Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4 Recap & Wrap Up

CNW_Participant

Well, this month was very difficult for me to get into my writing mojo, but I started several projects, wrote more for some over others, so I’m interested to see if I’ll continue with any of them.

Goal

50,000 words total by the end of April 30th.

That’s the equivalent to a 200-225 page book. So my average daily word count goal to reach my main goal is to write 1,667 words per day.

Stats for Week 4

Day 23: 0 words for a total of 18,273 words
Day 24: 0 words for a total of 18,273 words
Day 25: 0 words for a total of 18,273 words
Day 26: 2,617 words for a total of 20,890 words
Day 27: 1,397 words for a total of 22,287 words
Day 28: 0 words for a total of 22,287 words
Day 29: 395 words for a total of 22,682 words
Day 30: 0 words for a total of 22,682 words

This Week’s Advice: Don’t Feel Rushed or Pressured to Write

I think this is an extremely important point to remember when writing: don’t feel rushed or pressured to finish in a certain amount of time (unless you’re on deadline, then good luck to you!). When writing for a competition like this (even though it’s not really a competition), it can get overwhelming to write a certain amount of words in a month if you’ve never done so before.

If you’re like me and a lot of other people, you’ll expect perfection and everything to flow smoothly your first go around, and that’s just not the case. Even seasoned writers and well known authors don’t even have that luck. I think it’s fairly common to get into the mindset that your writing is the best or maybe it’s not good enough, and you end up comparing yourself to another writer.

Stop that. Because there will always be someone better than you, but you have to remember: what you do is your best at this moment. You can, and will, get better with time and practice.

This past month I’ve barely written anything toward my goal. Well, okay, I’m a little over half way to my goal, but if I had actually written the past two weeks instead of derping around then maybe I would have actually reached that goal this month. But the reality is that I struggled a lot with my original idea, I wrote three or four other things before finding one that I really enjoyed writing, and even that changed in front of my eyes as I wrote it and got to know my characters more.

But there’s something important that I realized while I was writing this new idea: I can’t rush it.

I want to take my time to get to know my characters, to learn who they are, what they like and don’t like, what their mannerisms are, their backstories. And I can only learn that by writing them out and letting them lead where the story needs to go. I can only interfere so much before I know that something isn’t working and my characters take the lead again.

Writing isn’t about rushing or having the most perfect piece of work ever, but it’s a slow process of learning your characters, your story, and most importantly, yourself as a writer. Keep your chin up, fellow writers, because even though Camp NaNoWriMo happens twice a year and NaNoWriMo happens once a year doesn’t mean you can’t write throughout the entire year.

Take the time to slow down, reflect on what you’ve written, and keep going because YOU created that new piece of art. YOU created something only YOU can tell. And that’s the most important part.

Wrap Up

So this last month was less than stellar for my writing, but I still made progress on several stories, so that’s really what matters.

My ending total: 22,682 words

My Goal: 50,000 words

If I had stuck to it I definitely could have reached my goal, but life and other things got in the way, unfortunately. I still had fun and will probably participate again.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

How was your writing month? Did the words flow or did you struggle like me? Did you find out anything new about your characters when you were writing that you weren’t expecting? Let me know!

ABEA Day 3: Blogging Q & A

Today’s ABEA topic choice is one in which was difficult for me to choose from, but I decided to go with talking about blogging and my journey and some tips up to this point. Let me just state now that I am by no means an expert as I’m still growing and learning and expanding in my own blogging techniques. But I have learned several things over the years I’ve been blogging (on this and another blog) and so I’m just going to chat about that now.

My Journey

I’ve tried blogging on several platforms and for various topics, from school required blogging to my writing blog to this one I have here. I’ve used Blogger, Wix, Tumblr, WordPress, and (a very long time ago) LiveJournal. So I’ve been on and off in the blogosphere for several years now.

But nothing really ever stuck for an extended period of time until my writing blog, and even now I rarely post there anymore.

I have fallen in love with this blog, though.

I love talking about reading, discussing topics and issues that pop up in the community, showing my hauls and just having a fun time with books. This has been one of the best ideas I’ve had and I’m glad I’ve stuck with it because I will always love reading and there will always be books out there.

