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Danielle Donaldson blogs here. What I'm reading now. What I'm writing now. My various thoughts about romance novels, publishing and writing at large and the sexy stuff that comes to mind! 

Filtering by Tag: National Novel Writing Month

iOS Screen Time and Productivity

Danielle Donaldson

Recently, there was an iOS update for my iPhone and iPad that included a new feature of managing and tracking screen time. At first, I was completely annoyed. I already know how much time I waste on my phone every day. I already feel a lot of guilt about it, I didn’t need the very thing that I was addicted to constantly reminding me to stop being addicted to it. 

Yet, this is also NaNoWriMo month and distractions from writing my novel are abound. I need to reign in my phone use and had to do it quickly.  

From the Screen Time feature, I could tell that I wasting hours and I mean hours scrolling through social media needlessly. But, I could also set myself limits on that usage. So, I buckled down and set week day limits of 2 hours on all social media apps including Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. All of the apps where I could lose myself in doing nothing productive.  

And since then, I have written every single day and met my word count goals. *insert self high five here*  

If you are like me and lack most self-control around device usage. It might be helpful for you take a look at this feature on your device. Even if it makes you feel like you’re grounding yourself from fun, you might surprise yourself and not even miss it. 

Image from my iPad which I don’t actually use that often. Trust me. You don’t want to see how often I use my phone ;)  

Image from my iPad which I don’t actually use that often. Trust me. You don’t want to see how often I use my phone ;)  

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2016 Day 1

Danielle Donaldson

Day 1 in the bag.  


Word count: 1741


I'm working on finishing a rough draft of my next novel. In short, it's a love story between an overworked career woman who is afraid of commitment and the male sex worker she hires to fulfill her baser desires.  


So far, so good. I'm also working off of the beats I wrote a year ago so I wonder how much that is attributing to my ability to write quickly. In the upcoming days, I'll post little snippets of what I've written. 

NaNoWriMo Prep and #PrewriteProject

Danielle Donaldson

If you have been living under a rock (or are new to the world of writing fiction), welcome to the internet! Also, you should check out National Novel Writing Month! It's a organized forum/site for writers from all over the world to "compete" and participate in a breakneck paced writing "contest" of writing 50,000 words in the month of November. It's lots of fun and I've written the first drafts to two of my books this way. 

Yet, the secret to writing 50,000 words in a month is being prepared. If you have a general idea of where your story is going and who the main players are, you are FAR less likely to be staring at a blank page for too long and wasting precious, precious writing time. Chuck Wendig had a wonderfully hilarious post about plotting in the month of October in prep for NaNoWriMo. 

Personally, I needed some guidance, something fresh to jump into with both feet. My story idea was a single sentence: "A vampire hunter + vampire that is seeking redemption" Not much of a story there. No plot, no characters, nothing happening. So, I decided to check out @SheNovels ' PreWrite Project workbook and I highly suggest it. It's a 6 day program (I took 2 days to finish Day 3) that walks you through starting a story from scratch and all the way through the final research/world building stages. 





I printed out the workbook and worked with pen and paper. It felt more real, more tangible and I felt a sense of pride from flipping the pages and watching them fill up with my handwriting. The story started taking shape before my eyes. I had a place to dump all my ideas, no matter how crazy. 

Why does this idea thrill you? Never write a story if it doesn’t set your soul on fire.
— She's Novel Pre-Write Project

I worked out character ideas, motivations, backstories, appearances, personalities, sub-plot arcs, etc all on those pages. I was able to flip around, skip things that I didn't have answers for at the moment and go back and fill them in. I scribbled things in the margins. I wrote my story "wish list." What the Pre-Write Project did for me was it got me excited about my story idea. It lit my soul on fire for this story and these characters. That's why this year's NaNoWriMo will be a success for me. That's why I'm so excited to write this book. 

What gets you excited about a project? The outline? A Pinterest board? an honest-to-goodness IRL corkboard? Let me know! I'd love to hear from you and what you plan to do to prep for this year's NaNoWriMo.