Pep Talk – Be Your Own Fangirl

We often say to take things day by day and not focus on the end, but sometimes it’s good to take a step back.

When you feel like you can’t go on, and everything is piling up, and it all feels impossible, remember why you’re doing it and what you’re shooting for.

You are a writer for a reason. You started these stories for a reason.

That’s not to say you have to let yourself fall into a spiral of paralysis thinking about everything you have to do – but it those bad moments, thinking about that shiny idea that caused you to put words on the page helps.

Think about how far you’ve come. How much you’ve learned. How much farther you’ll go.

So take a moment. Be proud. Be your own fangirl, even preemptively.

This is gonna be awesome.

Pep Talk: One Day At A Slime

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, MY MIND IS HYPER SO I’M GONNA WRITE A PEP TALK AND YOU CAN’T STOP ME, SEE?

In short, wooooo hooooooo, you’ve dug your teeth into 2020. Perhaps you’ve gotten a start on (and, if you’re like me, subsequently abandoned) your resolutions. Or maybe you’re hiding under a blanket fort and trying not to get buried under a slowly growing pile of items on your todo list. I may or may not be guilty of this.

But now comes the decision paralysis. Perhaps you now have a mountain of text that you need to decide what to do with. Complete it? Let it rest some more? Hack it apart and salvage it for spare parts and candy? Or perhaps you didn’t get much written, and with how busy this time of year gets, maybe you face a big fat NOW WHAT?

Or maybe a “MAYBE THIS WASN’T SUCH A GREAT IDEA. WHAT WAS I THINKING?”

No worries. It’s easy to get caught up in mayhem and mixed metaphors, where you get crushed by the monolith and can’t see the road less traveled because of all the damn trees in the endless dark forest. Know what I mean?

No?

You’ve tried the marathon. Now for the journey. The long haul. The crawling, grueling quest.

It’s okay if you don’t know where to go. What to do next. As with any quest, the important thing is just to keep going. It’s okay to get distracted or take wrong turns. It’s okay to find out you’ve been doing it all wrong and to start over, or to have all your possessions washed away in a river while pursued by night wraiths, and to rest and recuperate from your toils in an insanitarium surrounded by magical but questionably ethical elves.

Take your time. Even in the dark and slime, your story will be there with you, no matter how twisty the path, and each turn brings you one bit closer to the bitter end. 

Just do one day at a time. One word at a time. One elf at a time. 😏

You got this, fren. 💪

Procrastination and Ways To Fix It

Procrastination. You’ve probably procrastinated on something one time or another in your life. I know I have. Sometimes, you take your laptop out and start to write and then an hour later you realize you’re on YouTube looking at kittens which is completely different than sitting down and doing the thing.

Oops, right? 

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who does it. We all do. It’s something every writer has fallen into. There’s no easy fix to procrastination. But there’s always something you can do to help yourself.

Small Chunks

One way that some people help themselves get through the urge to procrastinate is to cut up the big giant ball of mess into tiny bits. Do a small piece of the work and then do another small piece and then you can get through everything and by the end you will be finished with the work as a whole. This should help you see that you’re getting something done so that you have the motivation to finish. I do this when I have some kind of big project, like a paper due for class. I hate having to write essays and papers and so I wait until it’s the last minute to do it all and stress myself out even more. So, doing it in little pieces helps me not stress like I would if I waited to do it all when it was due.

Rewards

Another option is to add rewards for finishing each of those tiny bits. This can give you a sense of accomplishment because it’s a reward for what you do. This makes you want to do more so you can get that reward. Some people need the reward to be able to see that what they’re doing isn’t just all work but can be fun as well. This is something I do when something is looming over me and I don’t want to do it. I tell myself ‘okay. You know what? I’m going to write three hundred words of this project and for my reward I’m going to watch an episode of Doctor Who’. Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows and it gives me something to look forward to. 

Accountability Partners

You can also find a partner or group to keep you accountable. If you have a hard time staying focused and finishing the thing, you can always ask someone to help keep you on track. Maybe you want them to check in on you every couple of hours and see how the project is going. Or maybe this is someone who can give you words of motivation so that you can feel like you’re doing a good job and that you can do this. If you need outside affirmation to continue writing, this encourages you to keep going even when it feels like procrastinating would be easier.

Everyone has a different way of working through procrastination. One size does not fit all. Sometimes, we’re hardest on ourselves, especially when it comes to our own procrastination. We get so upset and that makes it worse for ourselves. With these tips, you can figure out what works best for you. Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember, we learn from our mistakes.

It’s Up To You

I had a revelation this morning.

I realized that I believe two things about my own writing process that feel diametrically opposed, but actually aren’t. 

First, I believe that first drafts don’t need to be perfect because they can always be changed. This is absolutely true and necessary. Second, I believe that I must research and plan before writing to produce good work, and that I need to stop in the middle of a draft in order to research events. Couldn’t I research later? Aren’t I procrastinating? 

I realized no. And it’s because of how I draft. I am not the kind of person who writes a rough draft and scraps most of it. Once that first draft is done, the bones of the story are in place and I have a very hard time changing important events, relationships, or structural features. So that means even though I can add, change, cut to make the story more effective, more coherent, or more beautiful, I have to have the bones right on the first pass. This is a me thing. Your mileage may vary. But the fact that I pause to get the research right and to know where I want to go isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that I know what works for me.

Many, many times you will see writing advice presented as hard and fast rules.  Write your first draft without stopping. Always write an outline. Never write an outline.  Qualifiers are bad. Always follow a three act structure. Avoid dialogue tags. And on and on and on.

For every writer who follows those rules, there’s a good writer who doesn’t.  What works for you, works for you.

There are no shortcuts.  There is no list of rules that if you follow them you will become Neil Gaiman or Barbara Kingsolver.  There is reading as much as you can, and on occasion, reading with a pen in hand to note what an author has done that is particularly effective, or maybe something that tripped you up as a reader.  There is sitting your rear end in the chair and putting fingers to keyboard or pencil to notebook. There is going back over your writing, poking and prodding at it to make it achieve your vision for it.  And for most of us, there is finding a community to support us in our work, to cheerlead and push us as we grow.

That’s it.  Read. Write.  Edit. Share.

The rest is for you to decide.

25 WAYS TO CHARGE UP YOUR WRITING POWERS, KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME, AND IMPROVE AS A WRITER

As writers, it’s easy to get stuck in our own heads and lose sight of why we do what we do. I write science fiction and fantasy with convoluted political intrigue plots and angsty romance. In the ten or so years I’ve been writing, I’ve amassed a million abandoned drafts and, save for a handful of short stories, never finished one novel. I wouldn’t call anything I’ve done a waste though: while wrangling plot hydras and dealing with life, I’ve refined my technique, learned valuable skills, and become much more confident in my abilities. The way I see it, everything I’ve done pushed me one step closer to actually attaining that refined finished product. These following tips helped me go from a helpless flailing newbie stuck in a rut of guilt and who only wrote one month out of 12 to a human who is slightly less mediocre, but also slightly more adept at putting out story material, one who writes consistently, works smarter, and who is more confident in figuring out what the Grawp I’m doing! 

