NaNoWriMo 2014: The Halfway Point!

Hello everyone! It is the halfway point of NaNoWriMo 2014!

Okay, visit this site technically that was a couple days ago. I apologize. I had SUCH a crazy weekend, web what with work and hanging out with friends and going to the Mockingjay Part 1 red carpet premiere (which you can read about here), that I just completely flaked on this post.

But I am here now!

So let’s jump in, eh? I’m gonna talk a little bit about how its going for me, and share a little excerpt from the very very rough draft and I hope you can share how well its going for YOU in the comments below!

What was your goal, and how are you doing in your reach for it?

My goal for this NaNoWriMo is 40K. I’m at 33350 as of this exact moment that I’m writing this, so I’m doing pretty good. I had a blast of writing when I first started and I wrote about 7K in one day. I was averaging about 3K a day which is more than you need to do to even reach the standard goal of 50K. But the past four days have been rough, and I haven’t written much at all. I managed to make myself write a little over 2K today to try and make up for that, but its been hard. I’m in chapter nine I think and I think the first 8 chapters were really fully fledged in my mind and now I’m kind of fumbling in the dark, like I usually do and its been kind of rough.

However, I’m hoping I’ll be back on track now and that I can really focus on this. I’m hoping I can get back to writing 3K a day, because that would just be great.

What have been some of your guys’ successes? 

I’ve outlined most of the book, which makes me incredibly happy because at least I have some sort of direction that I know I’m heading in. I’m kind of more of a “pantser” than a “plotter” BUT I do like to have some idea of where I’m going so I sometimes outline the next few chapters to give myself an idea and I definitely have that going on.

I’m really having a lot of success in developing my main character, Evie. I’ve made some changes to her and her surroundings, that have helped make her more real in my mind. She struggles with a lot in the book: shyness, an eating disorder, distrust in people, things like that and I want it all to seem real and genuine and not fake and I think that’s coming along nicely.

I also think that I had great success in the first week. I wrote a lot which hopefully will set me up for the rest of the month. I started off really really strong so I’m hoping that plays into the rest of the month, and honestly, the rest of the novel.

What have been some of the challenges? 

Well, first off, time. I have a job, and the regular blog stuff and friends and sleep and that sort of thing. A lot of why I didn’t get any writing done this weekend was simply because I haven’t had time. I was working and seeing my friends and doing the premiere and yeah, it got set aside. Hopefully I’ll be able to really make that time to finish this novel.

Another challenge is that I’m basically writing two stories in one. I’m writing the story of Evie and Jesse in the year 2011. I’m writing the story of the present (well the future, kind of) of Evie and Austin in the year 2015. Its hard because…well, its like two different stories. I thought I should write one and then write the other but I want them to sort of intertwine and I can’t do that if I write them separately so…difficulties have ensued. A challenge accepted that hopefully will be met.

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Here is an excerpt from my Untitled novel, which might have a title now but I have to think about it. It might be too cheesy…

You may recognize this if you read my post about my writing journey. Sorry that its not brand new! A brand new excerpt will not appear until the end of the month!

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 5.13.06 AM

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How are you guys doing in NaNoWriMo so far? Share in the comments!

NaNoWriMo 2014: Let’s Talk About…Setting

Hello everyone!

NaNoWriMo is in its first full week! And I think I’m doing quite good. My goal for NaNo this year is 40K but I’m starting to think maybe I’ll reach 50, medical or even beyond, salve if I stay at the rate that I’ve been keeping up. In my first week, price I’ve reached just under 20K and I’m really excited to continue this novel.

And yes, it does still need a title. It has a really crappy edited cover that says “Evie and Austin Story” on the official NaNo website haha but it needs a legit title. If you guys come up with a title, please make sure to share them with me, because you get a prize if you pick THE title.

Let me know how your progress is doing in the comments!

Today we’re talking about setting. 

In all of the novels that I’ve written, I’ve based it on real world places, and done lots of research on those places. Or I’ve straight up used real places like New York City and Mesa Verde in Colorado and Brea, California.

