Friday, June 2, 2017

June Update!

Hello everyone! May was a very busy month for me. I went on a long road trip and was very busy with work. Plus I've gotten older. I've also been debating how I want to move forward with my career prospects. But some great news is that I've been able to write quite a bit!

I was extremely excited to see that I was over 16,000 page views when I logged in about a week ago. It's been a long journey with this blog, going on almost 3 years on August 6th, and it's definitely had it's ups and downs. Some months I've been great about posting and others just haven't been. I keep visiting this post in the draft section, and have changed it a few times, but I just wasn't able to get any words I liked up for May. But, I've had a lot on my mind.

Deciding what I want to do has been a bit of a challenge. While writing will always be the ideal choice I know it's not realistic. But, do I want to go straight into another job that is simply business related? Do I want to pursue music? How would I even do that? What about my own business and what the heck would I want to do? Needless to say, there's been a bit of turmoil on what I want to do. The only thing for certain is I want a different job ASAP!

Anyway, I have been able to write more this last month. I'm excited for Camp coming up in June and have already thought of some blog posts. Now, getting the blog posts written is a completely different story, but I'm hopeful. As for my story, I'm hoping to edit it all in July, so I've got a bit of progress to make before then. I'm still debating between figuring out the whole series, and start writing the second book, or wait and see the response before I carry on. Plus, I could get new ideas, and feedback before getting too far.

That's all for this post. I'm hoping to get started with some of the new ideas I've gotten for blog posts. I'm also planning on spending some time writing and getting ready for Camp. If you have any suggestions, comments, or life advice in general, feel free to comment below! As always, thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Things I've Learned: Camp '17

Hello everyone! Camp is at it's tail end and I've almost reached my word count goal. This NaNoWriMo camp has been a curved learning experience for me since it's the first event I've participated in since working full time. So, I'm going to share my experience and what I learned from writing in Camp this month.

Time Management

To be honest, I was mainly writing blog posts before camp started up. Sure, I was trying to organize and prioritize my writing, but it had been a few months since I had jumped into writing. I thought having a planner with my word count goals and things to do would be a great way to approach camp. The main problem with a planner is, you have to use it. In hindsight, I always use my phone, so it would have been more beneficial to have writing reminders on there.

One big shift I started about two weeks ago was communicating to my partner that I needed time to write. It was a hard transition at first, usually we watch shows for a long time and then maybe do other things. This last week was much easier, especially since he found a game he enjoys, and I've gotten to write so much more because of it.

Finding a time to write should have been my first priority instead of thinking that time would magically appear. Now I hope to continue this trend, even if it's only a few times a week, so I can still have writing be a part of my daily routine.

Smart Goals

Changing my goals from 50k, to 30k, and ultimately 15k was a hard thing to do. In the past, I probably wouldn't have considered doing such a thing, and then floundered with it. I saw I was having problems getting to that word count that I originally set. As the word count per day needed to finish on time grew, I became more stressed, and less willing to write.

If I would have kept it at 50k, I know for a fact I wouldn't have gotten anywhere near 15k of words, and by changing my goal I was able to get motivated once again to continue writing. Is every word perfect? No. Will it need work? Yes. But, more importantly, did I enjoy writing? Yes.

Now, I had forgotten that with Camp you can choose between: words, hours, minutes, lines, and pages. In the future I plan on using a category other than words, most likely pages, to keep track of my progress. That way I can learn more tricks to keep myself motivated to write and other ways to fit it in my busy schedule. But, there is one other reason why it was so hard to write.


Outlining

Outline is something I try to do, and generally fail, to accomplish before any writing project. There's two reasons that come to mind. First, I don't always know what the story should include and therefore don't have a clear outline. And second, I come up with 'better' ideas along the way, which generally make me question my decision on writing it.

For my current story I had actually started writing this back in August or thereabouts, by hand. Before camp started I knew that I only wanted to pull the characters, and a few scenes, out of that story so I was essentially starting from scratch. The only clear direction I have is to make it a series, since I bought the book covers at a great price, and there were five made for the series. I would love to use all five but I need more time to figure out what the overall plot should be to make it last and be enjoyable to myself and potential readers.

So the TL;DR aspect of this section is that outlines can, and should, be your friend during Camp. Even if you don't listen to them, it'll at least give you an idea of where to go.


Things for the future

I believe encompassing all three of these things I've learned with help me immensely, and I hope it can help you too, no matter what your strengths or weaknesses are. I just happen to be a stubborn procrastinator who gets pretty book covers without writing all of the series first. But, the more I remind myself, the more I can work on it and move forward. Will my time management is perfect? No. Will my goals be the same as other writers? No. Will my next outline be earth shatteringly good? Hopefully not, but you get the point.