  1. Loosen up your creativity muscle. Brainstorm one new thing a day, even if it’s small, like a title or character idea. Write these down in the same place. Also, when you look back, it’s a record of just how much of a talented and creative person you are! 
  2. Even the most gray day contains fodder for stories. It’s a surprising fact that writers walk by 3 or 4 plot bunnies a day. Keep your mind open to these. It’s like an Easter egg hunt for adults! Don’t stress out about it though. Some days or weeks you will find only one, or none, or it’ll be something you would never write. That’s okay! The point is not to be productive here, just to keep stretching the muscle. It’s like creativity yoga!
  3. You always think you should be able to control far more than it is actually possible to control. It’s okay that this disconnect is here! This is actually exactly what allows you to take on something as outrageous as writing multiple stories! The key is to repeatedly aim for the impossible in the long term, but to manage expectations day by day.
  1. The number of spoons you’ll have each day will vary. That’s okay. Do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up. Each word is a win!
  2. Give yourself credit for your wins, especially on the hard days, when the battle is harder. Commit to at least opening the document each day, even if you don’t end up writing, or commit to writing just one word if nothing else.
  3. A routine of some sort can help you to delineate writing space, and get your brain ready to create. I try to write at the same time each day. I also try to do this every day, or every other day, or 3 days a week. Pick a pattern that works for you. It can take up to a month to establish a habit. That’s okay. In addition, if you falter, don’t beat yourself up about it. Give yourself permission to fail, and try again. In fact, I only ever managed to establish a routine after I told myself it was okay to fail. After all, a routine is a tool, not an end. If the words are getting done, who cares?
  4. In fact, I like this thing so much I’m going to put it in its own separate item. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO FAIL. Nobody is perfect. Nobody knows everything. Sometimes you won’t hit your goals, or something won’t turn out like you wanted it to. That’s okay! That’s how you learn. FAILURE IS NOT A CRIME. IT’S NORMAL. Once you strip away the guilt from failure, it becomes an opportunity. Use it!
  5. It’s important to have a routine, but how you work is as important as when you work. The internet will tell you a million ways to write correctly. It’s okay to try these to see what works, but the fact is, every brain is different. You will struggle with things that everyone seems to get easily, and you will easily do things others find hard. Lean into this. Need to switch projects every day so you don’t get bored? Yup, that’s fine. Need to work in 20 minute bursts with 10 minute breaks? Also fine. Need a special spreadsheet? Use it. Hate the one your friend uses? Don’t use it. Do what works for you. No guilt.
  6. You will never find what works right off the bat. It’s okay to try things and tweak your routine. That’s not to say you should always go out of your comfort zone. Just go at the pace that suits you. For instance, I find that I crash and burn if I can’t write in my preferred subgenres, but I love trying out new character tropes – so that’s how I push myself.
  7. Tweak your routine slowly. It takes time to establish a habit, a surprisingly long time. After years of writing, I have only now gotten to the point where I write consistently and not just every November. It took months of trying out different combinations of setting goals, different times, different patterns. I found that short word sprints work, but not long ones. I found that pushing myself to hit a high goal doesn’t help. In fact, word count goals just make me give up. Instead, I shifted focus to just writing something, even if it’s only 100 words, 3 days a week. Sometimes this worked. Sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes there were entire months I didn’t write. But it got me used to writing outside of November. Then I shifted to doing away with word counts entirely, and said fuck it, I’m going to go bare minimum. I feel good when I maintain a writing streak. Technically if I write 1 veg rid a day, that counts as a streak. It’s not hard to write 1 word vs. 0 words. So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll write 1 word a day, every day. That’s all. Turns out…I write twice as much when I aim for this as when I allow myself to skip days but demand a minimum word count.
  8. Do you have the right tools? The right tools make things flow like water. It’s definitely worth it to invest in the right software! Some people need a sequential document. Some like the organizational capacity of Scrivener. Some, like me, prefer something in between with a light UI that still lets me jump around, such as FocusWriter. Once I stopped fighting with Scrivener, my writing flowed. But tools are not just for writing! They are for all aspects! I find it beneficial to be able to see how far I’ve come visually, so I made myself the perfect spreadsheet to help me track my words. Once I did that, my motivation leaped up, because I no longer felt like I was yeeting words into the void.