But for this newest novel, I’m writing an entirely new setting: Macon, California. Its a coastal town in Central California that has some real world bases in Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz (especially Santa Cruz) and a little bit of Santa Barbara, but for the most part, its all from my imagination.

Do you know how hard it is to create a new setting! Its crazy. So while I’ve been trying to get my word count up, I’ve also been working hard at making sure that Macon seems like a genuine town. Because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned: setting is a character all in its own. Think of Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Tortall, Idris, Panem, Camp Half Blood. They all have their own personalities. They react to the story, they are effected by the story, they’re just so massively important.

So I scoured the internet to look for tips on creating setting and I gathered a few of them here for you!

1. Base Your Setting on Real World Places

It goes back to what I said about Macon. Macon is a completely fictional town. It’s small town, coastal, with a beach boardwalk, a small town downtown main street with family owned businesses. But I throw things off when I insert a baseball obsessed population. And that population is obsessed with the university that exists in this town. Sounds complicated right? There isn’t an actual place that exists like this. So I’ve used real life references in Santa Barbara, Monterey Bay and mostly, Santa Cruz. These three are all real coastal cities in California. Having these real life bases helps to create a town because you have examples. You know how things can be arranged because you have a real life basis for it. I have no idea how to arrange a fictional city because I’ve never been a city planner. I don’t know how that works. So I kind of mesh these cities together and voila, Macon, California!

2. Base Your Setting on Real Time Periods

Now, this doesn’t totally apply to me and this particular novel. My novel is based in real world time, right now, in the present. So that’s easy enough. I can have iphones and smart cars and macbooks and Netflix and it alllllll makes sense. This could also work for historical novels as well. You have a real world time period to base off of. There’s information out there (yay research!) that will help you to make sure your setting is historically accurate.

But this also works quite well for a fantasy novel, or science fiction, that sort of thing. You can base your fantasy society based on the medieval settings of old Europe. You can base your futuristic society on the Victorian age of the Industrial Revolution. Creating a brand new setting in a brand new world is HARD because you have no real world basis for this society. BUT you can use time periods to help you out. Feudal societies, capitalism, communism, empires, Chinese dynasties, the Crusades, etc. There is SO much history out there that you can rework to base your own setting on.

3. Create Rules

When I say create rules, this could go either way. In a completely fictional world, you need to make sure you create its government, its politics, its social strata, its laws, weather, climate, all that sort of thing. This is incredibly important because this is going to have an effect on the characters and the plot and all of that. Setting places an enormous part on our lives. Where we live, the rules we live under, play a HUGE part in our lives: getting our licenses at a certain age, drinking at a certain age, getting a job, paying bills, all those sorts of things come from the setting: where we live. So this is important when creating an entirely new place. Set the rules because you’ll need to follow those. They have a profound effect on your characters.

Now when you’re creating a fictional place in a real world, like me, a new town in California, the rules are already there, for the most part. California has laws and weather and all of those things already. What’s important is that you remember them. California is a little easier. If I make it a really super hot day in the middle of December…it might be a little confusing to others but to those of us who live in California, we would laugh because this really happens. (Its November, and we’re expecting 80 degree weather all week). But making sure you don’t make it a super hot day when writing your fictional town on the eastern seaboard? That’s important. Making sure your 14 year old character isn’t driving a car when logically that doesn’t make sense, things like that. Follow the rules.

4. React!

Treat your setting like a character. If something is happening in the story, how is your setting reacting to this. For instance, in my novel, my town is baseball obsessed. Say the the team wins a particularly difficult game. The town is going to react to this, obviously. It may not be something obvious that I distinctly point out but my main characters may go to lunch the next day, and the patrons could be wearing more orange and white (the team colors) than usual. There may be more banners in the window, the weather might look that much better, people will be happier. The setting reacts to the story. If the characters get in a fight, or have a bad day, the weather might be crappier or the sunny weather might bother them. React and interact with the characters and the setting. They have an effect on each other.

5. Its All in the Details!

Of course, details are always important. But for setting, I feel like its important because it makes your setting authentic and real. The hardest part of this for me is making them subtle and genuine. I want Macon to seem as real as possible and the details will make it so because it’ll seem like a real place. But every time I try and write a detail, I feel like its obvious that I’m trying to point out things about Macon and its hard. But the details are important. Where things are located, what the weather is like, the plant life, all that sort of subtle detail just makes it more genuine. Is it nearly an ocean? A mountain? This effects the weather, etc. There are stores on the main street but what kind of stores? That sort of thing. This is probably the one I struggle with the most and I’m working on it!

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What are some of YOUR tips on setting? Share the in the comments!

NaNoWriMo 2014 is Here!

Hello everyone!

It is that time again, pilule time for NaNoWriMo!

Now, nurse for those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Its held every November, where a ton of aspiring authors (and published authors too!) challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in just one month.

I discovered this for the first time last year. I know, I’m behind in the times. However…there are things I like about this and things that I don’t. I don’t believe in writing an entire novel in one month…its just not my thing. I also think 50K words for a novel, either YA or adult, is just not enough. But I love that it brings all these writers together, motivating and inspiring each other. I love that everyone holds each other accountable.

So last year, I created my own sort of challenge. I challenged myself to write 45K of a novel that I had already started, The Reawakened. It was already at about 20K when I started NaNo, so I had a solid backing for that. I wanted to focus on writing, yes, but developing the story, the characters, focusing on becoming a better writer that month, not just spitting out all those words. Fast forward a year later and that novel became The Awakened, the first in a duology, the novel that I’ve been editing for about six months and been querying for a couple months as well. You guys may know it well because I talk about it so much.

Now its my sophomore year of NaNoWriMo. I was hesitant to participate because I’ve been slumpy in my reading habits and I’m been unable to write but I’ve been motivated. I need to get over this overemotional, miserableness that has been me the past couple months. So I’m ready for this, and what better to snap me back into the life of writing than NaNoWriMo.

So I invite you guys on my journey!

It is going to be great. There will be a few posts a week and you guys can watch my journey as I tackle my new novel.

Now, my novel for NaNoWriMo is untitled…which will have a fun part in the posts on the blog. I was going to work on the sequel to The Awakened but I decided my focus for that world is editing and querying. Instead I decided to jump into my untitled young adult/new adult contemporary romance baseball novel. Its going to be great, and I’ve only written…500 words for it.

So here are my goals!

1. Write 40K words of this untitled novel. 50 would be great but 40 is my goal :) I will consider myself a winner if I write 40

2. Come up with a title. No, really. And you guys can help ;)

3. Develop, develop, develop. Develop my characters, my story, my fictional setting, etc.

Don’t forget you can join in on the fun, and check out the official website here.

Here is the plan on the blog, where you can follow my NaNoWriMo journey!

November 1st: About My Novel and Where I Write!

November 4th: Meeting the Main Characters of my Novel: Evie, Lucy, Jesse, Alex, and Connor

November 6th: Let’s Talk About Setting: Macon, California

November 8th: Actual Writing Advice from Actual Authors

November 11th: Character Interviews

November 13th: Treating Writing Like a Job

November 15th: Its the Halfway Point! Update, Struggles/Successes!

November 18th: The Inspiration Behind The Untitled Novel

November 20th: Character Playlists

November 22nd: Free Write: Lucy and Evie Celebrate Thanksgiving

November 27th: Meeting my Characters in Artwork

November 29th: My Sophomore Experience with NaNoWriMo

November 30th: Excerpt from my Novel…So Far

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Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo-My Experience

Tomorrow is the last day of NaNoWriMo! How did you do everyone?

If there is one thing I learned from this month, cost its that, this whether you met your goal or not, you are still a winner in my book. Writing a novel is NOT an easy task, and honestly, not everyone is made for it. So merely taking on this task makes you winner.

