Let’s Talk Nanowrimo – Daily Writing Habits

Nanowrimo is just around the corner and we are already two-thirds of the way through Preptober. Time flies, right? So let’s talk a bit about the nuts and bolts of Nanowrimo.

Have you declared a project yet? I’ve decided to be ambitious this year and go for 100,000 words instead of 50k. This means that I’ll have to write 3,334 words instead of 1,667 every day. Now, this may seem a bit daunting to some but for me it’s more of a target than a set in the stone, the world will end if I don’t finish this, goal. But even if I don’t manage to get all 100k words done, the key to accomplish anything is to sit down every day and actually do it. So here are some tips to help both you and me have a more successful Nanowrimo.

Commit yourself to writing every day

It doesn’t have to be some grand scheme of slaving over your keyboard for hours and hours every day, chained to your desk until you finally manage to grind out that first draft. It can be as little as five minutes a day writing in a notebook while waiting to pick up the kids from school or that load of laundry to finish. Instead of taking a smoke break, use that time to get a few words down. As long as you write something, a paragraph, a sentence, a word, you are winning. But if you don’t commit to carving out that bit of time every day, there will always be a hundred other things more than willing to take over that space.

Set yourself goals

So many people see 50k words and shut down before they can even get started. Even broken down, the idea of finding the time and inspiration for 1,667 words is daunting. But like so many things in life, that’s just an arbitrary number. It’s easy to be so overwhelmed that you never end up starting at all or if you do start and then miss a few days, then you feel like you’ll never catch up. And truthfully, when I’m writing I’m rarely thinking about word counts, I’m too focused on my story line and characters. So set goals that motivate you. Instead of saying I’m going to write X amount of words in X minutes (although if that’s the way you get your best writing done, go for it. Find a way that works best for you!), say that you’re going to write until you finish the next scene or next chapter. Maybe you’re stuck on a scene, so instead of not writing, set the goal of writing out one of your character’s back stories and what their motivation/goal/purpose in the story might be. It could be that you feel that your characters are stuck in place, so set a goal to sit down and write all about the world they live in, fleshing out all the little details like where’d they shop, hang out, all the little things that people do in every day life.

Think of it like this: You’re taking a road trip to a new amazing location (remember, books open new worlds to us 🙂 ), this isn’t like the trip that you take every year to the lake or Grandma’s house. This is somewhere that you’ve never been before. You might’ve spent some time preparing snacks and necessities (outlining chapters and the plot) or you might be planning to pick things up along the way (pantser). You’ve got a basic roadmap (your story idea) and your destination (your completed first draft). But if you don’t start, you’ll never reach your destination. There are many ways you can travel, making stops at certain towns (chapters or scenes), or you could be planning to stop and stretch your legs every so many miles (word count). Although you might have certain stops planned (outlines), you never know what you might find along the way. All you have to do it start.

Accountability Partners

When we know someone else is going to ask if we’ve done something or not, we are much more likely to complete the task. It’s also true that if someone asks to help them keep on track, we’ll be a lot more mindful of whether or not we’ve done as we said we would. I tend to be a solitary writer, although I like talking and sharing ideas with other writers and learning from them. But if having a buddy along the way helps you keep on track, then I highly encourage you to find someone to do Nanowrimo with you.

Writing Platforms

Something that people may not know about me is that I have a highly competitive streak. It’s not that I like to beat people, as a matter of fact I like to help people succeed along with me, but I like to always challenge myself to do better. I’ve recently found a site that speaks to that side of me. 4thewords is a writing community that gamifies your writing. It is set up in word sprint style, where you have to write so many words in so many minutes in order to defeat monsters. There are also quests that you can work towards defeating. Also, you get rewards for writing every day. If you write 444 words a day, a reasonable amount, you build up a streak and the longer the streak, the cooler rewards you get. The story line is intriguing and the community is out of this world. Also, they’re doing a special Nanowrimo event with bonus events and rewards. By getting rewarded to write, it helps me to get my word count every day and I find myself hitting my goals quicker than I ever anticipated. Like I said earlier, the main thing is to write, just write, every day, and this program helps me do this.

