Preptober//Mastering the Brain Dump

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Oh hey there

 

I believe I have briefly talked about my love for brain dumps in my planner, or my use of a trigger list before in past posts about my planner system, but you still might be wondering, “What’s a brain dump?” or “What’s a trigger list?” so I decided to break it down and teach everyone what I know about this amazing tool!

The reason this is in my Preptober series is that NaNoWriMo is definitely a chaotic time for our brains, and this can really help bring that chaos out of you, and onto a sheet where it can be easily sorted out. I always find myself getting overwhelmed in November and this is really the only thing that calms me down.

So the first thing you will need is a notebook you take around with you all the time, or if you would rather, you can get one of those legal notepads and just completely chicken scratch it, and then input the important information you find into your bullet journal. For me, I use my older half used notebooks, so that I can use them up and store them after. A good example is this notebook below. It was formerly a school notebook for my last semester but I have decided to make it my brain dump book, whenever I need to write something out of my head, it goes in here. This is an extension of my brain.

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It’s just a simple composition book from Walmart, I got it in the summer before I went back to school.

The next thing you are going to want to do is take another piece of paper, and go through this master trigger list and write down all of the things that apply to you. The point of this is to write down only the triggers that you have to worry about, the less you have on the list, the quicker the brain dump will be, but be honest, don’t skip things just because you don’t want to make yourself think about them. Now I have been working on putting together a trigger list specifically for writers/authors, but it’s not finished yet, I’m thinking of making it a downloadable sheet, if that is something you’re interested in, please let me know!

After you write them on your piece of paper, find a way to attach them to your notebook, it can also work as bookmark! **If you plan on dedicating a part of your planner or a whole notebook to this, I recommend you create an idea index at the front, and colour code it so that nothing gets lost, because depending on how busy your brain is, this book can get super hectic (mine does at least!).**

 

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The next step is going to be on a daily or nightly basis. Every night I sit down before bed, and I go through my trigger list. Its a list of things that I need to make myself think about, pertaining to work, freelance, school and projects. I just write out everything that comes into my brain when I think about those things and about 6 pages later I am left exhausted and calm.
I do this at night because it helps me sleep better if I have nothing in my head to worry about forgetting.

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If there was one thing that I could recommend for you to do EVERY DAY, no matter what, it would be this. Honestly, this saves my sanity every day and I am so happy to share it with you. There is a lot of information online about brain dumps or mind sweeps but this is the best way that works for me!

Let me know if this helps you out at all and feel free to comment below with your brain dump systems!

mazie bones

 

 

Preptober// 8 Things To Do Before NaNo Starts

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Oh hey there

 

 

 

This post was originally written by me for a site called Sprint Shack that I used to write for back in college, I asked if I could use this post because it had a lot of really good points and helpful tips, and Cristina said it was totally fine! So here we go!

 

It’s that time of year again, when the leaves start to fall, the crisp air bites at your cheeks and all of the coffee shops are full of the smell of pumpkin… and crazed over-caffeinated writers preparing for the impending storm. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but for people like me, this is the month of readying yourself for the battle against a novel that seemingly never wants to be written. Ideas for stories or novels swarm my brain on a regular basis, but as soon as NaNoWriMo is in arm’s-reach, it’s like they go into hiding.

There are millions of things we suddenly remember while NaNoWriMo is in progress that we wish we would have thought about before–or, at least, that’s the case for me. So I took it upon myself last year to keep a little ongoing list of all the things that I should have done before NaNoWriMo started. Here are some things you can think about or start working on now to have a more productive November.

Find Character Inspiration and Names: 
We all know the struggle of character naming in the heat of the moment. Even if you are a “pantser” at heart, you know the time that building a character can take away from your word count. So why not do some minimal planning and figure out your characters before you have to stress about them?

Create/ Brainstorm your Cover Art:
If you are anything like me, you know the pain of going onto the NaNoWriMo forums and seeing all the beautiful cover art all ready in the signatures of all the eager and prepared Wrimos. You try to ignore them, but in the back of your mind, every sentence you write is backed up with an unbearable longing for your own cover. For me, it was my greatest downfall and distraction in the first week of last year’s festivities, and I will definitely be working on mine before November this year.

Research your Genre and Take Note of Any Applicable Conventions:
This is a great thing to do, especially if it is your first time writing within this genre. Knowing the conventions or other common features of your genre will really help you get in the groove, and it’s one less thing you will need to research when you get started.

Do the Math, Plan Your Numbers for the Month:
If you are a student or work full-time, you will need to work around your life’s schedule to win NaNoWriMo. The lovely word count tool on the website will try to tell you that you need to write roughly 1600 words a day, but for some people that’s simply not doable. So go through your schedule, find the best writing days, and try to amp up your word count on those days. This is also good if you suffer from chronic stress and need to give yourself a little break once or twice a week from novel land. If you need a few days off, just calculate that into your weekly numbers and make sure that you can make up for them on another day. The biggest part of NaNoWriMo is keeping a steady pace and making sure you take care of yourself and life outside your novel, as well.

Book Some Days Off for Catch Up or Damage Control:
This one kind of ties in with the last tip. Slipping and falling behind is pretty easy to do–life happens and you can’t expect the world to stop for NaNoWriMo (not yet at least). If you can afford to do so, I highly recommend keeping at least one day near the middle and end of the month dedicated to catching up. I personally keep a few days closer to the beginning of the month to get ahead so that I can focus on all my duties as a Municipal Liaison, and that works best for me.

Figure Out Your Goals and Rewards:
I’m a big believer in setting goals and planning rewards for when goals are achieved. If you are someone who finds themselves unmotivated often, then you should definitely set multiple short-term goals and rewards, such as for every 10,000 words written. But if you just need that one big push to get to the end, give yourself one big end goal and work towards that. Every year my reward is a winner shirt for the year and a big celebratory dinner with all the friends that had to put up with crazy-NaNoWriMo-me.

