Writing Habits: Set a ‘Trigger’

According to countless articles all over the web, habits are supposed to be automatic. Once you start and execute a new part of your routine for a month or two, it becomes easier to continue than to quit, so they say. If you’re anything like me, this hasn’t necessarily proved true for you. I’ve never reached a stage where a habit, even ones I’ve pushed through for over a year, started running on autopilot.

So I was skeptical when I came across a slightly different approach to the “write every day” refrain: instead of scheduling a certain time for writing, set up another action to use as a ‘trigger’ before starting. The idea is that it will help shift your brain into the right mindset for writing once you teach it this new pattern of cause and effect. As this great article on the neuroscience of writer’s block explains it: “If you light an orange-blossom candle or brew a pot of Café Verona prior to each writing session, and never at other times, neuroscience suggests that within three weeks, the scent of orange blossoms or taste of coffee will trigger the urge to write.”

I decided to give it a go. I bought a candle and committed to lighting it just before I started drafting, in hopes that my brain would come to associate that act, and eventually the scent of the candle, with writing. Other ideas for ‘triggers’ might be playing a certain song, wearing a certain hat, or signing yourself in using a Clock In app.

The shocker: it works! After just a few sessions, I noticed that it was easier to get into the flow of writing after performing the ‘trigger.’ My theory is that it works well for me due to my specific flavor of writer’s blockthat is, emotional regulation issues and OCD. The physical ritual of lighting the candle helps me let go of whatever thoughts or emotions are tossing around in my head at that time and give myself permission to move into a different mindset. Similarly, blowing out the candle after the session helps me let go of whatever emotions came up during the drafting process, itself. Overall, this new habit smoothes out the transitions, which for me, are perhaps the hardest part of being a writer.

If you’re habit-resistant, I’d suggest experimenting from this angle and trying to find a ‘trigger’ or ritual that works for you. The more you can uncover the underlying issues and fears holding you back, the more you can find unique ways of getting your brain to cooperate with itself.

Dialogue Only Read-Throughs

I’ve been doing a lot of editing this month (on my own projects, on freelance projects, and on submissions to my literary magazine). While there seems to be a split between authors who prefer working with description and those who prefer writing dialogue, I land on the former side of that canyon. If you’re like me, I’ve found dialogue-only read-throughs of a scene to serve as a helpful trick.

That is, read through a scene from beginning to end while ignoring everything that isn’t dialogue.

Does the flow of conversation make sense even without any clarifying description or internal monologue?

Are the voices distinct enough that you can tell who’s speaking without reading the tags?

Does the conversation advance at a natural pace?

Do any ideas or topics seem to repeat?

Sometimes, it’s easier to catch these issues while temporarily tuning out everything else. Give it a try if you’re looking to level-up your dialogue!

Monthly Updates: February 2019 – Speculative Soul Story Editing Services


Speculative Soul Story Editing Services is Live!

Wow, February flew by! For my fellow authors, I’m excited to announce the launch of my new editing services website. If you find yourself stuck in the revision process, or in need of a second set of eyes, feel free to get in touch. I offer services ranging from developmental editing to copyediting to critiquing. I know firsthand how tight an author’s budget can be, so I strive to keep services as affordable as possible. We can negotiate prices and service options, too. Editing has always been one of my favorite phases of the storytelling process, so I’m eager to bring this passion into the spotlight.

Check it Out!


New Book Giveaways and Deals

My own books are still baking in the editing oven, but like usual, here are some new giveaways across the speculative fiction spectrum if you’re on the hunt for more to read without breaking the bank:


Happy reading!

I hope you enjoy what remains of winter (of your current season) with warm beverages of choice and a bevy of good books.

Favorite Story Features

For this month’s story craft post, I’m going to go highly subjective. Out of curiosity, I spent a couple of hours last week breaking down my own favorite stories (my favorite books, games, movies, etc) and looking for the common threads that ran through all of them. I certainly found a few consistent factors, including several which I didn’t necessarily expect. Your mileage may vary, but here’s what makes me personally fall in love with a story:

