10 Writing Goals to Conquer in 2021

We’re still at the beginning of 2021, but so many resolutions already seem unrealistic amid the uncertainty. Instead, why not focus on goals that can be obtained anywhere and anytime? If you’re a writer, goals like these are easy to find. Writing goals are a great way to feel productive and keep the creative side of your brain happy! The endless options of writing goals can be a bit overwhelming. If you feel a headache coming on from all these options, I’m here to help! Here are ten writing goals that you can conquer in 2021.

  1. Practice is key. Writing prompts are a great way to get your creative juices flowing!
  1. Do you have a character that you’ve created that you want to learn more about? Try fleshing them out with a character sheet!
  1. If you want to practice writing or do your writing warm ups  in one place, get a writing prompt book! It’s a great way to find fun prompts and is easy to reference if you later want to revisit a prompt.
  1. Reading is a big part of the writing process. Reading books about writing is a great way to get tips and multiple perspectives on the writing process. 
  1. This one is a long ways off, but it’s always good to keep in the back of your mind. If you want to do NaNoWriMO 2021, start warming up your writing muscles so that they’re ready to go in November. You can do Camp NaNoWriMo in April or July to practice as well.
  1. If you often find yourself wishing you had someone to fangirl with over writing, it’s time to do something about it! 
  1. Once you have made a writing buddy, why not help them edit their story? It’s a great way to bond, and improve your own editing skills. 
  1. Have you ever gotten a story idea or thought of a great line when you were away from your computer? Start a list of ideas that you can reference later. You can do it in a notebook or put these ideas in notes on your phone. 
  1. This is a goal that is a great thing to keep up. The more you work on improving your editing skills, the easier it gets to turn that first draft into a final product. If you struggle a bit with this end of writing like me, check out videos on YouTube or Skillshare for tips and tricks.
  1.  This final goal is a twist on the writing prompt goals. Instead of following writing prompts, why not create your own? It’s a great way to think out of the box and come up with new story ideas. Share them with your writing friends to see what inspiration sparks from the prompts. You could have a writing party and create themed prompts for the writers!

What are your writing goals this year? Did any of these pique your interest? Let me know in the comments below! I felt stuck trying to come up with my own writing goals for this year, but writing this post really helped. If you decide to attempt any of the writing goals on this list, please keep me updated! I always love hearing from y’all about your writing journey. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!

5 Common Writing Tropes in Hallmark Christmas Movies

This time of year is full of fun movies that get people excited for the festive season. There are the classics that people must watch in December. There are even countless debates if movies are Christmas movies or not. One of the most popular movie types around this time of year are Hallmark movies. If you love them or hate them, odds are they’ll be brought up in a few conversations this time of year. Even other media companies like Netflix have joined in on the trend. Recently, these movies joined the Tik Tok conversation. Tik Tokkers have noticed a trend in Hallmark movies, resulting in some hilarious moments. After some laughter, I realized that they were onto something. Hallmark movies, especially Christmas ones, have a formula all their own. I found a few themes and tropes that have become iconically Hallmark.

  1. Big city professional going to a small town

The most popular trope for all seasons, this is how many movies begin. A professional in the big city is sent to a small town. It could be their hometown, or they could be traveling there for business. Either way, something big happens to get this professional to a quaint small town somewhere in the United States. Occasionally, this applies for people traveling abroad as well. Usually these professionals start out their visit looking down on the members of the town, or taking in the scenery with a bit of disdain. The town members are usually welcoming despite the cold shoulder they receive. Usually there’s one very attractive town member who tries to show our main character the joys of the place. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this person is the love interest! Like many of these tropes, this one usually involves a city girl moving to a small town and meeting a small-town man. There are some reversals of this dynamic, but it seems to be the most popular version. Usually by the end, the main character learns to love the town and the true meaning of Christmas. Bonus points if they decide to leave their job to stay there with the love interest to support whatever profession they have. It could be everything from an inn to a shop. The possibilities are endless!

