Monday, November 16, 2015

NaNoWriMo: How's it going?

Well, National Novel Writing Month is officially more than half way over. How are your novels coming?
I have noticed that things start to die down, so I've decided to give you all a little motivation, just maybe not the kind you're used to.
When I first started writing, I felt like I was the king of the world. I could do anything and it was super fun to do all that stuff, but writing has changed for me. It is still fun, I still feel like I'm on top of the world,  but it has changed to a more therapeutic agent. Writing is my escape, and I'm sure for some of you, it's yours too.
So here's the question, why do you write so hard at the beginning, only to give it all up at the end? You are on top of the world. Why would you deny yourself that power feeling or the calm from your "therapy"? Keep going. I know it seems hard, but once your fingers hit the keyboard, everything will be just fine.
Good luck!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


So NaNoWrimo is here!
Happy National Writing Month!
For those of you who don't know what NaNoWrimo is, it is a competition that dare I say thousands of people do every November. These writers, me included, attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It is free and I really recommend it to you all. I know November has already started, sorry guys, but it's not too late! The contest is free and there are prizes! If you'd like to join go to I started participating in this contest last year, so you and I can figure it out together!
You know all about NaNoWrimo, so now what? Well, you should plan your novel out, it helps a lot, but you don't have to. I didn't plan the first year, but this year I am, and so far it is working better. There are these things called write ins that are be in your area, where you just go and write with other people. You don't have to go to these but they are kinda fun, plus there's usually food which is always a bonus.
Well, now you know pretty much everything about NaNoWrimo. If you have questions feel free to ask me or go to this website for help.
Happy Writing and good luck!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Photography for writers

Photography is one of those things that show, in a realistic and easy to understand how creative a person is. As writers, we have to be creative, so photography is a tool that can help us be creative but also help our writing. Photos from your vacation, every day life, or extraordinary events can give you writing prompts with no words to limit your creative ability.
-Take pictures of anything and everything. These pictures could spark something later and result in a  novel that the world would not be complete without. You don't have to print them out if you don't want to, simple save them to your computer (I would tell you how to do that, but I have other people do it for me so I don't know how, sorry guys).
-Look at the pictures you take and write about them. You don't have to write about the person or the main idea of the pictures, you can write about anything, the little dog in the background, the girl in the yellow dress, describe the sky, or even explain how the gum got on the sidewalk. These pictures will have no words to limit you and they are connected to memories, which makes it a two for one type of deal.
Your pictures don't have to be good, believe me when I say that sometimes the best pictures to write about are the blurry ones where there is someone falling and the cameraman is running to them as he takes the picture.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to help your writing, by just going to school!

For many young writers, and experienced writers, life gets too busy, and there is no writing done, whether it be because of no new material, no time, or exhaustion,  there is still a way to write during your busy schedule. As a highschooler, my writing suffers when I go back to school and have no time to write and no time to brainstorm, but it doesn't have to be that way.
I was sitting in English class the other day and my teacher started to talk about writing. And it hit me. Why should my writing suffer when I have new material around me all the time. How does that make sense? I'll give you a hint, it doesn't. Look at the people around and see all that material? All those ideas you could never dream to come up with on your own? Use them!

Ways to use school, or any other activity, to help your writing:

- Like I said above, use the material given to you. People are all different and yet they still are able to react with each other. Write about interactions with other people, reactions to different situations, even just what they had for lunch.

- Use any time to write. Got extra time in a class? Write! The bus ride home? Write! It doesn't have to be good. It doesn't have to be amazing, just an outline even.

- Pay attention in English class (this one is pretty much just for school, sorry guys) You think I'm joking? What publisher is going to publish a writer who doesn't have any clue what a sentence structure is? Or how to use writing techniques? Come on guys! Prove to the teacher, and yourself that you know how to write!

- Bounce ideas off the people around you. You're with people, you may as well bounce ideas off of the readers. Believe me, there is always atleast one big reader in every large group, find them, and talk to them.

- Peer editing. Use the people around you, your Friends or coworkers to peer edit. They don't have to read the whole thing, just a snippet or a sentence you've been struggling with. You'll be amazed at how much other people can help your writing.

This list may not be long but it could change your writing for the better if you do it every day.

Happy writing!

Monday, August 17, 2015

5 apps every writer should have

In this day and age, our cellphones are constantly at our sides. We do almost everything on them, including work, school, and games, but do we use them to help us write?

To be honest I'm very old fashioned in my writing. I like to have a lined notebook and a pencil. I edit with a regular, outdated red pen, and I read books with actual paper pages (gasp!) But even though I like to use those things, my phone can still help me write by providing prompts, other writing pieces, and even an app so I can blog (thank goodness).

