On Writing Every Day

           Hey, go easy on yourself. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out! Some days you find yourself trapped behind the wheel of a large automobile for about ten hours. You simply don’t have time or energy to sit down and write a thousand words on those days! That’s okay!

            However, I’m not here to coddle you and tell you you’ll become a better writer by “saving your strength”. There’s not a craft, a talent, or muscle in your body that improves from not being used daily!

            What’s been working for me for about six months now is promising myself “I will write one sentence every day.” And I usually do! Somedays I write my one sentence and fall into bed. Other days I wind up writing three pages or better!

            I’m old fashioned and I like to use a paper journal and a pen. Every day I like to use a different colored pen to track my progress with my Work In Progress (WIP). It keeps me motivated knowing how much I can do even when I don’t have time to do it all. Sometimes it’s just my one sentence and bed. (Sometimes it’s no sentence and bed! Because I’m a bad kid.) But I love to write so I often write over my lunch break and knock out an entire scene while being a stereotype in a café.

            The essential thing is that you try to write every day and work hard to improve your craft. Even God-given talent can be built upon! Setting small goals helps you achieve bigger ones later. Keeping those writing “muscles” in motion keeps them functioning. It doesn’t have to be a thousand words daily (although you’ll finish your book faster) it just has to be something!

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NaNoWriMo Is Ending but Your Writing Doesn’t Have to

            No really. You don’t have to only write during National Novel Writing Month. All of your followers on social media are invested in the story you’re trying to tell! Every person you’ve been excitedly telling about your book wants to see you finish your book! So finish it!

            As much as I hate to admit it I thrive off of attention. I just came to terms with that this November. Actually tracking my daily word count has really helped me write more. When I can I try to beat my record! It’s been a lot of fun! And it’s even more fun for the people who are really invested in War and Chess to follow along as write the third in the series. (Book two is currently being edited at the publishing house.) Book three has been my NaNoWriMo project for two, maybe three years now. The working title is Emerald, First Queen of Gishlan but that title could very well change! This is by far the longest book I have ever written in my life and someday soon I’d like to see it finished!

            Because I was deep in despair over December 1st coming way too early, and all third party accountability ending I checked up on NaNoWriMo’s website and… You can make little word goals for yourself all year long! Here is the link to that. Don’t forget to sign in! I have set the impossible goal of 1,000 words per day (30,000 words spanning from December 1st through December 31st) and I am excited to fail miserably trying my best!

            Your friends want you to finish your book. Your readers want you to finish your book. [And if you’re like me] your Instagram followers want you to finish your book! So finish it! And if you have, edit it! The world wants your book! And I find, since writing is just show business for shy people, the more people you can get invested in your work the more you yourself will want to write! You don’t have to quit writing just because NaNoWriMo is over!

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NaNoWriMo is Weird

            Let me start by saying I am a self-proclaimed NaNoRebel. This isn’t a dis post. I really love what the organization does on a grand scale! National Novel Writing Month is a good thing! I will friend you on the site and support the snot out of you! (I’m nelehjr) This will be my third year organizing the Come Write In Space at our library. NaNoWriMo is amazing!

            But NaNoWriMo is also weird.

            Write an entire novel? In a month?! Are you nuts?! I’m pretty sure I’d sprain something, if not then I’d definitely let it take a toll on my mental health. Don’t these people know I work for a living?! I don’t just flick my wrist and a book falls out! (I write by hand. There’s a lot of wrist flicking.)

            I used to get a little sick to my stomach every November 1st. Everyone who knew me would say “Oh Helen, you write! Are you going to do that NaNoWriMo thing?” So. Much. Pressure. Writing is the only thing I’ve been dead set on doing with my life and passionate about. Sometimes I get a little too intense. But how could I be a real writer if I couldn’t and wouldn’t even attempt with all manner of Hell-bent determination, try?

            NaNoWriMo made me face down my biggest personality fault (my intensity) and leap over my biggest hurtle (finding balance). I knew that if I tried to meet the full goal like all the other writers were doing I’d hurt myself. I’d sacrifice things like sleep, personal hygiene, coming to work on time, eating, spending time with loved ones. I’d write. That’d be all. One year I decided to set a personal goal to write one sentence per day, at the very least. Honestly, that helped! A lot! I got to feel included, I got held accountable, it set some good habits, but best of all I got to tell people what I was working on! I used to be super private about my work and wouldn’t let anyone know about it until I had it finished and polished. But now it’s kind of fun because people get really invested before you even finish your story!

            So, dear friends, I say we begin the revolution. I am a self-proclaimed NaNoRebel because I like to be included but I know full well I’m not going to complete the full challenge. It’s okay if you know your limits and NaNoWriMo’s goals are far above them. NaNoWriMo is weird. Don’t sacrifice your health to participate, but NaNoWriMo is for everyone and you can still participate! There’s even a “NaNoRebel” badge on their website! Try it out, test out having a community of writer friends, and writing goals. NaNoWriMo is an awesome opportunity to challenge yourself just don’t hurt yourself doing it.

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Do you have a burning question for Helen? Feel free to email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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