April Writing & Reading Events I’m Participating In…

I used to complain about not having enough time to complete personal goals or work on creative projects. Oddly enough, my new abundance of time isn’t motivation enough to do these things. Good thing there’s several writing and reading events happening this month. Events that I’m participating in! (And, who knows, maybe these events will keep you busy too?)

Magical Readathon 2020 (OWLs)

The OWLs is a Harry Potter themed reading challenge hosted and created by G from Book Roast. Participants complete courses (reading challenges) for a particular career to qualify for their NEWTs in August. If you complete both challenges, you get a cool diploma! Some careers you can “study” for are Alchemist, Astronomer, Mind Medic, Broom Maker, and others.

This is my first year taking part in the event, and I’m studying to be a Writer or Journalist (shocker, right?). I’m reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab for my “History of Magic: Witch Hunt” course. I’ll share my tbr in a later post!

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNo is a lax version of NaNoWriMo where you can choose whatever writing goal you wish to complete during the month. Mine is to work on Retaliate. It’s in the “drowning in a pit of despair” (aka editing) stage of the writing process and desperately needs some love.

National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo)

NaPoWriMo is like NaNoWriMo, but it’s poetry centered and ISN’T run by the nonprofit. Participants can write whatever poetry they like and the host provides prompts for those who often find themselves stuck (like me). I’ve completed one prompt so far, but the goal is to do as many as I can and share them here on the blog.

Perhaps taking on all three of these events at once is too much for some, but I want–no I need–to fill my April in creativity due to stagnation. Maybe you feel the same way and want to join me in one (or all) the above events? After all, its not too late.

Cover photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Coffee Share: In which I’m trying to be more creative

I think I know how vampires feel…um, the running from the sun part not the weird blood craving thing. Daytime highs around here are always in the upper 90s and sometimes kiss 110! I’ve spent most of my Summer trying to hide from the big, bright jerk in the sky. So, if we were having coffee, we’d have it later in the day when it’s cooler. Then, I’d tell you…

I completed my Creativity Challenge (aka I’m a Camp NaNoWriMo “Winner”)

Camp-2017-Winner-Profile-PhotoI learned something about myself this year: if I’m not being creative, I’m filled with anxiety and am very cranky. After going through this for six months, I decided to do something about it.

So, I used Camp NaNoWriMo as an excuse to be creative for at least 90 minutes everyday (2790 minutes total).

And…I performed better than I thought I would: I’ve written a total of 69 pieces of flash fiction, short stories, micro poetry, and micro fiction; spent twenty hours outlining Knight and then completed a 15,800 word first draft; and brush lettered for six hours.

Today, I feel rejuvenated and ready to have more fun with my creativity. So, yeah, mission accomplished!

I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming

In my opinion, this was the best Spider-Man movie EVER. It totally bypassed the origin story and just got to the point. Thank you, Marvel!

I’m renovating my blog with an emphasis on creativity

I’ve blogged here since 2014 and it’s been great! I’ve met awesome readers/writers, gushed about reading, shared my writing life and discussed the technical side of writing.

But…it’s missing my creative side—and that’s the side of me that wanted to start this blog in the first place.

I’ve been renovating my blog in between writing sessions so that it better represents me as a fiction writer. This meant fixing my homepage, rewriting my About page, and making my WIP page more dynamic. I’m also thinking about posting some flash fiction or creative nonfiction just to spice my posting schedule up (after I, you know, get over the fear of sharing them).

 

So that’s my coffee share! What’ve you been up to?

Staying Motivated through Camp NaNo and Beyond

For this year’s Camp NaNo, I decided to challenge myself to be creative. My goal is to write a piece of flashfiction (maybe post some and submit others), work on my neglected WIP(s), and brush letter for a 1hr and 30mins every day.

Now I made up this goal on a coffee high, so I wasn’t in my right mind. A whole month? Everyday? Do I have the motivation for that?

Then I started thinking: July is just another month on the calendar. I’m going to face the same troubles as I would any other month: writer’s block, imposter syndrome, self-doubt, and etc.

So I decided to write this post as a preemptive measure whenever I’m not feeling motivated to write. Maybe my words of wisdom will also help you during your NaNo-ing adventures and beyond.

