NaNoWriMo isn’t getting much of my attention this November

The holiday season is closing in on us, and I find myself wondering just where 2023 went.

My attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is failing but with grandbaby #2 on the way soon, I have been helping my daughter a lot this month. I can write anytime; family comes first.

In addition to that I have been working on increasing the numbers of my free crafting community on Skool, plus I have created a paid community for information product creators. Both have kept me busy in the evenings.

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Attempting NaNo this year was not the wisest thing for me to do but it has gotten me to write a little more than I would have otherwise. And being the pantser that I am, I think it’s going alright story-wise. I’ll have some time to write over the next couple of days so I should be able to add a few thousand words to my word count.

Something I have learned other years while doing NaNo is to not try to cram too much writing in all in one day. It can cause temporary burnout, especially if forced.

Something else I have learned is the story flows easier if there’s at least a general plan. This year I had a plan, then switched at the last minute. I know where I want the story to go, but am having a little trouble with the setting. I know it’ll all fall into place as soon as I dedicate some time to it.

I thought NaNo would be a good way to get back into writing fiction. As many of you know, I’ve been at a standstill with it since Ross passed away. I think it’s a combination of things, with one being I had a more regular schedule then. I’d make myself fit in writing time after work or on weekends.

Now that I have more time to write it seems as if I’m writing less. I lost my biggest supporter when he passed, and that is playing a part in it as well. He used to tease me about being a kept man when I became a famous author. Not only have I not reached that point yet, but he is no longer here to enjoy the fame with if it ever happens. (Life has moved forward but the missing him will never stop.)

I used to use Scrivener for my writing but have realized that using Google Docs is more practical. When all I had was a desktop Scrivener was the logical choice. However, now that I use my desktop, laptop, and iPad, Google Docs makes it much easier to get some words in here and there.

Not only is it practical for my books, it’s also perfect for my articles and courses I’m working on for my info product hub. I can brainstorm on my iPad before bed and then sort out the ideas into separate documents the next morning.

Before I go let me recap what I’ve learned by doing NaNo (plus a couple other tips):

  1. Don’t try to write more than your brain can handle in one day.
  2. Use a cloud-based word processor so you can write on the go. Be sure it has the capability to save offline as well.
  3. Have a plan; at least to some degree. Pantsing is okay, but plotting it out is better.
  4. Take breaks when writing. Remember to eat, and have a bottle of water nearby so you stay hydrated.
  5. And last but not least, follow the characters wherever they take you. I have had a lot more fun writing when I let the characters determine where they were going.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year are you ahead, on par, or falling behind (like me)? Let me know in the comments.

New Year and 3 New Opportunities for Side Hustles

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve had an enjoyable holiday season and brought in the new year on a good note.

Now that the holidays are over and life is returning to somewhat normal, it’s time to get back to work. I’m enjoying writing for my 3 blogs, and am having fun creating new planners, colouring pages, and activity books.

The frost on the trees makes it look like a winter wonderland; so very pretty when it’s thick. The snow and frost are sparkling in the sun today. We had several days where it was overcast and didn’t get to enjoy the sun at all. (It’s days like those that my energy level goes to shit.) I’m very much a “need sun” girl. After spending a few November days in Vancouver several years ago, I realized a coastal home is not for me. I’ll take the minus 40 and sun any day.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

I know I haven’t talked much about side hustles for awhile, but with the beginning of a new year I’m going to give you a few ideas for them. I do have to say, one of my best resources is Printables by Number (John & Suzi Whitford). I have purchased courses and templates, and am very happy with the information that they provide. If you’re interested in creating a printables business as a side hustle, I highly recommend them.

If you’re not interested in starting a printables business, you can start with a blog. Blogging has been, and will continue to be, a lucrative side hustle. The key, however, is to stay consistent. If you want to know more about starting a blog, Suzi has a great free beginners course. The link is for an ebook, which I suggest you print out for offline reference. (I’ve been blogging for awhile, and I still refer to my copy.)

In addition to creating printables and having a blog, you can use your knowledge to create courses. The nice thing about a course is once you create it, you can almost set-it-and-forget-it. It doesn’t have to be a long course, and your lessons should be bite-size. In my experience as a student of online courses, I would rather have more lessons of shorter duration than one or two an hour or more long each.

Notice I said almost? Even if your course content is evergreen, you’re still going to have to do some updates over time. In Suzi & John’s Printables by Number Course they updated from the 2.0 to 3.0, just since I became a student. They realized they needed to include more information, and any existing students got the new version at no extra cost. (New students will get the updated version, which includes all of the updates.)

I’m partway through a course on and am learning so much. My next step is to create my own, but I’m torn on which niche (printables or yoga) I want to start with. I have invested in the software and accessories to create; now I need to make my decision and actually do it.

And yes, I know I’ve talked about printables, blogging, and courses before, and they’re not an opportunity you haven’t heard about. But, any one of them can be a new opportunity for you. And with the cost of living on the rise, and the expense of Christmas weighing heavily on many, it’s the perfect time to invest some time in yourself.

Don’t wait until you’re in dire straights and need thousands yesterday. Take the steps now to start building something for yourself. Whether you want to retire early, start an education fund for grandbabies, or just take a few more vacations a year, investing in yourself is never a bad thing.

I recently invested in some software to create activity books and puzzles, and have created my first. I’m still learning the ropes on the platform I’m using, and would love your feedback. Click on the photo below (or the Activity Book in the sidebar) and let me know what you see. I’m not sure if my funnel system is set up right; so if it isn’t I want to know so I can fix it.

Once again, I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year! And may the year ahead bring you happiness, joy, and prosperity. Enjoy each day and be grateful for the good it brings.

Thoughts and Advice on Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, stress levels go up tenfold. It doesn’t have to be that way.

It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, or buying. You do what works for you and your family, and don’t spend more than you can afford.

Yes, I know it’s easier said than done. Just remember the toys and other gifts will be forgotten as time goes on. It’s the memories made that last a lifetime.

And for those of you who are giving Santa gifts, please remember to keep them within an average price range. It’s heartbreaking for kids that get a doll or toy car when their classmates get an iPad or some other expensive gift. Have you ever had to explain to your child why they got a doll or toy car instead of a laptop?

Leave the more expensive gifts to be from parents and grandparents, not Santa.

Also keep in mind it’s not all about the gifts under the tree. Take some baking to a neighbour who has helped you through the year, or a meal to a neighbour who will be spending Christmas alone. Teach your kids and grandkids it’s more than just a day for presents. Christmas is also about helping those less fortunate, and doing something for someone else.

At the end of the day, we can all be a little nicer and considerate of others. In all reality, the good deeds shouldn’t have to wait until Christmas. By being kind and considerate throughout the year, you’ll find yourself to be a happier person. Do things to help others just for the sake of it; not expecting anything in return.

Now I’m going to set aside some of my Christmas baking for my neighbour who has taken it upon himself to clear the snow from my driveway twice this month. I’m the new kid on the block, and my new neighbours have made me feel welcome. (And in a rural area like mine, the closest neighbours are half a mile away.)

I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’ll see you in 2023!