Pep Talk Week 2: The Dreaded Week Two Blues

This week, Becca Campbell gives you some tangible tricks to beating the monster of Resistance, the big bad boss of week two.

Congratulations You made it to Week Two. Yay! Now, can I rain on your parade? No? Well, here I go anyway…

The Monster

I’m going to be bluntly honest with you. Week two is the worst week of this challenge. It’s the week your story hits its halfway point—that slogging, muddy middle where you have no idea how you’ll make it to the end.

Week two is when you lose your buffer of surplus words (if you even had a buffer). It’s when you run out of ideas. It’s the point where you realize that everything you’ve written is total garbage. It’s where your story suddenly derails because your plot-train jumped the tracks and ended up at the edge of a cliff, barreling ahead over nothing but thin air at a hundred miles an hour.

And should I even mention the outside forces trying to pummel you off track? Your boyfriend starts asking why you’re too busy to answer his texts. Your friends remark that you’ve gone AWOL. Your neighbors complain that the grass in your yard is a foot high. Your wife asks when you’re going to get groceries because the fridge is empty, and oh, by the way, have you fed the kids today?

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls these forces “Resistance.” Week two is when all these forces of Resistance come to a head. Suddenly, it feels like every living creature in your world does not want you to write that book.

Week two is when most writers quit.

There’s only one way to make it through week two. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 2: The Dreaded Week Two Blues”

Pep Talk Week 1: Exuberant Imperfection

Becca Campbell offers sage advice on perfection…and the importance of letting it go.

I’ve been a serious writer for eight years now. I have a dozen novels under my belt. You’d think I have this WriMo thing down.

But coming up with an outline has been more difficult this year than normal. I wasn’t quite sure why until I picked up No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, and a simple truth made itself clear:

I had slipped into the mindset of aiming for perfection.

This is a very, very bad thing for a writer. It’s not healthy for anyone, but when you’re sitting down to begin a novel, that blank page can be crippling.

You aren’t good enough, it says. You haven’t figured out all the details. You don’t even know how the story will end! And how are you going to write that one scene—the one that terrifies you to even think about?

Even when you start writing, this fear doesn’t go away. Look, you spelled that word wrong. Your grammar’s atrocious. And those lines of dialog don’t make any sense!

For me, this year the self-doubt began before I even started writing. I’ve written four stories in my current series and have four more to write. I stand on this precipice in the very middle, plagued with fear that I will take a wrong move. That I’ll write myself into a corner. That I’ll break the entire plot and won’t be able to pull off a satisfying ending. That I’ll finish the series and discover I need to completely rewrite the first four books. Continue reading “Pep Talk Week 1: Exuberant Imperfection”

Be Braver Than You Ever Thought Possible: Pep Talk Week 3

We welcome writing coach and bestselling author Angela Ackerman for this week’s pep talk. Grab these tips and be encouraged for your third week of JuNoWriMo!

If our path has one guidepost of truth, it is this: writing isn’t easy. Not by a mile.

It’s not the craft of writing we must learn or the publishing waters we must navigate. Yes, so much effort will go into these things, but the hardest part? The thing that causes our hands to sweat, and our fingers to hesitate on the keys?

It’s ourselves. Our own self-doubt, our worries that our words won’t be good enough, that we’ll never be able to transcribe the story that vibrates our skull with the desire to get out.

Here’s a second truth, one we sometimes forget: creating is big. Taking something unformed, a scattered collection of ideas and emotions that exist inside us and then attempting to set it loose as a cohesive story? Not for the faint of heart. It takes incredible courage. Boldness. And, more than anything else, passion.

A third truth? The fact that you’re here, fingers poised, is amazing. We all know someone (usually multiple someones) who say they want to write a story, that they have ideas, notes even, snippets written…and yet that’s as far as they ever go. Others we know can’t even voice their desire to write. They can’t let the truth out. The dream is just too big for them.

You, however, are different. You’re here, you’re ready, and you’ve embraced the dream. So whatever you do this JuNoWriMo, don’t let doubt sabotage the greatness inside of you—not ten words in, not ten thousand words in. Be a warrior.

