IF you never ask, how do you get? Nominate Zak for 101 Websites

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Writer’s Digest* is now receiving nominations for their 2010 list of 101 Best Websites for Writers.”

If you want to nominate, Zakgirl On Writing (this blog), all you have to do is send an e-mail with your nomination to “writersdigest@fwmedia.com” with “101 Websites” in the subject line.

Include my blog’s web address: "http://santaisreal.blogspost.com" in your e-mail’s content and let them know why you think my site should be featured on the list (Um, things like, I get fun ways to write, I get lot of tips,  or Zak makes writing easy and fun - you know? You're a writer now use your imagination!   


Deadline to submit your nomination is this Saturday January 1st, 2011 (American time so us Aussie's have a few extra hours up our sleeve but don't wait - do it now!)...

That means you've got today to nominate Zakgirl On Writing TODAY! NOW even... (Sorry for such late notice, but I was on, Word Dreams (a really great site that you should nominate too), today and realized I'd just about missed the boat as well).

Thank you again and again for all your support this year and if you are not following this blog yet, get started and follow today.

Have yourselves a Happy! Happy Zak! New Year.

Zak :)

Merry Christmas and Have a Happy and Enjoyable 2011...

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Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas with all the Ho! Ho! Ho! from Santa too.

Zak hopes you have a wonderful Christmas and an even better 2011.

Be good to yourself this year and take care of those around you too.

Don't forget to jot down the key things that happen this Christmas Day and coming up to New Year even if it's only bullet points for now. Christmas is a time of high emotion and that is exactly what writers need to write good stories so grab out your hand held recorder or use your mobile phone and capture those thoughts that may inspire you in 2011.

Otherwise have a great day and take it easy.

Whatever you decide ENJOY!

Zak.
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Are You A Real Writer?


Taking a break...

Here's a quotable quote:

"It is impossible to discourage the real writers -- they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write." --Sinclair Lewis

Zak.

New and Experienced Writers, Rules and Finding Your Voice ~ Make Up Your Own Mind...

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When we are new to writing we are told to learn the rules and stick with them. 

For someone who has been writing for years before learning the rules it can seem like cruel punishment to suddenly restrict your writing with rules and regulations. Sometimes we lose heart while trying to stick with the darn mechanics. The rules tend to mess up our natural flow for a while so it’s best not to submit any of the “learning” works until you get your flow back. The most critical part of our writing that seems to become affected by learning the rules is voice. It often becomes stilted and unnatural and this can be very frustrating for the new writer.

Writing is a tricky thing anytime and especially for someone who is lucky enough to have a natural talent (imagination) for writing but it becomes tougher when you try to beat your writing into “RULES submission”. It gets tough alright, and then tougher and tougher until finally you feel so beaten about the brain that you almost hate writing. (I know how could a writer ever really say that?). It’s about then that things turn around and you somehow learn to fit the rules into your natural flow again. Personally, I don't feel I'm there yet but with more experience I'm sure this battle will be won in the end.
My wonderful mentor (who is no longer here on this incredible Earth) once told me you have to “learn the rules before you can break them”. When I started writing I was always breaking the rules and shunning my nose at them. Then, after being beaten about the head by my mentor I went the other way and applied the rules so strictly that my writing seemed as interesting as a flat piece of cardboard left out in the rain. Nowadays I'm aware of the rules (most of them) and tend to break them quite deliberately. It’s all part of the learning process. Yet I still feel I have a long road to travel in my writing career.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to PunctuationI’d like you to read this article from copyblogger and this one about grammar and punctuation then form your own opinion. 

Forming your own opinion is a crucial part of becoming a great writer. You need to think, and evaluate then think in the opposite direction and back again, big breath, and then work out which style suits you. This is when things get really interesting. This is when you find your voice.

Always remember the stories you write are YOUR stories - not anyone else’s. 

Even editors and readers of your work can be wrong. “Oh-my-heaven forbid!” Humans can be wrong? They are not Gods? Humans make mistakes all the time. See every war or battle humans have ever been involved in and you'll find mistakes, and it’s up to you to figure out when the human is making a mistake and when they are damned-well-right! Oh, and just to make it a bit harder it’s also subjective but that's a whole-nuther topic...
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NaNoWriMo ~ Has Ended for 2010... What Day Is It? What Now?

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Now that NaNoWriMo has ended for 2010 I'm not sure I know what day it is...

Firstly though, I'd like to say a special THANK YOU to those people who cheered me along in the month of November, only you know who you are!

Only a writer truly knows how hard it is to write an average of 1,667 words consistently for a whole month and only a fellow writer would truly care, so for that, I say THANK YOU to you who have helped me...

Now that Nano is over for a another year, it's time to focus on WRITING and some of what we have learned threw? (through) the process of NaNoWriMo. [Note to Self:  Nano has me forgetting the writing rules because that is the nature of the NaNoWriMo challenge; I shall work on my grammar and punctuation and spelling from this point on...]

One thing that became blatantly obvious to me was having a plan and sticking to it.

As you may already know I'm not much of a planner because I find it restrictive but through the Nano process this year I've realized if you really want to achieve something in particular you do indeed need a plan.

I had part of a plan.

Part of a plan is not a plan.

Well, it's not enough of a plan to get you where you want to go.

Where did I want to go?

Well, I wanted to write a fantasy novel. I set my Nano up so that I had thirty chapters of around four pages space to write hell for leather. I even had little prompts written under the chapter numbers for inspiration and you'd be surprised how apt they were throughout the process. Things like this:


Chapter One:
Start here… [replace this text with today’s 1,667 words] don’t think, just write!

Chapter Two:
Day two start here… [replace this text with your 2nd days 1,667 words]

Chapter Three:
C’mon, this is just the beginning! [replace this text with your 1,667 words]

Chapter Four:
Now you’re on your way… [place your 1,667 words here]


Chapter Five:
Keep going! [place your 1,667 words here]


Chapter Six:
Now, you’re getting it… [replace this text with your 1,667 words]

Chapter Seven:
And you thought this was supposed to be fun? Keep going! [place your 1,667 words here]

Chapter Eight:
Are we there yet? [Place your 1,667 words here]

Etc, etc, etc... (The King and I)

Stuff like that and it helped me keep writing throughout the month of November.

I've attempted Nano in years gone by and I must say this year was my best year as far as learning writing lessons and you get to learn a lot about yourself too. It's a great challenge.

Next post we shall look at the editing process...

Until then, C U.

Zak!



 





NaNoWriMo ~ Day Thirty ~ 1,780 wc For a Total of 50,200 Words and It's All Over!

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I can't believe it! I'm here at last.

Oh my, how sad. 

Last day. Already? 

Time to wind it up… 

Well, I don't know about you but I've had a great time with NaNoWriMo this year and boy have I been able to learn some really amazing lessons throughout this process. If you've never considered doing NaNoWriMo then next year give it a go!

It will be strange to have the time to dedicate to normal blog posts again after today. Why did I ever find blogging so hard? I have no excuse for not keeping this blog up to date now but boy I can have some fun coming up with new excuses.

Now, go party! 

Editing starts tomorrow.
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty Nine ~ 2,368 Words and One Day to GO!

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I can hardly believe it's been a month of writing 1,667 words per day, or at least achieving an average of that number of words for thirty consecutive days.

Yes, there were days when I only wrote two to six hundred words and the next day was catch up. But generally I managed to keep the pace over the month and those days when I really didn't want to write one word were found easier because I didn't want to miss posting on my blog for fear I was being seen publicly.

If it wasn't for you, the readers of this blog, I probably would have thrown the towel and given NaNoWriMo up as a bad joke. But there's something about people watching you that makes you try that bit harder. Or, at least, thinking that people are watching you because I doubt anyone other than those who I have spoken to or written to about this project are paying any attention at all. 

With only ONE DAY TO GO I'm beginning to feel a sadness at the coming end of NaNoWriMo and I figure I'll just have to go it alone from the end of November. But the lesson will always stay with me, as long I have a brain to think with, that is. After seeing my Dad with Alzheimer's I never take the act of thinking for granted anymore. We are very lucky to have what we have in this life and I'm grateful for what I have ~ every single day ~
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty Eight ~ 624 Words and Two Days to GO!