  9. Do little things that help boost your mood and get you into a writing space. Sometimes I stare at my screen in silence. But guess what? I don’t work well in silence… But I feel guilty for doing anything else while writing, especially if I’ve been stuck, because anxiety sucks. So I struggle with the silence, feeling like I don’t deserve anything nice until the words come out. This is toxic thinking. I always deserve nice things, and so do you. I like to listen to music while writing. It calms me down and distracts the brain bees (ah, the glories of black metal!), not to mention it inspires me. So that’s what I do! Ahhhh. Much better.
  10. Pay attention to your mood. Take your meds. Drink water. Eat something. Practice self care. Meditate. Allow yourself to do absolutely nothing for 5 minutes. None of this is a cure all, but it helps to clear out the cobwebs. You deserve to love yourself. In fact, go do that right now.
  11. If you’re reading or watching TV, allow yourself to abandon anything that does not spark joy. Struggling with this boring book? Yeah, DNF it, and pick up something you love. Life is too short for dry books and dull shows!
  12. You deserve to write. You deserve to write. You deserve to write. You deserve to write. You deserve to write. You deserve to write. You deserve to write.
  13. Remember to stop and celebrate your own brand of enthusiastic chaos and crack-brained creativity. This is what got you here. What made you want to write this story? How can you do that…more? Who says you have to slog through writing the dull bits when everything can be writer candy?
  14. You’ve come so far in this journey. How much further will you go? Remember to take time to feel proud of your achievements. What are you most proud of?
  15. Write down one good writing thing that happened today.
  16. If anything bad happened, write down why it’s not as bad as anxiety says it is.
  17. In addition to looking out for ideas, it is important to remain aware of ways to tweak your approach, and maintain your toolbox of skills. Some say to read profusely. Some say to read a lot of whatever type of thing you’re writing. I’m not going to prescribe any minimum amount, but I will say that it is important to consume media that appeals to you, no matter how much or how little. Read and watch things that intrigue you. Make a note of what intrigues you, and what you don’t like. Was something done particularly well? How can you apply that to your own work? 
  18. Anxiety, whether medical or momentary, often happens because your mind can’t understand the boundary between things you can control now, and things you can’t. It drives you to do more, more, more! Even if you’re worried about what to do next, remind yourself that this scene, this task, is finished – you’re done for now. Good job. Now you can rest.
  19. Treat yo’ self. You need dopamine. Humans are geared to ignore the positive and focus on the negative, but often, that is counterproductive. Make a conscious effort to use positive reinforcement more often. 
  20. If you haven’t done so already, share bits of your writing with people. This is crucial for growth. I know it may sound terrifying, but believe me, it gets easier with practice! You don’t have to share entire works, but at least with a writing group or buddy, you should just share excerpts of your work. Even if you aren’t yet ready for critique, you and your buddies can say nice things about each other’s work. This is what we usually do on Steve. Not only do you get a chance to enjoy your friends’ works and get to know them, but when you sharing snips with each other, you actually get to see how others apply different techniques in easy-to-digest bits. What do others do well? What draws you in? This is your chance to steal what works! In addition, others’ positive reactions will tell you what you do well. It’s easy to forget that, and remembering your strengths is actually an important factor in being able to keep doing what you’re doing! 
  21. Procrastination is inevitable. Forgive yourself for that. Love the deadlines, hate the deed, keep on keeping on. You got this. If you write, you’ve won. Remember, the only way you fail 100% is if you don’t try at all. 
  22. If  you haven’t already, join a writing group. This might take time. Sometimes you have to cycle through a few before you find one you click with. Remember, we’re all in this together. You’re not alone. Writing is not just about the act of creating or just putting words on the page, but about keeping yourself functioning. Learning with other writers will strengthen your work, and helping others will help you! Remember to keep talking regularly to your writing group. Don’t have a writing group? Join ours! We put the prod in productivity…and the pro in procrastination! 

