4 Reasons to Participate in NaNoWriMo

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National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is an international Organization that hosts several writing events a year, generally in April, July, and November. During each month-long time frame participants are challenged to focus on meeting a specific word count goal, generally 50,000 words, which is considered the base-line for a novel’s first draft. This boils down to right around 1,666 words a day. Sounds simple, right? To some it may be, but for most it is a challenge to dedicate that much time to writing in their already busy schedules.

So, why do all of these people participate in this challenging and sometimes frustrating event? To improve their writing, for starters. Practice makes perfect, and the more you write the easier it gets. Many people also use these events to try to push out the first draft of their novels. All of that considered, there are other wonderful reasons to participate in NaNoWriMo as well.

 

  1. To Challenge Yourself: This is a no-brainer. Taking on a goal that is going to take up 2+hours of your time every day is going to be a challenge, but it can benefit more than just your writing and word counts. It will take self-discipline and time management. For me that has meant making myself pack my lunch the night before, keeping up with my chores on a daily basis, and limiting the time I spend doing nothing. That may not seem like much for anyone else, but it has taken daily encouragement for me to be able to keep everything going.
  2. To Develop a Writing Habit: I know a lot of participants get frustrated when life happens and they’re unable to keep up with that 1,666 word goal each and every day, but I wish they wouldn’t. Even if they only write 500 words a day, they would still have 15,000 more words written than if they hadn’t. The most important aspect of the event is the DAILY writing. So even if you can’t dedicate 2+hours a day to writing, dedicate what time you do have. I promise it will not be time wasted.
  3.  To Meet Other Writers: I’m in my 3rd round of NaNoWriMo this month, and this is the first time I’ve reached out to other Writers for encouragement and inspiration. It has been a wonderful experience thus far. I’ve reached out in my assigned “cabin” (a small community provided BY NaNoWriMo) as well as social media sites, and just knowing that there are other people out there writing and struggling alongside me has been a great motivator. So put yourself out there, this is the perfect opportunity to meet people who share your passions and interests.
  4. To Have Fun and Learn Something About Yourself: My goodness, please if you take nothing else away from this blog, take this advice: Have FUN with your writing! Whether you’re writing in an event like NaNoWriMo or just writing on your own, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy your writing time. Make it something that you look forward to every day. It’s your time, your passion or hobby, and it shouldn’t be something that adds even more stress in your life. Yes, I’d like to meet my word count every day in NaNoWriMo, but realistically I know there are going to be days that I don’t. Like today: It’s the 4th of July and I spent my afternoon with some of my closest friends playing silly games and enjoying myself. Is that bad?  Absolutely not. Could I have been spending that time writing? Yeah, sure. But it’s all about balance. Take the opportunity to learn what’s important to you and enjoy yourself!

 

Can I count my blog posts towards my NaNoWriMo word count? I would, but that would be cheating. =D. If you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this go around tell me how you’re doing!

 

♠♥♣♦

 

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3 Things to Consider When Creating a Writing Space

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My Writing Area for Camp Nanowrimo July 2016!

I’m so excited to share my Writing Area! It took me several grueling hours to decide where I wanted it and actually make it work. Luckily, my sweetie was very understanding. ‘Cause I wasn’t a Southern Sweetheart during the process. I’m pretty sure I actually sounded like a Sailor, but we’ll edit all of that out of our story.

P.S. My Writing Area is legitimately in the back of my food pantry, which thankfully has doors AND lighting. Hellloooooo late nights without fur-babies interrupting me.

I’m one of those people who function best with a routine. I need a specific TIME to write every day as well as a specific PLACE.

Here’s the three things I considered when putting together my Writing Area.

 

  1. Consider your COMFORT        

Comfort, for me at least, is a must. But, I can’t be TOO comfortable, like laying on my bed, or I’ll literally be in dream land before I’ve finished writing a page. I’m one of those people who can fall asleep within minutes-be jealous.

So, I needed a desk or table to designate as my writing spot.

 

2. Consider your CONCENTRATION

I know there are people out there that can tune the rest of the world out and write to their little heart’s content. I do not count myself among these luckily people. I get distracted way to easy, and then I get frustrated because I’m distracted, angry at what or whom ever distracted me and then I’m too perturbed to really focus on my writing. (I’m delightful to live with, I know. Love You, Baby!)

I needed a place that I could shut the rest of my household out, human and animal alike. So…..my options were very limited. It was a draw between the bathroom (man, that would have been an interesting post!) and the pantry.

Hello, canned goods! Ya’ll are gonna have to move along.

I spent my Saturday rearranging and consolidating my pantry shelves so that I could remove the largest one to make room to sit comfortably.

 

3. Consider CONSISTENCY

I’ve always thought it would be amazing to slip away to a coffee shop to do my writing, but realistically that couldn’t happen daily!

If I want to form a daily habit I needed a place I could go to daily, that wouldn’t cost money or vary from day-to-day.

Ease of access is also an important thing to consider.

I had thought about leaving the long shelf in place and just sliding it back and forth…but that would have taken like 10 minutes to move everything every day…and way too much effort that SHOULD be used on keeping myself motivated to write.

 

What are you planning to do for a Writing Area?

Do you have any tips for creating those crucial writing habits?

 

♠♥♣♦

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways NOT to Record a Presentation for Your Blog

I’m being gracious when I say 5 . I probably recorded twice that many Podcasts/Screen Captures for the book I wanted to review this week.

I HATED every single one. So, that means no book review for you and a very high level of irritation for me.

That’s what I like to call a lose-lose situation.

So, my wonderful wordsmiths talk to me about video posts. Do you use them? What programs do you use? Did you absolutely despise your first few attempts, or is that just me?

 

Boo Hiss.

 

In other news….SEVEN DAYS UNTIL CAMP NANOWRIMO. Ah shit. The pressure is on.

 

♠♥♣♦

 

Stop With the Perplexing Show and Tell

Show, don’t tell.

How many times have we as Writers heard this statement? How many classes have been founded around this one simple concept? It’s simple, yet crucial to a Writer to be able to apply this general rule to their writing, but it’s nothing to overly fret over.

 

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

-Anton Chekhov

 

It’s all about HOW you pull your reader in to your story. I’ve seen books that overly show, overly tell, and overly mix the two in attempts to follow this “writing rule”, and the results were all the same; unnatural.

Each Writer has their own Voice. In my mind this is equivalent to their own internal dialogue and thought processes. There’s simply no point in trying to make your Voice match someone elses just because of their perceived success.

 

Checkhov’s quote is a reminder to craft your words eloquently. We want our Writing to be beautiful and to move our Readers, and it will.

Just not necessarily on the first draft. When you’re focusing on getting your story down on paper, don’t worry about showing vs. telling, just Write! You can dissect your work and craft it into a masterpiece in the 2nd, 3rd, of 30th draft. Don’t over think it.

I took a Creative Writing class in my last semester of College and absolutely fell in LOVE with the course, the Professor, and my peers. It’s one of the only classes that I honestly dreaded the end of.

The Show, Don’t Tell debate came up a lot, especially in our workshop sessions where we had to read our assignments to the class to be critiqued. One of my assignments struck a chord with my peers, but struck a nerve with my Professor.

 

Stay tuned next week for the paper I wrote that caused quite a debate throughout a Creative Writing Workshop!

 

Pulse Check- Quote of the Week

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I’ve struggled with this post, hence why it isn’t going live until almost 8 PM on Monday. When I fell into bed in the wee-hours of Sunday morning I had all of my posts outlined, my Quote of the Week picked out, and had my alarm set to wake up in less than 5 hours to get my day going.

I hit snooze three times, then FINALLY rolled over and picked up my phone to waste a few more precious moments in bed checking my social media feeds. They were all filled with new broadcasts of one thing.

Pulse.

49 dead (I will NOT include the shooter in the death count. I respect authorities wholly for making this amendment) and 50+ injured. All in a few hours of unknown and unimaginable terror.

I didn’t write yesterday. I didn’t do much of anything, really. I kept refreshing the news sites to learn more about the events unfolding in Orlando.

I woke up this morning and realized I hadn’t written a single blog post. My posts seemed insignificant. My quote of the week meaningless. So I decided to do a little something different this week.

I chose images and quotes from the social media news feeds I saw when I first woke up Sunday Morning.

 

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My favorite, by far, although it isn’t very inspiring or thought-provoking.

 

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And then I saw this picture with the simplest of captions “Blood Donations”

It made me realize that we have to focus on more than just the bad. We have to focus on the good that has and will come out of what officials are calling the worst gun massacre in American History. This is what makes us Human.

 

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Fitting.

When I came across this Fred Rogers quote I instantly decided it needed to be the Quote of the Week.

 

To tie this all back to our main focus on creative writing, I have one thing to say: It is the Humanity that we give our Characters that truly makes our readers fall in love. Make it deep. Make it real.  Make your Characters, and thus your Readers, feel everything there is to feel. Give them a pulse, a heartbeat, and a reason to live.

 

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Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

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“Jesus,” Dante interjected when the heavy quiet in the vehicle seemed endless. “All this touchy feely is making me itchy to kill something. How about we quit jerking each other off and go blow the roof off this mutha?”
Lara Adrian, Kiss of Midnight

 

Kiss of Midnight

Lara Adrian

Publication Date: 2007

Publisher: Bantam Books

Ratings on Goodreads: 3.94

Ratings on Amazon: 4.1

Yet another Erotic/Adventure Vampire book has graced my shelf this weekend. Kiss of Midnight has a fast paced plot that keeps the reader hooked until the end. I finished it in a day, although I did have to take a break here and there.

As far as Erotic stories go, this book delivered what was to be expected. It had several interesting plot points, but overall was seemingly pretty predictable.

If I’m being honest, I wish there was more Character Development. Like, a lot more. The characters seemed almost…dry. They said and did all the right things, but there wasn’t much of an emotional spark behind any of it. This could have been due to the amount of time spent in the main Character’s head, but even then the reader was told more than shown how she/he was feeling.

There were times that what the Characters did/said just didn’t seem practical.

There was also very little relationship development within the story. The secondary characters were exactly that; secondary, with even less development than the already lacking main characters.

There were plot holes that nagged at me throughout the story. Even after finishing it I had to ask myself, huh?

But with all that being said, I really did enjoy this book. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to continue  the series in hopes of the Character Development improving. I most likely will, since I’ve started it, but I wont be able to get through 11 other books without some improvement.

Overall Rating: 3.0

A little less than the average, strictly because I am such a junkie for Character Development and emotional angst. It could have easily been a 4.0 if it weren’t for my personal preferences.

 

Sequel or Series Continuation? There are 12 total in te Midnight Breed Series. See the below Goodreads link for more information.

https://www.goodreads.com/series/49140-midnight-breed

 

 

 

 

 

Quote of the Week

“The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”-Steven Furtick

 

Stop comparing yourself personally, professionally, or otherwise to those around you. You are your own, unique person, and you don’t know what’s really going on in other’s lives.

Take time this week to analyze your current writing project. As an Author, you need to know all of the behind the scenes information on your Characters, but you also have to be able to pick out what needs to be on their highlight reel. Go through your current scenes list (If you don’t have one, jot one down). Choose 3 scenes that are essential to your story and spend some time revising them, making them depict exactly what you want your Readers to see and feel.

Moving Onward

An average of 1 post every 2 months is a good rate, right? Right. *mumbles self-deprecating profanities*

It’s all about priorities. I haven’t been posting, but I have been reading and writing, a lot. It has taken a lot of effort to rewire my priorities, but I’m getting there. I am a very habitual individual- something either needs to be a habit or it isn’t going to get done. Ever.

Next on my priority development list is Dream Eras.

Stay tuned for Book Reviews, Book Rants, Writing Prompts, and other Literature related topics.

 

Oh, and guys? Camp Nanowrimo is less than a month away. ARE YOU READY!?

 

Carpe diem,

E

Book Review: Me Before You

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I am a frequent Reader.

By that I mean that it is no stretch for me to have read two or three full-length books in any given weekend. This weekend, in fact, I’ve read four. Each were wonderful pieces of work in their own form.

The last book I lost myself in this weekend (or five hours ago, to be exact) absolutely took my breath away.

 

Again, I am a frequent Reader. There are very few books that I don’t enjoy, but then again, there are very few books that leave me dumbfounded either.

“Me before you”, by Jojo Moyes, is one of those unexpected treasures I’ll revisit time and time again.

When I first began reading I thought the plot to be artfully simple. I stumbled upon the book after seeing a preview for its upcoming movie adaptation. Based on that 2 minute film roll I assumed it was going to be yet another Point A, Point B, Point C Romance novel.

It wasn’t.

In the 5 hours that it took me to devour this book I went through every emotion possible. I was overjoyed, heartbroken, enraged, and dumbfounded.

There are so many things that I could praise about this book, but the thing that deserves the most recognition is Moyes’ character development (or character arc, as I sometimes refer to it).

Will, the largest secondary character, is a master piece on his own. I can honestly say that this is one of the few times I would BEG for a companion novel to be written strictly from his perspective. It’s Louisa Clark, the main character, that completely has me in awe.

I’ve sat here for entirely too long attempting to summarize her character arc but I can’t seem to do it any justice.

She starts out as a seemingly mediocre individual and then slowly blossoms into this incredible,multifaceted character that makes the reader puzzle over how they would react in a similar situation.

 

Moyes took an extremely serious, dark topic and crafted a beautiful story around it.

Read this book.

I hope its depth affects you as much as it did me.

(I’m buying the sequel right…now)

 

 

 

Devote.

To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.

This post is a little off topic in comparison to what I had planned to write about today. Then again, I had planned to write this post almost a month ago, so it would only make sense that it doesn’t quite fit the original intent. The majority of my time is spent doing things that have to be done, such as work, school, housework, and exercise. Only in my very limited free time am I able to write, blog and read. That free time spent doing the things I love is what defines me. I want to give you the most important writing advice you’ve ever heard. I don’t care how good you are at grammar and spelling. I don’t care if you have plot holes the size of New York. Your characters can be as flat and boring as a blank sheet of paper. Regardless, if you love to write and you spend the majority of your time wishing you were writing, then do it. If you want to succeed as a writer, in whatever way that you define success, then just remember this one tip. Devote.

Devote yourself to your passion. Don’t get bogged down like I’ve let myself be in the last month-the last few years even. We live in a society where we’re told how to define out success, how to define our happiness, and how to define our failures. Throw all of these misconceptions out the window the moment you decide to be a writer. YOU have the power to decide what will make you feel successful and happy. YOU are the only one that can deem your work a failure, and as long as your work has brought some sense of positivity into your life, I beg you to never consider yourself or your work a failure. You aren’t a failure if you can’t life off of your writing. A woman who I hold in very high regards told me in all honesty that making it in the writing world has nothing to do with talent. It has everything to do with devotion, dedication, and drive. Consider them the three D’s of writing success.

I have 64 days until my M.S. program is complete. In those 64 days I plan to focus as little as possible on school and as much as possible on what exists  after: devoting my life to things that will make me happy, make me successful, and make me a better me.