• Vlog: Some Updates on My Writing/Life

    A lot of you are interested in what’s going on with me (for some reason). Rather than respond to everyone individually–and because I haven’t made a vlog in a while–I decided to let you know some updates in a video. Enjoy!

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    What’s going on in your writing/life?

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    In this vlog, author @brianawrites shares some updates on her writing/life. (Click to tweet)

  • When You Need Your Own Pep Talk

    Last week, I wrote a post. This, in itself, is nothing unusual. The post was about NaNoWriMo. That also isn’t anything unusual. The unusual part, though, is that the other day, I found myself reviewing my own pep talk. Then, instead of skimming, I really started reading it. I dove in deep, swam to the bottom, watched the air bubbles floating up towards the surface. On the subject of NaNoWriMo, I’ve been treading water for a few weeks; since the thing got started, really. But I’m determined not to drown.
    When You Need Your Own Pep Talk

    If you’re behind, too, this post is for you. NaNoWriMo may be halfway over, but that doesn’t mean you should give up if you haven’t reached 25,000 words yet. I meant exactly what I said last week: you can totally do this. Keep going. Believe in yourself and the power of your work. And above all, don’t stop writing. No matter what, my darlings, never stop writing.

    Sometimes, life is hard. Sometimes, it feels like you’ll never get ahead, never come out on top. Life gets in the way of writing. And you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes, writing can’t be your top priority.

    Even if you can’t make word count every day, that’s no reason to abandon the project. NaNoWriMo is halfway finished, but that means you still have half a month to finish strong. Keep that in mind the next time you find yourself feeling down on yourself.

    And loves, for what it’s worth, I believe in all of you.

    How’s your NaNo novel going so far? What are your tips for staying motivated?

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    How’s your #NaNoWriMo novel going? Find out why @brianawrites thinks you should keep going, no matter what. (Click to tweet)

  • Don’t Count Yourself Out Yet! (A NaNoWriMo Pep Talk)

    If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year, welcome to the dreaded Week Two, in which everything goes to crap! Well, not everything, but you get the point.
    Dont Count Yourself Out Yet (A NaNoWriMo Pep Talk)

    In Week One, you were excited about starting your novel. You were flying high on ideas, inspiration, and energy. There were a million possibilities floating through your mind! You were going to write the Next Great International Bestselling Novel! Everything was going to be okay!

    But then Week Two came, and real life, self-doubt, and panic set in. Maybe you were working full-time or going to school or raising a family. You didn’t have as much time or energy to write as you expected, and you felt like a failure. Why did you think you could write a novel in a month? Who even does that??? You must have been nuts. You’ll never get to 50K! You might even die. (Of embarrassment, if nothing else.)

    But, but, but! Don’t count yourself out just yet! Even if you’ve fallen behind on your word count (even I have!), you can still make up for lost time and get to 50K before the month is out. If you’ve never won NaNoWriMo before, trust me when I say that there’s no better feeling than finishing strong. If you think it’s taking a toll on your mental and emotional health, then by all means, give it up. But please don’t quit just because it’s a bit of a challenge. You might end up regretting it.

    Take me, for example. I’m super behind. At the time this post goes live, I hope I’ll be caught up. As I’m writing it, I’m about 6K behind, so we’ll see what happens. And that’s okay! I tend to do the majority of my writing on the weekends, so I’m trying not to stress over it. After all, NaNoWriMo is about having fun. If you’re not having fun, why participate?

    I don’t have much else to say besides this: keep going. Even if the finish line feels miles away, I promise that you can do it. You’ve got this, all right? I have faith in you.

    How’s your word count looking so far? What, if anything, is stressing you out?

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    Stressing out about #NaNoWriMo? @brianawrites wants you to know that everything will be okay. (Click to tweet)

  • NaNoWriMo Prep Tips

    Can you believe we’re over halfway finished with October already? Where has the year gone? October is my favorite month, so I’m not thrilled to see it go. At the same time, November is coming… and that means NaNoWriMo!
    If you’re participating, I hope you’ve already planned a little. October is often referred to as NaNoPrepMo, after all. Whether you have some loose ideas, detailed notes, or a full-fledged outline, every bit of planning will help you in the long run.

    NaNoWriMo Prep Tips

    Even though October is almost over, it’s not too late to start planning for NaNoWriMo next month. If you’ve been putting off prepping, you’re in luck—I’ve compiled a list of my best NaNoWriMo prep tips. Feel free to give these a try and see what a difference it makes.

    • Start with an idea. For my NaNo novel, and for every other book I write, I start with a particular scenario in mind. The scenario often takes the form of a what if? statement. For example, “What if a teenager who lost his parents to a virus finds out that he and his sister have it, too?” (Blood and WaterIt’s often the simplest scenarios that generate the most interesting ideas, so don’t overthink it! If you’d like to develop a one-sentence pitch, check out this helpful post.
    • Brainstorm and jot down notes. Once you have a scenario or situation in mind, keep asking questions and coming up with potential story threads. At this step in the process, it’s important not to censor yourself. No matter how unrelated or useless an idea seems, make sure you record it. You never know which ideas you might end up using.
    • Develop a story structure. If you’re a pantser, this could be as simple as a few tentpoles you anticipate reaching in the story. Tentpoles could be major fight scenes, death scenes, kissing scenes, etc. You don’t need to know every detail of the story, but it does help to have a few key moments in mind. If you’re a plotter, go ahead and map the story out on 3×5 index cards or using the corkboard in Scrivener. I use a hybrid method for plotting similar to Ava Jae’s, laying everything out in Scrivener. I also recommend her vlog on plotting. Not sure how to start your outline? Check out this post, too.
    • Keep an info dump file. Throughout the next month, you’re going to get stuck. It happens to everyone. An info dump file is a great way to keep up momentum on the days when you find yourself grasping at straws. In this file, you can jot down setting sketches, snippets of dialogue, entire scenes, or anything else that you plan to use at some point in the novel. Prewriting this way will save you several times over, I promise.

    If you haven’t started planning yet, don’t despair! It’s never too late for you to start. Heck, I haven’t even started plotting my WIP yet, so I’m just as big of a mess as anybody else. THERE’S HOPE FOR BOTH OF US! So go and get to plotting. 🙂

    I have some more posts planned for NaNoWriMo next month. If there’s any topic in particular that you’d like me to cover, feel free to tell me in the comments!

    How are you preparing for NaNoWriMo this year?

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    Coming soon: #NaNoWriMo! @brianawrites has some tips to help you prepare. (Click to tweet)