End of National Novel Writing Month

The last day of November…Its gone by pretty slowly to me. Mostly because I spent almost everyday trying to finish my novel for NaNoWriMo. I am so glad its finally the end of the month! However, I had a great time writing.  I turned off my inner editor and let my imagination take over. The NaNoWriMo goal is 50,000 words in 30 days and I’m happy to report that I was able to write 63,000. (probably would have been more if I didn’t take a few days off:) I reached the 50,000 mark within 19 days. It feels good to reach my goal and to go above it!

Now that the first draft of my novel is finished, I plan to put it away for a couple of weeks and spend my time reading the work of others. I went to the library and checked out a book of short stories. I think that should keep me busy for awhile and help me get some distance from my own book. Then sometime next year I hope to revise and edit but more on that later…

Writing 50,000 words wasn’t hard for me this year, but making time to write certainly was! I intend to continue disciplining myself to make time to write. And I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be thousands of words a day. I just need to get something on the page.

Don’t forget to write something day! 🙂

 

 

 

National Novel Writing Month

Hello out there! I haven’t posted in over a month but I have a pretty good reason why….I’ve been doing prep work for National Novel Writing Month! It will be my second year participating and I’m pretty excited. When it comes to NaNoWriMo, I’m one of the crazy people who starts planning months before. Don’t judge me. ; )
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I’ve heard that NaNoWriMo – an international writing event that begins on November 1st-30th each year- is frowned upon in the writers circle. But I think its only a bad thing if you have unrealistic expectations about it. For example: Thinking that after you spend a month writing your novel, it will be ready to be published the next month. As for me, I know that what I write during this event will be complete garbage! But that’s part of the fun that comes with participating. The point of NaNoWriMo is to get your story on paper. . .and rather quickly. Writing it in a month will allow me to get my idea out and then I’ll have to clean up my mess later.

Its for busy people- It helps them to make time for writing.

Its for lonely people- Writing is a solitary art, but with NaNoWriMo, you have a community of people who love doing the same thing you do.

Its for anyone who wants to challenge themselves!

Plus, if you reach the goal of writing 50,000 words during November, you get a lot of cool prizes. Most prizes are discounts for writing software like, Scrivner (more about this wonderful item later!) or discounts on the critique website Scribophile. There are many other prizes winners can get, click here to see more.  —>http://nanowrimo.org/forums/special-offers-and-greetings-from-nano-sponsors

Well, I’m off to think of some last minute things to add to my NaNo outline. writer

Happy writing everyone!

My Writing Fantasy

Something I love doing is going to the beach. I haven’t gone in about two years, so a few days ago I decided to pack up my things and go. Every time I do, I have a fantasy of laying on the sand, with the ocean breeze blowing in my hair, the sun lightly kissing my skin, enjoying the hypnotic sound of the waves hitting the shore….
I would have my notebook, a few pencils (in case one of many of them happen to break in some freak accident) a few pens and my imagination. Then I’d take a sip of lemonade, take a look at the beautiful ocean and begin to immerse myself in my story world.
But the reality is whenever I write at the beach, something always distracts me. That horrid sound a seagull makes when it wants your bag of chips, the loud group of high schoolers next to you who decided they would bring their schools entire football team to the beach or simply the great atmosphere is enough to be distracting.

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This time when I went, I was able to read a chapter of a writing book I recently purchased but that was all I was able to do. This time it wasn’t a seagull or a loud group of people. It was the ocean itself. I ended up leaving my stuff on the shore to go and play in the water. Feeling the cool water on my skin felt wonderful and seeing the sparkling waves all around me was so relaxing. I ended up leaving the beach with a head full of sand, a face full of salt and an empty notebook. It wasn’t at all what I had planned when I decided to go to the beach to write but it was still a lot of fun.
In the meantime, the place where I feel the most comfortable and creative is in my room at my writing desk. Maybe sometime in the future I’ll be able to live out my beach writing fantasy 🙂

Is there a special place you would like to escape to write?

Do you like your writing time to be in a quiet place or do you mind a little chaos?

~Toria 🙂

Rejection. Are you ready for it?

Five. That number might not mean anything to you, but to me it represents so much. What exactly it represents has changed for me many times. First that number represents the number of times that my work has been rejected. Which means, it is the number of times I failed. The stories I worked so hard on and spent so much time crafting and laboring over… I did all of that just to receive emails that looked like this:

“Thank you for sending your story “Enter Title Here” and we thank you for your interest in our literary magazine… Due to the large number of submissions… we read through many and we are sorry to say that we are not able to use yours at this time….We wish you luck in all your writing projects.”
Of course they are much more professional than that. That was just off the top of my head!

Recently, I sent a manuscript to a litmag I really like and when I got my rejection email….that’s right, you guessed it. I cried. Who cares if i’m an adult…it really hurt me! I knew before I sent my work out that I was going to get rejected many, MANY times. But I didn’t realize it would feel so crappy. I thought I knew what I was signing up for when I decided I wanted to become a writer, but until it actually happens, you can never really be prepared for the sting that comes with getting your work rejected. Rejection. The word looks ugly and it tastes bitter. But its something all of us writers and artists will have to learn to deal with at some point.

I stopped sending my work out to litmags. Its only temporary until I can freshen up my work and let my wounds heal. Part of that healing process is not being hard on myself. From now on, every time my work gets rejected, I write the number down where I can see it.

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Five isn’t the number of times I failed. It is simply the number of times that I tried. I wanted something and I went for it! It also represents the number of times I allowed myself to share my work with someone else. Which is something that is hard because my writing is very personal to me. And even though an editor hasn’t published my work yet, that doesn’t mean that my work sucks or that my ideas are bad. (Well, maybe that’s what it means 😉 It also means I have another chance to try again. And I will continue to try until I get to where I want to be. Getting published is something that I really desire, so my only option is to continue doing what I love.

