Pep Talk Week #4: Victory Is Yours

Congratulations to the victors of JuNoWriMo! You have all won a significant victory, no matter what your final word count totaled. Why? You stepped out of your comfort zone. We recognize all kinds of creative growth at JuNoWriMo. This is true of both the traditional goal and Rebel goals. Whatever you’ve spent the month working on is important to you or you wouldn’t have prioritized the time to spend on it. Since the purpose of JuNoWriMo is to help writers, all kinds of accomplishments make up your victory! 

If you wrote one more paragraph than you have done before, that’s a victory. If you created an outline or a character profile for the first time, that’s a victory. If you looked at your project with new eyes in any way this month, that’s a victory. Signing up for JuNoWriMo and committing to challenging yourself in whatever form that looks like to you… that’s a victory in any case. 

     I want to share a little personal advice from my own trial-and-error process of creative writing. Do not let this month’s growth stagnate. I absolutely love writing in JuNoWriMo with all of you. Somewhere in the midst of the creative high of June, I always promise myself to continue my daily writing habit even when the month is over! I’ll be totally honest… Most of the time, I don’t do that at all. 

When the Facebook group posts are over and there are no more Sprints or overall group excitement, I tend to fall back into my occasional writing slump. My biggest piece of advice and challenge to all of us is to not allow this to happen. JuNoWriMo is a beautiful celebration of what it means to create… the best way to honor its lessons is to keep it up! Even if you’re not trying to write 1700 words a day, even if you don’t write every day… don’t let the inspiration become lost. It’s invaluable! That might be the biggest victory of them all.

Congratulations, writers! 

Elizabeth Conrad writes short stories and novel-length works in mainstream, fantasy and science fiction genres. She also enjoys singing and design. Her favorite animals are cats and rabbits. She firmly believes that there can never be enough coffee in the world.

Pep Talk Week #3: Beyond The Obvious: Self-Care For Writers

A lot of posts that address this part of our journey include tips and tricks to beat a Week Three slump. These tips are much needed and can be very helpful. I’ll list a few here… change POV, location, add or edit out characters, try different settings and even find a different place to do your JuNoWriMo writing. A change of scene can mean everything! However, there is much more to triumphing in Week Three than writing pointers. 

Self-care for writers isn’t just a pleasant idea for a cute Instagram post. It is and should become as much a part of your writing experience as creating outlines and having a habitual time to write. While self-care will look different for each individual, it can boost you out of any slump if you dedicate time and energy to doing it. 

First, make sure that you’re as well-rested as possible. I know that the inner editor sneaks out of the corner and ambushes me more readily when I’m sleep-deprived and totally worn out. In addition to having a good sleep schedule, get to know your personal creative energy times. I’ve never been much of a night writer, no matter how hard I’ve tried to become one. However, mornings and early afternoons are when I really hit my stride. Don’t compare your creative energy time to other peoples’ energy times. Early birds are no better or lesser writers than night owls. It’s all about finding the way that works best for you. Then just go for it! 

Be sure to eat and drink in a healthy manner. As you work on your project, you may appreciate having meals and snacks prepared ahead of time so cooking is low-stress. By all means, stay hydrated! Many of us absolutely love coffee and caffeine packed teas as our writing fuel… not just for energy but for taste! But you can and should fill your trusty JuNoWriMo mug with water or another decaf beverage from time to time. Your body is a machine, the vehicle of expressing your creativity, so make sure you treat it like a luxury sports car to keep the engine running. 

Take breaks as you need them. Stand up, stretch and go outside. Yes, even in your quest for writing all the words, the outdoors and sunshine still exist, so be sure to experience them frequently! Any kind of movement can stimulate new ideas by giving you that refreshing break that you need. Stretch, dance, go for a walk. Just move your body because it’s good for you and your brain. Another thing you can do to put some variety into your day is to incorporate a few small, non-demanding outside projects. My favorite things to do alongside JuNoWriMo are knitting and crocheting. I choose projects that don’t have a deadline and can be picked up and put down at any time. I think of this as “nonverbal thinking.” As I spend a few moments doing something far removed from the world of words and writing, my brain is refreshed and I’m eager to return to my WIP with a new perspective. 

One last thought on self-care: rewards are good. Whatever it is that you want to do in celebration of meeting a goal, do it with happiness! You are growing and learning, which is very reward-appropriate. Do something that you’ve held off on this month. Indulge in something which you might have wanted for a long time. Call or text a friend, meet them for lunch. Play your favorite music. Watch a movie. Be your own biggest cheerleader because you deserve it! 

