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 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

NaNoWriMo Week 1 – Taking Advantage of the First Week Buzz

NaNoWriMo_logo_w_words

Happy day 5 of NaNoWriMo! I cannot believe we’re already 5 DAYS into this crazy month, and I am…well, I’m doing alright. I talked about it in yesterday’s reading and writing update, but basically, after day 1 I’ve been dealing with some pretty serious creative burnout already. However, I am ready to get back into the swing of things and catch up, which is what this blog post is all about! Taking advantage of that first-week buzz.

Set Your Schedule ASAP

I talked about this in one of my preptober blog posts, but I am going to remind you again because it is super important to implement your writing schedule during the first week of NaNo. It is going to be a struggle to commit to it someday, but you need to otherwise you will fall behind like me and then get really, really stressed out about it…and we don’t want that. Set alarms or reminders for whenever you need to sit your butt down and write. Whatever gets you writing your story so it will be easier in the coming weeks!

Write In Your Spare Time

During the first week of NaNoWriMo, everyone is still excited about their projects because everything is still new and fresh. Even though you might be excited about your project for the whole month, nothing compares to that buzz of writing it during the first week, so take advantage of all your spare time and write! You might not have that spare time later on.

Rewards!

Really exercise the idea of rewards this week with yourself because I don’t know about you, but knowing I have a reward waiting for me after each writing session during the beginning of NaNo gets me really excited and motivated to actually do the writing. Make them as small or as big as you want, the point is to fuel that first-week buzz even more and try to stretch it out as far as you can into the month of November.

Minimize Wasted Time

By this, I mean try to minimize all the times you turn on your phone just to scroll through Instagram or Twitter, or to watch mindless YouTube videos. Instead, use that time to write or at least to fuel your creative well for the next writing session. When you add it all up, those 10 minute Twitter sessions will add up to maybe a few hundred words instead.

Those are a few of my key tips to really harness that first-week NaNo buzz! I know we are over halfway through week 1 already, but there is still time to think about these tips. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed and don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

Preptober Week 4 – Creating the Perfect Schedule

Happy Monday!

NaNoWriMo_logo_w_words

One massive part of having a successful NaNoWriMo is creating the perfect schedule. One that is tailored to your daily life and allows you to write the most words each day. To do so, however, you need to ask yourself a few questions to create that “perfect schedule” and here are some of those questions:

  1. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night person? – When are you most awake and productive? That is the time you should spend writing so you don’t waste time trying to write during a time when you aren’t really productive.
  2. How long do you want to write for? – Are short sprints or longer sessions more beneficial for you? This is really important for getting the most amount of words out of each day. You also don’t want to overwrite or underwrite yourself.
  3. Do you want to set a timer for each writing session or just go with the flow? – Personally, I do about 20-30 minute writing sprints so I set a timer, but sometimes at night if I’ve gotten most of my words in for the day, I just let myself write until I want to stop.
  4. Are you walking into each writing session blind, or are you going to try and have an outline for each day? – I am more of a panster than a plotter, but sometimes having a loose outline/idea for each writing day really helps make sure you don’t go off track, thus making each writing day a bit easier.
  5. How many days a week are you writing? – 7 days? 2 days? 5 days? Personally, I try to aim for 6 days because then I am giving myself an entire day off to just relax and recharge. I’m able to do this because I am for higher word counts each day though!
  6. When will you schedule in “you time”? – This is super important in order to avoid creative burnout. The last thing you need during NaNoWriMo is to lose the motivation to write, so make sure you take time for yourself. That can mean a little bit each day or an entire day. Whatever works for you.
  7. How will you make up for missed writing days? – Sometimes life happens, so how will you make up for those missed words? How many words will you add to each writing session, or will you write on your day off that week? It’s important to know this so you don’t freak out when you can’t write one day!

Those are some questions to ask yourself when creating your perfect writing schedule and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media account linked down below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

How to Write More During NaNoWriMo

Okay, before we get into this post I just wanted to let you guys know that this blog post is a collab with descript.com! I am really excited to be collabing with them because their website works really well with what a lot of my blog posts have been about lately (prepping for NaNoWriMo) so honestly, it was the perfect time for them to approach me. Of course, I would not be collabing with them if I didn’t really think their website would be helpful to you all and it definitely is so I cannot wait to tell you all about it below! Okay, now to the actual blog post…


Image result for nanowrimo

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is all about trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and that is no easy task by any means. To help make it a little easier though, I will be sharing 5 tips on how to write more during the month of November and get a little closer to that 50k goal! If you have been keeping up with my blog this month, you probably noticed that I have been posting Preptober posts every Monday to help with prepping for NaNoWriMo. However, this is a little bonus, Preptober blog post because it is Wednesday, not Monday so I hope you enjoy!

