NaNoWriMo Tips – It Isn’t About Winning. It’s About Writing.

NaNoWriMo is just about over (t-minus two days). At this point every year, I hear many participants say, “Why bother finishing? I’m not going to win.”

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Here’s my answer to anyone contemplating this question: NaNoWriMo isn’t about winning. It’s about writing.

Okay, I can see all of you competitive souls out there rolling your eyes and muttering under your breaths. I know, I get it. I’m competitive too and I despise it when I fail.

giphy-1 But, let me clarify something: NaNo is a writing challenge, not a writing competition. There are no judges or tangible prizes (besides those offered via third parties). And there’s definitely no waiting on pins and needles after November 30th to see if your slap dash, half-finished manuscript beats hundreds of thousands of other slap dash, half-finished manuscripts. If you want that, then you’ll need to sign up for an actual competition.

Okay, okay. Now I can hear all of you Mr./Ms. I Always Win’s saying, “It’s not about winning a prize. It’s about winning.”

Yep, I totally get it. But…let’s face it. We can’t succeed at everything we try. Failure is part of life, and failing to write 50K words in one month isn’t the end of the world. Not at all! It’s really just the beginning.

Here’s the truth about NaNoWriMo: If you sit down and start writing on November first, you’ve won. If you keep writing beyond November 30th, you’re a star. If you finish your manuscript, you’re a champion.

The whole point of NaNo is to write.

Period.

So, whether you’re currently at 1K words, 50K words, or 100K words, go ahead and declare yourself a winner (yes, even you, Mr./Ms. I Always Win). Go ahead and give yourself a trophy if you keep writing on December 1st. And give yourself a crown if you don’t stop until you finish your novel.

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I hope you take my words to heart and persevere no matter where you are on the word count scale. And I really hope you don’t shove your manuscript into a drawer on December 1st and say, “Cool, I’m done.”

You’re not done.

Keep going.

Keep writing!

Congrats to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo 2016. You’re all winners in my book!

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Music Monday – Rachel Platten – Fight Song

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicToday’s Music Monday is one of those unexpected treasures I stumbled upon while listening to music on YouTube last week. From the corner of my eye, on the sidebar, I saw “Fight Song”. I’d never heard of its artist, Rachel Platten, but I decided to click on it anyway. And I’m so glad I did. It’s amazing!

Rachel-Platten-Fight-Song-1500x1500The first time I heard “Fight Song” I thought, “Well, this is perfect for writers and anyone else pursuing a dream.” Most of us experience failure along our journeys, and many of us get so crushed by it, we begin to question everything: Our passion, our goals, our abilities. Some of us even wonder if we have the strength to keep fighting for what we want most. I know I have.

Then I listened to “Fight Song” again, and I realized it isn’t just for writers and dreamers. It’s for anyone who has (or ever will) hit rock bottom. It encourages people to get back up after being knocked down, to forget the naysayers, and to keep fighting for what makes them happy.

11275279_1585162291762075_1632774544_n“Fight Song” also provides great story fodder. Although I can’t get a ton out of it for the current story I’m working on (my characters are way too crazy to care about digging themselves out of the pits they’ve fallen into), there are still plenty of gems to use from it: Conflict and drama. Depression and sorrow. Determination and hope. Freedom and courage…The list goes on and on!

promoted-media-optimized_5508890014322And, as you likely suspect, the lyrics are what make this song so great:

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song

3d80642a4708ae6f58e8489eaa366dc7So, whether you need a personal boost, or some motivation for your story, I strongly encourage you to listen to “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

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Photo credits: 

1, 2, 3, 4

Music Monday – Cell Block Tango – Chicago

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicFor the first time in a long time, I’ve been excited to sit down, open up a manuscript, and write. Besides loving my plot and crazy characters, I have music to thank for my surge in motivation. I’ve come across so many great songs lately! So many, in fact, I had a tough time deciding which one to choose for this week’s Music Monday.

After a lot of debating, I finally decided to go with “Cell Block Tango” from the musical Chicago.

cover-2Last week, I probably listened/watched this song on YouTube at least a dozen times. I couldn’t get enough of it! It has so many of the darker emotions and elements I need to feel while writing my story: Fury. Vengeance. Denial. Murder.

*cue evil laughter* 😉

What makes this song extra powerful is the performance of it. As I watch the dancers in the video below, I can see my characters and I can feel their wrath. Their twisted righteousness, their satisfaction, their spite…

So, I said to him,
I said, “you pop that
gum one more time…”
and he did.
So I took the shotgun off the wall
and I fired two warning shots…
…into his head.

So, if you’re looking for a song that brings out the dark side of your plot and characters, check out “Cell Block Tango” from the musical Chicago.

In case there are technical glitches with the video above, here’s another one that should work: “Cell Block Tango”.

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

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Photo credits: 

1, 2, 3, 4

Music Monday – Shatter Me – Lzzy Hale and Lindsey Stirling

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicWell, after a couple of crazy months of writing, I’m finally returning to a semi-normal blog schedule.

I apologize for being AWOL the past couple of weeks. It’s been a little rough…But, more about that later. Let’s hop into today’s Music Monday!

