Young Writers Guide to Writing

This is just a quick blog post for young writers to help them realize what they can do to start building their writing career NOW. This could also be useful for new writers and also established writers, but this is mostly directed to the young writers (like me) out there so I hope it helps 🙂

When it comes to building a writing career, it is easy to think that you can’t start until you are older and have graduated university or college with a degree of some sort (even though a degree is not needed for creative writing, but other types of writing). But that is not true! You can start building your career right now, no matter your age, and here are some tips on how to do that.

  • Learn to Manage Your Time…Now – This is so important because there will be times in the future, or even now, where you might have to work another job, attend school, provide for your family, etc while balancing writing. You are going to have to find a routine that allows you to still get writing done every day (or almost every day), and working towards that end goal of being a successful writer. For example, in the summers I get lots of writing done throughout the entire day (usually mornings), and then during the school year I balance writing in the evenings after I finish my homework. Learn to manage your time now and find your ideal routine because you will be thanking yourself in the future.
  • Take Advantage of Your Time – As a young writer, I do not have to have a job to support myself. Sure, some young people have jobs and school, but it is likely that you still have more time then someone with a family and a full-time job. During the school year, I am crazy busy, but I have the weekends, breaks, and summer vacation to write still where I get lots done. And since I have a routine, I still do get writing done during the school week. Take advantage of every bit of time you have now when you have less responsibility, because that will change soon!
  • Submit, Submit, Submit – Currently I am working on a list of literary magazines/writing contests for young writers to submit to, because it can be hard going against writers who have had more time on earth to practice writing. Also, a lot of literary magazines look for more literary fiction with deep meanings and whatnot, while the ones for young writers expect young adult stories and such. So yes, submit things and get your name out there so you can build your writing portfolio! It is so important. But yes, keep an eye out for that blog post coming soonish.
  • Start Building Your Writing Platform – One thing about being a young person in this day and age, is that social media comes naturally to most of us. Guess what, marketing yourself as a writer is a really important part, so don’t wait, start building your empire on social media now! I picked to be active on Twitter and Instagram where I post about my writing and also give little writing tips, so try to stick to a theme like that when it comes to your accounts.

Those are a few tips for young writers and I hope it helped! Stay tuned for my literary magazine and writing contests for young writers which will be coming soon, but until then, check out my last blog post and my social media accounts all linked below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

 

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Writer Self-Care Tips

Self-care is SO important whether you are a writer or just a human, so today I am going to give some tips, ideas and reminders on how to make the most of your self-care sessions.

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care is what it sounds like. It is time devoted to you and you only, when you replenish your energy and as a writer, your creative well also.

Self-Care Activities: 

  • Take a bubble bath + read
  • Movie night in bed
  • Yoga
  • Bake!
  • Go for a walk
  • Go to the gym
  • Colour in a colouring book
  • Watch writing vlogs
  • Research new hobbies
  • Make lists!
    • bucket lists
    • goals and aspirations
    • books to read
    • movies to watch
  • Journal! (thoughts, feelings, ideas, short stories, etc)

Self-Care Tips:

  • Set Aside ONE whole day whenever you can to focus on your self-care
  • Have an hour or so in the evenings also dedicated to self-care (everyday or as many days possible)
  • Candles, candles, candles
  • Soft, relaxing music (none of this hardcore metallica…unless that relaxes you)
  • Healthy foods (lots of recipes on Pinterest)
  • Lots of fresh air
  • Get off your phone!

Risks of Not Caring For Yourself:

  • Creative burnout
  • Physical/mental burnout
  • Stress
  • Always feeling tired!
  • Prone to metal breakdowns (not fun)

It is so, so important to care for you body and mind! When you are a writer, you want to just work, work, and work to make your story better and to get more words on the page. It can be hard to allow yourself to take a few hours off, let alone an entire day, without feeling guilty, but it is crucial to your creative process. I like to take Sundays (mostly) off and on Sundays I try to stay away from writing my current WIP, limit my time on my phone, take baths, do lots of reading, and plan for the week to come. These are the ways I care for my mind and body, and make sure I start the next week off energized and ready to go!

Anyways, that is all for this post and I hope you enjoyed! If you have any other self-care activities or tips, then definitely comment them down below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 3

Biannual Bibliothon: Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 1 – Favourite Vacation Spots

Reading Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 1

Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 2 – Favourite Summer Books! 

Reading + Writing Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon 2018 + Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2

 

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Things I Learned From Draft One

Writing the first draft of this specific project taught me a LOT, and I wanted to share those things in a blog post because while some lessons might be the same, many will also be different.

