Category: inspiration

To you, her eyes were blue. But her eyes were not blue, she was. To me, her eyes were two sapphire…

To you, her eyes were blue. But her eyes were not blue, she was. To me, her eyes were two sapphire…

NaNoWriMo 2018 may be over, but we’re still thinking about what…

NaNoWriMo 2018 may be over, but we’re still thinking about what we’ve learned along the way.

During last week’s Virtual Write-In, we asked NaNo participants about the lessons they’ve learned over the course of November—about writing, community, and themselves—and compiled them into a handy infographic for you. 

What did you learn during NaNoWriMo 2018?

Congratulations, NaNoWriMo Writers!Whether you reached 50K this…

Congratulations, NaNoWriMo Writers!

Whether you reached 50K this November or not, one of the most important things that NaNoWriMo can help you do is jumpstart a creative habit. It doesn’t matter if it takes you one month or ten years to finish a draft; the fact that you’ve taken the time to tell your story makes you a winner in our eyes. Join us in January and February as we take you through the revision, editing, and publishing process during our “I Wrote a Novel… Now What?” months!

“NaNoWriMo is… just the beginning.”
–NaNoWriMo participant K. J. Middleton

“The books I wanted to read didn’t exist.” —Min Jin LeeOur…

“The books I wanted to read didn’t exist.” Min Jin Lee

Our amazingly multi-talented Customer Service Captain, Wesley Sueker, has illustrated quotes from this year’s Pep Talks! Check out Wesley’s other work on DeviantArt, and read the rest of Min Jin’s pep talk here.

“She was also the most lonely and sad. She was a genius of sadness — immersing herself in it,…

“She was also the most lonely and sad. She was a genius of sadness — immersing herself in it,…

“She was also the most lonely and sad. She was a genius of sadness — immersing herself in it,…

“She was also the most lonely and sad. She was a genius of sadness — immersing herself in it,…

It’s winter and you have a skating rink heart. So much laughter bouncing off the sides. You have to…

It’s winter and you have a skating rink heart. So much laughter bouncing off the sides. You have to…

It’s winter and you have a skating rink heart. So much laughter bouncing off the sides. You have to…

It’s winter and you have a skating rink heart. So much laughter bouncing off the sides. You have to…

“Practice listening to your own voice.” —Francesca Lia BlockOur…

“Practice listening to your own voice.” Francesca Lia Block

Our amazingly multi-talented Customer Service Captain, Wesley Sueker, has illustrated quotes from this year’s Pep Talks! Check out Wesley’s other work on DeviantArt, and read the rest of Francesca’s pep talk here.

What Makes a Successful NaNoWriMo?

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What defines a successful November may vary from person to person; for some, it’s getting 50,000 words on the page, while for others it’s 50. Today, Jill Shirley shares her thoughts on what a “successful” NaNo might look like:

What does a successful NaNoWriMo run look like? Good question, if this is your first time—or even if it’s not (thanks, imposter syndrome). What does a true NaNo “win” look like? As a current three-time winner—yes, that’s right, THREE how ‘bout that—allow me to break it down for you.

1. You’ve Declared Your Novel. 

Oh, you thought I was going to say “write 50k in 30 days” didn’t you? Well, sure, that is technically how you “win”, but really if you’ve taken the step to declare your intentions to even attempt such absolute madness, you’ve won. You’ve won before you started. Look at you! You didn’t think you had it in you, did you?

2. You’ve Written Down Words. 

Declaration is your first win. The second win? You wrote words down on November 1. And then on the 2nd, you did it again. And the 3rd. And—okay you skipped the 4th because of grandma’s birthday, but the 5th? You totally wrote down more words. Hooray!

3. Those Words Actually Make (Some) Sense. 

Not like, total sense. We can’t all write Pulitzer/Hugo/Nobel winning material right out of the gate, not even Kerouac did that (do not come at me with that stream of consciousness nonsense we have physical proof he edited his work). But they’re words that create mostly complete sentences, and involve characters with names we looked up on baby naming sites, and there’s some dialogue maybe, and in that one part you even figured out how to transition out of the action scene into a tender love scene, and like, WOW. There is a story here. Sort of.

4. Never Give Up. Never Surrender. 

You missed a day. No big. The next day you wrote twice as much. You were sick an entire WEEKEND because your coworker sneezed on you. Maybe you wrote on cold meds; maybe you had to delete it all because it was just “I wuv my kitteh” for ten pages. Now you’re really behind but you know what you didn’t do? You didn’t throw in the towel. No white flags here! You just pushed through and kept. On. Writing.

5. You’ve Made It To November 30

With most of your sanity intact even, maybe. Did you write 50k words? Yay! You won! You get to order the t-shirt and download the certificate and put the fancy banner on your social medias!

Did you fall short? Yay! You won our hearts! Do you know why? Because you wrote a NOVEL. Or more likely, MOST OF A NOVEL. Do you understand how wild that is? Not everyone could do that or we’d be drowning in seas of books. But you did it, you crazy NaNo fox you. And if you did fall short, fret not. Finish it anyway, once you’ve had a chance to reacquaint yourself with the non-NaNo world. Stories are important. YOUR story is important. Even if you can’t download that banner—tell your story anyway. And then download that banner anyway.


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Jill Shirley is a future famous author stuck in a retail worker’s body. Besides writing, she designs jewelry for her Etsy shop, maintains a jewelry-focused WordPress blog, is active in the MN cosplay scene, and puts makeup on her face, photographs it, and puts it on Instagram for fun. She would be tickled pink if you followed her endeavors!

Personal/cosplay/makeup Instagram: @jilliannicola Jewelry Instagram: @jilliannicolajewelry Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/JillianNicolaJewelry Writing Portfolio: www.jillshirley.wordpress.com Jewelry Blog: www.jilliannicolajewelry.wordpress.com

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash.