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 // 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

 

 

How Habitica Changed My Life

A frequent question that I get is “how on earth do you manage your time,” with all the freelance projects and personal projects I do. “It just seems impossible to have that much going on, but still have time to spend time with friends,” is another common statement that I get sometimes.

Truth is, I’ve always been kind of proficient when it comes to managing my time and keeping on track with goals and deadlines. But it’s not all me I promise! I always have my bullet journal or planner next to me, it has become my favourite tangible productivity tool. But aside from that, I have recently started used one of my favourite apps again!
Today I want to talk about an amazing App that has been keeping me in check lately, called Habitica! Formerly known as HabitRPG, this app has taken my productivity to a whole new level.

Here are the Coles Notes:

 

  1. Start a character: There are all kinds of ways you can customize your character, but if you don’t have time, just a basic character avatar will do! This is my current character!
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  2. List your habits and dailies: The app will come with a few examples of tasks that you can use, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to just clear all those out and start fresh with your daily habits to track and what not. I personally stretch these a bit and track a bunch of smaller things. (The more you check something off, the more coins you get in a day!) These features really do help with starting to build new habits, or break bad ones! Dailies are good for everyday tasks that you don’t want to keep putting in your to do section! Then just add any other to do list tasks as they come along. I sit down every morning with my BUJO and draft out a game plan from there, but now instead of wasting a page in my notebook, I map out all of my small tasks on this app and check them off as I go. More coins for me!

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  3. Set your rewards, use the coins you receive to buy new items or quests:  Obviously there needs to be some kind of compensation for being so amazing, so everytime you do something on your lists you get coins. These coins can be used to buy armor, items that bump up your abilities and other neat things. There are bosses and battles once you get into a party, and these items will totally help with that. A feature that I really like is that you can set it up to give yourself tangible rewards too, like episodes of game of thrones and what not.

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  4. Join a party, find some guilds or start a challenge: A great thing to do when you first get started is to find a community of like minded people to quest with. Quests happen within a Party. In order to get into a Party, you need to request or get invited to one, or just start your own, you can find a chat in the tavern full of people looking for members or looking to join a party. You can only be in one party at a time, but you can be in multiple guilds! Guilds are kind of similar to a party but they are more specified interest wise (At least that’s what I have noticed!) There are guilds for people who like bullet journals, guilds for people who like Gilmore girls, guilds for people that reward themselves with anime! It’s all here, and it’s all amazing!

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  5. Collect all pets and mounts: Also, while you complete tasks you can find random items. There is no way of controlling it, but these add that addictive collecting aspect that us app-users love. Basically, you can find eggs, potions, and food. Once you have an egg and a potion you can combine them to get a pet. For example, Bear Cub Egg + Cotton Candy Potion = Cotton Candy Bear Cub!There is a huge list of combinations that you need to try to complete! You can feed your pets to train them and boost their stats, but they only eat certain foods. IE. Pink pets can only eat pink food, and brown pets can only eat brown food… and every other colour is the same. It’s simple, but like I said, so addictive. Since the HabitRPG days they have added so many new pets, and I’m completely invested in getting them all.

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Overall, I love this app and it really does help make everyday tasks a little more fun. At first, I was worried that it might make productivity a bit distracting, but after I explored a bit, joined my party and settled down, it really is something that I can’t see myself living without now. It is a free app, there is the option to purchase in game currency which, to be honest, I definitely see myself doing in the future (the developers of this app are so amazing so I would love to support them), but you can play without it for sure! Check it out and let me know what you think!

The Cozy Bones BUJO Guide

Oh hey there

Yesterday I posted a little photo of my bullet journal (BUJO) on instagram and asked if any of you wanted to know more about it! I got all kinds of comments, DMs and facebook messages asking and expressing interest so I thought it would be cool to put together a little post of everything that I’ve learned about bullet journaling along this little journey! In this post I’m going to include links to videos, sites, pictures and just some of my favourite bullet journalers in the community. This being said, you definitely don’t HAVE to be a part of the BUJO community, I know a lot of people that are solidary about it and don’t want to keep up with trends or the latest spread ideas, and that’s completely fine! Bullet journaling is all about making your system work for you, and only you. I’ll be showing you both the traditional way of bullet journaling, as well as my own personal system.