1. Wattpad- free!
Wattpad is a great place to discover young writers you like and to get discovered yourself. You can publish books that you write and have people comment what they think and what edits they make. You can read other's works and comment thoughts on them. It will make you a better writer and a better editor. Reading other's comments have showed me some things that I missed when I was reading it.

2. Pinterest- free!
What better way to get writing prompts, diy journal ideas, and book reviews than on this huge idea server? Pinterest is my #1 app on my phone. All of my friends and family insist I'm addicted, I'd have to say I agree with them. Pinterest has tons of articles about writing, tips, prompts, and fandom type things (the ultimate app right?!).

3. GoodReads- free! (Not pictured)
GoodReads is a wonderful place to get with other readers and talk books. You can write book reviews and rate books you have read, and have a list of to-read books. Follow your favorite authors and see what they are reading (told you great writers read)

4. Writing prompts- free!
Need a quick write? Need something for your character to do? Use this app! There are over 100 prompts to choose from and if you don't like it, go to the next one.

5. Amazon Kindle/NOOK- free!
Again I say, good writers read. What better way to read than everywhere? If you have one of these apps you can read anywhere at anytime! Heaven right?! There are free books and ones you have to pay for. Amazon kindle is from Amazon (duh) NOOK is from Barnes and Noble so if you get gift cards to eitherof those places you can use them on your phone for e-books.

Bonus! Instagram (not pictured) is a great place to get writing prompts, inspiration, and quotes!

I know there are some other great apps out there for writers, but in my opinion, these are the best. I don't spend money on apps, so these are all free and ready to use as soon as you set up an account! Be sure to search me at thesierraspot on the social networking apps.

Happy writing!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Writer's Guide to Journals

In my last post, I told you all that journaling would help you improve as a writer, however, I did not specify what type of journaling would benefit your writing. So, in this post, I will do just that.
When journaling, it doesn't matter what you write. You could write stories, like a writing journal, you could write about your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, like a regular journal, you could mix them up and create a journal that includes both of them, you could write down conversations you hear, you could sketch something and then write about it. There is no limit to the way you could get creative with these. Make it yours.
I have many journals. At least three, two of which were mentioned above, and many more notebooks full of random writing to go along with them. My journals have no pattern, whatever I think of is what I write down. I write when I feel like it, not usually in every journal every day. I try to at least write something everyday, but that doesn't usually happen. My advice to you would be to make it so you love it. If one type of journal doesn't work for you, say forget it and move on to a different one. Writing isn't supposed to be a chore, if it is you need to go find something new.
The Regular Journal:
For this journal I use a bound journal. You can find them pretty much everywhere. There are tons of different kinds, I use lined, but that doesn't mean you have to. I try to write in this journal twice a week. I put the date and day on the top of the page (ex: Saturday, 08/08/2015) and then I move on to writing about what has happened lately, what is on my mind, and how people are. I try to write in this journal at least three times a week, but it usually ends up as twice a week. I'll eventually reread this journal when I'm older and have forgot most of it, but for now, I'll use it as writing practice.
A writer's journal (also known as a writer's notebook):
For this journal I use a regular lined notebook. You could decorate the cover with cut out magazine pieces, glitter, duck tape, or even sharpies. I have done all of those at one point or another but the one I'm using now is just plain. I try to write in this journal 5 days a week. I write blurbs of fiction and stories, but some other ideas are a continuation of a book or movie, the reason for a song, poetry, childhood tales, and the list of ideas goes on.
The art journal:
I am not an artist, so I don't have one of these, but I have friends who are and they generously explained to me how it works and what they liked and disliked. One suggestion was an old book, they sketched on the pages and wrote in the margins, and in between the lines. To me, it looked really cool, but some people would be appalled at the destruction of a good book. Another idea was to buy a sketchbook and write and draw on those pages. I think you could just use a regular notebook or journal, but I'm not an artist so I might be wrong. The people I talked to said that they wrote first, and then sketched what they wrote about, but it could be done the other way around. They said they wrote whenever they felt like it, and had no schedule that they tried to stay on. They said they painted, sketched, and wrote all over the pages of their journals. Sounds good to me.
Make your own:
Just because other people don't do it doesn't mean you can't. Maybe you want to do all three, go for it! You don't have to show anyone unless you want it to, this is for you, not anyone else. Put a crazy twist on one, make your own notebook, there are tons of ways you can personalize your journal.

