Writing

Advice On Starting A First Draft

Outline

Sketch a timeline of events that will happen. Brainstorm scenes using sticky notes and move them accordingly. Create character sketches beforehand, so you have a better understanding of key players in your novel.

Research

Reading articles, essays, or books might inspire you to write your own. Besides, Google is your best friend.

Write

At some point, that first draft needs to be written. Unfortunately, it won’t write itself. So pick up a pen or open your word processor of choice. Grab an idea and run with it.

Relax

Take a deep breath. You don’t have to get it right the first time. Try to silence your inner editor for now. You can always make a draft better, but you can’t if it doesn’t exist yet.

Writing

What It’s Like To Write A Novel

  • Getting hit by an idea, comparable to getting hit by lightning but 10 times better.
  • Trying to remember said idea because it’s going to make you rich and famous. Hello, New York Times bestseller and blockbuster movie deal with Hollywood.
  • Finding someplace to write down your story idea. A napkin works.
  • Beginning on a high note. Make sure you cherish the honeymoon phase. It doesn’t last long enough.
  • Reaching the halfway point and realizing you still have a long way to go. Don’t quit now. What a shame to let your hard work go to waste.
  • Coming to terms with the fact that your first draft sucks. Happens to the best of us.
  • Wanting to abandon your novel because another idea came along. Perhaps the grass is greener on the other side.
  • Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re almost done.
  • Writing the last sentence. The two best words you’ll ever type: THE END.
  • Wishing you could sleep for the next 10 years. You can’t. Sorry.
  • Dreading the thought of having to edit your manuscript at some point. You got this.
  • Patting yourself on the back. Go eat a cake or two. You deserve it.
Writing

My Camp NaNoWriMo 2018 Plans

I don’t know how it’s almost April. But it is. And that means many writers start thinking about Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m no exception.

I don’t have everything worked out, but I do know that as of right now, I’m going to handwrite a memoir. How exciting, huh?

I’ve never felt like I had any right to write one. I welcome the challenge though. Bring it on.

Why handwrite? Because I love handwriting more than typing. It’s also easier to write in a notebook when I’m on the bus than to whip out a laptop.

Also, my eyes don’t like staring at screens for long periods of time.

I’m not planning to outline because when do I ever? Never.

I don’t outline articles, essays, or novels. Funny story that isn’t that funny because I’m not hilarious: the one novel I semi-outlined is still unfinished.

I don’t keep track of how many words I write every day. I’m lazy.

I’m not aiming to write 50,000 words in April or 1,667 words a day. I just want to write something. Hopefully, I’ll have some words to work with once it’s all said and done.

That’s all I have. Regardless of what you’re writing or how much you manage to write, I hope you have a great Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s hard work. But it’s fun if you have the right attitude, which I’m sure you do..

Even though I love writing, I don’t want to abandon this blog in April. Finding a balance won’t be easy. What is?

As always, happy writing. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Write whatever you please.

Writing

How To Prepare For Camp NaNoWriMo

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Clean your space.

In a perfect world, everything would be in its place. But we live in an imperfect world, so before April rolls around, try to tidy your desk.

Make necessary purchases.

It doesn’t hurt to make a shopping trip beforehand. Get what you need in advance, so that you aren’t making too many trips during the month ahead.

Build good habits.

And break bad ones. Stop procrastinating.

Find a routine.

Or adjust your current one accordingly. No one said it would be easy.

Prep some meals.

This is adulting at its finest. Or just basic survival.

Get ahead.

In whatever you can. If you’re a blogger, write blog posts now and schedule them for the future.

Prewrite.

It’s not easy going from writing 166 words a day to 1667 words. Trust me on this.

Schedule writing days.

If you know you’re going to be exceptionally busy one weekend because your friend is getting married, it wouldn’t be a good idea to make your novel the biggest priority those days. But if you’re planning to chill on Friday night, maybe you’ll reach your word count and then some.

Have fun.

Allow yourself to go out and enjoy your last few days of freedom.

Happy planning!

Writing

A Confession And Reflection

I have a confession to make. I didn't participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this July. Explains the lack of Camp this and Camp that in my blog posts, doesn't it?

I began the month with every intention to write a novel from scratch. Writing 50,000 words wasn't exactly my goal. I just wanted to write a lot of words for a new novel I could potentially publish one day. Perhaps not traditionally but possibly.