  1. A reluctant business owner of a family business 

Our main character has just inherited a family business and is not so sure about it. It could be from a dear relative, or one that they haven’t spoken to in years. Sometimes this ties in with the big city professional trope. The family business is usually a bakery, coffee shop, or hotel. The main character will vow to her bffs that she’s just going to help the business get off the ground, sell it, and go back to whatever they were doing before. Eventually, they grow to love the business thanks to experience and, you guessed it, the love interest! Sometimes the love interest works there, or could even be a neighboring business owner. With this trope, there’s also a great opportunity for family bonding. Siblings are usually what they go for, especially if they are sisters. Cue all the drama and heart-felt confessions that are perfectly Hallmark. 

  1. A skeptic who learns the meaning of Christmas from their love interest 

This trope is often wrapped up in the big city professional trope. They usually visit a town who loves Christmas and has a multitude of traditions for the season. Our main character is usually jaded in some way about the holiday. It could be past trauma, their experiences in the city, or countless other reasons. Usually it involves something that leads to a very sappy character arc. As it says on the tin, the love interest helps remind the main character of the true meaning of Christmas. They could be anyone from a member of the town, or a coworker in their new job. This love interest has a gumption for Christmas that would probably even convince Scrooge. There have even been countless A Christmas Carol inspired movies using this trope. 

  1. A girlfriend or boyfriend who does not treat the main character well.

This trope is often tied in with big city professional trope. More often than not, the main character has a significant other already when their story begins. But you must have a blossoming romance! How can Hallmark accomplish this with an existing relationship? You would think that they would expand on the already existing relationship, but that wouldn’t provide character development. Instead, they write the significant other’s as distant or unappreciative of our main character. They could be distracted with work or just an overall jerk. They have to be unlikable enough to justify the main character moving on with the romantic interest. They’ll get back into focus right when our main character starts getting super close with the romantic interest. Cue awkward breakup scene that involves at least some weird ego. Somehow, everything ends up fine. Occasionally this feels like a deux ex machina move to get two characters together without obstacle. But hey, they’re happy so that’s all that matters!

  1. An enemies to lovers relationship

This trope is prevalent in stories outside of Hallmark movies. I do have to admit that this is one of my favorite romantic comedy tropes. It leads to a lot of great banter, and great character development. For Hallmark movies, the enemies part of this trope can feel a bit extreme or silly. Sometimes the writing only lets us see the bad of the potential love interest because it’s only showing the point of view of our main character. That’s when this trope really works. We learn with the main character that this person is not who they seemed. It allows our appreciation to grow with the storyline. However, in many Hallmark works it’s a bit more strange. There are stories where only the main character despises this character, despite others adoring them. Sometimes it works because it is a real life occurrence. When it’s not working, it feels like the main character is just a stubborn drama queen or king. They also tend to have a giant “my way or the highway” complex that blinds them to the good of the love interest that literally everyone else, including the audience, can see. To a degree that can become frustrating. Still, this will forever be my favorite trope when it works. If I do watch a Hallmark movie, there are high odds that this trope plays a big role in the plot. 

Have you seen these tropes play out in your favorite Hallmark movies? Are there some Christmas Hallmark movie tropes that I missed? Do you have a favorite Hallmark-style movie?  Let me know in the comments below! It’s been fascinating to see how this writing style has spread to other networks and streaming platforms, so I’d be interested to see if any favorite Hallmark-style movies are from these places instead of Hallmark. It was really fun to look at these writing tropes and find so many common threads. If anyone is looking for a fun writing project idea for this holiday season, I’d recommend using some Hallmark tropes to create your own story. Who knows what kind of fun storyline will come of it! If you do, please send it to me. I’d love to see what you come up with. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!

10 NaNoWriMo Memes to Get You Through the Last Week

It’s the final countdown! We are less than one week away from the end of NaNoWriMo. With my last few brain cells, I decided to go out of this NaNoWriMo with a bang. If I get any writing done remains to be seen. In the meantime, I wanted to give my fellow writers and NaNoWriMo participants something to smile about. This final week is always hard, but this year makes it feel even worse. What’s a better way to cheer yourself up than writing memes? 