Even if you didn't participate this Camp with your writing, how do you think you could better yourself as a writer? It will benefit you, as it has for me, just to identify something to improve upon. It doesn't have to be perfect but it should help you reach your ultimate goal for yourself.

So, if you found my blog post helpful, please share it with a friend or post a friendly comment. I hope to get back into the groove of things in May so please check back in. Until next time, keep writing. :)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Day 17 of Camp!

Hello everyone! I hope those who are participating in Camp Nanowrimo this April are having success. I have had a slow start this month, especially with work being busy, but I'm trying to write when I can. This poor blog post has been picked at and worked on for nearly 10 days. For this blog post I thought it would be great to talk about how to examine your word goal and reach your word count goal by the end of April.

First thing first, while you most likely have developed a goal for yourself at the beginning of the month, doesn't mean that you must stick to that goal. For example, there is a method called SMART Goals (which you can check out in the link), in which you make a goal how you please. They have several suggestions for each of the letters so you have the freedom to decide what it means for you.

Now, it may seem counterproductive, but it may be better to adjust your goals based on your progress and how you anticipate the last 8 days of April going. By having a goal you know will be attainable it will help motivate you to write and accomplish your goal. Of course, you could modify your goal to have a lower word count until the 20th, but have your overarching goal be your original goal. After all, this is your writing project, and you can accomplish it as you see fit.

Reaching the word count goal vs planning for it are two completely different things. My month started with a goal of 50k and hopefully go over. Since then I've decided to shoot for 15k and, if I'm able to write more, boost my goal back up again. At first, I was planning on trying to reach my original goal, but then I realized I was actually avoiding my writing because it was a bit overwhelming to me.

While it is frustrating for me to know that, in the past, I was able to achieve 50k within a month with no problems, I also have to realize that I need to work through my current situation. It's much different for me to write while working in comparison to writing while in school or during the summer break. Now, as much as I'd love to quit my job and write this blog and my stories all day long, it's sadly unrealistic at the moment. But, maybe one day.

That's all I have for this blog post. I'm hoping I'll have an opportunity to write a few more blog posts this month. But, who knows at this point. Good luck to all those who are participating in Camp and hopefully I'll be more active again in May.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Preparing for NaNoWriMo Camp

Hello everyone! Today I decided it would be a good idea to focus in on how I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo. Now, my way isn't perfect, but I know it helped me to read how other writers approached NaNoWriMo before fully diving in. So here are the three steps I use to get prepared for camp.

Step One: Format of Writing

Now, most writers have a preference to how they write. Some prefer pen and paper while others may use their electronic device to write. I've already written an article, so if you want more information, feel free to check it out.

By defining what format to use in advance, you can do some prepping, and get everything you need together before April 1st. For example, if you decide that you want to write by hand you'll need paper, pens or pencils, and whatever else you think may be helpful. Or, by using the computer, you'll need to decided what program to use while writing, such as Google Docs or Word.

Step Two: What to Write

Figuring out what you want to write about can be a very difficult step. One place I enjoy using is the adoption society sub form of NaNoWriMo. There are often forums for plots, characters, lines, and many other things that can help inspire your story. Another thing I use are generators for names which are great because you can get character names, locations, or even appearances. I usually like to think about what I want to write for at least a week before I dive into the story.

Step Three: Goals

Before fully devoting yourself to your writing project, you should have a set of goals in mind, and what your overall objective is for the story. If it's simply to improve your writing you can take different steps in comparison to wanting to publish your book. You can have initial goals, like 50,000 for the month, but 65,000 overall. Or you can set the goal of writing at least five days a week, no matter the word count, and go from there.

Final Advice:

One of the great benefits about Camp is that you have a group of other writers there. You can ask questions, give advice, or simply talk about life. I've found it helps motivate me with my goals and encourages me to write more. You may not find the perfect approach to your writing for a few days or it may take the entire month. Focus on what you can do, what helps you, and what you enjoy doing. That way, you can enjoy writing.

I hope this post has helped you! If it has, feel free to share it, and as always, until next time!




Saturday, March 11, 2017

Unintentional Break

Hello everyone! I hadn't planned on taking an almost month break from the blog. I always thought in college that, once I graduated, I would have so much more time on my hands. Usually I only feel that when I'm at work and have nothing to do. I realized that I kept thinking about what I needed to do for the blog and with my writing but I haven't put anything into action.

One thing that I hope will get me back on track is Nanowrimo coming up in April. I'm hoping it will give me that extra boost I need into focusing on writing or editing. Depending on what my mood is in three weeks. For me, it usually is a good time to catch up on writing that I haven't done, so I'm hoping that will be the case again.

I've gotten a planner, a cheap one where you can write what month/days in, I'm hoping that it'll be easier to track when I make blog posts, when I want to get a blog post up, and encourage myself to write. I've tried bullet journaling but I'm terrible about updating it. Usually because I want my handwriting and layouts to be perfect so I spend way too much time on it.