  1. An accessible surface; a deep, complex, nuanced core.
    1. Most of my favorite stories have made themselves appear accessible on the surface – a standard sci-fi game, a standard shounen anime, a standard small-town murder mystery, etc – but with a deeper, and usually darker, core. They intentionally foster approachable first impressions to draw people in. They don’t necessarily lie about what they are, but they keep their secrets close until you get to know them better. This gradual unfolding is immersive, surprising, and ends up becoming addictive – what will happen next? As expectations fall away, so do “rules” and predictability.
    2. This deeper core usually revolves around themes that comprise the soul of the work.
  2. Memorable, “rule of cool” characters with realistic psychology.
    1. My favorite characters bring in elements from the most exaggerated genre fiction – unique vibes, tragic backstories, odd features, immense talents, unusual names, exaggerated speaking styles, amazing powers, etc – alongside grounded psychological elements from literary fiction – motives, needs, wants, fears, hopes, complex relationships, inner conflicts, strengths, flaws, contradictions, etc. Combining the fantastical and realistic creates characters who transcend mundane humanity – becoming memorable and iconic – while remaining so achingly human.
    2. These characters have psychologically realistic growth arcs that tie into the story’s themes. Each character often has their own sub-theme, as well.
  3. A distaste for expectation.
    1. This doesn’t mean being satire (far from it), but it does mean flipping tropes around to different angles, combining or using them in unconventional ways, or eschewing common genre tropes entirely.
    2. My favorite stories have some element of surprise – twists, gimmicks, “gasp” moments. Many of them end with a “clincher” – a final twist or shocking moment – instead of a clean resolution arc.
    3. This also applies to concepts like, and especially of, gender. None of my favorite stories have ever entirely accepted gender as a flat, unexplored binary. Some have actually veered into borderline problematic territory, while others handled these themes deftly, but none have blindly accepted the notion of the binary and its roles. When the binary is questioned, even a little, characters instantly become more free and alive.
  4. Sweet, soft moments contrasted by wrenching disasters.
    1. My favorite stories aren’t afraid to toe the line of melodrama, without ever quite crossing over it. Stories should be cathartic – felt in the body, mind, and soul – and they embrace this. In doing so, they include unflinchingly sweet moments between characters and showcase the beauty of their people and worlds. They invite readers (and players, viewers, etc) to sink in and fall in love. They also include moments of brutality, sorrow, shock. They aren’t afraid of diving into the strange and horrific. They are less concerned with being realistic than they are with evoking an emotional reaction. The contrast between joy and horror creates “flashbulb memories” that stick with audiences and keep them coming back for closure.
    2. These stories aim for satisfaction. They don’t time-skip over the most dramatic or impactful moments, even if they take place in resolutions.
    3. “Flashbulb” moments should incorporate – and tie together – the plot, characters, world, and themes. The best of them even take advantage of language in a literary sense.
    4. My favorite stories tend to use tenderness and introspection during “relief” moments, rather than humor.
    5. Often, their endings are bittersweet.
  5. Moments of wonder.
    1. My favorite stories, if even for a moment, invoke wonder. This can be done through character, setting, plot, or even literary language, but most often, comes when one or more of these elements combine with theme. If they all combine with theme, the resonance is stronger still.
    2. To evoke wonder, the story must not be afraid to address the unknown – and often, to leave aspects of the unknown just as unknown at the end of the story. They embrace curiosity, uncertainty, awe, fear, joy, sorrow, life, death, the human, and the divine. They seek to transcend the story world’s own mundanity.
    3. Such stories reach for the sublime. Even if they can’t quite stare it down, they glimpse it. Even if they can’t quite hold on to it, they touch it. They find the magic in the mundane – either literally or metaphorically.
    4. There is often a haunting tone to these stories at their core, both during and after their ending. They carry a certain bittersweet taste. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t also show the simple joy of existence.
  6. Mixed genre classifications.
    1. Most of my favorite stories don’t fit entirely into just one genre – after all, neither does life. My favorites use genres as tools, not limitations.
    2. These stories also often mix elements from the genre fiction and literary fiction umbrellas (as seen in the contrasts present in the other points).

What common threads have you caught running through your own favorite stories? Do any of my factors resonate with you?

Clocked In

Hey all, I’m going to start off this year’s tip posts with a simple technique that’s so far helped me keep my own writing habit resolutions.

For 2019, I resolved to work (as in write, edit, outline, or market) for at least two, two-hour-long sessions each weekday. This way, I’m putting proper part-time work hours into my writing. The hardest part of this has been making the mindset shift. The best way to make that shift? Actually treating my writing career like any other job.

In order to keep myself accountable and get myself into the head space for work, I’ve been using a clock in app whenever I sit down at my desk. A quick search on any app store will lead to many apps to choose from, but I personally like Clock Punch, as it works well for just one person and lets me track what I’m focusing on for each shift. This way, I can set individual hourly goals for certain tasks when the need arises.

When I report to work, I act just as I would if I were at a salaried position. While clocked in, I don’t allow myself to check social media, play games, or do anything else I wouldn’t do if I had a manager to report to. I still do have one, in fact – my manager is myself. Anything outside of writing can wait.

After all, I’m on the clock.

If you give this technique a try yourself, let me know how it goes! What are your writing resolutions this year? Have you found any tools that help you make them happen?

Writer’s Block Kit

(Story Craft: Every 3rd week of the month, I’ll post writing/editing techniques that I’ve personally found useful.)

While we all experience it for different reasons, writer’s block is a universal experience for anyone who commits words to the page. Sometimes we might be unable to focus due to other events going on in our lives, sometimes we might be writing an emotional scene we’re not quite sure we’re ready for, and other times still we might simply be unsure about what plot developments should unfold next. There are countless reasons why we might put off putting down words, but regardless of where your blocks tend to come from, here are some techniques for breaking through them that I’ve personally found useful:

Capitalize on your Imagination for Inspiration

  • Deeply visualize the current scene using all of your senses. Walk through a few moments of life in that scene. Experience it.
  • Imagine you are a character within the current scene – how do you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally in the current moment?
  • Roleplay (even if just in your head) as one of your characters in your present moment – how do you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally in the current moment?
  • Imagine asking the characters what they want to do next, and their response.
  • Imagine what might happen between the scenes in your story – in the moments without conflict, when the characters are simply living their lives. What does this say about the characters and the world? Can any of these ideas inform existing scenes or start new ones?

Consider Story Structure/Brainstorm

  • Put yourself in your ideal reader’s place. What would they want to happen next? What would they expect? What would surprise them? What happens to each of these ideas when you subvert them to their opposite?
  • What narrative role does the current scene serve? What goals are you trying to accomplish by writing it? What is the most important thing a reader needs to take away from this scene? How can you emphasize this in the scene?
  • What goals does each character have in the scene? How can these goals drive the events?
  • Conflict moves plot. What internal or external obstacle, however minor, is your POV character trying to overcome in this specific scene? If there isn’t one, can you add more conflict to drive the events?
  • Sometimes a change in pacing is what the story needs to build momentum. If the story’s recent events have been low intensity, is there a way you can ramp up the intensity in this scene, or vice versa?

Free/Speed Write

  • Free write about the scene you’re stuck on, working through your worries and letting out whatever ideas pop into your head.
  • Free write about entertaining or interesting moments that take place in the unwritten spaces between the scenes in your story.
  • Free write about why you love the project you’re working on and why you want to finish it.
  • Try setting a timer for 5 minutes, and in that time, continue to write your scene without stopping, even if the words coming out are drivel. Think of it almost like an attack on the block. Move the plot forward no matter what it takes. There will be time to edit later. After the timer goes off, take a breather for at least 2 minutes, then if you’re still stuck, set it again and repeat the process. Software that forces you to write without stopping can help. It can also be fun to check how many words you wrote in each 5 minute session and jot down your “high score” – then try to beat it!
  • You can use a similar process to the above with the longer, more relaxed Pomodoro Technique, which uses 25 minute work sessions and 5 minute breaks. Sometimes the simple promise of a break can help ease the tension of working through a block.

Change up the Environment

  • Listen to different background music.
  • Meditate for 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Stand up for 1 – 3 minutes.
  • Grab a snack.
  • Move from your current position to a new environment. For example, if you’re writing at home, try taking off to a cafe or library to work, or perhaps sitting with a notebook in a park for a while. Even something as simple as moving from a couch to a desk, or vice versa, can help.

Take a Break!

  • Sometimes you’re simply overtired, burned out, need some time to think, or occupied by other responsibilities, and that’s okay. Write a few ideas in brackets at the place of the block if you can – even if they’re iffy – then take your mind off writing. Make sure to get some rest too: our minds mull over ideas subconsciously when they aren’t busy, so the new insight you need might just pop into your head when you least expect it, so long as you give your thoughts some breathing room.

Of course, there comes a point where if you want to break through a block, then all there is to it is to keep on writing. Release yourself not just from your inner editor, but from the imagined expectations of your future audience, and get the first draft done. Editing comes later. All you have to do now is tell yourself the story.

“It’s very hard to tell, at the end of your writing day, whether you’ve done great work or bad work. The quality of the writing is hard to judge until you’ve had some sleep and got some perspective on it. And the more I learn about the writing process, the more I suspect that there is no such thing as a bad day at the keyboard.

The good days are when you perform; the slow days are when you learn to perform better. The only bad days as a writer are the ones when you are too cowardly or too lazy to sit down at the keyboard and give it everything you have.”
— Chris Cleave

7 Tips for NaNoWriMo

(Tip Thursday: Every other Thursday (or so), I’ll post writing/editing tips that I’ve personally found useful.)



It’s time to head back to Camp (NaNoWriMo) for July. In fact, today marks the end of the first week. Here are a few tips for participating writers looking to quickly grow their word counts.


  1. If you’ve participated in NaNoWriMo before, you’ve probably heard of word sprints: choosing a fifteen minute slot (usually using notations such as on the :00 or :30, etc, to account for timezone differences online) and competing with other writers to see who can write the most during that time. However, even if you can’t find sprinting partners, word sprints can still be useful if you play against yourself for the “high score”. Set a timer for fifteen minutes or so and see how many words you can write! Record your current record and try to beat it.
  2. Similarly, some writers like the Pomodoro Technique: working nonstop in sets of 25 minutes with 5 minute rest breaks in between.
  3. If you really need an extra push to shut down the inner editor and keep on writing, sites like The Most Dangerous Writing App or Write or Die, which penalize you by deleting words if you hesitate, can be useful.
  4. While writing, elongate descriptions as much as you can. A few big paragraphs do wonders for the word count. If you’re like me and tend to underwrite the first draft, this can actually end up being beneficial in the long run, too. Remember to focus on all five senses, rather than just sight, and on both the external and internal worlds.
  5. Unless it’s absolutely vital, don’t get caught up in choosing names or conducting research during the first draft. Just leave [Friend’s Name] or a similar tag in the text if you run into a spot where you’re not sure what to put down and come back to it during the second draft. You can even replace whole scenes with temporary stubs – for example, [Jacob and Julie have an argument about when to leave for the hospital] – if you get stuck on one.
  6. Even if you’re more of a pantser, try the headlights method of outlining – that is, try planning out content for just the next chapter or so. This gives you an opportunity to focus on the story as separate from the act of writing, which in turn frees up time to focus on simply getting the words down as fast as you can later. After all, writer’s block most commonly comes from two sources – a lack of motivation to write or not knowing what happens next in the plot. Having a plan – even a loose, subject to change, short-term one – helps with both of these obstacles.
  7. Keep a physical or digital notebook on hand. If you run into a problem, like a plot hole or an inconsistency, write it down rather than worrying about fixing it now. If your word processor has a comment function, it can be useful for the same purpose. You can also simply highlight any sections you know will need editing later, then give yourself permission to put them out of your mind for now. Don’t come back to your comments or notes until the second draft. Keep moving forward.

Are you participating in Camp this month? Feel free to share your progress or any of your own tips in the comments.

MBTI for Characters

(Tip Thursday: Every other Thursday (or so), I’ll post writing/editing tips or techniques that I’ve personally found useful. Catching up for last week today.)

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality theory seems trendier than ever. While there are plenty of debates surrounding its validity, it makes for a fun way to learn about yourself and others as long as it’s taken as a tool for thought rather than anything absolute. It’s also a fun – and simple – way to learn about your characters.

Try taking the test from your protagonist’s point of view – the results might solidify some of the traits you already knew about them in an easy to digest form, or offer some surprisingly useful insights into the way they interact with the world around them.

The test I usually use for characters is HumanMetrics. Another excellent test is 16Personalities, which combines the MBTI with the also popular Big Five personality theory. There are plenty of in depth explanations available online, but essentially, the MBTI provides scores across four spectrums:

  • Introversion vs Extroversion: Extroverts regain energy from social activity. Introverts regain energy through time alone.
  • Sensing vs Intuitive: People who score high in Sensing tend to rely directly on their senses and stay present in the moment. People who score high in Intuitive seek to add meaning to the information their senses bring them, and focus more on their imaginative internal world.
  • Thinking vs Feeling: People who score high in Thinking tend to rely on facts, logic, and experiences to make decisions. People who score high in Feeling tend to make decisions based on gut feelings, situational context, and the people involved.
  • Judging vs Perceiving: People who score high in Judging like to be organized and have a plan for everything. People who score high in Perceiving like to keep their options open and react to events as they happen.