  1. The plot hole debacle strikes again.
  1. Time to get to the real details.
  1. Reaching out to your writing buddy during a difficult writing time.

4. Me anytime I have an idea at 3 am.

5. Writing a backstory for your characters like 

6. We can do it! Writing something is better than nothing. 

7. Even a debacle on day 20.

8.Well that went an interesting direction.

9. Me this entire month.

10. Me reminding myself that the stress is almost over. 

Did you have a favorite meme? Do you have a favorite writing or NaNoWriMo meme that was not included? Let me know in the comments below! I am always happy to have more memes in my life. I hope that these memes put a smile on your face. If I can put you guys in a good mood for your next writing session, I consider it a win! Good luck with your last week of NanoWriMo. I know you can do it. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

NaNoWriMo: A Stressful Week 1

Welcome back to another recap of my NaNoWriMo journey! As most Americans could tell you, this past week has been stressful. This entire week has been as draining as it has been exciting. For the past week, I’ve gotten home from work and attempted to stay as far away from the news and social media as I could. I tried to limit checking for updates and searched for something to distract me. There was a sign saying “hey, writing your NaNoWriMo story might help”. Surprise, that was not how it panned out.

Instead of focusing on my writing, I took a deep dive into other distractions. YouTube? I was there. Knitting? You bet! And, of course, social media took its place as the number one distraction. On top of this, I was getting home every day from work with a brain that felt like mush. A mushy brain is not my ideal when it comes to writing, and I couldn’t figure out how to overcome it. I was on a roll for a few days, pushing through to get a few paragraphs in at the very least. Then things started to pile up, and I lost my ability to power through. Instead, I became an Emily burrito of stress and the mushy brain feeling only grew worse. Needless to say, I did not get much done.

This continued on for most of the week. An endless cycle of stress and a lack of productive work. If you were in the same boat as me, it is okay. Many people were stressing over events and were channeling that stress. They channeled it into outlets other than writing. My favorite outlet was the meme format. Many created funny and sassy memes about Nevada and other states who appear to be slow counters. These memes made me laugh and helped me get back into a good enough mindset to write again. The good side of the internet strikes again! 

Thanks to this newfound determination, I was on a roll at the end of the week. Fingers were flying, words were flowing out of me like honey. The ideal writing situation! I knew that this wouldn’t be a frequent feeling for me during this year’s NaNoWriMo. I don’t have that gift at the best of times, let alone during a year where stressed out is my default state. I’m grateful to have this inspiration while it lasts. It might hold me over until December 1st, or it might tank tomorrow. Either way, I’m glad to be doing this challenge. It reminds me that I can write. That I could someday join the ranks of published NaNoWriMo participants. You can too if you keep pushing through and keep striving to improve your skills.

How are y’all doing with NaNoWriMo so far? Any tips you’ve picked up to help power through the hardships of writing? Let me know in the comments below! This year has gotten me excited to be a part of the writing community. I’d love to continue expanding my list of writing buddies. If you want to be writing buddies, let me know and I’d be happy to beta your story. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Let’s Do This

Welcome back everyone to another year of new characters and weird plot ideas! It’s time for NaNoWriMo 2020, aka National Novel Writing Month. I can’t believe it’s already time to start this challenge. It seems like yesterday that NaNoWriMo was sending me  Camp NaNoWriMo emails in March. Now we’re knee-deep in character sheets and chugging caffeinated beverages. How time flies, especially during the weird year we’ve had. In honor of my third year, I wanted to share some information about my story. I also want to give NaNoWriMo newbies a glimpse into my personal experience.

Before I go into my own experience, let’s get into what NaNoWriMo entails. For those unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month happens every November. Over these thirty days, writers are challenging themselves to write a novel. The rough draft of one, usually. The NaNoWriMo goal is always 50,000 words, which is roughly 1,667 words a day. I have never met this goal, so if you don’t get it don’t worry about it. The main goal of this adventure is to get yourself writing and thinking about writing. To keep it fun, you get badges on your profile when you hit milestones. They also make a community-driven affair. There are countless forums you can join to meet other writers online and get advice. They also have forums in your city, which is great for when they are planning group write-ins. We won’t be doing those this year for obvious reasons, but it’s still a great way to make writer friends in your area. 

