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NaNoWriMo 2019 – The Goal, The Plan, The Anxiety

Hello, hello, writer bees.

NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. And although I’m a bit nervous, I accept this intimidating challenge. I wanted to share with you guys my hopes and my game plan for National Novel Writing Month.

The Goal

Okay. My goal isn’t the traditional 50k in November. Currently, my draft is hovering around 20,000 words. And it’s looking pretty rough. It’s a rough rough draft. So for NaNoWriMo 2019, my word count goal is 40,000 words, making for a total of 60,000 words.

Frankly, my real goal is to write more often. Daily, if possible. Even if it’s just small increments everyday. Unfortunately, my WIP has been simmering on the back burner for too long. I want my humble little draft to take one step closer to becoming a full fledged manuscript. That’s how I want to finish NaNoWriMo this year.

Planning and Prepping

So, considering my goal, I figure that averages about 10,000 words a week. That’s possible, right? The skeleton of the story is there, scenes just need to be bumped up or added. I’m working on an outline as I write this post, but am open to new ideas that come along during the writing process. I guess that makes me a plantser? Half planning, half “winging it”. Hopefully, I can scrape something together before November starts.

Part of my prepping involves looking back at my previous NaNoWriMo experience. Learning from past mistakes. Taking my own advice. I acknowledge my weak points as a writer and I’m trying to push through them. Like writing without editing or deleting scares me. That’s one obstacle I’ve struggled to jump over.

Right now, I’m stressing a bit and waiting for the NaNoWriMo excitement to fully kick in. Imagine that nervous feeling before jumping off the high diving board. That’s how I’m feeling at the moment. What if I run out of ideas and my writing fizzles out? And maybe it’s just me, but it seems like everyone else is having fun prepping with their neat, organized outlines and I’m over here with my ugly baby of a draft. Seriously? However, I’m working on staying optimistic. Perhaps we can polish up this draft, it’s worth a shot.

What’s Happening on Lady Jabberwocky?

Glad you asked! During this November, I will be posting weekly updates on Fridays/Saturdays. That way, you all can follow my NaNoWriMo adventure. I really do want to put in the effort this year. So, I hope you guys come along for the NaNoWriMo ride with me.

Thank you guys for your support and lovely comments. Best of luck to all those participating in National Novel Writing Month.

Lady Jabberwocky

Become a Patron!

What’s Next for the Lady Jabberwocky Blog? (Announcements)

I’m back, writer bugs!

Thanks for your patience and support during my break.

I really needed time to brainstorm ideas and make (evil) plans for this site. I think you guys will be pretty happy with what is to come. As terrifying as it sounds, I’m trying to take blogging more seriously and make my own opportunities.

Very quickly, let me go over what’s next for Lady Jabberwocky.

First off, I have officially upgraded this blog to premium level. Keep your eyes open for changes on the site. Some pages may be under construction, so bear with me. Best case scenario, I can organize all my posts in an easy to access way. If anyone has advice on rearranging posts into sections/categories, please leave instructions in the comments. I’m a lowly writer trying to figure this stuff out, but it is a challenge I accept nonetheless.

Now, in regards to content itself. I’m opting to post twice a week, Mondays and Fridays. Unfortunately, I’m taking a break from Words for Writers Wednesdays. But you can still find them on the blog, in case you need a bit of encouragement.

More posts about freelance writing are coming. I’m surprised so many of you seem interested in my insane occupation. Also, more stories are coming. And who knows? Maybe even a fiction series, just for you guys! Plus, I’ll still be sharing writing advice for all you budding authors out there.

Nothing is set in stone yet, I’m still ironing out the details. Although there are finishing touches to be finished, I am truly excited (and so nervous) for the changes coming to my humble little blog.

Posts will resume this Monday, September 23rd.

How can you support a writer and her blog? Become a Patron! You support means to world to me. Thanks everybody!

Coming Soon! – The Official Posting Schedule and More Announcements

Hello everyone!

This is just a quick update on what’s happening for the Lady Jabberwocky blog. For a while now, I have been planning to expand this site. My goal is to create an engaging and helpful space for all writers. This is a challenge I’m ready to take.

Very soon, an official posting schedule will be unveiled. I’m looking forward to adding a solid structure to all the content found on the LJ blog. And it will be easier for you guys to know what kind of posts will come out on what days. Sounds pretty good, right?

Over the next couple of days, there will be a bunch of exciting announcements. Big things are happening for this blog. So stay tuned, because I promise you, things are about to get interesting.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

Signing up for NaNoWriMo this year? You’re gonna 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.

Keep Resources Close

This coincides with creating a great work space. Notes, historical sources, journals, character profiles, outlines. Everything.  Keep it all organized and in reach, in case you need a reference.  Use time in October to gather information and prepare for the writing ahead.

