Three Things I Learned About My Writing in 2021

Hello Writer Bees,

With the holidays and the new year fast approaching, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on 2021. More specifically, my writing journey and its ups and downs. Here are three things I’ve learned about myself as a writer this year.

Always Find Time to Write

When I started my 9 to 5 office job, I was grateful for the opportunity but also worried about not having time to write. Sometimes, it’s stressful for me to juggle a full-time job, a blog and a work of fiction. This year, I learned that there’s always time, I just need to look hard enough. Just because I can’t write until the wee hours anymore, like I used to, doesn’t mean I can’t get creative another time of day. Now, I write during my lunch break. And I write after hours and on weekends. Writing is important to me, therefore, I make sure I find those scraps of time.

Write Outside the Box

I’ve learned to be open to experimenting and taking chances with my writing. This year, I challenged myself to write outside my comfort zone and preferred genre. Even a mystery writer like myself can write outside the box and have fun with it. In doing so, I became more aware of my writing style and voice. Here on this blog, I’ve dabbled in other genres I don’t normally write in. And I wrote a few 100 words stories too. If you’re interested in reading, check out a few stories below!

Trust In My Writer Gut

During NaNoWriMo, I focused on editing my mystery WIP. Of course, with editing, comes making major and minor changes to the story. There were times I doubted myself. Am I fussing over nothing? Am I making unnecessary edits? This year, I learned to trust my gut. If my writer instinct is pulling the plot is a certain direction, or I need to change something, I should go for it. It’s my story to tell and I’m going to tell it the best I can. As a writer, I’m learning to be confident in my choices, even when others may disagree.


What have you learned about yourself and your writing this year? How have you grown as a writer? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from the writing community.

Head’s up, I’ll be taking the next few weeks off for the holidays. See you all in 2022!

Stay safe, stay creative and happy holidays everyone!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Receiving the Top Writing Blog Award from QueryLetter!

Hello Writer Bees!

So, something amazing happened. Lady Jabberwocky received an award.

The incredibly kind folks at QueryLetter.com honored me with the Top Writing Blog Award. Apparently, I’m a phenomenal resource for writers. Their words, not mine. Truly, I’m touched. Blogging isn’t always easy. I have my down days. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not doing enough for the Writing Community. Not helping enough. Not creating the best content possible. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not fulfilling a purpose.

This recognition means so much. You have no idea. I only hope I can live up to such high praise. I wanted to share this bit of good news with you all. In times like these, good news is a gift. I want to thank every single reader sticking around all this time. You are well appreciated. Seriously, this blog would not be here without you guys and your support.

Keep an eye out for this little gem floating around the blog.

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Stay safe and stay creative!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2021: Week Four Update

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope you all are staying creative and staying safe during National Novel Writing Month.

Sorry for the late post. Between Thanksgiving and holiday shopping and family and friends, it’s been a bit hectic. Could they have planned National Novel Writing Month in any other month? Preferably one with less holidays. Still, us writers rise to the challenge. Hats off to all the fantastic writers out there putting their hearts into their creative endeavors, even in this holiday madness.

So, here’s an interesting thing I discovered while editing this week. This week, I focused on the clues of my murder mystery WIP. Frankly, I worried about being too obvious in the evidence. I want to leave breadcrumbs for readers (and detectives) to find, not loaves of bread. I want the grand finale to be grand and unexpected. Can’t be too easy or too hard to solve this mystery. During this editing process, I’m being mindful of when and how evidence is revealed in the story. I’ve been trimming away the more obvious hints from suspect interviews. That’s been my main focus in this final week of NaNoWriMo.

Maybe, over the weekend, I’ll doing some writing sprints. Maybe some editing sprints too, if that’s a thing. I’m looking forward to working on this story well into December. This experience got me motivated to write and to edit. I really do feel like I’ve made progress on my WIP. Guess that’s the point of NaNoWriMo.

Hope everyone had a happy holiday and a happy National Novel Writing Month. And remember, no matter how many words you wrote this month, no matter what you worked on, celebrate yourself. No matter what, any amount of progress is a success in my book.


How’s your NaNoWriMo journey? Did you complete your goals? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

—Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2021: Week Three Update

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope you all are staying creative and staying safe during National Novel Writing Month.

Week three has been pretty productive for me. I’ve been writing and editing a bunch. Lots of adding new content and deleting unnecessary sentences. The total word count is up and down, which is making me a little nervous. Guess that’s part of the revision and editing process. I’m still working, still writing, still keeping my head above water in NaNoWriMo land.

This week, I decided to finally tackle “the crater”. I brought this up in my NaNoWriMo plans. Basically, I have this empty section in the WIP’s plot. Think of it like the bridge between act two and act three is missing. I just need a scene or two to fill in the space and get readers ready for the finale. If that makes sense. For awhile, writer’s block had me stressed. I decided to use NaNoWriMo to deal with this looming, open lot of space. Instead of treating it like an inconvenience, I’m treating it like a blank canvas. Changing my frame of mind helped put words to paper and got me out of that funk.

Long story short, that empty space of story line – that dauting crater – is slowly being filled up and connecting to the overall narrative. What a sigh of relief.

Oh! Before I end this post, I might need your help, writer bees. I want to change one of my character’s names. The victim’s name for my murder mystery, actually. When I talked to my (non-writer) boyfriend about it, he thought I was freaking out over nothing. Which I do do, occasionally. But right now, this little change feels necessary. As much as I respect differing opinions, I think I need to trust my writer instinct on this one. Going with my gut here, I’m reaching out to you. If you have an idea for an early 20th century lady’s name, share your ideas in the comments. I’m open to suggestions, and currently checking baby name websites.


How’s your NaNoWriMo goals panning out? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2021: Week Two Update

Hello Writer Bees!

Can I just start off by saying I have the best readers in the world? Last week, I had a rough start to National Novel Writing Month. I felt overwhelmed and stressed and sad. But you wonderful people charged in! I received such lovely, supportive words from you all. Thank you all for cheering me on and lifting out of bad days. The writing community is truly amazing! I’m lucky to be a part of it.

Week two of NaNoWriMo was better than week one. I actually want to work on my WIP. That little glimmer of motivation has reappeared. The ball is starting to roll. Thank goodness for that. Editing hasn’t been a total bloodbath yet. Though, I am tackling a section of the story that needs a lot of work, editing wise. I actually had that moment every writer has, when they look at something they’ve written and say to themselves “All of its garbage. It’s a mess. How can I fix this?” But I’m chipping away at that part and the whole plot.

Also, this week, I’ve focused on extenuating the characters and their characteristics. Like instead of saying one character is ‘a jittery fellow’ or ‘an ice queen’, I’m letting their body language and their actions showcase those traits. Polishing up those descriptions is pretty fun, actually. In my opinion, it makes the cast of suspects feel more realistic. Those kinds of details bring characters to life.

Oh! And I’ve mentioned before about writing during my lunch break at the office. This week, I tried a writing sprint during my break, a half hour of writing whatever came to mind. No editing. Just off the cuff. I wrote like 300ish words of mostly dialogue. I call that progress. I haven’t done a writing sprint like that in forever, and I may try it again. It really helped get out of writer’s block and get those creative juices flowing.


How’s your NaNoWriMo adventure going? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you writer bees.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2021: Week One Update

Hello Writer Bees!

I wish I could say NaNoWriMo started off with a bang this year, full of optimism and inspiration and sunshine. But, I’ll be real with you. Think I tried to tackle too much this first week. I was stressing about everything I wanted to do for my WIP. I was stressing about new work responsibilities at the office. I have this bad habit of putting too much pressure on myself. It gets me in trouble sometimes. Towards the end of the week, I felt completely overwhelmed. Almost cried in a cubicle. Not a great start.

Notes to self: Slow down, Lady. You got a whole month. It’s not a race. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Trying to keep this in mind, for NaNoWriMo and for my mental health.

On the brightside, it hasn’t all been awful. Editing has begun. Which is daunting yet exciting. Lots of rearranging and deleting of sentences. A little bit of tweaking of small details for my characters. Some ironing out of my narrator’s backstory. I’m easing into editing, working on the small stuff first before handling the big stuff. That’s the plan for now, anyway.

Sorry for such a quick, sad post, my friends. Don’t worry about me, though. I’m using the weekend to rebound and recuperate and write my heart out. There’s nowhere to go but up, right?


How’s your NaNoWriMo journey going? What have you learned about writing during this crazy writing challenge? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you writer bees.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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(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.

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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


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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.

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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

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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

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