Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo


Yes. It’s October and you know what that means. NaNoWriMo is coming.

It’s October 15th which means there’s just over two weeks until November is upon us.

Eek! Don’t ask me what I’m writing cause I don’t know yet.

Having participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since 2005, I like to think I’ve picked up a tip or two along the way.

So, I’ve decided to share.

Tip #1: Pace yourself. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days may seem like a massive undertaking and leave you feeling completely overwhelmed, but the truth is it doesn’t have to. 1,667 words per day is completely doable, and if you break it down into even smaller goals… say 834 words in the morning and 834 words at night it’ll be an even easier goal to smash.

Tip #2: It’s never to early to kill off a character. In NaNoWriMo… anything goes. I once killed of a main character in the first chapter. Surprisingly, it worked and pushed the other characters forward. Death scenes take up a lot of words. So, does sex.

Tip #3: Editing is for December. Turn off your inner editor. Yes, it’s hard, but completely doable.

Tip #4: Turn off distractions. Procrastinating is the worst enemy to any NaNoer. If it helps set a timer, and turn off the WiFi. Research is fun, but time consuming.

Tip #5: Have fun. Because if you’re not having fun while writing, there’s really no point.

And there it is. I hope you find these tips helpful.


Write What You Know

If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase write what you know and if you’re new to writing, then this post just might save your sanity.

Write what you know.

It’s one of the most misunderstood pieces of writing advice I’ve ever come across, so what do you do about it?

Do you listen and hang on every word. Every snippet of so-called writing advice that the World Wide Web is inundated with… not to mention every book dedicated to writing. Or do you pick and choose? Using only the advice you think it’s relevant and useful.

Write what you know. Really? But do I have to?

I know, I know. I can hear you thinking: I hardly know anything, or: my experience is limited, or even: I haven’t been anywhere exciting yet.

None of that matters, and you know why? Because I can guarantee you that your life experience is entirely different from any other writer out there. It’s as unique as you are, and that’s what will shine through no matter what you write.

Funny story actually, but a couple of years ago, I was told by an author that I respect, to stick to writing what I know. It was after a conversation led me to share the setting of the book that I was working on at the time. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t set in Australia… and it definitely wasn’t set in Perth.

I found myself sitting there, coffee in hand, mulling over what she said and panicking and I thought to myself: I’ll never get to go anywhere as charming as Ireland in my lifetime.

And then it dawned on me… it’s not the setting of the story I should be focusing on, but the experiences my characters go through. It’s the emotions that course through them whenever they feel something so intensely… whether it be joy or sadness. If you as a writer know those emotions inside out, if you experience it as if it were you who was going through it, and not some character you made up, then there’s no doubt in my mind the reader will feel it too.

How to Deal with Rejection

1C4CDA24-390A-47D4-A4FC-A2410B9F55B3I hate to say it, but life has gotten busy. Looking for work has taken up the bulk of my time and I’m still no closer to being employed. So, as a result, August has given way to September and Spring is beginning to leave its mark, ever so slowly.

My story Owl Eyes has yet to be picked up, despite sending it out to a few different anthologies it’s been rejected. I’ll likely add it to the pile of stories I’m collecting to put into an anthology, but even so it doesn’t lessen the sting of rejection.

So, on that note I thought I’d share a few ways to deal with rejection as a writer.

1. Try not to take it personally. I know, it’s hard and you’re first instinct will be to take it personally, but do try not to. I promise good things are just around the corner.

2. Allow yourself time to be disappointed. Let’s face it… rejection hurts. Take a moment, but don’t dwell.

3. Have something on the go. Don’t force the words but have something to throw yourself into. Hope springs eternal and you won’t get published if you don’t keep writing.

4. Let it go. Let it go! (Sorry! I couldn’t resist. Hazards of having a daughter who loved (loves?) Frozen. But it’s true. Patience is a virtue and humility even more so. Don’t get angry. It’s no way to have a writing career.

5. Try to get rejected. I know it sounds crazy but you can’t get published without taking a risk and sending your work out into the world. For every two rejection letters you might receive an acceptance letter. How great would that be? A dream come true, I bet.

I hope this list has inspired you to keep going, even if at times it seems hopeless. If it’s has, drop me a line in the comments. If not, I encourage you to also comment, perhaps with your favourite song. You know, the one you just can’t get out of your head? Inspiration comes from everywhere after all.






Popular Hashtags For Writers

21A34B13-D7BF-4314-A2AC-BD1996B9A506.jpegDo you ever find yourself wondering what writerly hashtags to use on Instagram and twitter? If the answer is yes, then look no further. 

I’ve compiled a list that might help you navigate the never ending sea of confusion that surrounds hashtags.

Popular Hashtags For Writers

#AmEditing – a short version of “I am editing”

#AmWriting – a short version of “I am writing”

#AmReading – a short version of “I am reading”



#IndieAuthors – independent authors need to use social media in their marketing strategy.

#NaNoWriMo – national novel writing month

#PubTip – publication tips


#StoryStarter – a prompt for starting a story

#WordCount – used by writers who want to share their writing progress

#WIP – work in progress

#WritersBlock – used by writers who are suffering from writers block

#WritersLife  – used by writers to add insight into life as a writer

#WritingPrompt – the perfect hashtag if you’re looking for inspiration

#WritingTip or #WritingTips or #WriteTip – used by writers who want to share tips about writing

#WriterMum or WriterMom – used by female writers who are also parents

#WritersfollowWriters – used for writers to follow other writers



There’s plenty more… like for example….

Day of the Week Hashtags








Keep checking back, as when I come across other hashtags, I’ll update this post, but this is a good start for any writers out there lost in the sea of hashtags.

