Friday, November 28, 2014

Podcasts that Inspire Me

Podcasts that Inspire Me -- Looking for podcast recommendations? Check these out. |

I listen to a lot of podcasts. I travel a lot, and sometimes music just doesn't cut it. I want something more immersive. That's where podcasts come in.

Podcasts are great to listen to when doing tasks that don't require much concentration, such as folding and putting away laundry, cleaning, and getting ready for work. My favorite app for podcast listening is the default Podcasts app for iOS. I know a lot of people also swear by Stitcher, but the default app is fine by me.

Whether you're a podcast fan looking for new shows to listen to, or a first-timer who has no idea where to start, here are some podcasts that inspire me.

This American Life

This podcast is one of the first I ever listened to. It's also one of the best. In this podcast, host Ira Glass introduces stories based on a theme, told by people just like you. The storytelling is phenomenal, and it's great to hear so many different life experiences. I highly recommend this podcast to anyone and everyone.


Brought to you by the producers of This American Life, Serial is another true story podcast, but with a thrilling twist: the first season follows the investigation of a complex murder case. Host Sarah Koenig digs up new evidence in the murder of student Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed. This podcast is not only entertaining, but also raises questions about the U.S. justice system and its procedural integrity. If you love crime dramas, this is the show for you.

Welcome to Night Vale

The Welcome to Night Vale podcast is one of the strangest I have ever listened to. Inspired by the works of author H.P. Lovecraft, this show tells the story of a small desert town called Night Vale, a local radio host named Cecil Palmer, and the bizarre occurrences surrounding the community. I have no idea how else to explain this podcast to you. All I know for certain is that you should listen to it.

Stuff You Should Know

Unlike most podcasts, I only listen to select episodes of this one. Likable hosts Josh and Chuck cover a variety of topics from Amelia Earhart to haunted house attractions. Not all the episodes interest me, but the ones I've listened to have been fantastic. This show is ideal for trivia fans and anyone who wants a more in-depth look at the world around them.

There are several other podcasts I enjoy, but these four are the ones that I listen to the most. They regularly entertain me and ignite the spark of inspiration. If you're looking for podcasts, download these first.

How do you feel about podcasts? Which ones do you like to listen to?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Five Things I Learned from My Best Writing Day

Five Things I Learned from My Best Writing Day -- Writer Briana Morgan shares her tips for a productive writing session. |

Another one of my Twitter friends requested a particular blog post. This time, he asked about my best writing day.

More than anyone, I understand that writing is tough work. The most difficult part of writing is actually writing. Sometimes it feels impossible to sit in the chair and move your hands across the keys.

With that being said, I have had a few good writing days. They were days in which I felt like my brain was on fire in the best way possible. Everything I wrote was magic and I was unstoppable.

Consequently, on my best writing day (#WeekendWriteFest, when I wrote 8K words), I learned these five important things.
  1. Attitude is everything. If you go into a writing session dreading the work, your bad attitude is going to show through your words. Be optimistic. Visualize becoming fully immersed in your work and loving it. You'll be surprised how much of a different a shift in attitude can make.
  2. Take frequent breaks. Although it's tempting to write without stopping when you're on a roll, it's important to step away every so often to refresh your mind and care for your body. When you write, make sure you're eating, drinking, and using the bathroom at regular intervals. If you feel like you need a break, take a break. The work will be there when you get back. Taking breaks is the key to avoiding burnout.
  3. Check in with your support group. I am so thankful for my writing tweeps. The writing community on Twitter saves me on a daily basis. During #WeekendWriteFest, I expected them to hold me accountable. By checking in with my word counts, I was able to receive encouragement and to encourage others. Community is indispensable when it comes to staying motivated.
  4. Celebrate your successes. Whenever I finished a page, I took a break. I got on Twitter or played a game on my phone for a few minutes as a reward. This step goes hand-in-hand with #2. I don't think I could've been as disciplined without a rewards system in place.
  5. Set attainable goals. Like I mentioned, whenever I finished a page, I let myself have a reward. I focused on writing a page at a time. By separating my goal into manageable chunks, it was easier for me to reach without getting discouraged. Instead of worrying about writing a novel, focus on getting the first sentence down.
I know these things seem pretty basic, but I'm hoping you were still able to take something away from this post. Sometimes it's the simple things that are the most profound. If you have any other blog requests, be sure to let me know!

What did you learn from your best writing day? How can you replicate it in the future?

Monday, November 24, 2014

An Editing Checklist

An Editing Checklist -- Consult this list next time you edit your writing. |

One of my Twitter followers requested a post about editing. I thought I'd write one in the form of a
checklist so that you can print it out and tape it to the wall next to your desk or writing space.

These are some things I look for whenever I'm editing. If you'd like a more in-depth series on any of these points, please let me know. Hope it helps!
  • Wrong words e.g. there/their/they're and to/too/two
  • Improper capitalization
  • Adverbs (just cut them already!)
  • Verb tense shifts
  • Lack of parallel structure
  • Sentences that start with "there are" (you can make them stronger, I promise)
  • Unnecessary commas and comma splices
  • Run-on sentences
  • Quotation marks for emphasis (NO)
  • Spelling errors - use a spell checker, but also confirm the errors with your human brain
I know this post was short, but when it comes to editing, these items comprise the tip of the iceberg. Another point worth noting: as you edit your work, you'll see patterns in the mistakes you're making. Awareness of your issues is the first step on the path to correcting them. Over time, you'll improve in your editing areas. Like everything else, it just takes practice.

What items are on your editing checklist? Which of these points would you like clarified?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Everyone I Love is Dead (And/Or Gay): My Literary Crushes

Everyone I Love is Dead (And/Or Gay): My Literary Crushes -- Who do you love? |

I've been sitting on this title for longer than I'd care to admit. I even knew what I wanted to cover in this post. For some reason, until now, I've been too embarrassed to follow through with writing and publishing it.

Today's topic is going to be my literary crushes.

Truth be told, that title serves two purposes: to capture your attention as well as to reveal my poor tastes in men. I always want what I can't have. You'll see what I mean.
  • Oscar Wilde. He tops my list because he's tops, and I love him the most. Known for his wit and flamboyant ways, Wilde died of illness in 1900. Also, he was gay. It would never have worked between us. (Someone please take me to Dublin so I can see for myself that that statue is real. THAT SASS.)
  • Eric Blair. Also known as George Orwell, Blair died in 1950. I owe my love for dystopian fiction and sense of impending doom to him.
  • Ernest Hemingway. "Papa" Hemingway was a man's man who snagged my heart as easily as he could snag a fish. Known for his adventurous spirit and luck with the ladies, Hemingway hid a sadness few people could imagine. The tortured writer committed suicide in 1961.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald. In spite of the way he treated his wife, I still adore him. He died in 1940. We'll always have Gatsby.
  • George Gordon, Lord Byron. It's cliche, but I can't help it. He was legendary for his romantic exploits. I'd like to see what all the fuss was about. Besides, he's beautiful. Byron died in 1824, probably in the middle of some kind of tryst.
Now that I've bared my soul to you, I urge you not to laugh. There's a reason I wasn't alive to meet these men. I like to think it was for my own good.

Who are some of your literary crushes?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

From the Archives: How to Choose Your Ideal Writing Space

How to Choose Your Ideal Writing Space -- Writer Briana Morgan wants to help you find the perfect place to work. |

Someone on Twitter recently asked me to write a post like this one, so I thought I'd re-purpose it. This post was originally published in September 2013.

Great writers are known not just for their prose, but for their writing spaces.

George Bernard Shaw had a rotating hut. Dylan Thomas did his best work cooped up inside a boat house. And J.K. Rowling, a more contemporary example, penned the Harry Potter series in an Edinburgh café.