Whenever you’re not feeling motivated, remember to…

Employ good ole’ fashioned grit

Honestly, this is going to be your default all through your writing life. Just shut up, sit down, and start working.

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper

E.B. White

Expect “good ole’ fashioned grit” to fail you

Grit, like most of the tips in this post, will only take you so far. You have to keep in mind why you decided to start writing in the first place.

Plan the day out

Before you go to bed, sit down and plan out what you want to do the following day. Don’t set yourself up for failure with unrealistic goals (ex. “Outline the whole novel in a day” isn’t realistic).

Expect your plans to fall apart

SOMETHING will always get in the way of writing time. The trick is knowing how to be flexible. Plan for interruptions by creating make-up days or lightly scheduling your week.

Get up early

It’s ten times easier to write when the majority of the household is asleep. No one will interrupt you, meaning you can finish your work early and go about your day guilt free.

Expect to miss the alarm

Morning GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I know, sometimes the pillow is more comfortable than sitting in an office chair. Just crawl out of bed when you can and find a quiet place somewhere. There’s always a quiet place.

Know your bad habits, and prevent them

Pull yourself away from things that’ll distract. If you have to hide your devices in the sock drawer or unplug the internet modem just to stay off social media, do it!

Expect relapses

It happens. Just dust yourself off, get something done before bed (no matter how small), and plan to do better tomorrow.

Good luck wrimoes!

 

How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

Stay Motivated to Write with these Four Tips

If you’re one of the many writers competing in Camp NaNo, good luck because NaNo will challenge your commitment. Wait, sorry, that’s not entirely true.

Writing will challenge your commitment — period. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel, screenplay, comic script, or term paper you will reach a point where you’re motivation goes POOF! Gone.

It’s totally natural, but here’s four ways you can keep yourself motivated to write:

 

Make yourself accountable by telling others your writing goals

Letting others know about your writing goals is probably the most effective way to stay motivated. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable to tell those same people you gave up.

You can tell a writing buddy, family member, spouse or friend so long as they hold you to your goals and give you moral support.

Some bloggers, myself included, share their goals with their blog subscribers.

 

Diarize your writing journey

Writing down your problems can reduce the control they have on your emotions. 

Journaling brings you into that state of mindfulness; past frustrations and future anxieties lose their edge in the present moment.

Thai Nguyen

If something emotional is keeping you from focusing on your writing, journaling (keeping a diary) can help you evaluate or purge those negative feelings.

Maybe you thought you had writers block but you’re really suffering from impostor syndrome. Maybe you can’t focus on your writing because you had a nasty argument with your spouse. Whatever your problems are, try writing it down so that it doesn’t bother you as much.

You can journal your writing journey on your blog if you’re comfortable with that. Just be mindful about what you put on the Internet, okay?

 

Have a reward system

Pair a goal with a gift and you have a reward system.

During 2015’s NaNoWriMo I had a bunch of left over Halloween candy (no one was trick-or-treating where I lived). I set up a reward system where I got to eat candy only if I wrote 1700 words that day (it totally worked).

I think it’s only fair to warn you that reward systems require a ton of self-control. So, yeah, keep that in mind.

 

Time Travel

You read that right. No, I’m not crazy.

Well…not legally.

You can “time travel” by sending an email to your future self via futureme.org.

Pick a due date, write yourself a congratulatory email, and send it. You’ll feel uber special because you’ve not only completed your goal, but you also received a well deserved pat on the back from your past self. And, lets face it, sometimes all you have is yourself to count on.

Seeking validation from others is a waste of time. All you need is determination and grit.

Tweet This!

What if you don’t meet your goal? Well, then you’ll feel like crap which will turn into determination for next time. No one likes feeling like crap.

 

I’m not saying any of these tips are foolproof, but they can help reduce discouragement. Motivation is a battle we writers face daily so maybe give one or two a try?

If you want more tips about keeping yourself motivated to write, I suggest reading this post I wrote during 2014’s NaNoWriMo.

Good luck out there!

I’m Gunning you Down, August!

Hectic, productive, eye opening, and oddly relaxing.

Huzzah!

That’s what July has been for me. I got more done this month than I originally planned!

Lets see…

  • I read and reviewed 2 books
  • I participated in Camp NaNo and finished the first draft for my novel
  • I finished the critical readthrough of my sci-fi novel
  • I wrote a short story (first draft)
  • I’m all set for classes

Looking ahead, I plan to…

  • Read through Lantern
  • Start the second draft of my sci-fi novel
  • Finish editing my short story
  • Start and finish a 4000 word short for a writing competition
  • Read a book, a few shorts, and review them all
  • I may cut my posting frequency down to twice a week (gotta keep myself school focused)

So…that’s what my August looks like.

First Drafts…Ugh!

Write-Drunk-Edit-Sober-Ernest-HemingwayWith furious keystrokes, an overload of coffee, and a bit of determination I FINISHED my April/July NaNo novel yesterday. However, the next emotion that wafted over me wasn’t elation or relief.

I didn’t get that feeling you get after running a marathon or winning a hot dog eating contest.

I actually felt like this was just the beginning.

…And it is.

First drafts are just warm up stretches for the real run. Or, as Chuck Wendig calls them, “creative vomit.”

Still, I’m happy I got through the slush pile!

Now it’s all a matter of letting the manuscript rest—and then editing it. Should be fun.

Hope you all did good on your NaNo writing this month!

Freewrite #9: (For WriMos) In Just One Word

 

This freewrite will be an actual challenge!


 

Have you ever wondered how an author can take a 200,000 word project and reduce it to a 300 word blurb? It sounds like a real challenge and, from what I’ve heard, it is!

Many of us are finishing or have finished our NaNo projects this month. You’ll be using THAT project (or some current WIP) in this freewrite.

 

one-wordYour challenge for “freewrite” #9 is to:

  1. Write, in exhaustive detail, what your story is about. Simple!
  2. Rewrite that in 100 words
  3. Rewrite that in 10 words
  4. Put THAT in 1 word

You’ve got two weeks! Post it on your blog and leave a link in the comments.

*Last Prompt

 

NaNo Over a Stein, Week Three

Ack! We’re at the NaNo midpoint already?!

Well, I was going strong this week. Was!

Then life blinded sided me! I had to deal with college preparations, Internet loss, burnout and est. Not fun.

Which is also the reason I was MIA this week!

I didn’t fall too far behind—thank god—but I do wish I would’ve preformed better.

On a more sunnier side, I’m challenging myself with a short story. This would be my first try at writing a short story so I’m a bit excited about it.

 

Have you written a short story before? Give me some pointers!

NaNo Over a Stein, Week Two

The first week of Camp NaNo is usually the week where I tear my hair out.

Let me restate that: I would have torn my hair out if my stomach flu didn’t sap all the energy out of me.

While we’re on the subject, let me just say that my 4th of July sucked. Why? Because I didn’t have an appetite for ANYTHING…not even buttery dinner rolls! I never would’ve imagined the day I’d turn down a calorie filled dinner roll…

But that’s life for you.

I WAS behind on my NaNo novel.

But after downing two glasses of coffee I sorta went postal on the keyboard…

I was typing so fast that my courser started to lag…

ddd

Today I feel like this:

Work imagination! Work!!!!!

Guess I need more coffee?

So yeah that was my week.

 

Hands you a stein.

Relax, it’s safe.

More or less

Freewrite #8: (For WriMos) Under Pressure

Since it’s Camp NaNo I thought it would be fun to tailor July’s “challenges” to our NaNo projects. The following scenarios should only be thought of as fun exercises using your Camp NaNo character(s). Don’t feel obligated to actually include them into your manuscript.


When characters are put under extreme pressure, their actions says something about the type of person they are.

The neighborhood geek could actually be a courageous hero.

And the bully? A cuddly kitten!

 

Your challenge is to choose a character from your current WIP and put them in one (or more) of the following situations:

  • Stuck in an elevator with no way to contact anyone
  • Stranded and needs medical attention
  • Is a witness to a robbery in progress
  • They’ve just found out there’s a bomb in the building

 

Are they as great as Flynn??

 

You’ve got two weeks! Post it on your blog and leave a link in the comments.