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!

10 GIFS That Perfectly Represent NaNoWriMo

Welcome to another week of writing and stress! This week has been an eventual one. Thanks to that, I have no interesting NaNoWriMo updates for y’all. I had a feeling that reading another post about a girl’s stress during this year wouldn’t be very helpful. I didn’t do any writing this week, so it seemed silly to blab for a few paragraphs about my lack of writing. Instead, I’ve decided to highlight some relatable moments of taking part in NaNoWriMo. What better way to highlight these moments than my favorite medium, GIFs! 

  1. When you first sit down for a writing session
  1. When you get a breakthrough on a story idea.
  1. When you’re cheering on your writing buddy and their awesome work.
  1. After someone asks how your writing is going during a rough patch.
  1. When you roll into your local chat to check up on your writing friends and accidentally walk into peak chaos. 
  1. Cheering on the writers who have completed NaNoWriMo.
  1. When someone asks you to give more details on your story idea. Details who? We don’t know her
  1. Me trying to get through this while doing work and holiday stuff.
  1. When the writer’s block hits you hard.
  1. After finally completing this crazy month.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that last gif deeply. If we all play our cards right, our food comas can line up perfectly with our post NaNoWriMo naps. Don’t forget my fellow WriMos, we’re halfway there! So exciting. Whether you’re chugging along or have barely scratched the surface, taking part in this is still a great thing. You’re powering through the craziness to put words on a page, and I think that’s pretty awesome. Good luck with this next week of NaNoWriMo and happy writing to everyone!

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!

A Writer Versus Her First Draft

When I first pinned the title “writer” to my metaphorical name tag, I was a bit skeptical of its legitimacy. I’m sure that I fell under the writing bucket. But was I a writer? Does it even count if you’ve never finished something? Most of these questions sprouted every time I began a new project. Exciting at first, sure. But after a while, it looks like a bunch of drivel in black and white that I can do nothing about. This is when I want to rip my writing badge off me and stalk off to find a new creative outlet. After a few years of grumbling about it, I realized my issue. The same issue that I know other writers face. The dreaded first draft.

I have always heard that it’s okay if the first draft is not great. The point of a first draft, after all, is to get the story out of your brain and onto paper. An already difficult feat without throwing the pressure of making every line perfect. This is where my issues come in. I am what many would call a “Type A” person. Within that “Type A” personality lies good old perfectionism. It’s no surprise that this seeps into my creative side also, especially for writing. I am often side-tracked when writing a story. I want every detail to be perfect and fact-checked, even in the first draft. It throws me off my rhythm and makes the creation of this first draft take forever. In fact, as I am writing this, I have never completed the first draft of a novel. The pressure for it to match the caliber of some of my favorite novels is immense. Enough for me to put my tail between my legs and throw out another prospective story.

Believe it or not, I know that this is an idiotic thing to do. It’s scary to write yes, but why would I ever think that my favorite stories were perfect in their first form? To be honest, I’m not sure. It could be something I heard in English class. Or I never let go of my childlike wonder of books. Younger Emily always imagined that Rick Riordan created well-crafted stories without any editing. I have a tendency to romanticize how creative things get made, especially novels. It took awhile for me to move from the perspective of a reader to the author peering at the creation process. One of the reasons I started this blog was to give myself more motivation to do that. If I challenge myself to talk about writing every-other week, that will help me when I sit down with a story! Right?

So far, this strategy has not played out. Outside sources like COVID and life “adventures” have made it hard for me to sit down and write outside of this blog. I’m not sure if this blog or my studies of writing will help me inch up the first draft mountain. But this uncertainty will not prevent me from taking NaNoWriMo 2020 head on! I already decided at the end of last year’s challenge that I will push myself even more this year. Who knows, I may even hit a new personal record! If you’re in the same struggle boat as me, try taking on a challenge like NaNoWriMo. I’ve gotten much more confident in my skills in the two years that I’ve tried to complete it. Each year I get a drive to do better, and even hit that crazy word count goal. If I do, then I can finally say I’ve written a first draft. 

What are your thoughts on first drafts? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the frustrations that come with them? Let me know in the comments down below! I appreciate any time y’all respond and give me advice. It’s helped me so much with this blog, and with my writing! I can’t wait to see what y’all say.  Also, please share any stories you have about the draft-writing process! I’d love to hear how y’all climbed up the first-draft mountain. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

A Novelist Learns How to Write a Screenplay

The world of writing is vast and full of many different mediums. I have placed myself in the part of that world for novelists and blog post writers. But I often wonder what it’s like for the other worlds of writers. After all, even if the process is similar, the product is so different. In my quest to learn more about writing, I wanted to visit a new section of the writing world: screenplays.