History:

The original BUJO system was created by Ryder Carroll to replace the average agenda. It combines rapid logging, an index, a key system or colour coding, migrating tasks and just random catch-all notes to create a seamless flow of productivity. If you want to learn the specifics of the traditional bullet journal go to this site and take a gander!

Customize it:

One of the deciding factors for me when I was researching the BUJO system was the overall freedom I had when it came to the way I use it. If you go into any of the bujo facebook groups you will see that everyone uses theirs differently and that the possibilities are endless. Some people decorate them, and kind of use them as an art journal. Some people use them as a simple minimalistic place to keep to do lists and tasks. Some people even have multiple bullet journals for different projects! It all depends on what you want and need from your planner, which is why I, a former binder planner/pretty planner dove head first into the world of BUJO. Which leads us to my personal journey with the bullet journaling system.

My BUJO:

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I knew getting into this that my type A personality was going to make it kind of challenging, but over the past four months since I started my bullet journal, I actually think it has helped me drop the perfectionism that kind of loomed over me all the time. I started with one of those cheap little dot-grid notebooks from Michaels, (sorry I can’t find a link) and kind of just jumped in mid-April. That alone is super out of character for me, as I’d usually wait to start a full month, plan everything ahead of time and make it all perfect. I’m super glad that I didn’t do that though. I got a good taste of what worked, and didn’t work for me, and it got a lot of thoughts and ideas out of my mind. From the beginning I kind of dubbed this BUJO my “Trial BUJO”, allowing myself to mess up, ruin pages, make mistakes. But after I began embracing that I kind of found my true style, thus finding my perfect system.

I think that my system is a little more on the simple side of things, I’ve taken out a lot of the traditional system that I just don’t need. For example, the standard month would look something like this.

  • Month title page
  • Monthly calendar
  • Month at a glance events/important dates
  • Monthly Trackers
  • Monthly Goals
  • Weekly Spreads
  • Daily To-Do Lists

(which seemed just a bit too extravagant for me)

My personal month looks a little something like this:

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  • Monthly Calendar/ important days/ goals on one page
  • Weekly Spreads
  • Notes whenever I feel like it

Keep in mind that a lot of my trackers are randomly placed throughout the journal, marked off with washi so I can find them easier, and that I also have a future log for events and important dates that I can refer too. It just works better for me this way.

Decorating:

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From the get go I knew I needed it to be decorated; given my past in pretty planning and my current addiction to washi tape and post it notes! (COMMENT IF YOU WANT ME TO DO A POST ABOUT THAT COLLECTION! ITS INTENSE AND IMMENSE!) As you can see in the photos above my front and back cover are pretty covered with stickers! The front cover has a beautiful galaxy R2D2 sticker that I found at Toronto Comic Con (I’m going to see if I can find more at Fan expo for my new BUJO) some Sailor Moon littles, a Snot Girl sticker from Bryan Lee O’Malley (my best friend got it for me when he met him in a hotel) and then the back cover has two stickers, one by Hunymilk and one by New Flesh, both local Niagara artists, both amazing and inspiring.

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When it comes to decorating the inside of my bujo, I really have no rules for this one, its full of washi, stickers, markers, swatches, everything, I think I might even have a pokemon card in there! I do plan on having a more aesthetic theme for my next bujo, because I really want to share more photos of it with all of you but I’m definitely not holding myself to that.

If you would like me to make an extensive list of pens and supplies I use please let me know. I know some friends have expressed that they want to know what pens and highlighters I use, so I definitely wouldn’t mind posting that.

Some Awesome People to Follow:

AmandaRachLee

BohoBerry

Cheyenne Barton

Ann Lee

Caitlin’s Corner

PalestBlue

 

If you want or need to know anything else, please feel free to post your questions in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them for you, but keep in mind that I am definitely not an expert at all!

Thank you so much for reading this, I hope it inspires you!
mazie bones

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