Right now, I’m working on a revised outline and developing my characters. 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. 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 eating the entire bag.

For me, I’m planning to switch back and forth between  roasted chickpeas and gummy bears. Maybe some chips and salsa. Maybe some Chinese takeout…. Now I’m getting hungry. Onto the next point.

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. This will keep you motivated and encourage you to keep going.

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.

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

Words for Writers Wednesday: Every Writer Needs an Outline.

If every adventurer needs a map,

and every home cooked meal needs a recipe.

Then every writer needs an outline.

A general trail to follow,

while you are entering the jungle

of your imagination.


For all the NaNoWriMo writers out there who are currently prepping and outlining.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Starting Prep for NaNoWriMo: Learning from Past Mistakes

So, I’m starting my NaNoWriMo prep a bit differently than most.

Last year, I participated in National Novel Writing Month, the challenge for writers to write 50,000 words in one month. And last year, I failed that challenge. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. Despite not reaching my goal, I still learned a lot about myself as a writer. That experience lit a fire under me, and I’m happy I tried NaNoWriMo. With November right around the corner, I’m ready to try again.

I’m incredibly critical of myself. And an incurable perfectionist. In previous blog posts, I made notes for improvement on my writing during November. Today, I’m tackling the mistakes I made during my last NaNoWriMo run head on. Here are, what I consider to be, my weak points, and my plans for improvement. (Cue the demise of my self-esteem)

Stop Trying to be Perfect

Remember when I said I am an incurable perfectionist? I wasn’t kidding. Last NaNoWriMo, I feel like I did not let myself free write because one bad sentence was nagging at me. Or the ideal phrasing wasn’t immediately coming to mind. And then there’s that self-doubt that all writers have. “Everything you’re writing is trash. Everything you’re even thinking about writing is trash. You should just stop, stop forever and eat potato chips all day.” I mean, that’s what my voice of doubt sounds like. I just want my story to be perfect. But I know that no story is perfect, and I should get over that idea.

Solution: Accept that writing garbage is okay. That not every word out of my brain will be amazing. That at least half of those 50,000 words will probably be changed. Just to write without stopping myself because something doesn’t sound right. In the words of Hemingway “The first draft of anything is garbage”. Next month, I’ll fight the urge to edit and perfect until December.

Focus On One Scene At A Time

If you can’t tell already, my brain is easily distracted. I have a bad habit of jumping around from scene to scene, writing small bits here and there. Then, I find myself losing focus and becoming frazzled. When I try to write a bunch of bits for a bunch of different parts, I become overwhelmed and nothing gets done.

Plan of Attack: This one’s hard. I need to work on my focus. I need to push myself to concentrate on one scene at a time. I can’t write the whole novel all at once. My best bet is to tackle certain sections or scenes during November.

Write More Descriptions

Well, writing descriptions wasn’t, and maybe still isn’t, my strongest suit as a writer.  Actually, I recently wrote a post centered around tips for writing setting descriptions. I talked about how I struggle with writing about the setting. Usually, dialogue comes first to me when I’m writing. But a forest is just a forest right? Wrong.

Plan of Attack: Let’s just say, I’m working on it. I’m more mindful of how the people and the places in my stories look. My goal is to paint a vivid, realistic picture for the reader. Trying my best to tap into sensory details of settings and also the unique physical features of my characters.

Lost Connection

I’ll be honest, there were moments I didn’t feel connected to my characters nor to the time period. To quote myself from the previous year “It was like we were once roommates, living together and then, they became the neighbors down the street. An unexplained distance came between me and this story idea.” Think about it, I’m a modern-day lady writing in the perspective of a young man living in the roaring 20’s. How can I possible fit into those shoes?

Solution: Well, for starters, this year, the big bang happened. By completely changing the plot, I feel much more confident in my story idea. As for the characters, I’m gonna try a couple of things this October. Really flush some characters out and get to know them inside and out. I want to make sure that they’re 3-dimensional characters. As for the setting, research is important. I’ve already collected some resources to help me understand that time period. The goal is to be as accurate as possible.


What would you say was your weak point from last NaNoWriMo? And what are you doing to overcome it and improve for this year? Let me know in the comments, lovelies.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

 

Words for Writers Wednesday #1: Commuting to OZ

Choosing to be a writer is like choosing to commute to OZ everyday.

You need brains, to build the yellow brick road for the words in your head.

You need courage, for facing off against the wicked witch of the self doubt.

You need heart, the best stories come from the heart.

In a world of flying monkeys, be Dorothy.


(This is a new weekly series on this blog. Quirky bits of encouragement for writers.)

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Changing the Murder in a Murder Mystery: The Beauty of Starting Over

Okay.

We need to talk.

A real talk about being a writer.

Sometimes, you just need to start over.

