Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Should I Do NaNoWriMo?

Website: click here
As you all know NaNoWriMo is the talk of the blog-o-sphere right now because it is just around the bend. Last year, I attempted it and failed miserably. This year I thought about it and decided that this NaNoWriMo  goal isn't for me.

For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and the goal is to write fifty thousand words in a month. That works out to...let me pull up my calculator...aprox. 1666 words a day.

I have been participating in the 100 for 100 challenge hosted at Go Teen Writers over the past seven weeks. My goal is to write 100 words for 100 days. Some days, I find that challenging. Not for lack of words, but for lack of time (work, school, etc.). I don't think I could jump to 1666 words a day for a whole month without missing. It just isn't a wise goal for me, and that's okay. I've learned that I don't have to do every writing meme or blog hop, I just have to pick the ones that are right for me and my story.

There is so much advice on writing goals and what they should be, but I think the key to a successful writing goal is to produce consistent work. Some people write 1000 words a day, others 5000 or even 500; it doesn't matter. The best way to produce written work and improve your craft is to set goals that are based off your lifestyle. Having goals that you can't reach are worthless and discourage you from writing. Sure writing 1666 words/day would challenge me, but I know I wouldn't be able to reach that consistently, and I would end up feeling like I hadn't accomplished anything. A better goal for me would be 200 words/day it's still increased, but manageable. Good goals push you, but still turn out consistent work. 

Some tips for setting your writing goals:
-Set up a weekly goal instead of a daily goal, so if you miss a day, you can make it up guilt free
-Assess how much time you have in your day. Factor in school, job, homework, family time, activities etc. Is a certain time of the week/month more busy? Adjust your goals to accommodate that time period
-Try setting scene goals instead of word count goals. Eg. "I'm going to get to the end of this scene today" or "I'm going to get halfway through the scene"
-If you are at loss for what to write, set aside time to plot out the story in your weekly goals. This will help you get the words down when you know what you want to happen. Eg. Instead of writing 500 words today, I'm going to figure out the particulars of the next two scenes
-Give yourself time to adjust to the goals and revisit them after a few weeks. Maybe it's too much to ask of yourself, or maybe you could be doing more (I love it when I succeed a goal!)

Yes, smaller goals result in my story taking longer to get down to the page, but so long as it's getting to the page consistently, it's fine by me. How about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Do you have any writing goals or tips about them?

What I'm reading: The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
What I'm listening to: "My Boyfriend's Back" by The Angels
What I'm watching: Elementary

P.S. Props to all the NaNoWriMo participates out there! Good luck!
P.P.S Last year I put up some links to help out with the beginning of NaNoWriMo, check them out here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Writer's Inspiration Page

I just wanted to give you all a heads up that I finally finished the inspiration page. I have it set up so that you click on the picture and then it will led you to the little nugget of inspiration. In the future I hope to add to it, but for now that's what I've got. You can check it out in the pages bar at the top under "Inspiration Board". If you have any feedback, like always I'll be happy to hear it. Enjoy!

A few items that I want to highlight are the Pinterest boards and the Writing Music playlist. Occasionally Pinterest goes down, so if the link doesn't work for those (they're the top three and bottom left boxes) try again in a couple hours. If it still doesn't work, then leave me a comment to fix it. As for the music playlist (via  Youtube), I have added some songs that I listen to when I write and will add the song of the week every time I put up a new one, as well as other music that inspires me. Maybe it will inspire you too!

Hopefully everything makes sense and works right!

What I'm reading: almost done Frankenstien by Mary Shelley (YAY!) and The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
What I'm listening to: Dashboard Confessional
What I'm watching: Covert Affairs and Haven

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Better Dialogue, Less Fillers

I came across this video today and immediately applied it to writing dialogue. We all want our dialogue to come out sounding natural, right? Of course we do; no one wants to read stilted conversations. However, something important to remember about writing dialogue is not to be TOO natural. When we have conversations with our peers, co-workers, friends, family etc. we often use many of the filler words mentioned in the video and a ridiculous amount of small talk. When writing fiction we want to delete all of the filler words and small talk unless it's vital to a characterization (eg. an awkward exchange that needs to happen), because it clogs up your writing.

See example:

"Hey June, what's up?"
"Not much, Peter. How about you?"
"Oh you know, school, work, the usual."
"How's work?"
"It's so hard! I never get any time to myself."
"I heard that your new boss is awful! Mary told me she was going to quit."
"Really? But her and I were going to partner up on a new product design next month."
"Well, she did say she wanted to quit."
"She can't leave me hanging. She has some explaining to do!"

