A Short Holiday Vacation

Because of what’s happening in the world right now, I’m sure everyone wants to take a break and escape from reality for even just a short time.

In my case, whenever I feel so burned out with life, I always want to have a change of scenery. I want to go out and travel to places where I can experience nature. But we all know it’s not easy because of the new normal policies.

When the quarantine rules loosen a bit and more establishments, like resorts, hotels, and restaurants, open their businesses again, my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and I took the chance to go out to the beach!

Our destination was Nasugbu, Batangas, one of the most favorite places for city peeps who want to have a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of life in Metro Manila. It’s the nearest place where we can have a glimpse of the sea and breathe fresh air.

So a week before Christmas, we went to a beach resort in Nasugbu. We already visited it last February, together with my parents, when we didn’t have any idea yet that a pandemic would happen. During that time, the place was not crowded, probably because it’s not peak season yet, so we had a great time.

We decided to book again there since all the other resorts nearby were already full. The resort’s hotel accommodation is still close, so we opt to book directly to one of the unit owners in the resort’s apartment since it is also a residential place.

Everything was set, but on the day of our trip, the rain was falling hard because of a typhoon. It didn’t directly hit the area but somehow we were affected by the bad weather. We have no choice but to continue and hope that the rain will stop.

When we started to hit the road, up to the point when we were already on the expressway, the rain continued to pour. And it rained harder as we were driving along CALAX (Cavite-Laguna Expressway). It was zero visibility, and even if we were inside the car we can tell and feel how strong the winds were outside. It was dangerous to drive at that point, so my brother took extra care by slowing down a bit. Good thing there were very few cars at that time. Thank God, we were safe as we passed that road. I considered it an adventure for us. 🙂

The rain continued to fall harder when we were on Tagaytay. There was heavy traffic and the fog made it worse. It took us longer to drive, so our estimated arrival time, as per Waze, became later than what we expected.

Along Tagaytay Road. Heavy rain, traffic, and fog.

The sun finally appeared when we were on Nasugbu Road. And after almost four hours of drive (since aside from the heavy traffic, we also took a couple of stopovers to buy some stuff, food, and go to a comfort room), we safely arrived at the resort. It was almost four in the afternoon.

The unit caretaker was already waiting for us outside the apartment building. From the back of the building, you can already have a glimpse of the sea. I noticed there were only less than 10 people on the beach at that time. And I believe there were really a few guests since there is still lots of space in the parking area.

After the caretaker talked to us, we started to unpack our things and had a short rest in the apartment while also preparing our meal.

The place is quite big for the four of us. It was bigger than the previous one we booked at the hotel located on the other side of the resort. I like it more in the apartment since it has a balcony with an overlooking view of the sea and also nearer to the beach.

We decided to eat our meals first on the balcony while enjoying the view of the sea and the cool, fresh air. Gosh, we don’t have these in the city!

After eating and resting, my nephew and I went to the beach first. There were only a few people, and I liked it. I think we were only around 10 at the beach at that time, enjoying the sea breeze and the fine sand. My brother and sister-in-law came a bit later after they set up our dinner.

The weather stayed calm at least while we were on the beach, so we stayed for an hour there, taking photos and playing with my nephew.

Since it was colder, only my brother took the courage to swim. We decided to wait until tomorrow to see if there would be any difference in the weather. But even if there will be no changes, we have no choice but to swim regardless if it will rain just to enjoy our last minute on the beach.

As the sun was starting to set, some of the guests started to go back to their unit until we were the only people left. We stayed a little longer, but when we saw how my nephew was freezing from the cold wind, we returned to the apartment.

It was such a peaceful night wherein only the waves of the sea and the chirp of the crickets can be heard. There was no noise around the area, so it has this relaxing ambiance. My brother thought it’s a good idea to go out for a walk after we had our dinner. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen as we all felt too lazy to get up. So we just lay on our beds until we fell asleep.

I couldn’t believe I was already sleeping at nine in the evening. It was the earliest bedtime I had after so many years, haha! 🙂

The next day, the weather was finally good. The sun already appeared and the sky was clear again. At eight in the morning, my nephew and I were already on the beach to make the most of our time before we checked out by noon.