And if you wrote! If you wrote at all, that makes you a winner. Whether you wrote a thousand words, or all fifty thousand to meet the goal of NaNoWriMo, you are a winner! Seriously! Getting the words down on paper is the hardest part. Once you have words down, you can go back and change them or make them better or any of that.

This is definitely something I’ve learned from NaNo. I started off with a goal of 20,000 words. Once I had typed up all the writing I had done in a notebook (thanks for the advice, Cornelia Funke!), I realized I was already at 14K, and I only had 6 to write for the entire month. I knew I would be busy with blogging and school work and that sort of thing, but not that busy. So I switched my goal to 35K, which would still bring me at 20 for the entire month.

As of right this moment (and I still need to write today and tomorrow), I’m at 59,515, which brings me almost 25K over my goal AND brings me nearly to the goal of NaNo in the first place. You’re supposed to write 50K in the month of November and I’ve written 45K. And again, I still have to write today and tomorrow! So I’m confident that I am going to reach it.

Its funny, when I started my journey into the world of NaNo, I thought writing an entire 50K novel in one month was a crazy endeavor. I still think it is. I don’t think writing an ENTIRE novel in one month is the best idea. But I do love the idea of pushing yourself, and getting those words down on paper. I accomplished so much writing this month, so much more than I would have if I hadn’t pushed myself.

So here are the things I learned and gained from NaNoWriMo 2013.

Setting Goals = Great Motivation 

Seriously. Goals are amazing. For me, setting a goal, whether large or small, really holds you accountable. It also helps when you TELL people that you’ve set this goal because they can hold you accountable as well. But more on other people later. I hold myself accountable. I set a goal for the month and I hate not meeting my goals. I told myself that I would write at least 1K a day, and I told my writing friends and my boyfriend and they would hold me to that, definitely.

The way I see it is…my ultimate goal, and probably yours too, is to become a published author. And a published author is a JOB, its a career. You sign contracts, and produce books, and you need to treat it like a job. And its never too early to start doing that. By telling yourself that you need to write every day, no matter if you have “inspiration” or not, you’re being productive and you’re getting work done and you’re acting like a real author.

Writing Crappy Really IS Okay

No, really! Its going to be okay! I know that not all 59, 515 words that I’ve written so far are good. I know I will have to go back and fix things, move things around, and that kind of thing. I know that there are inconsistencies and there are some things that I need to more thoroughly research. There is a lot that is going to make it better. I realize that.

But by recognizing that and just writing, again, I got so much more done. You can’t fix a blank page, and I’ve written so much that a blank page is laughable. Once I really started to recognize that, yes, Sara, some of this is going to really suck, I just started writing. I have it down on paper. And I’m proud of it all, even if all of it isn’t that good. Because my novel has a skeleton now, it has a little bit of flesh and all that, but it can be better. But I have that skeleton to work on. And that’s great.

My Novel Changed Before My Eyes

It did! I was surprised at the changes I made while writing, and the surprises that met me around some of the corners. See, normally, I don’t force myself to write like this. It took me two years to write Another Chance for Summer and a year to write A Little Less than Famous. I’ve only been writing The Reawakened for about a couple months, and I’ve written SO much, and I’ve learned so much about it, while working so hard on it this month.

One, we came up with a title, The Reawakened. The title comes from one of my followers, Amber Harvey, and she won a personalized, sign copy of Legend by Marie Lu. So thank you for that, Amber! I’m right awful at coming up with titles so I’m glad I can make you guys do it!

Two, I introduced a character that is going to be incredibly important later on. I would have never expected that, at all, but I introduced them, in a small scene and realized…oh they are important. They are incredibly important and I know just to do with them…

Which leads to me to three…The Reawakened is NOT a standalone novel like I had intended. It is definitely a two part. I’ve already started thinking and outlining the second novel, since it helps with the first, AND I have a title for it as well. I’m very proud of that. I’ve decided to end The Reawakened so that it is either an ambiguous ending or a nasty cliffhanger, so that no matter what happens in its publishing future, it’ll be okay. But I was very surprised when I figured out that…yeah, I’m not done.

