My Writing Schedule For November

In October, I had created a new schedule for myself. I created a calendar-like template on Word and color-coded it for everything I need to do – writing, blogging, filming, reading, etc. Some days it worked, others it didn’t. October was pretty busy and plans change some days, but that’s okay. It worked enough and I decided to do the same for November, especially with it being NaNo. Because of NaNo, I tweaked my writing schedule a bit. So, here’s my writing schedule for November.

My Writing Schedule For November | NaNoWriMo 2018 | Creative writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Sunday

I know people tell you to write every day. When you work on multiple projects like I do, writing every day is a good idea so you can give everything a fair amount of time. I try to take a day off though. Sundays are usually those days. I have church in the morning and then Kris and I spend the afternoon blogging (and I work on Sunday school stuff as well).

Since it’s NaNo though, I made time to get a little writing time in during Sundays. I blocked off two hours in the afternoon from noon to two to get some writing done. If I’m focused enough, I can bang out 2,000 words in an hour. So two hours is plenty for me to write my minimum of 2k-plus.

Monday – Friday

I’m an early bird and I do my best work in the morning. My brain is the most awake at that time and it’s quiet as everyone is either still sleeping or getting themselves ready for work. It’s just me, my coffee, and my words.

So, during the week, I blocked off two hours every morning from six to eight. I’ll admit, some mornings I tend to sleep in more than planned. Even if I only have seven to eight to write, I still hit my word count, so it works.

Saturday

This is the easiest day to get some writing done. Sometimes I have family events on Saturday, but most of the time Kris and I head to Barnes & Noble in the mornings. We get a coffee and write. Or sometimes we blog, but mostly we write.

The bookstore opens at nine, so I scheduled myself to write from nine to noon, which is three hours. Most of the time, there’s no distractions, so it works. Now I have a new laptop too so I can take it with me instead of having to write on my iPad.

15 Hours A Week

15 hours a week is spent on my writing. This includes editing and the like. If I get in the mood and find extra time, I definitely write more. I like blocking off certain times to write because I’m slowly training my brain to write each day at specific times. It’s working so far, anyway.

Do you have a writing schedule? For NaNo or all the time? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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NaNoWriMo 2018 Update One

I have no intro for this. The past few years I’ve been updating my weekly progress for NaNo. So, I’m doing it again. Here’s my NaNoWriMo 2018 Update One.

NaNoWriMo 2018 Update 1 | Creative writing | writing | patreon | short story | flash fiction | RachelPoli.com

My daily goal is always to write 2,000 words. I like the even number over 1,667 words. I also try my best to get it done by the time Thanksgiving rolls around at the end of the month. Here’s how I’m doing so far.

Word Count

Day 1: 2,203
Day 2: 2,125
Day 3: 2,175
Day 4: 2,114
Day 5: 2,061
Day 6: 2,132
Day 7:
Haven’t written yet this morning!
Week One Total:
12,810

Not bad, right? I had a steady stream of words each day. Day 3 was Saturday as well as Double-Up Day. I don’t know why I thought Double-Up Day was later in the month, but I wasn’t planning on that. When I found out I had decided to attempt 4,000 words.

I ended up not getting the chance to write until much later at night. I usually write early in the morning but I didn’t make my word count that day until around 10-10:30 at night. It just so happened that other things were going on that day (good things, of course) and I had decided to put my attention towards that instead of focusing on writing.

I thought Sunday, November 4, would be a good day to write 4,000 words and pretend I did it for my own Double-Up Day, but that didn’t happen either. I was at church for a few hours, got my 2k in, and then had other work that needed to be done. Maybe this weekend I can aim to give myself a mini writing marathon.

Projects

I spent the whole week working on my Short Story Sunday 2019 project. That is, if you don’t know, 52 shorts/flashes – one for every Sunday of 2019. These will be under my Short Story Sunday category next year.

I also put the last finishing touches of November’s short story for my patrons. They’ll be getting their exclusive story from me on Saturday, November 10. If you’d like to receive a patron-only short from me each month, then please join me on Patreon for only $1 a month. If you want to see what it’s all about, you can check out my Patreon page here.

I’ve also been working bit by bit on Sunday Morning. I’ll have more information on that as soon as I can, but if you’d like to be the first to know, then Patreon is a great place to be.

NaNo Week One

I can’t believe the first week of NaNo is already done. It was a good week though and I feel like I got a lot done. I’m happy with my progress and I’m looking forward to what I’ll get done in week two.

How did week one go for you? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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My First NaNoWriMo

I realized, being 2018, this is my tenth year doing NaNoWriMo. 10 years! That’s a long time. I’ll admit, my first NaNoWriMo was technically in 2009. That was my first story, but I did join in 2008. I just had no idea what I was doing. I spent that year exploring the website and checking in on the forums.

Either way, I’ll talk about the first story I wrote for NaNo.

My First NaNoWriMo | creative writing | writing | blogging | nanowrimo 2018 | RachelPoli.com

I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s been a while so I thought I’d talk about it again. I wrote a story called The Others. If I remember correctly, this was my idea of the Pixar movie, Inside Out, long before it was a thing.

The Others

My protagonist had DID, though I barely knew anything about it. The POV was through the different personalities though not the actually protagonist. Each personality was based on an emotion. I remember there was anger, happiness, sadness, love, and maybe jealousy? I can’t remember if I included jealousy or not. So, yeah, I thought of Inside Out first. Thinking back on it, it was a pretty cool idea and I think I executed it well. Or, as well enough as I could have for a 16-year-old who did no research whatsoever.

Honestly, I wish I still had the story so that I could go back and read through it. Maybe I’d even comment on it on here like I did with my first fan fiction story a long time ago.

Then again, I don’t know if I’d be willing to share the story. It would depend on how “well written” it was.

I lost the story anyway. It was saved on my flash drive and my USB port on my old laptop broke. I put in my flash drive and learned the hard that it was broken and it kind of fried my flash drive.

I still have the flash drive though… I wonder if I should try plugging it into my new laptop and see what happens?

How many years have you been doing NaNoWriMo? Do you remember your first story? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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November & December 2018 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests]

November & December 2018 Writing Submissions | writing contests | creative writing | blogging | writing prompts | RachelPoli.com

November 2018

Genre: Fiction
Theme: Short short story
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: November 15, 2018 (early-bird)
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: Grand – $3,000

Genre: Poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction
Website: The Boiler Journal
Deadline: November 15, 2018
Entry Fee: Free or $3.00
Prize: Publication

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Life lessons from the cat
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: November 30, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Fiction
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: November 30, 2018
Entry Fee: $2
Prize: $700

Genre: Fiction & Nonfiction
Website: Narrative Magazine
Deadline: November 30, 2018
Entry Fee: $26
Prize: First – $2,500

December 2018

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Running for good
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: December 15, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: The golden years or second wind
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: December 30, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Stories about angels
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: December 31, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Stories about miracles
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: December 31, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Ongoing

Genre: Stories, essays, plays, poetry, art
Website: Literal Latte
Entry Fee: $3

Genre: Various
Website: Narrative Magazine
Entry Fee: Yes, but amount is not listed

Genre: Flash fiction and short fiction
Website: CRAFT Journal
Entry Fee: N/A

Genre: Fiction or narrative nonfiction
Website: The Masters Review
Entry Fee: N/A (for New Voices – new, unpublished writers only)

Genre: Short fiction, flash fiction, memoir, or poetry
Website: Split Lip Magazine
Entry Fee: Free (only during certain months)

Genre: Short story, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, novel excerpts, poetry
Website: Rejected Manuscripts
Entry Fee: N/A
*Your piece must have been rejected for publication or failed to win a prize at a literary competition in order to qualify.

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each submission. Information may change.

Do you know any other deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these? Let me know in the comments below. Good luck! If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Short Story Sunday 237: What Happened?

Short Story: "What Happened?" | flash fiction | creative writing | writing prompt | blogging | RachelPoli.com

“What happened? I thought you said you didn’t mind doing it.” Max asked. He cradled his cell phone in between his right ear and shoulder as he continued writing something down on a clipboard that was hanging up on the wall.

“I don’t mind doing it,” Kiara replied through the phone. “I just forgot that it was today.”

Max sighed. He dropped the pencil letting it bungee downward, the string it was tied to saving it from falling to the ground. Max took the phone back into his hand and turned around leaning his back against the wall. “How could you forget that it’s today?”

“I don’t know,”

“You know, I’m beginning to wonder if you agreed to help me out because you felt bad saying no. Now you’re trying to think of excuses to get out of it.” Max looked to his left seeing a couple of teenagers trying to put together some of the backdrop on the stage. It was obvious they were struggling.

“No, that’s not what it is at all.” Kiara said becoming slightly annoyed.

Max leaned over to see if anyone else could help the kids since he was busy with Kiara. Sure enough, one of the teachers was standing by watching the kids struggle.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, I just honestly forgot. You know, my life has been pretty busy too. You wouldn’t know that though because you’ve been spending all your time at the theater and talking about the show rather than asking me how my day went.” Kiara continued.

Max snapped his fingers a couple of times trying to get the other teacher’s attention but it didn’t seem to be working. The teacher was leaning against the podium off the stage watching the teenagers argue with one another about the backdrop.

“Hello? Are you listening to me?” Kiara grumbled.

“I heard you, I’m sorry.” Max replied hastily. “So, what you’re saying is that I’ve been reminding you of the play every single day and yet you still forgot to come today?”