There were only five people, I think, on the beach at that time, swimming in the water and having their morning walk. After a few minutes, I noticed it was only me and my nephew on the beach. Finally!

It lasted for around half an hour until a family of three came to join us. But since they were far from us, it seems like we still have the beach all by ourselves. My brother then came to join us, then my sister-in-law. And more people also came to the beach. I estimated we were around 15 to 20 people. We also spent some time in the pool because it’s empty since most of the guests were on the beach.

After a couple of hours of enjoying our last stay at the resort, it’s finally time to go. As we finished packing our things, we made our last glimpse of the sea and the resort and took some photos.

Since it was still early, my brother suggested a side trip before going home to one of the nearest tourist spots there.

So off we go.

Our next stop was the Fantasy Land in Lemery, Batangas, an “abandoned” medieval-themed park. It was said that it was meant to be the “Disneyland of the Philippines”. Unfortunately, the owner didn’t manage to finance the place, so it was unfinished. But somehow, it continues to operate and is one of the go-to places among tourists in Batangas as well.

We were sure that the place was still close for business because of the pandemic, but we still decided to go to pass the time, enjoy the view, and take some photos.

After almost an hour of driving, we arrived at the place, and indeed, it was still close. We might not be able to enter the place, but we have a great view of it from the roadside.

And after a quick side trip, it’s finally time to go home, but we didn’t miss our chance to have some quick stopovers along the roadside to capture these views.

Yes, that’s Taal Volcano over there!

As we arrived home, I felt tired because of the long-hour drive, but I know I was ready again for new challenges ahead. The following day, I felt more inspired and motivated to go back to my everyday routine of working and writing. Indeed, taking a break and resting can help us stay positive from all the stress we are experiencing.

Though it was only an overnight trip, which was almost canceled because of the bad weather, it was memorable since it happened during the pandemic and the holiday season.

This new year, I hope to have more time to travel like this again and enjoy my time outside without having any fear of the virus. Let’s claim it!


Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way.—Psalm 16:11 (MSG)

Hanabi

[Hanabi (花火), the Japanese word for fireworks]


Trapped inside

Nowhere to escape

Want to know the answers when

Everything will be okay

Dark and lost

Is there still hope?

Wondering, wandering

Where’s the end of this tunnel road?

Listen closely

I’ll wake you up to see

I’m setting myself free

Spreading my light to make you feel

The world is still beautiful

There’s still you and me

I’ll light the sky tonight

Bring you hope to live

Tomorrow might be

Different than this

But I promise you

This is not a dream

As fast as the lightning

I will soon disappear

Still, I’m glad to see you smiling

At such a time like this

This is not goodbye

This is saying hello

To a new beginning

To a life better than before


I tried to write a song again after so many years. I know it’s not perfect, but I hope you all like it! And I hope I can also sing it for all of you guys. One day. Someday. 🙂

Happy New Year 2021! I pray for a better life for all of us.

Looking on the Bright Side

Last month, I celebrated my birthday. Well, sort of.

At first, I didn’t expect to have a quarantine-style birthday celebration because who would have thought that this pandemic would last until November?

And then, a lot happened. A typhoon just passed, there were many flooded areas, a lot of people lost their homes and their loved ones, and what’s worse, it all happened while we’re still in the pandemic season. Tragic!

November is my favorite month of the year. Aside from being my birth month, it is also when NaNoWriMo is held and the start of cooler weather. I noticed that at the start of November, it becomes colder than usual. Of course, it’s not like those countries that have a fall season. But I can feel it’s becoming windier and cooler, especially at night. Or is it just me?

Anyway, I was excited when my birth month approached. I tried to prepare for NaNo for a month-long writing session. I looked for movies or series to watch during the rainy days since the forecast said it will rain more often. I also searched for a good book to read at night to help me sleep better since I can’t afford to get sick while working on my novel.

When November started, I kept on imagining how lovely it would feel to write on my bed wearing my comfy pajamas and socks all day, watching YouTube videos in between, and sipping a hot coffee while it’s raining outside.

My ideal atmosphere.

So I waited for the rain to come and finally live my imagination.

I was thankful that it rained a week before my birthday. I was able to experience what I was thinking of. But little did I know that my dream of rainy weather and my ideal atmosphere will lead to something devastating.

Few days before my birthday, right after my nephew celebrated his birthday (our birthday is only six days apart), a typhoon came. It was not as strong as the previous typhoon that also landed on our country weeks prior but it caused a lot of damage because there are still lots of places that haven’t recovered yet.

I saw the aftermath on the news. I was sad. I felt so selfish. And it was the reason why I was not excited to celebrate my birthday anymore. I can’t also work and write properly.

Why do I have to feel like this? Birthday blues.

While being lost and down and sad, I was able to pray to the Lord. I was able to realize that there’s still a reason for me to celebrate. In the end, my family and I still had a simple celebration at home. Somehow it feels lighter.

But still, I felt unmotivated. I wasn’t feeling well the following days. I always feel tired even if I’m just sitting all day. Gosh, I only added a year on my age! Why do I feel like I don’t have energy left in me?

Because of what’s happening, I decided to rest from everything. I didn’t accept new projects for a week to have more time to think. I also stopped working on my novel a week before the end of November. Thus, I failed this year’s NaNo.

This reality is not what I imagined it would be, but I’m still thankful that it happened. After contemplating, I managed to change my current outlook in life. I decided to not allow myself to be affected negatively by all these crises. Since I became older, I want to teach myself to be more mindful of others, seek God more when I’m so confused about everything, pray when I’m not okay instead of depressing myself more, and always look on the brighter side of life. Especially now that Christmas is coming.

A Review of Yonipp: A Freelance Writing Marketplace | Sharing My Freelancing Experience

“There’s a better way to hire Filipino freelance writers.”

Introducing Yonipp! The newest freelance writing marketplace dedicated to Filipino writers. Since its launch last March 2020, I signed up as one of their writers and started working with them.

Compared to other freelancing sites, Yonipp focuses on freelance writing alone. So if you want to only work as a writer, then Yonipp is a good place to start.

How I start working in Yonipp

Just like any freelancing platform, you need to create an account before you can start. I created an account in Yonipp right after it was announced on Scribbloo (formerly Essays.ph) that they will continue their business under a new platform and concept. I was one of the freelance writers of Scribbloo at that time, and I was glad to be one of the first few people to know about Yonipp.

After creating my account, I tried to build up my profile by setting my core niche or the subject I’m interested to work on and the topics I would like to write about.

After creating my profile, I tried browsing on the Marketplace section for projects I can work on. There were only a few projects at that time, and I’m also not familiar with some of the topics, so I wasn’t able to start working as soon as I signed up.

It was only about two or three months ago when I decided to take Yonipp seriously because I have more time to spare. There were lots of projects now compared to when I first signed up. And I was also able to see more topics I’m interested in working on.

It wasn’t hard to choose a project since everything you need to know is already posted. There’s also a file attachment for further instructions. I make sure to check and understand all the guidelines to know if I can work on it.

I tried sending my first deal. And it only took less than 24 hours when I received a notification that I was accepted! It’s different from my previous experience when I started freelancing on other platforms.

Once accepted, I was able to access the project’s huddle box, the place where I can collaborate with the client. Inside the huddle box, I can send a message to the client in case I have questions or concerns, view the project details, and check or receive the pledge payment for the project I need to work on.

After submitting my work, I waited within a week for the client to review my article and receive their payment. Some writers confessed they have waited more than a week, but I guess it all depends on the client, especially if they requested revisions.

After my first project, I tried sending more deals, enjoyed working on projects after projects, and earned additional income as a freelancer.

To give you a quick overview of what I think about Yonipp, here are some pros and cons I encountered.

Pros

I love how it is solely dedicated and prioritized Filipino freelance writers. Since the pandemic started, lots of Filipino workers lost their jobs but it opened new doors for people to try out freelancing.

For those who want to try, writing is one of the great skills you need to learn to thrive in the freelancing community. Yonipp encourages writers to focus on a niche they love, so they can enjoy writing their content. You have the freedom to choose what type of project you would like to work on. They cater to a lot of topics, so there are more options.

