#Nanowrimo: Day 30 – My final word count and lessons learned

 

Yay, I did it!! Get out the confetti, balloons, and sounds of chilled champagne bottles popping everywhere! I made it to day 30 without losing my entire mind. It hasn’t been easy, and I had moments where I wondered what I was thinking getting myself into this the second time around. But I’m happy that I stuck it out.

Nanowrimo_Day30_SamanthaGWrites.ComLike I explained in day 24, I had to go above and beyond to get caught up with Nanowrimo. This included increasing my word count to make up for the days I didn’t write. And while I finished my novel last year with under 55K, this year I’ve gone past that amount and I’m still not done.

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#NaNoWriMo: Day 24 – Lazy writing cheats and passing 50K to complete my novel

 

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.

Nanowrimo_Day_24_SamanthaGWrites.ComHow I Discovered a Lazy Writing Cheat during Nanowrimo

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#Life: Why I randomly turn off my phone and avoid social media (and why you should too!)

 

*This is Day 12 of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge*

During this past week, I’ve gone on a mini hiatus from blogging and writing. I’m taking part in this amazing blogging experience, the 30-day blogging challenge, and it is teaching me a lot. But I’m also learning the value of having a life offline.

So many of our phones are practically glued to the palms of our hands that when it isn’t there, we feel naked. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve walked into the bathroom without my cellphone. And the thought of what life was like before them scares me. Perhaps it’s just a millennial thing, but social media has become a big part of how I communicate with others and keep in touch with relatives.

Alone_Time_SamanthaGWrites.ComThe cellphone has gone from being a luxury to being a necessity. Click To Tweet

And it has even gone from being just a phone to a handheld computer. There’s nothing wrong with this so long as there is a balance. If most of our conversations are via texting, Facebook messaging, or Twitter are we really having a conversation? Trust me I get it, it’s easier to text someone versus calling them and having moments where you sit in awkward silence but I kind of miss awkward silence during phone calls. Weird, I know.

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#NaNoWriMo: Day 16 – My word count, my setbacks, and my reality check

 

I know, I know. I said I’d be back for day 15 but life got in the way big time. Over the course of a few days, I’ve had a financial situation affect my writing schedule in a negative way. A part of me is so pissed that I let that keep me from reaching goals I’ve spent time working toward but I’m not one to quit no matter how far behind I might be.

Nanowrimo_Day_16_SamanthaGWrites.ComMy word count as of this writing is 13,741, I know, low right? We’re halfway there which means I should have at least 25,000 words written. But even though I’m behind on reaching my milestones, I’m still in it to win it.

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#Vegan: My top 5 vegan restaurants in New York

 

*This is Day 11 of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge.*

Along with being the city that never sleeps, New York City is also the city with endless food options. It’s a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, so you can bet that there’s a little something for everyone’s taste palates. If you’re a new vegan and live in or plan to visit New York City, there are five restaurants you have to visit to get a tasty introduction into the vegan lifestyle.

Aviary Photo_130903685222053536Dao Palate – 329 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217

Dao Palate is near the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. They describe their food as Pan=Asian vegan cuisine and offer almost all the familiar Chinese and Thai takeout meals like General Tso’s and Pad Thai, just made the vegan way. You’ll find an assortment of drinks made by hand such as their wild ginger ale, Thai iced tea, and their virgin mojito. And you’ll fall in love with their Zen décor. Tall stalks of bamboo line the walls while beautiful Asian ornaments adorn the ceiling. They serve your food on chic square china decorated with nonedible flowers. If you want to beat the crowds, it’s best to visit this restaurant before 5 p.m. during the weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends. If you’ve got room after your meal, order a dessert like their peanut butter bomb ice cream to enjoy there or to go.

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#Blogging: Why I blog

*This is Day 10 of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge*

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.

samantha_g_writes_4So 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.

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#Nanowrimo: Day 10 – Word count and dealing with burnout

 

 

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.

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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.

See you on Day 15!

The best of Samantha G. Writes week one

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It’s day 9 of the 30-day blogging challenge I’ve been taking part in and today I’m taking a look back by posting a roundup of the posts I’ve published since day 1 of the challenge.

What I’ve learned from this challenge is that you can blog every day. It doesn’t get boring, and it takes some creativity to create content that you enjoy writing, but it’s possible. It also doesn’t take that much time out of your day to complete. Most of the posts have been unplanned and written and edited in less than two hours. I’m sure if my posts required some research, I’d have to add on additional time. But for the most part, it doesn’t take very long to keep my blog updated daily.

Below are the posts I’ve published since day 1 of the challenge. The posts are a mix of tips I’ve learned in life and writing. There’s also a couple of recipes I use a lot at home for my mini-fam. They make great brain food too. Feel free to share the ones you love!

Day 1:  Almond Milk RecipeMaking almond milk is a lot easier than you think and it tastes amazing!

Day 2: 5 tips for surviving in Brooklyn your first year as a writerNew York is a great big city of dreams and the price tag can be, well, pricey. Here are tips to keep your sanity and a little extra cash in your pocket.

Day 3: How to deal with the negative people in your life We all know at least one negative person in our lives. Here are some ways to deal with them and not lose yourself in the process.

Day 4: Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese RecipeNow I’m hungry again. I’m a huge cheese lover and I’m still a fan of this vegan macaroni and cheese recipe.

Day 5: 7 things new writers should do to make money writing onlineTips that have helped me make money writing online that I know will work for others too.

Day 6: The 5 phases of pregnancy new moms experienceOne of my favorite posts because it brought back so many memories. New expecting moms, this is a must-read!

