With Camp NaNoWriMo right around the corner I have to admit I’m not as ready as I thought I was going to be at the beginning of March, not nearly as ready as I hoped. With that in mind I created two videos to help 1. motivate myself, 2. hold myself accountable, 3. share all the Camp NaNoWriMo love with others, and well, to be honest, 4. because maybe there is someone else out there that could benefit from my ramblings.
I’m going to include both videos here, and come back tomorrow with a post sharing my new writing space. 😀
In October 2015, I was introduced to using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey for writing by the wonderful and amazing Arwen Lynch. I watched her video Character Interview Spread. And it was synchronicity. I knew I had to take her course. I knew I needed to find out more. I’m a visual person so using a visual aid like tarot made sense to my brain (especially since I’m one of those folks who uses their right and left brain in various ways to learn, write, create art, etc.).
I purchased Arwen’s course: 33 Days to Finish Your Book. And it was worth every dime I spent–though to be honest it isn’t expensive at all. Using tarot and the hero’s journey meant I needed to know more about the actual hero’s journey. So when I signed up the for the course, I also purchased Vogler’s The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, as well as Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and the Tarot Kit for Beginners. If you’re going to use tarot for your writing then you need a basic deck, and the only tarot deck I had wasn’t a Rider-Waite deck, which is what most people would consider to be a core/basic deck. Since then I’ve accrued several various types of tarot and oracle decks and books.
Why? Well, using tarot cards (along with oracle cards) for my writing has proven to be a powerful brainstorming tool, a wonderful and exciting way to open and increase my imagination, as well as my intuition in regard to my writing. I soon realized I wanted to know as much as I could about using tarot for writing so I also purchased Corrine Kenner’s Tarot for Writers, and I’ve just purchased Kenner’s Astrology for Writers (I’ll let you know how that one is next Wednesday). Along that same line, I have Linda Perfect’s The Storyteller’s Tarot and Diana Castle’s Writer Faster With Tarot . So…
This month marked the actual 2 year journalversary… two years that I’ve been journaling on a steady basis using art and words. I know it might not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it’s been a big deal. Not only has adding art to my journaling increased my creativity, lessened my anxiety and help manage my depression, but it’s also helped me with self-doubt and self-esteem.
I talk about much of this in this video about Fear, Self-Doubt, and Creativity:
Another thing I’ve realized is how far I’ve come with my art. By the way, I am not a professional artist. Nor am I professional writer (yet). But I am an artist. A writer. And I’ve learned that combining art and words in my journal, in my outlining for my novels (using Tarot is visual (artistic) and the Hero’s Journey is structure), has helped me figure out an outlining method that works for me.
Last week I created the first video for my new outlining process of my “Witchy Business” novel. Since I am changing POV, and a few other things, and quite a few people asked questions about how I use Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline, I thought I’d work on my novel and make it a video series at the same time.
Today I posted the third video in the outlining series.
This week I’ll concentrate more on an actual blog post for this, but for now I have:
This past April I worked really hard on creating an improved NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet Journal in a Master Leuchtturm 1917. I wanted the bullet journal to be easy to use, to be easy to read… I wanted it to be functional and pretty. 1 out of 4 ain’t bad.
Since then, I’ve changed things up in regards to my NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet journal–several times in fact. Here is my updated version of my NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet journal:
I’m still working on it, and since we basically have 10 days left before NaNo starts I still have some time. Sunday I’ll be showing a flip thru of my Omni Journal, and Wednesday, which is Writer Wednesday on my YT channel, I’ll be showing my updated Writer’s Bible. I really need to go back through my Writer Omnibus and organize things better as well (to be frank, I probably won’t get to that before NaNo starts).
It always gets crazy busy when I have a good idea and I want to start working on it. For example, I’ve been thinking about making tabs and putting them in my NaNo/Writer Bullet Journal, as well as in my Project TN. I’ve also been thinking about cleaning out my desk completely (that means a big trash bag and a few file folders will be needed). But do I have time for any of that? Yes and No. I could make time. Instead of writing this blog post I could be cleaning out the drawers in my desk. Or I could be making tabs. Or I could be folding the white clothes or doing the dishes. I could also be working on the last parts of my outline for NaNoWriMo. I will be working on my desk drawers on Monday while my coffee chat video saves and then while it’s uploading. And on Tuesday, I think I’ll work on the tabs. Tonight I’ll fold the white clothes while I’m watching TV.