In my experience when I was just starting, I worked on various topics because it is what my clients requested. I forced myself to write content about topics I’m not familiar with because I want to earn more experience. In the end, I was always stressed. In Yonipp, I was able to focus and write on topics I love. I was able to realize what my preferred niche is.

Cons

I know that the first thing people asked is if you can earn a lot when you start working in Yonipp. To be honest, the rates are lower compared to what the freelance writing community suggests, which is 1 PHP per word (or 0.02 USD per word) whether you’re a newbie or a skilled writer.

Yonipp offers a base rate of 1 USD per 100 words. Most writers will reject working at such low rates. You also need to take note of their 20% Merchant Fee. But on the bright side, there are some clients or projects in Yonipp that offer higher rates than usual.

Even if the rates are low, I’m still satisfied with my work. Based on my experience as a freelancer, the waiting game is tough, so I learned to appreciate every project I received in every freelancing platform as long as I enjoyed and learned from it. Thank God, I can still earn and provide for my needs. 🙂

Conclusion

So far, I’m enjoying writing with Yonipp. I highly recommend it for newbie writers and for those who want to level up their freelance writing career. If you want to gain more experience, improve your writing skills, earn additional income, working in Yonipp can help you become the freelance writer you always wanted to be.

Playing a Game to Catch Up With My NaNoWriMo Word Count

It’s been a week since NaNoWriMo started. To be honest, I don’t have a good start and am still adjusting to my writing schedule. If only I have a longer time to write (or type), I can catch up right away with the daily word count goal. Good thing I don’t have any problems (yet) with my story because if not, I’d probably mess up as early as now.

That’s why I’m so happy to discover and try this game called 4thewords. 🙂

4thewords is not your typical writing platform, it’s a writing game platform!

It is a game where you defeat monsters by writing and reaching a word count. Each monster has a corresponding number of words and a time limit on how they can be defeated. And you must reach that word count within the specific time to achieve your current goal and earn loot/items, which is essential as you progress in the game.

You can also edit your avatar by equipping it with cool items that you can buy or obtain with each quest you finish. This is what my avatar looks like:

Aside from the game play, the writing space is easy to work with. It has the necessary tools you need to write and edit your manuscript. Though I’m not directly writing on it, I can simply copy and paste what I typed. Somehow, I found another place where I can save and backup my work. 🙂

Now, I’m also putting some of my writings in this game since it also has a Project feature where you can compile all your writing projects. So aside from my current NaNoWriMo novel, I’m also drafting some of my articles and creative works here.

For someone who loves writing and playing games, I find 4thewords perfect for me. At some point, I can get inspiration from it since the novel I’m writing falls under the adventure and fantasy genre. This game makes my writing more exciting and will be using this game all throughout NaNo and in every writing project I will create in the future.

Because of this writing game, I find a new motivation to catch up with my word count. I have more time to write this week, so I’m looking forward to defeating more monsters!

If you are also participating in NaNoWriMo, and you’re also having a hard time with your word count goal, then try this game. All NaNo participants can have an extra 15 days of their 30-day free trial by using a coupon code which will last until March 31, 2021. It would be such a waste if you won’t use it. You can find all these at the Offers section under Writer’s Resources on the NaNoWriMo website.

A Stormproof Life

Last weekend, our country experienced the wrath of the super typhoon Rolly (or typhoon Goni), considered the strongest typhoon in 2020. The typhoon’s aftermath revealed thousands of destroyed houses, livestock, flooded areas, and casualties. All these happened while we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.

After seeing the news and watching different videos on how the typhoon destroys almost everything, I had this thought while doing my quiet time or devotion this morning.

With all these trials and hardships we’re experiencing in the world right now, it’s normal for us to question God. It’s normal for us to think of the reason why He allows all these to happen to us.

The reality is, as long as we live in this world, we will experience hardships, we will continue to have storms in our lives. So the best thing we can do is to have a stormproof life.

But the question is…

How can we stormproof our life?

When you start to build a house, establishing the foundation is the most important part. If the foundation is properly built and made with quality materials the house can withstand the test of time.

It’s the same with all of us. If we know where to put our faith and trust, we can have the right approach to win over the storms of life as we have a strong foundation, Jesus Christ.

