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Archive | October, 2007

NaNoWriMo Success: How to Write a Novel in 30 Days

National Novel Writing Month

writing novel in 30 days

Did you kow that tomorrow is the start of National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short? So what is NaNoWriMo? It is an novel writing challenge that anyone can join. The challenge: “to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.” To sign up and join the fun and the insanity just go to NaNoWriMo.org.

NaNoWriMo Success

If you decide to join, this article will give you some tools, resources, and other guidance to help you achieve success with writing your novel in 30 days. The NaNoWriMo challenge is no simple task. At the very least you’ll need heaps of discipline and a lot of hard work. At the most you may also want to do some planning. You say, “Well it’s only 1666 words per day. I can do that!” And you can, but it’s not going to be easy. But follow along and hopefully you’ll have some fun!

Tools You’ll Need to Write a Novel in 30 Days

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Computer
  • Brain
  • Caffeine (optional)

Optional Tools and Books for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Free Novel Writing Resources

  • The Snowflake Method – excellent free online guide to planning and writing a novel.
  • Dark Room – free text editor for writing without distractions. Download different colors.
  • Google Docs – free online word processing application that is simple and easy to use. I use it all the time!
  • AbiWord – another free online word processing application.
  • Zoho Writer – and yet another free online word processing application. (Not that you need distractions but they have some other cool stuff too.)
  • YWriter – this is a free software program you can download that helps you organize writing a novel


Planning Methods for Writing a Novel by November 30th

Seat of Your Pants
Start with a nugget of an idea and just start writing. Many people write this way. Some even find success in this method. This keeps things interesting for the author. On the other hand writers often find frustration with this method because of the need to go back and rewrite large passages when the story line needs to change halfway through the book. Planning doesn’t eliminate this problem completely, but it certainly happens less when you do some planning.

Character Dictates the Story
Let your story begin with an interesting character. You’ll want a character who is ready for some kind of change in his/her life. Flesh out everything about your character and let your character tell the story to you. Here are some things you can “discover” about your character as you bring them to life:

  • Physical characteristics
  • Desires
  • Fears
  • Weaknesses & Strengths
  • What is the force that is acting upon your character that will back them into a corner and that will make change inevitable?

Plot Planning
Plan out your story according to Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why. Map out each of these questions starting with What the story is about. You should plan for several major disasters. Then move on to flesh out each of the other areas such as the main characters. Outline your chapters with a sentence or two about what will happen. Then start writing the story. For a great guide on this type of planning and writing check out the SnowFlake Method which is a free guide to writing a novel.


Other Success Considerations

Make sure that you set yourself up for success by establishing good support systems and habits:

  • Get enough sleep each night or you won’t have the juice you need to write!
  • Eat Well. Get the fuel you need so you can get it all done.
  • Frequent Breaks. Don’t try to do it all at once. Studies show that you are much more productive when you take breaks.
  • Support Buddy. Establish a buddy you can go to for support. Create a reward for their support at the end of the month!
  • Motivation. Know why you are writing this novel. Write it out and tape it in front of your writing area.
  • Variety. Keep it interesting and find inspiration by writing in different places especially when motivation is lagging.
  • Reward. Establish a reward for your hard work upon completion of your novel.


Join Me at NaNoWriMo!

You can visit my profile and add me as a buddy here.

Please Share!

Please share with us your progress on your NaNoWriMo novel in the comments! Check back often to keep us updated and find some encouragement from fellow writers!? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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16

A Lesson in Zen: Such

zen

In college I took a course on Zen Buddhism. I really loved it because it taught me to think of things from a different perspective.

One of the lessons that struck a chord in me was a meditation on “Such.� In a nutshell, the meditation calls upon you think of things as just “such,� simply for what they are and not relative to anything else. This is difficult to do because everything we experience is given meaning or definition by its function or by its relative proximity to other things.

For instance, if I show you a picture of a chair and ask you what it is you’ll probably say “a chair.� But if I place a knife, fork, plate, and some food on it then it becomes a table. And if I stand on it to change a lightbulb, it becomes a step ladder.

Another way that we experience the relative perception of things is as “good� or “bad.� Things are perceived as good when seen in contrast to bad things and vice versa. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are running late for the airport and you miss your plane. That’s bad right? Good = getting on the plane and not losing time and money. What if you later find out that the plane you were supposed to be on crashed? Now how do you feel about missing the plane? That’s good right?

The lesson I wish to leave you with today is to not fear or run from “the bad,� the uncomfortable, the frightening, the dirty, the smelly, from hunger, sadness, pain and so on. By experiencing these things this is how we come to know the good, the comfortable, the beautiful, the delicious, peace, luxury, love, happiness, and more.

For today, try to see “the bad� as just “such.� And know that by encountering “the bad� in life, you will come to know and, more importantly, appreciate “the good� in life. Also, ask yourself how you can reframe your “bad� experiences so that you perceive them, instead, as good. Ask yourself, what did I learn from this? What should I learn from this? Where is the good in this? Sometimes when bad things happen in our life, it is a gift that shines a light on what is really important and good in our life. Really feel and experience the good in your life today.