Now clean it up to get straight to the point:

"Hey June, what's up?"
"You work with Mary right?"
"Yeah, why?"
"She just told me that she was going to quit!"
"Really? But her and I were going to partner up..."

The flow is much better in the second one and doesn't confuse the reader with information that they don't need to  know. Try to make a point to get rid of the filler or "peanuts" in you writing this week and see if it strengthens your piece.

What I'm reading: The Comet's Curse by Dom Tessa
What I'm watching: Haven
What I'm listening to: Florence and the Machine

P.S. Inspiration page is commmmming and be sure to vote in the poll in the sidebar!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Word Wednesday: October 10/12

Long time no W.W. , but I decided to do one today as I found an excellent graphic that fits perfectly. Excuse any of the weirdness. Enjoy!

What I'm reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
What I'm listening to: Hawk Nelson
What I'm watching: Haven 

P.S. I'm working on an Inspiration page, so be on the look out for that!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Group: October 2012

For more info click here
I'm on a role! A post three days in row! Unfortunately though, I can't say the same for my story writing. Since school started up again about a month ago, time has been eaten up with homework and work and sleep and (let's be honest) watching random stuff online. Students (and adults) can relate to feeling like writing time is lacking in their lives. You start questioning whether or not writing is worth your precious time, or get discouraged over not writing anything for a few weeks.

Here's what has been helping me through those feelings. I've been participating in the 100 for 100 challenge which challenges the participants to write 100 words every day for 100 days (with a grace day each week). If you're interested in that, see my post here. It's such an easy goal to accomplish that keeps you at your work consistently and the real kicker is that you have to log your word count every week for everyone else to see (so you can't cheat!).

So my advice to you if you're having a hard time finding time is to set a small daily goal to accomplish and give yourself one grace day every week (but be sure to catch up and write double your goal another day). Don't worry that other people write x amount words a day, just worry about you. Only increase your small goal if you know you can do it. If you miss a day, well, kick that guilt to the curb and get back at it the next day.

Some days we will miss, but that's okay if we catch up. Getting over those guilty feelings can be hard, but it's necessary to keep moving forward with your story.

What I'm reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
What I'm listening to: "All I Want Is You" by Barry Louis Polisar
What I'm watching: Hawaii 5-0

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How to Center a Title in Blogger

As I'm sure you've noticed, I've changed the header on Splash of Ink to a new picture and centered title. I had a difficult time getting the title centered, so I wanted to give you simple instructions to save you some time that will work in case you want to do this on your blog.

What I used:
Google Chrome
Windows Seven (this probably won't make a difference)
Blogger (as of 02/10/2012)

Step One:
Go to your blog on your dashboard and look for the template button on the left hand side. It should take you to the page that looks like this:

Click on "Edit HTML". It bring you to a warning that says not to proceed unless you're advanced. Click proceed. I know it's scary, but you'll be fine. You should come to a screen that looks like the one below. To make it a bit easier, go into your tool bar and click "Find" (or "Search" if you're using IE). Type in "header" and it will highlight all the times the word "header" shows up in the HTML script so you don't have to manually search the script.

Next you want to find the highlighted "header" that says .Header h1 (it's four lines above the red box in the picture below). It will probably be near the top. Your four lines will probably have some different info than mine depending on your font and colour. Right after the last semicolon before the curly bracket (does anyone know the proper name?)start a new line then copy and paste this:
text-align: center;

You're almost finished, just click "Preview" at the bottom right hand corner beside "Save template" and make sure that the blog title is centered. If you put the text in the wrong spot then it might show up as an error, or not have changed at all. If that happens just close the preview screen and click "Clear edits" and start over. Do not save anything without previewing it first. If the preview is right then close the preview screen and click "Save template" and you're done!

It really is quite simple (even know it might seem challenging to root around in the HTML stuff) if you follow the steps. Let me know if you have any questions and what you think of my new header.

What I'm reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
What I'm listening to: Turning Pages by Sleeping At Last
What I'm watching: Hawaii 5-0 (the new one)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stop Thinking Start Doing

 You guys are going to laugh at me, but let me put it out there:

I'm inspired by this commercial. A car commercial.

I'm not going to go on about the parallels that you can snatch from this and writing a novel. You're smart, you can do that, but I will draw your attention this line:

"Start with a simple idea...think...think more...stop thinking start doing."

What I'm reading: The Comet's Curse by Dom Testa
What I'm listening to: Juno soundtrack and Fun
What I'm watching: Castle and Hawaii 5-0 (the new one)
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