More #NaNoWriMo Tips

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In last Wednesday’s post, I shared five tips that helped me survive and thrive during NaNoWriMo 2016.

Here are five more tips:

1. Relax and TELL. For years, I’ve heard editors and workshop facilitators repeat the mantra: SHOW DON’T TELL. What a relief to focus on getting the scene on paper in any form and then prettying it up later.

2. Leave notes in the text. Plot and dialogue are my strengths while descriptive detail is one of my weaknesses. Instead of belaboring the setting and other details, leave notes about what’s missing. i.e. Description of waterfront or restaurant. Don’t stop to check the internet for anything.

3. Journal when stuck. Author and course facilitator, Catherine Chant recommends journaling about our character’s feelings to elicit more details and move the storyline along. The character could write her response stream-of-conscious style or write a letter describing a problem. Even if the journal entry is edited out of the story, the words still count.

4. Stop before the ideas run out. At the end of each day’s stint, write a sentence or two about what happens next. This will provide a starting point for the following day.

5. Turn off the internal editor. I need to keep in mind Anne Lamott’s advice and “write a crappy first draft.” Forget about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Don’t delete anything. In short, give myself permission to write badly.


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Starting #NaNoWriMo

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

One year ago, I began my first NaNoWriMo journey. At first apprehensive, I slowly built up confidence and achieved a final goal of 50,940 words. During the winter and spring months, I edited and polished the manuscript that was later accepted for publication. In the spring of 2018, The Wild Rose Press will release A Different Kind of Reunion.

Today, I’m starting my second NaNoWriMo journey. Still apprehensive but much more confident. Here are five tips that helped me survive and thrive during NaNoWriMo 2016.

1. Announce your plans. At first, I wanted to keep my involvement secret, but after reading about the positive reinforcement that a support group can provide, I decided to share the news with everyone in my circle. In addition to other writers—online and offline—I also told the non-writers. I was looking for encouragement, not advice. Simply asking: “How’s that novel coming along?” will help keep me on track.

2.Write at peak times. To find a routine that works consistently, I need to write when the muse strikes. I have discovered that the following times yield the most creative results: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

3. Work ahead. Sneaking in an extra 300 words (or more) early in the month can build up word counts and compensate for missed days when illness and other commitments affect the quality and quantity of the writing.

4. Turn off the television and all electronic gadgets during peak creative times to ensure there are no distractions.

5. Embrace both linear and non-linear paths. While I prefer to write linearly—one chapter at a time—skipping over to a more interesting scene can help stimulate right-brain thinking.


Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

Welcome to the G.O.T.H. Series!

Each Wednesday, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.


Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Rising Strong by Dr. Brené Brown, I find myself rereading several passages, including the poem by Nayyirah Waheed that inspired the book’s title.

My favorite lines…We are the authors of our lives/We write our own daring endings.


Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.

My Writer’s Toolbox

Welcome to the G.O.T.H. Series!

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Thirty-one years of teaching adolescents thickened my skin considerably, but I faced different challenges when I embarked on a writing career. I had to learn how to deal effectively with rejection letters from agents and publishers, critiques from editors, and less-than-favorable reader reviews. Most important of all, I had to acquire that coveted rhino skin. Here are five strategies in my writer’s toolbox:

Get the Back Story

Whenever I attend readings, I pay special attention to the author’s back story. I like hearing the details about his or her writing journey and the challenges encountered along the way. Occasionally, I pick up valuable nuggets of advice that help me along my own journey. For example, Guelph writer Nicholas Ruddock (The Parabolist) established his platform by entering and placing in short story contests. When New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny couldn’t find a Canadian or American agent, she crossed the pond and approached a British agent.

Read Bad Reviews

If I have enjoyed reading a book, I look up the one-star reviews on Amazon. That’s right, I gravitate toward the negative. While shaking my head at the nitpicking and negative comments, I realize that no author is immune from criticism. Not even authors of best-selling novels can please everyone.

Eliminate the Negative

Some writers file and keep all their rejection letters. I suspect they refer to these letters often and get discouraged all over again. It is important to keep accurate records, but it is not necessary to keep these negative reminders around for future reference. After reading a rejection letter, I update the information on a spreadsheet and delete the file.

Throw More Irons Into the Fire

We’ve all heard the advice. Send out the manuscript and then immediately start on another one. Easier said than done. After writing 70K words and looking at multiple drafts of that manuscript, the thought of starting all over again can be daunting. Instead, I like to work on shorter pieces: book reviews, short stories, articles, and more blog posts. Entering contests and taking online writing courses also keep my skills sharp. It is important not to sit around waiting for a response. Some action—any action—is needed.

Get Support

I belong to Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, Guppies, and Romance Writers of America. I also participate in discussion boards for The Wild Rose Press and Soul Mate Publishing Authors. I try to attend writing workshops, panels and readings offered within a fifty-mile radius. While interacting with these authors, I receive valuable advice and feedback about my work.


Introducing the G.O.T.H. Series

Welcome to the G.O.T.H. (Getting Over the Hump) series. Each Wednesday, I will share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey.

I hope these posts will give writers, poets, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.


Here’s one of my favorite fables…

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. He decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered. It just wasn’t worth saving the donkey. The farmer invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed shovels and begin to throw dirt into the well. The donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.

A few shovel-loads later, the farmer looked down the well and was astonished by what he saw. With every shovel-load of dirt that fell on his back, the donkey would shake off the dirt and take a step up.

Everyone was amazed when the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Moral: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick is not to get bogged down by it. We can get out of the deepest wells by not stopping and by never giving up. Shake it off and take a step up!

Source: Moral Stories


Adulting Writer Awards

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate Author Elle Hill. Today, Elle shares some of her inspirational and motivational designs.

Here’s Elle!

About a week ago, I received some grump-inducing news. As is my recent habit, come afternoon, I plunked down before my desktop and slapped my fingers on the keyboard. Writing time! That day, though, I glared accusingly at my computer, which, just hours ago, had delivered some pretty obnoxious information.

But slowly, peck by peck, all the while sighing and muttering angrily, I penned a little over 1000 words. After limping across the finish line, I’ll admit I felt pretty smug. I hated the world that day, and still I managed to write something.

I deserved a medal, or at least a merit badge. An author merit badge.

You know those adulting awards that show up from time to time on social media? I propose we authors have our own adulting award but for, you know, literary stuff. Given this, I have designed some awards. Please feel free to print out, distribute, or tattoo as needed.

Where to find Elle Hill…

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon