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

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Tips for the Creative Entrepreneur

5 essential tips and tricks for beginner and experienced creative entrepreneurs alike

Happy Friday!

What is a creative entrepreneur?

A creative entrepreneur is someone who uses their creative skills to make money such as vlogging, freelancing, writing, etc.

Since I freelance write and edit, and am always doing side projects for some cash, I am what you consider a creative entrepreneur. Are you? Or is a creative entrepreneur the type of job you aspire towards? Whatever the answer is, I will be sharing crucial tips and advice for new creative entrepreneurs, experienced entrepreneurs, and those of you who want to become a creative entrepreneur and make money doing what you LOVE.

DETERMINE YOUR REGIONS OF CREATIVITY

It is important to determine the creative regions that you want to focus on and grow into a successful business. The wonderful thing about being a creative entrepreneur is that you do not have to stick to one creative pursuit…you can be known for many! For example, Kristen Martin is a vlogger, business coach, writer, and I am sure there are a couple other titles thrown in there too. When you are a creative entrepreneur, you have the freedom to be creative and aspire to the careers you want.

If you are just starting out, write down 1-3 creative careers you want to work on. For me, that would be freelance writing and editing. Those are still my two main ones that I am constantly growing and spending time on. It helps to keep my “eyes on the prize” so to say.

5 TIPS FOR CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS

1. WRITE DOWN SHORT-TERM & LONG-TERM GOALS

One of the first things you must determine about your business is what are your short-term and long-term goals. What do you want achieve? Whether it is something small like reach 10 clients by the end of my first month or something big, like collaborate with Nike by the end of my second year (I don’t know, something crazy like that!), you must carve some sort of path you want to take your business down.

When creating these goals, include DEADLINES and STEPS THAT OUTLINE HOW YOU WILL REACH THEM. Otherwise, your goals might not go anywhere.

2. CREATE A FUND & BUDGET

Drop everything right NOW and set up some sort of system (bank account, jar, etc) that allows you to put money towards your business every week, month, or whatever works best for you. It is also crucial to curate some sort of budget. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, but make a list of possible fees and expenses you might come across in your business journey. This is especially helpful in the beginning of your business.

If you find that you are able to launch your business for only a small cost, use whatever is in your fund for a cushion or emergency funds for your business.

Do not think that you have to pour bucketloads of money into your business fund every month. Look at everything you have to pay for like bills, food, utilities, transportation, etc and figure out what you have left to spare. For me, I only work 2 times a week so I only contribute $40-50 a month. However much I end up putting into this account, it is nice to have money that is specifically for my freelance business to use if I want to run ads or update my WordPress plan.

3. BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media will be the best place for you to share and grow your creative business. Depending on your business, different social medias will be the best choice for you but try to focus on no more than 2. If you attempt to be active on more than 2, you will stretch yourself thin and quickly burnout. You want to create new and fun content for your followers and the less accounts you must do this for, the easier it will be.

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What Social Media is Best for YOU?

Writer – Instagram, Twitter

Artist – Instagram, Pinterest

Crafter, DIYer – Pinterest, Instagram

Vlogger – Instagram, YouTube

Blogger – Instagram, Twitter, WordPress/Wix/etc,

Business Coach – Instagram, WordPress/Wix/etc, Twitter

However, you choose where you think your platform will flourish! These are just suggestions.

4. LEARN TIME MANAGEMENT NOW

Whether you are a part-time creative entrepreneur who still has a job, or a full-time creative entrepreneur, your time management skills will make or break your business.

When you are working another job, it is important to not let your creative side hustle take over the job that makes you money! Starting out, your profit as a creative entrepreneur will be small and slow. That is why having a main source of income is necessary. Ensure you don’t get too caught up in the excitement of starting a new business and forget to focus on the job that pays the bills.

Excellent time management is also important for full-time creative entrepreneurs because you need to define the line between work and life. I know for me, when I am working on projects I love such as freelance writing and editing, I get so caught up in it that I forget to take breaks and live my life. At the beginning of your business, this isn’t the worst thing, but as your business settles into a steady rhythm, you have to know what hours of the day are spent on your business and what hours are spent enjoying life.