Drawing Inspiration from Dreams

D76EB3F1-B447-4E18-A927-398319F2A838Inspiration can strike at the most inconvenient of times. Often, I find myself drifting off to sleep and then an idea pops into my head, for a story or novel and I just have to write it down before I forget.

Other times, I’ll wake up in the morning or the middle of the night after the most interesting dream, and again I just have to write it down.

Why the hell wouldn’t you?

I know, I know. Drawing inspiration from a dream… It’s cliche, right? But what if it’s not? What if you have a really kick arse dream that is just the right fit for a story? With all it’s untapped potential, you should totally use it. It would be a shame not to.

Now, I’m not talking about making a full blown novel out of one teeny tiny dream , that might not be feasible but maybe you can get some mileage out of it to create a really cool short story.

You won’t know until you try.

I’ve done just that in the past, actually. Other times my dreams have been weaved into a single scene.

That’s the thing about inspiration. It can be found in the most unlikeliest of places. So, don’t go discounting or discrediting your dreams just yet. You might just be lucky enough to find that rare gem.

I have, a few times. So, I’ve written them down, stored for later use. Ready for when, I finally get around to expanding upon them.

Just last night I had a dream where some of my extended family all gathered together on my front lawn awaiting my return. I thought it was weird (and slightly annoying) that they’d come to my house without any prior warning. Upon waking, I still find it weird. But also curious. I can’t quite shake the feeling that there’s a message in this dream, as it was all just a little too real. But I’ll dwell on that aspect of it all tomorrow when I have a clearer head.


Finding Time to Write with Four Kids… Continued

315648CB-7C82-48E7-89C5-4E6009A747CBOne month ago, I posted about the trials and tribulations of writing with four kids and even shared some tips I employ to make it work. It’s not always easy, and I’m by no means an expert. I’d love to get paid more, but I do love what I do.

You can find that blog post here.

Since then, a conversation I had in a group on Facebook recently gave way to this post.

I’ve had a host of people tell me I can’t write with four kids. I have a significantly smaller number of people tell me, I can (and should) write with four kids.

Fact is, I ignore the host of people telling me what I shouldn’t do and listen to the one’s telling me what I should do. And, if I’m completely honest for a moment, my sanity depends on it. The momentary escape from reality. Yes, as cliched as it may be, the reason I write is to escape. It hasn’t changed in the twenty-one years I’ve been writing, and I doubt it ever will.

So, what’s an average day to a mum of four? Well you’re about to find out.

My kids for reference sake are twelve, eleven, nine and seven. My only girl is the eleven year old. That dynamic alone is hard enough. The amount of times she’s begged her dad and I for a sister… it’s only a little heartbreaking.

An average (week)day for me looks like this… note the lack of writing time. I do steal the odd minute here and there by writing on my phone. While waiting to pick my kids up, for instance. But solid blocks of time are hard to come by.

5:30am : First alarm goes off. I ignore it. For the simple fact that it feels like I’m getting to ‘sleep in’ when I do and I hit the snooze button.

6:30am: Second alarm goes off and I spent about two minutes debating whether or not I can afford to sneak an extra 15 minutes of sleep. I am not a morning person. I was before I had kids. Usually, I decide it’s not worth it and get up.

6:30am-6:45am: All four kids are woken and the kettle is switched on. Three of them are up, out of bed and eating cereal. My nine year old son, struggles to get up.

7am: I have coffee. Anyone with kids will tell you if they don’t have coffee in the morning, they simply can’t function. True story. My kids know I’m grumpy in the morning if I haven’t had coffee. And yes, they do remind me to have said coffee if I haven’t.

7:15am-7:45am: I make their lunches. It’s not fancy. I don’t bake half as much as I want to. But they don’t go hungry.

8am: This is the time I aim to have all four of them packed, ready and out the door. It doesn’t happen.

8:15am: Is when they’re typically out the door and heading for school.

9am-9:15am: I’m back home. The kettle goes back on for a second cup of coffee. Yes, I’m a coffee addict. Four cups a day is common.

9:15am-10am: Check Emails etc

10am-12pm: Housework. I do 1-2 small-medium loads of laundry a day. Wash/Hang out. Bring it in when dry. I try to sort the clean clothes weekly and put them away. Tidy main living areas/bathrooms/floors etc. Kids clean their own rooms.

12pm-12:45pm: Lunch. Yes, I’m only human and I do take lunch breaks.

12:45pm-2:15pm: Housework. See above. I have something of a roster happening.

2:15pm-2:30pm: Break.

2:30pm: Pick kids up.

3:20pm: Home from picking kids up.

3:20pm-4:30pm: Organise kids. Snacks/Homework etc

4pm-4:30pm: Wash dishes

6pm: Dinner prep

7pm: Dinner

7:30pm-8pm: Kids bed time

8:30pm-9pm: Kids settle/sleep finally.

9pm-11pm: Downtime/TV/Writing time

11pm-12am: Read in bed/Social media catch up

12am: Bedtime. I don’t usually stay up much past midnight, when I do I don’t function well the next day.

**It’s not a perfect representation as things do change from day to day but it is an accurate baseline.

So, for all those writers out there without kids, the ones who like to say that kids aren’t an excuse for not writing? I beg to differ. I’m by no means saying you can’t write with kids, because you can (and I do write around my kids) but there’s a completely different dynamic when you write around kids to that of writing when you don’t have kids. There’s more freedom. And it’s quieter. If I didn’t walk my kids to school, I wouldn’t leave the house. There’s just too much to do inside the house.