How to Recover from NaNoWriMo Hangover


NaNoWriMo 2015 is over! And like many of my fellow participants, I’m suffering a post-wrimo hangover, complete with headache, bloodshot eyes, and fatigue. Like Sadness in the movie Inside Out, I just feel so deflated, like I could lay around for days. I’m concerned these symptoms are getting between me and continued progress on my current project.

With a regular hangover, the cure is a piece of toast and a couple of egg yolks, but how does one recover from a writing hangover?

Here’s how:

  1. Take a break. Seriously you’ve earned it. But not a long one. Maybe a few days or a week tops. Don’t want to fall out of shape or lose your new routine.
  2. Step away from the draft. Trust me. It’s garbage, and you’re too vulnerable right now to cope with that. Maybe you should resume work on another project until you’re ready to face the facts.
  3. Get extra sleep. This is especially important for those sleep deprived individuals who have been pulling all-nighters. Catch up on your Zzzs.
  4. Do something other than writing. That’s all you’ve been doing for the last month. Watch some TV instead. Or better yet, read a book!
  5. Work in a workout. A little physical activity is good for you after sitting at a computer chair for an entire month. Go for a walk, ride a bike, or do some yoga, anything to get the circulation back to your legs.
  6. Celebrate. Even if you didn’t win. Go out with friends or treat yourself to a coffee from Starbucks for your efforts. You’ll feel better for it.
  7. Vent. Even if you won. Writing 50k words in one month is hard work and I’m sure it has taken its toll. So, share your struggles, setbacks, and frustrations with friends and writing buddies. Undoubtedly, they share your sentiments.
  8. Cuddle your kitty (or puppy). No doubt during NaNoWriMo they were your loudest cheerleader … or worst distraction for those of us who have cats. Now that November is over, they’re available to offer you some much needed therapy.
  9. Drink. Alcohol makes all your worries disappear … along with your memory.
  10. Go shopping. Ever heard of shop therapy?

Well, that’s all I’ve got. If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments section below. Happy Hump Day!


Past the Point of No Return and How to Make the Most of Your Writing Time


We’re halfway through the month of November. And for those of use participating in NaNoWriMo, that means only two more weeks left to reach our  word count goal of 50k!

Take it from here, Phantom:

Past the point of no return, no backward glances
Our games of make-believe are at an end
Past all thought of if or when, no use resisting
Abandon thought and let the dream descend

Anyway . . .

For those participants (like me) who are way behind, now might be the time to throw in the towel—I mean, reassess your goals, reorganize your outline, and recharge for the final sprint.

Keep in mind, NaNoWriMo is about more than just word count; it’s about making time for your creative endeavors and developing good writing habits.

Granted, winning is nice, so here’s some advice you might apply in the next few weeks to make the most of your writing time and reach your NaNoWriMo word count goal:

  1. Make a plan
    • Outline the rest of your story
    • Plan before each writing session what you’re going to do
  2. Create your “ideal” conditions
    • Make space on your desk, couch, kitchen table, wherever
    • Secure silence or play music
    • Adjust the thermostat
    • Stay home or go to a coffee shop, library, whatever
  3. Remove distractions
    • Put away cell phones
    • Turn off the television and/or Netflix
    • Avoid social media
    • Be upfront with family and friends
    • Lock the cat and/or dog in the closet
  4. Have your writing supplies ready
    • Coffee and snacks within arms reach
    • Notebooks, pencils, other writing supplies
    • Laptop charger
    • Notes and/or concept art within sight (consider a tackboard)
  5. Use the tools you are comfortable with
    • Keyboard or paper and pen
    • Word Document or Scrivener
  6. Get in the zone
    • Ignore your inner critic
    • Don’t get obsessed with word count
    • Write the scenes/chapters that inspire you
    • Read a scene/chapter before you start
    • Don’t check the clock; use a timer

Whether you’ve got one hour to write or three, these tips should help you make the most of your time and reach  your NaNoWriMo word count goal! And if you’ve got some tips to add to the list, please share them in the comments below.

Thank you and have a great weekend!