As I mentioned, I’ve never hit that 50k word goal. I usually end up writing a bunch of scenes that are hard to piece together. I’m still writing more than usual, so I can’t berate myself too much about that. Last year I threw in the extra challenge of this blog. It both motivated me and increased the nerves I had about writing. I found myself writing more because if I didn’t, there’d be nothing for me to talk about in my next blog post! Because of this, I wrote 13,464 more words than the year before. Talk about an improvement! If you are a NaNoWriMo first-timer, don’t worry about making that goal in the sky. As long as you improve and finish with a semi-formulated idea, that’s all that matters. In the past two years of doing this, my writing has improved. I also feel less self-conscious about my writing. 

This year has been crazy for me like it has been for most people. I worried that November 1st would pop up and I’d have no ideas and only stress. I’m still stressed, but I do have an idea. A victory for myself, I’d say. This year, I’m challenging myself to write the next North American Folk tale. I’m hoping to channel the essence of these stories. I want to create something that fits in among the Johnny Appleseed’s and Headless Horsemen of the genre. I’m not sure how I’m going to do this. In fact, as I’m writing this I have no clue how to write American folklore. There aren’t a lot of papers or books that go into how to write them. Or I haven’t found them yet. I’m going into this with only determination and hope. I did discover an unexpected plus of this genre. Most classic American folk tales are short stories, so I don’t have to climb the 50k word mountain this year. I do want a full rough- draft, which will be both easier and more difficult because of the smaller word count goal. 

Despite going into this blind, I’m excited about this year and my new story idea. I can’t wait to see what I have on November 30th. If you are taking part in NaNoWriMo 2020, let me know in the comments below! Please keep me updated on your project. I’d love to hear what other people are working on and how it’s going. Also, please let me know if this is your first time participating. If you’d like some advice or a writer buddy to cheer you on, I’d be happy to help! This is going to be a crazy awesome month, and I can’t wait to dive headfirst back into the story writing world. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

13 Relatable Author Quotes about Writing

Writing can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s exciting to create new worlds and characters. On the other, there are parts that feel like pulling teeth just to get an idea down. When we’re in the depths of writing despair, it often feels like we’re alone. Surely none of those amazing published authors have these problems! Thankfully, that is not the case. In fact, many published authors go through the same trials as you when writing. Writers have a few words about writing that are very relatable. I’ve compiled thirteen that I’ve found especially relatable.

  1. This quote about deadlines that is too real.
  1. Ernest shows up a lot on this list, because he speaks the truth.
  1. True for both writing and life.
  1. This quote from Stephen King about the curse of adverbs.
  1. Again, true for both life and writing.
  1. Words of wisdom if you’re struggling with your first draft.
  1. Soothing words for anyone who feels confused about the writing process.
  1. Neil knows how we all feel at the beginning of a writing session.
  1. Dorothy understands the writing dilemma.
  1.  Perfect for the introvert in all of us.
  1. Ernest is back with more relatable words.
  1. A writer’s most feared weapon.
  1. Finally the most accurate quote about writing.

What was your favorite quote? Do you have a favorite quote about writing? Let me know in the comments below! I always love hearing other writer’s perspectives on writing. This will be my last writing-themed post before we enter into NaNoWriMo. I’m planning on giving it another shot this year, this time with a new genre focus. I’ll have some more information about it in my next writing post on November 3rd. In the meantime, let me know if you are participating in NaNoWriMo in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading and happy writing!

5 Tips to Creating Dynamic Characters

There are countless parts of the writing process that make you want to tear your hair out. World building? Difficult. Plot? A mountain to climb. But there is a part of writing that feels as intimidating as crafting a good twist: creating characters. Creating your characters can be as easy as throwing some traits together and calling it a day. Creating well-rounded, dynamic characters is more of a nail-biting process. You want them to jump off the page, but still feel like real people in the world you’ve created. When creating my own characters, I’ve found a few tips that have helped me make my characters more dynamic and relatable. 

