october: small goals

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

Prep-Tember // Podcasts for Writers

Oh hey there

 

 

 

I think I have mentioned before that I have been on a bit of a podcast rampage lately. Now that I’m working from home, I’m here a lot more, and as much as I talk to my cats, they never really respond so while my partner is at work, background noise is definitely needed. Sometimes it’s old episodes of The OC, sometimes its Spotify, but most of the time it’s a podcast. Though not all of my podcasts are great for writing too, some of my favourite ones are gaming or RPG podcasts, a lot of the ones I subscribe to are specifically for writers. So in this post I’ll be talking about my favourite podcasts to listen to while I’m writing, or if I need to get inspired to write.

Writing Excuses: 
“a fast-paced, educational podcast for writers, by writers. It airs weekly, with new episodes appearing each Sunday evening at around 6pm Eastern Time. Episodes vary in length from fifteen to twenty-five minutes, but are usually less than twenty minutes long. The tagline, “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart” isn’t super accurate, time-wise, but it’s a haiku so we’re keeping it.”

Welcome to Nightvale:
Now this isn’t a writer’s podcast but it’s a super interesting concept and I find the episodes really inspiring.

“WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide.”

The Smarter Artist:
” Author entrepreneurs Sean Platt, David Wright, and Johnny B. Truant answer questions, offer quick tips, and deliver keen insight to help creative people who want to make a good living off of their hard work. In just a few minutes a day, we promise to help you get smarter faster.”

The Self-Publishing Podcast:
” Want to publish and sell more books? Want to get your writing into the world without contending with agents, publishers, or the other gatekeepers in traditional publishing? There’s never been a better time to make money as a writer — to take your books directly to readers and be in charge of your own business rather than jumping through hoops to please the Powers that Be. Full time authors Johnny B. Truant, David Wright, and Sean Platt (owners of the 2M+ words-per-year indie publishing company Sterling & Stone) explore everything related to getting your writing published… and making money doing it… in today’s new DIY digital publishing frontier. This isn’t artsy talk — it’s “authorpreneurial” business strategy that turns self-publishing from sideline into a rewarding career.”

Authorpreneur’s Almanac:
” Authors and innovators Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant reveal the inner workings of indie publishing company Sterling & Stone, in a real time look at what works, what doesn’t, and what they learn along the way.”

Writership:
“We help fiction writers master self-editing skills, and we offer editing services to turn good stories into great ones that are well told and polished.
Our adventures are fueled by a passion to make authors proud of their writing and the legacy they’re building.”

Grammar Girl:
“Your friendly guide to the world of grammar, punctuation, usage, and fun developments in the English language.”

Sell More Books Show:
“The Sell More Books Show is a weekly podcast focusing on helping new and experienced authors stay up-to-date with the latest self-publishing and indie news, tools and book selling/marketing strategies.”

The Worried Writer:
” Most writers I know create their work despite being worried, anxious or distracted. You are amongst friends!

The podcast is stuffed with advice to help you overcome self doubt, fear and procrastination. We all struggle with these things, but there are tools and techniques that can transform your writing life.”

Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert:
” Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert returns for the second season of her hit podcast MAGIC LESSONS, ready to help another batch of aspiring artists overcome their fears and create more joyfully. This year’s guest experts include Neil Gaiman, Gary Shteyngart, Amy Purdy, Michael Ian Black, Brandon Stanton, Martha Beck, and Glennon Doyle Melton.”

Hopefully, this post helps you find a few podcasts that will help you get inspired. Are there any awesome podcasts that I didn’t list here that I should check out! Leave your favourites in the comments below.

mazie bones

Prep-Tember// Why I Use Scrivener

Oh hey there

 

Today I want to talk about the application/word processor that has changed my writing career: Scrivener. I have been using Scrivener for over 4 years now and I am a huge advocate. In all of my writing ventures, be it creative or freelance, this is the processor of choice. If I mention my writer’s notebook, I’m usually referring to my ongoing creative binder in Scrivener, which is kind of top secret but maybe someday I’ll clean it up and do a post on it!

So here are some of my favourite features and some of the main reasons I use it so religiously.

Name Generate:
I love this feature so much! I didn’t mention it in the Character Names post I made yesterday because I wanted to save it for this one, but the Name Generator is definitely an awesome tool that helps broaden the horizon beyond all the way you can find names that I shared yesterday.

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Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 11.40.38 AMThe Organization Tools:
I adore the fact that you can go to bulletin board mode and see all of your cue cards laid out. If any of you have followed me over from my old blog, you will know that I was an avid user of the cue card method of brainstorming and organizing, and having this feature helps me save a lot of paper. I also love the folder systems, and that there is an option to change icons on folders and files for better organization.

