Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4: Finding Value in Your Work

Week 4 is upon us, which for most of us means we have long lost that initial excitement of starting a new project. You may be feeling unmotivated whenever you think about sitting down to write, and may feel like the words that are coming out aren’t good. And you are probably right, they most likely aren’t good but that is the point of drafting! Here are a few tips to see the value in your work again, and gain back that motivation to power through the last seven days of Camp NaNoWriMo:

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  • Remind Yourself That This is Draft One – For most of us, this is draft one of our projects and because of that, the words are just there as a placeholder until you can think of better ones. The point of a first draft is to word vomit all your ideas and characters onto a document, and then later on you can come in with a broom and dustpan. But you can only do that if the words start out bad so get out those words!
  • Remember Every Writer Starts Out in the Same Boat – Even the most successful writers start with bad first drafts, it is just a given. Nobody has a clean first draft, unless you go back and edit everything you write but that would take forever so just keep going!
  • All Stories Matter – Don’t compare your story to someone else’s because all stories are valid and deserve to be told. Each story will be different and have a different effect on people, so don’t go comparing your story to Harry Potter just because it is a fantasy book that has magic in it! You will only end up feeling bad about your work and we don’t want that.
  • Enjoy the Process – When it comes to writing, you have to write with the present in mind, not the future. If you are writing to become a “New York Bestselling Author” then you are not writing for the right reasons, and will be most likely to only disappoint yourself. Enjoy the process of writing your own, original story, and fall in love with it!
  • Just Keep Writing – Don’t go back and edit anything, just keep writing. Keep the momentum flowing and when you finally write that last page your story, it will feel like a massive accomplishment, because it is! So work towards that rather than a fancy title like “NY Bestselling Author”. How many people can say they have finished an entire novel? Odds are not many so let that be your goal.

That is all for this Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4 post and I hope you enjoyed! I will have a week 5 one up next week so stayed tuned for that. Don’t forget to check out all the blog posts linked down below for more bookish-writing related content, and also follow me on social media!

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

Other Camp NaNo Posts: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

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How To Become a Better Writer (Without Actually Writing)

Okay, obviously you need to actually WRITE to become a better WRITER, but it is also important to remember that there are other ways to become a better and stronger writer. I hope you apply some of these new ideas to your writing process, and I hope you enjoy!

  • Read – Yes, yes this is the obvious one but it had to be said in a blog post like this. You would be surprised how many people forget to crack open a book while writing their own story, or just writing anything in general. It is important to keep up a regular reading routine that goes along with your writing routine because continually reading will continue to inspire you and help you improve your craft as you go along. Even if you can only fit in 15 minutes a day for reading, every little bit helps.
  • New Experiences – Going for a walk around town or hopping on the bus and going for a cruise will open your eyes to the world around us. You will see people interacting and new landscapes which will benefit your writing. You will be able to paint scenery better because you actually saw it, and could pick up on some interesting dialogue as well. Make sure you leave your writing office every once and a while!
  • Learning – Even if you have long since graduated from school, there are so many opportunities for you to learn new things. Take online classes or classes at your local college on subjects that interest you (not just writing, but classes like history, art, languages, etc), check out books on different topics from the library, or use the internet! There are so many resources at your fingertips that I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to keep learning. Learning new things will widen your field of writing when it comes to blog posts and articles, because as they say, pick something (or several things), become an expert in it, and then write it.
  • Watch Movies/TV! – This might be your favourite one, because I know it is one of my favourite ways to become a better writer. Watching movies and TV’s triggers new ideas and allows you to admire the story line and then dissect it. You get to learn what makes an entertaining plot, and where it falls flat, and then apply it to your own writing.
  • Podcasts – Every writer should be subscribed to several different podcasts, whether they are writing related or something completely different. I am subscribed to many writing/creativity related podcasts, but also some on history and mythology ones as well. They are nice to listen to when you are walking around or driving, or even cleaning your room/house. If you have a busy life and don’t have much time to commit to the tips above, I definitely recommend checking out some podcasts because they allow you to listen to them while doing other tasks!

Okay, NOW is when writing comes in!

Those are my 5 tips on how to become a better writer apart from actually writing, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out the blog posts below for more writing and reading related content 🙂

Last Blog Post: Camp NaNoWriMo Week 3: Using Your Cabin

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 3: Using Your Cabin

The great part about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you are placed in a cabin with a group of writers all going through the same struggles and hardships as you. If you don’t usually speak to people about your writing, whether that is because your town/city doesn’t offer many opportunities for that or because you are just shy, this is the perfect opportunity so take advantage of it.

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Tips for Making the Most of Your Cabin:

  • Introduce Yourself – This is obvious, but it is important to introduce yourself to your virtual cabin. Say your name and share a bit on what you are working on, and maybe throw in some struggles you usually have when it comes to your writing. You will be surprised by how many people will respond and begin introducing themselves as well!
  • Ask for Advice – A lot of your cabin members have most likely been writing for a long time, so ask for some advice! Maybe you need some help on flushing out your characters, or how to escape the cold, dead hands of writer’s block. Whatever you need there is a good chance someone in your cabin has an answer.
  • Motivate Each Other – There will definitely be days where you are not motivated to write, and just the thought of sitting down at your computer sounds draining. Guess what, you have about a dozen or so people at your fingertips if you are in need of some pep talks! And when someone else is in need of some motivation in your cabin, make sure you are there to offer some as well. I make sure I actively check out the chat room of my cabin because I want to be there for my cabin mates, and it is nice to always have the favour returned.