Time + Work = Novel: A Pep Talk by Stephanie Perkins


“Novels aren’t written by muses who come down through the ceiling and shoot magic through your fingers and out onto your laptop’s keyboard… They’re written with one simple equation:

Time + Work = Novel.”

Stephanie Perkins.

I thought this was a rather inspiring quote, going into the second week of NaNoWriMo 2015. I’m sure we could all use a pep talk, even those of us who aren’t participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Well, considering I’m waaaay behind on my word count right now, I’m not the one to offer a pep talk, but Stephanie Perkins can. Read the rest of it here.

Best of luck!

10 Ingenious Ways to Increase Your Word Count and Win NaNoWriMo!


It’s November! And you know what that means? No, not pumpkin spice the everything! November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). And for those of us who are trying to reach that coveted 50,000 word count by the end of the month, I have for you the secret to success, a list of ingenious ways you can increase your word count without bruising your brain.

1. Give your characters super long names

Ever wonder why George R. R. Martin’s novels are so thick? It’s because of his character’s names. Take Daenerys Targaryen for example. During her campaign in Slaver’s Bay, she is introduced as Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. That’s 40 words and you’ve only introduced the main character! And how about Robert Baratheon? His name is so long they actually say “so on” and “so forth” while writing it out to save on word count. But for those of us trying to win NaNoWriMo, we’d write the name out.

2. Have your characters break into song whenever possible 

Why not? Tolkien did it. How else would his books have ended up so long? So make up a song, a silly song, or have your characters sing a popular number from their time period. If all else fails they can sing “The Song That Doesn’t End” from Lamb Chops Sing-Along, as many rounds as it takes to make your word count goal.

3. Provide lengthy descriptions of everyone/everything 

Another thing Tolkien did to stretch his stories out was to provide lengthy descriptions of characters and plants. And if he could get away with it, why not you? So, instead of saying something simple and direct like “she fled into the forest” try fleshing it out with more adjectives until you end up with something like “The young brunette girl in the white and blue polka dotted dress fled into the thick, damp, and moldy forest. Her red high heel shoes stuck in the sticky brown mud.” See how many more words there are when you describe every single little detail?

4. Have your characters slip into lengthy monologues

Even if they have nothing important to say, have them say a lot. Nothing like a three-page monologue to up the word count. Villains, in particular, are good at this sort of thing. Just watch any cartoon or movie to see how it’s done.

5. Copy and paste the same scene multiple times

Go through your draft and find a scene you really like. Copy it. Paste it. Repeat until you reach your word count goal.

6. Give every character a complex backstory and share it

Either by storytelling or by flashback, reveal every single character’s complicated backstory. That’s sure to add pages to your draft and help you reach your word count goal.

7. Create a ton of minor characters

The dialogue alone will increase your word count. Then there’s the added description, interactions, and backstory. Make them argue, tell jokes, quip, and banter. The more the merrier. Make sure you give them all really long names!

8. Fill your story with filler filling

If your characters run out of things to do or defeat the baddie before you reach 50,000 words, have them go on a side adventure like a shopping spree or a trip to the circus, whatever keeps them busy and ups your word count. A visit from a long lost grandmother is sure to keep your main character occupied while his best friend and worst enemy go out on a date. Whatever inconsequential activity you can think up, it’s sure to pay off word-count wise.

9. Have your characters perform tedious daily tasks

Another reason why George R. R. Martin’s novels are so long. His characters eat, sleep, bathe, and f**k as often as they can and then they eat some more. So have your characters wake up each morning, wash their faces, do their chores, eat breakfast, pee, wipe their butts, eat lunch, roll in the hay, eat dinner, pray, and go to bed. And don’t forget to describe in great detail what they’re having for dinner!

10. When all else fails resort to button smashing

Yes, you heard me. Hit the keys. Random words, letters, and numbers are sure to add up eventually. Special characters probably count, too, so don’t exclude the top row on your keyboard.