1. Outlining is a LONG, Hard Process

I always knew outlining was a process obviously, and I knew it took time and motivation, however I realized spending about a month and a half of taking some time each day to work on it, was not enough. I am still adding and changing things to my outline for draft two. I am still having to research things to fill the holes that I should have filled in my outline, but haven’t. Make sure you determine your world, its rules, everyday life, your characters goals and motivation, magic system (if there is one) and anything else you can think of. My problem is that I will outline and then think I researched and wrote out every important thing for my story, but then realize I was missing so many key points later on. I recommend searching outlining tips or outlining worksheets online to help you gather all the main and minor ideas you need to have.

2. Just Because Your First Draft Sucks, Doesn’t Mean It’s Bad

Yeah, your first draft 100% sucks. Words are being thrown left and right, some with meaning some without, but that is okay. Just because you feel as if you word vomited about seventy thousand words onto a document, doesn’t mean the essence of the story is bad. Nobody is a great first writer, trust me. The books we read required dozens and dozens of revisions and edits from not only the author but their editor too. You can’t expect to pump out a clean first draft in one go because that it is the craft of writing. Every time you work on it, it gets a bit cleaner, and slowly, you polish it enough to see that the story hidden behind all those words was never that bad in the first place.

3. Read The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

Honestly, this book has been my savior when it comes to trying to finish outlining my story for draft three. It has everything you ever need to know and more, and will help you see storytelling in a different way. You take away so many valuable tips, tricks, and ideas from this book, and I cannot recommend it enough. I wouldn’t recommend investing in many writing craft books, but this is one of them! Little tip though, I would recommend not using it for first drafts but just knowing you will be using it for future draft will take some stress off, trust me.

4. Focusing on Hours Spent Writing Is More Beneficial Than “Words Written”

I promise you that this is SUPER important. You will get so much more done if you aim to spend an hour or maybe even two hours writing each day, instead of focusing on that pesty little word count tracker at the bottom of your page. I do three thirty minute sprints throughout the morning each day, and all I focus on is writing for that entire thirty minutes, or even writing a bit past. There has only been one or two times I have not reached 1000 words each half hour writing sprint, but other than that, this method has worked wonders for me.

5. Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo Are Excellent Times to Start Your First Draft

Seriously though, if you happen to be close to Camp NaNoWriMo (an online writing event where you try to write as much as you can in one month – takes place April + July of every year) or NaNoWriMo (an online writing event where you try to write 50,000 words in one month – every Novemeber), then I highly recommend signing up and participating. NaNoWriMo motivates you because for once, it is not only you working on a project, but thousands of people across the world. Every one is trying to get all the words down, and it is really motivating to see how much progress you will make by the end of it! I have participated in Camp NaNo and NaNo quite a few times, and started my first draft for my WIP during Camp NaNo back in April. I reached my 50,000 words and kept going!

Those are five things I learned from draft one, and I hope you enjoyed! Currently, we are on day three of the Biannual Bibliothon, so make sure to check out ALL the blog posts I have done for it so far!

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon 2018 + Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2

Biannual Bibliothon: Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 1 – Favourite Vacation Spots

Reading Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 1

Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 2 – Favourite Summer Books!

 

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Writing Rituals Tag!

I didn’t have time to pre-write any posts for this coming week yesterday, which is what I usually do so I have a blog post scheduled for Monday. Well, actually, I did have time, I just didn’t spend my time wisely. Anyways, I thought it would be fun to do a tag so that is what I am doing! I have seen most people do this tag on YouTube but I have no idea who created it…anyways, let’s get into it!

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

When it comes to what day, I usually write whenever I have time. However, I tend to write later in the evening because that is when I am (usually and hopefully) done my homework for the day, and any other things I had to get done. This is usually around 7pm and my writing sessions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours!

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

This has always been fairly easy for me because when it is time for me to write I go to one of my “designated writing spots” like my bedroom or a coffee shop, plug in some headphones and then write. I don’t get distracted too easily while writing, which is funny because with anything but writing, I have the attention of a goldfish. I guess I really like it!

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

For the most part I can remember what I wrote the day before, but sometimes I will read over the last paragraph I wrote just to refresh. Usually I just open my document and start writing without really thinking much about it.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

Whenever I am feeling uninspired I go straight to the Hamilton Mixtape on Spotify because all the songs are a lot of fun. One song that I specifically turn to while writing is “Wrote My Way Out” because that is basically the theme of what I am doing. I definitely recommend checking it out!

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

When I am struggling with writer’s block I try to read a favourite book of mine, or just one with a story I really admire like Harry Potter. I will also go straight to YouTube and watch some of my favourites like Kristen Martin and Natalia Leigh. After watching a few of their writing tip videos, or writing vlogs, I am usually ready to write!

What tools do you use when you’re writing?

Other than Word I don’t use any tools with writing. Well, I usually have my notebook with all my character info and just overall plot info next to me, but I try to keep the tools to a minimal while writing. The more complicated the more time taken out of writing, right?

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

My computer? I write on it so if I didn’t have that then I wouldn’t be able to write at all. I have tried writing out stories by hand, but I mess up a lot and also my wrist starts hurting. So yeah, my laptop.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

Sometimes I will have green tea next to me while I write which really gets me in the “writing zone”. This keeps me going with some caffeine which then becomes words on my laptop screen.

How do you know when you’re done writing?

I know that I am done writing when I feel that I have written everything I can for that story. When things are either settled with my characters and world, or very unsettled, meaning I am setting myself up for the next writing session. But yeah, I just know when I am done when I am done…if that makes sense.

That is all for this tag and I hope you enjoyed. I tag all writers to do this because it was a lot of fun! Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below for more bookish/writing related content, and also follow my social media for writing and reading inspired posts!

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2: Catching Up

Welcome to week 2 of Camp NaNoWriMo, the week where most writers lose the initial excitement of their project and struggle to put words on the page! Or were you already there? Personally, I haven’t struggled with this as much as I usually would, but I do know a lot of people who have so this blog post is for you! I wanted to give a few of my tips for what I do when I need to catch up on my words, and hopefully any of you in need of this will find it help 🙂

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  • Stretch Your Daily Word Count A Bit – By this, I do not mean add like 1000 words to your daily word count, but maybe a few hundred. Adding two or even three hundred a day will make a massive difference in the end, and might even allow you to fully catch up within a week or two. Try this if the next tip sounds a little daunting to you, because I can wholeheartedly confirm that this will help.
  • Writing Marathon!!! – So if you have a day where you a lot of free time, I recommend trying to write as much as you can. Make sure you give yourself a few breaks here and there, but if you have the time, spend a couple hours just writing. You will be amazed by how much you can get done, and it might be enough to fully catch up and even get a bit ahead. All depending on how far behind you are of course!
  • Remember, Do Not Stress About It! – Camp NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a fun, personal challenge to see how much you can get done. I mean, that is why you set your own goal! If you are falling behind, and don’t know if you will catch up, don’t stress about that number at the bottom of your WIP because you are getting a lot more done than you would if you weren’t participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. Whether you get some words on the page each day or not, it isn’t the end of the world.
  • Freewrite It – Maybe the reason you are behind might not be because you skipped a few days, but because the words just aren’t coming. If this is the case, maybe try and loosen your grip on your outline and just go with the flow. Write what feels right, even if it doesn’t make sense next to your outline or your original outcome of your story. It will get your creativity flowing, and remember, the first draft is just you word vomiting anyways, so it doesn’t have to make sense!

Those are a few tips on how to catch up if you have fallen behind in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked before for more writing and reading related content 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

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5 Goals Every Writer Should Set + How to Stay Accountable

It is essential to have goals if you are a writer, especially if you plan on going somewhere with your writing. Most important though, it is essential to actually stick to those goals because otherwise you won’t find yourself where you want to be by the time the next year comes rolling around, and trust me, it will come a lot faster than anticipated. A lot of people make the mistake of setting these massive goals and then giving up two weeks into the new year, so today I will be sharing some of my personal ideas, goals and tips centered around creating and sticking to writing related goals!

BeFunky Design

 

  1. Write Everyday – If you are a writer, you probably already write everyday. I know I do, even if it is not related to my fiction writing. Writing everyday includes writing a story, essay, blog post, or even a journal entry, really anything that relates to using your writing muscle. This is a really easy goal to make, and honestly it may be the easiest one to keep up with. Just set aside anywhere between ten minutes to even an hour in the morning, afternoon or evening and write in your journal or even a quick blog post. The point is, to be a writer, you have to actually write.
  2. Submit to At Least One Literary Magazine or Writing Contest – It amazes me how many people don’t take the opportunity to submit their work to literary magazines or writing contests, especially if it is completely free for you to do! Submitting your work to magazines is a great way to get your name and work out there and the writing world, and even possibly make some money off of the thing you love to do. If you need some recommendations for literary magazines to submit to, definitely check out my blog post where I share 10 literary magazines that are completely free to submit to!
  3. Read, Read, Read – This is an obvious one, but it is one that needs to be  enforced because sometimes we get so caught up with our writing that we forget to read. Reading helps motivate and inspire us to write, and is an essential ingredient to creating a story. Even if you are caught up in writing your own story, don’t forget to crack open a book even if it is just for 15 minutes a day.
  4. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo/NaNoWriMo – Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo give you the motivation (and excuse) to write during the month of July and November, and give you a reason to connect with other writers from around the world. Even if you do not reach the goal of 50k words in a month, as long as NaNoWriMo gets you to write something I see that as a huge success! So definitely add participating in Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo to your goals for 2018 because it is such a fun and beneficial experience. it will amaze you how much of a manuscript you can get done in a short period of time.
  5. Connect With Other Writers – This had never been a goal of mine until this year, when I realized how important it is to connect with other writers. Writing is a lonely task, and if you have someone else to discuss writing with, it will make it less lonely. Also, by connecting with other writers you can share your work with each other, get feedback and learn how to give feedback too; all things that benefit and create a well-rounded writer!