  1. Research is key

For those who love starting a story blind, this may be a nerve-wracking step for you. However, research can be a useful tool when creating your characters. It’s not just for worldbuilding! If you have a bare bones idea of who you want your character to be, use those bare bones to learn more about your character. This research is very important if you are writing characters in a different time or if they are someone with a different life experience from you. If you want your character to be a suffragette in England during the 1910s, you need to research the ladies of that movement. If you want to write a character who is a part of a community that you are not, interview someone in that community to get an insight into their experiences. The information you gather isn’t something you necessarily have to replicate when creating your character. Instead, use this research as a lens to sharpen your character. It’s like the glasses of writing! 

  1. Character Sheets are (sometimes) your friend

Character sheets are either the bane or savior of a writer’s existence. They can be a great tool, but also a bit overwhelming. A character sheet is a long document where you write down many different facets of your character to help flesh them out. Everything from their favorite color to their morals is on this sheet. It’s a great tool to help you humanize your characters. It’s also a great guide for those times you get stuck writing. How would your character react to a situation? Consult your character sheet and you’ll be able to determine how their reactions will alter the plot. If you’ve tried a character sheet before and got overwhelmed, you’re not alone. I often get overwhelmed by the details you need to use to fill out the sheet. Try filling out some basic information on the sheet as a jumping off point. If you discover things later down the line about your character, you can add it to the sheet. Once you’ve finished your draft, you can use this sheet to make sure that the character’s actions are consistent.

  1. Use visual references for your characters

If you are a visual person like me, sometimes describing characters can be hard without visualizing them first. If you are someone who draws, try drawing your character using the descriptive words you already have. Adjust these descriptors as needed once you have your character drawn out. I sadly did not get the drawing gene, so I use a different approach. I call it the “movie book cast”. Think about people who you would cast in a movie version of your book. What about their appearance and body language is similar to one of your characters? Use their inspiration to help make your descriptors more concise.  

  1. Take inspiration from your own favorite characters

There are many books that inspire us to write within a certain genre. Characters do that as well. This means it’s time for one of my favorite things, a list. First, write down what you already know about your character. What are their traits, their morals, etc? Then, make a list of characters who have inspired you. Write down their attributes, and pick out a few that you think would go well with your character. It is very important that you use this as inspiration, not as a copy and paste deal. If you love Elizabeth Bennett, don’t put a new name on her and put her into your story. Instead, think of why you love Elizabeth and use these traits as inspiration to create your own character. 

  1. Don’t be afraid of flaws

When writing a story, a compelling tale is a must. How can you accomplish this with perfect characters? Newsflash, you can’t. Characters need to have flaws just like real life people. If you write a perfect protagonist going on a hero’s journey, there’s no point to the story. How will they grow if they’re perfect to begin with? This is when research and the good old character sheet come in handy. Use the information you gather from these to help determine these flaws. Are they a frustratingly perfect hero on a quest? Think about why they are going. Many times characters begin their journey for the wrong reasons, which is where the flaws begin to appear. Flaws are what make your characters relatable and interesting. It also makes your story interesting. No one cares about someone who can go through hardships without batting an eye. If you’re not sure where to begin, reference tip number four. What are the flaws of your favorite characters, and why were they present? Use them as a jumping off point to help you figure out how to humanize your own characters.

Creating a dynamic character in the world of your imagination is hard, but so worth it. Once you have them fleshed out, the story seems a little less intimidating. What is your process for creating characters? Have you ever tried these steps before, and did they help you? Let me know in the comments below! I hope that these tips can help you with character creation, especially during the upcoming NaNoWriMo. We have about a month, but it’s never too early to start planning. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

4 Great American Folklore Podcast Episodes to Check Out

Today marks the official first day of fall! It’s finally the season of ghost stories told around campfires. Around this time, folklore also makes a reappearance in droves. Folklore here in America often features the woodsy forests and mysterious vibe that brings fall to mind. They’re also fun stories to tell around a campfire during the spooky season. To get myself into the fall spirit, I’ve been enjoying folk tales in many forms. More recently, I’ve been enjoying them in podcast form. Are you interested in taking a dive into some American folklore? I’ve got a few podcast episodes that you need to check out!

