Experience Writing: This site is about you. Tell me what you want in the new year and a free gift!

This year is all about you!     white flowers round

I recently took a course from Open University Australia called Write for the Web. The course opened my eyes to some fundamental truths about writing. The first truth–seems obvious, but created a shift in my outlook–I am writing for you. To write good content, I need to know what you are looking for when you read this blog and give it to you.

What do you want in the New Year?

So, what is it that you want to explore this year? What would you like to see me write about?

You are writers and bloggers who labor to create blog posts, stories; even novels, and you want people to read them. You are travelers, photographers, crafters and foodies who want to share your passions with the world. What are you looking for when you read this blog? What can I write so you leave feeling satisfied and come back for more?

Starting today, I am adding a fun poll or two to my posts to get to know you better.

 

 Thank you for your answers. I can’t wait for the results.

A new name for a new outlook

To reflect the change of focus from my personal writing experience to your experiences as writers and readers, I have changed the name of the site to Experience Writing. I hope you like it. I think the new name describes the purpose of this site more clearly.

Want to improve your blog or website? Here’s a FREE content check list!

Because I enjoyed the Writing for the Web course  and learned so much, I have a lot of great information to share.

If you want information on how you can improve your content, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive a free printable checklist for writing good content for the web.

I want it button

lillyI hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to the new year with hope in your heart.

I can’t wait to see our poll results and read your suggestions. I look forward to learning and growing with you in 2016!

Happy Writing

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Do all of your Holiday Shopping right here! Then you’ll be done!

Pictured: Wooden jigsaw puzzles from Artifact Puzzles, Gator McBumpypants picturebooks and T-shirts and pillow cover from Red Bubble

Pictured: Wooden jigsaw puzzles from Artifact Puzzles, Gator McBumpypants picturebooks, and T-shirts and pillow cover from Red Bubble

Get All Your Christmas Shopping Done Right Here!

Think of all the great people on your Christmas list. I bet, even though you want to get each person something great, you are dreading the drudgery of driving all over town from store to store only to shell out money for the latest piece of plastic that your loved ones most likely won’t even appreciate.

Now, imagine with only a few clicks right here, from this page, all of your shopping could be complete. Each person you want to celebrate with will have a unique and thoughtful gift and you don’t need to move from your seat. Sounds amazing, right?

 

A great gift for the whole family

To keep every mind in the family sharp, take a look at Artifact Puzzles. Their beautiful wooden jigsaw puzzles are wonderful at any gathering. They are great collectors items because they are fun to do over and over again.

My family has a tradition of setting out one or two Artifact Puzzles for after meal entertainment. They are a great group activity and really bring people together. Artifact Puzzles has puzzles for all ages and skill ranges.

 

Give the gift of reading this year

Think of your gift list again. Think of the adorable little ones running around and screaming. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were sitting quietly being read to or reading a book? For children new born to age seven-ish, Gator McBumpypants adventures  are fun colorful stories that teach children about appreciating the differences in others and making friends. The stories are about being brave and trying new things.

Gator McBumpypants is a fun, sweet read that takes you through the highs and lows of friends that discover the greatness with each other and with themselves. What a delightful read and the choice of photography is brilliant! The perfect story to fuel the imagination in us all.                                                         – Amazon reviewer Zappathedog

With three adventures, each a standalone story and more to come, Gator McBumpypants books are gifts that keep on giving.

Already own all the Gator McBumpypants books? I have designed Gator McBumpypants products over at Red Bubble. There are onesies for the babies and pillows, tote bags and many more fun products for Gator McBumpypants lovers of any age.

 

Looking for something unique, creative and fun?

Interested in unique art products for the creatives and fashion conscious on your list? Head over to Red Bubble. At Red Bubble art and photography can be purchased as prints, posters and cards, or products like tablet and phone covers, T-shirts and sweatshirts, and so much more. Simply click on one of the images to see all of the great products with that design on them.

Have a nature lover in your family? How about an animal calendar or a tote bag? You will find something for everyone over at Red Bubble.

 

There you go! Gifts for everyone. Now, think of all the free time you have to read, write, relax and reward yourself.

Merry Christmas              Happy Holidays             My Best to You and Yours

#NaNoWriMo Yes or No? The Pros and Cons of Participating in National Novel Writing Month

Maria L. Berg writing in her notebook in front of her portrait painted by E. Spencer Matthews entitled Maria Fights the Robot SpidersHave you heard of NaNoWriMo but are not sure what it is? Thought of trying it but wondered if it was worth it? I wrote the first draft of my novel this November and lived to tell.

Imagine: You’ve been dreaming of writing a novel since you were a little kid, but life got in the way. You’ve been mulling your story idea for years. Suddenly, the stars align and you are ready to write your novel. The leaves have turned and begun to fall and you know the holidays are coming. Do you sign up and commit to writing 50,000 words in a month? Will it be worth your time and effort?

This is where I was this October. I told myself, if everything lined up just right, I would do it. I have always been a self-motivated creator, but when it came to getting words on the page, my dream novel, the one I thought about when I dreamed of being an author, wasn’t happening. This year, NaNoWriMo helped me get that story started.

Before I had ever heard of (Inter)National Novel Writing Month (November): I had done research; I had a broad outline of the characters; I had even written a prologue and shared it with my critique group, but the story wasn’t getting written. I don’t know why, but I knew I had to get outside of myself to write this story. Ever feel that way?

I decided I would look into NaNoWriMo.  I wondered why so many people were talking about it.  The goal? To write a rough draft with a beginning, middle and end and at least 50,000 words in one month. It sounded impossible. Did I do it? Was it fun?

Let’s look at the Pros and Cons:

PRO CON
Developed my characters Lost storyline sometimes
Wrote lots of dialogue Didn’t feel like art more like a machine
Approached difficult scenes Paid too much attention to word count
Wrote most words in a day More difficult revision
I now know how much I can write in an hour and in a ten minute sprint My face broke out and my house got dusty
Learned about word crawls
Joined a write-in at a local book store
My inner critic really didn’t like it!

As you can see, the experience was more positive than negative.

One take-away that I will use throughout the year is Word Crawls. Word Crawls are games to motivate writing. Unlike prompts, they do not tell you what to write. The purpose of a crawl is to play a game of how much or how long to write. My friends compared them to D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) in that you choose characters and might roll dice to see what your character does next, but the fun part is you write a story within a story. My favorite was The Walking Dead Crawl. You can take a look at some word crawls at the WikiWriMo

Nation Novel Writing Month 2015 Winner Banner

When I had a fever in the third week, I didn’t think I would make it. Word crawls with my best friend got me through.

So for me, this year, YES, it was worth it. And it was (mostly) fun. If the timing is right and you feel ready, you can write a first draft of a novel in a month! And as a bonus, learn what motivates you and new ways to get words on the page.

Have questions about NaNoWriMo? Please ask in the comments.

Did you participate this year? What do you think? Yes or No?

Happy Reading and Writing!