Nanowrimo Tips

This Thursday we jump into the start of November and the thrill of Nanowrimo. For those who aren’t familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is the annual National Novel Writing Month that takes place every November. The goal is simple: write 50,000 words during the month of November. 

Every year, tons of people jump into the challenge. It’s a great way to find a supportive community of writers and learn more about your writing process. However, writing 50,000 words in a month can be a huge challenge, so here are some tips to help set you up for success. 


1.    Let the people around you know. 

Let your friends, family, partners, etc. know that you’re going into this challenge. Ask them to maybe help out with dishes or house-cleaning duties for the month. Volunteer to then take your share in December. 


2.    Prep food. 

One of the things I always struggle with the most during Nanowrimo is meal planning. I want to just write so I end up ordering out a lot and that gets expensive and unhealthy. So what I’ve started doing is freezing meals and finding simple recipes that I know are basic, fast and filling. It saves me money and keeps my brain better fed. 


3.    Schedule time. 

Don’t just expect time to fall into your lap come November. Have a game plan on what time of day you’re going to write. Is it better for you to write in the morning before work or after work? Maybe you can write during lunch? What about stopping at a coffee shop or library on the way home? Find that time, mark it on your calendar and keep at it. 


4.    Write extra when you can. 

Some days you’re probably not going to hit your writing goal. Plan for that and on days when you have extra time or inspiration, write extra. I always try to write extra in the first part of the month when my energy is the highest so I have a buffer for the slow days. 


5.    Reach out to the community. 

Nanowrimo has an incredibly active community on their website, on twitter, tumblr, facebook and pretty much any social media site. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Relationships with other writers is great and will help you outside of Nanowrimo too. 

Social Media: How and Why?

Social media.

Everyone always hears that writers need to be on social media. Every time some new platform shows up, people flock to it, setting up accounts that get abandoned in weeks. It’s easy to set up the account, post for a few weeks or months then run out of ideas of things to post.

Whenever a writer (or anyone trying to build a brand online) gets started, tons of questions appear.

Should you be on it? What platforms are the best? How often should I post? Who should I follow?

But the biggest one is: Does social media matter?

Yes. It does, but you don’t have to be on every single platform. In fact that is a recipe for disaster. Don’t feel like you have to be everywhere. The rule of thumb that I generally use for my writing accounts is that it needs to be a platform that I enjoy using.

I know that sounds maybe a little silly but if you’re going to be using your platform, it needs to be something that you’re going to keep using. Now there’s no platform that will be a joy to use every single day, but if it’s somewhere you HATE signing onto maybe reconsider that account. If twitter doesn’t make sense to you and you hate the platform, then you’re not going to use it and a an inactive account does you no good.

For me, that ends up being LinkedIn. I kind of hate the clunky aspect of it and really don’t like to use it. So generally I don’t post to my personal page on LinkedIn almost ever. I login to manage some professional accounts that I’m paid to manage, but otherwise, not interested much in connecting and networking through that particular platform. So I don’t.

Right now I am managing between 12-15 accounts across a variety of platforms. Some of those are my own, some of those are accounts for other people, and some of them are accounts I manage with other people. So how do I manage them? There are ways to make it easier; to make it a manageable task that only takes a few hours of work to do.


Here are some of the things I use to keep

1. Build a word document or an excel sheet of your posts and keep it updated.

Create a living document with your tweets, facebook posts, instagram captions, etc. create 2-3 for every item you want to share. Switch things up every few weeks to keep things from getting stale.

2. Decide your messaging pillars.

This sounds complicated but basically it just means sorting out what things do you want to post about? For my author page, I use the pillars: blog posts, books I love, amazing other people to follow, my books. Then I figure out how much to post about each of those topics and poof it into my schedule. It’s the easiest way for me to not get overwhelmed by content to share. When I start to struggle with what to share, I can look back at those pillars to get inspiration.

3. Schedule, schedule, schedule.

The easiest thing you can do to help yourself out is to schedule your posts in advance, really get yourself scheduled out at least a week ahead, preferably a month ahead. I personally like Hootsuite and Buffer but there are other options like TweetDeck and also within Facebook pages natively. Instagram is a little more challenging because you cannot directly post from a scheduler, but you can set up reminders on your phone or use an app like Later to get posts ready to go.

4. Get some visuals.

It can be helpful to make yourself a few simple images to use to help promote your book or blog post. Canva is (mostly) free, Typorama app is (mostly) free and both are easy to use to build images to use. You can even within the app, specify what size you want for what platform. I also really love Unsplash and get a lot of my blog images from there.

5. Don’t just blast promotion.

Post about your work, be proud and excited about your work but… don’t only ever post ‘buy my book’ stuff. Share other people’s work, post that inspirational quote or funny tweet, get political, share cat photos. Be a real person, people respond to authenticity.


That’s what helps me keep managing accounts, and keeping active on social without having to spend hours and hours on social media all day long because that is a recipe for trouble.



Writing during the holidays

Writing during the holidays can be on of the toughest things. Everything tends to go crazy with schedules around the holidays: food, travel, shopping, family, and more all pile in to fill up every spare second of life. Trying to make the time to write during the season can drive you out of your mind. In fact, one of the things I both love and hate about NaNoWriMo is that it happens in November right on top of Thanksgiving in America. 

Read More

International Women's Day!

Read the Global World

Yesterday was International Women's Day so to celebrate I wanted to post some of my favorite women writers, and to hear what writers you love!  
  1. Banana Yoshimoto
  2. Alia Mamdouh
  3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. Rosa Montero
  5. Ludmila Petrushevskaya
  6. Octavia Butler
  7. Helen Oyeyemi
  8. Anita Desai
  9. Kim In-Suk
  10. Leslie Marmon Silko
  This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are thousands upon thousands of incredible writers all over the world. These are just a few of the authors I've read and enjoyed. Who's you favorite author?