While you may not have your own special shed or writing carrel, you no doubt have a space where you prefer to write. Here are three tips to help you choose your ideal writing space.
  • The first thing you need to consider when selecting your space is surface type. For example, you need to figure out whether you prefer writing at a desk, in bed, or in a hammock. If you’re not sure, try every surface you can think of. See which one works best for you. There’s no rule that says you have to get your work done at your desk.
  • Got a surface? Okay, good. Now you need to decide whether you’ll be writing inside or outside. In my experience, most people prefer the convenience of writing indoors. You have control of the temperature and won’t have to cancel a session on account of the weather. There are some people, however, who prefer working in the fresh air and natural daylight. You might very well be one of those people.
  • Finally, you should consider writing in public versus writing in private. As I said before, J.K. Rowling loved writing in public cafés. She loved soft chatter of café patrons and the ready availability of coffee and tea. I, on the other hand, cannot work when there are people talking. I get the most writing done when I hole up in my bedroom. Once again, you’ll have to see which works best for you.
Every writer has some sort of unique writing space. Some prefer writing at a desk, while others enjoy the comforts of bed. Writers can choose to do their work outside or indoors. Moreover, some authors like to pen their pieces in public, but there are those who would rather keep their insights hidden behind closed doors.

Whatever you prefer, just remember that your writing space is just that—yours. As long as you’re comfortable, that’s all that matters. Try some spaces on for size and find your most productive place.

What's your favorite writing space?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gift Ideas for Readers and Writers

Gift Ideas for Readers and Writers -- Find the perfect gift for the bookworm on your list. |

Hello, lovelies! I wrote a post like this a while ago, but it's time for an update.

Winter is coming, which means you’ll need to figure out what to get for everyone on your list. To make holiday shopping a little easier for you, I’ve compiled a short list of gift ideas for readers and writers.

Note: These items are based on my personal preferences. Naturally, my tastes won’t match up with everyone across the board. Nevertheless, this post should give you a few ideas.
Of course, this is a short list of gift ideas for readers and writers, but I hope it helps! Now get to shopping!

What are some things on your wish list this year?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review: ELLA by Stephen John Moran

Book Review: ELLA by Stephen John Moran -- If you're looking for a dark read that;s tough to put down, check out this book. |
ELLA is a novel by Stephen John Moran, published in 2014.

I first became acquainted with the novel on Twitter, when I was followed by Ella Thomas' (fictional) account. From there, I began interacting with the character as well as her author. I grew somewhat familiar with the "world" of the story and snatched up the novel as soon as it was published.

Ella Thomas is a young woman who is much more menacing than she appears. Plagued by a dark past, she utilizes her charm and sexual prowess to lure and murder terrible men. She travels cross-country to meet up with her lover, Ray; work on her novel, and gather some "real-world" experience--all while dealing with the horrible memories dredged up by her writing.

I had no idea what to expect from this book. I knew it would be dark, but Moran justifies the darkness well. Nothing happens for the sake of happening. The story is character- rather than plot-driven, and I had no problem seeing the motivations behind Ella's actions.

If I have one problem with the book, that is its brevity. Although it is packed with emotional and mental angst (in the best way possible), I wanted more. Still, Moran plans to write several other books in the same vein as ELLA, so I can't complain too much.

If you're looking for a dark, psychological read that's tough to put down, purchase ELLA on Amazon right away. The book is available in Kindle and paperback format. For more information about Stephen Moran and his writings, you can visit his website here.

How do you feel about "darker" books? What book would you like me to review next?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Secret Santa 2014

I know, I know. It's not even Thanksgiving yet. The holiday cheer is getting to me already.

You see, I've always wanted to host an online Secret Santa gift exchange. As a member of the coolest community on Twitter (my writing tweeps), I thought it would be great to include my friends and colleagues in the Christmas festivities.

