Encouragement, Inspiration, Writing, Writing blogs, Writing groups

How Writing Goals Are The Secret Ingredient…

pottery figure of women encircled around candle, www.alvaradofrazier.com
Circle of Women Writers-WOmen Who Write, WOWW

 

to becoming a better writer.

Last night I met with my six writing sisters, a creative group of fascinating women who write stories and poems. This was our first meeting of the new year.

In 2015, we left behind numerous rejection letters, rewriting queries until all the cows came home, and some awesome writing conferences.

One of our rituals is to light our ‘writing sisters’ candle before we begin ‘checking in.’ This helps us to focus after all the chit chat and munching that proceeds our work.

During our check in we heard some thrilling news. Toni, one of our members, secured a literary agent to represent her middle-grade book and another member, Florencia, is in ‘talks’ with a publishing house for her creative non-fiction book. You can check out her cool blog here: Eat Less Water

We shared our writing goals, too many to mention, but you may find these 5 Simple Steps showing you how to set up SMART goals.

To make our lives easier, we also came up with a word for the new year. A single word to post near our writing space and journal is a reminder of our individual intentions.

  • Refine,
  • Momentum,
  • Go,
  • Possibilities,
  • Zoom!

Intention creates reality

Our meeting also included planning for one retreat a quarter. We need a day or three to refresh ourselves with hugs, laughter, and writing. This is how we make it through the ups and downs of a writing life entwined with families, jobs, and other responsibilities.

So the secret ingredient to achieving your writing goals and becoming a better writer is no secret. Becoming a better writer is a lot of hard work. You need persistence, resilience, and someone to cheer you on when you want to give up.

If you want to set an intention, you may like Deepak Chopra’s 5 steps to Setting Powerful Intentions.

To help you fulfill your writing goals you can check out this post: Top 100 Writing Blogs for Writers.

Now, give it all you got this year and get those writing goals down on paper and up on your writing space.

Until next time.

 

#WeNeedDIverseBooks, Writing

NaNoWriMo Madness or The Only Way to Write A First Draft

Yes, I’m slogging through the madness of NaNoWriMo.

The video above is a good indication of how we NaNo-ites or NaNo-etta’s feel about now.

I could only take three minutes of the video. She’s a good singer–sorta.

I’ve been typing words upon words,

compiling hundreds, then thousands.

Fifty thousand words is the goal; 1,667 words per day.

And I have a head cold. Been in my house for the past three days.

My oldest son feeds me cough drops, meds, and ginger ale.

I’m forcing myself to write. It allows me to not think about the 21 people I’ll have to prepare Thanksgiving for in a couple of weeks.

I’m writing a novel with multi-cultural characters, three generations of women and men, the Mexican culture of curanderismo (that means healers), and a love potion that goes awry.

By this time, I should be at the second plot twist, according to Storyfix. (give or take five pages).

I double checked my pages and yes, I’m close to that point.

Here’s a screen shot of my NaNo page—I don’t know about that novel cover increasing my odds, but could be, it is part of visualization— And, lest I forget, I do have some empty badge area sections:

Writing partner and halo. If anyone wants to be a writing partner, hit me up. I really don’t know how to do this step but I’ll figure it out.

Mona AlvaradoFrazier-New Adult Novel NaNoWriMo 2014
Mona AlvaradoFrazier-New Adult Novel NaNoWriMo 2014

Participating in NaNoWriMo is a great way to a first draft. Far from perfect yes, but useful.

And don’t refer to it as a “shitty first draft,” because it’s not. It’s raw, you put in some effort, yeah, it’s imperfect, just like your first time at bat, or your golf swing, or the first time you made a casserole.

Remind yourself that you started with a goal. You accomplished it. You now have something to build on.

You have words, lots of them, to play with after the first draft is completed.

Well, you probably won’t play with them, you’ll do the edit, delete dance. Then you’ll pull your hair out a few times, and laugh your head off while doing said hair pulling, because you’ll remember—‘member this now—it’s your first draft.

It’s okay.

It will take time and hard work to shape it up, revise, plug plot holes, revise, and love it into being better.

Remember, first drafts can be powerful. Remind yourself that you carved out time for your writing, you set your creativity loose and you were courageous until the finish line (whatever that is to you: 50K or 25K words).

Only 24,610 more words to go.

Write On!

(Please excuses any left out comma’s or other grammatical errors. I’m partially delirious now). Thank you.

Encouragement, NaNoWriMo, Nathan Bransford, Writing

How About that NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month 2014
National Novel Writing Month 2014

So, who’s taking up the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November?

Me, me, me—I have my hand up—I’m working on a novel about three generations of women, three broken hearts and one love potion that goes awry.

Yes, I know, it’s going to be a busy month, with Thanksgiving coming up and Black Friday shopping, but what about having some fun before all that starts?

Are you in?

Yes! Keep reading.

Here’s a few “How’s” and a “Why” to challenge yourself during National Novel Writing Month.

How about putting those novel ideas, the ones you’ve had for months or years, down on the computer screen?

How about resuscitating that shelved 5,000 word piece you started?

How about building a daily habit of writing—at least for 30 days?

How about going crazy and letting your fingers fly over the keyboard without self-editing judgement?

Why write alone? Follow other Nano’s, write in community, and find some writing buddies.

Here’s what you get:

  1. Pep talks from Veronica Roth, Chuck Wendig, Kami Garcia and others.
  2. Five tips from Nathan Bransford on How To Get Started and other advice.
  3. Self satisfaction that you completed a challenge and a badge graphic to prove it.
  4. Sponsor discounts on some great deals from Createspace, Scrivener (word processing/project management), and other stuff.
  5. Cool web graphics for your social media.
  6. A first draft—sh*tty or otherwise— of a novel (at least 50k of a novel, just 10K more to go).
  7. Something to show for November other than a turkey.
  8. The ire of Nano haters. Ignore them and just write. Don’t look back.
  9. Proof that you can commit to writing for 30 days.
  10. The incentive to make new goals for your first draft: rewrite, revise, rinse, repeat.

Here’s what you don’t get:

  1. You do not get to send your first draft to an agent, publisher, or make it into an E-book.

Go through the process, see numero #10, to make your novel viable for beta readers, editors, agents, or submit for an E-book.

Good luck to those of you who take up the challenge.

See you at #NaNoWriMo2014.

Write On!

Books, Encouragement, Uncategorized, Writing

NaNoNaNo

NaNoWriMo-Ambulance Debbie R. Ohi
NaNoWriMo-Ambulance Debbie R. Ohi

Writing, like old age, is not for wusses. It takes patience, resilience, strength, and a little bit of crazy to keep on keeping on with your stories. It takes a whole lot of crazy, and love, to participate and finish NaNoWriMo. This year 303, 754 people signed up for NNWM. Stay out of their way until December.

Are you all sufficiently tired, stressed and behind on your NNWM goals. I’m not participating this year, made up my own thing-but back to this later.

In November 2011, I participated in NaNoWriMo. I remember clearly how I went through the roller coaster of excitement, joined a NaNo support group, rah-rah when word count met, and satisfaction.

Cool ride until mini emergencies happened, then I plummeted when I couldn’t make the time. I talked bad about myself. Did all that, ‘I’m not a writer,’ what the hell am I getting carpal tunnel for, who cares, waa-waa.

The next day I put on the big girl chones and rode again. Up, up until I broke through my own NaNo glass ceiling.

Again, I slide further below my word count. Now I didn’t want to make time. I threw out word count goals for the day, tried to relax and wrote when I felt like it (but I made myself feel like it six times a week). Sometimes I wrote for 10 minutes, other times for three hours.

I got it done. Got the badge and everything. I spent a couple of months in 2012 completing the story and then I let the manuscript sit for two more months.

Time passed while I got busy revising a previous manuscript, creating queries, and struggling through writing the synopsis for two manuscripts. I parked the NaNo manuscript in a folder on my desktop-until last month.

This year I created my own writing challenge. I did NaNo Revision Month or NaNoReMo. The ms word count is 65,000 so I divided that number by 26 days (no work on Sundays). My goal is to revise 2,500 words each working day. So far, so good.

This infographic is very helpful. You can find a printable list to use as a checklist when you decide to do your own NaNoReMo.

25 editing tips from thewritingcafe.com
25 editing tips from thewritingcafe.com

Writers know that revisions come in rounds, like a boxing match, a heavyweight one. Someone I find extremely helpful is Holly Lisle. She has a bunch of information on revising your manuscript. She calls it the One Pass Manuscript Revision.  I found it challenging but helpful.

Good luck to all you NaNo’s and keep writing. You can catch up on sleep in December.