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How do you write like you're running out of time? 

I decided recently to go over to my parents’ house and deal with all of the stuff I’ve had there for YEARS that my mom has been telling me to deal with for YEARS.  

I knew I had a ton of journals I needed to get. I’ve been numbering my journals since I was 12, and I’m on #124 so… but I did not expect quite as much writing as I found. I found entire binders filled with handwritten poems I wrote when I was 12-14. (“I feel invisable” said one. With an “a”.) I found an entire (improperly formatted) screenplay I wrote when I was 19 or 20. I found several binders of handwritten stories between 60 and 100 pages written between ages 10 and 15. (One was called “Black Rose: The Return to Fernando.” Haha.) 

I found notebooks after notebooks with song lyrics and brainstorming for novels or plays. I found unfinished novels, unfinished plays. I found a binder with almost my entire livejournal printed out. I found notes for my album, Unsent Letters; I found notes from a rehearsal of Painted (“Everyone needs to learn their lines!”); and I found set lists from shows with Long Absent Friends or Novo Luna.  

A first draft of my play, The Spins

One of the aspects I’ve always loved about the show, Hamilton, is how prolific he was. “How do you write like you’re running out of time?” And I realized I have always done this. Which I have known obviously, but seeing the evidence of this was a little overwhelming. But overwhelming in a good way.  

And it made me feel kind of good about myself. Because maybe 90% of this stuff is not great and maybe no one will ever read the vast majority of it. And maybe I haven’t always made the best decisions. But there’s something to be said about writing it all down. I have documented everything I’ve ever felt, thought, experienced. I have told story after story. Stories for the stage, the screen, the page. I truly do live for the written word.  

Notes from a Painted rehearsal

What have you learned about yourself going through old things?

6 Ways to Pump Up Your Writing in 2017 

Happy New Year, everyone!

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do make goals for the year. One of my goals for 2017 is to resurrect the writing blog! Sure, I make writing videos on my YouTube channel pretty regularly, but I do miss the blog. I'm back today with some suggestions on how you might want to increase your writing in the new year.

1. Track your daily word count - The first time I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I discovered how satisfying it is after a productive session to look back at the number of words I had written. And even on days that weren't so productive, I could say, "well, at least I did write 200 words today", which made me feel better about writing every day, even if some days I could only write for 20 minutes. You can just use an Excel spreadsheet or you can get fancy and use one of the tracker tools on the internet.

2. Try a writing challenge - Speaking of NaNoWriMo, you should give it a shot this year. Or if you don't want to wait for November, check out Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. If writing a novel in a month isn't your thing, try the 30-Day Poetry Challenge in April, or StoryADay in May. Or if you don't want to wait until April or May, you can try the 30-Day Writing Prompt Challenge or the Writer's Block Challenge at any time. (And you can always pick up my e-book, The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Begin or Enhance Your Daily Writing Habit.)

3.Try writing via voice recorder - Do you have a long commute to your job or to school? Do you like to think out loud? Try using a voice recorder to record ideas, dialogue, poetry, whatever. You can find a recorder on most phones or pick up an actual mp3 recorder. (Or go old school and get a tape recorder.)

4. Join a writing community - Go to and find writer's groups in your area. If there aren't any, join and online writing community like #writestuff, AuthorTube, or Critique Circle.

5. Find an accountability partner - This could be another writer like a critique partner, but it doesn't have to be. Find someone who will hold you accountable, and check in with each other once a week or even once a day to discuss your goals and the steps you plan to take to achieve them.

6. Give yourself monthly writing goals - Speaking of goals, you are more likely to achieve them if you have them. Start each month with a specific and defined writing goal. That way you can turn vague resolutions like "I want to write a book someday" into specific things like "I will write two short stories in July." Specific goals are more likely to be met.


5 Tips to Survive National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 

Well, folks, it's that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts in November. This is the magical time where so many of us writers will try to achieve the lofty goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I've got five tips for y'all that will help you survive.

1. Let yourself be creative. You are not going to get words written if you are constantly second guessing yourself. If you are a planner, don't be afraid to veer off course. If your story starts taking a turn you didn't expect, just go with it! Let your imagination run wild. This is a time to really revel in the joy that comes with the creative process. It's easy to get caught up in word counts and publishing goals, but don't forget why you love writing in the first place.

2. Turn off the voice of the critic. Everyone has an editor or critic voice in their head. This is the voice that constantly says things like "this is boring" or "all of your characters sound the same" or "is this too much like TWILIGHT?". NaNoWriMo is not the time for that voice. So tell her, "thank you for your input" but don't listen to her. Put her away in a little box and when November is over, put away your draft for a month or so, and then take her back out when it's time to start revising.

3. Find some inspiration. You want to keep yourself in the zone where you feel excited about your characters, your world, your story. Make a Pinterest board with images that remind you of your characters or your settings. Make a Spotify playlist of music that gets you in the mood to write. Watch movies with the same themes. Keep yourself inspired and in that creative mind frame.

4. Stay healthy. Don't skip out on sleep because you need to stay up to get that word count in. Don't skip meals or trips to the gym because you need to write. I promise you the writing will go a lot better if you are keeping yourself healthy. Even if you can't manage to get to the gym, make sure you take little walking breaks here and there or try using an extender that allows you to stand up when you write. Have healthy snacks handy like fruit, nuts, granola bars, yogurt, etc. And don't forget to drink lots of water!

5. Don't be too hard on yourself. If you get to the end of November and you've only written 30,000 words, you may feel like a failure. But you have still written 30,000 words!! 30,000 words you may not have otherwise written. Don't feel like a loser because you didn't "win" NaNoWriMo. Anyone who writes anything at all for NaNoWriMo is already a winner in my book. So celebrate every word you have managed to get down and keep writing!

For more tips on NaNoWriMo, check out the #ProjectWriteTube 2016 playlist. #ProjectWriteTube is a video series put together by Tamara Woods where a bunch of us WriteTubers create videos with tips about writing and NaNoWriMo to get everyone pumped up. I did a video last week about whether or not NaNoWriMo-ers are real writers. (Spoiler alert - they totally are.) Check that out, and check out the whole playlist! There are some really great videos on there. Speaking of WriteTube, I know it's been a while, but I recently updated my WriteTube list so check that out too!