Tag Archives: encouragement

Grab an Accountability Partner

My motivation is gone. I don’t feel like doing anything. I need a kick in the rear.

Do you ever feel the same way? Find yourself an accountability partner, or more than one. My cousin dropped me a note asking me to do something to keep her from going all off track on her editing. I offered her a kick in the butt. That was all she needed.

Don’t have someone that will be your accountability partner? Does no one in your cabin hold you accountable? Go to the forums. You are bound to find an accountability partner there, if you really want one. Otherwise, just post in the forums and you will have a lot of people holding you accountable. You will also have a lot of encouragement.

The point is, you don’t have to do this all alone. Oh, the actual writing you have to do alone. But a good support system will work wonders. That is one thing cabins are for. Unfortunately, they don’t always work.

In my cabin, we all know each other, so we feel comfortable asking for a good kick in the rear. And we feel comfortable giving it. We are equally comfortable giving heaps of praise. Often, this is what is needed the most. Sometimes, what is needed is a combination of both.

Are you crying over your characters? Laughing when they make fools of themselves? Cheering them toward the finish line? You are doing it right. You have become connected with the story. You are a writer.

If you haven’t felt this way yet, you will. Just give yourself permission to feel. Your characters will come alive for you, if you let them. They may begin to feel more real than the people around you.

Feel free to give your characters a kick in the rear, if they need it. Hold them accountable to you. They belong to you. You don’t belong to them. You are in charge, even if they try to convince you that you aren’t. The final say is yours. Make sure you hold on to that.

So, grab that accountability partner and take that story by the horns. Or pen. Or computer. Or typewriter. Or whatever. Just grab it and go. There is no time like the present.


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Time For the Second Half

So, here we are, going into the second half of the month. Fingers raw from all the typing, red with all the ink from editing, cramping with every word. Heads aching. Bleary-eyed from lack of sleep. Wondering how we are going to get through another two weeks of this. But look how far you’ve already gotten. Words on the paper or screen that weren’t there at the beginning of the month. Red ink, like blood on the paper, as you splice and dice that story mercilessly.  A gem of a book forming, or being polished. A dream being born.

We are writers! Say it with me. I am a writer! I can write! And I am! Have you remembered to give yourself permission to write crap? If you haven’t, do it now.

The first step is to dump those words that are in your head on to the screen or paper. It’s only later that you begin to make sense of them. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it. You have made it this far and you will make it to the end. It doesn’t matter if you don’t reach your goal. You have still accomplished something. That’s more than most people ever do.

Some people say all writers drink coffee while writing. I drink tea. Does this make me any less of a writer? Nope. It just means I don’t drink coffee. Not all writers are the same. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t a writer just because you don’t fit their preconceived misconception of what makes a writer.

I just used the term “preconceived misconception” in a sentence. That has been one of my goals for years, but this is the first time there has really been a place for it. I have accomplished a goal. I’m going to celebrate.

Whenever you reach one of your goals, you should celebrate as well. Don’t kill yourself writing. Don’t completely shut yourself off from the world. But don’t give up on your dream, either. You can do it. Believe in yourself. I do.

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Are You Burned Out?

It’s almost two weeks in. Are you burned out yet? If not, you will probably feel that way at some point during the month. Accept it and go on. It’s only a month. You can take a break at the end.

I have dealt with burn out quite often in my writing. Sometimes, taking a day or two off helps tremendously. It is important to remember that you can get through it. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Have your characters gotten so upset with you that they have quit talking to you? Does it seem like they have deserted you completely? Have a talk with them. Tell them you are not going to accept their attitude. You are in charge and they are not. Let them know you are not giving in to them. Cuss them out, if you want.

Perhaps it isn’t that they have quit talking to you. Perhaps you simply don’t really know who they are, what they like, what their dreams are. In this case, interviewing them might be your best bet. Ask them pointed questions. If the answers lead to more questions, ask them too. Get to know your characters.

Have you backed your characters into a corner because you just don’t feel like dealing with them? Maybe you didn’t do it on purpose, but it happened anyway. What to do? Where do you go from here?

There are three choices. First, you can go back and rewrite part of what you have already written to get past the problem. Second, you can go on and pretend you didn’t write yourself into a jam, and fix it later. This is what you may have to do if you are participating in NaNo. Remember, that first draft is supposed to be a mess.

The last thing you can do is use that as part of the story, and have the story take an unanticipated turn. You might be surprised at how much you like the new twist, if you choose this solution.

Of course, none of these are easy to do. That’s okay. Writing is not supposed to be easy. At least, good writing isn’t. You can write a bunch of nonsense fairly easily. The idea is not to tell a good story the first time. You might not even tell a good story the second time. It may take three or four times before you get it right, constantly tweeking as you go.

Be sure you take a break between the first and second draft, the second and third, etc. You will get burned out if you don’t.

What works for me may not work for you. We are all different. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you. Sometimes, our best ideas come that way.