And that’s where four comes in…I’m at nearly 60K. I was aiming for a 75-80K novel, which leaves me only 15 to 20 K left to write. But I have SO much more that needs to happen in the story so I’m not sure how that’s going to work. I found that this is going to be a much larger novel than I had originally intended but I’m okay with that. Maybe it’ll end up right where its supposed to be once I’ve done edits and such but for now, its probably going to be closer to 90-100K.

The 15 Beat System is Gold 

I have to give some major props and thanks to Jessica Brody, who introduced me to the 15 Beat system. The 15 beat comes from the book, Save the Cat, which is a book on screen writing. However, you can adapt it to a novel as well. Its less specific than an actual plot outline, and for that, I love it.

I find that when I write an entire plot outline, I end up being so bored with my novel because I KNOW what’s going to happen each and every second of the way and its just boring. I’m just not a fan of it. I ditched my new adult/baseball/romance novel because I completely outlined it and I was SO bored. I may go back to it, because I really want to, but for now, just ugh.

With the 15 beat system, there are 15 beats, or plot points, you must hit to create a successful episode. Like I said, it works wonderfully with a novel. Instead of a fully specific plot outline, you have these 15 beats you have to hit throughout the story and it helps you as you write. I don’t know what will happen between each one, and its fun trying to get to each one. It really is. Its the most beautiful way to outline your story ever. Really it is.

Ditto the Book Bible

Make one. Seriously. It helps SO much, especially those of you who may be like me and are really bad with consistencies.

Check out my post on it here.

Have a Group of Supporters

For so long, I kept myself distanced from other writers because of so many reasons. There were two main reasons though: I am a competitive person and I didn’t want to have to compete face to face with someone. And I also didn’t want to  constantly have to measure myself up to people. I was SO lacking of confidence in my own writing that anyone else’s writing was always infinitely better than mine.

But I have learned that this is SO wrong. I’ve surrounded myself with fellow writers and we’ve supported each other so much this month, and we’re going to continue to support each other as we continue past NaNoWriMo. I created a Nano Support Group on FB and now converted the group to an Aspiring Authors Support Group. If you’re interested, you should definitely join.

Its also incredibly helpful to have people in your life who believe in you and support you. I really realized (again) how lucky I am to have such a creative and passionate boyfriend. We spend so much time together, not even talking, but its okay. Jon will be working on his music, and I’ll be on my computer, typing away. Its wonderful! We really support each other. I don’t know how many boyfriends would understand my desire to be on the computer for hours on end, but he does, and it helps me in my journey to finish my novel.

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NaNoWriMo has been an exciting and productive journey for me, one where I learned a lot about myself as a writer, writing in general and a lot about my novel as well. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished this month and what I hope to accomplish in the future.

For now, I have to do some last minute writing for today and tomorrow so I’m going to get to that!

Also, come back tomorrow for an exclusive excerpt from The Reawakened!

You don’t want to miss out on that!

Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo-The Reawakened Playlist!

Hey ya’ll! How’s it going? We’re nearing closer and closer to the end of November, tadalafil which means that we’re heading closer to the end of NaNoWriMo.

Now, mind no matter what your goals are, you’re a winner! Because setting the goal out to write a novel, and doing the hard work for it? Its an incredibly daunting task and I commend each and every one of you who decides to do it!

And if you don’t finish, its okay!

But keep writing :) NaNoWriMo is only one month, and I want to see some finished novels from all of you!

Now, let’s see, what is today’s post? Oh yes! MUSIC! I love music! In high school, music was my LIFE. I was so passionate about music, it was insane. I’ve fallen a little bit out of it, because I focus more on keeping up with all the books and the book world, but I still love music.

And music really helps me to write. I know there are some authors who listen to music and there are some authors who need silence, but I definitely need noise. I write with the TV on, but mostly I write with music.

I’ve noticed that a lot of authors do playlists for their novels, and I realized I’ve never done that before. I just put on whatever I feel like listening to, but I decided to change it a bit for The Reawakened.