If you’re interested in checking this out, use my referral code for an extra free month. I highly recommend at least checking it out 🙂

My code: VXKKX33097

If you are participating in Nanowrimo, tell me what you’re writing this year and what your goal is. Can’t wait to hear from you 🙂

Happy Monday!

Let’s talk Nanowrimo

Hey Everyone,

It’s October, which means that Nanowrimo is just around the corner. This year will be my third year participating in this challenge.  .So let’s talk a little bit about Nanowrimo and the pros and cons.

Accountability

Writing is pretty much a solitary sport, unless you’re collaborating with someone on a story, but that’s a subject for a different blog post. Although we bounce ideas off of people and then have them beta read our work (so thankful for betas!), the process of actually creating is done by the writer alone (and maybe the cat perched nosily on their lap.) Unless you’re really good at setting deadlines independently (which I’m not) or under contract which keeps you on track, then it’s just as easy to not write on busy days as it is to carve out a bit of time to write. By participating in Nanowrimo, you are promising yourself that you will write a certain number on words in a certain amount of time. You’ve probably also told your friends and family this, which adds another layer of incentive for you to do as you said that you would and sit down and write. (Not surf facebook or update your pinterest boards, but actually write).

The cons of this can be that some people panic when they see the end goal, overwhelmed by the amount of words they’ll need to churn out, not realizing that if done in smaller chunks daily, it will be much easier to breeze through. Or they write when inspiration strikes them and freak out that their characters will not be amenable to writing every day, digging their heels in and creating writer’s block. (I find that most characters want their story told and with a bit of coaxing, will keep telling you their stories.)

Word Counts

The typically goal for Nanowrimo is fifty thousand words over the course of the month of November. It works out to about seventeen hundred words a day. This has been my goal the past two years and again this year. I did not manage to do it the past two years, but that was because of lack of discipline on my part. However, I do feel like I made good progress on my books and was glad that I had participated. The pros of having a word count for Nanowrimo is that it encourages people to sit down and write every day. I have a very high competitive streak and also like to cross things off my list of things to-do, so this encourages me to hit the goal words every day. Also, you can set the goal at whatever you want for the month. I’ve seen everything ranging from a few hundred words to 250k words. It allows you to chose what your goal is and let’s you work at your own pace of whether you are a fast or a somewhat slower writer. (You are still writing, so never look down on yourself for your writing speed. As long as you put even one word on a page, you are a writer.)

The cons for word counts are this. Some people, myself included, never know where a story is going to take them. The bonafide pantsers. And the thought of being tied to a specific number of words is daunting. What if the story wraps up in less words? What if the story takes more words to tell. Here’s the good news. Your word goal is not set in stone. It’s a general target that you can adjust as you need to as you get a better idea of where your story is going and how long it will take to get there. Another con is the fact that you have to create so many words a day.  What happens if you have a slow day and only manage to write a few words? Or that you have to go back and edit a large portion before you can continue the story? Or life happens and you aren’t able to sit down and write at all? Again, this goal is just guidelines. There are no penalties for not getting the “required” amount of words done and the unnecessary stress you are putting on yourself needs to be let go. Make a quick face, promise that you’ll try again tomorrow, and move on. The whole point of Nanowrimo is to encourage you to have a go at a project that you may have been putting off, not to make you so miserable that you give up on it entirely.

Cabins

Many new Nanowrimo participants wonder what the cabins are about and even some veterans. The short answer, community. If you already have a writing group established, you can create a cabin together and share your work back and forth throughout the month. If you don’t have people to create a cabin with, you have three other choices you can do.

One: You can do it alone. There is nothing wrong with this option and many people do Nanowrimo this way. 

Two: You can search for a cabin that’s your specific genre and get placed into it. This is what I most often do, I write fantasy and I like to have fantasy and sci-fi people to bounce my idea off of.