I recently read something about getting rejected. When it happens, immediately send that manuscript to another magazine. I thought that was so great and empowering! What a way to take control of your writing career! Just because a few say “no”, doesn’t mean that’s the end. There are plenty of other publishers out there and you just have to find the right one for your story. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway!

For those of you who have not submitted your writing yet, what’s stopping you? When do you think you’ll be ready to take that step?
~Toria~

Writing Without Boundaries

Her grey hair was pulled up into a tight bun. Her clothes were nice and neat and she wore thick black glasses that sat on the tip of her skinny nose. Her presence was that of a teacher you once feared or a deceased grandparent you respected. I watched her reading my story and knew exactly what she was going to say. When she was finished, she threw it at me. The pages slapped me in the face and some fluttered around my desk. In a very loud, intimidating voice she yelled,

“This isn’t good enough! No one is going to want to read that. That doesn’t even make sense!”

I’m talking about her. My inner editor. When she isn’t yelling at me for creating work that no one is interested in, she’s busy telling me how my ideas are stupid or that I might offend someone if I write a certain thing.

Well this weekend, I decided to shut my inner editor up. This weekend all I did was write. I wrote exactly what I wanted to write and didn’t care if it was publishable or not. I just wrote because I love writing. I allowed myself to get lost in the world I was creating and enjoyed spending an entire day playing with my characters.

At the beginning of the year my personal goal was to send out a certain amount of stories each month to literary magazines, hoping that I would be published in one of them. Since I had the mindset to produce work to send out, I got lost in the process and my writing suffered because of it. Writing felt like a job instead of a hobby. I dreaded editing my stories because I wasn’t in love with them, they weren’t special to me. They were shallow pieces I quickly put together in order to make the literary magazine deadlines. So this weekend, I decided it was time I wrote for myself again.

I’ve heard that when you write, you should do it with someone in mind, for a certain audience. The audience I often picture never likes what I have to say. What I write is never good enough. On Saturday, my only audience was me. Just me and my imagination, writing whatever the heck I wanted and getting lost tor2in it. And you know what? Its the most fun I’ve had with writing in a while! I’ve been writing for fun since I was 7 years old but I’ve been writing seriously for only a couple months. Its amazing how the desire for perfection overwhelmed me and chocked my creativity so much! I went back to that 7 year old me and just wrote for the fun of it. And have decided that is how I am always going to approach my writing. Write just because its fun. Write something because you would enjoy reading it. Write without boundaries.

Want to take on a writing contest this year? Enter this one!

Hello everyone! I wanted to share with you another website that has been a blessing in my writing life. I’m sure many of you have already heard of it but I’m going to share anyway! It’s called Writers Digest and I find myself on that website every week it seems! They have great books on writing as well as tutorialswd, writing tips, webinars and contests.

Last year I entered a short story contest (didn’t win) but it was still fun to try. This summer, Writers Digest is having their 84th annual writing competition. So if you have a piece that you feel is ready to be submitted, I invite you to do so!


Here’s a breakdown of the prizes…

1 grand prize winner will receive:

  • $5,000 cash
  • An announcement on the cover of Writer’s Digest
  • An interview with the author in Writers Digest
  • One on one attention from four editors or agents
  • A paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York
  • A 30 minute platform strategy consultation
  • And a 1 year subscription to Writers Digest tutorials

In addition to the grand prize winner, there are spots for 10 winner’s total. 1st through 10th place winners will receive: $1,000-$100 cash, gift cards and discounts to the Writer’s Digest shop.

Here are the categories that will be allowed:

  • Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious)
  • Memoirs/Personal Essay
  • Magazine Feature Article
  • Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)
  • Mainstream/Literary Short Story
  • Rhyming Poetry
  • Non-rhyming Poetry
  • Stage Play
  • Television/Movie Script
  • Children’s/Young Adult Fiction

The early bird deadline is May 4th

$15 for poetry entries and $25 for manuscript entries

The regular deadline is June 5th

$20 for poetry entries and $30 for manuscript entries

To see a list of rules and how to enter please visit this link:

http://www.writersdigest.com/writers-digest-competitions/annual-writing-competition#how-to-enter

Happy writing!

Toria 🙂

Why the writing website “Scribophile” needs to be in your life

I just wanted to share a website that has really been a blessing in my life. It’s called “Scribophile” and the purpose of this website is for manuscript critiques. Since I’ve been sending out my work to magazines recently, it helps to have someone read it and tell me what I could improve on. And since I haven’t been able to find a writing group that is close to where I live, this is the next best thing!scribophile-logo

The other writers on the site are really friendly and they truly do give great feedback on your writing. Here’s how it works:

  1. In order to be able to post your own manuscript, you need “karma points”. The longer the critique you give others, the more points you will earn! (and from my experience, critiquing other writers’ work helps to improve my editing skills and makes me feel like a cool English teacher 😉
  2. Next, you spend your “karma points” to post your own work. You are guaranteed to get 3 long critiques, but most writers earn more, which is great!

I’ve been active on the site for only two months but already my short story has 7 helpful critiques. And I’m proud to say that it has really helped me feel more confident about how others respond to my work before I sent it to publishers.

Now the sad part…I use the free version which lets you post up to two works at a time. But they also have a paid version where you can post as many stories as you’d like. The free version works for me because I’m cheap and I’m a slow writer so I won’t have more than two manuscripts ready for others to read anyway. So please check it out! And if you do, feel free to add me: http://www.scribophile.com/authors/toria-jean/

And that’s it! The site also has groups you can join as well as advice on poetry, writing and publishing tips.

Happy writing and happy creating!

Toria.