So that’s what this post is. I’ll be posting the songs I’ve been listening to like crazy, in order to help me write the novel.

You may want to pay attention a little bit too! Since you guys can’t actually read The Reawakened, you can get a little sneak peek of it by paying attention to these songs!

So here is my The Reawakened playlist!

Also, if you click the song title, it will take you to the song on YouTube for you to listen to!

Novel Theme Song: 

Nightmare by Set It Off

They’re coming, creeping from the corner

And all I know is that I don’t feel safe
I feel the tapping on my shoulder
I turn around in an alarming state
But am I loosing my mind?
I really think so
Not a creature in sight
But what you don’t know is that

My breathing gets faster
And so does my heartbeat
I wish this was over
I wish that this was a dream

The Rest of The Playlist

Sidewalks by Story of the Year

From the sidewalks, 
Running away from the streets we knew,
Side walks, 
Like the time we thought was made for you

All of the days have passed us by, 
All of the sun is gone…away

Partners in Crime by Set It Off

You’ll never take us alive
We swore that death will do us part
They’ll call our crimes a work of art

This tale of reckless love
living a life of crime on the run
A brush to a gun
To paint these states green and red 

Zzzz by The Cab

I’m high and dry, and kicked to the ground
I’m lost, and I’ll never be found

Singing myself to sleep 
and you’re still my favorite melody
It’s been three weeks
How long can his go on?
Singing myself to sleep
You’re haunting every memory 

Distance Disturbs Me by Set It Off

Separated by a scream,
its just a bittersweet success with a dash of failure
I’m hanging by a thread, intentions cut to shreds
I’m starting to lose my grip so 
Someone please distract me, I need a new obsession
Am I just going crazy?
I’ll never learn my lesson because

I would kill to be a mile away
or feel the breath you’ll take
But fate won’t let me

Swallow the Knife by Story of the Year

So let’s make this night be our best mistake
So let’s take the time to wipe the blood away
Now our hands our tied
and our world is caving in

Now our hands are tied
and the problems lie within
So we pray for night
to start over again 

Just One Yesterday by Fall Out Boy 

If heaven’s grief brings hell’s rain
Then I’d trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday

I wanted this song so bad for City of Bones. I really want it in City of Ashes or City of Glass. Let’s do this.

Monsters by I Am King 

And there’s something behind the clouds
that we can’t see
All things that once had meaning drag behind me
We’ve been living a lie
We’ve been living a lie
A masquerade that will end in destruction
You’ve been living a lie
You’re not all what you pretend to be

Get down on your knees
and we see the darkness and the light
Entwine, as the end of the world
becomes so clear to me 

It’s Over When It’s Over by Falling In Reverse

Take it back, take it back, my friend, 
All the things that you said about the end. 
This is it, this is me telling you it ain’t over til it’s over

Death Valley by Fall Out Boy 

We love a lot 
So we only lose a little
But we are alive
we are alive 

We’re gonna die
It’s just a matter of time
Hard times come, Good times go
I’m either gone in an instant
or here til the bitter end
I never know

In Dreams by Like Moths to Flames 

I’ve been asleep for too long
In a life that’s not my own
Never wanted to feel alone 

Come wake me up
I’ve been asleep for too long
Never wanted to feel alone
Lost myself
Slow to love
So cold

We watch the world turn
But never stop to think about who we are
Take me back to the start
Mend all the pieces that fell apart 

Breathe by Sienna Skies 

There comes a time when we will choose
A time in life which we’re confused
this feeling we will share exists
It sometimes translates with a kiss
The floor is ours
Let’s not waste any time now
Or we’ll regret everything 

Nothing Like Today by Divided by Friday 

Take me back to when I had it all
Before I let my feelings fall
‘Cause lately I’ve been hating who I am
I took for granted what I had
and watched it wash away
But tonight, I’ll let it out
Tonight, will be nothing like today

No Control by Set It Off 

Fall to my knees, God I beg you please
Show me just an inch of mercy
help me, help me, I’m doing all I can
Pretend I’m unaffected, but their pain became my present 

Swear this isn’t what I wanted
God, this house is haunted
The way that this could, if things were a melody
And after all of this we’ve been through
I wish we could switch shoes
This life ain’t fair for us all

My walls are built, and on display
I drown in guilt, due to dismay
Maybe someday I can see how this has shaped me
Bite my tongue, with swelling lungs
I gasp for air and let this go

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I hope you enjoyed listening to some of the music that has been inspiring to me!

What are some songs or some bands that help you when you are writing? Share in the comments!

NaNoWriMo-Tackling Writer’s Block!

We’re near the halfway point of November, visit this which means we’re halfway through NaNoWriMo. Now that the novelty and excitement of the challenge has worn off a bit, sometimes people can run into second week slumps, or they can slow down considerably.

And I’m hoping that this will help you to continue.

I will start by saying this one thing: there is no such thing as writer’s block. Don’t get all crazy on me, hear me out. I don’t think there’s actual writer’s block. There are other things getting in the way of you writing: lack of motivation, distractions, thinking too much.

So what I’m really going to be tackling in this post are the problems that come when you just can’t seem to get those words on the page, and how you can deal with them.

Now, these are all ways that I deal when I have a hard time continuing my writing, and bits and pieces that I’ve picked up over the past couple years in meeting all the authors that I’ve met. Everyone is different in their writing strategies but I do hope that this helps a little bit.

1. You’re Thinking Too Much

This is the one that I struggle with the most, which is why I’m writing about it first. I think way, way, way too much when I’m writing. I’m thinking about whether or not the grammar is great. I’m thinking whether or not the actual writing is good, or if the scene that I’m working on now fits with earlier scenes and whether it’ll fit with future scenes. I’m worrying if what I’m writing is good enough, if people will like it. I’m comparing my writing and my story to other writers.

And I have to stop doing that, and so do you! I think we all fall into that trap and it has to stop. So many writers that i’ve met over the past year have told me the same thing over and over again: Just write. Just write, and don’t be afraid to write really badly.

The point is to write. Just write. Don’t think about whether its good, or whether it makes sense. Not yet. Don’t worry about that yet. Just write. I will never forget: a few weeks ago, I met Cinda Chima and Marlene Perez, and Marlene quoted Nora Roberts, saying, “You can’t fix a blank page.” Just put your pen to the paper, put those fingers on the keyboard, and write. We can always go back and make it better!

2. Take a Break

On the other hand, don’t FORCE yourself to write. Take a break and go do other things, things that don’t require a lot of thinking. Take a walk, go out to dinner, play a game. I would NOT recommend reading a book or watching a movie. You want to focus on your story, and immersing yourself into other stories may only hinder you while you’re feeling blocked.

So definitely take a break. Sometimes getting away from the story, and distracting yourself from it for a bit can really help with bringing your focus back to the story. I’ve heard from authors that they’ll take a bath, or a shower. Get up, put some music on and have a dance party.

Sometimes just getting away from the actual keyboard but not the story helps too. Close the laptop or notebook, and just kind of lay back in bed and focus on the story. Visualize it in your head, play out the scenes like a movie, and sometimes that can help to put them into words. You can play with the scenarios in your head, until they seem to work better than what you had them at before.

Lastly, maybe talk it out with someone. Tell them where you’re at, what’s going on with your characters and maybe tell them your concerns. As an outsider, they may have some insight to where your character could go from there. Sometimes talking it out can help lead you in the direction you want to go.

3. Work on Something Else

This can mean so many different things. For me, I either work on my blog, because its a way to write but its not nearly as stressful, or I work on another scene in my novel.

Now some authors don’t do that, and they recommend writing in a linear matter. Some authors jump around. Its all sort of up to you. I have never had an issue with writing future scenes, in fact it helps me. Sometimes its hard to push yourself through those hard scenes, the ones that are slower, and are more build up and less action. I can understand that. I’m sort of stuck in that right now.

