Tips for a Successful Side Hustle

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Happy Thursday!

Sorry for no post on Monday, but since I am pre-writing a bunch of blog posts over the next two weeks before school starts (yes, I am actually being productive for once), hopefully, that won’t happen again for a while.

Anyways, today I will be sharing my tips and tricks that I learned throughout my two months of pursuing freelance writing as a side hustle! I love reading about this kind of stuff myself because I think it is a really good idea to have a side hustle. Something that you enjoy, and can profit off of even if you don’t make a whole lot.

Here are five tips from me to you!

1. Make Time for It

Because it is called a “side hustle”, sometimes it can get neglected more than it should. When you begin a side hustle, make sure you do have the time and energy to put into it! Figure out when and where in your schedule it fits in best, and carve that time out weekly for you to work and grow it. Just like a full-time job is usually from 9-5 and five days a week, maybe your side hustle can be from 7-9 and two or three times a week. Whatever works for you.

2. Make a Plan and Follow It

With any new career, especially if it’s freelance, it is essential to create a plan for it. You need to outline your first steps, your overall goals, and then everything in between. With this plan, it will be a lot easier to figure out what twists and turns you need to take in order to achieve success with your side hustle.

For example, my plan for my freelance writing business was to start small. I charged a very small fee for my first few blog posts in order to build up a little more clientele and background. As I keep going, I make my fee a more justifiable amount and continue to build up my portfolio!

Your plan doesn’t need to be incredibly detailed or long, but it should give you enough of a base to work off of.

3. Treat It As Important As Your Full-Time Job

Your side hustle should be important to you and therefore, worthy of your time just like your full-time job. If you look down upon it in comparison to your other job, then it will start to lack because of that. Remember that just because your side hustle is that, a side hustle, doesn’t mean it should get pushed too far away to the side. Make sure it is being seen, heard, and attended to!

4. Don’t Pour TOO Much Money Into Your Side Hustle

It is also important to remember that when it comes to the money aspect of starting your own side hustle business, the amount of money you pour into should definitely be limited. Because like I said above, a side hustle is that, a side hustle. Don’t pour all of your funds into it otherwise you may very well be left with nothing! And besides, a side hustle isn’t meant to take over your entire life and career. Usually, you begin a side hustle because you want to make a little extra money on the side doing something you enjoy!

5. Don’t Let It Distract You From Your Full-Time Job

For a THIRD time, a side hustle is a SIDE HUSTLE. While you need to give it a certain amount of time throughout your week in order for you to see actual development within it, you cannot let it take away all your time (especially at the beginning of its start-up) away from your actual job. You know, the one that is making you the real money to oh, I don’t know…pay for your food, your rent, your clothes, your life, etc, etc. Don’t neglect your full-time job because you have a shiny, new side hustle!

Here are some awesome books on pursuing a side hustle that you should definitely check out!

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days

100 Side Hustles : Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job

I hope you found these five tips on how to run a successful side hustle helpful! 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 🙂

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Attack of the Reading and Writing Slump

Happy Saturday!

Currently, I am finishing up my vacation and the very thing I had been dreading has occurred…if I am being honest, it was brewing the week before I left too, but I refused to acknowledge or accept it but…

I am in a terrible reading and writing slump.

There, I said it. I knew they were both here by the copious amounts of Glee episodes I had binged and lack of words I had read or written in the past week and a half. While summer is the perfect time for me to get ahead with everything, it is hard to read and write a lot when that is all I have to do during the day.

Saying all of that, not only is my reading and writing in jeopardy because of the disastrous, horrifying beast known as the “slump”, but my productivity has been slowly slinking away from me this entire summer. Once again, I had, and for these last two and a half weeks as well, all this time to do whatever I wanted! At first, I took advantage of this. In July, I read around ten books and wrote almost 20,000 words. However, coming into August, I was nowhere near as productive and found myself losing the will to even try to do something worth doing other than binging Glee.

One huge part of this terrible slump though is the self-doubt that arrives hand in hand with it. There was and is, so much I want to get done this summer both reading and writing-wise, but I just haven’t! I wanted to read more classics and finish draft one million and something of this project I’ve been writing for over a year, and write pitches for my university’s local newspaper, and get into a good workout routine. Some of these I did manage to do for a little while, but I could never seem to stick through with them.

Self-doubt is something that hits me hard in the summer when I suddenly have mounds of time. It targets me right in the gut, knocking the wind out of me and then twisting my insides around and around and around. It will drive me to do something, like read 50 pages or write 1,000 words, but it won’t feel enough. Sometimes, it will drive me to do even more then, leading me to risk exhaustion or burnout, but I’ve reached the point where it makes me want to give up from the task altogether. At least, just for a little while.

It’s difficult to discuss this with most people because those people around me don’t read or write or have a creative outlet at all. Those people are used to not using their time reading or writing and because of that, they don’t understand why I stress out when I am not doing either of those things. They will wave their hands and tell me to “just let myself relax”, but if only it was that easy!

If I weren’t starting school in 18 days, I would spiral even further into my hole of laziness and self-doubt, but luckily a rope will be thrown out to me soon enough. This really does not sound like the healthiest way to get over a slump, and it’s not. However, I’ve decided to slowly immerse myself in reading and writing during these last two weeks and try (emphasis on try), to not push myself too hard and bully myself when I don’t crank out 10,000 words or read 3 books in a single day.

Currently, I am reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and am around halfway through. I have not read on this trip whatsoever, but I am going to try and spend around 30 minutes reading it before I go tomorrow. I really do enjoy the story and really want to finish the book, so hopefully, when I get home, I can do that.

As for writing, I mentioned my desire to write some pitch ideas for my university’s local newspaper, and that is what I’ve decided to work on next. They are always looking for humour pieces because nobody ever submits those, so that is what I am going to try and tackle! Humour isn’t my usual genre, but I guess I’ll give it a shot.

Anyways, that was my rant on my current struggles, and hopefully, it is something you all can relate to at times! When I get home, I am going to attempt the remedies of a reading slump that I list in my numerous blog posts about it, because as of right now, I cannot get my hands on my favourite book which always does the trick for my slumps.

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

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3 Tips for Upping Your Social Media Game

Happy Thursday!

Despite being completely free from the chains of high school and living days suddenly filled to the brim with free time (that I have not been using productively lately…), my social media game has still been wavering. Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea not only to share some tips on upping your social media game with you guys but with me as well since I clearly need some help too!

Anyways, I hope you find these helpful and that you enjoy 🙂

  1. Prep Content – Sometimes the day gets away from us and suddenly, any natural light is gone and your hope for taking a nice Instagram picture is gone…which is why you should prep pictures and content in advance! If I want to post to Instagram and I carve out around 20 minutes, I will take multiple pictures during that time instead. This saves you time and promotes consistency which leads to my next tip…
  2. Be Consistent! – Consistency in anything leads to success. If you have a blog, a YouTube channel, or any type of social media account, being consistent on these platforms is the easiest way to expand your following. Figure out what days you want to post on and make sure those posts are going up those days. While life is busy, I really recommend posting more than once a week. Personally, I want to try and post three to four times a week on my social media, and three times a week on my blog. This is what works best for me, and is the best way for me to make sure I stay consistent and active!
  3. Be Real – Nobody wants to follow someone who is fake. Be honest and real with the community on social media, and in time, you will grow and prosper! Sometimes, we don’t even realize we aren’t being fully ourselves because social media especially, forces people into a “perfect” mould that nobody is. Most people try to portray themselves as perfect, but that is not reality so make sure you are only portraying your authentic self!

Those are my three tips for upping your social media game, and I hope you enjoyed! Hopefully, in the next few weeks, my social media game will be back on track because I do love being able to connect with other writers and book lovers.

Anyways, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below or available on the sidebar. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Readathon Reading Routine!

Happy Saturday!

In July, I participated in a total of two readathons and because of that, I developed a routine that led me to (almost) successfully attacking my TBR. We all know I didn’t read one book per day…but I did read around nine books in July so I call that a win.

Anyways, here is what my reading routine looks like during a readathon!

Starting Early ~ Reading in the Morning

One of the reason I got so much reading done was because I started early. Around 9am every day, I would head out onto my deck because in July, it had been super warm in the mornings. Out there, I would not only get a good tan, but also read for around an hour or more. Depending on the book, I would read 50-100 pages in that amount of time. Already, I started off strong and set myself up for a good day of reading!

Reading + Eating

Another time where I managed to squeeze a few pages in was while I ate. Mind you, I am AWFUL at reading and eating at the same time, but I still tried. It also helped that even after I finished eating, I would continue reading to at least finish the chapter I started or even an extra 20 pages.

Afternoon Breaks 

I am someone who cannot spend an entire day reading. My mind wanders too easily and I always have something I can be working on like my writing, my blog, etc, etc. So, because of that, I used my breaks from working to read. Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour would be set aside to get a little more reading done. During a typical day, I would take anywhere from two to three breaks in the afternoon, so that is a decent amount of reading getting done!

I’M BORED – Reading Time

Without school or an actual job, I find myself muttering “I’m bored” a lot. Usually, this would result in me watching YouTube or just huffing about my boredom for a good 15-30 minutes. However, since it was a readathon, I was like “no, this is perfect reading time”. This should just be a tip for whenever, even if it isn’t a readathon because reading when you’re bored is more productive than moping about it or mindlessly scrolling through social media instead.

Funnily enough, I did not read at night really at all this past month. I used to be a huge “before bed” reader when I was younger but now I can barely keep my eyes open for longer than a page if I try to read at night. If I do read at night, it will be in the bath but even then, I struggle to stay awake. Because of that, most of my reading happened during the day and that was how I read during both the Biannual Bibliothon and the Reading Rush!

Anyways, that is all for my readathon reading routine and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below or on the side bar. Thanks for reading 🙂

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How to: Get Out of a Reading Slump 2.0

Happy Thursday!

There are a lot of readathons happening in July so I thought it would be a good idea to share my tips and tricks on how to successfully free yourself from a reading slump.

  1. Pick Up an Old Favourite – My go-to remedy for a reading slump is to pick up an old favourite of mine that yes, I’ve read about 100 times, but love even more every time. For me, this is any Cassandra Clare book, Eliza and Her Monsters or Fangirl. I can read these books countless times and by the time I flip to the last page, they always have me wanting to consume more books.
  2. Don’t Force Yourself to Read – A lot of the time we fall into a reading slump because we are forcing ourselves to read when we don’t want to, or when it is a story we don’t want to read. NEVER force yourself to read (unless it’s for school because then you should probably just try to do it) because that only leads to getting no reading done at all.
  3. Let Yourself Be a Mood Reader – While I make TBRs for most months, they are created from books I really feel like reading at that moment. Luckily for me, if I feel like reading a book at the beginning of the month, I usually still will by mid-month but of course, this is not always the case. So, if you are in a slump or are edging towards one, take a look at your shelf and choose what you feel like reading. Forget your current read and your TBR. Just pick a book you want and read it.
  4. Watch Reading Vlogs – Whether I need some motivation to read or write or be productive, I love turning to vlogs for this. The act of watching someone else do what I want and need to do just fuels me with this sudden motivation to tackle whatever it is. Sometimes I have to watch the entire vlog, and sometimes another (but don’t get sucked into the vicious cycle of only watching these vlogs…try to limit yourself to 3 videos). Other times, I only need to watch the first few minutes and then I am good to go. Here is one of my favourites!
  5. Take a Trip to the Library or Book Store – I go to the library a LOT because it is only a 5-minute walk from my house. Even if I don’t pick out a book, sometimes it is helpful to just be surrounded by books. About 90% of the time, this makes me desperately want to pick up a book and spend the day indoors, absorbed in a new (or old) story.

Those are my 5 tips on how to wriggle free of a reading slump and I hope they were helpful! This month, I am participating in 2 readathons and in the next few days, I will have my TBRs up for them. Also, I will now be posting on Saturdays as well so look out for those new blog posts! Thanks for reading 🙂

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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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How To: Write + COMPLETELY Edit a Short Story In ONE Week

Happy Friday! (Just kidding. I decided to post this a day early so happy THURSDAY!)

This past week, I have been writing like a madwoman because as always, I put things off to the last moment. This “thing” I put off was a writing scholarship portfolio that is due actually today when you are reading this, so fingers crossed, the submission process for future Zoe went well.

Anyways, I always do things last minute, especially writing things, so I thought I would give some of my tips for fast-drafting and polishing up a short story in a short time span. Also, apparently May is short story month so this is the perfect time to share this blog post with you all. Hopefully, you all find this helpful and if you have any tips of your own, make sure you leave them down below!

