The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

(With Preptober and Nation Novel Writing Month right around the corner, I’m reposting these tips to help you survive this crazy writing challenge. Stay safe and stay creative, writer bugs! – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Hello Writer Bees,

Signing up for NaNoWriMo this year? You’re going to need all the help you can get.

This guide will help you survive National Novel Writing Month.

Find the Time 

To reach 50,000 words goal, you’ll need to write about 1,667 words a day. Come up with a plan, find the best time for you to write.  Make that time commitment. Schedule what part of your novel you will work on each day. Decide whether you are a day or night writer. Create a routine and stick to it as best you can. And don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, it’ll happen to everyone.

Set Up Your Writing Space

Establish your writing space. A place to be organized and creative. A place where you can focus and write and hopefully not be disturbed. Dedicate a work area, with all your research and inspiration materials nearby. Make sure you have all your needed resources close at hand. Whether it’s at home, at the public library, or at the local coffee shop, find your cozy corner of the world.

See the source image

Keep Resources Close

This coincides with creating a great work space. Notes, historical sources, journals, character profiles, outlines. Everything.  Keep all research material organized and in reach, in case you need a reference.  Use time in October to gather information and prepare for the writing ahead. Because I’m writing a story set in a specific time period (1920s), I have bookmarked a couple of historical resources, just in case. I also have a book of photos of Brooklyn in the 1920s that I like to glance through for inspiration.

Writers Require Nourishment

Be prepared with all the snacks and beverages you’ll need to get through a month of writing. I’m talking leftover Halloween candy. I’m talking caffeine, and lots of it. I’m talking the comfort food that makes your heart happy. Also, I’ve heard some even meal prep ahead of time. IF you have time, consider prepping meals in advance and leaving them in the freezer. Look, some would suggest eating healthy, and while that is true, sometimes, you need a bag of salty potato chips. And no one will judge you for devouring the entire bag.

Goals and Rewards

Set smaller goals for yourself. 10k, 20k, 30k, etc. And when you reach them, reward yourself. Whether its with your favorite movie or favorite meal, celebrate those little milestones. During National Novel Writing Month, every word counts. So, treat yourself and do something special for you once you reach a certain word count. Whatever makes you happy and relaxed, do that. This will keep you motivated and encourage you to keep going.

See the source image

Outline

Whether you are a planner or a pantser, have a general idea for a story. Develop your characters. Establish some kind of plot line, even if its a vague idea. Note the key scenes of the plot. It’s important to have an outline. And remember, use the method that feels right to you. Every writer has their own way of planning a story. Do what works for you.

Have a Support System

We all need someone in our corner, supporting us. Find some writing buddies. Consider attending write-ins and writing events. Find the people in your life you trust, who you can talk openly to. A significant other, a friend, a teacher, a classmate. Have someone to express your worry or doubt or just iron out ideas with. Someone to cheer you on through the absolutely ridiculous journey that is NaNoWriMo.

See the source image

Surround yourself with other writers. And hey, feel free to add me as a writing buddy on the NaNoWriMo website. My username is LadyJabberwocky.


What’s a necessity in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? Let me know in the comments!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Follow Me on Twitter

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Pen Name VS. Real Name: The Great Author Debate (Repost)

Hello writer bugs!

(This is a repost. I’m busy getting ready for all spookiness coming in October. Hope you all understand. Also, I signed up for the Amazon Affiliates program again, because I completely failed the first time. Clicking the links helps support this blog. Thank you, writer bees! Stay safe and keep creative! – Love, Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky.)

I’ve noticed a heated debate within the writing community. When you finally publish a story, should you use your real name or a pen name? For aspiring authors, it’s a tough question. Have no fear, I’m here to help!

Today, I’m taking a look at the pros and cons of both sides of the argument, to help you decide what name will be printed on your book cover.

