I found out last night that I won my first short story writing contest!! I am over the moon, past the stars, flipping over the milky way galaxy… happy! I participated in my first 24 Hour Short Story Contest over the summer and just had to try again. In the contest over the summer, I earned an honorable mention. But with their fall contest, not only did I win, I won first place.
I took the suspense route with this story with a little twist at the end. When you think you have it all figured out, it hits you like bam… but not like that lol. Once you get to the end, you’ll go back and re-read it again realizing that the clues were there all along.
The first online challenge I ever signed up for was a 28-day fitness challenge. I’m sure you’ve seen one of this brand’s many posts promoting their online fitness program geared toward women and probably rolled your eyes or got annoyed by the amount of ads showing up in your social media timelines. Well, I downloaded their 28-day fitness eBook and didn’t start the challenge until three months later.
When I finally started, I was hooked and it changed my life for the better. And It’s been the reason behind my obsession with taking part in 30-day challenges since then.
Though the idea may seem foreign, taking part in 30-day challenges of any kind is a great way to get your life together if you feel it’s out of whack. We all want the same thing in life which is to live happy and fulfilling lives, we just go about it differently because we have different interests as different people.
I’m here to tell you to stop getting in your way and try something out of the norm. Challenge yourself to complete challenges and watch it trickle into your everyday life. Here’s how to start.
As a writer, it’s important to know your worth. By this I mean knowing how much your work is worth and having respect for your great commodity, time. Earlier this month I was reminded why I should follow my gut and be selective when caving in to how much I charge to write for clients.
I made the mistake of compromising in pay when I knew that the amount of money I was charging was right for the work this client was asking for. Yet and still, I went against my better judgement and dropped my rate. I love writing like the next person, but it’s not a hobby for me.
Besides freelancing, I’m a content marketer/strategist and a ghostwriter. I write for money. And any writer who calls themselves a freelance writer should write for money too.
Whenever the New Year comes around, I take the time to get rid of things emotionally and physically. I get rid of things that no longer serve a purpose, that are taking up space, and are blocking the way for more important things. And the apps and photos on my phone are not excluded from this purge.
Speaking of apps, there are a few apps, five in particular, that I believe all writers should have to stay organized in writing and life this year. These apps have helped me keep things in perspective, get work done, and feel productive throughout the day.
With similar features to their desktop version, Microsoft office suite for your phone will be a lifesaver. For me, I’m able to get a lot done with no need to log onto my computer. And I’m sure we all have those days where sitting in front of a computer is just not what we want to do. But we still need to get ish done and having this baby on your phone is a must if you want to stay on top of writing assignments. Now to get this app, I think you have to have the suite for your desktop since you must request the download link by email or text under your Microsoft account.
So first, sorry I missed Day 20 as promised. But chile, I went on a writing binge for the past few days. Think Netflix and chill but write, more writing, no chill. I was disappointed about falling behind in Nanowrimo that I told myself that I would get to 50,000 words by any means necessary. There’s something about stating publicly that I will do something and then failing at it that rubs me the wrong way. So I stopped blogging, rearranged writing assignments, and increased my daily word count.
I reached almost 14,000 words when we last spoke and at the rate I was going; I wasn’t going to get to 50K until December so I did the math and determined that I would need to write at least 5,000 words a day to get to the end goal. And it wasn’t easy. I had to split my new word count goal in half and write 2,500 words in the morning and then another 2,500 in the middle of the night when I should have been sleeping. Some days I reached the 5K a day and others I settled for just 2,500. I Did this from November 17th. Today I’ve only logged in 2,000 words so far.
How I Discovered a Lazy Writing Cheat during Nanowrimo
I started blogging in 2008 when blogging was gaining in popularity. Early in my blogging journey, I blogged about music. Specifically R&B and a little Hip Hop. From the time I was little my parents would play R&B music on Sundays. Even after their split when I was five, they still kept to the tradition of playing R&B all day after church. My parents were ultra-old school. It was the classics and only the classics. This is why I knew the words to way too many Marvin Gaye and Chaka Khan songs than the average kindergartner.
So it made sense to blog about music and all things related to it. Through music blogging, I discovered the joys of writing lifestyle topics, which evolved into me creating my personal blog.
Before personal blogging, I found personal blogs to be blah. The ones I’d read would offer little information besides what the writer ate that day. Nothing wrong with that, I’m sure there are people interested in that kind of stuff but for me, I like to read things for edutainment. So when I thought of creating a personal blog, I was against it at first. I thought to myself who will care about my personal life and the lessons I’ve learned along the way? But personal blogging has proven to be very therapeutic.
It’s been a pleasant few days in the Nanowrimo challenge. Life has had its intrusive moments, and I’ve found myself staring at my computer when I was supposed to be working on my novel. I’ve been following the schedule I mentioned last week loosely as some mornings it’s been hard to get out of bed and turn on the computer but I’ve been managing.
As I mentioned before, besides taking part in Nanowrimo, I’m also taking part in a blogging challenge and I also write for others. So with the amount of writing going on, I experienced a little burnout.
It wasn’t anything serious, but I needed to take a day or two off from writing Loyalty is Fiction. Although my word count suffered, I was able to tweak my story so that it’s more exciting and there aren’t any moments when it’s dragging. I feel one of the things contributing to burnout is the path my story was heading in. I was feeling unenthusiastic with certain scenes and just trying to get through them to get to the scenes I really wanted to write.
You know how albums have filler tracks that are blah and we skip them to get to the songs we like? Well, I’m trying to avoid that with my book. I don’t want there to be any dull moments. I want the story’s progression to be done so well that I make it easy for readers to turn the page and keep reading. I feel more confident with the changes I’ve made.
As of this writing, I’ve logged 12,184 words. This is low to me and according to Nano’s stat counter, at this rate I’ll be done with my book in the middle of December and that’s not going to work. So at some point, I’m going to need to double up on my word count. I am happy with the way my novel is flowing. The dialogue, scenes, and pace make sense so as long as that keeps working I should be fine.
Hopefully your story is going well and if you’re experiencing burnout like me, take a small break but still actively write during your time off. For me it helps to keep writing in any capacity so it isn’t a shock once I pick right back up where I left off at with my novel.
It’s Day 6 of Nanowrimo and I’m proud to say I’m still hanging in there. In addition to writing for Nanowrimo, I’m also taking part in a blogging challenge and I still have clients to work for so there is a lot of writing happening. Balancing everything has been a challenge all and of itself but I’m learning a lot about how far I can push myself to see results and I’m loving what I see.
And that’s what I’ve been doing. As of this writing, the amount of words I’ve written is 8,739 which means I reached my first milestone of completing 5k words. Woot! The next milestone will be reaching 10K words, which I’m trying to do tonight, so wish me luck! My treat for 10K is getting one of those Lush bath bombs! It’s the little things.
The goal for next week is to keep writing, simple. My habit back in the day would be to start things and to rarely see them to the end. But with learned lessons and the idea to keep the end in mind, I will get to 50,000. Though word count is important, my focus is on making sure my story’s progression is on point.
I’ve had to stop and reread certain parts to confirm that the timelines make sense or if some of my character’s reactions are warranted. The last thing I want to do is to finish the novel and when editing get all confused by the events and moments then feel discouraged to continue editing. I feel that’s what happened with the first novel I completed last year. This is why it’s taking me so long to finish editing it.
My second goal is to double my word count three days out of the week. Tonight, I plan to double my word count to meet my next milestone. I feel this will keep my story fresh in my mind.
Anyway, I hope you fellow Nanowrimo participants are progressing well through this challenge. You learn a lot about yourself when you dedicate yourself to a challenge. Do you agree?