  1. Outline, Outline, Outline – Even if you aren’t a huge fan of outlining (like myself), I highly, HIGHLY recommend writing out an outline before fast-drafting. Even if it is only a sentence of what happens in the beginning, middle, and end, then that is better than nothing and will help you so much while drafting. This will save you from those moments where you pause your writing sprint because you have no idea where you are going with this story.
  2. Do More Than One Draft – When it comes to short stories, I will try to do a draft a day. Especially if I have at least one week before it needs to be finished and ready to go. If I am even shorter on time, I’ll write draft one in the morning, draft two in the evening and so on. Personally, I like to write at least three drafts. Sometimes more if I think the story desperately needs it, but usually at three I decide it is a good time to let it sit for a moment before diving into edits.
  3. Start With the BIG Edits – Honestly, I do not know the “right” or “proper” way to edit. I do what works best for me which is making the huge changes first. This means cutting chunks out, re-writing sections, and adjusting dialogue and character descriptions. Also, just overall trying to get to my word count goal. I personally don’t see the point in starting with the little edits because I end up slicing up my drafts and barely any of the words survive to see the next day!
  4. Now For the Little Edits – Now, after glossing up your story and finally, FINALLY getting it to your desired word count, it is time to focus on the smaller, yet very important things. This is things like grammar, italicizing words, fixing word order, etc, etc. The little things that make the sentences flow nicely and make them sound beautiful.
  5. Let It Sit – If you have the time to spare, let your story sit for at LEAST one day. If you can afford to give it more, than great. Usually, I only have one day. So, I will give my story that one day and then usually the day it’s due (yes, I know, I’m SO on top of things), I will give it a final tweaking. No big edits though because that could start a total disaster.

Those are my 5 tips for writing short stories while under tight deadlines and I hope they were helpful! 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 🙂

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3 Tips to Reach Your 2018 Reading Goals

We only have 19 days left of 2018 and I don’t know about you, but I still have 10 books I need to read before I hit my 75 book reading goal. By following these 3 tips to achieving my reading goals in a short amount of time, I know I can get it done and you can too! It’s important to remember that reading is not about reading X amount of books every year or reading JUST to reach that amount of books, but I do think it’s fun to set goals for yourself and stick to them. Reading always be fun and never a chore, but anyways, here are my 3 tips!

1. Audiobooks, Audiobooks, Audiobooks

Image result for overdrive

Audiobooks will be your golden key to hitting your reading goal in just a matter of a few weeks. You can listen to them when you are doing mindless tasks around the house like cleaning, making lists, or even getting ready in the morning. They are also great to listen to when you are commuting to work or school. For example, I listen to them when I’m walking to school or taking the bus and currently, I’m listening to City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. You can get audiobooks on Audible (but they cost quite a bit of money), but I prefer using Overdrive or other online library apps that allow me to use my local library card code to borrow free ones via my phone. Overdrive is a great one so I recommend checking it out!

2. Under 200 Pages? Awesome!

IMG_2622.jpg

Short books are also a great way to get a lot of reading done in a miniscule amount of time because if you sit down and read 50 pages, that is already a good chunk of the way through the book. Currently, I’m reading Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare which is no small book by any means (it’s 912 pages), but I balance it out with shorter books like the Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (which I’m also reading right now and is just over 200 pages). Other short books you should check out are The Outsider by Albert Camus (115 pages), We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (227 pages), Kissing Frogs by Alisha Sevigny (182 pages) and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (186 pages).

3. Balance Multiple Books at Once

Honestly, whether you are a student right now or not, this should be something you are familiar with. With my classes, I’m usually reading if not one, then two books at the same time along with whatever I read in my own time. Balancing multiple books at once is a really useful skill and also helpful when it comes to reading lots of books every year. If you have a really hard time separating the books you are reading or remembering what the hell is happening in each of your books, then give it a try anyway because you might get the hang of it. I can’t not read multiple books at once because I’ve gotten so used to it and I have also gotten really good at it!

Those are my 3 tips to help you hit your reading goal before the end of the year, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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

NaNoWriMo_logo_w_words

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 🙂

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Preptober Week 2 – Are You Planning Enough?

Happy Monday!

First of all, before we get into this Preptober post, I wanted to apologize for not having my usual, weekly reading and writing update up yesterday and having this blog post up later than usual. I’m Canadian so it was my Thanksgiving weekend (and still is) and I was visiting family and just did not have time to sit down and write a blog post, let alone pre-write blog posts for the week which is what I usually do. But that’s ok! I am back now with this brand new Preptober post that I hope you all enjoy 🙂


Image result for nanowrimo

Are you prepping enough?

This is a really important question when it comes to preparing for the event that is NaNoWriMo because it has time constraints and a massive goal surrounding it…and because of that, you don’t have the time to continue outlining in November because that is the time you need to spend writing your story! So, to make sure your prepping doesn’t get carried out in November, here are some tips and tricks and things to keep in mind during Preptober.

Sit Down and PLAN

Sit down with your notebook right now (well, after you finish reading this post!) and plan out your characters, world, history, plot, and the overall synopsis of your story. Just sit down and go through all of that, making as much progress as you can in each section. Those are 5 things that you MUST have in-depth, detailed planning for otherwise, you will still be planning in NaNoWriMo.

I recommend having at least 2 pages of information for each character, like AT THE VERY LEAST. This will include their age, race, family, likes/dislikes, personality, past, etc, etc. When you plan out the world and the history, I recommend planning it out like it is a book that is going to be read in schools across the world. However, remember that you are always, always going to know more than your readers, so if you have a lot of info about your world and its history, don’t freak out about trying to fit that all into your story…no, no, a lot of that is just for you so you can write the best story ever. With your plot, this is where you can tweak things depending on the type of writer you are. If you are a plotter, you are going to have pages of plot and like, every scene plotted and connected to others. If you are more of a pantser like me (although, I have been forcing myself to plan a lot for this project), then you are going to want to just have enough to get you through your story. I recommend having a good idea of the beginning, middle and end, and how all those parts are going to connect. These are all super important things to plan, and you need to make sure you plan all of this otherwise you might get disappointed when November 30th comes around and your still several thousand words short on your project.

Ask Questions

Okay, when you finish planning and plotting (and this does take time, like at least a whole month sometimes!), you need to figure out if you actually know what you are writing. Yeah sure, you can sit down and fill a notebook with info but that doesn’t always mean that you are ready to write your story. That is why we answer some questions about our project just to make sure. Here are some questions I ask myself:

  • If someone asked me what my project was about, what would I say? How would I describe it? Do I have a good synopsis that someone who has no knowledge of my story would understand?
  • How would the characters in my world react to some of the things happening in MY world? Or things that happened in my world a long time ago? What part would they have in it, or would they not have any part in it at all?
  • Do I know my ending? Do I know how I am going to get there? (P.S. I don’t always know my ending, but I have noticed over the years that it really does help to have an overall idea on what that ending is…it makes for a better story and also makes it easier for you to write and edit.)
  • If I had to teach a history lesson of this world I created, what would be the 5 major events I would focus on? These are the 5 major events that people in the future could not ignore or forget. How do these events affect this world now? 
  • If my characters were all together and witnessed someone in need (someone fell down, dropped their groceries, etc, etc), how would they respond? Who would help? Who would pretend they didn’t see it and carry on with their day? Who would just watch? 

These are just SOME question ideas you can ask yourself and of course, tailor to your own story. I recommend asking anywhere from 10-15 questions because they will really test your knowledge on your world and characters to make sure you are ready for NaNoWriMo. If you have trouble answering one or two questions, maybe head back to your outline and go over what you wrote, adding whatever needs to be added so you can answer these questions!

Make a Story Bible

What is a story bible? Why do I need one? These are both very valid questions that guess what? I am going to be answering right now! So, a story bible is a handy little notebook, a piece of paper, the backside of a napkin or really whatever, that has some basic info on your story that is ready for you to access whenever. It can have the first and last names of characters, the five major historical events that affect your world, or just really anything that is necessary to your story and will be needed lots. For example, my WIP deals with lots of mythology so I have the names of some immediate gods and also character names in my little, handy notebook. It is great to turn to while writing instead of having to dig through all your notes to find whatever it is you need. It saves time and stress so make one and fill it with whatever you need.

There it is! My three major tips to make sure you are planning enough for NaNoWriMo and are chugging along on the path of success. I really hope you found this all helpful and for even more tips, check out my last Preptober blog post here where I give a quick overview on how to get ready for NaNoWriMo this year. I link a lot of great worksheets for building characters, world-building, and creating your plot so check those out! Also, make sure you check out my last blog post and social media accounts which are always linked below for more writing and reading related fun. Thanks!

Last Blog Post: October 2018 New Releases!

 

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