reflect On the Writing You Got Done – Even if you are nowhere close to the overall 50k goal, as long as you wrote SOMETHING that is still worth acknowledging. Writing is NOT easy and it’s important to recognize that and reward yourself for what you got done. November is a busy month for a lot of us because it is so close to the end of the year and everyone is trying to wrap up everything, so if you got some words down this month, celebrate!
  • Figure Out What the Next Step Is – Do you still need to finish writing your draft or did you completely finish it? Figure out where you’re at so you can start your attack plan for next month, or for whenever you plan on writing next. That way you know what will happen next and you will be better prepared! For example, I didn’t get my 50k written at all…but I have been working on a lot of short stories, essays, and articles. In December, I am going to keep working on different short stories, essays, articles and whatnot, to build up my portfolio which is seriously lacking material. I would LOVE to work on Project Mystic (the fantasy novel that I’ve been working on since March), but I just don’t have the time to work on one project but the point is that I know I don’t have the time, so now I won’t be wasting any trying to work on it.

Those are 5 tips for your last week of NaNoWriMo, and I hope they were helpful! Hopefully these last few days are good and productive, and remember, if you don’t reach your goal it’s okay! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

 

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NaNoWriMo Week 3 – Turning Off Your Inner Editor

Happy week 3 of NaNoWriMo, and also, happy Monday!

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While I am not doing NaNoWriMo traditionally this year, I am still making sure I get a lot of writing done, and in order to do that you have to do one thing…and that is turning off your inner editor.

NaNoWriMo is about writing a LOT of words in a short span of time, and in order to do that, you can’t be editing every word you write right after you write it. This can be really hard though because sometimes we can’t handle our writing being crap…which during NaNoWriMo it usually is if we are being honest. However, it is possible to turn off that inner editor and get those words down, and here are a few tips to do that!

1. Use Timed Writing Sprints – This is something that helps me because if I have a timer for 30 minutes, I know that I have to use that time to write and that there is not enough time in that sprint to also edit as well. I still don’t recommend editing AFTER the sprint either, personally, I would wait until after NaNoWriMo or until after I finished that project’s draft…but it’s better to do it after than during. Use that designated timed writing sprint to just write and worry about editing later.

2. Remind Yourself of This Quote by Anne Enright “Only Bad Writers Think Their Work Is Really Good” – Okay, this is true to a point because I still think you are valid to be proud of your work and think it is good (eventually, usually after lots of edits), and thinking that doesn’t make you a bad writer. Buuuuut if you think your first draft or even second draft is really good…your ego is going to suffer a lot in the writing world. Get used to the idea that it takes time to get your writing to a good place, and recognizing that it’s bad is actually good!

3. Reward Yourself for NOT Editing – At the end of each day, reward yourself if you held back and didn’t edit, and punish yourself if you did. Maybe you got through the whole day without editing any of the words you wrote, so you take yourself out for a coffee. However, if you did edit, maybe you can’t watch Netflix for a day. I recommend making the rewards and punishments kind of extreme, to a point, of course, but by doing this it will make you not want to edit your work even more…which is good.

4. Turn Off Any Online Editing Apps – I have Grammarly on my computer and LOVE it by the way, but seeing something underlined in red makes me want to go back and fix it. Sometimes I do, and it’s harmless when it’s only like one word but it can lead to a whole editing frenzy. We don’t want that so for whatever you are writing your project on, turn off any editing apps (you can leave on spellcheck if you want, but turning it off might help if you are someone who really can’t help but edit their work immediately) and just write.

Those are four tips for turning off your inner editor and making sure NaNoWriMo STAYS NaNoWriMo and not NaNoEdiMo…get it? Anyways, I hope you enjoyed and found it helpful and make sure to let me know how your NaNoWriMo is going if you’re participating! Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

NaNoWriMo Week 2 – How I’m Tailoring NaNoWriMo to Me + Tips

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Yeah, so…I’ve already failed NaNoWriMo 2018. I talked about it a bit in yesterday’s Reading + Writing Update, but basically, I have not been writing 1,667 words a day…or really any at all to be honest. I did try, I really did! And while I haven’t been working on Project Mystic, I have been writing towards other projects. November is my busiest school month and requires a lot of essay and short story writing for portfolio deadlines in December and also just class deadlines in general. Because of that, I haven’t had any leftover creative energy to pour into Project Mystic. That is why I am tailoring NaNoWriMo to what I know I can get done this month because when December 1st rolls around, I still want to look back on November as a productive month creativity wise.

Here are the 5 steps I will be following for the rest of the month so that it is still productive.

Step 1: Identifying the Writing Projects I Need to Get Done

Not only am I someone who likes to write multiple stories at once, but I have to. This goes for essays and other school assignments too. I don’t have the time to work on one and even if I did, I have gotten in the habit of juggling multiple writing projects at once so I don’t think I’d want to. I still produce content and lots of it too, meaning I have more things to edit and submit. So yes, the first thing I am going to do is sit down with my notebook and write out all of the writing projects I need to work on this month, as well as what I need to get done for all of them.