5. TOOLS FOR THE SUCCESSFUL CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR

There is a LOT of behind-the-scenes work that goes into being a creative entrepreneur. From posting on social media, keeping track of your goals to creating content, there are so many tools at your fingertips that will make your life so much easier. Here is a list of my favourites!

Hootsuite – This is a tool for scheduling social media posts. The free plan allows you to connect up to 3 social media accounts to the site and create posts through there.

Trello – Keeping all your content ideas, goals, and notes in one place saves SO much time when you are doing everything for your business which is why I love Trello. You can create boards for different projects and add to-do lists, notes, pictures, etc all in one easy-to-access place.

Colorpick Eyedropper – If you are creating content on Canva, Photoshop, or some other application, this tool is super helpful. If you want to know what colour something is when browsing online or admiring the profile of another creative entrepreneur, Colorpick Eyedropper allows you to find out what the colour is. It’s super easy. You just click it (it is a chrome extension so you have to download it) and hover the cursor over what colour you want to receive the code for.

Wordtracker – This is for SEO and finding out what words/phrases are being searched up. If you write blog posts, captions, bios, etc, this will help drive traffic to whatever you create. There is a free version, however it is pretty limited. This is something that would be a great business investment!

Canva – If you want to create your own ads, social media posts, Instagram stories, etc, Canva is a MUST. It offers you a user-friendly place to create eye-catching graphics…and it’s FREE!


Those are all my tips and pieces of advice for starting and developing your creative business. I hope they were helpful and inspiring! If you have any others, share them in the comments and spread the knowledge.

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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June Reading + Writing Goals

Happy Friday!

Both April and May have flown by, and now we are right on June’s doorstep which is crazy, but also why I am here with my reading and writing goals for June. I am keeping the load light however because once I finish my current projects (which I should in early June), my mind and body need a break from my computer.

Besides, May was very productive work-wise for me! However, I did not stick to any of my original May goals because a bunch of unexpected opportunities arose that I could not pass up. In order to take them, I had to set some of my own projects to the back burner because of it, but that’s okay. I know I will pick them up sometime this summer. Nonetheless, May was busy and productive and I am hoping to carry that into June.

Anyways, onto my June goals!

Finish Re-Typing

Deadline Goal: June 12

This is a 344-page project I have been working on for a client since May 7th, and it has definitely taken me a lot longer than I expected. However, I am trying to re-type 15 pages a day which will let me finish when I hope to…as long as I don’t stray too far from that daily page goal. Sometimes I can’t hit that goal though. Last night, I had a lot of troubling focusing so I only typed 10. I am not too worried because in the past, I’ve been able to catch up and I know I can do it again. Regardless, I am excited to get this done.

Finish Outlining Act III of “The Obsidian Butterfly”

Deadline Goal: June 14

I am horrible at finishing outlines, which is why I want to sit down and just finish this novel idea. I already have Act I and II done, so why didn’t I just finish Act III? No idea. To be honest, I do not know where Act III will take me which is probably why I haven’t planned it out yet. I want to end this story differently in the novel than I did in the novella version since I will have more room to expand the ending and I want to explore all the possibilities.

Write 10,000 Words Towards “The Obsidian Butterfly”

Deadline Goal: June 30

My goal was to write 50,000 words of this back in May and yeah, that did not happen! I think I made it to around 7,000 though, so at least that is something. In June, I would really like to make some more progress in this story. If I could get just 10,000 words down during June, that’s 2,000 words per week which in my mind, is a reasonable amount. However, if I don’t get that much, I just hope I finish outlining it!