To assist me in my quest to learn more about screenplay writing, I referenced Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. He takes interested scriptwriters through the process of writing, pitching, and more. I’ve read Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody, which used Synder’s book as inspiration. I decided to use these two books to compare the processes for writing a novel, and writing a screenplay.

When reading these two books, I discovered that the writing process is very similar. Not a huge surprise, but interesting when you consider one is more of a visual medium. It’s also the case when you consider that Brody’s process took inspiration from Snyder’s book. There are similar genres with the same beats when you are plotting them on your cards and storyboard. The story structure is also very similar, with the classic three acts like the hero’s journey. Dialogue for both types of writing is very important and vital, but “show don’t tell” is still king. 

It was interesting to me that one of the big differences in these processes is the prep and pitch work. When prepping for a screenplay, you focus on a one-sentence pitch to get the story across, aka the logline. It has to get the point across, and tell executives the target audience and how much it’ll cost. Also, you have to be able to picture the movie poster from your logline. A very hefty sentence! In novel writing, you have a bit more wiggle room, and you don’t have to worry about cost and target audience as much. Snyder says that you have to test your logline out in the real world to see if it fits. Instead of passing it along to your peers like you might do for your novel, you pitch it to anyone. Strangers in line with you at a coffee shop? Check. Your neighbor who you see when you take out the trash every morning? Also yes. It’s a more extroverted approach to testing the waters, and it makes more sense. In screenplays, the target audience aims to be as mass-market as possible. This makes it simpler to sell to executives and audiences. So testing it out with a bunch of different people is a great way to see if it falls into that realm. 

The pitch work has some overlap. You sometimes need an agent, but who you know can be the most important thing. What interests me is how creative you can get with the pitches. Sure, you can get creative with novel pitches, but not like the examples Synder lists. Synder and his writing partner sold a movie with a unique approach. They sent kids to executive’s with backpacks full of fake money and the pitch to help visualize the story. He mentions many other examples of how writers get executives in the mood to hear their story. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but it’s still a fun and interesting approach to marketing. As someone who works in advertising, these out-of-the-box ideas are exciting. 

Did reading this book give me hope that someday I could write a screenplay? A bit. I still have a lot to learn before I can cross that off my bucket list. Have you ever written a screenplay? How was the process different from novel writing in your eyes? If you haven’t, what kind of screenplay would you like to write? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

Researching as a Writer

Writing a story involves a lot of steps. That’s stating the obvious to any writer who’s ever gotten a story idea. With things like world building, writers spend immense time on stories before the storytelling begins. Character design? With the character sheets out there, who knows how long that could take. Depending on the story and writer, one of these time-consuming steps is research. 

Research is the bane of some people’s existence. There are those who write and then decide to go back and research later to confirm. I am not one of those people. As you’ve most likely gathered from my previous posts, I am a fan of research. In fact, I find myself journeying down research rabbit holes instead of writing.  I can sit down for an hour of writing and spend thirty minutes of that time researching historical facts. 

During my trips down the research path, I’ve learned some very random and strange facts. Many of these things I have found through the glory of writing boards on Pinterest or the land of Google. If you’ve ever befriended a writer, they will tell you that the research is only for storytelling. And remind you often. This is not to concern you, only to make you less freaked when you check out their Pinterest. I’ve had friends ask me what I was up to because I kept pinning stuff about gunshot wounds and fighting tactics. Now they know not to ask questions because I’ve taken to pinning these oddities to my writing board.

Researching leaves you with information that’s useless outside of writing and trivia games. As someone who loves learning, I get excited when I have the opportunity to tell someone one of these facts. Is someone curious about ways to find out if someone’s lying via body language, I have a few suggestions. You never know, your research may pay off in the real world too.

What is something interesting you’ve learned while researching for a story? Do you like to research before or after you finish a rough draft? Let me know in the comments below! I’m excited to learn about other people’s process during this stage. Thanks for reading everyone, and happy writing!

Rejuvenating with Writing

 It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that things have been a bit rough for a lot of people recently.  We’re all grasping at straws to find some hint of what used to be normal, while trying to grow and change at the same time. On the whole, it can get a bit exhausting. Sometimes you have to take a break from the glaring reality flashing in your face. Whether it’s gardening, Zoom calling your friends, or reading a book, you need something to rejuvenate your spirit. To keep you on the path towards a brighter future.

For the longest time, the only thing that fell into this category for me was reading. Then music joined the mix, but it’s a bit difficult to quietly practice a clarinet in an apartment complex. Especially when everyone is at home to hear your cringey attempts at relearning scales. Reading has been a comfort to me, but I’ve also found that writing has joined the ranks as well. When I write, that is. Writing can ebb and flow in my life to extreme degrees. So, when it is in my grasp, I snatch it up like a child catching a lightning bug. Cupped firmly-but delicately- in two hands, to see the glow of inspiration between fingers. 

Writing this blog has been a mixed bag for me right now. Some days, I can feel the ideas for future content flowing from me. But only when I’m in a location where writing said ideas down is an impossibility. Most days it feels like a chore, but one that I enjoy doing once I’m in the middle of it. I’m sure you have something in your life like that right now. 

But the nice thing about writing right now, despite my lack of inspiration, is time. Time to focus on research rabbit holes about 1920s archaeologists, or invent an underground network of spies. If you feel stuck in the rejuvenating hobby, try a new strategy. For me, this new strategy is research or character sheets. I can pull myself into parts of writing that normally won’t cross my mind until I’m in the thick of a writing session. Researching might not add words to the page, but it can add ideas to my mind that I can pluck out later when I’m stuck. Designing a new character might put their words on the page in a new way. It’s also a great way to learn about how your characters will interact differently with each of the characters in your novel.  

If you’re like me, staring at your lack of life progress in frustration, take time to rejuvenate. If you feel stuck, try that new strategy. Take a new look at another piece of it that will help the big picture. Rabbit holes of researching or learning about writing are some ways that I’ve kept my big picture. How will you help yours? What are you doing, or are wishing that you could do, to reignite your spirit? Let me know in the comments below. Stay safe out there everyone, and happy writing. 

 

The Mind of a Writer

To the outside world, writers can seem like an enigma. They pull plots and characters out of thin air. Creations that pull us into new worlds and exciting lives much different than our own. How can a person scribbling into a notebook or typing like a madman on a computer create these new worlds?  People have been doing it since we learned to write, but it can still be baffling to those lacking a writer’s brain. What is it like inside their heads? 

A writer’s brain is different from person to person, much like their writing process. Some writers have a fountain of ideas that they can pull out of their mind on a rainy day. Others have ideas pop into their heads rarely and at inconvenient moments. They have to scramble to get things down, otherwise it will flutter away on the wind. 

Despite the varying ways writers approach writing, the minds of writers are similar. Most people pulling characters out of thin air have brains full of little details. Details about the world and the people in it that they use to build characters. I’ve often found myself people-watching to figure out how people walk or speak to file away for later. Or I’ve taken a gazillion pictures of an area that I want to include in a story. Writers have a knack for observation. You never know, you may find a story idea in the color of a flower or an overheard conversation. 

Writing also calls for an ability to come up with tough situations for your characters to deal with. Some are familiar to the writer, while others are out there in a magical realm with no context. Some writers have an overthinking brain, which they can use in this situation. Writers with this type of brain can come up with worse case scenarios for anything. While it’s not great for everyday life, it can create compelling stories. It’s also helpful for those with writer’s block needing to up the ante on a story. If a writer can’t figure out all the details, Google is their BFF. It creates a weird search history, but helps get the job done. 

One of the most important things in a writer’s brain is empathy. Sure, creativity is up there, but compassion is key. Empathy helps a writer get inside the head of a character who is nothing like them. It’s hard to create someone who appears to be a fully-fledged human in the world of the story. With an understanding of those different to them, writer’s can create those characters. It’s more interesting to learn about characters who are different from their creator. Yet they still came out of that person’s mind. 

If you think about it, writing is weird, especially fiction writing. Pulling these things out of thin air takes a mind geared for the challenge. Across the genres, writers have to tap into a side of them that others might not use often. It’s how we’ve been able to visit our favorite worlds and meet the characters we love. Without a writer’s brain, weirdness and all, the world would be a boring place.

Five GIFs for That Perfectly Show the Writing Process

The time has come for you to begin your writing mission. You sit down at the computer or notebook, crack your knuckles, and attempt to start. The process that follows contains hurdles, plot bunnies, and the occasional eureka moment. If you can manage to reach the end, you win the reward of writing that you are actually proud to share. Until then, you’re stuck in the Groundhog Day loop known as writing. The process is a bit different, but in the end, the similarities stand out. And like most situations, there’s a GIF for that…or five.

  1. When you’re trying to convince someone that you’re actually getting work done but you’re blocked.

Via Giphy

  1. When you’re word-vomiting and the dialogue isn’t a disaster.

Via Giphy

  1. When you reread your draft and everything sounds terrible.

Via Giphy

  1. Discovering that your story line actually works and is interesting.

Via Giphy

5.  When you hit your writing goal for the day.

Via Giphy

What are some GIFs that you think show the writing process? Let me know in the comments below! GIF threads are the best. Good luck to all the writers out there in the throngs of the writing process. You’ve got this!