Renee Writes

Posts in category Writer’s Life

On a Roll With #NaNoWriMo

 

NaNoWriMo began on the 1st of this month and runs until the 30th. For those who don’t know, I have those thirty days to write 50,000 words. I love participating in the NaNo competitions because I’m not competing with other authors. I’m competing against myself. It’s a great way to connect with and support other authors in their writing goals.

I wasn’t planning to participate this year because I like to plan out my stories before I start writing. I tried the pantser method of writing and it was disastrous for me. I kept going off on tangents and before I knew it I was bored with the story and never finished it. I couldn’t even remember where I was going with it.

So, now I plan. I go in-depth with my planning, but at the same time, I like to leave wiggle room. My stories always seem to take on a life of their own and I like to let that happen. One thing never changes though. I always know how it will end, and I know the basics of how I’m going to get there.

I’ve found this speeds up my writing a great deal, but I fell into the trap of letting myself write too much in each sitting and I burned myself out. So this time around, I’m taking weekends off, and even if I’m on a roll, I stop myself after about 2500 words each day. I let myself go over a little, but only to finish a thought.

I like leaving off on a writing high because it makes it easier to get into writing the next day. So far, this plan is working out great. We’re onto day 6 of NaNoWriMo, and I’m still ready to go. Normally by now, I’d have half the word count completed for the even, but I’d feel completely burned out and I’d find that I no longer cared about the story. Well, I’m right on target where word count is concerned (just over 10k words), and I’m still as excited about the story as I was on the first day.

I think it’s safe to say, this is going to be my preferred method of writing from here on out. It’s a great way to keep things moving forward. I’ll write an average of 12,500 words each week, and I won’t end up in situations where I’m so burned out, I go weeks without writing a word. It will make it easier for me to release things consistently.

I’m feeling so positive again about writing, and between the outlining competition through Pro Writing Aid and BeemGee, and NaNoWriMo this year, it’s getting even better. I feel like I’ve finally worked out my writing groove!

How about you? Do you have a preferred method of writing that just seems to work for you and helps you stay consistently productive? Share it with us!

 

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My Life as an Indie Author #PoweredByIndie

Even though I’m not yet where I want to be as an author, I have to say that so far this journey has been a dream come true.

I think the main reason I feel so differently from other authors I’ve read about is that I’m not trying to rush things. I know where I want to go and I know eventually I’ll get there as long as I keep moving forward. So, I take it a day at a time and I’m allowing myself to enjoy the journey.

It wasn’t always like this for me though.

I decided early on that I wanted to self-publish my work. I had many reasons for this, but the main reason was that I just didn’t want to have to answer to anyone else as far as my work was concerned. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I’ve always wanted to be my own boss is whatever I did.

There was a time where I had considered traditionally publishing. I was scared. I wasn’t sure I could do it on my own because, at the time, there was a lot of negativity that went with being self-published. Even today, there are groups of people out there who use cyberbullying tactics to bring down indie authors.

Then organizations, like Amazon and Smashwords, made it easy to self-publish. While there is still some negativity, it seems to be dying down. Many readers are turning to indies because our books are cheaper, and according to many, a better value for the money.

I didn’t want to just jump into it though.

I took some time to study the industry and what I would be expected to do. A lot of the negativity was based on the belief that self-published authors put sub-par work into the world, and because of that, the whole industry was suffering.  I didn’t want to be one of those authors.

Once I started publishing, I was so determined to get my name out there. I pushed myself to write and market myself, sometimes for up to 16 hours a day. And I burned out. This thing I loved to do was suddenly more like work, and I began feeling like I didn’t want to do it anymore.

I didn’t give up though. I made myself take a break, and I decided it wasn’t worth doing if it wasn’t going to be fun for me. I stopped setting word count deadlines, and I loosened up my schedule. Now I seem to get more done in a shorter time than before. I don’t write as much as I did, but that’s more due to my health.

I’m not rich or famous, nor is that my goal, but I’m living the dream!

 

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#ISWG: New Motivation

For those who don’t know, the Insecure Writers Support Group is open to all writers to share their fears, doubts, and concerns, as well as your triumphs. So if you have something to share, visit the link at the end of this post!


 

I’ve been really struggling with my writing recently. As per normal, it’s because of brain fog issues related to Hashimoto’s Disease. It can be extremely frustrating, especially when I’m aching to write, but my brain is so muddled I cant focus.

But I’m always looking for ways around it, and every once in a while the universe comes through for me.

The other day, I got an email from the ProWritingAid crew. For those who don’t know, ProWritingAid is a really good editing tool. I use it regularly (along with a few others). They’re definitely worth checking out if you need help with checking grammar and other issues in your stories.

Anyway, one of the things they had in the email was a competition. They teamed up with BeemGee for the Plot of Gold competition. For 30 days you get a free premium BeemGee membership, and you have those 30 days to create an outline for a new novel. They send 10 emails over the 30 days with tasks you have to complete. The top winner gets a lifetime premium membership to both BeemGee and ProWritingAid, which would be absolutely perfect for me.

But here’s how it’s motivated me to get out of this slump I’ve been in! 

I’ve been working on trying to plan out my new novel series as well as the new serial, and well, when your brain doesn’t want to work, it’s really difficult to focus. The creativity side of things is still there, but I just can’t stay focused long enough to get what’s in my head onto the screen.  It’s also hard to stay focused on any one thing when you’ve got tons of things going on in there.

BeemGee is a browser-based story development tool. The thing that works great for me is it starts with the characters, and all of my stories are built from the characters up. So far I’m still on the first task, which is getting all your characters in there, but they make it so easy. I just have to answer each question… and there are dozens, as well as tutorials for each question to help you answer it. It goes deeper than the general questions you see on character sheets too.

But it also helps you build the plot and everything else involved in planning the story up to and including the outline. Each task in the competition is set to help you work through using their tool so that you get a finished outline in about 30 days. I’m actually going to plan out both stories I’m working on this way, so for the following few months, I only have to focus on writing.

Now that I have something that helps me to stay focused on the little tasks, I can finally get some headway on the big task. Maybe I’ll even be able to take part in NaNoWriMo this year. That’s always the hardest part of planning a story for me is staying focused. If you’re a story plotter, what is your biggest obstacle to getting your stories planned out? CC


Co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

Join the fun!

 

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