Happy writing!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

5 tips that will help you become a better writer

If I was a perfect writer, I wouldn't be blogging. I blog so that I become a better writer, I read blogs so that I become a better writer. I read anything from tips for writing to how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies. So, here are some things I have learned, some of them the easy way, some of them the hard way. Either way, they have improved my writing greatly.
1. Read
How are you supposed to become a better writer if you don't read? Read books, newspapers, blogs, rough drafts, final copies, book reviews, product reviews, magazines, and any other thing you can think of. Notice what they do well, notice the difference between a magazine article and a newspaper article. Is there even a difference? How are they like a book? Look up words you don't know. Compare the way authors write. Take the time to read and learn new words and new strategies.
2. Watch people
Go to the mall, the park, a restaurant, or even stay home and watch television. Watch the way people react to other people. What signs do they give if they don't like someone? How do they talk to someone they love? Watch their hand motions and facial expressions. Make up background stories for them, where do they work? Are they single? Have they ever committed a crime? Why are they where they are? Are they a cat person or a dog person? Be creative!
3. Edit
Read other pieces of writing with a red pen and a highlighter and mark it up! Look up editing on the internet and learn how to edit your own writing. Offer to proofread your friends writing. A piece of writing doesn't need to be done for you to edit it. Don't be kind about it, by being a little strict, you're making yourself and the other person a better writer.
4. Write
I know this one is obvious but it's still a good reminder. You don't have to write stories. Write letters to the newspaper responding to articles, blog, or journal. You don't have to write every day, but set a goal for yourself of how many times to write each week. Write poems or write down your dreams right when you wake up. Just write!
5. Research
So you want to write a story set in Virginia 2010? Research it! What went on in Virginia in 2010? What was the weather like? Was there any major catastrophes? What was happening in the whole world during 2010? Find out facts about the setting and objects you want to use in your story. You don't have to use every detail you find, but it will help you dive into your story more if you know what you are writing about well.

These tips can only get you so far, remember to have other people read and edit your work and it never hurts to read articles or take classes on writing. No one becomes a wonderful writer overnight, don't expect to. It takes a lot, just like anything else in life.

Happy writing!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Writing Prompts for Teens

We all know those lists of school writing prompts that make you want to fall asleep halfway through the writing piece. We also know that feeling when you can't think of anything to write. I have found some writing prompts that (hopefully) don't bore you and will break through that writer's block.
1. Lost
2. Rescue mission
3. The heist
4. Amnesia
5. Teen writer
6. The villain's sibling
7. The villain's child
8. Prank war
9. Girls vs. Boys
10. Blind date
11. Secret admirer
12. You as a character
13. Homeschooler at public school
14. Seniors last day
15. The worst week
16. Treasure map
17. Modern fairy tale
18. Prison escape
19. No rules
20. That party
21. You disappear
22. The championship
23. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer
24. The hardest choice
25. If you were in a movie

I didn't limit these to just one genre, I tried to keep them general so you could be creative. If you have any prompts of your own that you would like to share, comment them. Feel free to share these with other writers, they are certainly not limited to just teens.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hello There!

First things first, a little bit about me. I am a high school student and I love school, don't get me wrong, I love summer too, but school isn't as bad as everyone says it is and I look forward to summer and school equally. My favorite subjects are spanish and history.
I am a two sport student athlete. I play volleyball and soccer and I adore them both. I run when I can (and when I feel like it) and I love to swim. I try, and most the time fail, to eat healthy.
I am the middle child in a family of five. Sometimes it's great, sometimes not so much. I have an older brother who is in college and a younger sister who is in elementary school. I love them to death, but sometimes they drive me crazy. Okay, so maybe they drive me crazy a lot. My parents are great, and even if I don't like the rules sometimes, I know they are fair. I have eight first cousins and I am the 3rd oldest out of them. I love my little cousins to death and they have me wrapped around their fingers, and they know it.
I love to travel and hopefully someday I'll have stayed a night in every state in the United States.
I have a garden where I grow mostly food, but some flowers too.
I listen to Christian and country music, an odd combination huh? My favorite ice cream is chocolate chip cookie dough. My favorite pops are coke and root beer. I love breakfast foods so much, if I could I would eat only breakfast and pizza. I don't like coffee (sorry coffee lovers, maybe someday) but I love hot chocolate. My favorite movie is the Lion King. My favorite book (okay so just one of my favorite books) is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it.
I am oddly organized and it bothers me when things are messy. I'm not OCD enough to color cordinate everything, but my bookshelf is organized by author last name.
I love horses, but I don't own one. I love riding, but I usually only ride once a year. I hope I will own one later in life and maybe even train one.

So that is a little (not really it is as long as a book) about me. Feel free to comment questions or thoughts below!