During NaNoWriMo I’ll be using my NaNo/Writer Bullet Journal to keep up with everything, but I’ll warn you now: My writing/craft/art room will end up creative chaos, our clothes will get washed but I can’t guarantee they will get put up after I fold them (though I will try), and we’ll most likely be using paper plates and eating easy to cook/make/throw together meals. One of the great things about my husband is that he’s pretty laid back. As long as we aren’t starving, as long as the bathroom and the kitchen are clean (and he’s not a stickler for rinsed off dishes being in the sink until one of us (usually me) can get to them since we don’t have a dishwasher), he’s okay with things. He’ll help me fold clothes, do dishes, etc., especially if he hasn’t worked a long day.
With NaNoWriMo fast approaching, not to mention the prepping for NaNo, along with my other projects: The Dark Tower Reading Project, the Decorated Page, and Destination Me…When I first started this blog post the title was Self-Care for NaNoWriMo, but once I started writing the first sentence of the post I realized it was about more than that. Self-Care is about more than getting enough sleep, eating healthy, getting exercise, and taking time for yourself. It’s also about knowing when to take a break, taking a break when your mind or body needs you to. It’s also about making sure you take time to nourish your creativity, to refill your well. (Thank you Julia Cameron.)
Taking a break for your mind might mean taking a break from the writing to go for a walk and clear your head. And hey, the fact that walking also does your body good–well, double points. 😀 And if your body is screaming at you that you’re thirsty, well then get up out of the chair and go get some water. 😀 That five minute walk from the chair to the kitchen and back is good for both your mind and body. People talk about the cues that your body send you, and oftentimes in the past I have ignored those cues. Instead of taking a break to eat lunch I just kept writing–hell, I might not have even realized that hours had gone by until my stomach growled, or I got a headache from not eating… The truth is, once I get in that zone I forget about everything else. That’s part of the reason why I keep a large cup with a lid and straw full of water or juice on my desk, why it seems like I drink so much coffee–most of the time the coffee gets cold before I am able to finish it. But the first two cups of coffee, or my ADHD medication as I tend to think of it, those go down quick, and they’re so delicious and necessary, but so are the ounces of water that my body needs.
I have a busy schedule, and I do have a lot going on and I get a lot done (some days), but I don’t manage my time very well. That’s something I need to continue to work on, especially with NaNoWriMo coming. Managing my time includes making sure I take some time for myself. Time for walks, to get out of the house, to pamper myself a little so I can give myself a pedicure, or try that new face mask that’s been in my bathroom drawer for months, or just veg-out on SyFy movies while in my pajamas for a few hours on Sunday morning. Staying busy, especially with creative projects like writing, reading, art, etc helps lessen the depression and anxiety.
So what to do about self-care for NaNoWriMo? Like many other writers during the month of November, my aim will be to write at least 1667 words per day. From reading about other authors, some famous like Sai Stephen King, many aim to write at least 2000 words per day, while others aim to write a chapter a day, which for some genres is about the same thing. If I aim for 2K a day then I’ll have 60,000 words by the end of November. And if I participate in words sprints at least once a week, say a few of the 20 minute word sprints I could add to that day’s word count, maybe even write enough during the word sprints to add another 1000 words for that day’s total. That would be an extra 4000 words for the month. Now we’re talking 64K for the end of November. But I have a bad day or a day when I really need a break and I only write 1000 words instead of the 2K. I’m still ahead and I’m not stressing over it. I’ll get the words written, and the best way to make sure I can do that is by taking proper care of myself.
Eat healthier snacks and meals. Drink more water. Take walks every day. Do my stretches and meditation in the mornings. Write on!!! 😀
Last year for NaNoWriMo, and this year, I’ve used Arwen Lynch’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel, which is an ecourse (I’ll leave the links to everything below). With Arwen’s ecourse you use tarot cards and the hero’s journey to plot out your novel. I know, I know… You’re probably thinking WHAT? Tarot cards? The Hero’s Journey? But it’s creative, intuitive, imaginative, fun, and it works.