There was silence.

Max paused. “Hello?”

“If I could reach through this phone, I’d slap you.” Kiara said through gritted teeth.

Max sighed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.” He turned his back on the teenagers pretending he didn’t see them. He’d deal with them – and that teacher – afterward. Right now he needed to give his attention to Kiara.

“Then what did you mean?” Kiara challenged.

“Forget I said anything.” Max said with a wave of his arm even though she couldn’t see him. “I’m just stressed out, tonight’s opening night, and I thought I could count on you for your help. You’re the only person who I knew would actually do your job… Seriously, none of the other teachers are taking it seriously and the kids are just happy to not be doing their homework.

“So, yeah. I’m a little frustrated you didn’t come because I thought I could count on you. I thought I would have at least one other person here that had a good head on their shoulders and knew what they were doing and would take this a little bit seriously.”

“It’s a high school play.” Kiara said exasperated.

“Yes, and it’s important to me.” Max replied with no hesitated.

There was silence again. Max waited knowing she was still on the line. He could hear her breathing. He just hoped she wasn’t thinking of another excuse to back out on him. He really needed her help.

Kiara groaned. “I’ll be right there. I honestly did forget about it though.”

Max nodded. “I know. I’m sorry I accused you of trying to get out of it. I mean,” he looked at his surroundings again, “I couldn’t blame you if that was truly the case.”

“I put up with this because I love you. But honestly, never again.” Kiara stated firmly.

Max couldn’t help but chuckle. “Fair enough.”

“Alright,” Kiara said, “I’ll be there in about ten minutes. I just have to put my face on.”

“I promise, when the night is over, we can go to a fancy restaurant or you can pick out a piece of jewelry from any expensive store you want.” Max smiled.

“Oh, save it.”

Max let out a sigh of relief. “Okay good, because I don’t think I’ll be making any profit from this play.”

“Again, it’s high school.”

“Yeah… right.” Max said rubbing the back of his neck. He wanted to be a director and was just trying to get some sort of experience. Maybe going back to his old high school wasn’t exactly the best place to start.

Words: 776

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Trust (Children Of Chiron 1) By Tabitha Darling [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Trust by Tabitha Darling | book review | book blogging | review copy | fantasy | adult fantasy | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Dying, centaurs return to Earth in the hopes that humanity can help. War breaks out instead. One centaur, Ieang struggles to keep the last infant alive, finds himself trapped on this planet and on the run. Desperate, he and his companion capture one of the enemy, a human, but will the woman care for the infant girl?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI like the art style of the cover. It’s simple but it shows the plot as well as one of the main characters and it works. I like it.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI don’t read much fantasy, but I’m always looking to try new things and this book sounded like it’d be an interesting read. When the author asked me to give it a try, I was happy to agree.

Plot | RachelPoli.comIeang, trapped on Earth with an infant of his kind, struggles to keep himself and the baby alive. He captures Brenda, a female human, to take care of the baby who Brenda names Aubrey. Together they learn the ways of each other’s cultures and ways of life. They get to know one another and teach each other new things.

I found this plot to be very unique. Honestly, it almost felt like a non-fiction book. I got the sense that, if this were based off real history, this would be a school-assigned book.

Characters | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed all the characters. Brenda and Ieang were great together. Even when Brenda finds her human family again they were well done too. Her father, Ken, and brother, Cody, are very stand-offish to Ieang. I definitely got a racism and prejudiced vibe from this story as well. The humans didn’t understand the centaurs and vice versa and therefore, they didn’t like each other. Still, it made for good storytelling.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book was fairly easy to read. I definitely thought the beginning was slow. I personally didn’t think the book picked up until about halfway through. Brenda and Ieang learning about each other was great, but I felt it lasted too long and some parts sort of dragged on for me. It wasn’t until Ieang was living with Brenda’s family and had to live as the humans do that things got interesting. I preferred them doing rather than just explaining to one another.

There was also a good amount of internal thoughts from Ieang but most of the time they were the same thought which got repetitive. There was also one or two thoughts that wasn’t in his POV as well which was inconsistent.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis wasn’t a bad book. I enjoyed the story and thought it was well thought out. The characters were interesting and it was certainly unique. While it wasn’t my favorite due to the voice sometimes as well as the beginning being slow, it was still worth the read. The imagination and world building is strong in this one.

Trust (Children of Chiron 1) by Tabitha Darling gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“This land was haunted, why did so many of these animals share aspects of his kind with four limbs and fur? It chilled him.” -Tabitha Darling, Trust

Buy the book:

Amazon

About Tabitha Darling

Tabitha Darling is wife to a robot builder and mom to a toddler. By day, she is a barefoot farrier, horse trainer, and riding instructor. She lives in Texas, with her husband, toddler, three horses, four ducks, six chickens, three geese, and three doves.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 40 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a picture prompt. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now onto this week’s writing prompt:

Creative writing prompt | sentence starter | first line | blogging | writing prompt | flash fiction | short story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the phrase above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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November 2018 [Goals]

2018 November Goals | blogging | creative writing | reading | goals | RachelPoli.com

Reading

As always, I’ll be reading and reviewing four books this month. I also plan on going through my bookshelves as well. I want to organize them and also make a list of books I still need to read… without buying new ones… but we all know that won’t happen.

To keep up, you can check out my Reading List and Goodreads.

Writing

NaNoWriMo is officially back in session! I’ll be working on a few different projects, as I’ve already mentioned. I won’t go in too much deal since I already did, but I’ll be working on writing flash fiction for 2019’s Short Story Sundays, Sunday Morning, and a little bit of George Florence & The Perfect Alibi.

Blogging

I had tried to get as much of my blogging done for this month in October because I knew NaNo was going to take up the majority of my time. So, November is just about done and I also planned a lot of December so I won’t have to worry about getting ahead for next month either. This will also free up December so I can plan for 2019, which I’ve already started. New things are coming!

What are your plans for November? Are you participating in NaNo? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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October 2018 [Wrap Up]

2018 October Wrap up | blogging | creative writing | reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I said I was going to try to read a scary book or something for Halloween, didn’t I? Well, I didn’t do that. I kept up with my reading though, so that’s good! You can check out my Reading List or the latest Book Reviews I’ve done.

Writing

I got done when I needed to on my writing this month. I prepped for NaNoWriMo for tomorrow and I also made progress on Sunday Morning. If you’re interested in more about my writing, you can check out my Patreon. Right now I’m running a special promotion for Sunday Morning. If you give $1 a month, you’ll get an exclusive promo box (including a free copy of the book) when the book is published!

Blogging

I ended up getting a bit behind in my blogging for a while. I had wi-fi problems and then I got sick. However, I pushed through the last few days of October and managed to get a good chunk of November done as well as planning December.

Overall

October was kind of a weird month. It was successful, but so much happened on and off the screen that it’s kind of a blur to me. November is already looking super busy so… challenge accepted.

Posts to Remember

1. 7 Places To Find Novel Ideas
2. The Sticky-Note Method For Outlining A Novel
3. 3 Elements To Include In Your Novel Outline

How did October treat you? Are you looking forward to November? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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NaNoWriMo 2018

NaNo begins in two days! Two! Can you believe it? NaNoWriMo 2018 has come up so fast that I’m not sure what to do with myself. I’m usually more prepared but this year is different. I know what I’ll be working on and it’s nothing new, which is usually what I try to do.

NaNoWriMo 2018 | creative writing | nanowrimo | novel writing | Patreon | RachelPoli.com

The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to spend a month writing 50,000 words and just getting the basic bare bones of a first draft of a novel on paper. The challenge is also to start something new. You can prep, but you can’t do any writing until midnight November 1 and you keep writing bit by bit each day until the end of the month. I always try to start something new, but I haven’t the past couple of years. I have so many projects that I don’t want to bury myself deeper.

This makes me a NaNo Rebel.

I don’t mind though. The point is to finish something (or start something) and to make progress. Any progress is progress, no matter what you’re working on or how far along you are in it. Or eve how far you manage to get in a certain amount of time.

So, here’s what I’m working on this year.

Short Story Sunday 2019

I write my short stories in advance for my Sunday blog posts. I usually write them during a Camp NaNo session (because, as I said, I try to start a brand new novel each November). I didn’t work on next year’s stories though during April or July… I don’t know why. I honestly can’t remember what I worked on instead.

Still, I’m going to work on these quick flash fiction pieces throughout the month and get the majority, if not all, of 2019 written. It’s 52 stories. I’ve done it in a month before, I can do it again. I’ve already gotten all the prompts and the layouts down. I just need to write the stories.

Sunday Morning

Speaking of my Short Story Sunday, I’ll also be working on Sunday Morning. I have another round of edits to get through as well as publishing duties to do. Again, unless it’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I try not to edit. But this is something I need to get done sooner rather than later.

If you don’t know what Sunday Morning is, you can check out this post here. This book is being supported by my Patrons on Patreon. If you enjoy my blog and my creative writing overall, please check out my Patreon. It’s an exclusive community where you’ll get an inside look at my work and we can chat easier with one another as well. There are special rewards and, if you give $1 a month before December 9, 2018, you’ll get a special promo box for Sunday Morning when it’s published!

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

I won’t be working on this one as much or as hard as I probably should. However, the other two projects are going to take priority. I’ll still give this one a bit of attention though. You can be sure of that.

What are you writing for NaNo this year? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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