NaNoWriMo Prep

It’s almost November first…which means – it’s almost National Novel Writing Month!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, presents a challenge to novelists everywhere – write an entire 50,000 word book, in thirty days.

It’s not a challenge for the feint of heart. It takes guts, gumption and lots and lots of coffee. I personally tend to hole up the entire week before just mapping out all of the things I need to do.

Which leads me to this blog. I have a quick list of things to think about for NaNoWriMo prep and a free word-count printable for everyone to use when the festivities actually kick off!

NaNoWriMo Prep List

1. Map out your book. This may seem like a no-brainer, but my first year I didn’t have my entire book mapped out. I started writing organically thinking I would be able to just power through an entire book in one month without an end goal for the story in mind. I had pie in the sky hopes. It’s so important to know what you’re going to be writing, in as much detail as possible, so that you have a clear plan going in.

2. Have a word count tracker. This was another area I learned a big lesson in. Somedays I can sit down and hammer out 5,000 words and not think twice about it. Other days I sit down and can barely put two words together. Having a daily word count tracker not only shows you where you should be each day – but with a little bit of math, it lets you know where, if you need to, add more words to hit your personal goals.

3. Be prepared to commit. NaNoWriMo sounds really exciting, and honestly sometimes it even sounds simple…but 50,000 words in one month is no minor achievement. It takes time and you have to be willing to put the effort into writing every day. That means sometimes, staying up a little later after the kids go to bed or scheduling an hour a day to sit down and really focus on writing to hit your word count.

4. Make YOUR plan. I can sit here and talk all day long about what I do, but at the end of the day, these are just my experiences and things I have learned. Think about how you write, when you’re most productive, what you want to achieve – and make your own individualized plans that work for you.

5. Have fun. Don’t take it all too seriously. I truly enjoy doing NaNoWriMo. It taught me so much about writing and also about myself as a writer. Sometimes you don’t make your word count. We all have lives and things that come up, so cut yourself some slack! The most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy writing your story…because remember, the editing process comes next, heh.

So remember when I mentioned on point number two to have a word count tracker? There are a TON of them out there, and you can find them and download them all day long. I made mine for this year, and thought that I would share it with you!

NaNoWriMo Word Count PDF.

I usually print mine out and hang it where I’m going to see it every. single. day.

We are so close, lovelies! I really cannot wait for November!

Happy Writing!

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7 Things I’ve Learned While Writing My First Novel

One thing I wanted to accomplish on my journey to finish my novel, is to help others who may want to do the same. Some of the best advice I have been given didn’t come from a best-selling author, but from someone like me who was just trying to make it work.

I have read my fair share of books, blogs and articles on writing your first book and good practices to have. I stepped back and took a look a the things I had learned. Then I threw all of it out the window and made my own because that’s just how I roll.

1. Writing does not just ‘come naturally’ all the time.

Sometimes you really have to work to put something on paper. Sometimes it’s shit. Sometimes you bang your head on a keyboard. Keep going.

2. Editing is a process – a big one.

Eventually, your eyes start to cross and you forget what the story was even about. Get an editing partner. Someone you trust to read your work, and someone who will give you honest feedback. “Sounds great.” Isn’t going to cut it. You need feedback that will help your story grow into what you are envisioning for it.

3. Grow some thick skin, because feedback is a tough pill to swallow.

We are writers and we feel emotionally attached to our work. Having someone point out the worst parts is overwhelming. The beautiful thing is that feedback is a way to grow your writing skills and content and it will only help you in the long run, even if it sucks to hear now. The most painful pill I had to swallow was someone telling me my story was boring and unbelievable – gah, that still stings. But guess what? It’s better now than it was before and I’m thankful for that.

4. If it bores you to write it, it’s going to bore someone else to read it.

It is as simple as that. If you get to the end and don’t have the desire to read it over and over again and fuel your own narcissism – no one else will either.

5. Write every day.

Write every day. Write every day. I’m saying it repetitively because I’m still trying to get myself to do this one. Even if it’s a small thing, write. It’s a talent and a skill and if you don’t keep up with it, it will wane. I didn’t write for a month, went to write and they had decided to get rid of the Oxford Comma. True story.

6. Have a good spot to write.

I threw this one in there because I’ve learned recently that having space is important. And having space that you can work in as an individual is even more important.

Your writing space should be a place where you can go to just exist with your thoughts and your story – even if you can only steal away a few minutes a day to do so.

7. Keep going.

I said it earlier and I’m saying it again – Writing is hard y’all. I’m about 30k words into my novel and I catch myself wanting to scrap it on one minute and hurry through getting it done and published the next.

Stick with it, because it’ll all be worth it.

Construction Zone

Well, hello lovelies.

This is one of those ‘routine maintenance’ posts that come around every so often.

But it’s exciting – like a new pair of shoes!

Over the next couple of weeks, The Witty Bean will be under construction! There are a lot of new designs, giveaways and other goodies in the works that I can’t tell you all about yet – but just you wait!

Stay tuned my lovely readers, stay tuned.

For status updates and happenings make sure to follow on Social Media!