If you're interested in participating in this year's Secret Santa gift exchange, here are the rules:

  1. I'm closing entries on December 1. That should give everyone a few weeks to decide whether or not they want to enter and a few weeks to purchase and send out the presents.
  2. There is a set budget of $20 for gifts. This limit is to ensure quality presents without going overboard. If you can afford to go over, then by all means, feel free. The budget is simply for those who need it. Also, if you spend more, don't expect everyone to be able to do the same. I promise you'll get a good gift either way. :)
  3. If you'd like to help out your giver, post a links to wishlists in the comment section. Whether it's Pinterest, Wanelo, Amazon, or somewhere else, this will give your giver a good starting point. Even if they don't get you anything on your lists, they'll get a good idea of what you like.
  4. You must be willing to send gifts internationally. That way, everyone gets a chance to participate. If you can't afford to send anything across the ocean, consider purchasing some kind of gift card (though that kinda takes the fun out of the exchange).
  5. All gifts must be sent out no later than December 15. This gives the gifts ten days to arrive at their intended destinations. The postal service has its hands full during the holidays. Let's not make things worse by waiting until the last minute.
  6. Add a card! Please let your new friend know whom the gift is from. :)
  7. Exercise good judgment. Do not send firearms, drugs, tobacco, animals, hazardous chemicals, or anything of that nature. Also, try not to be offensive. Reddit had a Secret Santa exchange last year in which lots of dildos were received. Let's be better than that, people.
  8. Spread the word. The more people who know about the giveaway, the better!
That's all there is to it. You can start joining as soon as this post goes live, so if you're reading this, feel free to add your name and relevant links below. If you have any questions or need ideas, feel free to contact me. Oh, and in your comments, be sure to leave your email or Twitter handle so I can contact you! Once the entries close, I'll have you all draw names and start shopping. :)

Would you like to participate in my Secret Santa gift exchange? What kind of present are you hoping to receive?

Tweet tweet:
Writer @brianawrites is hosting a Secret Santa gift exchange, and you're invited! (Click to tweet)
Happy holidays! @brianawrites thinks you should join her Secret Santa shenanigans! (Click to tweet)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stop Saying "Aspiring"

Red Stop SignI've noticed a troubling trend in the social media world. That's not to say I've only seen this happen on social media; I just think its prevalence on the internet is further proof of an unfortunate epidemic.

More and more writers are labeling themselves as "aspiring." While I understand the place of humility that this label comes from, it nonetheless upsets me.

When it comes to writing, above all else, you must believe in yourself--even if no one else does. Self-confidence is the cornerstone of a successful career. And again, if you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone else?

Confession time: I used to label myself as an "aspiring author." I had that title plastered everywhere from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest. It even fell out of my mouth when I met somebody new. I was writing every day and finishing what I wrote. I read all the time. I took classes. Still, I didn't feel that I was good enough.

One day, I had an epiphany. If I write, I'm a writer. There's no "aspiring" to it. Like Yoda once said, "Do or do not. There is no try." You either write or you don't. Simple as that.

Let me tell you something right now: Even if you're not published, you are a writer. Even if you only write a sentence a day, you're still a writer. Just because you're not on the New York Times' Bestseller List doesn't mean your work is worthless.

The next time you're tempted to describe yourself as an "aspiring writer," ask yourself why. Why don't you feel good enough? What do you think you need to accomplish in order to drop the "aspiring"?

If you're reading this post, you have my permission to drop "aspiring" from your title. Go ahead. I won't tell.

You might be surprised by how much better it makes you feel.

What do you have to say to writers who think they're not good enough?

Tweet tweet:

Writer @brianawrites has something to say to writers who think they're not good enough. (Click to tweet)

Friday, November 7, 2014

MUD EYES Excerpt, Draft 2 (cont.)

Photo Credit: Flickr
I haven't been making as much progress with this novel as I'd like, but I broke 10K! That means it's time for me to post another excerpt. Read the first part here. Let me know what you think.


A novel by Briana Morgan, Draft 2

Chapter Two. Awake

The man’s name was Julian. He had blue eyes. Their intensity startled me more than their color. More surprising than his eyes was the fact he knew my name. I swore we’d never met. He looked at me like he could see under my skin.

I’d never been looked at like that before. I averted my eyes.

“Julian,” I said, repeating his name. I liked the way it rested on my tongue, “you’re a lawyer?”

“I'm surprised you don't recognize me."

"Why, should I?"

His expression darkened. "I defended your brother."

I felt like I was falling. As far as I knew, Rory had never stood trial for anything in his life.

"What are you talking about?"

Atalanta stood and out her hand on Julian's arm. Her fingers curved around his bicep.

"Careful," she said.

He shot her a look that said, 'I know what I'm doing.'

"Look," he said to me, "I'm guessing there are lots of things your brother never told you. I can reveal a few secrets here and there, but I think it's best you hear everything directly from him." He put his arm around Atalanta. "If the three of us know anything about Rory, it's that he's honest."

"Almost to a fault." Atalanta smiled.

My stomach churned like someone had put it on spin cycle. They didn't know. Then again, how could they? Rory had only been dead for a few hours. It was impossible for me to believe he wasn't dead in their world yet. For them, he was very much alive. In their world, we could see him.

"Damita," said Julian, "are you all right?"

I lay back down and closed my eyes. Julian knew my name. Presumably we had met before, so why didn't I remember him? Why didn't I remember seeing him with Rory? Most importantly, what had my brother been doing hanging out with a sky eyes? Fraternization was illegal. Everyone knew that--especially Julian, if he were serious about his career.

"What crime was he accused of?" I asked. My voice sounded small. I tried again. "When you defended Rory, what was he on trial for?"

Julian hesitated. "It's better he tells you. He might frame it better."

"There's no other way to frame it," Atalanta said.

"She should hear it from him, don't you think?"

"He's dead," I said. "My brother died. He can't tell me anything."

Tears bubbled up behind my closed eyelids. Why was I crying? I was still in shock. Even though I was saying the words aloud, it still hadn't hit me that Rory was gone. The idea was impossible. He'd been the one fixed point in my unstable life since I could remember. How was I supposed to cope with losing my anchor?

"You're joking," said Julian.

I opened my eyes. He was holding on to Atalanta with both hands, as though he needed her support in order to stay standing. She had a death grip on his arms. Her nails dug into his skin.

I looked at him. That was all. He could see the pain reflected in my eyes.

Atalanta sobbed. Startled by her violent reaction, she clapped her hands over her mouth.

I wanted to reassure her. What could I say? She mourned my brother. I mourned my brother. There was no changing facts. Rory was dead.

"Bathroom," Julian said. His voice was clipped and cold.

Atalanta went into the bathroom. She pulled the door shut. Her sobs were almost muffled by the whirring of the fan. Almost, but not quite. They tore me up inside in a way I wasn't expecting.

"Hold on," Julian said.

He went into the bathroom and closed the door again. I heard the two of them talking. I couldn't make out what they were saying. Atalanta was still crying. When Julian came back out, he wore pants and a button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He'd missed a button. I told him so.

He fixed the problem right away. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I had no idea. I never would’ve said…” He let his voice trail off. “Rory and I were close.”

"Why didn't he ever mention you?" My question was supposed to come out as an innocent inquiry. It rang more like an accusation--maybe even an insult.

Julian paled. He took a step backward. He couldn't look at me. I wanted to take my words back, but it was too late.

"I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean--"

"It's fine," he said. "It's all right, really. I don't know what I expected." He tried to smile, but his face refused to take it.

I knew he was in pain. I felt terrible. What could I say to make him feel better? Rory hadn't said anything about Julian. I'd already said so. I couldn't go back on my word. As silly as it seemed, I felt as though Rory would know if I lied--that he'd come down from wherever he was and deliver a stern lecture.

"We didn't talk much," I tried. The explanation was weak. "I mean, about personal issues."

That wasn't right, either. Heat rose in my cheeks. I knew he could see right through me. I felt pathetic.

"He never bothered me with anything too serious. He always worried about upsetting me. Whenever I asked him about his day, he'd hit the highlights. I never got the gritty stuff."

My brother had worked at a funeral home. It had bothered me when I was younger, but as time passed, the job became an extension of my brother, another part of him to love. I learned a lot about the industry. Death, like everything else, was a business. I wondered what Rory would think about whatever they'd do to his body. I wondered if he had a will. I didn't hold out hope.

"He didn't want you to know about me," Julian said.

I couldn't figure out why. If we had a sky eyed lawyer like him on our side, why hadn't we taken full advantage of his status? The more I thought about the situation, the less I understood.

"It was for your own good," he continued. "For your protection. Don't you understand?"

I did understand. I didn’t like understanding. “Eye color,” I said. “Contacts. It all makes sense now.” They’d been plotting something together. Why else would a sky eyes have become friends with my brother? Rory hadn’t wanted me to meet Julian because he knew it was dangerous. If I recognized Julian in public, people would get suspicious. Silver might hear something. Rory had really been looking out for everyone.

Atalanta came out of the bathroom. She rubbed her eyes. “She figured it out, didn’t she? What are we supposed to do?”

"We don't have to do anything rash," Julian said. His voice was calm but I could sense a touch of malice in it. My pulse spiked. What were they going to do?

"She's dangerous," Atalanta said. "If she tells anyone--"

"She won't tell anyone. Look at her. She's a mud eyes. Who would believe her?"

Normally I would've been offended by that remark, but I could recognize that he was trying to help me. I kept my mouth shut. I'd heard much worse.

"I don't know, Julian. I think it's risky."

Julian nodded to me. "Would you mind stepping into the bathroom? Atalanta and I have some things to discuss."

I didn't dare disobey. I doubted Julian would press charges but I didn't want to take the chance. I went into the bathroom, shut the door, and flipped on the fan. The lid on the toilet was down. I sat on it and buried my face in my hands. What was happening to me?

I could hear them talking. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but I heard their voices. For all I knew, they were plotting my murder. But if they’d truly been close to my brother, surely they wouldn’t kill me, would they? I didn’t know anything about them.

I thought about throwing open the bathroom door, pushing past them, opening the front door, and running away as fast as I could. What if I couldn’t get past them? What if they pursued me? If I did get away from them, where would I go? Home wasn’t home anymore. I was all out of options.

I stood and knocked on the door. The talking stopped. I knocked again. Julian open the door and peered in at me. His eyes shifted around the room as though looking for something to cling to. They found me instead. “Atalanta’s going out,” he said. “You should be gone before she comes back.”

At first, I didn’t understand. Julian lowered his voice. “Please. I’m trying to help you.”

“She won’t hurt me,” I said. It came out as more of a question than a statement. Both of us knew I wasn’t confident about that. “Tell me she won’t hurt me.”

“Please go,” he replied.

I heard the front door open and close. Atalanta had gone out. I wanted to get as far away from that hotel room as possible. Whatever those two were involved in--even if they’d known my brother--I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Treason was insanity. I was only half-crazy.

What was it that kept me standing in the bathroom?

“I want answers,” I said. “All you’ve done is confuse me. I have so many questions.”

“I know,” he said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t want--” He cut himself off. “Please get out of here, Damita. Go to your room and lock the door. Pretend this nonsense never happened.”

He had no idea how much I wished that were possible. “My brother was murdered. That wasn’t pretend. You can’t understand how bad it hurts.”

Something flashed in his eyes. “You have no idea.”

He stepped aside and allowed me to walk past him. I made my way across the room and through the front door without so much as a look over my shoulder. As far as I was concerned, I didn’t care if I never saw those two again. I couldn’t fathom why my brother had kept company with them. The woman was attractive but volatile--a smoker and a rebel and God knew what else. Julian was trickier. An aristocrat at first blush, he seemed to be more of a poor little rich boy with a past I couldn’t fathom--a past I’d never know.

I hated not knowing.

I hated the idea of going back there and confronting Julian even more.

I went back to my room, closed and locked the door, and slid the deadbolt into place. I took off all my clothes and tore the scratchy blanket off the bed. I turned off the lights and slid between the sheets. I fell asleep in minutes.

What do you think of the story so far? Whom do you think Damita should trust?

Tweet tweet:
"My brother was murdered. That wasn't pretend." Read an excerpt from YA dystopian novel Mud Eyes by @brianawrites. (Click to tweet

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lovely Link-Up: NaNoWriMo Tips

Girl in a Cape and Lights Writing on the Computer
Photo credit: Flickr
Wow, where in the world did October go? I swear that was the shortest month this year so far. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Although I'm mourning it's loss, I'm also a little excited that it's finally November. Why? Because it's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short)!

For those of you not in the know (it's totally fine), NaNoWriMo lasts the whole month of November. The goal for everyone who participates is to "win" by completing a novel in 30 days. When I say, "novel," I mean some kind of manuscript totaling at least 50K words. Certainly nothing to laugh at!

I've done NaNoWriMo and won in the past, but I'm not going to participate this year. I'm still editing my novel MUD EYES. With that being said, I'd like to serve as everyone's cheerleader this year. I'm offering encouragement and advice over on Twitter. I'm also taking the opportunity to share some tips and techniques for success in this post.

Word Sprints

When you're trying to make word count, word sprints can be incredibly helpful. On Twitter, search "#wordsprint" to see sprints that have started or are about to start. Sprints can last anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour and are a great way to stay motivated and productive.

Keep Moving

During NaNoWriMo, the backspace key is not your friend. DO NOT EDIT. Now is not the time for edits. All you need to focus on is getting the words down on the page. You'll have plenty of time for revision once the novel is finished.


If you want to finish your novel this month, you're going to have to commit to writing every day. Make it the first thing you do upon waking up or the last thing you do before going to bed. Write on your lunch break. Cram some words in while you're waiting in line. Above all, make sure you put your work before play. You can still have a social life, but you need to do your writing first.

Join the Fun!

If you'd like to participate in this link-up, write your own NaNoWriMo-themed post, grab the button below to add to your blog, and leave a comment with a link to your post. There's only one other rule: you should visit the blog that's linked before yours and leave a comment on their post. Encourage the link love.

Happy blogging!

The Novelista

Saturday, November 1, 2014

How Dragon Dictation Can Help You Write

Photo Credit: Flickr
Today's post is going to be about an app that I think all writers should be using. It's called Dragon Dictation.

This amazing app takes your words and turns them into text. This is great because if you're driving, or your hands are busy, or you otherwise can't write, you can still get your thoughts down somewhere. I like Dragon Dictation because it lets me write while I'm driving. This blog post, for example, was written almost entirely in the car. While I was driving. How cool is that?

To use Dragon Dictation, all you have to do is open the app, hit Record, and start talking. Just like that, your words are translated into text. Once you're finished speaking, you can choose to export the text via email, SMS, or by some social channels. I usually choose to email it to myself so I can transfer it to Scrivener right when I get home.

Another great thing about the app? It's free. That's right - it didn't cost me a cent. You can find it in the app store pretty easily, too. I'm not getting paid to speak about this app. It's just honestly that good.

If you're looking for a great app to help you write while on the go, check out Dragon Dictation, available for iOS and Android.

Have you used Dragon Dictation or another app like it to get some writing done? What are your other tips for writing on the go?

Tweet tweet:
Ever heard of Dragon Dictation? @brianawrites thinks every writer should try it. (Click to tweet)
Calling all writers! @brianawrites has an app suggestion for you. (Click to tweet)
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