Do you have any little tips that help boost your work or help you get inspired? Share with us!

Pep Talk – Tackling the Manuscript Monolith: When Writing An Entire Damn Novel Feels Overwhelming

Oh dear. The slog is real. The struggle is real. The blanket is…questionably real. It all adds up to a strong desire to hoard cookies and hide under your desk.

Working on things consistently is hard. It’s even harder when you’re trying to figure out where to begin in between juggling sickness, spoons, and life. On top of that, there’s an even worse thought: everyone talks about the crippling fear of the blank page, but at times, the blank page is nothing. It’s easily defeated by a placeholder, a few keyboard matches, song lyrics, or even… titty sprinkles. (Trust me, you can’t go wrong with titty sprinkles. After that, anything you do is an improvement.)

But after you have started, then comes the work of figuring out what the hell you’re actually doing. Sometimes that means figuring out what exactly to write, or sometimes that means figuring out the right approach to take, how to fix the plot hole, or which direction to go while you figure out which direction you actually want to go.

And then, guess what, you have to do even more! You have to keep up the pace. You have to end it well. Then comes editing, revision, finding betas, learning the business, getting published…

Sometimes it feels like it’s just easier to quit, and take up a career inspecting the underside of blankets. It’s much easier that way. After all, as the voices in your head say, what are the chances of you actually conquering this monolith?

Except that’s a fallacy. Manuscript monoliths are tricky. The more you try to conquer them, the more they grow, and the sooner they crush you. You can’t conquer them. You can’t climb over them. You can’t go around them. You can’t even lie there forever and stare at them while you mumble incoherently, because they will just taunt you.

The best way to deal with monoliths… is to poke them.

Repeatedly.

You can’t conquer them, but you can prod them into shape. Slowly. It’s just you, your fingers, and your weapon, be that keyboard or pen.

I have said before that everyone has different abilities. I’ve said before that when you need to take a break, it’s okay to take a break. I’ve said before to take it one day at a time, and keep moving.

What I haven’t said is that sometimes, even all of those can feel like too much. And in those moments, remember that that’s all it is. A moment. A blip.

It’s not a matter of figuring everything out. It’s not even a matter of getting through each day. It’s just slow, incremental progress. What matters is the moment you have, right now. A story is words. A story is ideas. A story is a connection.

A story is the culmination of actions taken over a series of moments. And the only thing that matters is what you choose to do with the moment you have right in front of you. Right now. Do you need to sprint? Or perhaps, do you need to daydream and brainstorm about a character’s turning point?

I’m not going to end this with a “seize the moment!” speech. I think we’ve heard that one enough, and it tramples over all the times when the best thing to do is to do nothing.

The monolith is impossible because it’s everything we did, and everything we have to do. We can’t deal with a monolith because we are linear creatures. We can only do one thing at a time. And that’s why I say, focus on the moment, not the monolith. Make the best use of the moment. 

You don’t have to have all of it figured out. You don’t even have to have any of it figured out. And sometimes it’s two steps forward, one step back.

But the only way to find out is to open that document.

And that only takes a moment.

How I Got My Lit Agent

Hello writer friends. I’m super excited to be one of your monthly bloggers! I primarily write MG and my goal is traditional publishing, so I thought I’d start this series off with a post on how I got my literary agent. Upcoming posts will include query letter writing, how to write a simple synopsis, first pages, going on sub, and then I have a few more posts planned on the craft of storytelling–stay tuned!

The book that landed me my agent is a MG STEM Adventure novel currently titled NO GEEKS, NO GLORY. It’s the third manuscript I’ve finished and I was so excited about it that as soon as it was done, I decided to submit it to a twitter contest called #fallfictionfest (I’m a sucker for a good contest). I won a slot, workshopped my query and first page over the course of a week, and then went to a showcase. I got 7 full requests!

I had confidence this ms was the one. I kept sending queries throughout the spring and stocked up on more full requests. Then, after four months, rejections started coming in (insert sad trombone here). A lot of rejections.  Every single request from the contest eventually turned into a “no.” 

The book needed work. I still had quite a few fulls out from my spring queries, but I started to spend time trying to figure out what was broken and how to use the agent feedback I’d received to make the book better. I also joined a critique group (pro-tip: critique groups are AMAZING and worth their weight in gold).

Right about the time all these rejections were rolling in, I spied another contest. #WRITEMENTOR, which is very similar to Pitchwars, except it focuses on kidlit. Details are here, but the gist is this: hundreds of people enter and the 50(-ish) mentors each choose one mentee where they will spend four months working and rewriting their manuscript in preparation for the agent showcase, where agents will make requests. Sounded like a match made in heaven to me! 

I chose three mentors to submit my work to (max number allowed) and crossed my fingers one of them would pick me. 

For two weeks I kept working on my manuscript and even entered another writing contest (for money! I’m telling you, I love contests). 

Then, as I was walking into my daughter’s mommy and me gymnastics class, my twitter notifications exploded. Kate Foster picked me as her mentee. I cried. I gushed. Then I had to get to work.

I also sent an email to the agents who had the original full stating that I was participating in this contest, and I would send the revised full once the agent showcase went live. I didn’t think I’d be rewriting the entire manuscript.

