5 Writing/Reading Goals for June 2017

#1 Write 1000 words a day

I haven’t been very disciplined these last few months when it comes to daily writing. I’ve been doing a good amount of editing and writing new content whenever the need arose, but in June I want to set a daily goal of 1000 words. Not an astronomical amount, but something easily achievable.

My works-in-progress will benefit, as will my creativity flow.

#2 Make a plan for Where the Woods Grow in Flames

…Which will boil down to two factors: a.) recalibrate my outline and incorporate some structure changes, and b.) decide if to self-publish the sequel later this year OR take the project to Wattpad.

#3 Finish reading all the books I’ve started

May was a month of starting books and not finishing them. Not because I wasn’t enjoying them, but because I had a lot on my plate (and plenty of distracting hobbies as well). This month I’m (finally) going to finish The Beast of Talesend (Kyle R. Shultz), Aftermath: Life Debt (Chuck Wendig), and Lords of the Sith (Paul Kemp).

I’m also super excited to get my hands on the new Darth Vader comic coming out this month.

#4 Post four more solid chapters of The Broken City of Crows

As many of you know, I upload a new chapter of The Broken City of Crows to Wattpad every Friday. June will be my first full month of uploads, so I’m looking forward to getting four exciting chapters going. I’m hesitant to set any numerical goals in terms of reads or votes, so I’m just going to enjoy the process and make June’s chapters as good as I can.

#5 Create digital paintings for Gwinn and Ember

Speaking of tBCoC, after sharing my digital painting of Avora last week, a lot of readers asked whether I’d be doing more characters and if so, if Gwinn and/or Ember were on the to-do list. The answer to both those questions is yes. I’ve already started thumbnailing a sketch of Gwinn, and I hope to have completed paintings of him and Ember by the end of the month. Perhaps by the end of the summer, I’ll have painted the whole Red Vanguard. You never know!


What are some of your goals and plans for June? Let me know, and go get ’em! In the meantime, have a great day.

Operation: 100 Sales on Launch Day!

Happy Saturday, everybody! So, I’ve got a minor announcement…Where the Woods Grow Wild is officially out! If you’ve been following the countdown on Twitter/Instagram or the build-up posts right here, then you knew this day was coming, and here it is!

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A forest looms over Bardun Village. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The secrets in the oaks remain hidden until a mischievous escapade thrusts Martin and Elodie behind the silent trees. Separated and lost in a tangle of fantasy, they discover more than animals roam where the woods grow wild.

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I’ve got a few topics to cover in this post, so let’s move right along. First of all, a huge thank you to anyone and everyone who has encouraged me and supported me throughout the whole creation process of WtWGW, from family to strangers on social media. It hasn’t always been a smooth or pleasant ride, but you guys made it happen.

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Second, I’ve set up a challenge/goal for today, as it’s uber-super-ultra-cool-launch-day. See that post title up above? Yeah, we’re going for it. 100 sales on day one. Today.

“But Nate, that’s a really big number. It’s way bigger than 99. How will you ever pull off such an extraordinary feat?” *polishes tophat in disbelief* 

I’m glad you asked! I need your help. Here are some things you can do to push the number up (and earn my undying love and servitude a thumbs up).

  • Treat yourself or someone else to a copy! Nothing helps sales like a sale, right?
  • Spread the word. Grab a Santa Claus costume and go yell about WtWGW on the street corners. Or just tell a friend. #thepoweroffriendship
  • Social media shares! For every retweet, like, share, or re-post this gets, I’ll chug some hot chocolate. If by the end of the day I’m a hyper, sugar-saturated hospital case, then we did it!
  • Mark it on Goodreads. More exposure is always helpful.

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Now, it’ll take a while for the Kindle page and the Paperback page to link up into one Amazon page, so here’s a link to each version:

Where the Woods Grow Wild – Kindle

Where the Woods Grow Wild – Paperback

Want more information about the book? I’ve got you covered with past blog posts about the characters and the story world, so go check those out of you want to!

All right, now let’s see how close to 100 we can get! In the meantime, have a great day!

 

Don’t Put Off Learning New Things

Today I’m not talking about writing. I’m just tipping over a paint bucket with some of my thoughts from the last few days. As the title suggests, those thoughts have been about learning new things.

You see, while writing fiction is definitely my main passion, there are two things I’ve always wanted to do that, as of now, I can’t. The first is to sing. I’ve more or less accepted that as a no-go, which is fine. The second, however, is digital art. I love digital artwork, especially when it comes to character inspiration for my stories. I admire and respect the talent digital artists possess.

Now, I’ve been into drawing (off and on) since my teen years. With a pencil and paper, I’m decent. Not amazing, but decent. But for the last few years, I get an itch in my creative soul every time I see a work of digital art that I truly like.

It’s always been a “Man, I wish I could make art like that…but” sort of thing. I assumed that sort of artistic skill was out of my reach, and I settled for wishing. I’m not really sure what brought this about, but last week I got fed up with wishing and decided to do something about it.

What, exactly? Well, I consulted a few artist friends and ordered a graphic drawing tablet (a Wacom Intuos). It arrived this Monday, and I started what looks to be a long process of learning digital art.

Let me tell you, it’s hard stuff. I’m going to have to work a lot and exercise loads of patience and diligence in order to get to where I want to be. But I’m glad I took the leap. Sure, digital art probably won’t ever be more than a hobby, but why should I settle for wishful thinking when I have the chance to tackle a new (albeit daunting) endeavor?

I guess this post is a glorified encouragement note. If there’s a skill or ability you wish you had, and if you want it bad enough, go get it. Try, try again, and see where the process takes you. I wish I had acted upon my wishing much sooner, but hey, it’s never too late to start, right?

If something tickles your interest, give it a shot.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Have a great day, everyone.

Writerly Plans for Fall 2016

Hello, friends and readers!

Another academic year is underway, and the Fall season is fast approaching. It’s a period of change and transition for a lot of us, and I’m no exception. Here’s a preview of what I have in store for the remaining months of 2016.

Day jobs

Last year I started work as an online class supervisor at a school here in Sant Cugat (best city in Spain). That job kicked back to life last week, and I’m in the thick of classes already.

This Fall I’m also adding a new day job, as some of you saw on Twitter. I got a job teaching private English classes (as a second language) at an academy, so that’ll fill up a few afternoons.

Writing plans

While my beta readers are going through Where the Woods Grow Wild, I have several plans to keep myself busy. I’ve already started writing a sequel, simply because I couldn’t bear to not spend more time with my characters.

As soon as I hear back from my beta readers, however, I’ll dive into more edits accordingly. My top priority this Fall is to get Where the Woods Grow Wild perfected (in the achievable sense of the word) and published. A lot of people keep asking when it’s coming out, and my answer remains the same…soon!

Publication plans open up a lot of other boxes of things to get ready for: a release party, a book signing in town, final touches on design, etc. I’m working to have all that ready to go!


Fall is my favorite season by far. The cooler weather, rainy days with tea, and general festivities always invigorate me. I’m excited for what the following months have in store. What sort of plans do you have for the rest of 2016?

Publishing Plans, Writing Goals, and Other Assorted 2016 Shenanigans

Remember that one time back in February when I said Where The Woods Grow Wild would be available by late April? Yeah…that didn’t happen. As a matter of fact, July is almost over and I’ve yet to finish the second draft. To say that my writing plans for 2016 have been delayed is an understatement.

I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say there’s been a lot going on since January, and I’ve been juggling a part-time job (two as of a few weeks ago) with some remaining freelance editing work.

Technically 2016’s halfway point was a month ago, but I’m going to pull a ‘who cares?’ and do some recalibrating. Here’s what I’ve got up my sleeve for the rest of 2016:

Finish and publish Where The Woods Grow Wild

Aside from my day jobs, this will be my top priority. I’m making great progress on rewrites, and I’ll be beta-reader shopping soon (wink-nudge). No promises (I’ve made that mistake too many times already), but I really want to see WTWGW hit Amazon in October-November (that’s giving myself plenty for a few extra editing rounds, just in case).