Life is challenging. Life is beautiful. Life is such.

Peace to you.

Please Share!

What are your thoughts? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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9

Quantum Leap: What’s Your Next Big Thing?

Slow and Steady

(Video Below!)
Many of the things we work on in our lives require steady work or improvements daily. And this kind of progress can yield great results. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Well, yes and no.

It’s also important every now and then to take a step that amounts to a quantum leap. All areas of your life can benefit from this type of progress.

Quantum Leap

What is a quantum leap? I define this as a crossing a chasm in one giant leap instead of many little steps. It’s taking a shortcut that isn’t obvious or is perhaps a bit scary because you’ve never treaded that path before.

How do you know when you need a quantum leap? It’s when you start to feel stifled and restless. That’s when you’re ready to breakout with your Next Big Thing!

What Does a Quantum Leap Look Like?


Here are some examples:

Business:

  • Instead of trying to increase client acquisition by spending more hours on your current marketing process, create a revamped marketing process that is more bold and powerful in terms of gaining new clients.
  • Instead of continuing to grow your core business day in and out, add a new line to your offering that compliments your core business.
  • Instead of growing a mature product line, create a new product that will eventually cannibalize your mature line, but the growth of which will take your company to the next level.

Relationships:

  • Instead of the standard daily kiss on the cheek and “How was your day,” re-examine your relationship and determine how you could make it richer, closer, warmer, and more supportive. (Hint: what kinds of things did you do at the beginning of your relationship?)
  • Instead of continuing to hate someone every day (hurting yourself in the process), come up with a plan that enables you to stop hating that person even if it means “embracing” that person in some fashion.

Health:

  • Instead of the half-baked efforts to diet and exercise, pick a really healthy plan that also includes daily stress reduction via meditation. Then commit to it and put a fail-proof plan into place to really stick to it.


How to Take a Quantum Leap in Your Life

1. Choose. What is the one area of your life that you want to take to the next level? Maybe you want a full life makeover. If so, narrow it down by asking yourself, “What is the one area of my life that is in most need of a change ? What is that one area that will provide an energy jump start the energy needed for a full life makeover?”

2. Analyze. Ask yourself: “If I had no fear, what is the one thing that could take me to the next level? What’s holding me back from success in this area? What is it I’m afraid to do?” Brainstorm a lot of ideas. Write them down. Don’t censor yourself and don’t worry about the details. Now, which idea scares you the most? Which idea presents the greatest challenge? That’s probably the one to pick. Don’t let fear hold you back. Remember, if you set your mind to it, You Can Do It!

3. Plan. Devise an action plan to make that quantum leap successfully. How? Write out the end goal first and work backwards. What do you need to do to reach the end goal? What are the steps you need to take? Write them all down. You can use yellow stickies and put them into order after you have all your ideas written out. Lastly, after the action steps are in order then start scheduling them into your weekly routine and into your calendar.

4. Act. Take the first action step soon, like today or tomorrow morning. Establish a goal buddy for regular progress updates, support, and encouragement. Doing this weekly will help you to fail-proof your plan.

Columbian Kids Who Take a Leap Every Morning to Go to School

Please Share!

Are You Ready to Take a Quantum Leap in Your Life? Tell us about it! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this on your favorite social network. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

 

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10

Do You Spend Too Much Time Online?

How to Wean Yourself from the Online World

Does your time on the computer keep you from enjoying other important things in your life such as:

* leisure time
* family time
* exercise
* relationships
* being outdoors
* learning
* hobbies
* socializing
* reading
* travel

If you want a solution on how to wean yourself away from the web, check out my guest article over at Dumb Little Man:

DumbLittleMan.com: Do You Spend Too Much Time Online?

web surfing

Please Share!

Are you trying to cut back on internet time? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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2

What are Your Favorites?


I previously put some of my best posts into PocketMod format.

I plan to make another one or two of these and wanted to get everyone’s input on which posts you would like to be able to carry in your wallet or purse for easy reference.

Please share your opinion in the comments below and thank you!

If you missed them before here are the two “Best of Life Learning Today” PocketMods that are already available:

Best of Life Learning Today 1
Keep these top posts in mini-format at hand in your wallet or purse:

  1. Meditation Naps – How To
  2. 10 Steps for Maximum Energy
  3. You Can Do It!
  4. Do It Anyway!

Best of Life LearningToday 2
Keep these top posts in PocketMod format at hand in your wallet or purse:

Folding Instructions Download
Download this document for instructions on how to fold these pocket mods!


Please Share!

What LLT posts would you like to have in PocketMod format? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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3

The Coolest Green Habits to Adopt Today: Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

If you’re like me, thinking about global warming and the health of our environment is alarming. It makes me want to take action. The health of our planet directly affects our own health, so it is a no-brainer to begin to change our own behaviors and do everything we can to make a difference.

Over the last 9 months I’ve learned a lot about “Going Green.” I can’t say that I’m making a huge difference yet, but over time I’ve changed some habits and I plan to keep looking for more ways to lessen my impact on the environment. I know that by being one link in a long chain of others, together we can make a huge difference. Hopefully this one blog post may inspire you to find ways to keep our planet healthy. That’s why I’m participating in Blog Action Day.

Making a Difference: My Favorite Cool Green Habits

Simply by being aware of things you can do, you’ll be more likely to take action. So I thought I would list my personal favorites that I’ve learned and use. Each of the headings below links to a more in depth article on that topic.

Green Cleaning:

  • Using baking soda and vinegar as cleaning agents is an eco-friendly way to keep your home spic-n-span.
  • House Plants! The all natural air freshener. My favorite is to grow some herbs like basil and parsley.
  • Plant a Tree! If everyone in the United States planted a tree, that would be 300 million new trees!
  • Air Freshener: boil citrus fruit skins in water for 30 minutes.

Things You Can Do Today to Help Save the Environment

  • Unplug unused electronics.
  • Print less and reuse the blank side of garbage paper.
  • Recycle as much as you can: paper, plastics, glass and more.
  • Turn the temperature down 2 degrees on your water heater.
  • Use less water. Try to never leave the water running unnecessarily.
  • Keep your tires fully inflated. Check the pressure monthly.
  • Walk and bicycle instead of driving.
  • Buy local produce.
  • Buy a Hybrid car. (This will be my next car.)
  • See if you can work from home full or part time.
  • Spread the word and enlist others to take part in becoming more environmentally conscious.

Recycle with a Yard Sale

  • Don’t just throw out your old stuff. If it’s useful, sell it or donate it.

Top 25 Natural Home Remedies

  • Where possible say no to harmful chemical treatments. Instead try out some of these natural home remedies.

Non-Toxic Roach Killer

  • This simple, odorless, easy, non-toxic method for killing cockroaches works! And best of all there is no clean up! Really! Check it out!

The Greenest Vehicles of 2007

  • If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, be sure to check out this list that was put together by the Sierra Club. It may surprise you.

Please Share!

What have you been doing to go green? What do you think is most important to making a difference? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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20

25 Ways to Find a Date Offline

Tired of online dating?

There are many good ways to meet new people.

Check out my guest article at Dumb Little Man for 25 ways to find a date.

DumbLittleMan.com: 25 Ways to Find a Date Offline

Please Share!

Got any good stories on finding a date? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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9

10 Surefire Ways to Kill Your Crabby Mood


Sick of being in a bad mood? Want to have a happy day?

Check out my guest post over at Dumb Little Man today:

DumbLittleMan.com: 10 Surefire Ways to Kill Your Crabby Mood

grumpy

Please Share!

How do you have a happy day? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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4

Rolling with Your Cycles

Why Am I So Aggravated Today?

frustration
I had a couple of days recently where for no apparent reason I was agitated and tired. I had enough sleep and food. I was in the middle of making a big decision so perhaps the agitation came from that, but the reason why is not so important. What is important is that I handled it all wrong!

I released my frustration by getting into arguments with family members. I allowed myself to focus too much on how I was feeling instead of counting the blessings in my life. And I “found” reasons for why I was feeling this way, piling any and all frustrations and challenges into one big pile, most of which had nothing to do with why I was actually feeling that way.

Those days passed and I feel totally normal. But it made me think about the lessons I learned and how I could handle a low cycle better in the future. Life is messy so implementing learnings is never easy or perfect, but having that road map will make the journey smoother.

Cycles

Everyone has cycles of ups and downs in their life. Cycles occur within each day and over longer time periods. They happen for many reasons some of which we can control like blood sugar by eating and some which we can’t control such as hormone based cycles or sleep cycles.

The main thing with cycles is to roll with them and not to fight them. If you are in a high cycle, ride that wave. Get great work done and enjoy your energy. During down cycles when your energy is lagging, your emotions are more edgy, and you want to throw in the towel, just ride it out. Know that an up cycle is on its way. It is inevitable!

Riding Out a Down Cycle

1. Focus on the fact that your energy will return. Know and believe that to carry you through.

2. Don’t pile extra problems on top of your down or low cycle. It doesn’t help. It just digs your hole deeper.

3. Do seek a kind person to vent your frustrations too. Your better off getting it off your chest and crying for 15 minutes than releasing your emotions through an angry argument with someone.

4. Don’t bait an argument with someone. If your down cycle is related to another person then wait until your energy returns so you can discuss things with them more rationally.

5. Pace yourself. If you can’t get some rest, at least go slow or pace yourself until you can get some rest.

6. Get some rest. Whether it is a meditation nap, a real nap, or a good night’s sleep, do it.

7. Eat and drink something. If you haven’t eaten in a while, this may be all it takes to get your energy back up to normal. Low blood sugar and dehydration are major reasons for fatigue.

8. Write down your feelings. Sometimes getting to the real reasons and brainstorming some solutions can help bring you into an upswing.

9. Find a healthy way to physically vent your emotions like going for a walk or jog, going to the driving range to hit a few golf balls, or pound the couch or some pillows.

10. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. It will pass.

Wishing you peace!

Please Share!

What are your best tricks for handling a down cycle? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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