See the source image

Pros of a Pen Name

  • The power on anonymity: Some people find freedom in using a new moniker. And If you are sharing a personal life story, you can keep it private. Your boss and your church friends won’t have any idea.
  • Choose a more ‘writerly’ name: Create a memorable, eye catching name that suits the genre you are writing in. Pen names give you a chance to give yourself the name you’ve always wanted.
  • Dip your toe in multiple genres. Be fluid and experiment in various genres with multiple personas. And if you fail to sell enough books, simply reinvent yourself.

Cons of a Pen Name

  • Difficult Marketing: It’s harder to spread the word on your book under a nom de plume. Keeping your true identity a secret may hurt your book promoting process.
  • Struggle with building an author-reader connection. And it takes some time for the name to gain recognition.
  • Establishing a brand new persona. With a pen name, you may have to balance a double life. That might mean managing multiple social media accounts and writer websites etc.

Authors That Used Pen Names


See the source image

Pros of Using Your Real Name

  • Pride: That’s your name on the cover of the book. Sweet success belongs to you. Some writers dream about seeing their name in a bookstore. It’s a major accomplishment.
  • Easier to promote your work with your real name. Friends, family members, neighbors etc. will know it’s you. And you can do more local promos as well.
  • One name, one identity. No need to manage multiple social media accounts or author websites. Also, forget the hassle or confusion of a fake moniker. Readers and business associates know how to address you.

Cons of Using Your Real Name

  • Your name may sound similar to another famous name. That might cause confusion to readers.
  • You may have a forgettable or fairly common name. Shout out to the John Smiths of the world.
  • You are writing within a genre where books written by the opposite gender sell better. Unfortunately, sexism against authors is real.

When you publish a story, would you use a pen name or your real name? And what’s your opinion on nom de plumes? Talk to me in the comments!

Stay safe and keep writing!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

The 3 Ways I Beat Blogger’s Block

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope you all are staying safe and keeping creative.

Last week, I opened the floor for your questions, to celebrate 4 year blogging anniversary. The pessimist in me assumed no one would ask me anything, but thankfully I was wrong. You guys never cease to amaze me. I received some awesome questions from you guys.

One question came in from Raymond Oickle.

Congrats on your anniversary. As a fellow blogger, there are times the well goes dry… the dreaded “writers block”! Has this been a problem through your blogging years, and if so, what do you do when it happens?

Has writer’s block ever happened to me? No, never, I’m a constant a waterfall of inspiration.

Of course it has. It happens to everyone. And when it does happen, it’s important to not be hard on yourself. Everyone has crawled through that desert at some point.

How do I get through it? Here are three ways I get through blogger’s block.

Themed Months and Posts

Challenge yourself to a themed month of posts. They’re fun to do and if done right, will be well received by your readership. I’ve done this before with May of Mystery, a month dedicated to mystery themed posts. And between you and me, I’m already considering another themed month in the near future. Maybe stop by around Halloween to see what genre it is (wink wink).

Themed Parties GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I’ll give you an example. A few weeks ago, I posted a writing prompt about a specific setting; The ocean. Since it was well liked, I decided to continue the theme and post setting-themed prompts the rest of this month. The city, the forest, outer space. That’s like 3 posts scheduled and ready to go right there. One post inspired a batch of other posts. Didn’t plan that ahead a time, it’s a theme that stumbled in and I just go.

When you give yourself a specific theme to play in, ideas happen. If you’ve stuck in writer’s block, try a themed set of posts related to your topic.

Take a Break

I just had a mental health break for this blog. Stepping away from blogging was pretty relaxing. Sometimes, your brain needs a rest from posting schedules and statistics. And since I wasn’t stressing about what to post on Friday – slowly, but surely – a creative flow returned. A couple of post ideas graced me with their presence. It doesn’t always need to be a full length vacation. Once in a while, I just do something else, something other than blog writing. Like take a walk, or watch a movie or bake vegan oatmeal cookies.

Image result for take a break gif

From my perspective, there’s a ton of pressure on bloggers to consistently create content for their audience. That pressure can wear you down after awhile. It’s important to listen to your brain and take a break when you need to. Don’t worry, ideas will come back and the readers will stick around.