Day 7: Reading “The Power of Habit” will change your lifeMy review of the Charles Duhigg book that has changed my view on habits and how it shapes my life.

Day 8: How to embrace failure and rejection as a writer If you’re a writer, you’ll face rejection sooner or later. Here are some ways I embrace the dreaded rejection response.

 

#WritingLife: How to embrace failure and rejection as a writer

rejection_failure_SamanthaGWrites.com

You find a lot of how-to articles on the web on how to make it in the writing world. Everything from how to standout when applying to a gig to how to perfect your skills so you are the best at what you do. But I think we need to talk more about failure and rejection, and how to deal with it.

For a while, the fear of rejection and feeling like a failure kept me from opportunities. I would avoid writing an article or applying for a writing gig because I felt I wouldn’t get it and instead of taking a chance, I didn’t try.

Learning how to embrace failure as a writer is liberating. You’ll feel invincible and confident. Taking chances will be exciting and not scary. Here’s how I’ve learned to embrace rejection as a writer so it stings less when I’m told no.

Change your perspective on what it means to fail

I read this Bruce Lee quote a few years ago that has stuck with me. He said, “Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” I agree. Failure only exists in the mind. Click To Tweet If you can see the good in failing you’ll fear it less.

See rejection and failure as a lesson

Whenever I submit my work to a magazine or a website, I look forward to the rejection response. I use to dread it and preferred that they not respond at all if they aren’t interested, which most of them did. But when they did send them, they were filled with advice. It’s understandable to view this advice as criticism, but I see them as tips on how to improve my writing. So I’d review the work I sent them, edit it using their tips then submit it somewhere else until someone said yes. It’s better to take away lessons from everything you fail at as oppose to trying really hard to forget them. I’ve tried doing that, and found it gets you know where.

Don’t take it personal

As with everything in life, keeping this rule in your back pocket will get you far. Often times when someone says something we don’t like, we automatically try to vilify them. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it but we do and that’s not good. If you fail at something, or you experience rejection from an editor, don’t take it personal. You’re not being rejected because they don’t like you and it may not even be that they don’t like your writing. Maybe what you’ve sent to them doesn’t fit what their audience would be interested in or your blog isn’t the type of blog sponsors want to invest in. But someone out there will. And an editor out there will find that same rejected article perfect for their readers. My point is, when it comes to being rejected, it’s best not to take it personally. Taking things personal is a big energy sap and you need that energy to win.

Ask for advice

I believe asking for criticism can build up your immunity to the fear of rejection. Join a writers group on and offline, or have a close friend/relative read some of your work and ask them to give their honest opinion. You need that, I know I do, because if I can’t get use to not getting applauded every time I write something, the one time I don’t (after getting praised all the time) it will be crushing and might even make me feel like giving up. When you ask for advice you put yourself out there. It’s bold, and it’s brave and those are the two characteristics you’ll need to embrace your next rejection, in my opinion.

The writing life isn’t perfect it’s one big lesson and getting rejected is a part of the curriculum.

#MustRead: Reading ‘The Power of Habit’ will change your life

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*This is Day 7 of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge.*

I’m a bookworm. I like gaining information and being taken into an author’s world by just turning the page in a book. There have been many books that have changed my perception on everything from mental health and storytelling. Some of which of read more than once (The Power of Now). But this one book sits at the top of the list and it’s called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

I read this book 3 years ago when it was first released. The word habits resonates with me because I believe it to be the core of who we are as human beings. Everything we do is based on habits from getting up in the morning and brushing our teeth to having to crack our fingers before we type on the computer. Some of our habits are good and some are awful. The Power of Habit breaks down the role of habits in our lives and in business, even showing how major brands have used habits to make a lot of money.

Two examples of how habits can change your life, as mentioned in the book, is the process of losing weight or quitting smoking. The author Charles Duhigg gives an example of a 9-5’er who wants to lose weight and cutout eating junk from the vending machine. After close evaluation of self, they realized that they only went to get something from the vending machine whenever they needed a break from looking at their computer or when they got bored.

After realizing this, the subject sets a time everyday to stop and speak to a co-worker. What they realized was less trips to the vending machine, weight loss, and a better relationship with co-workers. Another example was of a woman who wanted to quit smoking. She didn’t realize how smoking was ruining her health and her livelihood. Once she got out of the habit of smoking, she ate right, then that habit lead to her working out religiously. These two individuals traded bad habits for better ones.

My favorite part of the book was when the author broke down how major businesses like Proctor & Gamble and Target made habits grow loyalty in their brand and keep customers coming back for more. In P&G’s case, they were stumped on figuring out how they could create interest in their new product Febreze. Marketing it as a product that just dissolved odors wasn’t enough. So when they asked their testing groups how they were using Febreze and discovered that some of them were using it to a finishing scent when they were done cleaning up a room or making a bed, they marketed this and saw great success. Target did something similar, except they watched what their shoppers were routinely buying then sending them circulars with related products.

One example that stuck out was one of a young girl who shopped at Target and gave them some form of contact. On her first visit she purchased baby lotion and other essentials related to baby. When they sent her the circular, it was filled with baby items like clothes, bathtubs and the like. The girl was a teenager and her father was less than pleased that the company was sending his daughter circulars filled with baby stuff, fearing that they would force the idea on her of having a baby. A few months later when reps for the company reached out to apologize to the father he apologized to them and revealed she was pregnant and preparing to have her baby.

The Power of Habit is a powerful book I recommend. It applies to all areas of life and shows how our lives are shaped by our habits. And if we want better lives we’d be happy with, we have to take a close look at our habits and decide if they are aligned with our goals.

Image Credit: Amazon