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Only 624 words today.

It's Sunday and that's a work day for me, so I forgive myself for low word count.

'til tommorow...
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty Seven!~ 1,697 Words and WOW!

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Wow!

Today I wrote 1,697 words and had a wonderful time. The first one thousand words flowed like Stream-of-consciousness and the next six hundred were no more difficult.


I spoke about fear and how it affects our lives and I came up with a quote, 

Do as much as you can with as much as you have” 

then I Google'd it to see if it was original and of course it wasn't. As the Bible states there is nothing new under the sun (or something similar to that).

But not letting that take away from what I gained in today's drill. I had a great time and writing was fun. Now this is why I like to write and this is the way it should be.

Three days to go and the process is teaching me so much.

Until tommorow...
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty Six, Australia ~ 6110 Words Playing Catch Up...


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Playing catch up today.

Wrote 6110 mostly random words and a total of 43,731 ~ the end is near.

It takes 21 days to create a habit they say, so I guess I've created a habit of writing around 1,667 words per day.

A good friend mentioned to me today that most authors take a year or more to write a novel and if you were to keep at this for a month you could have a novel in a month. Got me to thinking that if you were to keep this pace up you could write twelve novels a year, maybe eleven books a year and have one month off.

How does that sound?
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Yeah, I know, sounds like I'm all Nano'ed out...
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty Five, Australia ~ 1313 words12,389 short of 50k...


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The 50k seems far away and the end of the month so close.


Feelings of desperation and not wanting to give up, but, please give me air!
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty Four, Australia ~ Yay for Reaching the 50k While on Fluid Tablets!


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Today, I’m going to admit to, and even give you an insight into the sort of rubbish that gets written during NaNoWriMo. At least, from this writer’s experience. Other Wrimoists’ probably have equally distressing tales to tell but this is mine.

While scanning various blogs and emails this morning, as is my routine from roughly 5 to 6am every morning, I noticed these few words:

On fluid tablets

You must understand that I was still in la-la-land at this stage and I immediately jumped to the conclusion the words said something like… “Attempting NaNoWriMo while being on fluid tablets”.

Once upon a time those three words, on fluid tablets, would have escaped my attention but because I’m attempting Nano and my Dad has Alzheimer’s and both he and my mother-in-law are on these tablets I noticed the words like an infrared homing device.

Now, anyone who has ailing elderly relatives will know that fluid tablets are used to reduce excess fluid which ultimately, if not taken, causes all sorts of health problems. For my, mother-in-law, they keep her alive by keeping fluid off her lungs after nine heart attacks. For my Dad they help stop build-up and ultimately death, I guess. I’m really not sure exactly what they do for him but I know he needs them and without them he’d be a very sick man.

Now, the note that was posted by a fellow, NaNoWriMo Freaker, put this vision in my head of a woman sitting at her keyboard legs tightly squeezed together while typing furiously to get the 1,667 word count for today’s quota and gave me the feeling that I needed to go too, even though I didn’t!

Alas, have you ever tried to hang on while on fluid tablets?

I imagine it wouldn’t be a very comfortable experience.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting thought and as I’m at day twenty four the insanity streak is settling in nicely and pretty soon I reckon I might even write something of substance which until now has pretty much eluded me.

You know. The really ironic thing about scanning emails and blogs when you’re only half awake and generally scanning on the internet as a rule, has become such a common thing that half the time we only think we saw what we saw, because when I went back to check on what it was that made me leap to this, fluid tablet conclusion, was actually the wording,

“Yay for reaching the 50k while on cold and flu tablets


As is the instinct these days for us techno-addicted-nuff-nuffs to grasp at what we thought we saw and leap to our own conclusions.

Excuse me. I have to go...

How’s your personal NaNoWriMo experience?
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty Three only 514 Words but gotta rush off...

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Got rush off to work, so word count today is so far 514, total 36,049. Getting there, got to rush!
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty Two only 505 Words but I have a good excuse...

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Today I held a class at the Aged Care Home near my place, Writing Your Memoirs. We used a very helpful book called, You Are Next in Line.
I figure that is a really good excuse not to have completed my word count for today. However, I promise to do my necessary words for tommorow plus my catch up words. That means I have 2,806 words to write tommorow.


