NaNoWriMo tracking & reward system | week 1 update

Hello everyone! Today marks one week of NaNoWriMo! I’m happy to say that I’m actually surviving, and I’m on target with my word count. I didn’t know if I would even make it this far, so I’m extremely proud of myself and all that I’ve accomplished. I’m past 10k words at this point! That is so crazy to me.

I didn’t realize that all I needed to get myself to write was a bit of a push. I wish that I had forced myself to participate in NaNo in the past, like I did this year. Maybe I could have written multiple novels by now.

I think what’s really helping me is my tracking and reward system! If you didn’t see my last post, you can check it out here. I mentioned the Lightspeed Planner, which I have been using since the start of the month. I am absolutely loving it! I would highly recommend checking it out and possible buying one for yourself.

Here is what a blank page looks like:

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

How I use it for NaNo:

Each day looks slightly different, but I always write my word count goal in either the “must do” or the “should do” spot because it is a huge priority for me. I don’t plan on ever putting it in the “could do” category unless I absolutely have more important things taking up my time. If it’s in the “should do” category, it’s because I have a big homework assignment that I need to complete before I can write. Otherwise, it always goes in the “must do.”

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

As for the notes section, I use that to track my actual progress. I write down how many words I started the day with, then I write how many I ended with. On the right side, I put down the total words written that day. If I am on target for NaNo, I give myself a star sticker for that day. I really want to keep that streak going and have a star every single day, so this is another motivating factor. The planner also has a little pocket in the back, so I can keep all of my stickers with me!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

In the planner, there is also a performance tracker. You can rate yourself on a scale from 10-100% based off of how well you performed in a given day. The way I use it is that every 10%=200 words. Therefore, 100% means I wrote 2000 words! It’s very hard for me to write 2k words in a day, so I haven’t yet reached this. However, it motivates me to push myself so that I can get as high up as possible. My highest was 90% one day, which I am extremely proud of!

Rewards System:

The back of the planner contains some pages for you to set your goals. I’m using this as a rewards system for each milestone I hit in NaNo. Here’s how it looks:

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

  • 10k words- Chick-fil-a trip
  • 25k words- clothes shopping
  • 40k words- buy myself a book
  • 50k words- get the new Kindle Paperwhite!!

This has been a great way to push myself to keep going. I want the Kindle Paperwhite so bad, so I’m only letting myself get it once I hit 50k words. Ideally, this would be by November 30th, meaning I won NaNo. However, if I don’t make it, I’m still going to use this to make sure I finish this draft after NaNo is over!

chat with me

I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! I am loving my system and how well it’s been working for me so far. Let me know if you have a system of your own and how it works for you, cause I’m always open to new ideas.

Also, check out the lightspeed planner, which you can buy here!

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 12.51.06 PM

Advertisements

my NaNoWriMo 2018 plans // pt. 2

Hello everyone! This is the second part of my NaNoWriMo 2018 series, so if you haven’t read the first one you can click here to do that. In the first part, I talked about my goals for prepping before NaNo, and I have definitely been working on those. They are not completely done yet, but I still have a week of October left, so I know I will get them all done before November begins.

In this post, I want to talk a bit about my outlining process and explain what my novel is about!

I am calling it “Project X” for now, because it does not have an official title yet. From now on, that is what I will be referring to it as! Some of you may remember that over the summer I was working on a writing project with the same name. That project sort of turned into this one, so that’s why I am keeping the name. I combined some ideas into one, but the concept as a whole is brand new.

What is it about?

The story follows Summer as she goes to visit her father in New Jersey for the months before she begins her freshman year of college. Her father has a new girlfriend, she starts a new job, and she’s going to be moving to a new state soon. All of these changes are happening way too fast for her. Until one day she runs into Noah and starts to fall for him. He might be the only thing keeping her from reaching her breaking point. However, they’re both hiding something from each other. Can a relationship still form despite the secrets? Or will it end in disaster for both of them?

The story is still forming and a lot can change! However, this is the main gist of it. It is definitely going to be more of a character driven story, and I hope to make the reader feel very connected to at least one person. Their personalities are all so different, and they each go through a lot of growth throughout the book. Let me know what you think of it :)

Outlining Process

Outlining is so much fun for me, but it takes a long time and requires a lot of work. I have been using a notebook to outline, because I like to have a physical form of the story- it feels more personal and almost like a work of art to me.

I started with a short summary, and then created pages for my main characters. This took a lot of time, because each character is so unique and requires my full attention. I’m glad I took the time for this though, because I know my characters so well now and how they will react in different situations. It will be a lot easier to write them because of this.

I then decided about how many chapters I wanted the story to be, and I wrote out different plot points and events that I want to occur on post-it notes. This is very helpful because I can stick them on different pages, but move them around if necessary. Starting with the first chapter, I wrote out some bullet points of what would happen in each chapter. I am almost midway through at this point (I plan to have 28 chapters), so I just have a little bit more work to do.

It’s a little hard to describe how I outline through words, it would be much easier to talk about in video form, so I suggest checking out some authors on Youtube who talk about how they outline!

The story is really starting to come together, and I am excited to see where it goes, once I actually begin writing!

chat with me

Are any of you participating in NaNo this year? Let me know what kind of story you’re writing down in the comments (if you feel comfortable). Good luck!

ending

my NaNoWriMo 2018 plans !! pt. 1

November is right around the corner, and if you’re a writer you know what that means- it’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) time! Basically, the goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. It is incredibly difficult and requires a lot of work, but can be done.

I have tried participating in the past, but always occurred at times in my life where I was too busy or lacked inspiration. However, I have been really focusing on writing and making it a bigger priority over the past few months because it is something I want to spend my life doing.

I have already begun prepping for NaNo this month with a new storyline. The majority of my outline is still blank because I had just started figuring everything out but I have a ton of ideas. I just need to organize them and put them in the correct sequence.

My goals for October are…

  1. Finish the outline: Obviously this is incredibly important for me because I am NOT a pantser. I need to have my stories outlined and planned, or else my life will fall apart and I will go crazy.
  2. Create a writing playlist: This is something I have high on my list because it would be so helpful. I think music while writing really sets the vibe and helps you get into the mood of your story. I know not everyone likes this, but for me it is extremely important.
  3. Begin some writing: School is a lot of work. I didn’t believe people when they said college is hard. I knew it would be, but I didn’t think it would be as bad as it’s been. So, I want to start some of the writing (which I know is kind of cheating) so that I don’t get unmotivated or beat myself up on the days that I don’t have as much time to write.

I have a lot of work to do to prepare for the upcoming month, but I am excited to get started with a serious writing project again!

chat with me

I will update you guys at the end of the month and give you my outlining process and a glimpse into what my novel is going to be about! For now, this is all I’ve got for you :)

Let me know in the comments if you are participating in NaNo this year!

ending

writing update #2 | project X

So, my writing project officially has a name. For now, I am just going to be referring to it as Project X on here, but I came up with a title for it that I really love and I’m excited about. It could definitely still change, but right now, I really love it.

As far as actual updates, I actually haven’t really written anything else. Although I haven’t really added to my word count, I’m still working on the project! I’ve been doing some research about writing in general, and I have really been trying to work on my craft. Writing is something I really want to do, so it is imperative that I get better at it.

I’ve also been writing little snippets of stories in my journal, and I continue to work on my outline for this project. I tend to underwrite all of my first drafts, so I want to make sure I actually have enough content for my story.

I learned that I am definitely a plotter, and I can not imagine ever being a pantser (a person who doesn’t outline their novels, just jumps right into them). That sounds way too intimidating to me.

So, the novel is still in the works! I definitely plan to continue on with it, just experimenting and finding out what my writing style is exactly. This is definitely not going to be the book that gets me through the publishing doors, but it is necessary if I ever do want to step through.

chat with me

That’s all for now :)

Please let me know if you are currently working on some writing projects! I am looking for some writing friends that I can rant about the process to and that will help keep me motivated!

Good luck with your writing projects!

Xo, Jess

how do i know that im doing the right thing?

In just a few short weeks, I will be starting my first semester of college. I have never been more excited to explore and live life on my own in a new place. But, I still have my doubts sometimes.

I have doubts about my major and my future career choice. How do I know that the major I chose is the right one for me? Am I following the right path? Will I be happy with a career in this field?

Deciding your future can be so so terrifying. I know it was for me. I am a person with many different interests. I want to explore every single major that my school offers, so how was I supposed to narrow it down to just one? I love to write and read, so maybe English? But I am also so interested in the human mind. Maybe I’ll go with psychology. Buuuutt, I also think I would enjoy political science. I have never just been passionate about one thing- I have always been fascinated by the entire world. It’s hard to have to eliminate many of my interests just so that I can focus on one, maybe two if I double major.

Luckily, the one thing that I haven’t had any doubts about is my school- I am so excited to be attending such a beautiful campus surrounded by some really amazing people. I fell in love with the campus the first time I set foot there, and I knew it was the place for me. Plus, it is so close to the beach, which is my favorite place in the world. It’s such a relief knowing that I look forward to going to school next year, which means that I have made at least one right decision when it comes to deciding my future.

I realized I shouldn’t doubt myself so much. I know who I am and I know what I like. As long as I’m always working hard towards my goals, I know I will be okay. Besides, if I really don’t enjoy the classes I’m taking, I can always switch my major.

The future is a scary place. Venturing into the unknown always is. But follow your heart and it will lead you on the right path.

Good luck with your future.

Xo, Jess

a writing update !

I have finally started a new writing project again!! I know that I have posted about my writing numerous times on this blog, but I never really stay up to date on updating you guys.

BUT, a couple weeks ago, I came up with a really great story idea for a contemporary YA romance, and it is the only thing consuming my thoughts at the moment. Camp NaNo started at the beginning of July, and I decided (very last minute) that I wanted to participate. I tried participating last year, but I completely failed and gave up. The story I was writing wasn’t something that I was passionate about, so it was hard to get myself to write.

However, this time around, I completely outlined a novel that I am so excited about. I haven’t been this motivated to write in a really long time, so I know that this is what I need to dedicate my time to.

Currently, I am a little over 3,000 words into this novel. I have just begun introducing my characters, and there haven’t been any major plot points yet. My goal for the Camp was to hit 10,000 words, but I don’t know if that will actually happen. I am trying not to force myself to write too much because I don’t want to burn out and get discouraged.

There is about a week left of NaNo so I am hoping to write about 1000-1500 words a day to reach my goal, but that is definitely not a sure thing.

I am really excited to get deeper into it, and my plan is to update you guys on how it is going every week. I will also give more details on the plot itself once I have established more of it because my ideas are constantly changing, so I don’t want to give a synopsis just yet!

chat with me

Are you participating in Camp NaNo this month? How far along into your writing project are you?

Xo, Jess

dear 2017

dear 2017,

You were one of the craziest years of my life. So much had happened, both good and bad. I went through a lot. I’ve also grown so much.

So I just want to say thank you.

Thank you for teaching me to give it all I’ve got if I want to accomplish my dreams. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself and in my work. Thank you for teaching me to slow down, take a deep breath, and take one step at a time. Thank you for bringing the most amazing people into my life. Thank you for giving me so many amazing opportunities. Thank you for showing me the importance of hard work.

Looking back at my journal, I can see that I really focused on myself this year. I wanted a chance to reinvent myself and feel like me again. However, I also lost myself towards the end of the year. I was in a strange and unfamiliar place that I am only starting to come out of now.

This year, I pierced my ear again, read more than ever before, went on a weeklong vacation with my family (over 20 of us), applied to colleges, got my first (and second) job, went camping, started my senior year of high school, got into 9 colleges, and became an adult (!!).

I am finally in a happy place in my life. I want to continue down this road, and make 2018 even more memorable than 2017.

dear 2018,

I promise to make you wonderful.