Writing Treat: ARC Book Review

After NaNoWriMo, your self-imposed writing retreat;

Is over, whether you win or have to admit defeat

Never fear, Julia Bartz will appear,

it is clear,

in bookstores February of next year.

The Netgalley gods have been smiling upon me a bit lately, including recent bestowal of Julia Bartz’ The Writing Retreat. Slated to be published in February 2023, in case you ignored my poorly crafted poem above, this novel was a treat.

The novel follows protagonist Alex, who is struggling through the sludge that is her life, including a massive case of writer’s block, in the opportunity of a lifetime. Joining 4 other talented young female writers at a month-long retreat in the reclusive home of one of her favorite authors, Alex wonders if she will be able to work through her writer’s block… and then things get weird.

This novel is a thriller encapsulated in an isolated setting (possibly haunted mansion in Northeast America) in February (cue the snow) with writers (meaning everything is open to interpretation and could possibly be hallucination, fictionalization, or enmeshment between the author’s work and the author’s life). The characters are a bit flat, which makes them harder to read in what is most certainly a plot-driven novel. Leave your own writing insecurities at the door, and follow along with Alex and the other lovely lady novelists, who will most likely experience these insecurities for you! I had no idea what was going to happen in this rollercoaster of a novel where extreme highs or lows could be around every curve of the tracks.

Highly recommend! And am now craving more great books featuring writers… so if you have one, please let me know in the comments below, so I can add it to my neverending TBR.

Fuck It: Let’s Try Again

November was a sucky month. Everyone in my house got sick, and I did an abysmal job at NaNo. I did initially start writing more frequently, but that petered out as everyone got more feverish and crabby in my house and I was stuck on bed for the most part, when not working.

SO, I have decided I will just start over this month, but also amend my goal. Realistically, 1.7k words a day is not going to happen. But I can try to write every day.

So that’s my DecWriMo goal.

Wanna join me?

Preptober 2021: Signing Up for NaNoWriMo

I have created my NaNoWriMo 2021 project, which I am determined to create this year. Here is my username, if you are also participating and would like to be my buddy in the site:

In the meantime, I have a ton of plotting and character development to work through, if I have time, before November 1st. I will not have everything figured out, but am hoping to have at least a few scenes planned for each of the 8 plot points per the one-page/small booklet plot I put together earlier.

What are you doing, in the last 1/2 week or so before November 1st? Let me know your plans in the comments below or in the NaNoWriMo site. I look forward to connecting and spurring each other on to ever higher word counts in our novel-writing journeys.

Preptober 2021: Plotting?

Next step in the Preptober journey is probably figuring out what you think you want to write, and if you have had trouble completing projects… putting in some thought about your work, I guess? To be completely frank, I have been slammed with work, so my Preptober has not been as focused as I would have liked. I have, however, listened to the Eva Deverell video on how to plot a novel on one page, and put together a teeny tiny little booklet to help guide me through the process. I think it will need to be expanded, and feel like I will start putting together some flash cards to help guide me through the plot as I work through it, separated by the 8 plot pieces I have in my booklet.

Seriously… how cool is this?

What are you doing to prep for NaNoWriMo? Any good videos/tips/tricks to recommend to me?

Preptober 2021: Supplies

The next step in my Preptober journey: pick up some inspirational writing supplies.

This could be a bullet journal, some of your favorite pens, sticky notes, stickers, a literal writer’s block, some amazing blueberry or coconut flavored coffee, etc. Just whatever will motivate and inspire you. For me, I have picked up a brown bullet journal:

Which includes using some of the stickers I had already lying around to try to inspire a steady writing habit:

My decoration has also included some more direct inspiration:

I will also, of course, be consuming coffee, and ransacking my children’s Halloween spoils.

What about you? What inspirational writing supplies are you planning to use for November?

Preptober 2021: Scheduling

Hi everyone! In my last post, I discussed my plan to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, and to prepare during this month of October. I performed self-reflection and motivation, and the next step, I think, is developing the time and plan for writing.

There will always be reasons not to write right now, to write later, when there’s time… But I don’t think that there will ever actually be a magic time to write – at least, not for me. So I think that being thoughtful and making the time, and then making certain to actually stick to that schedule, is important. I also think it is the only way to make sure that the writing I have decided is important to me actually occurs.

After some careful thinking, I have decided that during the week, I will be writing during lunch. I have time blocked off in my calendar for an hour for lunch, Monday through Friday, and I will practice actually maintaining an hour for lunch during the work week in October.

On weekends, I think I will be writing in the late morning. On Saturdays, 11 – noon should generally work, since it coincides with one of my son’s extracurricular activities and the other son’s naptime. So I will try to use the same timeslot on Sundays, as well, for consistency. I generally do not need to work on the weekends, though, so realistically, if I can find/make more time on the weekends, I will be trying to take advantage to catch-up if I get behind on word count.

What about you – what writing schedule do you plan to implement in November? Do you have any tips or tricks to help keep that writing schedule, or to motivate yourself to really take advantage of the time you write? Please let me know in the comments below!

Preptober 2021

I have decided to do NaNoWriMo 2021. In preparation, I have created an October calendar, which I will be working through and which is available on Etsy, if you would like a copy. I think I will also try to post as I work to prepare for next month’s writing, as well, so you could also just read my blog to see what I’m doing to prep for next month.

First step: Self-reflection.

I think it is worthwhile to think about why you want to write, at all, and journal your thoughts now so you can remind yourself why you during the next month when things get tough. For me, I am doing this in the bullet journal that I purchased.

In addition to thinking about why I want to write and participate in NaNoWriMo, I also decided to put together a couple of pages with quotes about writing from writers to help motivate me.

I have placed both of these motivational items at the beginning of my bullet journal, before I have the calendar and weekly word count tracking pages, because I think it is worthwhile to remember why I write every time I pick up my bullet journal.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo and/or Preptober? Share a reason why you want to write or one of your favorite author/writer quotes in the comments below!

NaNovel 2020: Recap

My novel is not done, but I am writing more frequently, and I plan to continue working on it.

Word count goal not met, but writing initiative has been ignited. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of sloth and binge-eating, I will continue to write (and aim for 1,667 words per day, which I likely will not reach daily, but which inspires me to write longer each day than I otherwise would). So overall, I think NaNoWriMo was a win for me, although I was not a NaNoWriMo winner.

How has your November been?

NaNovel 2020 – 1 Week In, 9,516 Words Behind

Pros: I have written every day except last Friday (when I got a killer migraine that necessitated going to bed whimpering and wondering if my head would ever stop hurting).

Cons: Hitting 50k has gotten… more difficult, and may not happen.

For those participating in NaNoWriMo, how are you faring? For those not participating, how’s life treating you?