Write 2 Articles for Flanelle Magazine

Deadline Goal #1: June 14

Deadline Goal #2: June 30

Last month, I only contributed one article to Flanelle Magazine which is a magazine I write for if you didn’t know (check it out HERE). They do not take me that long to do so I want to aim to get two out this coming month. Really, I just spend one day planning it out and then pitch the idea to my editor-in-chief. When she emails me back the following day with the okay, I write the first draft and go over it several times before sending it back to her. Overall, the process is two to three days. I love writing for this magazine and want to make sure it doesn’t fall to the side of all my other projects!

Read 3 Books

If you read my May Wrap-Up + June TBR (click HERE to read it), you will know I had a horrible reading month! In June, I really want to get back into the swing of reading and knock some books off my TBR, but I also don’t want to overwhelm myself. I am thinking that three books is a good goal. It is not too many books, but also not too little. Fingers crossed this is an easy goal to check off the goal list!


Those are all my goals for June and I hope you enjoyed reading through them! Hopefully, they inspired you to map out some goals you have for June. If you already have some goals outlined, drop them in the comments below because I’d love to know what they are.

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked own below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: May Wrap-Up + June TBR

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Writing Update!

An insight into my busy, writing-filled month!

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Happy Friday!

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

AZTEC INSPIRED NOVEL

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

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

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

FLANELLE MAGAZINE

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

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

RE-TYPING

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

BLOGGING!

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

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

MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA INTERNSHIP

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

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


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

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

Thanks for reading 🙂

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5 Tips for Writing Short Stories

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Happy Friday!

Today, I wanted to share some of my tips and tricks for writing short stories. I recently finished writing a novella about a month or so ago, and it reminded me how careful and particular short story writing is. It is hard to know what to cut and how deep to dive into your world and characters.

Hopefully, this blog post can give you some insight into that!

#1: Don’t Fit 100,000 Words Into 2,000

This tip is especially important if you are writing fantasy. I always attempt to write fantasy short stories, which are the hardest to write, and I have to remind myself that I am only focusing on one or two specific incidents/events. Unlike a novel, you do not have to have a huge cast of characters or an in-depth explanation of the world, magic system, and history. Yes, you need to touch on those things in your short story, but they are not the main focus. The main focuses are the plot point of the short story (which can consist of one or two major events) and your main character. Maybe a second character as well.

The point is, you and your reader know and understand that this is a short story. It is not meant to explain everything, nor should it!

#2: You Should Know Everything

Going along with the first tip, just because your reader doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you don’t. You are the storyteller, the writer, you MUST know every little aspect of your story, its world, the characters, etc for your story to work. Even if you don’t mention it in the story ever, your readers will notice something is off or missing.

Another reason I like to plan out everything, even if it doesn’t make it into the draft, is because if I decide the story could become a longer piece one day, I have most of the info already. Yes, some tweaking and adding to the outline will occur, but this way, you already have a strong foundation for a novel.

#3: Is Your Story Character-Based or Plot-Based?

While it is important to showcase both the plot and characters in every story, most tend to lean to one side more than the other. This is very helpful to determine in short story writing before you jump into drafting because it helps you know what to focus on. That way, in your short amount of time, you use your limited word count to make the characters or the plot shine.

Now, that does not mean you completely push off the one you aren’t as focused on. No, no, no. Both are still crucial elements to the story, but you are just figuring out where your strength and focus should be. You still need to thoughtfully plan on both aspects and showcase them in your story.

#4: Over-Write

I highly recommend over-writing when it comes to short story writing because this will ensure you aren’t leaving any important details out, which can happen in short stories. Personally, I usually write thousands of words over my target word limit (which I don’t always recommend), but it means I have gotten everything I needed to say for that story out onto the page. That way, when it comes to editing, I will read through the story and figure out what are the important and necessary pieces that need to stay.

Over-writing also means that I don’t need to add many more words (if any at all) because I got all the words on the page already.

#5: Editing Will Teach You How to Write Your Next Short Story

While every story is different both writing and editing wise, whenever I edit a short story, it helps me understand what to include and what not to include in my next one. It will show me that I focus on too much meaningless description because oh yes, I am cutting a whole paragraph describing the green hills out of a page…again.

Pay attention when you’re editing. Take note of what you are cutting out and what you find yourself cutting out over and over again. Most likely, these writing habits will transfer into your next short story or novel too. It can help save time and wrist strength!


These are my five short story writing tips and I hope you found them helpful! Let me know what your short story tips are below, or just any writing tips in general 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!

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Day-in-my-life: Quarantine Edition

An insight into my day-to-day and how I stay sane during the chaos.

Happy Monday!

Personally, I am a huge fan of day-in-the-life posts and vlogs, which is why I am bringing to you my very own day-in-the-life: quarantine edition post. This will take you through a usual day-in-my-life and what I do to keep busy and stay sane.

Let’s get into it!

7:30 am – Wake Up

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When I do not have a lot of projects I am working on, I will let myself stay in bed or sleep in until 8:30, however, for the past week, that has not been the case. I am crazy busy and find that I need to have an early start to the day because that is when I am most productive.

I go on my phone (bad habit, I know) for about 30 minutes and then get up to make some coffee. After I brewed a nice BIG cup, I will head back to my bedroom (aka my office), open my windows and sit down with my current read for about an hour. Lately, I have been a little distracted in the mornings, but regardless, I sit down with a book until 9 am.

9:00 am – Planning My Day

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Sometimes I plan my day the night before, but lately, I have switched it up and plan in the morning instead. I write my to-do list in my bullet journal and respond to some emails. I also set up my work area, get some water and just ready myself for a productive next two and a half to three hours.

It is nice to take advantage of my newfound free time during quarantine because before, I did not have the luxury of working on my own projects in the mornings because I would be at school. Now, I have 9 am – 12 pm to dedicate to my writing which is great.

9:30 am – Time to Work

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I did try starting my workday at 9 am, but I realized I wanted some more time in the morning for myself so I start at 9:30 am instead. If it is a day I have a blog post going up (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), I will begin with that. I write my posts the day they go up, edit them, and then get images, hashtags, and other behind-the-scenes things in place. Once that is done (usually around 10:30 am, depending on the post), I will schedule it to go up at 12 pm PST. Once I finish, I usually make some breakfast.

If I do not have a blog post scheduled for that day, I will begin my day with whatever writing-related projects I have on the go. Or, I will get to work on them after finishing up all my blog-related tasks. Usually, that is writing my own writing projects like right now I am working on turning my Aztec novella into a novel. I try to write 1,000 words a day but currently, I am a bit behind schedule. I am not beating myself up too much though because I have a lot of projects on the go and as long as I am contributing to it every week, I consider that a win. Another writing project I do often is write my articles for Flanelle Magazine because I am a writer there. You can check out my latest post on their website, “COVID-19: How is the entertainment industry adapting?” by clicking RIGHT HERE.

Lately, I have had a lot of paid projects on the go too. In March, I was editing a client’s biography and now I am re-typing someone’s novel which I can’t say too much more about. It is fun integrating these into my morning writing-related routine. It helps to keep things fresh and motivates me to get more done in the mornings.

12:00 pm – Workout

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I am always working until the very last minute, sometimes even writing close to 12:30 pm but I try really hard not to do that and cut myself off at 12:10 pm so I can get my body moving for the first time that day. Luckily, I have gotten into a pretty good workout routine. I workout 5-6 times a week and alternate my routine every day so I don’t get bored of it.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do a harder and longer workout. I typically spin for 20-30 minutes, spend 15-20 minutes on my arms or legs (depending what week it is), and then do two or so ab workouts by following a video online (usually one on Chloe Ting’s YouTube channel).

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I cut this routine in half and only spend around 25-30 minutes on my workout.

I know this is weird, but I love watching YouTube videos when I spin or use my rowing machine. Usually, day-in-the-life’s. It just motivates me to be productive during and after my workout, and it allows me to catch up on YouTube videos without taking time out of my workday.

Multitasking at it’s finest, I say.

1:30 pm – Lunch, Shower & Finally Get Ready for the Day

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I like to give myself a generous break in the early afternoon and will take until 3:00 pm to eat, get ready, and relax before jumping into more work. It varies what I will do but some common things are taking a walk, reading, watching Netflix, or yes, watching more YouTube videos.

It is important to take a break!

Although, if I have any calls or video chats I need to do, I will try and schedule them between 2 pm and 3 pm so my break gets cut a little short.

3:00 pm – Course Work

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If you didn’t know, I paid for a full-year membership on Coursera to explore courses that my university does not offer like digital marketing, graphic design, social media marketing, etc, etc. So far, I have been really enjoying it.

Right now, I am taking The Strategy of Content Marketing, Personal Branding, Digital Media & Marketing Strategies, and Marketing in a Digital World. I alternate which days I work on them because again, it helps things not to feel stale. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are for Digital Media and Marketing in a Digital World because those are my most heavy courses. And then Tuesdays and Thursdays are for the other courses which tend to be a little less intensive.

Rarely do I have to do a little extra after 6 pm or on Saturday because I try really hard to give myself the evenings and Saturday off! However, sometimes I save a small assignment or quiz that I save for t hen.

6:00 pm – Dinner, Socialize & Relax

Finally, we have reached the end of my workday!  Here is a list of what I spend my time doing from 6 pm to when I go to bed at 11:00 pm:

  • Eat dinner with my family
  • FaceTime my boyfriend and friends
  • Take a bath and read
  • Watch Netflix
  • Organize my room
  • Play video games
  • Bullet journaling

The weather has been so nice the last few days and we recently hung up our porch lights so I have been spending some evenings out there, reading or just listening to music too.

 

On Sundays, it is a bit different because I work from 11am – 5pm and then work on Coursera tasks for a few hours in the evening. Not too many writing-related tasks get done though.


There you have it! That is a day-in-my-life: quarantine edition and I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know in the comments what a typical day in your life looks like because I’d 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 🙂

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5 Outlining Tips for Pantsers

Not a plotter? Here are 5 tips to get that outline down.

Happy Friday!

Today, I will be sharing my five outlining tips for pantsers from a pantser. I am not huge on outlining but I always make sure to do it, even if it means forcing my butt into a chair and putting a timer on for 30 minutes to make sure I just get it done.

Outlining is such a huge and crucial part of the writing process. Even if we don’t feel like doing it, it is one of those things we have to. I was watching “No Write Way” on V.E Schwab’s YouTube channel and she was interviewing Zoraida Cordova and talked about how outlining is like drawing up a map for your story. It is not carving a specific path but giving you the parameters to which your story can expand. Schwab mentioned that you can always change things and add new roads or cities, but the outline just acts as a general idea to how far and wide your story can go.

I loved this description and honestly, it has made me more open to outlining. If you are still iffy on the whole process and want to know how to become a better plotter, then read on!

What is a pantser?

A pantser (vs a plotter) is someone who “writes by the seat of their pants.” This means they sit down with a story idea and only that before they start writing, and then figure the plot out as they go.

You can successfully write a story this way, but often what happens is you will write yourself into a hole. You will turn out a manuscript of 50,000 words only to get stumped at that point and not know where to go next. That is why outlining is helpful. Whenever you feel this way, you can turn to your organized story plan and know where to go next.

The tips

1. Set a Timer

Setting a timer is a great way to ensure you get your outline done and over with. Whether you stretch it out over a couple days or weeks, setting a timer for 10 or 40 minutes (or whatever time you want) will encourage you to finally focus. If you sit down with the intention of outlining but you want to get it done in that one sitting, you are less likely to finish it. That is why I recommend doing outlining sprints and stretching them over several days or so.

This is also a great tactic to do when you have trouble writing, set a time for a writing sprint and get writing! It motivates you to get as much done as you can because you know you have a limited amount of time.

2. Keep it Simple

Just because outlining is essential to a successful story does not mean you have to crank out a super detailed and descriptive outline that is 50 pages. No, just keep it simple. Here is an example of how I outline my stories as a pantser:

  • Define the three MAIN points of your story (follow a three-act structure)
  • Add a few major events for each main plot point (I recommend three to five for each act)
  • Have a decent idea of who your characters are (know their names, motives, backstory, and arc)
  • Know your world like you live in it (write out its history, its current status, its religion, who rules it, etc)

I find this gives me enough information so I don’t write myself into a hole, but it also doesn’t have too much information that I feel constricted or forced to go a certain route.

3. Utilize Cue Cards

As a pantser, having your outline in a notebook means you will forget to drag it out and then never actually look over it. A notebook is less accessible and a hassle to refer back to for someone who did not want to in the first place!

That is why I love cue cards; they are simple and accessible. They are also small which means you can only add so much information on each one. Another reason cue cards are great is because you can punch a hole through the corner and put them on a ring. They are easy to flip through, rearrange, and swap out during the outlining and writing process. This is a huge comfort for pantsers because they don’t feel strapped down to what they wrote this way. Which is how I feel when I write my outline in a notebook.

Not only that, but cue cards can come in all colours with fun designs. Overall, they are an essential tool for pantsers during the outlining process.

4. Write Down Every New Plot Point for Your WIP and Save it for Future Use

If you have a new idea right when you finish outlining or when you begin writing, don’t disregard it. However, don’t immediately go back to your outline and force it in either (unless it is the missing piece to your story and MUST be in it).

Here is where cue cards come in again! If you are using the cue card method, you can write this shiny new plot point down on one and while writing, you might figure out where it fits (if it does). This way, you can just place it under whatever act it belongs under and you don’t give yourself an excuse to procrastinate and rewrite your entire outline. 

I am guilty of having a new plot point idea and then immediately changing my outline for it. However, I have learned recently that is not beneficial to my story or me.

5. Make Your Outline Organized and Attractive

When it does come time to refer back to your outline so you can remember what comes next in your story, having it organized with colour coordination, titles, bullet points, etc is crucial. This is because it makes it easier to read through your outline and find what you are looking for. 

If each act is colour coded and each plot point is a bullet point in bold lettering, you will be able to fish out what you need without wasting any writing time. If your outline is on a cue card, make sure each card is devoted to one act or one character and title it according to that. If you are using a notebook, do the same. Don’t waste writing time searching through pages and pages of pencil written notes, trying to find out how that one plot point ends!


Those are my five outlining tips for pantsers and I hope they were helpful for all you pantsers out there. If you are not a pantser though, let me know in the comments and give me an insight on your process!

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…But in May!

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Happy Wednesday!

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

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

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

What Am I Writing?

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

What Are My Goals?

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

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

Reward System = NO Burnout

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

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

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

My Tips for a Successful Writing Session

  • Find Your Creative Time

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

  • Create a Writing Trigger

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

  • Plan Out What You Are Going to Write

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


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

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

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: May 2020 Writing Goals

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May 2020 Writing Goals

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Happy Monday!

Today, I will be sharing my May 2020 writing goals not only to help boost my motivation and productivity, but hopefully by hearing my goals, you will feel inspired too.

For the most part of quarantine, I have been riding a wave of productivity and motivation. I developed a routine of waking up at 8 am, doing writing-related tasks at 10 am, working out at 12 pm, and then doing school-related things until dinner. It has kept me busy and allows me to get a lot of things I want to get done, done.

However, there has been a few bumps along the way and currently, I have hit one of them. Friday and Saturday are my more relaxing days, but after having a go-go-go routine for five straight days, suddenly doing nothing takes a hit on me. I was overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety and being uninspired. It was discouraging, but remembering that I do need to go outside really helped, along with looking at my goals for May. Seeing that list in my bullet journal really reminded myself of all the fun writing and reading related things I want to achieve next month, and this sparked that motivation inside of me. While it is not back to the strength it was before, I am pushing forward regardless. I am also telling myself that it is okay to not always feel productive and inspired!

Anyways, to get back into the groove of things, I think sharing with you all my writing goals is a good place to start.