Which is what I’ve decided to do. Well, for the most part.

I’m starting my story over.

Let Me Explain

For the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to write a novel. Trying being the key word. It’s a mystery story about a Detective and his assistant, set in the 1920s.

These characters and setting have been on my mind for years. Back in fiction writing class, I offered my short story, featuring the detective and the 20s, to be critiqued by my fellow classmates. Although my work was much different than my peers, I received many positive comments. I’m not bragging that my writing is genius, but that positivity gave me encouragement to keep at it.

When I graduated, I was on my own, to write what I please. To be the author I always dreamed I’d become. Frankly, I struggled. With this newfound freedom came fear, fear of the unknown. What kind of story do I write? What genre? Then, I remembered my mystery story from class. I enjoyed writing detective fiction. And I thought to myself, why not just expand the 10 page story I wrote into a novel? Seemed plausible, at the time.

Honestly, I was having a tough time. Every time I tried to write something, it was like walking through quicksand. This was different than ordinary writer’s block. I felt stuck. The more I tried to work on it, the more tangled I felt.

I’ll admit, I grew depressed. I was a writer not writing. I lost all motivation. Writing just lost it’s magic. For months, I had this gut feeling that huge parts of the plot needed to changed in order to create an even greater story. Even though I’m afraid of change, I have to rework the entire plot line, for it’s own good.

What Exactly is Changing

So, here’s what’s happening. Major construction and reconstruction.

I’m my opinion, I have great characters. I think, if I do them justice, they can be really special fictional characters. It’s not the characters that need changing, it’s the plot itself. The pieces were playing the wrong game. Does that make sense?

What I want to change, what I NEED to change, is the center of the plot itself. The murder in the murder mystery. The case connecting all these characters together, the case my detective would solve, had to be revamped. Kicked up a notch, I supposed you could say.

Originally, my detective story was centered around an actress who had been shot with a not so fake gun while on stage. Then, I recognized that the murder in my murder mystery was cliche. I didn’t realize how much of a trope my idea was. While having a trope or a cliches in a story is fine, I didn’t want to write something that’s been done a bunch of times. Fiction shouldn’t be predictable.

Why I’m Sharing My Setback

While writing is an art, it isn’t always roses. I want to share my ups and downs, as a writer, with full honesty. That’s what the Lady Jabberwocky blog is about. If my experience as a writer has an impact on another writer’s life, then maybe sharing my set back will be worth it.

I’m not starting from scratch completely. Some scenes from the original story line can be salvaged and used in the new story line. Characters, for the most part, will remain the same. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and rework elements of a story in order to become better.

I’m happy. And excited to create a story again. A new story. Hopefully, get those creative juices going again. Challenging stereotypes and cliches and tropes always made me write better. It’s what got me writing in the first place.

I’m erasing the drawing board and starting again, and that’s okay.

Never feel discouraged just because of a step backwards. Writing is a process. It’s also a journey and a real adventure. You will eventually arrive at your destination, even if you took a few detours along the way.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Are you a Morning Writer or a Night Writer?

Okay.

I’ll admit it, I’m a Night Writer.

For me, I feel more creative and write better at night. The time when normal people are supposed to be in comfy pjs and sound asleep.  Not me, not while fictional characters are pitter-pattering in the attic.

Like the other night, around midnight, my fingers were flying on the keyboard. Work writing, blog writing, fiction writing, for some reason, I get any kind of writing done with heavy eyelids in the wee hours of the night.

It got me thinking about what time other writers write. It can’t just be me writing at 1 in the morning, like a vampire, can it?

Is there such a thing as the best time to write? What kind of writer are you?

Morning Writers.

There are advantages to writing first thing in the morning. You have fresh and clear mind, before you start your day. More willpower and motivation early on in the day. Some people wake up bright and energized and ready to write. Word on the street, with the scientists (Yeah, I’m bringing the scientists into this), say that creative part of your brain is most active during and after sleep. Isn’t that cool?

Night Writers.

The day is done, no more distractions.  Writers who work at night tend to have stocked up ideas throughout the day. When your brain is tired, you start thinking out of the box. You can actually relax and be creative without being too critical of what you put on paper.

Night and Day

I heard a quote the other day, by E.B. White, that gave me the shivers.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

Don’t just wait for the right time to write. Make do with the time you have. Yes, there’s school, work, kids, life, but don’t let all that stop you. There’s always time to write.

I know I need to work on that, making good writing habits for myself. Sometimes I feel like writing is like flying a kite and I’m waiting for the wind to be just right before my story flies. That’s not right, I need to fix that.

And if you are feeling a bit stuck, or want to shake up your writing routine, maybe try writing during a different time of day. See if that changes anything.


What time of day do you write best at? Are you a morning or night writer? Let me know in the comments.  I’d love to hear for you.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky.