NaNoWriMo Hump-Day Cheats

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We’re approaching the middle of the month and we’re also approaching the half-way mark for NaNo. Needing some pick me ups? Is that finish line looking impossible to cross? Here are some cheats I found that might help us get through!

People are beginning to get hostile – they’re starting to kill off their characters out of spite (guilty) – they’re eating all the chocolate!!!

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Don’t fret!

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Just follow some of these tips and we may save the day after-all.

Here’s a Harry Potter Crawl that was shared on the Half-Light Publishing page

Sign up for the 10,000 word marathon day from the comfort of your own home

Read how this blogger wrote for 464 days straight!

Read this blog on how to push through the middle!

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Need some more tips? Are you a planner? Try pantsing through a chapter. Are you a pantser? Try planning out a chapter. Instead of focusing so much on word count for the day – try doing this 7 day writing challenge.

Day 1: Have your main character do something completely unexpected

Day 2: Kill off an unexpected character

Day 3: Introduce an unexpected character

Day 4: Write an exquisite scene that involves food. Make it so good you can taste it

Day 5: Enjoy any of these writing prompts: War, Parade, Bang, Parade, Apology, Necklace, Poison

Day 6: Have your character encounter an unusual animal.

Day 7: Write an alternate ending

Thanks for playing! Let me know if you try any of my hump-day cheats and how you do! Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo – Why 50,000 Words Isn’t All It’s About

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I’m at Denny’s with my writing buddy, Debbie. I met her 3 years ago at a NaNo write-in and we’ve been meeting weekly since then to write. She has done NaNo every year for 10 years (I think this is her 11th) and has won every single year. Come to think of it, she should probably be the one to write this blog post. This is my 3rd year doing NaNo and I’m geared up to … lose for the third year in a row. And I’m perfectly okay with that – here’s why.

I’m a full-time writer. (I’m also a bunch of other crap, but that’s irrelevant for this post). Like everyone, life gets in the way for me – a lot. I sign up for NaNo every year with the point of using the motivation of other writers writing their butts off as motivation to help me get caught up in my own writing. And it helps – a lot. During NaNo, I may not get my 50k novel done, but I do walk away with a lot more than just the 50k goal. I usually write about 30-40k of edited work. (I edit as I write) Which on a good month, I’m lucky to get 20k in at all. But more importantly, each year of NaNo I’ve walked away with a better understanding of myself as a writer. I usually walk away with a new friend or two as well.

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To say NaNo is a challenge is an understatement. We learn a lot about ourselves and sometimes it’s not things we like to learn. Like how easily one can get distracted by Facebook and Pinterest. (The thorn in my side) And, how forcing yourself through writers block is a lot harder than it seems. And… how for some reason, we compare ourselves to the people doing better than us – instead of just seeing how far we’ve come. Hey, that 500 words you wrote in week 1? That’s 500 more words than you had before.

And sometimes, we have limitations we really can’t get past. This one’s hard for me to swallow because I was raised by parents who told me I could do anything I can put my mind to – and I believe it, to this day. So that means, some nights I’m hating my productivity, my work, and everything else that comes across my plate. My limitation I can’t get past? That I can’t do everything and I need to be ok with that.

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This year, has seemed especially tough for NaNo-ites. It seems like 2015 has just been brutal for everyone. Loss of loved ones, more battles with depression, hey – the economy is improving (Then why the fuck doesn’t it feel like my bank account is improving?), sick relatives, people being diagnosed with pretty devastating diseases that truly incapacitates them, and on and on and on.

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Yet, we’re already working to get through it – we are. Some of us are getting more words done on paper while others are getting through their own demons. We’re learning a lot about ourselves and most importantly, in a world where life is already increasingly difficult, we set out to conquer a mountain of a challenge. I don’t care if you don’t get a single word written, the fact that you looked outside your own comfort zone and said “I think I want to try something different” is already more than most people can say.

writer-moments6If you’re one of those people who are trying NaNo this year and are feeling down on yourself. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP. You are more than the sum of your words. Leave me a comment and let me know what NaNo has done for you and remind yourself of all that you are.

From, your newest fan.

Writing as a Black Sheep – or How Many Black Sheep Gifs Can I Find?

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I love when authors ask me my opinion on things – like getting published, genre writing, etc. Mostly because they’re usually surprised by my answers. I tend to give black sheep advice, but that’s nothing new – it’s how I’ve approached everything in my life.

“Should I self-publlish?” Not if you can help it.

“I was told to break my 150,000 word novel in half.” Only if it works better that way.

“I heard ____ isn’t selling and that I should write in ____ genre instead.” You should write what your heart desires.

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The thing is, the key to success is to do what you love. I believe this with a passion. So, if something gets to the point where you’re merely following rules and guidelines to become successful you’re no different from every other sheep in the flock. (herd? bunch?)

I’ve only been in this industry 3 years and I already have a trail of people I’ve upset. It’s not something I’m proud of. But the only way to keep everyone happy is to never move forward or do something different. What does your instinct tell you? Do you feel with everything in your heart the advice you’re getting is wrong? Then ignore it.

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What genre should you write? You should write the story that’s in you.

Should you join a critique group? Most critique groups do more damage than good. If you can find a great one, hold onto it with dear life.

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Should you join writing workshops? See above. Most of them are just there to make money for the person hosting it or to give them exposure. Very few offer something you can’t find for free online and on your own time.

Should you read? YES! Authors who say they don’t have time to read have no business writing. This is the #1 way to develop your craft. If you want to be worth something, then read and read everything.