  • Write 1,000 words for “The Obsidian Butterfly” every day

I don’t know if I have shared this, but my Aztec novella I wrote during March 2020 is titled “The Obsidian Butterfly.” For whatever reason, coming up with a title for this story was not an easy task. I had to edit my story four times before I was like, “Ah yes, this is it.” During May, I want to add to this novella and make it into a novel. So, by writing 1,000 words every day (which is a very manageable daily task), I will tack on 31,000 words and that will bring me to a grand total of 51,000 words by the end of the month. I guess you can say I am hosting my own Mayorimo!

  • Write 2 Flanelle Articles

If you didn’t know, as of March 2020, I am a writer for Flanelle Magazine which is a fashion, design, photography, and culture magazine that posts online and in physical formats too. Last month, I only had time to contribute one article, but this coming month I want to get two articles written and published. I have a lot of fun writing lifestyle and film articles, and also practicing the art of article/non-fiction writing. I want to make sure that while I have more free time, I am devoting a reasonable amount of it to the magazine.

  • Post 3 Blog Posts Per Week

I have been proud of myself for keeping up with posting twice a week, however, now that I have finished school, why not up it to three posts every week? I have decided to post on Wednesdays too, along with Mondays and Fridays at 12 pm PST. Back in the day, I use to post five days a week so I know I can keep up with three for at least the summer.

  • Work On Secret Project Marketing Plan

Oooh, a secret project? No, this is not a new writing project like a short story or novel, but I will give you a clue. It is a business I have been contemplating for a while, and now that quarantine has become a thing, I have decided to take it as an opportunity to use my newfound time to plan and create this project. I am super excited to announce it and that announcement will come soon…May 18th to be exact so keep an eye out for that!


Those are my four writing-related goals for the month of May. I hope hearing about mine brought some inspiration and motivation to your life, and if it did, share with me what your goals are because I would love to know!

If you read my last post, I mentioned some charities that are in need of donations and support during this crisis, and I said I would tell you guys where I decided to donate to in my next post (aka this post!). After some researching and thinking, I decided to donate to an organization in my community, and that is the Shelbourne Community Kitchen which understandably, has experienced a heightened demand for food during these troubled times. Due to COVID-19, the kitchen is feeding twice a month instead of once and also doing home deliveries. I think it is a great organization, and I really wanted to put my money towards my own community. It felt really good to do a little something when at times, like everyone else, I feel a little hopeless.

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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The #StayHome Book Tag! (Original)

Happy Friday!

It has been a while since I’ve created my own book tag, so I thought I would make one based off our new quarantined lives. In no way am I making light of this situation, I just thought it would be fun to create a tag based off the ways we are all feeling and living at the moment. If you would like to do this tag, don’t forget to tag me so I can see your answers!

Now onto the tag.

1. Missing the Outsides – Pick a Book with Nature on the Cover

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1) by Cassandra Clare

I am going to go with a new read for this one, and that is Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. As you can see, the cover is GORGEOUS with Cordeila Carstairs on the cover and her long, red hair mixed in with red leaves. I specifically chose this book because the leaves remind me of fall which is one of my favourite times of the year!

2.  There’s Nothing to Do! – Pick a Book That is Over 500 Pages

The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1) by Lisa Maxwell

I am kind of cheating at my own tag, but this book is just so close to being 500 pages that it should count, right? Last week, I finished The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell and LOVED it. However, it is 498 pages. With all the extra content like the author’s note and whatnot, its technically over 500 pages! If I didn’t use this one, I would probably choose another Cassandra Clare book and then this would just be full of Cassandra Clare.

3. Netflix Binge – Pick a Book Series You Want to Read

An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir (Books 1-3) Discussion ...

I am currently making my way through a re-read of this series, and that is the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I just…ugh, it is so good. Yesterday, I finished re-reading the first book and plan to dive right into A Torch Against the Night sometime in May. The third book, A Reaper at the Gates, came out last year I believe, and the fourth book, A Sky Beyond the Storm, releases in December of this year. I cannot wait to complete the series and see how it is all wrapped up. However, I need to re-read the series first.

