Thursday, May 19, 2016

Paused...For Now

This is a really hard post to write.

I haven't wanted to write it, even though I've felt like I should write it for weeks.

But here goes.

I've been struggling to find the time and inspiration to write for months now. Ever since I finished the first draft of my last novel, I haven't been making very good progress.

I thought that if I started my blog up again that it would help, but it didn't. I was just spending more time on the blog, and no time writing. This has partly been because I'm graduating in a week, and I have been preoccupied with party invitations and planning and all the stress and excitement that comes along with graduating.

The really hard part of this post is that I love blogging. I really do! But I have felt like a hypocrite the past few months, giving advice about writing when I'm not writing at all. So I'm going to stop posting, for now, and focus on writing.

That's what's important for me right now.

Hopefully this break will only be for a few months, and maybe even just a few weeks. However long it takes me to get into a routine with my writing. Right now I feel like I need to focus on getting back to what I love doing the most, which is writing.

I might put up a few more posts that I'd been working on, I'm not sure. But I won't be writing any new material for the blog.

Thank you to everyone for all the support and encouragement I've gotten. I will continue to read your blogs and comment!

I'm so glad you came along on the ride with me. Hopefully I'll be back soon.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

How I Write a Blog Post

Hello guys!

So back in February the lovely Katie did a post on A Writer's Faith about how she writes a blog post. I thought that this was a really cool idea, and so I decided to do a post on that as well! Thanks for letting me steal your idea, Katie!

I'm going to be using this post for some example pictures.

Step One

Initial Idea 

So when I get the first idea, I either open a new post in blogspot, or I write it down in my writing notebook, or blogging notebook.

If I'm I'm blogspot, or at my computer when I have the idea I'll usually just go ahead and start a new post in blogspot and put any ideas I may already have in the body of the post.

If I'm not on my computer, then I will write it down, either on my phone, in my writing notebook, or in my blogging notebook!

*cue squeals*

I just put it together, and I'm already so excited about it. It's got post worksheets, content planning calendars, and future goals. I'm thinking about doing a post about this notebook, so if you're interested in seeing that (with lost of links to printable blog-themed worksheets), let me know in the comments!

Step Two 


Sometimes I will just skip this step altogether, and to go on to step three, but if I'm feeling like I might get stuck, then I go ahead and write out my bullet points, i.e. the main ideas of the post. Usually my posts are all pretty orderly (like this one, for example) and sometimes I even already have all of the main points from my original notes when I started the post draft.

Step Three 


This is where I fully develop my outline (if I had one) and get down all my ideas. I usually do it in one sitting, and go straight through from the opening to the end post. 

Step Four 


I proofread all my posts in the preview option of Blogger. Somehow I spot mistypes and missing words easier when it actually looks like a blog post and not a block of text. I read through the text and make corrections in the editor as I go, then update the preview to show the corrections and read through everything one more time. 

Step Five 

Creating the Image 

I use Canva to create all my blog post images. If anyone's interested, I might do a post someday about how I create them, and where I get my photos from.  Once I've finished the image, I add it to the post. 

Step Six 

Post It

Press Publish! 

The End. 

That's it! I hope you guys enjoyed this. If anyone else wants to do a post on how they write blog posts, let me know. I'd love to read it! Thanks Katie for inspiring this post! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The 3 Tools I Use for Every Writing Project

There are so, so many tools out there that are specifically for helping writers write books. It can be confusing to try to decide which tools to use for your project. 

There are websites that tell you how easy your writing is to read, and check your grammar and spelling. There are books on writing craft, books on how to write more words faster, and books on spelling and grammar. There are sites like Pinterest that make it easy to visualize your characters and settings.  

So many options, but it would be impossible and confusing to try to use all of the tools on one project. 

Today I’m going to talk about the three tools that I use on every novel I have ever written. 

Tool #1
Baby Naming Websites and Books

I know, I know. 

But character names! It’s so hard for me to come up with names for my characters (example: across three novels I have two Wills, two Laura’s, and two Grace’s). I like the same sort of names, and there are endless websites out there on the internet to help you chose a name (baby or character, same thing), but I prefer using an actual book. 

You can find a baby name book at any bookstore, but it’s cheaper to find one at a second-hand bookstore, or Goodwill. I found mine at Goodwill for about three dollars. 

If I'm stumped on a character name, I just flip through the book until one jumps out at me. There are also popular name lists by year that go back all the way into the 1900s, and names that are popular in different countries, if your character isn't from the U.S. 

Tool #2
Grammar Books

I do not typically use Google when I have a question about grammar. 

Here's why. 

Google gives about five different answers per site, and none of them are usually decisive. This does not help me at all, it only makes me more confused. Confused Olivia is not a good Olivia. 

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite grammar books to use for writing: 

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White This book is great for any kind of writer, but was written specifically for novel-writing grammar rules. It's almost 100 years old, but is still a must have for any writer. 

Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Book I love the blog Go Teen Writers, and this book is a must-have extension from that blog. There are some really great tips here on how dialogue should be correctly punctuated, and how to correctly format your novel to send it to agents.

Any other grammar rules book I use my textbooks to check more specific grammar rules, like sit or set and other confusing things like that.

Tool #3
Writing Notebook

I am going to do a post that goes into more depth about my writing notebooks, but for now I will just say that there are two different kinds of notebooks that I use when writing. 

Idea Notebook

This is a very small notebook that I carry in my purse or backpack wherever I go. If I have an idea for a character, or hear a snippet of someone's conversation that inspires me, or even if I think of a whole plot for a novel, I write it down in here. 

Book Idea Notebook

This is a larger notebook (usually a one-subject composition notebook or a 3-ring binder) that I use when I am plotting and planning a new novel. I do character worksheets, plot beat sheets, and research here. I do not usually do any of this kind of planning for a novel on a computer, just because I feel like I am more creative and more connected to the ideas when I am writing them out with a pencil, and looking at them on paper. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and the little peek it gave you into my writing process. Are there any books that you use for writing every project? Would you be interested in reading a post about my writing notebooks?

Thanks for reading and see you in the comments!