Happy writing! 

Elizabeth Conrad writes short stories and novel length works in mainstream, fantasy and science fiction genres. She also enjoys singing and design. Her favorite animals are cats and rabbits. She firmly believes that there can never be enough coffee in the world.

Pep Talk Week #2: Keep Going!

Hello, lovely writers! We’re into week two. This is a great week for writing, if you’ve hit your stride. That momentum can carry you on through and really pick up steam like a snowball rolling down a hill. 

But what if you aren’t there? What if you haven’t found your groove? It’s simple – it’s okay. You’re not behind, this week is another chance to begin. A chance to build on what you do have. 

For me, when I run into a wall – one that’s usually made of cinderblock and held together with the strongest cement to ever exist – I shift my focus. 

Instead of a daily word count, my plan is just to get in front of the computer. 

Instead of a length of time, I try to build a habit. 

And I’m not above bribing myself either. Write some words? Probably should go buy a book!  

There’s not one path to success this month. If you write one word, you’ve already succeeded. In the business of writing books, imposter syndrome can run rampant. Don’t let it get in your head. Every single person who writes has a different path to their success and every single person has a different view of what success even is. So as we run headlong into week two, just know you’re doing great! Every word is one more piece in reaching your goal. 

Every person who writes is a writer. 

Be gentle with yourself and don’t worry about someone else is doing. 

Just remember – it’s your goal and your success and it belongs to you. 

I’m Angi Nicole Black and I’ll be around leading sprints with you throughout the month. I’m a writer and editor as well as a Musical Theater nerd who teaches that and dance at Missouri State University. You can find me on Twitter at @anginicole722 and my website

Pep Talk Week #1: Starting Your JuNoWriMo Journey

It’s 2023 and June has ushered in a whole new year of JuNoWriMo. Notice the excitement in the air. Can you hear the words beginning to take off from the starting line as they move from your imagination onto the page? New beginnings can bring out the best in us, and that’s why the start of another writing journey can cause us to view our projects in an entirely different light. It’s the light of possibility as you write this month. 

Whether you’re a JuNoWriMo traditionalist who’s heading for the 50K finish line or if you have chosen our new Rebel option for personal goals, the possibilities are brimming and endless. I’ve compared this week to opening a brand-new box of crayons in the past, and I still feel that the idea fits. I hope you embrace the newness of the year by experimenting with your WIP, looking at different angles to see how you can discover inspiration as you take each step in your writing journey. 

As I’ve been in my procrastination phase of planning my own writing project, I’ve been binge watching past seasons of The Amazing Race. It’s very interesting to see how the racers are so eager for their journey as they begin and how early momentum can give them such a boost into the competition. They are certainly “journeying on” while traveling the world! But  as much as I love The Amazing Race, I love creativity with JuNoWriMo even more. Why? There are no winners versus losers at JuNoWriMo. Everyone wins by putting one foot in front of the other, and the best way to make the win your own is observing your growth of creativity over the weeks. JuNoWriMo is a brave thing to do, but perhaps what makes it -and you! – brave, even more than meeting the goals, is the act of stepping out into your own creativity. There’s no wrong way to write. That’s good motivation to slam down that pesky inner editor when it appears. Chase it away by knowing that the way you write your project doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be your unique vision of whatever you’re writing.  

Above all, please enjoy your journey through the month. Editing can wait; now is the time to have fun and explore new worlds. Please remember that the marvelous community of writers is waiting for you. Our Facebook group includes a wide variety of writers at different stages and experience levels. We are a unique group because we truly support each other. It’s the perfect place to share triumphs, questions and times that definitely qualify you for the “Hard Day, Wrote Anyway” badge. Whatever you’re feeling, we’ve felt it, too. You are never alone at JuNoWriMo! 

A final tip as you begin JuNoWriMo is to be sure to take advantage of our Sprints on Twitter (@JuNoWriMo). I can personally attest to how quickly and enjoyably Sprints can build your word count! Please watch for Sprint times in the Facebook group and newsletters. We often have impromptu sprints that are usually announced on Facebook. 

Happy writing and journey on with JuNoWriMo! 

Pep Talk Week #4: Do Something Brave For JuNoWriMo!

When was the last time you did something brave? Something that terrified you and made you wonder who the bleep you thought you were, doing a thing like that as though you have every right to do this brave thing you’re doing?

Make no mistake – if you’re reading this and doing JuNoWriMo, you are doing something brave this month. That’s true whether this is your first time or you’re a veteran JuNoer.

As a writer, you’ve done a lot of brave things. Even just claiming the “writer” label is an act of bravery. You may not have shared it with anyone else, and kept it your own secret, but it’s still brave. Every word you write is an act of bravery, even if you pretended it wasn’t terrifying while you were doing it.

I’m willing to bet that at some point this month, you looked your Imposter Syndrome in the green eyes, and told it to step back and let you do this thing it was trying to tell you you aren’t good enough for or have no business doing.

Have you taken the time to congratulate yourself on that?

If not, please stop reading and do that right now, because you deserve recognition! Yes, you – whether you’re already done for the month, or so far behind you know you aren’t going to get anywhere near 50,000 words for the month.


Because you showed up and did something brave. Because you wrote words, and each and every one was an act of bravery and a tiny step closer to your writing dreams. 

And, by trying, you gave yourself information on what worked and what didn’t. You can use that going forward.

Did you celebrate? Really stop, and look at where you started and where you are right now, and take credit for every single word you have now that you didn’t have on May 31?

If so, go you! You just honored your own bravery!

And if not – why not? Are you letting the Imposter Syndrome get the best of you and tell you nothing less than a 50,000 word month “counts?”

If your JuNoWriMo so far hasn’t been a rousing success, that silly Imposter Syndrome is probably right back in your face now, squealing, “I told you so!” and doing a ridiculous little dance.

But don’t believe it for a second, because it’s wrong.

The real challenge was looking it in the eye in the first place. And since you did that once, you can do it again. Just give that monster a level stare and inform it, “I hear and see you. You can go now – I have better things to do.”

It’s important to let that monster know it doesn’t have power over you.

So, please, if you haven’t celebrated, take five minutes and do that now. Step outside and breathe deeply for a minute or two. Listen to the sounds around you. Get a cup of coffee or tea or some treat. Look at what you’ve already accomplished. 

And then…. Take the next tiny step, and the one after that. One word at a time. Let’s see how many words you can end up with. Let’s count each one as a tiny step toward your writing dreams and celebrate them all!

Shan Jeniah Burton is a content creation expert by day; a writer of fiction, poetry, and essays by night; and a mom, Trekkie, and pit bull’s Emotional Support Human always!

Pep Talk Week #3: Get Out Of That Slump!

Hello, everyone! Are you ready for Week 3? You’re all doing an excellent job and have officially conquered the halfway point of JuNoWriMo! 

I don’t know about you, but Week 3 usually presents me with either a rush of writing adrenaline or a slump. If you’re in the adrenaline group, congratulations and may your words pile up well. If you’re in a slump, I can commiserate and want to offer a few ideas…

My advice is centered around one basic idea. When in a slump, change it up. Creative boredom can’t stand a chance against change, so here are some ways that you can alter how you’re approaching your project and get those ideas (and words) flowing again. 

Location: Maybe you’re becoming tired of writing in the same place every day, staring at the same scenery when you look up from your keyboard. For many of us who are participating, it’s summer. Get outside and write in the warmth of the sun. Go to an Internet cafe if one is available. If other options are limited, switch rooms. Put on some music. Burn a candle or spray a fragrance in the air. Engaging your other senses can do wonders for your thought processes. 

Method: Some writers prefer to write outlines by hand, and a few brave souls like to write their entire manuscript in longhand. If you’re like me and not ready to commit to 50,000 words of handwriting, you can still have the hands-on advantage by writing out some notecards, outlines or character sketches. Or, if you’re accustomed to writing these things on paper, change your approach by putting them in your word processor of choice. Just break out of the mold. 

Timeline: This is a slump generator for me. You’ve been going along well for two weeks on your preferred timeline but then the ideas slow to a trickle. Why not jump in time, either forward or backward, and write out of sequence? Where will your MC be in five years? What were they like as a child? What would their lives look like if their fondest wishes came true! Or their worst nightmare? These time jump scenes might come into an earlier or later part of your plot, but it’s also okay if you don’t use them at all. Consider it time well spent in getting to know your character even better, which will allow you more avenues of creativity as you continue. 

Character: Explore new ground by having a background character tell what’s happening through their eyes. They might have an entirely different story to tell than your MC! What if your protagonist becomes the antagonist or vice-versa? Are any of your characters connected in different ways that you haven’t considered before, such as relation, old friends, anyone who shares a history together? Just like in the case of the timeline, these variations may show up in your novel or may create an opportunity for character growth, but you’ll see your project through fresh eyes. 

Break Time: Last but not least, it pays to take breaks from your project. It may seem counterintuitive in the last two weeks of JuNoWriMo, especially if you’re still in need of writing a lot of words, to take more frequent short breaks, but it can be the word-saving recharge you need. After writing or reading for a long period of time, my brain can turn to mush and my productivity takes a nosedive. There’s nothing as mentally rejuvenating than getting away from it for some movement or an unrelated task. Just stretching can help so much! It’s time well spent when you return to your project with a new burst of energy. 

I wish you all the best as you continue the JuNoWriMo challenge, no matter what week you’re on. Remember, if this project has creatively challenged you in any way, you’re already a winner because you’re finishing the month with so much growth and experience. Happy writing to all of you! 

Elizabeth Conrad writes short stories and novel-length works in mainstream, fantasy, and science fiction genres and also enjoys singing and design.

Pep Talk Week #2: Why You Always Think Your Projects Suck (And How To Get Past It)

Hello, fellow writers! I hope everyone has had a creatively fulfilling first week of JuNoWriMo. By now you’re getting into the thick of the project, moving past those first-page questions and becoming familiar with what is working well and what might be areas of opportunity for you this year.

If you’re in need of inspiration, you need only watch this video to find it! Artist and animator Lucas Fisher discusses that all-too-familiar feeling that all creatives endure at one or more points in our journeys: wondering whether or not your project sucks. We’ve all been there, and his video gives insightful help to anyone asking themselves that question. Happy viewing, and may you have renewed vigor going into a new week! 

Here is the video!

Lucas Fisher is a freelance 3D artist and animator who is fascinated by all things 3D and its potential for creative expression.

Pep Talk #1: A Fresh Start (And That Enticing New Crayon Smell)

Do you remember the smell of a fresh, unopened box of crayons that signaled the beginning of a new school year when you were a child? The box was figuratively brimming with possibilities for exciting new adventures. JuNoWriMo is that fresh start with its lovely crayon smell for you as a writer! 

This year, you will either start a new project or continue an existing work in progress (WIP). Both situations present you with a unique opportunity to kick your writing into high gear via a fresh start. 

If you’re starting a new writing project, I encourage you to look at the options in front of you for making this your best, most inspiring project ever! Have you thought about writing in a completely new-to-you genre? Give it a try! All your words count, so be encouraged to step out into a new creative zone. How about writing from a different point of view than you usually use? Your settings and timeline could be different, too. JuNoWriMo is a wonderful time to experiment and see what feels right for you. Using the same format that has brought you creative fulfillment is a great thing, too… above all, this month is about exploring your own unique kind of creativity. 

For those of you who are continuing a WIP, June also signals a new beginning for you because you can take this opportunity to not only dedicate more focused time to your project but also to look at it in a different light. A few quick yet highly effective changes to try include introducing new characters, varying the setting or adding to the plot, giving things an unexpected twist! Whatever works for you is the name of the game. 

A few thoughts as you break open that new box of writing crayons: JuNoWriMo is fun. I know that 50,000 words might seem like a lot to write, but the biggest goal that I hope everyone reaches is to enjoy the creative process. Be patient with yourself. It’s okay to not know all the details yet. Everything about what you are doing is part of the progression. It will come together in due time. Don’t look back and don’t second guess yourself. Moving onward is a great tactic to use to squash your inner editor. It wants to pull you back to focus on what you have already done and what you “should” change, but the best way to initiate and sustain momentum is to keep going forward without question. Once the month is over, you’ll edit. But this is the time to let your creativity and ideas flow; just let go and have fun with it! 

Be sure to get involved in JuNoWriMo’s wonderfully supportive community on both Facebook and Twitter. For me, this is what made JuNoWriMo stand out from any other writing challenge when I was first introduced to it years ago. The support of a smaller group means much more personal interaction with other writers. Our Facebook group is a haven for all kinds of comments and questions. We’ve undoubtedly covered it all at one time or another. Stop in and share your good days, challenging days, accomplishments and questions. We are there for each other.

Another tremendous advantage of which I want you to be aware is how helpful word sprints are when you’re striving for a high word count. Follow our Twitter account, @JuNoWriMo, and join in on our word sprints all month long. Just like in the Facebook group, everyone is so encouraging. You can’t beat the rush that comes from friendly competition with each other and yourselves. There are many days in past years that I was sure I’d wouldn’t make my daily word count goal, but once I participated in some sprints, I’d actually written more than planned. Our dedicated team of sprint leaders are there to help you pile up those words! 

Happy writing to everyone! Have an enjoyable month with JuNoWriMo! 

Elizabeth Conrad writes short stories and novel-length works in mainstream, fantasy, and science fiction genres and also enjoys singing and design.