Descript.com

Image result for descript

As I mentioned above, this is a collab with descript.com. Basically, Descript is a transcribing website where you can record audio for a podcast, video, or even your NaNoWriMo project, and then insert that audio onto their website. They will transcribe your audio and allow you to physically edit the words you spoke! It is great because if you don’t have the time to sit down and physically write, you can talk out your story and transcribe when you get the chance. It is also a great way to break through writer’s block because sometimes we just need to talk things out and get those creative juices flowing to finally find the motivation to write again. If you want to learn more about how descript.com can help you overcome writer’s block, especially during NaNoWriMo, check out their super informative blog post all about it HERE. Also, if you decide to give their website a try (you get 30 mins of it free when you sign up, but it is pretty affordable if it is something you think you will use!) let me know how you liked it and what you used it for 🙂

Freewrite In the AM

FullSizeRender (4)

One thing I have gotten back into recently is journalling right when I wake up in the morning. I sit down with some coffee at around 6am and try to write at least a page of my thoughts, feelings, and goals for the day. Journalling is a great way to get your creativity flowing early on in the day and it sets you up for writing success later on. Instead of writing about what’s on your mind though, especially during NaNoWriMo, you could freewrite a short story or part of your NaNoWriMo project just to get you started for the day. This warms up my mind and helps me crank out 1-3k words each day!

Listen to 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang!

Image result for 88 cups of tea

Whenever I am feeling unmotivated or I just really need to sit down and get some words down for the day, I know that I can always count on the amazing podcast 88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang. I have been a HUGE fan of this podcast for over 2 years now…wow, that’s a long time, and I recommend it with my whole heart. It features people of different creative backgrounds like writers, actors, and literary agents who offer really useful advice for pursuing creativity. I always finish each episode itching for my computer so definitely check it out throughout the month of November!

Plan Goals for Each Writing Session

I don’t always do this but I wish I did because it helps me immensely in determining how productive my next writing session will be. After a writing session, I like to first off, take a step back and breath because I probably had been writing for a while. Secondly, I like to take a piece of paper and a pen, and looking at my outline, see what major(ish) beats I need to hit next. These are just 1-3 major (or minor, but still important) points I need to hit in the next scene in order to make it exciting, interesting, and also easier for me to write. This way I still let my panster side run wild in the next writing session, but I have a loose map I can still follow so I don’t get lost. I recommend trying this to see if it works for you and if it doesn’t, that’s alright! If it does, that is awesome because it always helps me so, so much when I do this.

Set Aside 1-2 Hours of Self-Care Each Day

unnamed (3)

I talk about taking breaks a lot in my writing posts but it is just something that all writers need to keep being reminded of, so here I am, mentioning it again. I’ve talked about how you can set aside one day a week for self-care, or like an hour at night every once and a while, but I am back with a slightly different tip. I am challenging you to take 1-2 hours every. Single. Night to focus on yourself. After a day of writing, working, and existing, you need time. So, take this hour or so to watch TV, read, or just lie down and exist. This is super important to do, especially during NaNoWriMo, so you don’t burn yourself out. I get a little wound up when NaNoWriMo hits, and usually spend a lot of time at my computer and my back does NOT appreciate that. So, my goal for this November (apart from writing 50k) is to take a 1-2 hour break for just me every night (probably 8-10pm) to relax.

Those are my 5 tips on how to write more during NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out Descript.com and their blog post all about how to use their website to overcome writer’s block because it is a really cool and efficient way to write this November! Also, make sure you check out my last blog post and all of my social media accounts linked below for more writing and bookish related fun. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Preptober Week 2 – Are You Planning Enough?

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

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!

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

Preptober Week 1 – Getting Started

Happy October!

October is one of my favourite months because it is rainy, spooky, and also the month before NaNoWriMo, Preptober! I will be spending Preptober working on re-outlining my WIP to write technically draft 3, but since I didn’t fully finish writing draft 2, I’m going to call it draft 2.5. But anyway, in today’s post I will be talking about determining your NaNoWriMo project and getting ready for a month of prepping. I hope it’s helpful and let’s just get into it!

NaNoWriMo_logo_w_words

Quick Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Project:

  • What genre is it?
  • Who is telling the story?
  • What are the major plot points in this story that you NEED to hit?
  • Who is it for? Young adults, middle grade, adults?
  • How would you describe it in one sentence?
  • Why are you writing this story? For yourself, for someone else, just because?
  • When are you going to try and write? Early mornings, late at night?
  • What are 3 things that you do to motivate yourself to write? Go for a walk, read a book, watch some AuthorTube?
  • What are you going to use to write this story? A notebook and pen, your laptop, a typewriter?

