Novel Writing, Uncategorized

How to organize your first draft #novelwriting

CaptureThe past few weeks, I’ve been working on my second “real” novel, and it hit me this morning that I’ve finally figured out how to organize my work in the first draft stage so I can keep track of what I’m doing. Because organization can be a key element of being an efficient writer, I thought I’d share my system in case some other writer might find it useful. I think the easiest way to explain my system is to paint a picture of it for you, so I took a screenshot of the first page of my actual document:

And now, I will explain what I have done: Continue reading “How to organize your first draft #novelwriting”

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing, Uncategorized

2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: Day 1

Get your NaNoWriMo Participant web graphics on the office website:
Get your NaNoWriMo Participant web graphics on the office website:

Well, here it is. November 1st. Day One of NaNoWriMo, and Day One of our Trashy Romance Novel Writing Challenge. I know you have a lot of writing to do, so I will get right to the day’s writing assignment: Continue reading “2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: Day 1”

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing

NaNoWriMo logistics: How are you planning ahead?

Underwood No. 5, in the collection of The Chil...
Can you imagine attempting NaNoWriMo on this behemoth? | Underwood No. 5, in the collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s amazing how often logistical issues can get in the way of our writing. I, like many writers, have tried a variety of techniques in an attempt to make writing – wherever I may be – as easy as possible. Because we all know, the easier it is, the more likely we are to do it. If it seems like too much trouble to haul your ancient, seven-pound laptop along when running errands, then you probably will end up just not doing it.

Yeah, I said seven pounds. I am a starving artist, after all. Of course I don’t have an iPad!

If you were writing a novel a century ago, your choices of communication modes were probably quite limited. You basically either wrote your novel out longhand, or you tapped it out on a bulky typewriter. Did they even have portable typewriters yet a century ago? Continue reading “NaNoWriMo logistics: How are you planning ahead?”

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing

NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Novel Challenge

fancy harlequin romance teaspoons
These are my fancy romance novel teaspoons. I got four free novels with each spoon!

Can it be mid-October already? NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am just now getting around to thinking about it. As usual, my original plan for this year was to just skip it. But as November draws near, I find myself once again itching to see if I can knock out a novel in thirty days.

Last year, I did not. While I did manage to conquer the quest for 50,000 words, my NaNoWriMo project was not, in any way, a novel. Last year, I proved to myself that I am capable of writing 50,000 words in one month. This year, I think it’s time to step it up and write 50,000 words of an actual novel. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Novel Challenge”

Memoir, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: A final push for the finish line

Mandy Webster nanowrimo stats
This is my first NaNoWriMo attempt in which I have managed to get my word count above the daily goal and keep it there.

I was just sitting here looking at my NaNoWriMo stats, trying to figure out how many words I want to write over the next two days so I can finish by Thursday and have nothing to do for the rest of the week (unless I want something to do) aside from grading papers.

I only need about 6,000 more words. One thing I’ve learned this month is that 6,000 words in one day is totally doable, especially on a day when I have something to say. And when do I not have something to say? Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: A final push for the finish line”


Getting a late start on NaNoWriMo

Writing: Just DO it already! | Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Day 7, and I have changed my mind. I am doing NaNoWriMo after all. There’s nothing like waiting a week to decide you want to write 50,000 words like everyone else. I have been sitting here reading blog posts about everyone else’s NaNo projects and feeling jealous. And making excuses for why I couldn’t do it too.

Then I got an idea. I finally looked myself in the computer screen and said, “Shut up with the excuses already. Sit your ass down in that chair and start writing.”

So, I am doing it. I am starting NaNoWriMo today, seven days in, and on my birthday, no less. Continue reading “Getting a late start on NaNoWriMo”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 12, Time to revise!

black walnut tree
Have you looked outside lately? Mother Nature keeps reminding me that summer is almost over. These black walnuts will be on the ground soon.

September 21st is the last day of summer, as well as the official last day of our Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. I don’t know about you, but I feel good knowing I have written an entire story from start to finish. Now, on to revisions!

After letting my first draft simmer for a couple of weeks, I finally sat down this week and started working on my second draft. Many famous authors (Stephen King comes to mind) say your second draft should always be shorter than your first. They advise cutting out unnecessary words, which is great advice. But I don’t think that is going to work for me. Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 12, Time to revise!”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 3 (I wrote something. I actually wrote something!)

The writing life - a stack of notebooks
My current stack of notebooks includes a pretty fairy journal. Follow me on Instagram for more pretty pictures.

We are now three full weeks into the Write Your Novel this Summer writing challenge, and I can finally report that I have written something! This week, I finally managed to break through my writer’s block and am gaining some momentum. Here’s a quick look at what I have accomplished:

Random Writing Rants, Social Media

Spellcheck Public Service Announcement

Words (Photo credit: Southernpixel

You may have noticed that, when updating your Facebook status, certain words might occasionally show up in the text box with a red squiggly line under them. This red squiggly line typically indicates that you have spelled a word incorrectly.

Whenever this happens, simply right click over the squiggled word and see if a correct spelling is available. Click on the correct spelling and proceed with your status update.

If the correct spelling is unavailable, you can usually google the word to find the correct spelling. Unless you have completely butchered the word, you should be able to easily find the correct spelling using the tools available right at your fingertips. Continue reading “Spellcheck Public Service Announcement”

Education, Parenting

Easy is a bad word

It's Not Easy Being...
It's Not Easy Being... | Photo credit Wikipedia

My kindergartener told me the other day that the word “easy” is a bad word at his school. I asked him why, and he told me, “Just because something’s easy for you doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone, and we don’t want to make our friends feel bad.” I guess I can somewhat understand the reasoning, but at the same time, I wonder how this makes the kids feel when they think something is easy and are not allowed to voice their opinion.

There are lots of things that are easy for other people but not for me (math.) I won’t hold it against you if it’s easy for you. I won’t decide I just can’t do it because it’s not easy for me. No, I just accept the fact that I have to work harder than you do on that specific task and take comfort in knowing that there’s probably something else I DO think is easy. And when I do that other task, I’d like to be able to feel proud of myself and say, “Wow, this is easy!” Continue reading “Easy is a bad word”