The 16Personalities test also includes an additional spectrum:

  • Assertive vs Turbulent: Assertive people are steady, strong, and confident in their ability to handle whatever life throws their way. Turbulent people tend to be  anxious, but are also highly passionate and driven to succeed.

Depending on the answers given, your character will be assigned a letter-based type according to which sides of each spectrum they land on. For instance, one character might be an INFJ-T – they are Introverted, INtuitive, Feeling, Judging, and Turbulent. These five letters actually say a lot about this character. The combination of Intuition and Feeling likely means they spend a lot of time in their own head and feel things deeply – they are imaginative and empathetic. However, as an Introvert, they are more likely to search out meaningful connections rather than collect acquaintances. They probably prefer reading a good book that stimulates their empathy and emotions to attending shallow social events. The combination of Judging and Turbulent also means they are highly organized, driven, and perhaps a bit of a perfectionist, which may make them come across as cold to other characters, when internally, they are anything but.

It’s important to note that there are no right or wrong answers – every MBTI type has its flaws and gifts. It’s also interesting to note that, in some ways, the MBTI types aren’t actually personality types at all. I prefer to think of them as frameworks – the ways in which the character approaches life, makes decisions, and relates to others. The juicy bits that actually build someone’s personality – their likes and dislikes, their past experiences, their quirks, all the details that make them who they are – go far beyond the skeleton built by a few letters. Two people with the same MBTI type can be wildly different. However, I’ve found the MBTI test to be an easy way of gaining insight into a character’s point of view. When faced with writer’s block, knowing how a character makes decisions or how they might react to an emotional situation can be key to breaking through a challenging scene.

Impactful Character Flaws

(Tip Thursday: Every other Thursday, I’ll post writing/editing tips or techniques that I’ve personally found useful.)

One topic inevitably comes up when discussing character creation: flaws. Characters must be flawed in order to be real people in readers’ eyes. However, just making a character hot-headed or shy and calling it done doesn’t cut it. For a flaw to add dimension to your character and story, three things should generally be true:

1. It shouldn’t be a “likable” flaw.

Often, the flaws protagonists grapple with seem relatively harmless: they might lack confidence, be socially awkward, or have a bit of a temper. Exploring these minor flaws and traits helps flesh out a character, but alone, usually fails to add depth.

There’s a tendency to believe that characters must be conventionally “likable”. For characters, however, “likable” often actually means interesting. Your readers don’t need to be friends with your character – they need to be able to understand their motivations (even if they don’t necessarily agree with them) and root for them to overcome their obstacles. Giving your character real, significant flaws increases the stakes and the impact of their internal conflicts.

For instance, rather than just being a bit hot-headed, maybe your character gets so angry that they sometimes cause physical harm. Maybe they hold onto grudges to the extent that they enact revenge. Maybe they have a mean streak. Maybe they’re selfish or jealous or judgemental. Maybe they lie a lot. Maybe they’re an honest-to-goodness coward, legitimately lazy, or obnoxiously arrogant. Maybe they care more about power than people.

These less “likable” flaws are often associated with villains, but a hero with such flaws has room to grow in meaningful ways throughout the story, will have engaging internal struggles, and feels more like a genuinely imperfect human than a heroic archetype.

2. It should influence the character’s external world.

For a flaw and its stakes to seem real, it must manifest in the character’s world in some way. If they struggle with extreme anger, perhaps it’s destroyed past relationships or they’ve had outbursts that cost them a job. If they’re selfish, perhaps their colleagues have learned to avoid and distrust them. If they’re cowardly, perhaps they’re embarrassed to try new things because they cry easily in public when stressed or their fear has held them back from applying to their dream job. Regardless of what their flaws are, their internal struggles need to in some way affect their external reality.

3. It should tie into the story’s themes.

Ideally, a character’s flaws should also emphasize the story’s themes. For instance, a character who starts off selfish and arrogant but who learns to sacrifice for others makes for a powerful protagonist in story about empathy. Another technique is giving the antagonist a similar flaw, but letting them fail to overcome it while the protagonist succeeds. Supporting characters can also express the theme in unique ways through their flaws and virtues. After all, a story is made of internal conflict, external conflict, and its message. If all these elements reinforce each other, the story – and its characters – have a strong foundation.