 
Oh, the things we put ourselves through...
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty One 4,053 Words 35,030 Total - It don't come easy...

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Writing! It don't come easy

Ringo Starr obviously tried to be a writer at some stage in his life because only a writer would really understand what, "not coming easy" really means.

I had to do the big catch up this morning and it was very difficult.

Why am I doing this again?
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twenty, Australia 335 Words To Report and Total 30,977


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I think the wheels are falling off my Nano Cart or at the very least I have a puncture.


Don’t feel like writing this morning and it’s Saturday.

I figure I won’t fight it.

I’ll succumb to it and hope I feel motivated tomorrow...

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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Nineteen, Australia 304 Words To Report and Total 30,642

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It was hardly worth opening my Nano Word Document this morning. A piddly 304 words as most of my Nano effort happened in my head and not on the screen today.

I've been doing a lot of thinking and planning of the story that I came up with yesterday and thus I've stalled on word count. I guess I should have thought of this story before the 1st of November and then I would have had something to write about. I guess this is all trial and error. I'm good at the error part anyway.

It's nice to be good at something...
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Eighteen, Australia 1,898 Words To Report and Total 30,338


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We've Only Just BegunWell, today I came up with an idea for a story.


It's not great but it's a start.

One of the critters that lives in this novel is a, Rekutort, and Jack, gets a starring role in the story as a reluctant hero, although he almost destroys planet earth before he gets his chance to shine. Still no partner for Jack, though.

1,898 words for a total of 30,338 and the story has only just begun...
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Seventeen, Australia 1,511 Words To Report and Total 28,440

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Just a quick update today, gotta run!

1,511 words for a total of 28,440.

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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Sixteen: More Than Half Way ! ~ 26,292 words...

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Are we there yet?


Well, we are getting darn close.

Over the halfway mark today with 1,736 words and a total of 26,292 which leaves 23,081 words to go!
 
Nothing anyone would want to read yet but they say that if you just keep writing eventually something will come. I fear all that will come will be Christmas or Santa Clause...
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Fifteen Half Way There ~ 5,066 words...


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Are We There Yet?Are we there yet?

Nope!

Halfway mark today and it felt like pain at 5,066 words. Had to catch up on the weekends little misdemeanor of two slack days.

Still no marvellous story idea just ramblings, but I keep trying.

NaNoWriMo ~ Day Thirteen & Fourteen 0 Words ~ Big Fat Zero...

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Library)
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Today and yesterday will be, and were, big fat no shows...

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest anyway, but I'm working 7am to 7pm so Nano will have to wait and work is evil having me there on a Sunday...

I'm pretty happy with my progress for this years Nano so I'm not stressing. I have an Accounting Exam on Tuesday too, so I suppose that will interfere a bit as well. Such is Nano and so it goes.

All-in-all, the word count is creeping up and on Monday I'm hoping to have a big, industrious writing session, all going well. *crosses fingers*

Until then, Happy Nanoing!
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Twelve 1,511 Words...

The One Year Book of Hope (One Year Books)
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1,511 words and a total of 20,127.

Scary that I can write over twenty thousand words of nothing much. Still no earth shattering story coming ~ I live in hope!
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Eleven 1,671 Words Today and Almost Missed Posting

Attitude (Believe In Yourself) Motivational Print Poster - 20" x 16"
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Just a real quick post today.

1,671 words written this morning making a total of 18,616.

I was hoping to up the total tonight but I've decided to call it a day instead.

This years Nano is much harder than I expected.
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NaNoWriMo ~ Day Ten 1,678 Words Today and Life Dramas Get In The Way...

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Sigh, life dramas get in the way again.

Jan's Story: Love lost to the long goodbye of Alzheimer's 
What would life be if we didn't have a little drama now and then? I seem to have a lot of now's and then's, perhaps more than my fair share at the moment but I'm not the only one. 

If sadness comes, it's here to teach us how to really enjoy, love life and treasure even more those moments of joy.


1,678 words today and all focused on my Dad's Alzheimer’s illness.


I shall now focus towards Chapter Eleven (Day Eleven; Nano)...


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