My main focus will still be having blog posts towards resources and additional things that, both new and experienced writers, will appreciate. I've gotten some ideas started but, if there is anything that would be helpful for you, feel free to post a comment or email me at here. Plus, you'll help me with an idea for a blog post! ;)

Final thing before I sign off. I run my blog with ads but, since most people like myself don't click on them, I don't get any funding for this blog. So, if you like my posts, please feel free to click the link below, and donate $3 to my blog. I would really appreciate it and I hope to be back writing soon!

Buy me a coffee! ($3)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Social Media and Writing



Hello everyone! I've been very busy with work but, my boyfriend passed out, so I have time to blog. So, if the title AND picture doesn't give it away, I'm going to talk about how social media can help inspire your writing, improve your skills, or even provide feedback! There are many sites you can use, especially those more focused on writing. For this post I will focus on big social media sites that I frequently used /have used in the past, that are helpful for me.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great tool for finding writing tips, advice, and more. Many bloggers, authors, and other writers will have blog posts and, with an image, post it to the site! I've had one for a while now but I haven't been as active lately as I would like to be. But, it's a great spot to save things to read later. My Pinterest is here and I try to categorize my pins so, when I'm looking for something, it's a bit easier to navigate.

Reddit

Ah, Reddit, a home to many great threads and stories. While there are writing and blogging subreddits, I find the TIFU section particularly fascinating and cringe worthy. Which is perfect for those awkward characters that can't seem to do anything right. Considering there are over 6,000 subreddits, while many may be inactive, there's most likely a few that will inspire you. But, here are a few popular writing communities: writingwriting prompts, and write.

Twitter

It may seem like Twitter is only a battleground for politics but it can actually be useful for writing. I like to follow other authors, publishing houses, writing advice accounts, and use my favorite hashtags to search. Now, I'm mainly on there to repost my blog posts or The Walking Dead tweets, but I will jump on to see what is trending and how it is related to writing. Plus, if you follow accounts that post *free* books, you can load up with device with eBooks.

Tumblr

Tumblr is another great resource to find writing advice. You can follow accounts that have writing prompts or other things that are useful for you. Granted, I'm usually too busy to use this platform, but I definitely need to start using it more. If you want to check out my account hopefully I'll add more stuff and be active.


Facebook

Facebook is what I wake up with and usually end my day with. Now, it's my personal account and where I follow what my friends do, but once I publish I plan on making a page for my book. There are many groups you could follow, like your favorite author or writing advice, so it can be a great resource. I personally like using it more to follow cat pages and seeing what my family and friends post.



You can choose which social media platforms you like using the best. It can be a bit hard, and overwhelming, to use all of these at once. You could also choose certain days that you look on your least used social media platforms so you can stay up to date with what is going on. Also, I didn't mention Instagram, but that would be a good website for scenery inspiration or even writing prompts. So, until next time, tweet or comment which social media platforms YOU use.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Get Writing Today - For Free!

Hello everyone! I decided that I wanted to focus a few blog posts towards resources and things needed for those who want to start writing. So, why not start with everyone's favorite word: free.

Now, I know there are two types of people reading my post right now. One is extremely excited about the prospect of doing this for free. The other is thinking to themselves that nothing is truly free. While it's true that you've probably spent some hard earned cash on a few of the items mentioned, some of the things are things you can snag for 'free', while the rest are probably inhabiting your home right now.

Notebooks/Journals:

There are those who buy notebooks and fills them up and there are those who buy notebooks because they're pretty. I'm primarily the second, but I don't spend more than $5 on a notebook, and I've gotten better about filling out notebooks. Most likely you have a notebook that has a few pages used but is otherwise is good shape, so instead of letting it collect dust, why not use it? It can be a great way to brainstorm and you may find your ideas flowing to you. If you must buy, then look at the dollar stores or Walmart so you can keep your cost low.

Pens:

If you've ever been to a hotel, hair salon, or insurance office, chances are you've seen the cup with free pens. I'm not saying you should slowly put the cup of pens into your purse but grab one to take with you. And you probably have a drawer somewhere in your home where pens go to rest. Now, you could also use pencils, but I've found that I'm more motivated to not scratch out something/start editing if I use a pen. But, it's your writing, so find what works best for you.

Computer:

If you're reading this off of a computer, congratulations, you have a device for your writing. Now, you could also use a cell phone, but personally I think I would go cross eyed before getting very far. You should definitely use your computer to type if it is your personal computer or if you have a very relaxed office where you can use the computer for personal use during breaks.

Now, if you don't have a computer, the next best place to type is a library. Sure, there is a yearly fee, but just consider getting a few writing books while you're there. Just make sure you either use an online service, like Google Docs, DropBox, etc, or bring a USB. Actually, if you can, do both. Just trust me on this.