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Current cover art for WTWGW, designed by Silvia Philbrick at Orca Creative Studio.

I’ve been sharing snippets on social media (mostly Twitter and Instagram) via #2bitTues, #1LineWed, and other trends, and the support you guys have shown is humbling and motivating, more than you realize. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Keep writing my backburner novel

No, not a novel about an actual backburner (although I’ll accept offers for the rights to that idea). I’m talking about the fantasy novel that’s been sitting on the proverbial shelf gathering proverbial dust for about a year now. I’ve mentioned it now and then on Twitter, but Where The Woods Grow Wild has been my sole writing focus for the past 8-9 months.

This novel is looking to be a long one (guesstimating 150k-ish words), so I won’t be finishing it anytime soon. But still. It exists, and I’ll be making slow progress behind the scenes.

Start Where The Woods Grow Wild 2‘s first draft

Yep. WTWGW is getting a sequel. I wasn’t planning on this originally, but I love the characters too much to not write another book with them. Where The Woods Grow Wild will still have a definite ending, a conclusion of its own, but since it’s obviously going to sell a million copies*, why not explore the story world a bit more afterwards?

*please. I’m really poor. 

Develop social media

This is a permanent work-in-progress. 2016 has been great so far in terms of social media growth.

My Twitter following has almost tripled since last August, and I’ve been able to connect with some fantastic new people. Twitter is still my most consistent communication tool, so if you don’t follow already, you’re missing out on my superior humor and intellect some mildly amusing tweets.

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I experimented with Instagram for a few months, but daily posts are quite taxing on my supply of photo ideas, and I’ve slowed down a bit. I don’t know how you all get hundreds/thousands of followers based exclusively on pictures of your desk, but more power to you, I guess.

To the grand total of 114 people who like and follow my author page on Facebook…yeah, sorry. I hardly ever post there. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Facebook anymore. In terms of platform building it stinks unless you pay them (more) money, and then it stinks a little bit less.

I am, however, working towards starting a Youtube channel. I’ve been experimenting with different video styles, and I think I’ve found one that works for me. I don’t know when I’ll launch it (maybe next month?), but I’m having fun getting ready, if nothing else. Stay tuned.


Anyways, those are my writerly plans for the rest of 2016. Right now I’m going to pencil in a daily schedule to manage it all (no, I’m not sweating), and hopefully I’ll be able to follow through with these plans and not get fired from my two part-time jobs. Pray for me and my caffeine addiction.

In the meantime, have yourself an awesome day, friend!

 

 

11 Tips For Maximum Writing Productivity

Find your best writing time: most writers have a particular time of day when they have an easier time concentrating and getting the job done. Be flexible yet consistent.

Find your best writing place: regularly writing in ‘your spot’ (and using that spot only for writing) puts you in a focused mindset.

Establish a healthy environment: make sure you’re comfortable and your posture isn’t warping your spine, and keep the room well lit and ventilated.

Eliminate distractions: avoiding distraction is a choice you alone can make. Know your weaknesses and actively remove them.

Set achievable goals: motivate yourself to keep going with small objectives you know you can accomplish. These small goals quickly add up to surprising results.

Take frequent breaks: get up, walk around, go outside, grab a drink, talk to people. Keep your mind fresh and your body active to avoid burning out.

Plan ahead: if you know what you’ll be writing before you sit down to do it, you’ll be more productive. Try to have at least a list of scenes for the day, or a basic chapter outline that you can follow.

Find alternate ways to stay productive: sometimes you can’t seem to get the words out at all. Don’t give up and waste your writing hours in self-pity! Find something else to do to advance your project and give you the satisfaction of a productive hour.

Establish accountability methods: if you set hourly/daily/weekly goals for yourself, have a strategy to make sure you meet those objectives (friends, prizes, word-count meters, etc.).  Find what works best for you.

Keep your writing tools simple: don’t get distracted by the dozens of apps/programs/toys that do everything for your manuscript except get it written. You can color-code your chapter headings later, friend.

Respect your limits: lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Put the whip away. Now and then you just need to take a day off.