Using the Tarot cards helps open my mind to possibilities, as well as sparks the fire of my imagination. I look at a card and instead of just seeing what is on the card I also see an image in my head of the character, or the setting, or an event. I see the possibilities of various different scenarios from the image on the card. As I work through the scenarios in my head of what I see when I look at the card I find myself imagining my character as the Hermit, or the Fool, sitting in front of a field full of wild flowers or a beach or an old castle… I see the antagonist with a knife in his/her hand, or kidnapping the protagonist. I see those possibilities and as I narrow down things in my head and then on paper, I know what is going to happen next in my novel.
Using my Writer’s/NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal, I’ve been creating the basis of my outline for NaNo, then taking those basics and going a step further in my Writer’s Notebook for that novel. It’s a process. It’s a process I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually be able to follow through with–I’m a pantser at heart, y’all. But with this method, I can outline the main points, the hero’s journey, and then write by the seat of my pants the rest–like the scenes, which I don’t outline. It gives me structure while still allowing me to be free, to use my imagination, to not feel boxed in by an outline.
Here is my YT playlist for last year’s NaNo Prep
And here is my YT playlist (so far) for this year’s NaNo Prep.
**** This post contains some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you subscribe or purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love!
Note: All items have been purchased by me with my own money. Any items sent for review will be clearly noted here or in the video. All opinions are honest and are my own.
Back in April, I started my Writer’s Bullet Journal in a large (well, it’s the Master) Leuchtturm 1917, but it was just too big to handle easily. Forget taking it anywhere. And it didn’t fit in my Writer’s Bible, which is a custom Jonelifish TN (traveler’s notebook). I tried the softcover Leuchtturm 1917 and loved it, but it became harder and harder to find, so when I got down to the last few pages of it I decided to use a Midori A5 grid notebook I had, since it could also be housed in my Writer’s Bible and replace the filled softcover Leuchtturm1917.
With NaNoWriMo quickly approaching, I needed to get things together. I had 6 weeks to prepare for November 1st and when I really thought about it–that just didn’t feel like enough time, but HEY! a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. So I got my butt in gear and started preparing. My husband said, “It’s not November yet, why are you doing Nano stuff now?” I looked up at him with my serious face. “It’s almost the end of September. I’ve got to get things ready…” I said. And then I looked down at my Writer’s Bible and said, “I’m excited and there’s a lot of work to do.” And like Jake at the end of the Gunslinger, my husband nodded and said, “Well go on and do your NaNo stuff then.” It’s not as good as “there are other worlds than this,” but it made me happy. And since I’m using Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course again I knew I’d need to start at least 33 days before NaNoWriMo. I really do love using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline.
So here I am, preparing for NaNoWriMo once again. Only this year, I know so much more than I did the previous years… with each passing year I learn more about myself as a writer. I’ve learned more about writing, outlining, pantsing, branding oneself, the writing community, editing videos, taking pictures, planning and using a bullet journal, what works best in my Writer’s Bible, and what I need in order to survive NaNoWriMo. Not that I don’t aim to write between 1000-2000 words per day during the rest of the year, but there is something about NaNoWriMo and the various writing communities that pushes you do do more, to try new things, to expand your horizons, and to get your ass in the chair every day and WRITE! And the planning community, especially the bullet journal community has given me such great ideas for how to plan out things in my Writer’s Bible and Writer Bullet Journal.
When I first talked to Jonel Imutan about making me a Writer’s Bible, a TN specifically for my writer stuff, I knew I wanted something unique, functional, and that fit me. I told her what I wanted, and left it up to her which style of typewriter to engrave on the front, and how to coordinate the colors, and once it was done I got to name it–Shakespeare. Thought I’d have named it something from a Stephen King novel, huh? Nope. Though I love King’s works, and he’ll always be my favorite and he’s a genius, there’s something about Shakespeare that has always spoken to me.
I have done numerous videos that have featured Shakespeare (my Writer’s Bible), and over time it has become even more supple and pliable, more functionable because I’ve learned what works best for me, and it’s always subject to change if I find that something isn’t working.