Should uncertainty hit at any point, here are some strategies to help you move past it and write. Continue reading “Be Braver Than You Ever Thought Possible: Pep Talk Week 3”

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author – Shan Jeniah Burton

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

Shan Jeniah Burton: The Far Shore (Kifo Island Chroincles #5)

Photo by Sylvia Woodman

Hi, I’m Shan!

My life overflows with lovely chaos. It’s a crazy quilt I share with my chef husband, two endlessly fascinating homeschooled children who gobsmack me on a daily basis, and a cast of furry companions. I’ve lived and worked at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and the Everglades, and driven across the country three times. Now I’m settled on the same sleepy road in upstate New York where I grew up.

I’m particularly fond of language, dreams, photography, nature, history, music,storytelling, and fictional people with green blood and pointed ears. Combining several of these loves in my writing delights me.

For JuNoWriMo, I’ll be drafting The Far Shore, the fifth novel in my Kifo Island Chronicles an alternate near-future fantasy series in development.  Each volume explores the interwoven lives of three main characters on the island-wide, no-cost, private hospice resort.

I’m excited about completing this novel draft during JuNoWriMo , and seeing what it adds to the emerging tapestry of this series.

In this volume, a young girl with a secret; a young woman with an eating disorder; and a young woman who’s seen far more than her years suggest will attempt to find purpose and healing. Will they succeed, or will their demons destroy them?

Several real life story threads coalesced to create the basic premise for this novel including:

  • Several friends who’ve dealt with/are dealing with eating disorders.
  • Reading a novel about the child sex trade.
  • Personal experience with a volatile, abusive home environment.
  • A child of the 70s, I was intrigued by the anything-can-happen nature of Fantasy Island.
  • A passion for the ocean.

My goal is to explore the strength, adaptability, and grace of the human soul – its capacity for healing, for kindness, for selflessness, and for moments of transcendent beauty even in the midst of ugliness.

I don’t believe in happy endings, because that’s not how life really works. I’m a strong believer in growth, change, and better choices, and those will be major focuses of this novel. I tend to leave my characters in a better place than they began from, but it’s seldom a perfect place.

I’m excited to get writing, and see what will happen…

You can find me here:

Facebook: Shan Jeniah Burton, Writer https://www.facebook.com/Shan-Jeniah-Burton-Writer-120792371340651/

Twitter: @shanjeniah https://twitter.com/ShanJeniah

Blog: https://shanjeniah.com/my-prime-directives/

And, on my brand-new website:http://shanjeniahslovelychaos.com/

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Rebecca Odum

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

Hello all!

Rebecca OdumRebecca here or, if you prefer, you can call me by my pen name, RA Odum. Let’s start with the basics, shall we? I grew up and still reside in a small town in Georgia. I was born at 24 weeks and was the smallest of triplets. I have what’s called Retinopathy of Prematurity. I have no vision in my right eye and some in my left, but I haven’t let that stop me from living life.  Yes, I can’t drive, and school was very difficult,. But these challenges have made me the person that I am, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I like to say that my writing career started in my grandma’s attic at age five. I would spend the night with her, and she would tell me stories (but I was always the boss of these stories). I’ve always loved watching movies and TV  with characters that I connected with.  In fact, my current book, titled, Lightning Proof, was inspired by the movie Frozen. When I was younger, I read everything from Sweet Valley High to Christy and Nancy Drew. But as I got older, I started looking for books with characters that I relate to—characters that overcome challenges. I also read books that inspire me and make me see the world in a way that I never have before. These are the books that I strive to write.

I recently fell in love with urban fantasy and Lightening Proof mixes fantasy, futuristic and real world elements together. I love the idea of putting fantasy in an ordinary world.

Lightning Proof is  set in the fictional country of Caldwell. There two groups with magical abilities fight for acceptance against fear and hatred.  Victoria Thompson and Lindsey Cooper have been friends since they were twelve.  Then laws against their people started being passed. Victoria is a Lighter. She can shoot lightning from her fingers and can communicate via telepathy. Lindsey is an Invisible. Invisibles can teleport and can also communicate telepathically. They can also control minds but most Invisibles aren’t taught that skill. For ten years, they’ve watched the laws strip away their rights, and now, as teachers of the next generation of Lighters and Invisibles, Victoria and Lindsey must fight to keep their hope alive as they fight to save their people.

This book is the first in a series. I am very much excited to introduce my characters to the world.

Social media links:

Twitter| Facebook

Pep Talk Week 2: 4 Tips to Succeed this June

Robert Chazz Chute offers his tips on how to succeed this June!

So, you’ve decided to commit to writing 50,000 words or more this month. Blood oaths have been sworn. You promised yourself, as God is your witness, you shall be a novelist! Heroes will sing your praises in Valhalla this night. As it was foretold in the prophecy, you shall write and you will finish to great acclaim. Beer, Cherry Cokes and champagne for everybody!

Good. Now that we’ve got the drama, grand pronouncements and the first flush of enthusiasm out of the way, let’s settle some priorities and expectations so you, too, can win JuNoWriMo and the love of your cold, aloof parents.

  1. You have made your writing a high priority this month. You matter and what you want is of value. We’re talking hopes and dreams here! No shame in such selfishness.

That affirmed, know that you will have to tell someone no this month. You’ll probably have to defend your writing time against the onslaught of several someones repeatedly. Fine. Do so. Your family, friends and enemies will still be around to suck the life out of you when you’re done your word count for the day. Put your writing session on your calendar just like you would an appointment for a colonoscopy. You probably wouldn’t look forward to a such a procedure, but you definitely would not miss such an important appointment.

Yes, your writing is just as important as meeting a doctor with a startlingly long air hose, a camera and a penchant for proctology.

  1. You are here for the writing and this will be fun. Not always, of course. If scratching out words were an easy  and endless gigglefest, everyone would be a novelist. There is a trick that will help you through the rough spots: just as with a bad movie, you can always fix your manuscript in post.

Write confidently. Write swiftly. Don’t look back. Push through to the end. Editing and worry is for later. The key to a great book is to start with a crappy one. There will be plot holes. You can fill those in another time. Too often, writers compare the wretchedness of their first draft to some genius’s finished work. Trust me, that so-called genius looks like half an idiot in his or her first draft, just like you and me. Relax into the inevitability of disappointment with your first attempt.

This isn’t baseball. In writing, you can take as many swings as you like until you hit a home run. Writing is a sport for cheaters. We keep our lousy attempts in locked drawers and the fans only see our triumphs in highlight reels.

  1. I guarantee you will have a ton of fun with this challenge if you resolve to stop being so precious about writing. We fetishize the act like some dudes dig the smell of leather when they’re naked. We talk instead of write. We develop elaborate rituals, light candles and demand everything be perfect before we can begin. We think too much about how hard writing can be. But wait! Remember physical labor? Remember that sunburnt summer you got a job as a roofer pouring hot tar and day after airless day was a heatwave full shimmering punishment? Or what about that summer retail job that was so bad you studied harder in September so you would never have to work that counter at the mall again?

The quiet solitude of writing combined with the social support of JuNoWriMo is heaven compared to those mundane horrors. Writing is play. Look around. Writing is everywhere. You can already write so don’t make too big deal of it. If you want to be a novelist, be a novelist and be grateful. Storytelling looks just like typing at first. After we learn more craft, we call it writing. Eventually, we call ourselves writers and it doesn’t even sound weird when spoken aloud. Your parents will remain fretful and unsupportive, sure. But hey, you knew Mom and Dad weren’t going to change.

  1. I know you probably think writing should be hard. I had a lot of false starts thinking that way. When I got into traditional publishing, I had a romantic view of the profession. Then I drove authors to signings where no customers showed up and the author blamed me. I attended literary parties hoping for witty repartee with great minds. Sadly, the number of geniuses in the publishing industry is no more nor less than what you’ll find among any random clutch of accountants, plumbers or dentists. Elite publishing parties are more about bon bons than bon mots. You’ll find ego, avarice and envy at those cocktail soirees, but surprisingly little material for your next book.

Freedom came when I let go of all those trappings and got to the core of what you and I do. We write. Creative writing is a meditative, hopeful act of faith. When the words are coming fast, a neural engine chugs along that changes the way you think and feel. You won’t know where the ideas are coming from but it feels magical. Writing is the only magic I believe in.

