Set Realistic Goals

This was posted as a part of the Clearing Out My Drafts Goal. It was supposed to be published during NaNoWriMo 2016, but was lost. Rather ironic now, isn’t it?

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Farewell to My Home

So I’ve decided to start a little thing called Writing Wednesday where I share something about my writing; a poem, an update on my book, an excerpt, writing tips, etc. I might not manage this every week, but I’m trying. Here’s today’s attempt, a poem called Farewell to My Home from my longest WIP the Maj’yk Series.

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Pinterest and Your Novel

I’ve previously covered Pinterest in my NaNo Guide series, but there I only had you setting up one or two boards. Well, if you’re a bit of a perfectionist (like me!) that wasn’t enough. So I’m here to introduce you to my latest endeavor: Pinterest Book Profile!

This may seem a little crazy, or like you’re overdoing it a little, but its already helping me a lot with getting back into working on my Tales of Aleinea Series. So how should you set it up? Clearly you should do what works best for you – if one board on your personal Pinterest is enough for you then stick with it! However, one benefit to a profile just for your book is that then you just pin things that are related to the book, and any potential fans are more likely to follow something that’s just what they’re looking for: your book (and maybe not that knitting pattern you saved for your niece’s baby blanket).

If your Pinterest is only for your book, you can also make it a lot more user-friendly. Since Tales of Aleinea is such a complex novel with lots of characters, places, and races I’ve created a board for each one. My main character has the most filled out board thus far:



Her best friend Arko also has a board, and her hometown Inger Xin. In case I stumble across something and think “that fits!” but I don’t know where exactly I want it yet, I’ve created a few boards for that too, my favorite being titled “Strange Creatures.”

And I’ve fallen in love with some of my boards, those for the Malda and Princess Myramor in particular. Just look at all the books and alchemy!

Another benefit is that I can follow only the Pinners and Boards that I’m interested in. On my personal Pinterest I’ve followed various family members and friends, as well as various librarians, knitters, crafters, etc. So I would have to hunt through that to find exactly what I wanted for my book.

If you didn’t want to juggle multiple Pinterest accounts, but still wanted access to boards for cooking, laughs, and whatever you could take advantage of “secret boards” for all that other stuff. That way it appears to the public that your page is neat and only your novel, but to your eyes (and whoever you’ve added to the board) there are dozens of other topics.

Do you use Pinterest for your novel?

Will this change how you use Pinterest?

Do you think one way or the other – one board or a whole profile – is easier?


Nightly NaNo Update: Day 21

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 12.09.04 AM.pngRecent Blog Posts: On TheWritingCrafter:  Review of the book Uprooted by Naomi Novik, an announcement about my bookclub (please join!), and a NaNo Help post about writing backstory. On my craft blog, CraftingOnPinsAndNeedles I posted about my Cheshire Cat tail I made for my car’s rearview mirror, so check that out! Oh, and if you like my writing and my posts, consider becoming a Patreon.

I’ve been falling behind in my blogging, but, thankfully, not too terribly in my writing. I’m still technically ahead, but not as far ahead as I would like to be. Maybe tomorrow I will finally hit 40,000 (I hit 38000 and literally stopped in the middle of a sentence today!) and I would like to get a lot of writing done tomorrow, but since I have homework for both English and Personal Finance I doubt that will happen.

Back to the Beginning

You’ve written, and written and written, and now you can’t. So what do you do next?

My favorite is to roll back, to start fresh and write a prologue. Now, some people will tell you to never have a prologue in your writing, are they correct? I don’t know. However, keep in mind that not everything you write will make it into your book, it’s totally okay to write things that don’t go into your finished manuscript. This is something to help you get to know your characters, and their back story. Write thousands of words of backstory if it helps. Even if it doesn’t make it into your finished work, there’s no reason not to write it. If you’re one of those people who insist that you have to use it, if you’re going to write it, you can provide it free on your blog, as a teaser for people to read your book, or as an extra treat for people who read your book then hunt down your blog.

I'm Stuck Now What

We’re Almost There (Living on a Prayer)

crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76 (1)National Novel writing month is quite literally right around the corner (provided you consider next Saturday to be a corner, and Sunday to be around it). And what should you be doing to get ready? Not much.

NaNoWriMo is meant to be – and in my opinion most fun when – its spontaneous and not planned. Of course, if you want to plan, you can. I am a little. But I’ve found that less preparation – at least in terms of your story itself – is most fun and most productive. The unfortunate thing about story planning, is that it makes you want to write, and when you want to write you write, and when you start writing before November its not really NaNoWriMo, is it? So if you want to start prep-ing, heres what you should be doing instead.

Budget your time: Decide when you’re going to write. When do you have time? Write in your calendar when you’re going to write and hold yourself accountable for writing at those times. Let friends and family know that you may have to skip a few dinners (not Thanksgiving, preferably) for your writing.

Plan for meetings: Get involved in your local NaNo Chapter and look for when and where you can fit their meetings into your schedule. They may have ‘write-ins’ where they pick a place and meet there to write or plot in a group. If your local chapter isn’t active, be the person to kickstart it!

How are you going to write: Do you need to budget large chucks of time for writing three hours at a time? Or are you going to write sporadically, twenty minutes here and there. Figure out your words per hour (NaNo provides a resource here for those in the Young Writers program.)

Young Writers Program: This brings up another point, for those of us under 18 we have the unique choice of joining the Young Writer’s Program which lets you chose your word-count goal and use the aforementioned calculator to figure out whats best for you.

Social Media: The tragic truth is that blogging, tweeting, instagraming, and messaging; all that social media we love so much takes a lot of time. Time that, at least once a year, might be better used for writing. You have five days to go, you have long enough to start up a bunch of drafts to periodically post, or to drop into a queue of information. Or you could just ignore your accounts….. Yeah right. Personally I will be posting excerpts from my writing, and periodic word-count updates.

Finish Your Halloween Costume: I’m almost done!

NaNo Tips and Tricks

The image used I took over the coast of Florida.

Set Goals

No, you are (probably) not going to write 50,000 words in one day. (Although, every year there are a few people who get close.) Its easiest if you can set an identical goal for each day. Your first goal needs to involve the number of words you want to write per day. 1,700 is my usual goal, and would land me at 50,000 in 29 days.

However, you may not be able to write for an hour and a half everyday of the week. Maybe you (like me) absolutely cannot write on Wednesday. So you take the word count from Wednesday and distribute it across the rest of the week. I know someone who can only write on weekends. Well there are five Sundays and four Saturdays this November, nine days in total, which means you need almost 5600 words a day if you’re only writing twice per week. I recommend avoiding this if you can.

Hold Yourself Accountable

What do I mean by hold yourself accountable? I want you to do that one thing you don’t want to do. Yes. That one. Tell people what you’re doing. Make a pledge. Anything to publicly stand up (to as many or as few people as you want) and say “This is what I am going to do.” You can even print and sign creator Chris Batty’s pledge.

You could make a post on your social media, twitter, facebook, your blog, etc. For twitter users you could add a twibbon, a stamp on your profile picture with the NaNo crest. While these are not (to my understanding) official, here and here are two great twibbons to add.

Write Outside Your Home

I know its tempting to stay in your house for a month and do nothing but write, but the truth of the matter is, you won’t get much done. When you’re at home theres always a need to do things. Laundry, dishes, and cleaning are all things that need done of course, but if you’re constantly letting them distract you, you’ll never finish your 50,000. So find somewhere else to go. Maybe you have an awesome friend who will let you invade their spare room a few nights a week, or try visiting your local library. Starbucks and Panera are two great options if you’re a bit hungry (but don’t forget the main reason you’re there).

Take Advantage of Local NaNo Chapters

Most areas, particularly cities, have NaNoWriMo communities of their own that often feature ‘write-ins’ at libraries, Paneras, and malls. Write ins are exactly what they sound like, a large group of people getting together with their computers – and occasionally notebooks – to write for a few hours. Usually theres no rule for how long to stay or how much to write. They also often have their own version of the Night of Writing Dangerously (more later) and forums (more later).

Use NaNo’s Website to Your Advantage

NaNo has many useful things on their site. You can friend people, which gives you competition and motivation (friend me here). Get inspired, prepare, spread the word (useful for holding yourself accountable), and use their word count helpers. Their site is designed to help you, and to teach you how to succeed at your novel. Possibly the most useful is the forums, which I’ve given their own section.

Remember not to get too terribly caught up in your noveling, and update the stats on your page when ever you make a huge word count gain.

Visit the NaNo Forums 

The forums on NaNo’s website are a wonderful source of encouragement and inspiration. The forums themselves are divided into sections by what they’re about, including, Official Stuff, Tips and Strategies, Life During Nano, Support, Genre Lounges, Off Topic, I Write A Novel Now What, and many others. Each of these sections have subsections of their own, where the forums are hosted. Your region may even have its own sections.Start in the NaNo Prep section, then look around some. My favorites include Character Cafe, Wordbuilding, and The Adoption Society.

Note to the wise: do not spend all your time in the forums, else you’ll never get anything written. I use the forums for simple things, like curing writer’s block, or skimming before NaNo starts.

Enter into NaNo Events

Things like ‘The Night of Writing Dangerously‘ are things NaNo runs that you can join from anywhere. Often local groups have their own get-togethers for this event. There are also spontaneous word count sprints, and other fun things.

Have fun!

Remember, the point of NaNo is to have fun and do something completely mad. Its not the end of the world if you don’t succeed. You’ve tried, and thats what matters in the end.