Google Docs:

I've been using Google Docs for about 4 years now. It's a great way to make changes especially if you don't have Microsoft. The only problem I used to have, and quite frankly I haven't used Google Docs enough lately to test it out, but there were times that the typing can get a letter off. Usually, the easy fix is to use another browser, and then I wouldn't have any problems. Plus, with having an email with Google, you get access to the Docs as well as other services they offer for free!

Other nifty stuff:

You can look around your home and find other things to help you with writing. A timer is great to make sure you get some writing time in. Or, that old folder that has two pieces of paper in it, would be great to store your ideas in. There is no set criteria or tools for you to start writing so, whatever helps you, is the best tool for use.

I hope I was able to help you start brainstorming ideas on what to use to help you start writing. I've included a few links below for resources that are very helpful for me. Please comment/tweet if you enjoyed my post! Until next time.




Thursday, February 2, 2017

Handwriting vs Typing

Hello everyone! I thought it would be fun to share my experiences writing both with a focus of handwriting vs typing. These are just my thoughts towards the different ways you can write by hand. Of course, there's many blog posts with why handwriting may be better, but keep in mind what works for you is the best approach. From personal experience, I really enjoy both ways of writing, but here are the key differences I found while writing.


Handwriting:

This is a great approach if you're not really sure if you want to continue writing. For me, it's how I started writing my very first story, and how I've been working on stories in the recent past. But, it's not something that I feel is a great choice for me. This is why: you *have* to type it at some point.

Now, I wrote out most of a story for July Camp Nanowrimo. It's still stuck inside the notebook with my semi-legible handwriting that I can decode. What I'm hoping to do (because typing it is probably a lost cause for me) is to get the dragon software or something similar to it. You could definitely do your story all by voice but, if you're like me, you'll want to start editing it right away. I'll also have to make sure I do a good edit because I'll probably swear at some sentences I thought sounded good on paper.

Overall: It's a great approach if you enjoy pen and paper but also aren't too lazy to never get around to typing it.


Typing:

Ah, I love typing in comparison. Because as soon as I get it down I know I can change it without scribbling or throwing away the whole notebook. The main downside are computers. Yes, they're great pieces of technology, but you risk a computer crashing and losing everything. That's why I recommend getting a USB, doesn't have to be 128 GB but 8-16 GB would b a good start, so you can backup everything. Doesn't need to be every night, but you could do weekly backups.

What I like to do to make sure I'm writing/editing on the most recent version is to date the file. So "Writing About Unicorns 2-2" is how I would save it since you can't use / for the US at least. That way, I know which story it is and when it was last saved. You can also make files for characters, plot ideas, and more and save them in different folders.

Another thing you can do is use Scrivener. Now, I usually love the service, but unfortunately my new Chromebook doesn't like downloading outside software, and I haven't gotten around to trying it get it on here. But, it's a really good tool, and I try my best to use it and save different chapters on their software as well. Don't take my word on it, try it out using their free trial, and see if it would be something useful for you.

Overall: The main way I'll be working with stories in the future.

Now, just because you say "Oh I want to type my story" doesn't mean you'll never need to do handwriting again or you're banned from the use of all pens. On the contrary, I'm hoping to use a bit of both for the future. I'm working on a system which, when I get it figured out, I'll share. So, I hope you enjoyed reading about my perspective, and you can decide which way works best for you!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Winter...Is Sporadic

Hello everyone! After watching Game of Thrones (and sadly having to wait for the next season) I would be inclined to say Winter is Coming. But, my usually snow covered region, has not been very snowy since Christmas. As usual, I've managed to keep myself extremely busy, but I haven't left my job yet. I'm still looking for another job first to, ideally, get into before leaving my current one.

One exciting thing is I started to lease a new car! I ended up getting the Hyundai Elantra and it's so nice! I had hoped to buy a car but the payments were very expensive and I didn't want to worry about mechanical issues for the next few years. But, once my lease is up, I'm hoping to purchase a car and I'll hopefully have some extra money to put towards a down payment.

I had managed to write another blog post towards the beginning of the month. However, I was focused on New Years Resolutions, and managed to never hit publish. So, as usual, I'm hoping to miraculously gain more time to write blog posts and work on my stories. But, I have been playing my flute more, so that has been an accomplishment.

To help motivate myself to write again, I wrote the projects that I wanted to work on, and what needed to be done. So far, two need to have the overall series plot reworked but a first draft is basically done, but the one needs to be typed. Then I have two series that are barely started but haven't been worked on in a while. And then at least another two that I want to start at some point. Needless to say, I have enough to keep myself busy and I just need to focus in on one story for now.

I'm planning on making some more blog posts related to writing but I haven't quite decided what I want to focus on. Otherwise, I'll probably be working, playing Stardew Valley, or thinking about writing but having a hard time starting up. Until next time!