Dear reader, I rewrote the entire manuscript. I sent one hundred revised pages at a time to Kate, which she’d comment on and send back, then I sent 5k of the rewrite every week to my critique group and then incorporate their feedback.

I struggled to finish by the deadline. I think it was the night before the showcase and I was still tweaking my ending trying to get it just right.

On Sept. 7th, the showcase went live and I had requests come in from agents who wanted the full. I was ecstatic!!!

The very same day,, the winners of the contest I’d entered 4 months before were also honored. I was one of them and immediately added it as a cred to the biography section of my query. I won $30 🙂

The showcase ended. I sent out the fulls to the agents patiently waiting for the updated version and to all the requesting agents from the contest. Then I sent out some more queries (Querytracker.net is so addicting when you have a finished ms). I received a couple more full requests, and I waited.  Responses on fulls usually (in my experience) start to roll in around 3 months.

It was a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and I got an email from an agent. It was very quick, very short, and said something to the effect of “No thanks, this isn’t for me.” I was devastated. I thought for sure after rewriting my entire manuscript and with all these fulls out, I would get a more positive response. Not the case.

I moaned to my husband that I was gonna hold off on querying any more agents, start a new book, and forget about this one. He politely told me to cut the dramatics (I was flailing) but perhaps working on something new would be good: it only takes one yes, but don’t get down on yourself yet. I flailed a little more for good measure and went to put the toddler in bed.

Four hours after that first rejection, another email came in from a different agent (one of the spring agents with the revised ms). She enjoyed my book and wanted to know if I was available for a call the following week to discuss. I almost dropped my child. I shook as I finished her bed time routine, then skipped down the stairs and thrust my phone at my husband. He gave me a hug and couldn’t resist saying “I told you so.” I socked him in the arm.

I hoped against hope the call would be an offer, but I had all my walls up just in case. Maybe it was an R&R (revise and resub), maybe we would chat and she’d run in the other direction. Anxiety is really creative with possible scenarios when you get nervous. We set up the call for the following Wednesday. 

The next five days were tough. Wednesday finally came and my hubby took the kids to McDonalds while I lit my lucky candle and re-read all the questions I had for her (this might be another blog post in the future). 

The call was amazing. She was amazing. She had tons of enthusiasm for my work and the call ended in an offer. I asked for a couple of weeks in order to let the rest of the agents know I’d received an offer of rep, as is standard practice.

Ten minutes after firing off the notification email, I received a response from another agent saying they’d like a call for the next day. You guys…. I WAS FLOORED.

Kids went back to McDonalds and I chatted with this agent. At the end of the call, I had more questions than answers. 


Over the next few weeks, every agent replied back, most with step-asides as they didn’t have time to read the manuscript over the Thanksgiving holiday. I chased two other agents for a response the day before my deadline to accept, and they also stepped aside. Total requests for this book: 18.

I emailed Jana Hanson back and accepted her offer of rep in the beginning of Dec. 2019. My book wouldn’t be what it is today without the help of my critique partners and Kate from Writementor, but I DO think it is important to point out that even though I was lucky enough to be in two separate showcases, my agent pulled me from the slush pile! Querying works.

Since accepting, we’ve been doing more edits and will be heading out on submission soon.

Feel free to reach out with any questions in the comments or find me on Twitter at @PowerMeagan.

PSA: If you’re interested in submitting to WRITEMENTOR this year, the sub window opens April 15-17th. 

January, 2015, and Beyond: 5 Writing Challenges to Get In Gear for the Rest of the Year!

2015 - GIGFTROTY

HARK, ALL WRITERS!

By Royal Proclamation of His Royal Highness King Steve, HEAR YE! Steve The WriMo Forum‘s big 2015 reboot is here!

Are you looking for a friendly, fun place to chat (and write) with fellow writers in 2015? Haven’t thought that far ahead? Well, how about a friendly place with lots of fun challenges just for January? Steve the WriMo Forum is that place! Check out our list of challenges for January and the rest of 2015:

JWJ – Just Write January:
Time to get in gear for the rest of the year! Pick a goal (word count, consistency, time), and just write! WIPs allowed. You can also use anything you do for other challenges (here on Steve or external) for this. Non word count goals allowed.

SSSS – Silly Stevian Story Share:
Take your characters on a mad world-hopping adventure! You may use any story idea you like, but the catch is that for each episode, the setting changes, thus changing your characters accordingly. Madness results! Share each episode with fellow Stevians, read along with others’ adventures, and give/receive kind words and encourage along the way. Above all, it’s low on pressure, but high in fun! The challenge goes from January 1st – March 31st, but participants may choose a shorter time frame if so desired.

10kh – 10,000 Hours Challenge:
So apparently it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become really good at it. This is a catch-all bucket challenge with no time limit, where no matter how much or how little time you spend on doing something, you can’t truly lose. The idea is simple. Keep writing, and watch your numbers go up! Even your most fantastic flailing fish-flop failures pave the pathway to eventual success!

Non Word Count Goals:
Rebels? – I don’t see any rebels here. Know why? Because there aren’t any! Most Steve challenges allow non-writing based goals by default. Need to revise your draft? Need to create an outline or synopsis? There is no separate sign up for this one. Whatever your To Do list is, drop it in your PPT or add a shortened version to JWJ (or other monthly challenge), tick off the list as they get done, and watch your % complete rise.

Stevetallica – Win ‘Em All:
The idea is meta-simple. Win at least one challenege a month, and be crowned a Mighty Master of All by the great King Steve himself. Any challenge of any length counts, external like NaNo/Camp or special Steve ones, month-long or shorter, or even self-imposed goals for the month.

ALL HAIL KING STEVE!

My Admin Went To The Internet And All I Got Was This Stupid Blog Post

Guest post by your lovely admin, Agent Double Oh Zero.

Good morning/afternoon/evening/night, Stevians and followers! This, by the way, is NOT a real blog post, NOT a real pep talk, and NOT, in fact, anything very much in particular except an affirmation to those lost souls wandering in from all corners of the internet that this blog is not in fact a cyberspace desert wasteland. To kick off our very first blog post and also the NaNoWriMo Panic Party and Doom’N’Gloomatorium, we have a lovely musical number.

There was a time when muses were kind.

When their nitpicks were soft,

And their thoughts exciting. 

There was a time I didn’t mind

Getting it wrong,

For wrong was right writing.

There was a time

Then it all went wrong. 

I screamed in dreams that NaNo’s nigh,

When tears ran dry

Excitement kicking

I know my muse will never fly,

I dream plot comes, and this clock’s ticking.

But I was young, my drafts unmade.

I filled my blog with endless chatter.

There was no castle to fall and fade,

No characters dead, no hope to shatter

But the doubts, they come at night,

Blight your brain and cramp your fingers,

As they rip your darlings apart

And they turn your book to slime.

I typed from fall to winter time,

And filled my notebook with snips that lingered

In my mind with nauseous rhyme

But they were gone when NaNo came.

But still I hope words come to me

That this story will be polished

But for that I’ll wait and see

Hell, now I just hope I finish

Now NaNo panic’s got me fit to scream.

-The lyrics of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from Les Miserables were COMPATIBLE. They have now been UPGRADED by Agent Double Oh Zero

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m having a rough start to my NaNoWriMo. I fleshed out characters. I actually spent more time on my world than merely deciding to pants. I outlined hard. This was my October.

Be Prepaaaaaaaared!

Thus I have telepathically inserted this post’s theme song into your heads.

For October, that’s fine, but one thing they never tell you is that November requires a complete change of mentality. Suddenly you’re switching from administrator to crazed penmonkey. I want so badly to actually finish this month, but I know I couldn’t write a word until I consciously decided to ignore my outline. Then I spat out some 600 words, which I didn’t immediately want to trash. Don’t get me wrong, the outline helped. It gave me a rough starting point. So to those of you just starting, it’s time to let go of your doubts. Time to let go of conscious control, no matter how badly you want to control the details. As Ms. Frizzle would say, it’s time to take chances! Make mistakes! GET MESSY!

I know I may never be ready to be brilliant, but I think I am prepared to suck wonderfully.

How’s it going for everyone else so far?