 

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Statistics:
When it comes to writing for work or during NaNoWriMo, I am very goal driven. I have a bit of an obsession with constantly tracking my progress and setting new goals, and that is just how I get some of my best work done. Having these statistic tools and daily targets is a huge reason that I love this program so much. It’s like every day can be a NaNoWriMo day.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 11.34.01 AM

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Editing Tools:
All of the tools in this drop bar have proven to be so helpful to me when it comes to writing. in the Writing Tools tab, it lets you check online dictionaries and thesauruses, which I frequently find myself searching for. There are also dictation tools, which are super useful, and special characters in case you find yourself creating a new secret language.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 11.39.38 AM

All in all, I think that the program speaks for itself. I personally can’t live without it and think it is seriously life changing for writers of all sorts so it’s definitely worth trying the free trial to see if it works for you. There are so many other features to explore that I haven’t shared in this article, that you might find life-changing. Check out this link (not sponsored) to get your free trial today!

What word processor do you use and why? Is it your ride or die or are you looking for something new? How do you organize with it? Thanks for reading!

mazie bones

Prep-Tember // Character Names

Oh hey there

 
Character names can be one of the most daunting parts of writing novels, at least in my opinion. Committing to a character name is kind of like naming a child or a pet. It’s a name that you are going to have to hear and write and say a whole lot so it really has to work, and it has to fit the character. So in this post, I’m going to be talking about some of the ways that I find names for my characters!

Surnames:
I find its always easy to start with a surname so that I can make sure that the first names sound better with it. Though surnames aren’t the most used name, it’s still important to have that name picked to add depth to your characters and to allow possible growth with family trees and what not. The first step I take to find a surname is I grab a phone book and start flipping through the pages. Whenever a last name pops out at me I flag the page or add it to my ongoing collection of names in my writer’s notebook.

Read Everything:
Remember that every name is a possibility, and therefore, everything you read that contains names, holds possibilities for character names. Read the newspaper, read old books or comics, read an atlas, or an encyclopedia or maybe even branch out and look for unlikely names. For example, if you’re writing a fantasy book, look up old names, or take a basic name and spell it differently. For example, Mazie could be spelt Maezy.

RPG Character Creation Generators:
I have a background in Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop RPGs and I love using those generators to create character names, especially for short stories or fantasy pieces.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to make sure the name fits your story and your character. If it doesn’t fit you’ll start to notice sooner while you’re writing that the name is just not working. I personally start to realize it when I get to the second chapter and I start cringing or rolling my eyes every time I have to write it down.

I hope that this post kind of gives you a bit of insight or at least a couple ideas on how you can find the right names for your characters! If this post helped you at all please put some of your favourite names in the comments below! I’d love to hear some of your best character names, or even what genre you enjoy writing the most!

mazie bones


 

Prep-tember // Word Sprinting

Oh hey there

 

Today I want to talk to you about a little thing that could save your novel’s life, it has certainly saved some of my writing projects. In my first year of NaNoWriMo, maybe 5 or 6 years ago I discovered the pure magic that is THE WORD SPRINT!

Word sprints originated in the Wrimo Community on Twitter and have been helping people reach their word counts ever since. A word sprint is when you sprint and write as much as you can in a set time! For example some people warm up in short intervals like 5 or 10 minute sprints. Personally I find my best word counts in 20 minute or 30 minute intervals. It’s not only invigorating to get so much work done in such a short period of time but it also just tells you a lot about yourself as a writer! I had no idea I could write 1000 words in 20 minutes until I sat down and sprinted it.

So right about now, you might be wondering, “How do I find a sprint?”
EASY! There are all kinds of hashtags put in place all year round but also mainly centred around NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo that make public sprints super easy to find. Some of the best ones I’ve found are the following:

#getwordies
#wordsprint
#1k1h
#writingsprint
#nanosprint
#nanowrimo
#writeclub

I hope this helps you out with catching your word counts. Since I discovered how well word sprints worked for me, I’ve been using them for everything. I sprint my blog posts, I sprint my freelance work, I basically sprint everything. Something that has really helped with perfecting my sprint is keeping track of my sprint times/words written average. Having these numbers recorded can help me know how long I need to sprint for to get a project done. For example, if I know I have to write 500 words for a client, and my average is 500 words over 30 minutes or 250 over 10 minutes, I know that I should break up my sprints into two 10 minute intervals to get my project done. 

That could just be me over complicating something so simple and easy, but it’s what works best for me.

Do you work well under pressure? Have you tried a word sprint before or do you plan on trying it now? If you have any favourite sprinters or favourite hashtags for word sprints, share them in the comments below!

mazie bones

 

 

Prep-tember//Asking Why

Oh hey there

I’m super excited about this post, as its the first post to kick off my Preptember Writers Series! This topic has been one that I’ve been pondering for a while now and it all kind of started on our car ride home from vacation. For a while now, my partner and I have been kind of jokingly pulling together this plot of a book that neither of us planned on writing. I want to say that this ongoing joke started in the beginning of our relationship and it’s just been growing and getting more and more ridiculous the more we brought it up. But when we embarked on our 7 hour drive home from Magnetawan we eventually ran out of road trip games to play and we slowly transitioned into talking about our plot idea but in a more serious manner.

The longer we drove, the more real the story seemed; it became something kind of possible, and kind of awesome. So we have kind of decided to collaborate this idea. He isn’t a writer, so I’ll be doing all of that, but his skill with plotting and storyline is kind of remarkable. It really is a gift. Which is kind of what inspired me to write this post about asking yourself or your characters “Why?”

As we went on developing our story, I kept asking him different questions, but most of them were starting with “Why?” Why are they fighting? Why do they need to get there? Why are they running? Why is she alone? Why a giraffe? 

Whenever I asked why I was worried that he would get defensive of his story, I was worried that asking why would seem like I was challenging the ideas, but that wasn’t the case. Whenever we asked why we opened up the floor for some of the best reasoning and discussions. The other questions worked but none of them produced conversation like our “Why” questions. I think that asking why is a question that challenges a plot, and as long as it’s yourself or your beta-readers challenging your plot, I think it’s fine. you should be able to defend your plot, but more importantly, you shouldn’t have to.

So as a way to avoid having to answer questions later, answer questions now, while you’re writing, or before you even open that new idea.

What I wish we did was record that discussion, because we would have had 2 hours of the purest plot details and background information that we could possibly get and we might not ever have those true and blatant answers ever again, which is fine, we’ll get there eventually, but it was such an amazing conversation.

Another thing that I learned about myself as a writer while discussing this plot with Drew, was that having a partner or friend to sound board off of, or having someone to ask or answers questions with is SO helpful. If you have a friend that you can confide in and trust your ideas with, I would definitely recommend having a little Q&A!

 


What is your favourite question to ask yourself or your characters? Do you find asking questions helps you develop your plots, or does it take the fun out of it for you?

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more Prep-tember posts in the future,

mazie bones

 

Prep-tember Writing Series

Oh hey there

First off I’d like to thank everyone for their patience! I went away on vacation without scheduling anything so it’s been a couple seconds since my last post here. I’m going to be talking about that vacation a bit more extensively in another post in the future but during the 6 hour drive home I came to the realization that NaNoWriMo is only 2 months away and had a little bit of an existential crisis.

After sound boarding some ideas I think I have finally picked the project that I’m going to focus on for NaNo this year so it’s time to plan and prep for November. If you aren’t sure what NaNoWriMo is, the coles notes are as follows: National Novel Writing Month is a world wide event where writers and creatives set a goal of writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of November! There is a huge community online, as well as regional groups! I’m actually a Municipal Liaison for my region, which is why I’m planning this early on. It quickly becomes a pretty high-stress event about half way through if you start coming up short on your word count goals, or if you hit a road block with your ideas, which is why I always take the precautions of planning ahead, with extensive outlines and other borderline crazy safety measures.

I’ll share more NaNoWriMo specific information in October, or should I say Prep-tober, but for now we’re going to keep it simple. I have pulled together a list of post topics for a new Writers Series. I did one of these one my old blog, and I think that it would be really interesting to bring something similar to this one. So I hereby declare next month to be Prep-tember, a writing (in general) series.

Some topics you can expect are:

  • Questions to ask yourself when brainstorming a plot
  • Programs I use for novel building
  • Programs or apps I use for productivity
  • Best writer podcasts
  • Different efficiency methods for writers

The more I sit down and plan for this series, the more excited I get to start publishing these posts. Which leads me to my next exciting piece of news.

I plan on posting every weekday in September. Since November is approaching quickly, I need to get myself into the habit of writing more, and if possible every day, so I’m hoping that this can act as a little warm up for me. Not all of the posts are going to be a part of this prep-tember series as I have a few other series ideas in the works. I’m super excited to see if I can do it!

If you have any ideas for Prep-tember topics or any other blog posts you’d like to see from me, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below!

As always, thanks for reading,
mazie bones

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