It says in 1 Corinthians 3:11 (ESV) For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the cornerstone. If we believe that He died on the cross to save us all and live your life according to His Word, you lay a strong foundation for your life no matter what trials that come your way.

The Lord Jesus even teaches us how to build our faith in the right foundation as He told the story about the two builders in Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV).

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

God doesn’t promise us a life free from trials, since we won’t grow to become a better person if we only experience comfort in life. But what He does is to offer us a stormproof life. As we learn to know God more and seek godliness, we can create a solid foundation that even a super typhoon of trials can’t even wash us away.

I pray that even if we face different storms in life, we won’t be flooded by fear, hopelessness, and worries. Our God is a loving and caring God that can provide us peace and comfort during these trying times. If you put your faith and trust in Him, you won’t be defeated, and He will even make a way for you to see a better future ahead. Just keep holding on to Him.

All the best,

Mariz

NaNo Prep 101: #6 Find and Manage Your Time

We’re now in the last stage of preparation. I know I should have posted this a week ago, but life happens and it got stuck on my draft. Luckily, I was able to finish my NaNo preparations.

Anyway, the last prep is indeed the most important one: finding and managing your schedule so you can have enough time to finish your novel.

I took the quiz, again, from the NaNoWriMo website on which writing schedule works best for you. And my result is to make the most of my weekends to write for my novel.

I agree with that since I need to work on weekdays. Even though I’m a freelancer, and I’m in control of my workload, it is still hard for me to do other things aside from work during weekdays. The best option is to focus on my novel during the weekend.

I shared in the previous post how I still struggle to find a fixed schedule for me to work on my novel. What I came up with the last few days is to write by 9:00 p.m. every weekday, for the entire month, to catch up with the daily word count of 1,667. Then by weekends, I can write the whole day as long as I have no important things to do in the house. It took me a week to finish this plan as I made a dry-run first if it would work for me, and glad it did.

I would also like to share with you one of my favorite productivity methods, the Pomodoro technique. I learned about it when I first joined NaNoWriMo and have been practicing it while doing my freelance work.

The concept of Pomodoro came from the idea of a kitchen timer. The creator of this productivity hack, Francesco Cirillo, used a kitchen timer or Pomodoro to break down his task into a set of intervals which is separated by breaks to avoid being overwhelmed by the big pile of work he needs to do. Now, it is one of the methods that work best for procrastinators, like me.

It is easy to follow, you just need to make a list of all your tasks in a day. Then, set a timer of 25 minutes or one Pomodoro. Focus on working within that time, and when the timer rings, stop what you are doing in a while and have a break of 5 minutes. Make sure you check your progress and cross out the task you were able to finish within that time frame. Repeat the steps. And when you reach four Pomodoro, take a longer break of 15 minutes.

The Pomodoro technique really helps when I feel like procrastinating. Because there are short breaks between work, I can stretch for a while, take bathroom breaks, drink water, or read blogs. In that way, I don’t deprive myself of the things I usually do when I love to procrastinate since I can do it even while working. And, so far, it’s effective.

I will apply this method again as I start to write my novel tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow is officially the start of NaNoWriMo 2020. I’m looking forward to staying motivated all month long and finishing my first draft.

Let’s get it on, NaNo!

NaNo Prep 101: #5 Organize Your Life to Support Your Writing Goals

Preparing to write a novel doesn’t just focus on writing. You also need to give importance to non-writing stuff to support how you can reach your goal of drafting your novel for one whole month.

This is something I’m struggling with for the past few days since I’ve been loaded with so many tasks—both work and non-work related stuff. The reason why I also posted this later than I planned.

In my freelance job, I always have a project to finish every other day. And outside my work, I’m helping with household chores since we just moved in and there are lots of things to do. I even can’t concentrate enough to finish my work because I have to make adjustments, for now, to help my family at home.

Since I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I’m thinking I may not be able to do other important things, miss my deadlines in my freelance work, take less care of myself because I will be running out of time to do everything and reach my daily word count goal, and what’s worst, ignore my family members (and friends) because my mind’s too occupied at writing and they may misunderstand.

So in today’s entry, I will be sharing how I’m still managing my non-novel-writing preparation. By doing these simple ways, I hope it can support me to reach my goal for next month: win NaNoWriMo this year. 🙂

Inform people around me

I’m not the type who always shares my plans in detail with other people, including my family and close friends. I’m thinking of indirectly telling them that I will be working on a new project for the entire November.

Since I’m a freelancer, it won’t be hard for them to get the idea. They will just think that I need more time and space and I don’t want to get disturbed unless they really need help with something important and urgent.

It’s easy to tell these to an adult, but for a kid, it’s not. My nephew loves to play with me. There were many instances when he would grab my hand and pull me to come and play with him while I was in the middle of work.

I know it’s still hard to follow a schedule for now, so I decided to work on my novel when my nephew’s sleeping or at night when the entire house is already quiet.

Set a strict working schedule

As a freelance writer, my work revolves around writing articles every day. It’s workable, and I can finish every article I need to submit in a day only if I don’t procrastinate.

Yes, it’s my number one problem. It’s the reason why I took an entire day doing only work-related stuff and no time writing for personal matters.

Since NaNo is here, I will try to commit to a strict 8-hour workday. Within that period, there’s nothing else I will do but work. I’ve been trying to do it for quite some time now, but when we finally moved to our house, I’m struggling with our internet connection. There are some problems with the cables in our area and it will take more time for them to process the installation. Sigh.

But one of the perks of working freelance is I can control the amount of work I need to do. So I’m also considering taking lesser projects while I’m working on NaNo.

Wake up and sleep early

Since we moved to our house, I started to practice sleeping by 11:00 p.m. then wake up past 7 or 8 in the morning. Because of this, I was able to start my work early and have some extra time to write or prepare by NaNo hours before I sleep.

I don’t want to stay past midnight anymore. A couple of weeks ago, I tried staying up late to finish my deadline but I experienced a headache the next morning. It happened again when I had another project to work on. It’s difficult to work and focus when something in your body is aching. That’s when I decided to implement no more work-related stuff past 7 or 8  in the evening to give myself time to rest and write for my novel.

I don’t want to get sick during NaNoWriMo, so I need to discipline myself when it comes to my sleeping schedule.

Do simple work outs and don’t skip meals

I’m a pretty lazy person, and I’m always in front of my computer doing stuff all day long. I know how dangerous it is to our health if we’re sitting all day, so I considered doing some light exercises. I tried doing it when the pandemic started to keep my body healthy while staying at home. There are still times when I’m missing a routine, so I’m still finding out what will work best for me.

I’m also being more serious about my eating schedule. There are times I have skipped meals because I’m too absorbed with what I’m doing. I don’t want to experience this while drafting my novel since it’s hard to think when your stomach is empty. I also need to avoid getting sick, so I tried as much as I can to be mindful of what I do now with my body since, let’s face the fact, we’re not getting any younger. 🙂

Join a writing community

I don’t have friends or anyone I know who will take part in NaNoWriMo. I bet they don’t even heard about it. So I’m alone on this journey, which is actually not a problem with me. But I realized how important writing communities are to help you to keep up with your goal.

I just joined the Pinoy Wrimos community in Discord during the fifth week of NaNo prep. Even though I’m not interacting with the members there yet, I can read their messages on what their project is all about, how they deal with writer’s block, procrastination, and important tips or techniques I might be needing as I write my novel.

Last two years ago, I also joined NaNoWriMo’s official Facebook group, where I made a few interactions with other writers. It helped me understand what other writers are going through, so somehow, I don’t feel alone.

I’m looking forward to making a new acquaintance in the groups I joined to make it easier for me to write and enjoy NaNoWriMo.

Organize my writing space

Honestly, I don’t have a decent writing space yet in our house. I’m only sharing a computer table with my brother. Since I only use a laptop and he’s working on a graveyard shift, I stay in his workspace during the day because it’s more comfortable than staying in my bedroom to work.

But during the night, I transferred to my bed. I already set up a little corner on my bed where I put some of my writing stuff and a lamp. That’s it for now, but I’m looking forward to upgrading it when we resume our house renovation by next year and I’ll have more space.

And lastly,

Buy a new set of earphones

Yes, I need new earphones to go with me throughout NaNoWriMo. The one I’m using only has one earpiece that is functioning, so I need to buy a new one for a better sound experience. I love listening to background music every time I’m writing as it helps me to focus. I’m planning to buy one this week if I can go out safely since there’s a typhoon coming. I don’t want to order online since it might take longer. I also live near the mall, so it’s much better.

That sums up my non-writing prep. I’m still adjusting for now, especially on my writing schedule, which will be the topic of my next post and last post about NaNo prep. Stay tuned! 🙂

NaNo Prep 101: #4 Build a Strong World for Your Characters

I can’t believe how I was able to manage my schedule, set aside a time to write for my blog, and prepare for NaNo even if I’m already writing all day for work. I know I’m still not consistent on posting but at least I was able to publish at least once a week. 🙂

If you have been following my blog, you might notice I’m posting about NaNo Prep for the past weeks. The reason is I will be participating in NaNoWriMo next month, and I’m documenting my thoughts and ideas while following the guidelines for NaNo Prep.

To give you a recap, there were a total of six steps to help you prepare for a month of novel writing sessions. I’m already done with the first three: thinking of a good story idea, character development, and creating a plot or guideline.

And in today’s post, I will share my thoughts on building the perfect setting for your novel.

When we say settings, it not just refers to the place where the story will take place but also the date and time when the story happens.

Building the right settings helps establish the mood of the story and helps you connect with your readers by describing the place where your characters live. They will also get the idea of what’s happening as you begin narrating your story.

In the novel I plan to write, building a strong world for my characters is the one thing I should take importance. My story will revolve in two worlds that don’t know about each other’s existence. For me to establish the differences between these worlds, I have to come up with a proper description of the place and the people living in each without revealing too much of the secrets that yet to unfold as the story progresses.

I’m still not sure about the best time when the story will take place. I’m thinking of setting it in modern time but the character’s lifestyle is from a century ago. I don’t know if that will work, but still, I’m glad I already have an idea. 🙂

Like how I want to see a model for my characters, I also want to have one for the world I want to create.

To help boost my creativity, I searched and saved some photos online to my drive which I will be planning to compile in my Pinterest account. I can also browse my camera’s memory card for some photos I took that can be a perfect backdrop for my story. Since I can’t draw what I imagine, I guess I’ll just edit it or make a few adjustments in Canva.

Like what I have shared in plot preparation, I don’t want want to be too detailed. So collecting photos for inspiration is enough for now.

If you are also participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo, please feel free to share your experiences and thoughts while prepping for a month full of writing.

NaNo Prep 101: #3 Construct a Detailed Plot or Outline

Are you a plotter, pantser, or plantser? But wait, what do these words mean?

Actually, I never heard or read of these words before until I found out about NaNoWriMo last 2015. These terms describe a writer based on his or her method of creating a plot or outline that will serve as a guide as he or she journeys into writing his or her novel.

Plotter, for someone who likes to create a more detailed plot structure. Pantser, someone who just sits on his or her pants then starts writing anything that comes to mind. And plantser, somewhere in the middle of the two.

I wrote in my last post about character development that I don’t usually come up with a detailed plot whenever I attempt to write a novel. I’m fine as long as I have a guide such as a brief description of the beginning, middle, and end of my story; character profiles; and sample images for inspirations of the world I want to create. I don’t want to stress myself more by being too detailed about everything during the prep stage since writing itself is stressful enough. I don’t want to be too hard on myself.

Since I’m an adventurer, I want my ideas to freely flow in my head until it leads me to what’s the best thing to write next. I think it’s also part of my personality as an INFP (an introvert type based on Myers-Briggs type indicator) that makes me spontaneous like this.

So basically, I’m more of a plantser. I want to be prepared as much as possible but also willing to make adjustments when necessary.

But regardless of whatever type of writer you think you are, what’s important is you are more inspired to write your novel, whether you have a detailed plot or not, and you will enjoy your writing process.

That’s it for now! I still have lots to work on since my family and I will be moving to our house by weekend. I hope I can still manage to write while helping to run some errands.

In my next post, I will discuss how I create the ideal setting of my story. Stay tuned for it! 🙂