Now you’re ready to . . . write the world’s worst pile of drivel. Okay, let’s quit playing around. Here are some GOOD tips to increasing your word count:

1. Wake up an hour early or stay up an hour late

Better than finding more words and scenes to write is to find more time to write. Having more time will allow you to pace yourself and focus on putting down words that will enhance your story, not harm it.

2. Drink coffee

I don’t drink coffee in the mornings; I drink it ALL DAY LONG! Caffeine makes us more productive and allows our brains to work more rapidly, allowing us to get a lot done. Coffee helps us stay alert, plus it tastes good and keeps us happy while writing those difficult scenes.

3. Plan. Plot. and Prep

I’m a panster at heart, but I create an outline because I must. It helps to know where your story is going so when you come to a blank page you spend less time wondering what should happen and instead spend your time actually writing what you know should happen next. Plus, you save yourself half the headache during revisions.

4. Gag your internal editor

The best way to get words down on paper is to put them down and leave them. Your internal editor is going to want to stop, go back, and tweak that word. Tell that internal editor to shut up because he’s/she’s wasting your time. Remember, you can always go back and fix that word or sentence later. The goal is to just get the words down on paper.

5. Generate new ideas and try them out

You’re in the drafting stage, not the editing stage, so take this time to brainstorm new ideas and try them out. Bad ideas can always be cut out later, and good ideas can take your story to a whole new level.

6. Explore the unexplored

Wondering if those two characters should hook up or what would happen if those two characters were left alone together? What if so-and-such never died? Wonder no more. Write it. Unnecessary filler can be cut later, and if nothing else, the scenes you did cut will still have allowed you to explore your characters in more depth. Themes, characters, and conflicts should all be explored and played with during the drafting phase. Remember, you can cut out the crap later.

7. Create an interesting cast of minor supporting characters

Give your main character someone to talk to and interact with. Loners don’t reach word count goals. Plus, characters are more interesting when placed beside someone who pulls out their best and worse qualities. Take Shrek for example. He was pretty boring until Donkey and Fiona showed up.

8. Add internal conflicts to external conflicts

Instead of just adding more and more action scenes to up your word count, add some internal conflict during the scenes you already have. If your main character is pitted against a monster, don’t just have him battle the beast; have him battle his own cowardice as well. Maybe fighting isn’t his first response to a conflict. Maybe he’s worried he’s a wimp. Maybe he’s a careless showboat and needs to learn a lesson. Maybe he has to choose between saving himself or his friend or choose which friend he can save. The internal conflict will not only add word count but it will set the stakes so much higher.

9. Let your characters talk

Don’t just give your hero traveling companions to ride with. Have them talk and argue, quip, and banter while they ride or camp or whatever. Even the dullest of travel scenes can be improved by a few well-timed jokes plus dialogue increases word count.

10. Just. Keep. Writing.

Seriously, the only way to increase word count is to keep writing. So, just keep writing, writing, writing. What do we do, we write! Write!

There you have it, 10 ingenious ways to increase your word count and win NaNoWriMo. If you have other fun or helpful ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments below.

Good luck!

Why I’m Particpating in NaNoWriMo 2014


November is a crazy-busy month. It’s the last decent month before winter (Brace yourself winter is coming) and its between the two biggest holidays (sorry Thanksgiving). So, why would we choose to add more crazy to this month by participating in NaNoWriMo? Is it because writers are crazy? What is it that motivates us to join this event each year? For some writers, it’s breaking writer’s block. For others, it’s connecting with other writers. For me, personally, it’s about personal growth.


My mantra for the month of November

With everything going on in my life right now: transitions at work, family illness, etc., etc., etc., I’ve had a difficult time staying motivated and keeping a writing schedule. To say I’ve kept a writing schedule would be a gross exaggeration of my efforts to just sit down and write. In the last four weeks, I have written maybe 3,000 words tops! I figured participating in NaNoWriMo would help get me back into a serious writing routine, and if nothing else, it would give me the push I need to finish this rough draft. At the very least, it’s a break from editing. I’m so burned out on editing. Haha!

I’m hoping by taking part in this event I will reignite my creative spark and rekindle my love of writing. I know it’s not an easy fix, but sometimes you just need a hard push to get you back on track. Please wish me luck, and if you’re looking for a writing buddy on the site, look me up at kbbetzner. I’m always willing to cheer on others. We’re in this together, not only during the month of November, but all year-long!

NaNoWriMo: A Go or a No-Go?


NaNoWriMo: a go or a no-go?

November is fast approaching! For many of us that means preparing for Thanksgiving and bracing ourselves for winter (yes, that was a Game of Thrones reference). For thousands of writers nationwide, November means one thing and one thing only: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). During this month-long event, participants write like crazy trying to reach the 50,000 word goal. It’s crazy fun, y’all. The website is live, and thousands of people have already signed up to participate this year. Will you be one of them? Or are you still on the fence? Here are some reasons for and against participating in NaNoWriMo to help you make up your mind.


Are you ready to forgo everything, including sleep, to reach your word goal?

Reasons AGAINST participating in NaNoWriMo:

  • NaNoWriMo will distract you from your current project, kill your momentum, and then set you back in the long-run.
  • Participating in NaNoWriMo will cause you to abandon all other responsibilities: work, family, and chores.
  • The insane word goal will cause you to forgo quality for quantity.
  • You intend on completing an entire novel in one month–50k words is NOT a novel. It’s a great start!
  • You won’t be writing the rest of the year. Why create a writing habit just to abandon it 30 days later?
  • You intend on publishing your novel without any editing whatsoever. Believe it or not, the world does NOT need your novel!

Ready to write 50k words in 30 days?

Reasons FOR participating in NaNoWrimo:

  • NoWriMo sets a measureable and achievable goal–50k words in one month. Goals help you succeed.
  • NaNoWriMo teaches writers how to prioritize their writing and create a writing habit.
  • You have a new novel idea you just can’t wait to jump into.
  • You haven’t written a word in years and need something exciting to help you break your writer’s block.
  • The forums give writers a sense of community.
  • Writing quickly is an important skill for all writers. NaNoWriMo teaches you how to do it effectively.
  • You plan on continuing your writing career after November.
  • NaNoWrimo is fun!!!!

There you go! I hope that helps. But please don’t let me influence your decision one way or the other. The most important reason for or against participating in NaNoWriMo is whether or not you really want to. Don’t let others talk you into participating if you don’t want to, and likewise, don’t let naysayers spoil your fun. Personally, I’ll be participating this year, because I remember NaNoWriMo helping me conquer a severe case of writer’s block several years ago.

If you are looking for writing buddies, seek me out. My username is Kitomi, at least for now. Hope to see you there!

Keep Calm, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrimo)


30 Days of reckless writing abandon!

I know this post is a little early, considering we’re only into the first week of October, but I wanted to share a very exciting upcoming writing event . . . just in case you don’t already know about it. Nationwide, November is known as National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWrimo for short. Every November, aspiring authors and published authors alike join together for one month of reckless writing. Sounds like fun right? As a member of NaNoWrimo, going on 5 years now, I can honestly say it’s a lot of fun, albeit extremely stressful. How can it be stressful, you may wonder. The stress comes from a . . . ‘challenging’ 50,000 word count goal. Not pages. Not paragraphs. Individual words! In 30 days no less!

keep calme

Words of wisdom for November

So why participate? What is the benefit? For me, it’s the social interaction. We all know writing is not top on the list of social activities, but it doesn’t have to be a completely solitary act. In fact, many successful published authors attend writer’s retreats, workshops, and other social events in order to discuss and better develop their writings. Similarly, NaNoWrimo connects writers through the project’s website, where participants can create profiles and post information about their novels, including s synopsis and excerpts. Forums help connect writers with one another online, but there are also regional writing events sponsored locally to connect writers in-person. The main goal of the project is to encourage writers to just get started. It’s not about the quality of work, it’s about getting the words down, and hopefully getting inspired along the way. Interested? In order to participate, you have to register with a username and password online. Below I’ve included the links to the official site, the facebook page, and the twitter account. Get connected! Stay calm and write on! Official Website: Facebook: Twitter: