The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Survival Guide (Repost)

(Reposting for NaNoWriMo! Best of luck to everyone participating! And if you are curious about my November/December posting plans, read here! – 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.


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

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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November + December Posting Schedule Update

Hello Writer Bees,

Hope you all are doing well and staying creative.

Just wanted to give you all a heads up of what’s to come in the next few months. A posting schedule update, if you will.

Will I be participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

Big question. Short answer? No. I’m still putting the final touches on my mystery WIP. And frankly, there’s other things I would like to focus on in November. Sorry, this year, you won’t find weekly NaNoWriMo updates. Although I won’t be a traditional NaNo participant, I’ll be a supportive cheerleader instead. For all those participating in National Novel Writing Month, good luck and have fun! Remember, this lady is always in your corner, cheering you on. If you ever have writing questions, feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Here’s what my November Posting Schedule will be:

  • Mondays: No matter if you are involved in the NaNoWriMo event or not, you’ll find fun writing prompts to do here every Monday. Please know, I read each response and am constantly impressed by the talent out there. Sometimes shout out other bloggers and writers.
  • Tuesdays-Thursdays: When I first started blogging, I had a series called Words for Writers, where I shared inspirational quotes for writers. For the month of November, Words for Writers will be back! Offering some positive writing vibes and quick tips during the week.
  • Fridays: Hey! I have to get in on the fiction fun of NaNoWriMo too. Every Friday, I plan to write a short story or flash fiction. No genre is safe.

Holiday Break

Lately, I’ve been feeling burnout. My work-life balance is broken and in shambles. Time for a mental health break! In December, this blog will be on hiatus. But don’t worry, there will still be Monday prompts and reposts on Fridays. You won’t even know I’m gone. After that, I’ll be back in the new year with new content.

Those are my plans for now anyway. Let’s see if they pan out as I hope.


What are your plans for National Novel Writing Month? Do you have any advice for those participating? Let me know in the comments.

Write with heart.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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15 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block (Repost for Camp NaNoWriMo)

Hello Writer bees!

(With Camp NaNoWriMo starting next week, some may struggle with writer’s block during this writing challenge. Don’t fret! To help with that, I’m reposting these awesome tips for beating the block. Good luck to everyone participating! – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Hope you are are staying safe and writing wonderful work. And if you are feeling stuck with your writing, that’s alright too. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the words on the page. Don’t be discouraged. Writer’s block happens to everyone, myself included.

So today, I’m sharing some tips for beating the block and rekindling inspiration once again.

Be honest and ask yourself, “how do I break out of this funk I’m in?” and “What’s stopping me from writing?” Depending on what you need, there are three courses of action to take. Whatever route you choose, find what works for you.

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Push to Writing – the need to shake up you writing habits.

  1. Write in some place other from your usual spot. No need to chain yourself to your desk. Write in a different room of your home. Or outside. A new, quiet place.
  2. Freewriting: Write the first things that comes to mind, whatever it may be. Follow where the words take you. On a time crunch? Take a 5 minute writing sprint and write as fast as you can.
  3. Set deadlines and stick to them. Reach for a daily wordcount goal that’s achievable and works with your schedule. Even if it’s only a 100 words a day. You’ll be 100 words closer to your finished draft.
  4. Try writing exercises and prompts. They can be a fun, well-needed challenge for some writers and can get the brain working. But where can you find prompts? I post a Prompt of the Week every Monday. Check them out!
  5. Use a different writing tool. Instead of a keyboard, switch to paper or sticky notes or colorful markers.

Recharge – The need to step back from your writing endeavors.

  1. Take a break! A real one. Relax. And don’t think about your story. A little separation from your WIP is fine. Sometimes, lightbulb moments happen when you least expect. I speak from experience.
  2. Go for a walk. Alone, with music, or with a dog. Walks are great. Socially distanced walks while wearing masks is even better.
  3. Get cozy and curl up with a good book. Fuzzy socks included. Let your mind unwind and dive into a whole new world.
  4. Drink some coffee/tea/alcoholic beverage of choice. And stuff your face with your favorite food. Writing is hard work. Treat yourself to that tub of ice cream or bag of potato chips. I won’t judge.
  5. Sleep it off, or just lounge around. Rest, physically and mentally. There are times when the best ideas can come right before you fall asleep. Keep a notepad on your nightstand ready, in case you need to jot down ideas.
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Getting motivated and inspired! – the need to get pumped to write again and find inspiration.

  1. Browse through photos; especially images that relate to your story’s genre. Create an aesthetic board featuring images that remind you of your story. If you are writing historical fiction, keep a folder of snapshots from that time period.
  2. Talk it out. Talking to another person, writer or non-writer, about your ideas can get those creative juices flowing. Find someone you feel safe with and who encourages you. Don’t waste your time with people who judge you harshly.
  3. Read some quotes from some famous authors. Gather inspiration from the authors who came before you.
  4. Connect with other writers. The writing community is a fantastic group of creatives. Make friends, chat about WIPs, support each other through those tough times. It’s nice to have someone in your corner, to have that support system.
  5. Be okay with writing trash. Not everything you write will be perfect. And that’s fine, that’s what editing is for. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for the story that future readers can connect with. That’s the real goal, isn’t it?

How do you get through writer’s block? What’s your advice to a writer who is struggling? Let me know if the comments.

Stay safe and keep writing!

— 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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Prompt of the Week: Chilling Like A Villain

Describe the antagonist in your WIP. This can be a physical description, or their characteristics, or both.


Hat’s off to all these awesome writers and bloggers who replied to last week’s prompt.

TheTexasLass

Kayla Rome

Florence Ezakafor

Poetisatinta

Black Tortoise Press

Greg Dennison

Write your response in the comments below. Best entry gets a shout out next week!

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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