Remembering my Audience and my Purpose

Always, I keep in mind my readers and my reason for blogging; to encourage others in their creativity. So usually I ask myself questions tailored to that purpose. What tips would a writer find useful and how do I explain them in a conversational way? What would I want to know if I was starting out as a freelancer, or struggling with my creative work? Questions like that often lead to ideas for blog posts.

Go The Distance GIFs | Tenor

Also, some posts are about my journey as a writer. During my writer adventures, I scribble down things I’ve learned about writing. If I experience something while working my WIP, I wonder “Is it just me or do other writers go through this too?” And then I write a post about that part of the writer journey. I’m honest about the ups and downs of a writer’s life, and because of that, I can connect with fellow writers.

When brainstorming blog ideas, I remember what I want to give my audience, whether that’s a writing tip or a story or a laugh.

The Comments Section (Bonus!)

A bonus tip? What a surprise. Frankly, my readers are awesome. Some leave me these sweet, supportive comments that really make my day. And others, they leave questions. Writer working on their creative projects ask me for advice – which is flattering. I hardly see myself as some expert. I’m just a lowly writer trying to help others. I like to listen to what the audience is interested in learning about, what they’re struggling with. That’s how I go about creating content. Several posts, including this one, have been inspired by real queries asked by real aspiring authors.

When in doubt, check the comments.


Hope this answered your question about blogger’s block. For my fellow bloggers out there, how do you handle writer’s block? How do you come up with ideas for posts? Share your tips in the comments. I love to hear from you.

I’m ready to return to regular Friday posts again. I missed blogging. I just need to be more mindful of my stress level and mental health. Think we all do. Thank you for all the positive vibes and support during my break. I appreciate each and every single one of you.

Stay safe and keep writing.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Follow Me on Twitter

Thank You to 900 Followers!

Hello Writer Bees!

Exciting news! The Lady Jabberwocky blog just passed the 900 follower mark. Which means my humble little blog is nearing 1,000 followers. This is not a drill! Seriously, I never could’ve imagined so many of you tuning in every week to read my nonsense posts.

Thank you all so much for all the love and support.

Thank you for every like and comment.

Thank you for following my journey as a writer.

Frankly speaking, I’ve been feeling a bit burnt-out lately. Work is overwhelming sometimes. Dealing with writer’s block and self doubt can be overwhelming too. You have no idea how much I appreciate all the kind words and positive vibes from you amazing readers. If it’s alright with you guys, I’m going to keep this post short, curl up with a book and sleep. Some sleep sounds pretty nice. Haha.

But, I may need your help brainstorming something else. You guys are way smarter than I am. Recently, I’ve thought about creating some sort of virtual writing workshop / writers room. It’d be cool to have a space where writers could talk about their work, ask specific questions on their stories, gain some feedback and help each other. I want to reach more writers and encourage their creative endeavors. Not exactly sure how to go about that yet. Maybe a Discord? Maybe a Skype group space situation? Maybe an old-fashioned advice column? I don’t really know. Sorry if that doesn’t make sense, my brain is still trying to figure it out. Feel free to pitch your ideas.

Don’t forget! May of Mystery starts this Monday. I’m dedicating an entire month to writing mystery fiction. Prompts and posts with have a mystery spin to them. Detectives and femme fatales and clue hunting, perhaps a little murder. If you have any questions on detective fiction or any ideas for mystery themed posts, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Once again, thank you all so much for the support. You lovely readers keep me blogging. Hope you all enjoy your weekend. Stay safe and keep writing.

Onward to 1,000 followers!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Follow Me on Twitter!

Do You Need a Writing Degree to Be a Real Writer?

Hello writer bees!

Today, I’m posing a possibly controversial question.

Do you need a degree in writing to be considered a “proper writer”?

To some, getting a college degree makes you a bonafide writer, or a better writer than most. Others feel they can be storytellers without the diploma to back them up. And some young writers have a hard time choosing what they want to study, and if a degree in writing is even worth it.

I want to share my experience. Hopefully, it can give younger writers a bit of insight. Goodness knows I needed some insight when I was just a fledgling. For those of you who don’t know, I graduated from Hunter College with a B.A. in English. What do you do with a B.A. in English? How did that experience impact my journey as a writer? I’ll be diving into everything, the good and the bad.

Why I Chose to Pursue an English Degree

Let’s backtrack first. When I was in high school, I discovered my love of writing. I had an amazing teacher who encouraged my artistic aspirations. Without her, I probably wouldn’t be a blogger or an aspiring author right now. As I decided what college major I would pursue, no other subject could compare to English and creative writing.

I had a lot of ideas for a potential novel. Writing stories in various genres really interested me. I loved fantasy and mystery and historical drama and everything in between. Ah, to be young and full of inspiration. Wanting to narrow down my focus and find my niche, I thought going for a English degree would help me find the genre I’d eventually publish in someday. Like “Congrats! Here is your diploma! Also, you are a mystery writer! Now go write a whodunit and be on your merry way.”

Earning my B.A. in English was a wonderful experience. It wasn’t easy. Lots of late nights, lots of reading material, lots of stress. And I don’t regret a single minute.

Writing Workshops

While in college, my fiction writing classes were full-on workshops. Gathering around with fellow writers, discussing each other’s stories. I learned how to constructively critique someone’s work and became more mindful of my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. We read each others short stories and offered feedback in a really safe and sensitive environment. Don’t get me wrong, I was so nervous letting others read my work. But once you realize we’re all in the same boat, it’s not so scary. That was my first taste of a greater writing community.

Also, the very first draft of my current WIP sprouted in that class. Sharing that story in particular with my classmates was like the ultimate test run for my work-in-progress novel. Let me know in the comments if you want to hear more about that particular workshop session.

Reading Everything

Remember when I said I was looking down to settle with one genre to write in? It didn’t quite work out as I expected. In college, I read everything. And I mean everything. Like I was reading Beowulf and Arthurian legend in the morning and Hemingway and Christie in the afternoon. Real talk? My narrator was born after reading an Edgar Allen Poe story. If anything, my horizon only expanded. Once I graduated, I was even more undecided about what genre I wanted to publish in. I really gained an appreciation for literature across all genres. By reading various genres and styles and time periods, a sturdy foundation was built under my feet. Maybe it’s strange to say, but I felt like I had a wealth of source material I could refer to and be inspired by. If that makes sense.

Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, is it?

Hard to Find a Job

After I graduated, It was tough finding steady work. I applied for many publications and ended up with a pile of rejection letters. Apparently, a bachelors degree in English isn’t enough to prove you are good at writing. That was a newsflash to me. I wanted to make a living as a writer, and it just wasn’t happening. Frankly, It was a dark time for me. Finally, I fell into freelance work, starting out as an unpaid intern. Around the same time, I started this blog. Then, more freelance opportunities opened up. And today, even though I’m stuck in a cubicle at an office day job, the passion for writing has not ceased. I’m still working on my goal to write a novel, after office hours, of course.

Final Thoughts

The B.A. in English gave me a solid foundation. My brain thinks differently about literature and storytelling because of my time as an English major. It was a valuable, rewarding experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Well, maybe a finished novel.

Do you need a degree to be a proper writer?

In my opinion? No.

You know that quote from Ratatouille, Anyone can cook? I believe anyone can write. A degree doesn’t make me, or anyone else, a genuine writer. We all have imagination and creativity inside of us. Anyone can write a story and be considered a writer.


Do you think you need a degree to be considered a proper writer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. And if you earned your degree in English/Creative writing, how has that experience impacted your journey as a writer? As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Also, get your magnifying glasses ready! May of Mystery is right around the corner, less that 2 weeks!

Stay safe and keep writing,

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writing During Lunch Break: My New Favorite Writing Time

Hello Writer Bees!

Last week, I celebrated my 800th follower milestone, which I still can’t get believe. You guys are so amazing and supportive. Some of you were curious about my writer experience. So today, I’m sharing something new that makes me happy. With all the struggle going on in the world, it’s nice to be reminded of the small things in life that make us happy, right?

I started a new job back in August. A 9 to 5 cubicle job in an office. And as someone with no prior experience, being an assistant is tough work. The stress can be overwhelming sometimes. I’m managing as best I can. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were given the option of eating lunch at our desks. And the socially awkward introvert in me was thrilled by this. Don’t get me wrong, everyone working in the office is super nice. But, I like a little time to myself now and then. Translation: I like to hide from society now and then.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been working on my WIP during my lunch break. It’s like this quiet, hour long vacation, in the middle of a hectic day. Did I forget to mention eating while writing is my favorite combination? Seriously. What’s better than munching while making fiction happen? I absolutely love it. I look forward to this short lived writing time everyday. Maybe it’s the change of scenery, or me being away from home distractions, I actually get some writing done. Sure, it might only be 100 to 200 words a day. Still, I’m slowly creeping towards my goal of a finish novel.

Frankly speaking, I’m a night writer. Always have been. I prefer to write during the nighttime. To burn the midnight oil, as they say. My brain just feels more creative in the wee hours of the evening. Not sure why. And now, I can’t stay up as late as I used to when I was a freelance writer. However, writing during my lunch break has been a nice change of pace. I’ve fallen into a new routine. And I’m excited about it. This is a same small window of time, everyday, dedicated to writing and editing and outlining. Maybe that’s what I needed all along, to shake off my writer’s block.

For now, I’m making the most out of this pocket of time and appreciating every second.

Moral of the story, find the time to write, no matter the time of day. Even if it’s only a half hour. Even if it’s only 100 or so words. Progress is progress. Little by little, we all reach our goals eventually.


What time of day do you write in? And be honest, do you sneaky work on your WIP at your day job? Talk to me in the comments!

Keep writing and stay safe!

— Lady Jabberwocky

Follow Me on Twitter

Celebrating 800 Followers With A Blogger Brainstorm

Woah, Writer Bees!

A little over a month ago, the Lady Jabberwocky blog hit the 700 Follower milestone. This week, I’m celebrating 800!

What is happening? This is insane!

Thank you all so much for all the love and positive vibes. It must seem silly to some of you that I celebrate every 100th follower milestone. When I first started blogging, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in what I was writing about. Now, we’re closing in on 1,000 followers. I can’t believe it. I truly appreciate every single one of you.

I’m keeping this post short this week. There’s a good reason. My goal for this blog has always been to support writers in their creative endeavors. I’m starting to feel like this is becoming a platform that will do just that. Lately, I’ve been brainstorming ideas for future posts and possible series for Lady Jabberwocky. Some plans are in the works, I’ll need a bit more time though. I hope you all stay tuned for some new content.

And while we are on the subject of new content…. What do you guys want to see more of on the Lady Jabberwocky blog? More writing advice? More flash fiction? More on my writer experience? Let me know. I take your thoughts and ideas to heart.

Once again, thank you for supporting my humble blog and for reading my posts every week. Your lovely comments brighten my day. You guys keep me writing, and for that, I am so grateful.

Onward to 1,000 followers!

Love,

Victoria (a.k.a Lady Jabberwocky)

Follow Me on Twitter

How Lucky We Are – 100 Word Love Story

On our first date, we found a fountain in the middle of New York City.

How lucky we were.

Tossed our coins in, made wishes. I wished for happiness.

Something even more wonderful happened.

We two individuals became us. Together.

Partners. Outliers. Player One and Player Two.

That was almost ten years ago.

We have shared laughter and tears and smiles.

Forged adventures in the mundane.

Made love in thunderstorms.

A comfortable kind of affection, like soft clouds to land on.

All from two characters in a story crossing paths at the right place, right time.

How lucky we are.


With Valentine’s day coming up, I wanted to write about love. Call me a hopeless romantic, or a sap, either one. Inspired by my wonderful boyfriend, Michael and our relationship. He has know idea I’m doing this (Surprise honey!). We will be spending the weekend ordering takeout and having a movie night at home. Sounds perfect to me.