Inside my Writer’s Bible, the first notebook is the Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using for my Writer Bullet Journal. I printed what you see on the cover, which I found on Pinterest. I love what it says: Punch Today in the Face. Some days you just have to do that… and I know there will definitely be days during November when I am going to feel like punching something in the face. 😀 Don’t get me wrong, NaNoWriMo is awesome, but it’s chaotic. I’ve tried pantsing during NaNoWriMo, writing by the seat of my pants, and I failed. I love the idea of pantsing…of writing intuitively with no outline, just writing, but I was flailing around like a fish on land by the middle of November when I did that. Since then I’ve been working on the method of planning that works best for me. It feels like I’ve found it–using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey, Arwen’s method specifically, has really helped me find my groove with outlining. I used it last year and I’m using it again this year. I’ve also tried the Save the Cat method, along with a few others.
On the inside, the cover page, I pasted a picture that I got from NaNoWriMo 2015 for inspiration… it reminds me of what I’m supposed to be doing… WRITING, plus it has fun things in the picture like Coffee, Pens, Ink, a Notebook…and let’s not forget my Coffee magnet bookmark. I love how this picture makes me feel. So below is a gallery I created of the rest of the inside of my Writer Bullet Journal. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. It’s still a work in progress though.. and I made a few boo boo’s… but overall I like it. I can live with the mistakes, it just gives my Writer Bullet Journal character. 😀
Next is the Index, and then the Future log. Nothing complicated about either of those. I have been working on this new Writer Bullet Journal since September 20th and so far I’ve gotten a few things done, but there’s still much more that I need to work on. I’m trying to stay organized. There’s so much to keep up with that I had to get organized if I want to get things done, especially if I want to be efficient. It’s about working smarter not harder.
The next notebook in my Writer’s Bible is the “new shiny ideas” notebook for writing. If I get an idea about a character, a novel, a scene but I’m not sure it goes in the current WIP then I write it down in this notebook.
And here is the third notebook in my Writer’s Bible.
The first page is my NaNo Prep YT video list
And the next page is the NaNo Prep Blog Post List:
And the last notebook in my Writer’s Bible. Its a Clairefontaine notebook and I use it as my Writer Journal. I write down how my writing or outlining is going. What I think, etc.. The pages are wonderful for fountain pens. 😀
And last but not least, is my Writer Notebook. It is where I write out what I’ve learned from using the outlining method. I am not sure of where I got this notebook. I believe it might have been Walmart. I love the paper for writing. And I love that the pages are sectioned by different colors, and that at the top it has a little section where you can either write the date or the page number. I’ve chosen to write the page numbers.
And that’s it… at least for now. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon and this evening to write down what I learned about the Call to Adventure. I go back through my notes from my Writer Bullet Journal and then summarize it in the Writer Notebook.
Links to some of the things I’ve mentioned are below. Note:
**This post contains some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you subscribe or purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love!**
Hello all. Welcome to NaNoWriMo Preparations… Last year I stumbled upon Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel. I wanted to try something different and outlining my novel via Tarot and the Hero’s Journey sounded interesting, creative, and fun. I watched a couple of her videos, read her information about the course, and signed up. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my writing.
Thanks to Arwen, I outlined my novel Witchy Business for NaNoWriMo last year, and I went on to outline yet another novel, both of those are works-in-progress. And now it’s time to prepare for this year’s novel. Out came my notebook with everything from Arwen’s course, along with Corrine Kenner’s book Tarot for Writer’s, two or three of my tarot decks, a notebook, my writer’s bullet journal, and my Writer’s Bible, pens and highlighters, colored index cards. And what do you know… I’m ready. Oh, and the coffee–that’s a must.
And away I go with the start of my outline. I’ve been busy the past two days. I have gotten my supplies together, started my character sketch, started the first part of my outline. Tomorrow I start working on my MC’s GMC (goal, motivation, conflict). After that it’s the Antagonist and his GMC. First index card with tarot card (a copy of it) is pinned on my tri-fold board–my storyboard no longer looks like a blank canvas.
I feel like I accomplished something today, even though it took me friggin’ forever to get the second part of my NaNoWriMo Prep Pt 2/Beginning of my Outline edited. Grrrr! I really need to figure out the editing software that I purchased so I can quit using Movie Maker. That, or I need to win the lottery so I can afford an iMac. 😀
I’m really excited. My outlining is going well so far. 😀