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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Hamburgers and Horoscopes (100 Word Humor Fiction)

In a pink sunset, the girl with thunderclouds on her thighs pulls into the drive thru. Sunglasses raise to her forehead. A muffled voice comes from the speakerbox. 

“Yeah, hi,” She eyes the menu. “My horoscope told me to indulge in life’s simplest pleasures. So lemme get two cheeseburgers, easy on the lettuce, heavy on the cheese. Lemonade, no ice. Large fries, extra ketchup packets. And for dessert,” She licks her glossy lips. “One of those fudgy brownie things. You know the kind.”

She pays and receives a greasy paper bag. BTS blasts through the car radio. “Thank you, astrology.”


Haven’t written flash fiction in a long time, figured I should this week. I was in the mood to write a fun, lighthearted 100 word story. Hope you all enjoy!

Anyone want to take a guess as to what her astrological sign is? Also, what’s your go-to fast food order? Talk to me in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Stay safe and keep writing!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Celebrating 4 Years Blogging with a Q & A

Hello Writer Bees,

Hope you all are doing well.

Recently, my little blog reached it’s 4 year anniversary here on WordPress. Even more recently, I hit the 1,000 follower mark. That’s crazy. The other day, I was looking through my first posts and talking to my boyfriend about it. We both couldn’t believe it’s been that long. Maybe this pandemic is messing with our concept of time.

Thanks for sticking around, writer bugs. This blog has kept me writing all these years. It’s also been a platform for me to help others in their creative endeavors. I genuinely don’t know where I’d be without Lady Jabberwocky.

To celebrate, I’d like to have a Q&A. Ask me anything you want, about my life, my WIP, my blogging experience. Whatever you want, I’m pretty much an open book. Never really done a Q&A before, part of me thinks no one will even responded, but why not give it a go? Leave your questions in the comments and maybe I’ll answer them in a future post.


Sorry Friday posts are still sporadic. Life has been… Life. I’m still figuring out the best schedule that works for me.

Thank you all again for the love and support over the years.

Stay safe and keep writing.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Taking a Break from Blogging (Mental Health Check)

Hello Writer Bees,

Ever feel like a candle burning at both ends?

Yeah, me too.

For some time now, I’ve being feeling stretched thin. Pushing myself and trying to everything until my battery depleted.

Keeping my mental health in mind, I need to take a step back from blogging. That might mean no Friday posts for awhile, or posting every other week, or reposting old posts. I’m not sure yet. Prompts of the Week will still be happening on Mondays though. The next few weeks will be up in the air. Sorry about that, I hope you guys understand.

This is such a hard post for me to write. I feel guilty. Creating content and encouraging other writers is my passion. I feel guilty about taking a break, like I’m letting you guys down. But when your head and heart need some time off, it’s not about when it’s convenient for others. It’s about taking care of yourself, so you can take care of others. Guess I’m still learning that.

I need to focus on life outside of the blog for a bit.

Thank you all for understanding and supporting my humble little blog. It means a lot to me.

Stay safe and keep writing.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

What Its Really Like to Write Mystery Fiction: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Hello Writer Bees!

Over the years, I’ve received comments and questions about what writing my whodunit is like. Plenty of times, I’ve talked about my murder mystery WIP here on this blog. My main characters have even appeared in a short story or two. When I started this blog, I wanted to help encourage other writers in their creative endeavors. However, I also wanted to share my honest experience as a writer. The ups and downs that come with a writer’s journey to publication.

So, in the spirit of May of Mystery and sharing my writer life, here what’s its really like to write a mystery.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Why I Chose to Write a Murder Mystery

When I was in college, My interest in the mystery genre grew. I started reading detective fiction, like Holmes, Poirot, Marlowe, etc. Those books inspired me to imagine my own dynamic duo. At the time, I was writing an epic fantasy story – which didn’t get past chapter two – and the detective on the back burner kept nagging me, “write about us instead!”. Then, when I finally had the opportunity to give mystery writing a shot – in fiction writing class, no less – I fell in love with my sleuths and their sleuthing and the 1920s NYC setting.

Looking back, I’m not surprised I chose to write a mystery, based on my personal story preferences. Plot twists, complex characters and dialogue-heavy tales are a thrill to read. There’s something oddly satisfying about an extraordinary event happening then unraveling to reveal the truth. It’s like that feeling of fitting the last piece of the puzzle into place. That’s what a good mystery is, right? Something out-of-the-ordinary suddenly becomes a clear picture. It’s exciting, magical even.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Creating the characters is my favorite part. Suspects are awesome to craft, giving each character probable cause and motive to commit the crime. Nothing in this kind of story is black and white. Every character has their good and bad traits, and everyone has the potential for evil. You don’t know who to trust. That’s what makes suspect characters – and sleuthing protagonists – feel realistic.

Dropping clues can be fun too. Like I’m some Easter Bunny leaving presents behind. Let me just hide this bloody murder weapon behind this bush. Since my murder mystery is set in 1924, it’s an extra challenge. No modern technology is present and forensics is minimal. I really have to consider what would be evidence in a murder investigation for this specific time period.

And it sounds cliché to say, but I really do like my detective protagonist and his assistant. Detective Barnaby and Oscar Fitzgerald have this great banter that’s a pleasure to write. I enjoy writing about them investigating together. I wonder if Doyle felt the same way about writing Holmes and Watson’s relationship. When an audience is reading a mystery, they connect to the detective. They root for the hero(es) to unravel the mystery.

Tricky Business

For me, outlining and narrative pacing are my weakest points as a writer. Always have been. I’m working on it. Structuring the sequence of events in a mystery can be difficult sometimes. Timing is everything. When do the readers and the detective learn this piece of information? Is it too early in the plot? Too late? Does this timeline make sense for this investigation? I’m still learning how to perfect the perfect outline.

Also, I’ve been told my pacing is too fast. My narrator is a fast talking New Yorker, how could I not tell a story with some pep in its step? Finding the right tempo is tricky. I’m learning I don’t have to speed through things to keep readers engaged. It can’t all be drama filled and actioned packed. There needs to be moments of relief, a calm pause now and then, to break up all the excitement. All while maintaining the intrigue of a mystery.

What You’d Be Surprised About

With any genre, I’d imagine there’s some level of research involved. Some of it can be lovely, like researching 1920s fashion. Often times, the search history on my computer – or my wandering thoughts in general – can lead to pretty disturbing things. Most mysteries involve murder, so I have to consider all elements of death. Cause of death, details of a corpse, crime scenes, blood and guts. It’s not for the faint of heart. And when creating suspects, I have to highlight the worst in people. Does this make me a dark and twisted person? Probably.

Final Thoughts

Look, this is my first time writing a full length novel. I don’t have all the answers. Writing is a constant learning process. But I’m happy I have this blog to share my writer experience. Mystery writing is a challenge, it’s true. In the end, getting through these challenges will have been worth it, because I will have a complete murder mystery story to be proud of.


Hope this post gave you a little insight into my experience as an mystery writer. If you want more posts on my personal writer journey, let me know in the comments.

For the mystery writers out there, what is your experience writing mysteries? For all creators, what is your biggest challenge crafting a story? What is your favorite part of writing? Talk to me in the comments, I’d love to hear from you guys.

Stay safe and keep writing!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

3 Easy Ways to Gain Your First Blog Followers

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope all is well in your world.

You know what question I’ve been asked a bunch of times in the comments lately? How do you gain a following on your blog? Some of you seem genuinely interested in building an audience, which is great! Part of the fun of having a blog is growing a readership. I’m happy to help as best I can.

Bear in mind, in no way do I consider myself a professional blogger. I’m just a lady with a blog, who writes posts every week and likes to connect with the writing community. But If my personal experience enlightens you, then I’m willing to share what I know and what I’ve experienced. So today, I’m talking about some easy ways to increase your blog follower count.

Post Regularly

Have a schedule and be consistent with it. If your posts are unpredictable, readers won’t know when to stop by your blog. They won’t know when to hop on the bus if the bus arrives at different times. Construct a timetable that works best for you. Whether it’s once a week or everyday at noon, commit to posting on a specific day and creating content on a regular basis. That way, readers will know when to tune in and can rely on you for consistent content. And overtime, the audience will gravitate towards your chosen “post day”. Another quick tip, consider having themed days. I’ve seen a lot of creators do “fiction Fridays” or “speed build Sundays”. It may seem a bit gimmicky, but those can also draw a crowd.

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Blogging schedules are also great for bloggers too, not just the audience. They help get you in the routine of blogging. No need to be incredibly strict with it. Schedule’s can be changed and be flexible. Life happens. When I first started out, I posted whenever I felt like it. Not many folks checked out my blog. Soon enough, I realized this sporadic schedule wasn’t working for me or potential readers. I had to make a change and really think about a proper schedule for the Lady Jabberwocky blog. How often do I want to post? Twice a week was a good fit for my content. I do my best to get a post out every Monday and Friday. And that works for me and my readers.

Stick with a Subject

I dedicated an entire post to finding you blogging niche for a reason. When your blog topic is unfocused or covers varying subjects, it may be difficult to grow an audience. However, if the topic is too specific, you won’t gain much traction either. Balance is the key. When you are clear and concise with the blog’s subject matter, readers with notice. No matter your blogging niche, there is a target audience who’d really enjoy your content. Tags are super important, by the way. They help wandering readers find posts they’re interested in. When you write a blog post, make sure there are a bunch of tags attached. Honestly, the more, the merrier. You can really grab an audience’s attention with the right tags. Tags are a way for readers to find you and your content.

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I write about creative writing. Some days, I’ll share my personal journey as a fiction writer and freelance writer. Some days, I’ll share writing advice and words of encouragement for fellow creators. Some days, I’ll share a story. All of these different bubbles are all covered under the umbrella of ‘creative writing’. And in every one of my posts, there’s at least a dozen tags. Sure, some words may seem silly or repetitive, but I think of it as tossing a wide net. Whatever draws readers in, am I right?

Connect with the Community

Connect with others in your online community. On WordPress, search tags and words that are relevant to your niche. See what other bloggers are writing about. Make sure to like, comment and share their posts. Find and follow blogs centered around your blog’s topic. It’s a good way of meet and connect with bloggers swimming in the same waters as you. When you subscribe to another blog, they might subscribe back to yours. I don’t want it to sound like an ulterior motive, but it has worked for me. ‘Follow for follow’ tactics do work, especially when you are starting out.

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Also, consider joining other social media platforms. Spreading your blog on multiple platforms means more eyes are looking, which means more potential readers. And it’s easier to connect with people that have similar interests to you on social sites. If I knew then what I know now, I would have joined Twitter when I started this blog. It wasn’t a big mistake, in the grand scheme of things. Frankly, I sometimes wonder if my follower count would be different if I have expanded to other social media platforms sooner. Just some food for thought. Hindsight is 2020.


At the end of the day, it’s not about how many followers you have, it’s about creating awesome content. Don’t start a blog with hopes of becoming some famous influencer. Start a blog because you have something to say, because you have something you love and want to share with the world.

I started this blog to share my writer experience and to encourage others in their creative endeavors. That motive keeps me blogging. And for the record, I wrote this post during my lunch break. And I’m quite pleased with it. See? Make the most out of your time.

Shout outs are in order. Thanks to thereallydimoo and Faye Arcand for reaching out and asking about building a following. Hope I answered your question. I did my best.

Stay safe and keep writing, writer bees.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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15 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Hello Writer bees!

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. 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, or 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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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

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Celebrating My Birthday with 700 Follower Milestone

Hello Writer Bees!

28 years ago today, in the middle of blizzard, I was born.

And this year, I’ve received a very special gift; I’ve reached the 700 follower milestone.

That’s amazing! Thank you all so much for all your support. You don’t know how much every comment means to me. I’m incredibly grateful for all of you lovely readers. All of your positive vibes keep me going and keep me writing.

I’ve been immensely stressed recently. Like cry-in-a-bathroom-stall, throat-constricting stress. This new work-life arrangement is overwhelming, at times. And my WIP was pushed to the back burner.

I’m happy I have the Lady Jabberwocky blog. This blog was meant to be a safe place for other writers. Amid the stress, it has also become my own creative santuary.

So, for my birthday, I’m going to take a me-day. Some time off, to relax a bit, sounds good right about now.

Once again, thank you for all the love and support. Still can’t believe 700 humans are interested in my content. Onward to…. 1,000 followers?

Love, Lady Jabberwocky

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Remember the Crazy Times of 2020? (Humor 100 Word Story)

Sometime after the pandemic….

“Hey, look what I found.” She pulls out a crumpled mask from the bottom on her purse. “Remember those days?”

“How could I forget?” She cringes, inspecting her face in the mirror. “The mask acne.”

“The struggle to find toilet paper?”

“The orange president?” They laugh together.

“And all that hand sanitizer.”

She gasps. “So much hand sanitizer.”

“I’m still trying to lose that quarantine fifteen. During lockdown, I ate nothing but cereal and pizza pockets.”

“Those were crazy times, huh?”

“Crazy doesn’t cut it.”

“But we got through.”

Linking arms, they return to a crowded party.


Is this a great short story? Probably not. But it is a reminder, that eventually, this pandemic will end. And when we get through these crazy times, who knows, maybe we’ll laugh about it someday.

For now, stay safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Take care about one another.

Keep writing, writer bees!

— Lady Jabberwocky