I know this blog post was a bit short, but I really wanted to emphasize on the importance of your cabin before Camp NaNoWriMo is over because boy, is it flying by. Now that you are done reading this, google “Camp NaNoWriMo”, log in and start up the chat in your cabin! Apply the 3 tips I gave above and make the most of your cabin while you have it. Also, don’t forget to check out the blog posts linked below, and I hope you enjoyed 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

Other Camp NaNo Posts: My Survival Writing Kit, Catching Up

Other Places You Can Find Me:

 

Twitter:@zoermathers

Instagram: @zoematherswrites

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Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2: Catching Up

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

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

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

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1: My Writing Survival Kit

Other Places You Can Find Me:

Twitter:@zoermathers

Pinterest: @zoermathers

 

5 Goals Every Writer Should Set + How to Stay Accountable

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

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

BeFunky Design

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

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

 

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

Camp NaNoWriMo Writing Tips #4

Ahh Camp NaNoWriMo is almost over and I am starting to loose motivation so I decided to make another one of these writing tip posts in case any of you are doubting your work!

Writing Tip #1 – Running out of ideas for a story? Look at a picture and write about it. A picture tells a thousand words so you should easily be able to get your ideas flowing by doing this.

Writing Tip #2 – To improve your vocabulary which is very important for a writer, subscribe to online vocab building websites because you will be able to do activities that teach you knew words that you may be able to use in your story!

Writing Tip #3 – Doubting yourself? Give yourself a writing goal to achieve every week and if you complete it reward yourself. Example: Say your goal by the end of the week is 10,000 words and if you complete it then treat yourself to a chocolate bar, or an 10 minute longer break during writing. Whatever you want.

Writing Prompt of the Day – It was like nothing happened. He didn’t remember a thing and I was off the hook, or so I thought…(From WritingPrompt.com)

Writing Quote of the Day – “Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.” – Holly Gerth

Hope you guys liked this post and I hoped it help! If you have any writing questions don’t hesitate to ask!

Camp NaNoWriMo Writing Tips #2

Wow, Camp NaNoWriMo is almost halfway over! Whether or not you are halfway done, or barley have any words down this post is made to help you! Here are some tips, prompts, and inspiration writing quotes to get you away from writers block, or wanting to procrastinate.

Tip#1 – If you don’t want to write, or have writers block than just free write. Get out a notebook or open up whatever document you use and just write. Write about why you don’t want to write or what better things you could be doing. If you free write like this for around ten minutes then it will help you push yourself to actually write your story.

Tip#2 – Another way to get over procrastination or writers block is too give yourself a One-Day-Writing-Workshop. Basically all you need to do is set a start time in the morning, so like ten, and a finish time, maybe around four or five, and then you just write. It doesn’t have to be involved with your story, although it would be better if it was, but just write what you feel like. It will open up your brain to writing.

Prompt of the Day – You wake up one day and discover that you are your four year old self. What do you do?

Writing Quote of the Day – You might not write well everyday, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page. -Jodi Picoult

Hope this helped in some ways! If you need some more inspiration then check out the Writer’s Digest or Market!

Harsh but Helpful Writing Tips

Writing is not a walk through the park, neither is trying to get your book published so hopefully these few harsh, but helpful writing tips will assist you in this long journey.

The first draft always sucks – Your first draft will never be amazing let alone good but that’s what editing is for. The whole idea of a first draft is too get all your thoughts down quickly so it seems fitting that it would be terrible by the end. That’s fixable at least.

Develop a thick shell – If you want to be a writer you have to develop a thick shell because there will be people who turn you down multiple times and give harsh advice but you have to learn to accept that and take their words into consideration.

Hunt for inspiration – Inspiration isn’t going to come to you! You have to go and hunt it down because that is the only way your going to find it. Inspiration is what drives you to write the book so this is very important.

Writing is hard – This is a solid fact. Writing is not easy! If it was everybody would be doing it and be good at it but it doesn’t work like that. Make sure you know what your signing up for when you decide to write a novel because it takes a lot of commitment and hard work but if you succeed its always worth it in the end.

Tell your story – There is always going to be writers who are better then you, it’s inevitable but you are there to tell your story and nobody can tell it better than you. Don’t write to try and be the “best” writer, write because you are just there to share your story with the world.

Those are few harsh but all around helpful tips that I found and I really hope the help you get an idea of what being a writer is like! 🙂

 

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo: Writing Websites

Camp NaNoWriMo begins in only 15 days so I decided to post another “helpful” post on some websites that will help you with your writing journey! These are websites that have writing prompts, tips, videos, and other things that I think will help you during July. I hope this helps all of you!
Writer’s Digest – This is a great website for readers because it offers webinars, tutorials, tips and lots of other writing advice that it is extremely helpful. They even have information about agents which you will need sooner or later!

Gotham Writers – This is a website where there are different writing courses for you too take and yes, they do cost some money but they are definitely worth it because you will learn a lot! If you cannot afford the prices there are also small contests that they offer where you can win a free class of your choice which is better than nothing!

Bloomsburry Newsletter – If you go on the Bloomsburry publishing website and sign up for their newsletter they will frequently send you newsletters that have lots of interesting tips and advice for writers from other writers. I really enjoy reading them and find them very helpful!

Those are a few great websites that will help you during NaNoWriMo so I hope you check them out!

(P.S. this was not sponsored these are just websites that I personally love and think you guys will too!)

Camp NaNoWriMo: Writing Tips

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

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

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

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

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