Denying Distractions

I’d wager that most authors would name distractions as productivity’s biggest enemy, particularly the siren song of the internet. Here are a few tips, and some helpful resources, to help combat common distractions:

Distraction-Free Word Processors

There are some pretty complex, fully-featured options out there as far as word processors go. Programs like Scrivener and Liquid Story Binder offer a ton of powerful features that not only help you write your words, but outline the story, do you research, search through dictionaries and thesauruses, check your spelling, mark-up your edits, and organize and format everything. Even Microsoft Word and comparable office suites come with a slew of features. While these features are great when its time to outline and edit, I sometimes find that these features can be distracting, in and of themselves, during the drafting process. They also bring out the perfectionist in me, and I sometimes spend as much time organizing and cross-checking everything with my notes and research as I do actually pounding words out of the keyboard.

If you have similar tendencies, I’d highly suggest trying out a simple, dedicated word processor, just for the drafting process. There are plenty of options out there that are purposely minimal – designed to put as little buffer as possible between you and the page, staying out of the way and leaving you alone with your words.

My personal favorite right now is Dark Room. It’s a simple, free, full-screen word processor with just the right amount of features. You can set your margins, the color and font of the background and text to fit your preferences or your story (it’s styled like an old electronic typewriter by default, which I kind of love, since that was originally what I used when I first started writing – on those things, you had nothing to do but write), and, fortunately for us Wrimos, it still has a word counter! It’s immersive and distraction-free. Other options are the similar WriteRoom (for Mac), the meditative Ommwriter, or the slightly more complex WriteMonkey.

I was surprised how much using such minimalist software actually helped me focus. I don’t think it’s just that it removes the common word-processor distractions, so much as that it somehow makes the drafting process itself much more engrossing, and hence helps soften the call of other, outside distractions, as well.

Internet/Distraction Blockers

Most of the time, however, the biggest distractions don’t come from inside the word software, but from all the other temptations floating around inside our computers. The internet. Games. Videos. Email. Social media. If you need a little extra willpower when it comes to resisting these things, internet and distraction blockers can help.

One program tailored towards writers is Stop Procrastinating, a desktop app that lets you choose whether to block only specific websites, or your internet connection entirely for a certain amount of time. It also lets you set goals, and track how you did. This software isn’t free, but it’s what I typically use, and I’ve found it to be quite helpful on those days when I just don’t have the willpower to leave the internet alone. There are also some free tools out there, as well.

Another interesting option is the free Writer’s Block. A minimalist, full-screen word-processor like those described earlier, Writer’s Block also blocks not just the internet, but the rest of the programs on your computer, and literally will not quit until you’ve either written a set amount of words, or for a set amount of time, which you choose at the start of each session. It clings to your desktop and leaves you with no choice but to complete your goals to get rid of it. It won’t even let you trick it by copy and pasting! It’s a militaristic tool that could work perfectly for those times when you’ve just got to hit a certain daily quota.

Music and Sound

There are also distractions that come from outside the computer entirely. In particular, other people.

I used to prefer writing in silence, without music, but given that I live with other people, silence is a pretty scarce resource. I’ve recently found that it often works much better to put on some noise-blocking headphones and drown out the world with background music. Personally, I find lyrics distracting, so I stick entirely with instrumental pieces, usually electronica or classical. Spotify, and its playlists, are a great free resource for this.

If you absolutely cannot concentrate with music on, though, there are also plenty of free background noise generators out there, offering nature sounds, rain, or simply white noise.

Physical Prevention

One often overlooked method of avoiding distractions is also perhaps the most straightforward: make it physically impossible for them to reach you. If the internet is your downfall, then take a laptop, or even a paper notebook, and go sit outside somewhere, where there is no Wi-Fi, or simply disconnect your router all together for a while. If computer programs and games in general are a problem, have one device that you use only for writing, and absolutely nothing else (I have one old netbook that is such a piece of crap that I couldn’t use it for anything but writing even if I wanted to…and it’s actually a great productivity tool!). If there are too many people around or too much ambient noise, then move somewhere else, where you can be alone. If the weather outside is simply too nice to stay indoors, then go ahead and sit in the sun with your draft. Coffee shops and parks are also great places to hide from the typical distractions of the home. Besides, I often find that changing the scene helps generate some fresh inspiration.

Anyway, I hope that someone finds these tips and tools useful for Camp NaNoWriMo this month, and beyond. Feel free to chime in with any techniques or resources of your own in the comments section!