Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tips & Tricks to Win NaNoWriMo

1.  Open Your Big Mouth 

You know why I tell my Facebook and Twitter friends I’m doing the NaNoWriMo challenge? Because it makes me accountable! No way can I back down after I’ve told the entire social media world I’m going to take a stab at it. Trust me, halfway into the challenge you’ll be happy you have people asking how your book is coming along. This affords you an opportunity to grab more coffee and pick your best selling manuscript out of the trash to keep going. The motivational words from others do wonders for you during November.

2. AM & PM Writing 

Nothing like trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days! Because I recently finished my degree, I think of the daily 1667 word count minimum as a 1700 word essay. Students can always push out a last minute paper, right? Just think 30 last minute papers! For those that cannot, try breaking it down into writing 833 words in the morning and a nightcap of 833.This way you can still work on your word count throughout the day. Small progress is still progress.

3. Don’t Quit

Stick to it! After 21 days anything you do becomes a habit. If you’ve been saying you are going to write a book for the past few years and have failed to do so, please use this as a tool to get you going. Not only will NaNoWriMo afford you 720 coffee-filled hours to complete your novel, it will also make your writing muscles strong. Exercise hurts, but the results are always appreciated in the end.

4.  Plan Appropriately

Do not underestimate the power of a thorough plan. If you didn’t do so this year, consider it for next year’s preparation. A good outline will provide you a great skeleton to work with as you build the body of your story. The same goes for character development. Please make sure your characters are not one dimensional and your target audience is able to relate to them. Use flash cards to map out your plot and characters. 

5. Write Now, Edit Later

Please do not fall in the trap of editing as you write. I repeat, DO NOT EDIT AS YOU WRITE! This not only keeps you from reaching 50,000 words. (Trust me) It also disrupts your flow. Stay in the moment with your scene, characters, and imagination. You have December through October to edit your masterpiece. You’ll thank me later!

6. Invest in a Quiet Space

I don’t care if it’s your closet with a mini laptop lamp; do what you’ve got to do to get this writing done! Check the website to find a group near you! http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/regions. If you can’t get to the nearest group, don’t count out your local library, Starbucks, or cafĂ©. You’d be surprised at what you can accomplish in an hour. (By the way, Starbucks is anointed to help you get some work done.)  
7.  Look on the Bright Side 

There will be many days your house will go uncleaned, kids will eat something quick and easy, (I suggest a crock pot) and you will be exhausterated. Yes, exhausterated. I know you didn’t think you write an entire novel in 30 days getting eight hours of sleep every night. Haha! Nice try. Grab your favorite caffeine product of choice and get to work. Even if you do not finish the challenge. Keep going! At least you've started.

If you haven’t already, it’s not too late to sign up for the challenge. Click this link. http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/sign_up Add me as a friend. We’ve got to stick together. Look for me in the search box. My username is TPJ. Good luck!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Smart Goal Setting

Having a growing family and the desire to accomplish milestones in life simultaneously has honed not only my multi-tasking skills, but also my goal setting. Everyone sets at least one goal per year. (i.e. New Year’s Resolution) How many of us actually accomplish those goals we set?  That’s where smart goal setting comes into play. Life continually has us asking, “What is my purpose?” and many times that is found in something we are passionate about. But even if one’s goal is just to lose
 20 pounds and he or she isn’t so passionate about it, smart goal setting and diligence will aid as important tools to accomplishing the set goal. Don’t let a failed goal stop you from accomplishing a new goal. I will share tools I use to help me accomplish some of my past goals and tips I am currently using for future goals.

 Going through the day can most definitely go awry without a plan. Imagine doing so for most of the 365 days we call one year. It can be so easy to wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep and do it all over again the next day, and the day after that until years have passed. It is important to ensure that when years do go past, there has been something worthwhile accomplished. Being purpose driven is key. Don’t worry it is not a hereditary gene! We must teach ourselves to be diligent in all things. Making a to-do list each night assists me in accomplishing more things in 24 hours than most. It helps me make wise decisions and avoid too much idle time. Prioritizing my tasks/goals by importance helps identify which tasks I need to complete and on schedule. Marking goals using the “ABC’s” help me to set realistic goals as far as what I can accomplish in the allotted time I have available. “A” being the most important, “B” being of importance, but not urgent, and “C” being something I’d like to accomplish, but doesn’t have a sense of urgency.

Also try color coding if Letter's aren't your thing. I also use a specific color for each person in my house. Each member of the A-Team has a specific color pertaining whatever is on their respective schedules. Also Dad & I have specific colors to identify who is doing what on a specific day. Creating a system that works for YOU and your household is what matters most. Feel free to "tweek" until you feel comfortable.

7 Steps to More Effective Goal Setting
1. Write down your goals. Identify your goals. What is it that you want to do exactly? Is it realistic?

2. Accomplishing goals requires a plan. Make steps like the Yellow Brick Road to get to the goal.

3. Prioritize goals, figure out realistic completion dates, & Revisit goals frequently.

4. Create Specific Measurable Action-based Realistic Timely (SMART) goals.

5. Long-term Goals should be broken down into many small milestones. “Write the vision, & make it plain.” In due time with a good strategy and diligence it will come to fruition.

6. Set goals for EVERY area in your life. (Personal, professional, family, etc.)

7. I can’t say this enough! Don’t be afraid to modify your goals and or execution tactics. Review, update, & revise constantly!