So, last week I participated in the first round of the Short Story Challenge 2015. As usual, it was a tough experience, but a good one. I’ll be sharing more about it in a post tomorrow. Today, I want to share a song that helped motivate me while working on my story for the contest.

While struggling through my first draft, I took a break and pulled up YouTube in hopes of finding some much needed inspiration. And I did when “Shatter Me” featuring Lzzy Hale and Lindsey Stirling popped up.

LindseyStirlingShatterMeCD-1The moment this music video began playing, I was infatuated with it. The imagery, tone, and words were exactly what I needed to see/hear to give my lagging story a swift kick in the rear.

Not only did “Shatter Me” help me tap into the raw emotions of my characters (anger, resentment, fear, sorrow), but it sparked my imagination with its amazing music video. I loved the shattering theme. It gave me some great ideas for my horror story’s morbid journey.

And, of course, “Shatter Me” has amazing lyrics with the power to inspire all kinds of emotions and ideas.

I pirouette in the dark
I see the stars through a mirror
Tired mechanical heart
Beats ’til the song disappears

So, if your story needs a swift kick in the rear like mine did, or you’re just looking for a great song, check out “Shatter Me” with Lzzy Hale and Lindsey Stirling.

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

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Photo credits: 

1, 2, 3, 4

Music Monday – Partido Feminista – Evita

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicOver the weekend, as I continued racing to the finish of the third draft of my manuscript, I found myself obsessed with a song from the musical, Evita: “Partido Feminista”.

large_gDLi6T4HZG0VF8bbRi8VPlxsfhOOkay, I’ll admit, most of “Partido Feminista” isn’t really a song. It’s more of an impassioned speech. But that’s why I love it. I’m working on a few chapters right now that need to infuse a strong, persuasive, inspirational voice. A rally cry, if you will. And this number from the Evita movie soundtrack is perfect!

1996_evita01There’s also a dash of suspense and an edge of malice in “Partido Feminista”. Madonna’s voice, the crowd’s ongoing chant, and the background orchestration mesh together in a powerful and frightening way…I’m not sure if those emotions were intended for this song, but I hear them every time I listen to it. Which is perfect motivation for the current scenes I’m working on in my book!

Evita-bannerSo, if you’re in need of a strong, persuasive, and even threatening number to inspire your writing, listen to “Partido Feminista”!

And if you’d like to listen to another “rallying cry” type song, check out “On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada (Part 2)”, also from the Evita soundtrack!

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

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Photo credits: 

1, 2, 3, 4

Music Monday – Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicI know it’s Tuesday, but I was sick yesterday, so I’m going to pretend today is Monday for the sake of this post 😉

The past couple of days, I’ve been hooked on the classic “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Creedence+Clearwater+Revival+CCRWhen I create my playlist(s) for my stories, I tend to add songs that my characters would listen to. Why? Because it helps me develop them better. When I listen to their music, it helps me understand who they are and what their tone, attitude, and characteristics are. And “Bad Moon Rising” happens to be one of my protagonists’ favorite songs.

ee06b9e2c1109158f92fdec1901b277cI also enjoy this song because it’s a fun one to listen to when writing suspense or horror. “Bad Moon Rising” is all about disaster and mayhem, and I’ll admit, those elements often appear in my stories.

I hear hurricanes a blowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

So, check out “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival to see if it inspires you!

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

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Photo credits: 

http://michaelgalvis.com/

http://alexlesterspersonalblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/bad-moon-rising.html

http://www.pinterest.com/ambergold11/favorite-songs-lyrics/

Music Monday – Ghost – Ella Henderson

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

writing-to-musicLast week, a friend sent me an awesome song to listen to (one that I’ll likely use for a future Music Monday feature). While listening to it, I noticed another music video on the YouTube sidebar. I’m not sure what it was that drew my attention to it–the song’s title, perhaps?–but I decided to click on it and give it a listen.

Now. I’m. Obsessed!

20140430100120!Ella_Henderson_-_Ghost“Ghost” by Ella Henderson is my new favorite song. I actually had to do some Googling to find out who Ella Henderson even was. I’d never heard of her before. Turns out she was a finalist on The X Factor…Yeah, a lot of you out there probably already knew that. Shocker, I’ve been living under a rock while I’ve been writing. 😉

Anyway, I love this song for many reasons: Ella’s deep, rich, beautiful voice. The addicting rhythm and beat. The powerful and haunting lyrics.

b8401f09b384bb46777662e7ad1c2b80The words in this song provoke so much emotion, and also provide oodles of inspiration. I keep replaying them in my mind and thinking of ways to use them to fuel my work.

Boy you never told me
True love was going to hurt
True pain I don’t deserve
Truth is that I never learn

Another reason I love this song? The music video. Talk about a writer’s candy shop. It’s dark, gritty, suspenseful, sad, hopeful, scary, tragic…The images automatically kick my brain into creative mode, and story idea after story idea pops into my head. All I want to do while watching it is grab a piece of paper and start writing!

So, if you’re looking for a fantastic song and music video to inspire you, check out “Ghost” by Ella Henderson.

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.

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Photo credits: 

http://michaelgalvis.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_(Ella_Henderson_song)

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/357191814169078273/

http://www.tumblr.com/search/ella+henderson+ghost