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Writing With a Headache

Have you ever tried writing with a headache? I have. It doesn’t work too well. That’s why I have been absent the last few days. I have been fighting a bad one.

At first, I thought I might not say anything about it. However, if you have ever suffered from a headache, you know how hard it can be to do anything. You might even be beating yourself up over it. I know I was. But you don’t have to, and neither do I. It’s okay not to write when you don’t feel well.

As much as I keep telling you not to beat yourself up over something like this, it is hard for me to follow my own advice. I just feel so guilty. Is that the way you do?

Tell yourself it’s okay. You may have to do it more than once. In fact, you probably will. Tell yourself 100 times if you need to. Or 1000. Whatever it takes. Just keep telling yourself it’s okay.

Yes, your rough draft is supposed to be a bunch of crap. That doesn’t mean you have to kill yourself to get the crap out. Sometimes, you just have to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself.

That applies to more than just writing. That applies to everything in your life. You will be surprised at how much writing rules can be applied to other parts of your life.

Don’t like something in your story? Change it. Don’t like something in your life? Change it. Is that character destroying your story? Get rid of him. Is someone ruining your life? Get them out of it.

Yes, I know it’s hard. Life is hard. Writing helps us get through it just a little easier. At least, it does for me. I’m sure it does for many of you as well. I may be unique, but I’m not that unique.

So now, I can get back to writing. The headache is gone, hopefully for a long time, and writing doesn’t cause me physical pain. I can write that crap again without worrying about my health. Although, in my case, it’s mainly editing, so I am polishing the crap I have already rewritten more than once. It’s time for that rough draft to be turned into a gem.

No, I’m not claiming to be a great writer. I’m not even claiming to be a great rewriter. But I am a good rewriter. And I couldn’t have become a good rewriter if I hadn’t started out with that bunch of crap I called a rough draft.

So don’t punish yourself by writing when you have a headache. But don’t let it keep you from writing from now on. Stay in the habit of writing. Get right back to it as soon as you feel well enough.


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Writers Have an Advantage

Are you tired of camp yet? Are you asking yourself why you did this to yourself? You are not alone.

Camp NaNo and NaNo are times to push yourself. However, they are not times to push yourself until you break. If you don’t think you can write 50,000 words this month, then don’t. If you don’t even want to write 10,000, then don’t. This is about pushing yourself, not punishing yourself. Just do what you can.

Many people haven’t reached the point where they are wondering why they did this yet. Still others are wondering if they are even going to get started. If you belong to the latter group, don’t despair. Start today. Even if all you write is “why am I doing this again?” you have written something. That is more than most people do.

I read today where people who write are less likely to get sick, or stay sick as long. Writing helps with blood pressure, depression, and things like that. It helps you get things out. So write on!

You don’t see where writing a love story will get you past being angry? How writing a mystery can get you past unrequited love? How horror writing can get you past anything?

It’s not the genre. It’s not what you say. It’s about getting things out. Maybe writing a love story will flood your brain with endorphins. Maybe not. Maybe writing a mystery or horror story will get your adrenaline flowing. Again, maybe not. I don’t know. All I know is that it is supposed to help. We writers are supposed to be healthier than the average person.

They are talking about expressive writing, but isn’t all writing expressive, to a degree? Don’t we express ourselves in everything we write? Well, maybe not that software training journal. But, then again, who knows?

Write. Write it down. Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to read. Just write. Write it down. (Apologies to those who love the song, “Sing a Song”.)

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How is You Cabin?

By this time, you should have met your cabin mates. Are they chatty? Are you chatty? Are you procrastinating by being chatty?

Cabins can be a good thing, or a bad thing. How do you make sure it is a good thing?

First, don’t be a complainer. If you are a complainer, things will get nasty in a hurry. You might not be able to keep others in line, but you can keep yourself in line. If you have a cabin where a lot of complaining is going on, get out. It can stifle your creativity.

Second, be a cheerleader. If you are a cheerleader, even if others aren’t, you can still read what you wrote and cheer yourself on. If someone else in the cabin is a cheerleader as well, that is a plus. Remember, you can do. Let them know they can as well.

Always be constructive when someone asks for help. Don’t put them down. Writing may be a solitary endeavor, but we are all in this NaNo thing together. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Also, don’t be checking your cabin every five minutes. If you enjoy your cabin mates that much, treat it as a reward. After writing for 30 minutes, you can check in there. Just don’t stay too long. Check no more than once every 30 minutes. Keep in mind, there is writing to be done.

However, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it that day. Sometimes, you need a break. If you decide to take a break from writing, no one will think less of you. Sometimes, you just need a break.

So, get in your writing spot and get comfortable. Get your coffee, tea, or any drink of choice. Get your snacks ready. Turn on the music.  Boot that computer up or open that notebook and start writing. Whatever you write each day, be proud of it. It is yours. Own it.

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You Can Do It

Two days in. How are you doing? Have you started yet? Don’t worry. It’s not too late.

Don’t let those overachievers who do the whole thing in the first week get to you. Just do what you can do. That’s all you need to do. You’re not competing with anyone, not even the month. Just because you are using this month to write doesn’t mean you have lost if you don’t finish your goal by the end of the month. The real losers are the ones who don’t even try.

Get to the end of the month and find you haven’t started yet? Again, don’t worry. You can still write. You still aren’t a loser. Get that thought out of your mind right now. I said, GET THAT THOUGHT OUT OF YOUR MIND!

Sorry for yelling, but you needed to hear that. Whatever you do is good enough. Don’t go into the month with an attitude that if you don’t reach your goal, you lose. You are already a winner.

So, don’t worry if you are already behind. You are ahead of those who haven’t even considered it. Maybe you just need a kick in the tush to get you going. Consider yourself kicked.

Believe in yourself. Find others who believe in you. There aren’t any friends or family who do? Well, go on the forums. They will be glad to believe in you. Get in a cabin. You believe in them and they believe in you. Push each other. Support each other. Provide a metaphorical shoulder to cry on. You will be glad you did.

Now, tell those characters in your head to shut up long enough to let you write. They can talk when you need them to. Your muse will be there for you. She might just be playing hide and seek. Keep writing and you will find her. She may be trying to tell you the story you are trying to tell isn’t the story you are meant to tell. Let her lead you.

You don’t have to write for others. It is perfectly alright to write for yourself. It doesn’t make you any less of a writer.

If you are like me, and doing edits this month, that’s okay, too. It is part of the writing process. Every good writer needs to edit. Folks who think you just have to put a few words down on paper, or the computer, don’t know what they are talking about. Real writing is work. It is also fun.

So have fun and get to work!

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Halfway There

How is everyone doing? Have you reached the halfway mark yet? Does it feel like you will never finish?

Although I’m doing my novel in December this year, I know the feeling of getting halfway there and feeling a high and then a low, as I realize I’m only halfway there. Don’t let that low get you down too long. Remember, you’re halfway there! And if you’re behind, you still have plenty of time to catch up.

One thing to remember about NaNo – there are no losers. Just trying makes you a winner.

I was down about not being an official winner this year, so I printed out my certificate from the first time I won, three years ago. It’s going to be reminding me I’m a winner from now on. I will look at it and get inspiration throughout the month of December. Don’t have one to print out? Don’t worry. You’re still a winner. You’re a NaNoer aren’t you?

If you need something to remind you you’re a winner, and you don’t have a certificate, just get out a sheet of paper and print, in giant letters I’M A WINNER! Then hang it up where you can’t help but see it.

Remember, I’m rooting for you. You can do it. I know you can. You know it, too.

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Story Woes

Tomorrow, I intend to tie the scenes together that I have already written before going on with my short story. It is proving too confusing to do it any other way. Does this happen to anyone else? I need to continue. This may be the only way.

I want to get into a writing habit before starting on my novel in December. It will be a lot easier. Also, I have already recruited a few people to do a December NaNo with me. So, I won’t be alone.

Because of that, I will probably be doing this blog in December, as well. You guys don’t mind if I keep writing it this month, do you? I need something to motivate me to finish my short story. I have only been working on it three years. No joke.

My cousin wants to read this short story, if I ever get it finished. By now, she probably has doubts I ever will. I could use some encouragement, if anyone wants to give me some.

Good luck on your writing this month. I’ll be here to cheer you on.

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Being a Cheerleader

302 words. That’s how many I need to reach my goal. That’s only 21 words per day. This first paragraph has more than 21 words. I think that’s doable.

At the beginning of the month I asked myself “Why am I doing this again?” I asked myself that again today. The only thing I knew to answer is that I’m a writer. Writers write. NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo make it less of a lonely encounter. They are much more than just writing months. They are a community. This is especially true during camp, with the cabins.

Some people have gotten into cabins that are going to meet their goals as a cabin. Mine isn’t. One young lady left for camp, but she has added to her word count since then. I believe she is going to make it. Another camper is right on target. I hope to finish tonight.

How do you encourage your cabin mates to continue? I am worried that several of them gave up before they even got started. These people might not even be checking the cabin messages. How can you encourage people who aren’t around to be encouraged?

I find the encouragement part is just as much fun for me as the writing. I love being a cheerleader. I wasn’t one in high school or college, but people need cheerleaders when they get out of school as well. People need life cheerleaders. I need them as well.

I envy people who have a talkative cabin. Ours isn’t. That isn’t bad. It is what it is. No two writers are the same. No two cabins are the same. There are individuals out there who have higher word goals than my entire cabin. That blows my mind. I couldn’t even imagine how long it would take me to write 250,000 words, and I have a strong imagination.

I hope this blog is encouraging others. It would make me happy if even one person was encouraged by it.

I know there are others who want to encourage as much as I do. Go ahead. Encourage. Be cheerleaders. It will make the world a little better.

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