Instead, I wrote a bit of everything. Some prose and poems, fiction and nonfiction.

I don't consider July to be a complete failure. After all, I wrote every day.

Even though I didn't manage to complete the first draft of a novel, I did come out of July with some good writing. Pieces I will likely work on further in the future.

I think I needed a month of writing whatever I wanted. Especially since I worked on a novel not that long ago in April. It's like I went straight from April to July, skipping May and June entirely.

Also, I wanted a slight break from everything. From feeling pressured to meet a certain word count, feeling obligated to stick to a singular story, etc.

I like to believe I've spent the past 30 days or so regrouping. I did some soul-searching wherein I ask myself what in the Herminia do I want in this life. And, to be quite honest, I still don't know.

Right now I want to continue writing as long as possible. Wherever I go, whoever I am a year from now or a decade down the road, I hope I'll always remember my humble beginnings.

I cherish the memory of when I first reached for pen and paper, when I finally let my thoughts flow freely. It seemed so easy at the time.

My first ever Camp NaNoWriMo coincided with an attempt at finishing my first novel. I'll spare all of you the boring details. But even now, I can recall a younger Herminia pressing keys with her not so nimble fingers several years ago. She had a blast.

So I owe it to myself to have as much fun as I used to or more every time I voluntarily face the blank page.

Writing

10 Tips For Surviving Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s upon us. That time of the year where the most ambitious of writers try to write a lot of words in a short amount of time.

Here’s to your survival during Camp NaNoWriMo. May you come out of July with a terrible first draft.

  1. Do not research. You could have researched before. You can always do so after. It doesn’t matter. Your priority during Camp should be writing as many words as you can. Not researching how to bury a body. 
  2. Do save your work everywhere. Make multiple copies and drafts of your novel, so you can sleep easier at night.
  3. Do not procrastinate. Easier said than done. It helps a lot. Writing 1,667 words in 24 hours is much easier than writing 50,000 words in 1 day. 
  4. Do sit in your chair and pound keys. Try to stay seated until you hit a goal you’ve set for yourself.
  5. Do not read everything in sight. You can pick up that awesome book once you’ve hit your word count for each day.
  6. Do tell people you’re busy writing a bestseller. They’ll hold you accountable. They might even ask to read it.
  7. Do not edit. Don’t do it.
  8. Do reward yourself handsomely. Exercise. Sleep well. Eat good food. But treat myself. 
  9. Do not waste your precious writing time. It’s precious. Cherish it. 
  10. Do have fun. Make writing fun again.

See you in August. Feel free to wave your manuscript in the air and scream your victory at the top of a mountain.

Writing

What To Do After Camp NaNoWriMo

What in the world do you do after Camp NaNoWriMo?

I have some ideas.

Write.

You just wrote 50,000 words. (Or more. Or less. Point being you put pen to paper. You did, didn’t you?) So why not write some more? Of course, it’s a good idea to work on other stories and projects. But if your Camp novel is still incomplete, there’s no law prohibiting you from finishing it in May. Write whatever you want, OK?

Edit.

Writing a lot in April can help kick-start a good editing streak. Personally I try to avoid editing anything right after writing it. But if you’re so inclined to edit your Camp story, go for it. That said you have nothing to lose if you take a few days, weeks, or months away from your first draft. During that time, you can focus on editing older manuscripts you have lying around. But don’t let anyone, myself included, tell you how or when to edit. It’s your life. Edit on your own terms.

Read.

Trying to read 250,000 words and write 50,000 in the same month is tough. May can be a great time to catch-up. Readathon, anyone?

Blog.

Guess who didn’t comment on many blogs in April? You’re right if you guessed me. I hope to be a better blogger in every respect this month. Create better content. Comment more frequently. Join me.

Bottom line: do whatever you want in May…within reason. You survived Camp after all. Might as well keep the productivity going.

Writing

Congratulations On Completing Camp NaNoWriMo

First off, congratulations to everyone who participated in Camp NaNoWriMo.

It’s no easy feat. Celebrate your accomplishment, whatever it is that you accomplished. 

I hope you’re proud. You should be.

It’s important to take time for yourself. To write and create. To work on your art, your craft.

Even if you didn’t write as many words as you wanted to, you’re still a winner. You still won. Because you made yourself a priority.

Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to read your story.

I’d love nothing more.