But what I do is, I either push through, reminding myself that I get to write a fun action scene at the end of it OR I just write the action scene. I write the exciting scene because its fun. Sometimes, in writing that more exciting scene, I answer questions that haven’t even been asked yet, and it helps me to write those slower scenes. I know exactly how I want to lead up to the scene I just wrote. It gets me excited for the story again, and I’m writing again.

It also helps to write other things as well. Write for your blog, if you have one. Write in a journal, or do a writing exercise. Keep using your writing skills, and maybe focusing on something else for a little while will help give you that motivation to continue your story.

4. Eliminate Distractions

Turn off the TV, turn off the wi-fi. Make sure that you are writing in a clutter free zone.

Now, I can write with all of those, but I’m also the oldest of six kids, and I live in a house with eight other people. Peace and quiet are concepts that I’m just not familiar with and I’ve gotten VERY comfortable with noise. In fact, silence bothers me and it can be a distraction for me.

But for most people, you need to cut out those distractions. Turn off the TV, get yourself to a quiet place, where you’re alone. Play music. Music can help, but don’t let it distract you too much. I usually only listen to music when I’m confident in what I’m writing. When I’m less sure, I tend to write in silence.

Definitely turn off the wi-fi. This is one that I have the HARDEST time dealing with. I get distracted by Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter. Don’t let yourself be distracted. Just write. When you have nothing but the blank page in front of you, you can concentrate on it, and write. And remember, it doesn’t have to be good! JUST WRITE. Make sure you have nothing around to distract you. I’ll put my phone on my charger, on the other side of the room, and I’ll clear the space around me. Make sure the only the that’s between you and writing is the keyboard or the pen.

There are softwares you can purchase, for fairly cheap (think 10-15 dollars) to help you out. Freedom will block out all internet for a period of time, up to eight hours, in order to promote productivity. For those of us who use internet for research and such, there’s Anti-Social, which blocks out sites like Facebook and Twitter. Definitely check these out.

5. Set a Goal

This can be in any form. Set a time limit, or a word goal. This holds you accountable, and you’re more likely to finish the work if you’re holding yourself to it. Tell someone that you’re working on this goal, someone that you know will remind you and hold you accountable as well.

Set a time limit. Tell yourself you’ll write for an hour, two hours, three hours a day. Set a time for that. Tell yourself, “I will write for an hour from 8 pm to 9 pm before I go to bed”.

I set word count goals. I tell myself that I must write at least 1K words a day. Sometimes I bypass it and sometimes I don’t reach it at all but the fact that I made the goal, and I wrote something is better than not sitting down to write anything at all.

You can also set weekly goals as well. We get busy through out our weeks because of work or school or family commitments or social commitments and its understandable. Set yourself a word count goal for the entire week, so that you can write at your own pace through out the week. Keep yourself accountable.

6. Treat it Like a Job 

Author Shannon Messenger told me, back in May, that its NEVER too early to start treating writing like a job and I’ve really taken it to heart. Put as much effort and time as you can into it, if you’re passionate about it and you want to get it done. Create a schedule for yourself and commit to that schedule. Tell yourself that you cannot make plans during certain hours, because you are working. You wouldn’t skip out on your job for things (for the most part), so don’t skip out on writing either.

Also, the more time and commitment that you give to your writing and your novel,  the better it will be and the more likely you are to get it done. Treating it like a job will only help you to get better.

Sometimes, I just don’t believe in getting inspiration. Once you’ve published that first novel, and you start working on new ones, you’ll be on a deadline. You can’t wait for inspiration. Treating your novel like a job now, giving yourself set times to write and deadlines to meet, helps prepare you.

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I hope this helpful for you guys and that you don’t get stuck in the midpoint blues!

Good luck with everything, and don’t forget to check out my NaNoWriMo Support Group on facebook. I’m surrounded by a little more than a dozen of the most supportive friends and writers and it has been a great group. Definitely head on over!

Happy Writing Everyone!