This is a great thing you are attempting. If you hold on to that, you’ll persevere. Congratulations on getting started. I hope you discover a great story along the way and end up with something you’ll love. Remember, you don’t have to love it all the time. Sometimes the only virtue in the exercise is that you made your daily word count so you don’t have to write more today. Fix it in post. Tomorrow, find the fun again. Repeat until complete. Write so much and so freely that you stumble upon the magic.

Throwing down words to build stories is addictive. Let’s get high on this wonderful drug. Once you crush this goal, you’ll probably find that 50,000 words was a great start. Most serious writers I know write at least 50,000 words every month. That’s how you know you must be victorious in JuNoWriMo. If mere mortals can complete this task or something like it twelve times a year, surely you can do it once. As your confidence grows, what once seemed difficult will become easier. This might even turn out to be your new day job.

But you don’t have time to read this. Write now right now.

Robert Chazz ChuteA former journalist full of self-loathing, Robert Chazz Chute is now an award winning suspense novelist (still full of self-loathing.) He writes assorted apocalyptic epics, SFF and crime thrillers that would make your momma pee the bed. Learn more at AllThatChazz.com and love him, dammit! Since you’re climbing JuNoWriMo, you might especially like Crack the Indie Author Code.

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: RF Kacy

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

I have a confession to make. I am a creative writer.

There, I said it. It isn’t an easy thing for me to do. We of Eastern European descent don’t Art, we Work. When I was younger there was a cousin who was a musician, but he earned a pass because he played at family weddings for free.

Now, decades later and post retirement, I haunt corners of our modern-day salons, pen in hand, steeped in caffeine and sugary confections. I create worlds from dreams, solve problems of my own making, and spark the most unlikely of romances. I don’t consider what the market will support, nor what readers want to consume. Though I spent many years as a professional economist, now I write what I like and pass it on to whoever wants to share in my joy.

I have too many tales that I want to tell, and they rarely fit into any recognizable category. So, I try to amuse myself and the small circle of friends who stumble across my work. As a journeyman writer I write every day because the doing of the thing is what is important. But, I will try to explain my plans if you don’t expect too much.  Once I embark on a writing journey I refuse to follow even the most basic of navigational charts. In short, I pants for as long as I can get away with it.

So what connection do my ramblings have with JuNoWriMo?

This—my project for June:  Fatal Bequest is the second book in “The Megan Lark Mysteries” series where Megan and her maybe-could-be-sometimes-boyfriend, Neal Parker, pursue truth, beauty, and justice on a college campus. Oh yes, and they solve murders, or at least find themselves in the thick of the action. Think Nancy Drew meets Alfred Hitchcock at a party thrown by David Lynch, and you won’t be too far off… well, perhaps except for the David Lynch part. I put that in for you art film lovers.

Where did the inspiration for the stories come from? Maybe from decades of observing the study habits and mating rituals of college students. Maybe from forgetting to put on my tinfoil hat in the morning. Both the NSA and aliens have some explaining to do.

This will be my first JuNoWriMo, and I look forward to contributing to the group and helping to encourage others. Or I might decide to lob grenades filled with brownies and red wine, which I guess is encouragement for some, although my internist would disagree. Regardless, I plan to hold my head high and claim victory by the end of the month, even if I have to lie about my progress. Did I mention I am now a full-time creative? Or perhaps a full-time liar. It depends on your perspective.KacyCedarKey

I’m often found at RF Kacy (include the space) on the Book of Face and @RFKacy on the Chirping Bird platform. I pop up here and there in all kinds of forums, so say hello if you see me. Be sure to do it before the moderators realize I am there.

Good luck on all your projects, and until we meet at the great gathering (you know, in a real physical place), peace out!

  • Author email — Kacy@KazDigital.com
  • Facebook — RF Kacy
  • Twitter— RFKacy

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: MC Simon

Meet some of your fellow June WriMo’s in our Featured Author series each Saturday and Thursday through June.

The Writer’s Tao – MC Simon

Writer’s Tao

Two years ago, when I was told to consider the option of becoming a writer, all the cogwheels inside my brain started to turn rapidly.

Oh! Did I just say “rapidly”? Actually, a hurricane started up inside my brain. The storm met up with a volcano, and soon all my being was under fire.

“Why not?” asked my heart. “The man you love sees it inside you.”
“You should think more,” argued my brain. “You have a stable engineering career ; why should you bother?”
“But… what about the dream–my childhood dream? It was told that I was already a writer”, whispered my soul.

The soul’s victory came fast. The project manager residing inside my brain planned the details.
In a blink, the writer inside me was born.

After the first two published books, again my life turned to an interesting direction. Because of my passion for blogging, soon I started earning as a web content writer.

What’s next? Of course… quitting my engineering job to become a full-time writer.

But… there is one thing that was not mentioned above. My first published book is not the first book I started. My beloved unfinished novel, “Memories of an Arcturian” has been locked away, awaiting rediscovery.

But… I have great expectations now.

Because 2016’s JuNoWriMo starts.


“Memories of an Arcturian” is a blend of personal experiences in the corporeal life and the parallel dimensions of my dreams—dreams that started in my childhood. Do strict borders exist between these worlds? What are these boundaries?

What is true and what is fantasy will be up to YOU, the reader .

12-year-old girl has a revelation one day while at school and decides to run away from home. She wants to find her true family which she suddenly thinks it’s not from this planet. She takes a small luggage bag, writes a goodbye letter to her parents and leaves home. While walking the streets without having any direction she meets a mysterious beggar who finally convinces her to go back home. But they continue to meet almost daily. Until one day, he takes her on a trip.


M.C. Simon is an author, SEO content writer, blogger, reviewer, project manager, engineer, happy mother and a beloved wife.  Find her on social media at any of these sites:

How to Have a Successful JuNoWriMo, No Matter What!

Honorée Corder, author of twenty books (and counting!) kicks off our series of JuNoWriMo 2016 pep talks with a plan to make this month a successful one.

HonoreeCorderHeadshotCongratulations on your decision to embark on JuNoWriMo! Right now I am sure you are filled with the excitement that can only come with a shiny new project. Executed well, in 30 days you will be the proud owner of a completed manuscript. And right now, you might be feeling invincible… as though not a thing or person could possibly stand in your way or take you off course.

I do hope that is the case, but I know better than almost anyone that just about the moment I 100% commit to something, at almost exactly that same moment the universe conspires to test me. (How rude!)

I want to help you get from June 1 to June 30 with finesse, style, and ease. Let’s go ahead and set you up for super success so that no matter what happens you will crush it!

Number one: the goal. If you’re like me the goal isn’t just 50,000 words, you have a story or outline already percolating in the back of your mind that comes with a title or even an ending. But on the off-chance you don’t have a specific goal, go ahead and set one. Something like: Complete 50,000 words toward my manuscript by June 30th, or, Finish Game On! The Ultimate Guide to Getting All You Want from Your Life and Your Work (my current WIP).

Write your goal on a 3×5 card and look at it twice a day: right when you wake up, and right before you go to sleep.

#JuNoWriMo Featured Author: Terrelle Shelton

Meet some of your fellow JuNo WriMos in our Featured Author series each Wednesday and Friday through June. 

~

BackgroundTerrelle

I became a writer shortly after reading the Twilight Series. I began writing my very first story back in 2010. It was a story centered around an ancient blood feud between two rival clans from the 1800’s set in current day Atlanta, Georgia.  I never finished writing this story because I lost the notebook I was writing it in.  About two years later, I was watching an anime known as Fairy Tale and suddenly I got the urge to write again. This time I came up with a whole new story centered around two men who decided to work together to take over the world that they were in. This led to betrayal and all sorts of things. I started working on this book back in 2013, which I finished in my first ever NaNoWriMo. It was a lot of hard work, but I loved every minute of it. I write in the fantasy genre.

Terrelle’s JuNoWriMo Plans

For JuNoWriMo, I will be working on a brand new series called, Dragons And Gods. There isn’t much to say about this book at the moment because I am still working on the blueprint,  but what I can tell you is that is that one of the dragons named Dias will attempt to take over the realm of the Gods, which will spark a war between both realms. How will it play out you may ask? Well you’ll just have to wait!   I didn’t write anything before June started, but I did work on a blueprint so I had an idea of where I wanted to go. I plan on meeting the 50k mark during JuNoWriMo, but my ultimate goal is either going to be 60 to 65k.

Connect with Terrelle: 

Facebook | Twitter