Image from ATTWD

  1. And That’s Why We Drink- A Ouija Board Lemon and Poetized Martinis, Episode 188

Do you like telling spooky stories with your friends? This is the podcast for you! Join Em and Christine as they tell paranormal and true crime stories. You’ll be charmed by their friendly banter and fun tangents. They’ve covered countless stories, from windegos to con men. Em is the paranormal storyteller of this gang. In a recent episode, they told the classic tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It’s a tale that’s bound to get you into the Halloween and fall spirit. This story, originally by Washington Irving, is given new life by Em as they paint a vivid picture of the spooky story. While adding in their signature peanut gallery comments, of course. I don’t want to give much away, but you could say there’s a “loaf” of great asides this episode. These comments bring in a modern look at this folklore, and often leads to a bunch of inside jokes for the ATTWD fans. You might find yourself in the future enjoying a glass of wine with Christine or a milkshake with Em as you listen to their next great telling!

Image from Myths and Legends

  1. Myths and Legends- Bad Dad, Episode 159

It’s time for another look at a Washington Irving tale. He was a big part of American folklore after the American Revolution, so it seems appropriate to include another one of his stories on this list. Jason Weiser hosts and Carrisa Weiser produces this show that takes a modern look at the classic myths and legends of cultures around the world. Jason’s retelling of these stories often involve sarcastic comments and hilarious quips. Plus weekly creature that is always as intriguing as it is odd. In this episode, Jason respins the yarn about Rip Van Winkle. He does a great job of telling these stories so that the jokes and comments that Irving wants to get across will resonate with a modern audience. His occasionally sassy comments about the writer himself are an added plus. 

Image from Our New England Legends

  1. New England Legends- 3 Strange Beats From the Woods of Maine, Episode 133

Like many early American folk tales, these tales take place in the Northeast. Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger cover the tales of three odd beasts that loggers claim to have seen in the mysterious woods of Maine. Jeff and Ray always start off their episodes with the atmosphere of the legend’s location. This’ll get you in the mood for the retelling. In this episode, they start off with the sounds of the forest and felling trees. They even pretend to be loggers gathering with their buddies to begin these tales. These two then proceed to fit well told stories of three different beasts into the span of 11 minutes! These episodes may be short, but they use every second wisely. It’s another bingeable podcast for more American folktales and legends to enjoy on a fall day.

Image from The Folklore Podcast

  1. The Folklore Podcast- Slenderman, Episode 1

This podcast takes a unique look at Folklore. Mark Norman hosts this podcast. He is often joined by members of the Folklore Society and others specialized in the study of folklore. This podcast is more of an interview or discussion style podcast, where Mark discusses the details of the folklore theme with a guest. In the first episode, Mark speaks with Dr. Andrea Kitta about a new American folktale. Slenderman made news back in 2014. They discuss the origins and motives of Slenderman, as well as the impact modern technology has on his tale. As they discuss, it’s fascinating to watch the creation of a new legend unfold in front of our eyes. This is especially true for the 21st century, when it seems unlikely that new legends could pop up. This episode brings the spook factor, along with some great academic insight into this modern legend. 

Have you listened to these podcasts? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you have any great recommendations for the spooky season. I’m always up for adding more podcasts to my lists. I hope you enjoyed the writing and experience of these podcasts. They are just a few of the great ones out there ready for you to check out. Hopefully these will help you get into the fall season and expose you some more American folklore. Happy fall everyone, and happy writing!

10 Fall Themed Writing Prompts

It’s finally fall! Even though it’s still hot where I live, I am determined to get into the fall spirit. September is the beginning of one of my favorite seasons. A season where I want to jump headfirst into everything cozy and fall-themed. This is the season where I get out Agatha Christie and dip into the spooky section of my bookshelf. But what about my writing? How can I bring it into this cozy and mysterious world as well? Enter the magical world of writing prompts. I often forget about all the fall-centric writing ideas, so these are a great way to get into the fall mood. I’ve come up with a few prompts that are sure to get you into the spirit of fall, and get your creative juices flowing!

  1.  
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What did you think of these prompts? Are there any fall-themed prompts that you like to reference for inspiration? Let me know in the comments below! Also, please share any stories that stem from these prompts. I’d love to see the different perspectives on these ideas, and where they take y’all. I am very excited to get started on using some of these myself. Hopefully they’ll give me some inspiration for my NaNoWriMo story. Or even ideas for a new character. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!

3 Ways To Make Pitching your Story Less Scary

Writing is a daunting task. Anytime words flow out of a person to create a narrative, it’s a long and sometimes brutal process. During this time, it’s easy to get into your own head about your writing. I do this all the time, especially when I’m working on a new story idea. When your burrow your head deep into the text, it can be hard to pull yourself out to look at the bigger picture. If you miss a look at the big picture, you might not catch a duplicated leave with an incoherent story. To help yourself find these areas in need of fixing, it’s time to consult. It’s time to pitch your story.

Pitching sounds like an official and scary word, but it doesn’t have to be. Pitching can be everything from a well-designed presentation to a conversation. After my deep dive into NaNoWriMo and Save the Cat, I’ve grown to appreciate the pitch. I’m also in the business and advertising worlds, so I’m well aware of the benefits in that world. I was happy to see that it’s helpful for writing as well! It may seem scary, but pitching an idea doesn’t have to be nail-biting. Here are three tips to help keep decrease the nerves

  1. Pitch to someone you trust

If you are in the writing stage and need story advice, talk to someone you trust about your story. Talking it out is a great way to look at your story in a new light, and it can help you get a new perspective on some plot points. Pitching to someone you trust is super important. If you are self-conscious about your writing, like me, it’s a must. If you have a fellow writer that you trust, go to them first. They can give you more technical advice that could help take your writing to the next level. If you don’t have a writer buddy, that’s okay. A close friend outside of the writing world can still give good feedback. I usually talk to my sister, who is both a fellow writer and someone who understands my weird personality. She knows how to tell me an idea is dumb without upsetting me, and I often get new ideas for my plots when I speak to her. It’s a win-win. 

  1. Think about something you want advice on beforehand.

Before speaking to your trusted confidant, think about the issues you see already. Is a character falling flat for you? Is an added theme taking away from the story? Jot these thoughts down and ask. This is especially helpful if you have a writing confidant. Asking specific questions will help give them a starting point for discussion. This is helpful if your questions are more specific to the technical side of writing. These questions are good for non-writers as well. You might discover that something you were questioning isn’t a problem for a reader.

  1. Repeat, repeat, repeat. 

Like many things, pitching becomes less scary the more you do it. As someone who still gets nervous talking about my story idea around some people, I know how it feels. All you can do is jump in and keep going. Speak to other friends, teachers, and colleagues about your idea. Keep it casual, but make sure you hit some general points in your conversation. This is where the questions come in handy. Ask each person the same questions as a baseline. Let the conversation go from there in an organic way. This makes it easier to repeat this process and get even more results. Over time, you’ll see a decrease in your nerves and a more confident approach to receiving advice. In the long run, this is key to get more confident. If you pitch your story to an agent and a publisher, this confidence will go a long way.

Pitching is still a bit nerve-wracking for me, but I’ve found these three steps super helpful. Three years ago, I would have been nervous to share my writing with my sister. Now we toss ideas around with casual air. No nerves in sight. I have faith that you will be able to get there someday as well! What are your experiences with pitching a story? Do you have any advice on how to lessen the nerves? Let me know in the comments below! If you do end up pitching a story in the future, let me know how it goes. Go forth my fellow writers. You’ve got this! Thanks so much for reading and happy writing!