  • Persuasive Essay for English, 5-8 pgs
  • Short Story for school writing contest, 400 words
  • Essay for essay contest, 800 words
  • Fairy Short Story for writing portfolio/contest, 2,000 words

Step 2: Creating a Colourful Time Line

Next is my favourite part! Drawing out a fun and colourful timeline so you can look at it and see what you need to get done. I recommend posting it above where you write or on the back of your door. Just somewhere you always look so you are always reminded. Sometimes the days pass by me and all of the sudden it is the day before one of my deadlines but having a timeline helps me keep track of all my deadlines.

Step 3: Sectioning Off Writing Time for Each Project

When writing multiple writing projects the most crucial tip I can give is to devote specific times to each one. For example, I will probably be devoting mornings and early afternoons to my creative projects and then the later afternoons and evenings to my school writing assignments. This way they are separated and I am also not constricting myself too much to a specific time when I need to write. I can still choose which project I work on that morning or evening and that freedom helps me from not burning out.

Step 4: Sectioning Off Time to Re-Fill the Creative Well

You also need to make time to re-fill your creative well because writing any project let alone multiple requires a lot of creative energy. Depending on what time I have a class that day, after my morning writing session I like to spend time watching TV, reading, or just listening to music. Yes, I could be working on something else because I do have other things to do apart from writing projects, but I need to take some time for myself. I will also take time for myself once I am done all my work for the day and usually I will do the same thing like watch The Mindy Project for hours…

Other Things You Can Do:

  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Paint, draw, colour, etc
  • Play an instrument (don’t play one? Learn one! I play the piano and its a great way to re-fill the creative well)
  • Go for a walk

Step 5: Reflecting and Recognizing Your Accomplishments

Now, if you’re like me and have to tailor NaNoWriMo to your needs aka not exactly meeting that 50k on one project, this is an incredibly important part of that. When the end of the month comes around, you need to look back at all you got done and appreciate that. Even if it isn’t 50,000 words towards one of your writing projects, you still accomplished something and that’s worth celebrating! Writing is hard, even harder if you have a life outside of it (which I recommend you do…). Some months we can’t write 10 words let alone 50k, and that is okay. 

So yes, that is how I am tailoring NaNoWriMo to more realistic goals for me and I hope you enjoyed! It turned into a how-to but that’s okay, and I hope you found these tips helpful! Good luck to those thriving during NaNoWriMo and to those who are shaking up the path a bit. If you want to check out my last blog post or my social media accounts they are linked below but that’s all until Wednesday! Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

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All About NaNoWriMo

The month of November is fast approaching as well as October, two very important months for writers. While I have talked about it quite a bit on my blog, I thought it would be helpful to make a post where I put all the information you need to know about NaNoWriMo and Preptober is for you to learn about it.

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So, What IS NaNoWriMo and Preptober?

First off, Preptober is a time during the month of October where writers plot and outline the story they will be writing in November for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month” and is an online based event where you try to write a first draft (50,000 words) in one month. You can make an account at nanowrimo.org where you can create your project, meet writing buddies, and also see if there are any local, NaNoWriMo events near you. It is a time for writers across the world to come together and get their stories on the page.

Do You Have to Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days?

While that is the ultimate goal, it is completely alright if you don’t achieve that. The point of NaNoWriMo is to motivate you to write more than you would if you didn’t participate, and even if that is only 100 words, that is still a success. Don’t let that daunting word count goal keep you from joining because it is still a lot of fun!

Perks of NaNoWriMo?

Well, apart from getting some productive writing done, there are sponsor offers that NaNoWriMo offers to the participants and winners of NaNoWriMo. Even if you don’t write 50k, some goodies are still offered to you. Here are some past examples of sponsor offers: a certain percentage for both participants and winners off of Scrivener, money off of online writing community subscriptions, and much more!

Like I said before, it is also a great way to meet writing friends whether that is online or in-person which is always great. There is even a NaNoWriMo YouTube account where they post writing tip videos and virtual write-ins all year round that comes in handy during November when you need to get some writing done! Lastly, on Twitter, NaNoWriMo has a word sprint account where during Camp NaNoWriMo (writing even that takes place during April and July every year and is the same thing as NaNoWriMo except you create your own goal) and NaNoWriMo, they host writing sprints that are incredibly helpful in getting words on the page.

Tips for NaNoWriMo?

  • Use October wisely to prep yourself for a full month of writing. Plan out everything possible and more so you don’t waste any time adding to your outline in November!
  • Figure out how you write best before November. Do you write better in short or long sessions? Morning or night? With tea or without tea?
  • Make yourself a “writing motivation pack” full of things that wrangle you free of writer’s block. For example, I watch AuthorTube videos when I need some inspiration and listen to fantasy playlists to get me in the mood for my project.
  • Keep up with my blog posts during October and November where I share tips and tricks for the two months!

That is all I have to share about Preptober and NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed! In October AND November, I will be posting weekly posts all about preparing for NaNoWriMo and staying motivated while writing, so keep your eyes opened for those. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as all my social media accounts linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Things I Learned From Writing the 1st Draft

 

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@zoematherswrites