Step 1: Meet Your Characters

Who are they? What do they do? Who are their friends, their enemies, their lovers, their family? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their fears? Their passions? What do they hate? If they could change one thing about themselves, what would that be? There are so many questions to ask them and on Tomi Adeyemi’s website (author of Children of Blood and Bone), she has a great selection of character sheets for you to print off so click HERE for them!

Step 2: Create Your World

Whether you are creating a magical world or writing a story in our world, you still need to build it. If you are creating a brand new one, draw maps, write up the world’s history like its battles, leaders, etc. Know who the leader of it is and how the political system works and such. If you are using our world, how do your characters and plot fit into it? Where does it take place? What year? What month? Here is a link to someone’s blog post I found for some more ideas of what to consider in your world if you need some more ideas!

Step 3: Build Your Plot

Now that you have your characters and world, build your plot around them. How do they interact with the plot? What sort of plot would make sense with these characters and world? I would recommend having like 9 main plot points that you need to hit throughout your story, and then connect them with the strings (subplots) to keep your story at a good pace and still interesting! Again, Tomi Adeyemi has some amazing posts regarding plot so for more ideas and insight, click HERE. Just scroll down until you see the PLOT related posts but as I was linking this, I realized that she also has a FREE plot course! That is amazing so if you are interested, click HERE.

Step 4: Keep Organized

You have this information so make sure you keep it all organized! Separate characters from world building from the plot but keep it in a place where you can easily access it whenever you need. I recommend a physical notebook over keeping things on your laptop, but whatever is easier and works best for you, do that! If you prefer staying organized on your computer, I do have some recommendations that I’ve used and liked in the past: Scrivener, Evernote, Word, Google Docs.

Step 5: Create a (Loose) Schedule

One thing I stand by is to try and stick to a schedule during the first week of NaNoWriMo. If it doesn’t work out, then whatever, just write when you can, but if it does stick then you will get so much more done! You will get in the habit of writing at certain times and when that time comes, you will actually feel like writing. Or at least feel like you should be writing. For example, recently I have been getting up a little earlier on weekdays and writing a bit. Sometimes only for 30 mins but sometimes even more than that. It allows me to start my day off being productive and makes sure I get some words in each day. I also write in the later afternoon after I get home from school and relaxed a bit, but before dinner time. These are the times that have recently been working for me but sometimes change. And that’s okay! I recommend spending October trying to figure out a potential writing schedule because if it works, NaNoWriMo will be sooo much easier.

More Fun Things to Get You Ready for NaNoWriMo:

Videos: Preptober|Planning Your Novel for NaNoWriMo – Kristen Martin

NaNoWriMo Prep|Survival Kit – Natalia Leigh

Blog Posts: NaNoWriMo Prep #1, #2, #3, #4 – by ME!

That is all I have for this week’s Preptober post and I hope you enjoyed and found it helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts all linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

All About NaNoWriMo

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

Image result for nanowrimo

So, What IS NaNoWriMo and Preptober?

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

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

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

Perks of NaNoWriMo?

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

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

Tips for NaNoWriMo?

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

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

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

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

Things I Learned from Writing the 1st Draft

The best way to learn about writing is by doing it, and while I have written my fair share of first drafts, I still learn a lot each time I sit down and begin a new story. On April 1st of this year, I sat down to write the first draft of my WIP I like to call “Project Mystic”. This is by far my most developed project and is something I am still working on today, but boy, did I learn a lot after writing its (AWFUL) first draft. Today, I am going to give a list of all the things I learned while writing its first draft that helped me become a better and more understanding writer.

  • First drafts really do suck
  • Only time will make your writing good
  • Your ideas will change with each draft, and that’s okay
  • Sometimes our thoughts don’t translate perfectly onto the page…and that is also okay
  • The more you love your project, the faster you will get through that horrid first draft…don’t waste your time on a project you aren’t passionate about!
  • You have to be okay with things not going according to plan otherwise you will spiral in on yourself
  • Just get it done. No matter how crap it is, just keep on writing
  • But remember to take lots of breaks…whole day breaks, weekend breaks, evening breaks, whatever fits your needs
  • First drafts can be as long or short as you need them to be, there is no right length
  • Stretch…a lot. This goes for whenever you are sitting at your computer for long periods of time, whether its when writing your first draft or not
  • The writing routine/schedule you are using for your first draft might not hold out the entire drafting process, and it probably won’t be the same routine you use for your other drafts or other projects. Be flexible
  • If you change something from your original outline make sure you add it into your outline right away! You don’t want to write it in and then have no idea where to go from there
  • Be patient and enjoy the process of writing your first draft