How are you spending Valentine’s Day? Lemme know in the comments. I’m genuinely curious, what with a pandemic and all.

Stay safe and keep writing!

Love, Lady Jabberwocky

Follow Me on Twitter

How to Choose a Read Worthy Book Title

Hello writer bees!

If there’s any silver lining to this chaotic time, it’s that writers are using their time to work on new projects. And with new projects comes a daunting task; Choosing the perfect title. It’s a huge question for any writer with a WIP. How do you create an interesting title that catches the readers attention and perfectly represents your story?

Today, I’m showing you what story elements can lead you to a read worthy title. Here are some ideas for where you can find the name of your book.

Character Inspired Titles

Image result for gatsby gif

If you have a character focused piece, pick a title that highlights the main character. Although it might be a simplistic option, a book named after a protagonist can be compelling to potential readers. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be the character’s name either. Think about the role the character plays in their world.

Examples

Setting Themed Titles

Consider naming the book after a prominent location featured in the story. Do the characters live in a specific town or residence? Or are they traveling to a certain destination? Settings transport the audience to a different time and place. Intrigue your readers with an invitation to a new world.

Examples

Memorable Line or Object

Is the adventure centered around a coveted object? Or is there a sentence/phrase that sums up the entire novel? A memorable line or item featured in the story can become a great book title. Search through the text and find those stand out bits that you feel represent the entire novel well.

Examples

Bonus Tips for Book Titles

  • Represent the right genre: If you pick a title that sounds like a fantasy story but it’s really a murder mystery, reader will be confused. Choose a title that reflects the genre. Research book titles in your preferred genre before naming.
  • Understand the theme: What themes does the novel explore? Underlying themes can be transformed into thematic phrases. Theme inspired titles give a nod to the audience of what the story is about. (ex. Pride and Prejudice)
  • Look through bookshelf: Check out your bookshelf, or the shelves at a library or bookstore. As a reader, what kind of titles catch your attention? Novels from other writers may inspire a title for your own piece.

Bottom Line

When coming up with a book title, focus on the core elements of the story. A character, a setting or even a memorable line can become a read worthy title.

What is the title of your WIP/Novel and how did you choose it? What are some of your favorite book titles? Lemme know in the comments.

Stay safe and keep writing!

Lady Jabberwocky

Follow Me on Twitter

December Writing Goals – NaNoWriMo Continues?

December is here. The New York Winter chill is upon us. NaNoWriMo 2020 is officially over. Or is it?

Even though I did not reach my word count goal this month, It’s fine, I still feel like a NaNo winner. No matter how many words you wrote, you should still feel like a winner. Any amount of progress is to be celebrated.

Frankly, National Novel Writing Month was a great experience for me. I’ve met some extraordinary writers here on WordPress and on Twitter. Seriously, you guys are incredibly talented. I love hearing about your story ideas as well as your experience as writers. We’re all in this writing community, we need to stick together and support one another.

I’ve actually added words to my WIP. For a long while, I wasn’t writing much. I felt stuck in my plot and completely unmotivated to fix it. The self doubt was heavy on my shoulders. NaNoWriMo pushed me to write. To write regularly, on an almost daily basis. Inspired me to add new scenes, to give my characters complexity and to be more creative. And the world needs creativity now more than ever.

So, to keep momentum going, I’m going to continue to write like it’s NaNoWriMo into December. And maybe even into the new year. I’m holding onto this newfound spark for all it’s worth. For my writing project,  I’m still hovering around the halfway mark, only a couple thousand away from my original goal of 20K. The finish line seems so far away, I’m still battling my fear of never completing my WIP.

Will 2021 be the year I finally finish and publish my novel? I really do hope so.

Thank you for the support and love, writer bees. Sending you all the positive writer vibes.


How was your NaNoWriMo experience? Did you reach your goal? How is your writer spirit feeling? Talk to me in the comments, I love to hear from you all. And check out this week’s writing prompt.

Stay safe and keep writing!

—-Lady Jabberwocky

Follow Me on Twitter