I’ve gained followers and awesome people I can talk to about the things I love who have a common interest, and I love that. It makes me so, so happy to be able to have such a large community I can branch out to and learn from and just talk to about books.

Blogging Tips

Okay, here’s where it may become a little bit fuzzy with advice because even though I’ve been doing this on and off for a few years, I’m still learning. Blogging is an ever changing entity and everyone has their own flair and tastes, so just remember that this will be my own experiences and personal advice.

  1. Have fun with your blog. Whether you’re talking about books, crafts, art, or fishing, you need to have fun with the content you’re producing. If you’re not having fun, why are you doing it? If you don’t have the passion behind it, take a step back and evaluate to see if there’s something that needs to change.
  2. Produce your best quality content. Okay, this one even I feel like a hypocrite about, but it’s true. When you post you want it to be some of the best of your own writing and thoughts about your given topic. Of course when you’re first starting out your content may not be up to par, but the more you do it the better your content will become. I mean, if you check out my last year’s posts, they were really, really bad. I cringe when I look at them, but they were a starting point and now I’m becoming proud of what I post.
  3. Don’t let what other people are posting pressure you into doing the same thing. There’s so many different styles of reviews, so many varieties of memes, so many different experiences out there on the Internet that it can all blend together and make a new blogger – and even an experienced blogger – confused about where to even start. I do a couple memes (Top Ten Tuesday & Top 5 Wednesday) every week if I can because I find them fun and I’m able to share some thoughts on books I may or may not have talked about before.
  4. Keep your blog clean and organized. It’s so much easier to track what post is where if you have dedicated subjects at the top of your blog. Have drop down menus and links referring back to your posts so that they’re easy to find. I find a cluttered blog to turn me off real fast because there’s so much to look at when all I’m looking for is the content. But that doesn’t mean you can’t design it how you want it, just make sure you have navigation somewhere.
  5. Try to post regularly/what fits your schedule. Some people are able to post every day, multiple times a day, and that’s okay. But some people can only post once or twice a week; that’s okay, too. Just be sure to set a schedule for yourself and try to stick to it to the best of your ability.

So there are five tips that I think are broad enough to fit everyone somehow. Blogging is an interactive, engaging experience. Make it your own, though; you don’t need to follow the pack.

Networking

I think it’s very important to network as a blogger. If you want more people to see your content, you need to be willing to branch out and extend to other media. Now I already discussed what my various social media are, but here’s why I personally think that it’s worth while to connect with some of the bigger ones:

  • Twitter: It’s fast, it’s super social, and you can get your content out quickly. So many websites, including WordPress, allow you to link up to your Twitter account so your blog posts automatically post on your feed. I use this one the most in terms of reading and writing related things because there are different hashtags you can use to connect with others who will also potentially follow you and check out your site. Some various hashtags I frequently use are: #amreading #amwriting #booknerdproblems #bookbloggers #writerproblems
  • Facebook: Using a page or personal account can connect to even more people. I mean, Facebook kind of turned into a phenomenon over the last few years and has grown so big that you’re bound to get people to follow or friend you there. Now this can be tricky to use, though, because many people will only follow if they see your link on your personal account or from your blog page. I use it in case anyone on Facebook who isn’t on Twitter or follow my blog can see my posts still.
  • Tumblr: It’s another blog for your blog! Okay, well, this may seem redundant, but there are SO many teens that use Tumblr and who love books that just by connecting your blog posts to tumblr (or actually using the platform itself) can get you a bunch of people to follow and talk with you about books.
  • The comments on your blog: the best place to engage in readership and fellowship. Seriously, there’s no better place to find others who enjoy your content or blog more than in the comments. When it comes down to it, be sure to reply to every comment until you feel that there doesn’t need to be a response anymore. Initializing that first contact with people can make them come back every time, and that’s really what we’re aiming for here, isn’t it?

Don’t be afraid to branch out and let other people into your small world. There’s so many people I have come to enjoy talking to about books that it makes me smile whenever I see them comment or when I see on Twitter that people are engaging in conversation with me or are talking about the same topic.

It’s really great to have all of this blogging community around. I find it to be fun and something I can see myself doing for years to come.

What about you? How do you like to blog? Any tips or advice you want to share? What’s your favorite form of networking? Let me know!