So there is my rambly list of things I’ve learned from writing the first draft and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and my social media accounts which are all linked below! Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: October 2018 TBR

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoeiswriting

 

 

@zoematherswrites

Building Your Writing Portfolio: Tips and Ideas

Having a writing portfolio is essential when being a writer, especially when you enjoy writing in various mediums like myself. Since I like to write novels, short stories, and creative non-fiction, a writing portfolio is something I have been building up for years. If you don’t really know, a writing portfolio is a collection of work you have written (published or unpublished) that you have at hand to show to potential employers (if you are in freelance or such) or to just show off your work. Today, I will be giving some tips and ideas on building your writing portfolio to make it the best it can be and I hope you enjoy!

  • Always Add to Your Portfolio – A writing portfolio is something that should never really be finished. Over the months or years, you should be continuously adding your best work to it. This allows you to have lots of options to select from and then showcase your best pieces. This also goes for editing, you should never stop editing your pieces. You don’t have to edit them every week, but every few months give them a quick look over because you will always find new ways to improve them.
  • Choose the Pieces That Showcase You Best – Focus on pieces that really highlight you as a writer, whether that is your technique or voice, find the pieces that you love the most and seem the best to you. Don’t add something to your professional portfolio just because you wrote it, add it if you feel it has a valid reason for being in there and you think could get you somewhere in your career.
  • Use Published Pieces the Most – If you don’t have any pieces published yet, that is fine, focus on showcasing the ones you think could be published in the future. But, if you have a short story or an essay published, that should automatically get first choice to be put in your writing portfolio. That way, when someone takes a look at it and sees that it had been published before, you will automatically seem more professional and qualified in their eyes. Don’t be discouraged if your work isn’t published though!

What To Do with Your Writing Portfolio:

  • Showcase It On Your Blog or Social Media – Have a link to it somewhere on your blog or in the bio of your social media. Just have it somewhere others can reach it if they need to.
  • Use Pieces for Writing Contests/Literary Journals – Since your writing portfolio should be your most POLISHED pieces, why not put them to work and submit them for publication? If they get published, great! If not, send them to a few more places or clean it up even more. Writing contests and literary magazines are particular and selective, which is why it is important to send your pieces out to various ones because they are all looking for different things.
  • Submit Them to Scholarships – There are a lot of great writing scholarships out there if you are in school, but a lot of them require a LOT of writing samples. For example, one scholarship I am applying to in a few months asks for 8 different pieces of writing…8! That is a lot and I am still not at that number yet (although I am close). I wish I had a larger writing portfolio of pieces I am proud of because than this would be a lot easier.

 

Midnight Thoughts – Focusing on the Positive While Writing

While writing, it can be really hard to get past the negative cloud muddling our thoughts. The negative is usually much louder, taunting us by saying “why am I even trying” “I am the worst writer” and other things like that. This is toxic and it is important for writers to look past the negative and see the positive when we can.

One of my biggest tips when it comes to focusing on the positive while writing is to focus on writing your project just because you love it and can write it. Don’t put the pressure of wanting to be published on it, otherwise your words and mental health will suffer from it. Just write. Write because you can and because it is something you enjoy doing, and let that be enough to propel you further.

I also recommend starting and ending each day with gratitude. Show gratitude to yourself and your writing, and remind yourself everyday why you are sitting here, writing. Why you are creating worlds and painting them on paper despite the hardships and obstacles along the way. This is a way to constantly refresh your goals and line of passion so that each time you sit down to write, you will feel your passion brewing inside you and waiting to come out.

Lastly, when it comes to focusing on the positive, I recommend stepping back from social media as much as possible. It can be damaging to see the other writers you follow on Instagram or Twitter, and seeing them have success when you feel like you aren’t having any. It might be that they are at different stages in their writing career, or that they are just having better luck (it happens!), but this can really pull you down. Taking a step back from these accounts, even unfollowing them for a bit if you have to, might be what you need to help direct yourself back to the positive. And that is okay. Just remember that even if these other writers seem like they are living the perfect writing life that you wish to have, there is always more behind the picture. Remember that your time will come too, and you will see that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows when you get there either.

Those are my three main tips when it comes to finding the positive while writing, and I hope you are enjoying this series of “Midnight Thoughts”! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – Spoiler Review

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoematherswrites

 

 

@zoematherswrites

 

 

@zoermathers