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Is this even a sheep? I think it’s a lamb. Baaaahhhh (What’s the difference between a lamb and a sheep anyway?)

Okay – what’s my point? My point is that doing my own thing has worked for me and doing your own thing will not only work for you, but will make you happier. And being happier resonates in all aspects of your life, including your career. Success will soon follow and to hell with the naysayers.

Be a black sheep. Be a happy proud black sheep!

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Frequently Asked Questions – Or FAQ You!

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What do you think your best work is?

I think my best work to date is probably CLUSTERS. It took me a year of researching and writing to get it done – which is a long time for me. There were times where the writing was so emotional for me I had to walk away before the darkness settled on me too much.

What do you think your worst work is?

Bohemian Grove. I really had no clue what I was doing when I wrote that. I wasn’t even trying to write a book. I just had this story in my head that needed to come out and it did.

What made you decide to become a writer?

It just happened. I started writing one day and found that I couldn’t stop so that’s what I’m still doing.

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What is your favorite genre to write in?

Whatever one is calling to me at the moment. I don’t like walls or being told what to do. So I don’t like sticking to one genre either. It makes marketing a lot more difficult. But it’s what I love.

Do you listen to music when you write?

90% of the time. The other 10% is because I forgot to bring my earbuds.

Who’s your favorite author?

Dean Koontz and Stephen King. So when my work (CLUSTERS and Anna Hyde) was recently compared to them, I had a little fangirl freak-out.

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Traditional Publishing or Self Publishing?

I still 100% believe that traditional publishing is the way to go for anyone who takes their writing seriously. And the people who don’t take their writing seriously shouldn’t do either. I also believe that once you’re traditionally published, there will be certain manuscripts that will require self-publishing.

If you could make any of your books into a movie, which one would it be?

Definitely Clusters. I just think it’s so aesthetically magnificent that it just needs to be on the big screen. The characters are so real to me that it would be nice to see them three-dimensional. (Four dimensional?) I think Anna Hyde would be fun too, but not sure how anyone could pull it off.

Do any of your characters play off of people you know or actors?

Only one… Jibril from the Bohemian Grove trilogy. That one was Woody Harrelson. Since then, my writing has grown enough that my characters are true to themselves and like all of us, can’t really be ‘played’ by anyone.

Do you ever see yourself in any of your characters?

tumblr_nu9gjlyi8F1tavs5io1_500Gosh, I hope not. My characters are pretty disturbed individuals. I’ve had people say they think Carter is me. But that’s too complimentary. She’s a nice person with no evil intentions.

How do you find the time to write?

You make time. It’s like anything. If you want something bad enough you’ll find a way.

How do you know when you’re done writing a book?

Instinct.

What are you reading now?

Arguably Essays by Christopher Hitchens and a Philippa Gregory story.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two manuscripts that I’ll be shopping out to agents as I look to take the next step up in my career. One is a straight murder-mystery and the other is historical fiction. I couldn’t decide which one to shop so I’m doing both.

What books do you have coming out?

A zombie anthology, Z Resurrected, next month and Children at the Window – which got pushed back to late fall.

What’s your best advice for aspiring authors?

Everyone has advice and most of it is good advice, but not all of it is pertinent to you. Follow your instinct and ignore the naysayers.

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Have any other questions? Post below and I’ll answer!

Earning a 6 Figure Living From Writing

If you told me 5 years ago that in 5 years I’d be making a full-time living off of writing I would’ve laughed and said you have lost your mind.

Then I started writing – for whatever reason. And I couldn’t stop. So I kept writing. And Writing… and… well you get the drift.

I wrote scary stories and horror and sci-fi and marketing and anything I could I wrote — except for poetry. I can’t do poetry. (you’re probably wondering how I can write at all if you’ve only ever read my blogs — but alas, I can.)

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Then, eventually – I wrote so much that people started to call me a writer. Then… people started to know me as a writer. I wrote on blogs, facebook, Twitter… you name it – the world was my oyster … or platform. Yes, it was my platform – it was my sound box and whether you wanted to read my work or not you probably were.

Then I started to get paid to write for other people and the longer I kept doing it the more people wanted me to write for them and the more I got paid. It got to the point where a $300 day was the norm. I’ve even been paid upwards of $1500 to write a single page for companies. (Yes, this is copywriting) I did freelance journalism (still do) and then I was able to turn down jobs that didn’t pay well.

Then something strange happened. After I was doing this for a while I heard someone telling a friend of theirs in a writers group of all places that you can’t make a 6 figure income from writing unless you’re majorly published or been doing it for 20 years.

I didn’t know this and I’m glad I didn’t know this because I probably would’ve believed her. It’s true, ignorance is bliss. Yes, I write books – no, that’s not where the majority of my income comes from, but I’m getting there.

So how does someone make a 6 figure living from writing? By believing they can and by acting like they already do. I had no idea I couldn’t do it so it never even crossed my mind that I wouldn’t – and so I did.

As for the acting as if you already do? Rule #1. Never ever ever write for free. Your time is valuable and your writing is a gift. The only time I say this is an exception is if you’re doing guest blogs and even then, do so sparingly and only if there’s true return value behind it. I recently stopped guest blogging for a writers blog because 80% of the other guest bloggers were writing junk posts. There was no way that blog was going to grow and bring me viewers so I stopped writing for them. I don’t have the time to baby another persons blog to make sure it’s valuable and neither do you. A millionaires time is said to be worth $250/hr. If you want to be a millionaire, what is your time worth? If you want to be a six figure earner, what is your time worth?

A writer is a business. Treat it like one. If you treat it like a hobby then you’ll make the same income as one.

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