Prepare Your Inner Editor:
I want to talk more about this in a later post, but for now, I am going to explain what you can do to get ready for your novel frenzy month. Any seasoned Wrimo knows that the biggest word count killer is your inner editor. That little voice in your head that moves your fingers to that backspace button, makes you read back 8 pages, or convinces you to delete whole chapters. You need to start training yourself to fight against that little voice. I have some tips and tricks to help you beat it once and for all, but right now, you can start by practicing the ever so simple mantra “write now, edit later.” It will seriously change the way you write anything and everything. There are settings for you to turn off your word-processors editing tools if that helps you at all, but just start practicing, I promise it will make a huge difference.

Clear Your Workspace and Computer of Distractions:
Nothing is better than a well-organized workspace. All your references in order, the perfect little spot for your coffee… it all helps everything flow better when things are in place. I always make sure to clean up my computer while I’m in the cleaning mood. I hide all the distracting files or games in a folder and flood my desktop with motivational quotes and inspirational images or references. It’s really helped me out when I am looking around for something to distract myself.

How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo? Will you be trying any of these tips this October? Let us know!

mazie bones

Preptober// What is NaNoWriMo?

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Oh hey there

I realized about halfway through my last preptober post that I hadn’t really explained exactly what NaNoWriMo is. So just in case you have just stumbled upon this post and have absolutely idea what it is, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge that encourages writers to stop procrastinating and just write the first draft of their novel. The idea is to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. There is a website where you can get involved with the official community, where I personally have made so many amazing friends.

So a traditional NaNo is considered to be a month where you write a 50,000-word novel, but there are rebels out there that don’t like writing novels (like me!) There are people that write poetry, screenplays, multiple short stories, blog posts, business-related writing, and even consider their freelance writing to be writing for NaNo. Last year I counted any blog post I wrote into my word count because I was so busy and it was either write 2000+ words for my story or write a couple blog posts a week. It all ended up working out in the end, but personally, I feel like rebelling from the tradition of novel writing can actually be more difficult sometimes. It’s hard to keep track of word counts, especially if you don’t use Scrivener.

50,000 words can definitely seem taunting! Especially if it’s your first time participating but it’s important to not get overwhelmed or discouraged. Try not to fall behind too much and if that number scares you, just break it down into sprint sized numbers.

50,000 words in one month

Overall, NaNoWriMo can definitely be stressful, especially if you are already a super busy person, or writing for a living, but it has the most amazing and supportive community that thrives on motivating others to meet their writing goals. So if you stay on top of your goal with these little baby steps of 417 words, 4 times a day, I have no doubt in my mind that you will be able to win this year. It’s not too late to start planning now.

If you do sign up to participate, feel free to add me to your buddy list, my username is MazieBones.

Let me know if this has peaked your interest! I’d love to know if my post has inspired someone to start the challenge!
mazie bones

october: small goals

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Oh hey there
Let me tell you, it has been an absolute ride this month. A strong start, a big loop in the middle and now another amazing start for this month! If you follow me on social media, you may have heard that I got a new job! I haven’t shared much about it publically yet, because I plan on doing a post, but I’m very excited about it, it’s all falling into place and I seriously couldn’t be happier.

So here is how I did in September!

September Goals:

Portfolio: I was offered a pretty awesome job near mid-september and I just completely fell out of portfolio mode. Its definitely being migrated to this month AGAIN.

Prep-tember: I’m going to do a round up post of all my Prep-tember posts but if you liked those posts, you’re going to love all the Preptober posts I have planned for this month!

Outline my NaNo Novel: I started brainstorm more scenes but I didn’t actually write any of the outline down. Which is not very productive. Thats what this month is for though right? RIGHT?!

Print My Zine: I have successfully written and illustrated a whole new zine, but neither of them are printed yet for some reason. I need to sell some during NaNo though since I won’t be working as much, so it’s definitely a priority!

Blog Every Week Day: I was doing really well up until Navi’s vet adventures that I wrote about here. I tried to redeem myself a bit in the last week of September but it wasn’t the best attempt! I got all the important posts I needed to get up though! So that’s a thing!

No Spend: I killed it this month on the no spend! No slip ups, I didn’t forget once, I was super mindful about what I was spending! On October 1st I rewarded myself with a beautiful Luna the Cat Backpack! When it arrives I’ll be writing a post about it!

October Goals:

Inktober and Vlogtober: This month I’m doing the Inktober and Vlogtober challenges over on youtube. At the very least I want to do what ink drawing each day, my expectations are a bit lower for the vlog challenge but I’ve been doing okay so far!

Preptober: As I mentioned before I have a huge Preptober series planned for this month. I’m a NaNoWriMo ML and prepping my novel now is super crucial for my wellbeing in November!

Affiliates/PR/Sponsorships: Last month I became a part of a whole handful of new affiliate programs and I really want to create some kind of routine on getting my links out there on my Pinterest and in posts and whatnot, so I’m going to try to up my game a bit on that front. I also want to find more programs that pay per click instead of sales.

Portfolio: Migrating this task over from September! Kind of rolling my eyes at myself right now!

More Quality Time: I want to focus on spending more quality time with my loved ones. Things have been super hectic since we got back from vacation and the next couple months are going to be absolutely insane so I really want to set aside some time each week before the weekend to get some good quality time in with Drew and our little fam!

No-Spend: This month on the no-spend list are the usual suspects. No books, no MORE bags ( I bought that backpack on the first of the month with the intent of not buying any other ones until I can get rid of a few.), No yarn unless it’s specifically for a Christmas gift!

What are your goals for the month? I’d love to hear some of them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,
mazie bones