4. Video Call Party – Pick a Book with a Large Cast of Characters

The Toll | Book by Neal Shusterman | Official Publisher Page ...

Recently, I read The Toll by Neal Shusterman which is the final book in the Scythe trilogy. It is interesting because there is so many POVs we get to hear from, some who are actual main characters like Citra, Rowan, Scythe Faraday, etc but also a lot who are random people. It really brings the world alive because we get to see snippets of the lives of characters who do so little as pass by our main characters. However, in The Toll, we do get quite a few new main characters; expanding the already big cast of characters. While I didn’t have a super strong connection to one specific character, I did really like most of them.

5. Self-Care Time – Pick a Book That is Your Guilty Pleasure

Best Sarah Dessen Books | POPSUGAR Entertainment

I don’t have one specific book for this, but I have a soft spot for any Sarah Dessen book. Yes, the books are so repetitive and basically have the same type of main character, but I read a lot of her contemporaries in my early high school years when I really needed them. A lot of Sarah Dessen’s books feature characters who have a hard time fitting in and finding their own group of people, and that was really important for me to read.

6. New Routine – Pick a New Release You Haven’t Read, But Want To

Amazon.com: House of Salt and Sorrows (9781984831927): Craig, Erin ...

This is a book I just got in the mail on Wednesday, and that is House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig. This is not a super new book (it came out in August 2019), but I have been dying to read it ever since I heard it was based off the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. When I was younger, that was my favourite Barbie movie and yes, I know the fairy tale is MUCH darker, but that is why I am so excited to explore that part of the story. I haven’t heard really anything on Instagram, YouTube, or on another blog about this book, so I am thinking about doing a review on it. Let me know what you think!

7. What is a Sleep Schedule Even? – Pick a Book that Kept You Up ALL Night

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1) by Cassandra Clare

Over the last year or so, I have transitioned from a night reader to a morning reader (because I am grandma now who cannot stay up past 11 pm). However, the last book that kept me reading until 1 am was Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. I swear, Cassandra Clare books are the only books that have kept me up in the past too. When Lady Midnight released, I read it in like two days and stayed up all night reading it. They are just so addicting and entertaining that you do not want to put down. I highly recommend Chain of Gold because it is definitely Clare’s best work (along with The Dark Artifices trilogy). Luckily, you only have to read The Infernal Devices trilogy before diving into Chain of Gold, since it does follow the characters’ children.

8. Only Essentials Please! – Pick 3 “Essential” Books From Your Shelf

This was SO hard but I brought this on myself. My three essential books Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (because I love the story and characters, but also because its long!), The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (the atmosphere and characters are to die for), and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (I think I’ve talked about my love for it enough for you to understand why). These books just hold special places in my heart, along with having stories and characters I adore.

 

Well, there it is! My latest original book tag. I would love if you participated and gave it a try because it is a great way to stay connected with the book community. Since this is #StayHome theme, I thought I would use my blog to shout out some ways to help businesses and people who are less fortunate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t feel obligated to donate money if you don’t have the means, but at least check out these awesome organizations!

Save Indie Bookstores (Supports indie bookstores across the U.S. but if you aren’t American, look into supporting your local bookstore!)

Feeding America(Gives to food banks across the U.S.)

Oxfam America (Supplies clean water to people who were struggling even before the pandemic like refugees in camps)

Support Vulnerable Communities (Various Canadian fundraisers to protect vulnerable communities)

Support Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (Various Canadian fundraisers to protect vulnerable communities)

These are just a few of many organizations you can support during these trying times, but there are so many more. I recommend looking at your community and seeing what you can do there too. So far, I’ve only ordered a book from a local bookstore near me, but I definitely want to donate to one of the organizations I listed above. Hopefully, by my next blog post, I can tell you guys which one I decide to give to. Once again, only donate if you can!

Don’t forget to check out my blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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