BeFunky Design

When it comes to staying accountable to your goals, it is important to one, create goals that are not too far out of reach, but just far enough to get you out of your comfort zone and two, create goals that you control the outcome of. By this I mean not writing down I resolve to win one writing contest this year…because while that would be amazing, you are not in control of who the judges choose. Instead, choose a broader goal like I resolve to enter one writing contest this year. Now that is something you can control. And finally third, create goals but also create a plan to achieve those goals. It is easy to write down I resolve to enter one writing contest this year, but how are you going to actually do this? Are you going to write everyday for two weeks before the contest? Are you going to start editing three days before? These are important things to think of when writing down your goals, and it will make them so much easier to achieve when you know exactly how you are going to do it.

Ways I stay accountable to my goals are by treating myself to a reward if I write everyday for a week, or accomplish a goal by submitting different pieces of work to a few literary magazines or writing contests. If you reward yourself, you will find yourself feeling more motivated to accomplishing the goals on your list. Another way I make sure I accomplish my goals, is by setting reminders on my phone because sometimes I honestly just forget. Sometimes I need that reminder to sit down and write for thirty minutes, or sometimes I forget that a writing contest deadline is coming up. Writing it down isn’t always enough.

 

Those are some goals every writer should set and also how to stay accountable. Hopefully this was somewhat helpful to you, and gave you some ideas of what goals you should set of yourself as a writer, but if you have some more goal ideas definitely leave them in the comments! If you liked this blog post please like it so I know to make more, and also don’t forget to check out my last blog post: 10 Literary Magazines To Submit To (NO FEES) 🙂

Camp NaNoWriMo: Writing Tips

Camp NaNoWriMo is near and here are some writing tips that I have discovered. I hope they help you and make sure you comment any writing tips you have for other writers 🙂

Dialogue – Don’t make your dialogue too fancy. What I mean by this is, “……” I pondered or “……” She exclaimed. Readers aren’t exactly interested in that so it is always safe to go with the regular, said or asked. Of course you can throw in a few exclaims and other “fancy” dialogue here and there but just make sure you are not over using it. A time when you should use fancier dialogue is when you are showing volume of your characters words like whispered, shouted or screamed. Those are exceptions because the volume is important for dialogue.

Characters – Characters are a very, very important asset to your story because in a way, they are running the show. You want to make sure your characters are different and easy to tell apart. They need to have their own unique voice when they speak. You don’t want to read about characters that are bland and similar, you want to have a variety in race, appearance, personality, etc, etc.

Background – After writing for a while now, I have gathered the importance of having all your background information together. By this I just mean the history of your world, characters, and anything else that has background info. This helps explain this in more detail and makes your story more put together and interesting. J.K Rowling is a great example of background info because her wizarding world has such a complex history that adds more to the story. Also adding background information to your characters is important because then we can learn about their past and any challenges they faced.

Those are some writing tips that I hope help you and make writing your story easier and more enjoyable!

 

 

Tips for Book Buying

For all you book buyers out there you know books are not cheap. A single hardcover book can be $20 which is a lot for one book. Here are some of my tips for a book lover to save money.

Used Book Stores – I used to always by my books brand new but I didn’t realize that there are some great second hand book stores out there. Yes I still buy new releases brand new but that’s once in a while. Now that I buy a majority of my books used, I save a huge chunk of money and the books are still in great condition.

Libraries – Libraries are a free way of reading books and you can always come back and take the book out again whenever. Yes, you may not be able to keep the book but still, it is a free way to read books so who is complaining?

Friends – Some people don’t like lending out books because they can get ruined but I personally love lending my friends books if it will help them get into reading. Yeah, I do expect them to return the book in the condition I gave them it otherwise I won’t be happy but that hasn’t happened yet.

eBooks – A lot of eBooks are cheaper than an actual book which will definitely help you save money. I would rather read a physical book but I do like having some books on my tablet in case I forget a book because they are really handy to have. I got Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout for only $2 on playbooks!

So those are some ideas on how to save money when book shopping! Hope they helped 🙂