Three: If you are adventurous or outgoing, you can ask to be placed in a random cabin. This is a great way to meet fellow writers and get a diversity of opinion. The cabins are a great resource and community. It is a group of like minded people that you can reach out to when you hit a snag or are feeling discouraged in order to get some help and encouragement. And who knows, maybe a hurdle that you’ve overcome is something that someone else is struggling with and you can help them out.

The cons of this? Writers can be very sensitive about their work (heaven knows that I am) and are unwilling to show anyone their work until it is finished and polished. There is nothing wrong with that. Also, sometimes personalities just don’t mesh well, you may have someone in your cabin that chimes in on everything, whether or not they have anything helpful to add. Remember, there is always the option to switch cabins. You are not locked into one that just does not work for you.

So this is just the barest sneak peek at a few components of Nanowrimo. I will be writing more about this throughout the coming days. If you have anything you want to know about specifically, drop me a comment and will try to cover it.

Participating in Nanowrimo? Comment below about your project, goal word count, and what you would like to get from the month. I’d love to hear from you!!

Happy Monday!

All of Me!

Hey 🙂

I just want to share what’s on my mind and heart.

Although I have done many things this year and achieved several accomplishments, I have felt overwhelmed, stressed, and under motivated. Although I had dreams, I was only halfheartedly pursuing them, too stuck in the loop in my head filled with self doubt. I also told myself that it was ok, that I didn’t have to be perfect, that I was doing well enough.

That wasn’t the truth. I woke up tired and went to bed tired and was maybe putting 30% of myself into life. Enough to get by but not enough to thrive and grow. Even though I was getting things done, I didn’t feel proud and successful. I felt less than because I knew that I was capable of so much better than what I was putting out there.

As some of you may know, I am a wellness advocate for doTERRA essential oils. I was blessed to have these oils enter my life in 2013 and although it took me a while to get into and understand them, I literally cannot imagine my life without them now.

This past week was the annual convention for doTERRA in Salt Lake City. I love conventions because I am surrounded by 40k like minded people, the energy is great, and the learning to be had is phenomenal.The theme of this convention was Together and they did an outstanding job of it as always.

However, as amazing as all the new products and science was, that was not my main take away from this past week. In the past week, I ran into so many incredible people. Many had three or four jobs, one of my uber drivers was pursuing a double major and triple minor in school. They were all so happy and fulfilled, even though their time was full.

But what finally got me was the performance advocate that they brought on. Her name was Ashley Hess. She already had a full time doTERRA business, but she also wanted to pursue a music career. So she worked her business by day and pursued her music career at night. At this point, I told God that I got the message, that I needed to put myself all in.

So I have committed myself to going all in. To put all of myself into my doTERRA business, my writing, and my karate journey. I am going to stop hiding and saying no. I am no longer going to hold anything back, but I am going to let my light shine, be genuine, and put my whole heart and soul into wherever life takes me.

Onward to the journey!

P.S.
I decided that I needed an outward sign of my commitment, something that I could see every day and remind me of my promise. So I now have doTERRA purple hair 🙂

Last Week

Hey Everyone,

You may have noticed that I was absent from my blog last week. Originally I had planned on keeping up my writing schedule while I was attending my company’s annual convention in Salt Lake City. Many authors unless they are blessed to be a bestseller have day jobs as well. I am privileged to be a wellness advocate for doTERRA Essential Oils.

Every September doTERRA has a 3 day convention with individual trainings both before and after the event. I ended up flying out on Monday and getting in after midnight (That’s a whole story in and of itself), and didn’t fly home until yesterday. I was so busy the whole week, so much to learn and absorb that I did not manage to write a single word the whole week, edit, or read anything.

But you know what, that’s ok. My focus needed to be elsewhere. It is very important for me to be in the present during convention week. (Oh, and BTW, there were 40k doterrans in SLC for the convention, 4k of those being from foreign countries. It’s a big convention and so many new friends to meet). We buy into the myth that we must be superhumans, that we have to do everything and be everything. And when we try to do this, all we end up doing is losing. We lose friends and family. We lose important relationships. We lose our health. We even lose our minds.

Don’t do that. Take care of yourself. When you get to the end of your life, do you want to look back and regret the fact that you were so busy that you missed out on life? Or do you want to see that while everything didn’t get done at the end of the day, you were healthy and happy and you knew that you were loved and the people that you cared about knew that you loved them?

Happy Monday Everyone! I will be sharing more about my week in posts later this week 🙂

P.S.

I found an amazing blend this week that doterra just released. Ask me about it’s awesomeness!!

Away

Sorry for the late notice, but I will be gone all this week attending my company’s annual convention.

Will be back next Monday 9/16/19

Have a great week!

The Seeker Files New Covers

Being a writer is a funny thing. It’s an urge so strong to share a story or your knowledge on a subject that you have no choice but to put words on the page and send them out to wherever they may land.

This is the hardest part of being a writer, working and sharing the joys and dreams of your heart into a world that can be very unkind. Don’t get me wrong, the world is an amazing place and I have met so many incredible people that have lifted me up and given me a hand. But the fear is always there.

When I was fifteen (Ah, brash youth), I fell prey or almost did to a vanity company. After hearing back for months and months how wonderful my book was and how the couldn’t wait to work with me, I was told that they would publish my book for 4k dollars. I don’t know why this was such a devastating blow to me. I know that publishing is not a free industry, but they hadn’t mentioned anything about money or fees before even starting the process, otherwise I would’ve researched other options. I think what my teenage self heard was that no one would ever be interested in my work unless I paid people to care. Either way, I was crushed.

When I first started writing The Seeker Files, I was tired of living in fear of sharing my writing. I never stopped writing, but I stopped sharing, which means that I concealed a large portion of who I am. And putting on a facade is exhausting. I challenged myself to write a mystery in time for Halloween and publish it. I did it, although I was exhausted, and I did it so scared. But the thing I told myself was that I was doing it brave and boldly.

I released my book under the name Kat Seaholm. I told myself it was so that I could keep my privacy in case the series ever took off, but what my fear was whispering was entirely different. It told me that no one wanted my book when I was 15, why would they want to read anything by me now? If Kat Seaholm wasn’t me, I wouldn’t be hurt when people didn’t like my writing.

Imagine my surprise (and disbelief) when I heard good feedback. Discounting my family (Sorry guys, you have to live with me and are required to be nice about my writing), people told me that they enjoyed my writing and my characters. My writing wasn’t perfect, I’ve had to do several revisions, but people saw something that was worth taking the time to polish.

Also recently, I’ve taken the Clifton Strengths, which has been freeing and life-altering for me. I know that I’ve mentioned them in other posts and I plan to do a post on just them another day, so I’ll talk about it later.

It’s been nearly 2 years since I first sat down to write the Seeker Files. I can say with confidence that I am not the same person I was when I first sat down. I am glad to say that I have changed and I have grown. And I am no longer ashamed or scared of showing the world my writing and who I am.

Slowly but surely I’m getting everything transferred over from Kat Seaholm (I’m thankful for her, she stood for me until I could stand for myself). Today, I got back the covers for my first two books with my real name on them. I admit, I cried a little when I saw it, a mix of happy and sad tears.

So here they are

Book One
Book Two

Aren’t they pretty?

So what are you doing scared right now? How have you grown and changed? What are you doing today that 2 years ago you would’ve told yourself was impossible?

Happy Friday!

Readers vs. Writers

So what is the difference between readers and writers? Honestly, not much. A writer just decides to put pen to paper and share their stories as well, but everyone daydreams their own stories.

In my opinion, readers are the best writers and writers are the best readers.

I know that my reading list is so long (And I’m a fast reader, I probably read anywhere between 3 to 5 books a week and that’s a low estimate).

So what are you writing/reading right now? I’m always looking for new books to read and I love to hear what other people are writing 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

In the Moment

People are too busy.

We just are. We’re always trying to get ahead of our never ending to-do list, the commitments and promises that we’ve made, and the daily necessities of living. It wasn’t until two days ago that I realized that this weekend is Labor Day Weekend. The idea of a long weekend is both a cherished and hated idea. More time off, but it means that we have to work even harder to get caught back up.

When I realized that I was thinking like that, I had to stop for a minute and ask myself. When did all the things that I HAVE to do become more important than anything else? Yes, I set myself a goal of having an x amount of words written by a certain date. But what good is having met my goal if I’m a frazzled mess trying to reach it? Or if I’m missing out on important moments that will never happen again for something that I could put off until tomorrow?

So this weekend, I’m going to take the opportunity to live in the moment. If I write, fine. If I don’t, well, it will always be there tomorrow. I’m not going to make plans or follow a schedule. I’m going to go where the wind takes me and see what adventures and treasures that I can find 🙂

Breathe deep. Live in the moment. Hang and be weird with your friends and family. Just enjoy life, it’s a gift.

See you Monday!

Wellness

So as a writer today, a large part of our job is creating a social media platform for ourselves. Part of that can be blogging, tweeting, newsletters, fb, etc. It shows that we know how to spread word about what we’re doing as well as letting us get to see what all the other amazing things are going on out there. I’ve been working on building my platform by engaging daily in fb and twitter. Something I like about twitter is that I can see what is trending and what people are talking about each day when I go on. A tag that caught my eye today was #WellnessWednesday.

It got me to thinking. How often does our health take last place in our busy lives? How often do we put ourselves in very last place as we try to take care of every that this world throws at us plus squeeze in a little time for writing? So here are a few simple suggestions/tips to help you have a better day.

  1. Get out in the sunshine

There is nothing better then a cheerful dose of sunshine to make your day better. There’s a ton of studies about vitamin D and blah blah blah. (I’m not really in a scientific mood today, lol). But seriously, take a few minutes and step out into those rays. Soak up the warmth and the light, let it wash away your worries for a bit. If you’re walking to a car, take a moment to just lean against your car, close your eyes, and tilt your head back to the heavens and just be.

2. Drink some water

This world takes our energy faster than we can produce it. I honestly don’t know some days how people could function without coffee or energy drinks. (Sleep would be nice, but eh, you can sleep when you’re dead, right?). But your body would really appreciate some water. Caffeine dehydrates the body and can make you feel dull and dragging. I’m not saying try to drink half your body weight in ounces or anything, but adding in a glass or two of water during the day will definitely have your body saying thank you.

3. Take five minutes and breathe deeply

We carry so much on our shoulders each day that we literally forget to take deep breaths. I didn’t even realize it until my mom mentioned it to me. But sit down and try to breathe deeply for five minutes, just a slow deep in and out. Until I tried doing that, I didn’t realize how shallow my breathing was or how often I even hold my breath. By breathing deeply, we provide more oxygen to our bloodstream with perks up our bloodflow, which leads to clearer thinking and more energy. A win-win in my book.

4. Smile

I know that this sounds simple and silly, but it’s really not. By smiling, even if it’s a forced one, you’re sending your brain the signal that good things are going to happen. Now, I’m not saying fake a smile and pretend that everything is all right. That is not healthy. We are allowed to have issues and not be alright all the time. But if your just sitting at your desk or making yourself a sandwich in the kitchen, then go ahead and put a smile on your face. You’ll find your mood boosting and smiles are contagious, so maybe you’ll brighten someone else’s day as well 🙂

5. Put on some music

Music is a wonderful way of self expression. It’s a way to say what you are thinking or feeling without having to say a word. When I write, I have songs that signify certain characters or songs that I listen to when I’m trying to capture a certain mood. (Think of those shows where you always know which character is there by their theme music, it’s pretty cool). So put on some music and be you!

So that’s all I have for today, if I missed anything, I hope that you’ll leave a comment and share your simple ways to be a better, happier you 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

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