Time Management

You’re probably asking yourself this right now:

“Lumi, what does time management have to do with writing novels?”

And here is how I would answer:

“If you can’t manage your time, you won’t have the time to write.”

Because you can’t just plan the novel, leave your story notes under your pillow, and wake up with a completed manuscript. That’s not how writing works. Or how life works.

You need to put in the time and the hard work to bring that novel to completion. And how do you find the time? You make the time by getting your priorities straight. And how do you do that second part? Keep reading this lovely guide by yours truly.

Anyways, the best way to learn how to manage your time is to first identify what you need to do with your time. If you know all the tasks you need to do, you can allocate time for each individual task to make sure you complete as many as possible, if not all.

Let me illustrate this with an example.

Let’s say we need to help Sally organize her Thursday afternoon so she can have enough time to go see the school play with her friends from 7:30pm to 8:30pm. Her school finishes at 2:45pm and by the time she gets home, it’s 3pm. She also needs to eat, write a report for her history class, do her math homework, and complete a worksheet for Chemistry.

This is how I would organize her schedule:

3:00pm to 3:15pm Lunch

3:15pm to 4:45pm History Report

4:45pm to 5:00pm Short Break

5:00pm to 6:15pm Math Homework

6:15pm to 6:30pm Short Break

6:30pm to 7:15pm Chemistry Worksheet

By 7:15pm, she’s done with all her homework and as a reward, she can get dressed and ready to leave to see the school play with her friends. When it’s over and done with, she doesn’t have to worry about rushing through the rest of her homework like all her other friends. She’s even got another hour or so until bedtime that she can spend doing something she likes to do. Like working on her story or watching a TV show.

“But how will I know which tasks to do first?”

Simple. Do the things that are most important first. (ie. The ones with the nearest due date or, if due on the same day, the ones worth the higher percentage of your grade.) This might seem oddly school-specific, but if you have to pay a certain bill by a certain date, it’s going to be higher on your priority list than organizing your closet, for example.

“When I’m on my laptop, I do everything except what I need to do. What do I do?”

Luckily for you, there are plenty of sites and applications out there that can completely block your access to those so-called timewasters like social media and YouTube. I’ll link a few of my favorites right here, and you can pick to use the one that’s best for you.

StayFocusd (plug-in for Google Chrome)

Cold Turkey (downloadable for Mac and Windows)

SelfControl (downloadable for Mac)

There are tons more than just these three, so feel free to explore all your options.

“Any tips for remembering all the tasks?”

I’m glad you asked. Writing things down is the single best way to make sure you remember to do them. Your brain is designed to remember the things that you write down. Why else is note taking recommended so much in school? The more you take notes about something, the more likely you’ll remember it on test day. (Study Tip: Revisit your notes.)

Anyways, if you don’t mind carrying around a planner, writing all your tasks in there would be very helpful for you. But if you’re lazy like me and you want something more convenient, there are an abundance of to-do list applications. My favorite, of course, is Todoist. Not only does it have a mobile app, but it has its own website, too.

And both of them sync with each other. So, I can add my homework assignments to my list while I’m at class and later on, when I’m on my laptop, I can see clearly everything that I need to do. Apologies for keeping this school-focused but even if you are not attending any form of education, I am sure you’ll find these tips helpful somehow for your daily life.

I’m a university student myself, so connecting everything back to education is the best way for me to explain time management. So, moving on, I think you have all the tools to be fairly successful at time management. Don’t worry if it takes a few tries to master down the skills. Once you get comfortable with managing your time, it’ll get easier.

Got any questions? Leave a comment below or contact me through my contact page.

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“Hello. How may I-“

“Hello. How may I-“

“How do I write non-traditional stories?”

“What do you mean? Like… short stories? Or even poems?”

“No. Like, those stories that aren’t just full of description and prose. Because if you expect me to ramble on and on about how the outside world looks, you’ve got another thing coming your way. I mean, can’t you just tell a story through dialogue?”

“Well, there are different ways of telling a story. Not all of them need prose.”

“Tell me more.”

“Have a seat, and I’ll explain it all.”


Just like the above example explains, there is more than one way to tell a story. And that’s great because we all have different strengths and weaknesses as writers. For example, you may be great at writing purple prose for pages on end but terrible at writing fight scenes.

You just have to pick the writing style that best suits your strengths and masks your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to play around with more than one or all of the styles. Exploring as a writer is the best way to find what works and doesn’t work for you.

Now, for the list.

  1. Traditional Story Writing: You know the type. Narrative-based. Told in chapters. Each chapter is typically around 1,500 to 2,500 words long. And there is a lot of description with these. Some writers are known to spread it all over and in thick amounts, too. Sure, description is nice and all, but it can get excessive pretty fast. So, if you choose this type, make sure to strike a balance between description and action. (Example? Look at almost every published novel out there.)
  2. A One-Shot: This is written much like the first type, aside from one major difference. Instead of being told in many chapters, this type of story is finished and wrapped up within one chapter. Hence the name. It’s definitely easier to write, but you’ll be restricted by how much you can develop your world and characters. So, a more complex plot is better off being written using the long and descriptive style. (Example? Check this out.)
  3. A Short Story: This is very different from a one-shot. While both have a short total word count, it’s all about the presentation that matters. One-shots have all their words concentrated in one post while short stories are told with short chapters. For example, I wrote a short story called Nightmare before. 25 parts. 4.8k words total. The average length of each part? About 200 words. The whole thing was a 10-minute read, but you still got a great experience from reading it. It was deep, metaphorical, and I loved every second of writing it. It also made a great freewrite, too, and I just jumped in to write a new part every time without any preplanning. Problems with it? None as far as I can tell, but you’ll have to be succinct yet descriptive at the same time and not a lot of people can pull that off well. (Example? There are many, but I will restrict myself to just one. Here it is.)
  4. Dialogue Stories: Last but not least, you can tell a story in pure dialogue. It’s been done before, and it certainly is a fun style to try out. The only problem is that you’ll need to choose a way for your characters to communicate. Phone call. Text message. Group chat. Skype. Kik. The list goes on and on. Well, there are more problems, too. Like finding a reason for your characters to speak in the first place. If they are strangers, how do they meet and switch info? But I’ll let you figure out those on your own. Who knows? Maybe I’ll make a special blog post just for this style of writing in the future. (Example? I’m addicted to reading these, so I’ll give you two. This one and this one. )

There are many more ways to write. It’s not just these four categories. A great friend of mine is writing a screenplay over on Wattpad. If you’re interested, click here to check it out. You could also tell a story in letters or diary entries, too. The sky isn’t the limit anymore. As long as you can think it up, you can do it. Anyways, time to wrap up this blog post. [It’s subject to editing like much of my writing guides, of course.]

Got any questions? Leave a comment below or contact me through my contact page.

The End is Coming

Within our lifetime, we will see the end of the written world. There will be no more novels written, no more stories published, and no more people to read them either. The only thing that will remain is pure text talk. The literacy rate will drop to unimaginable lows.

And it’s all because of one crooked villain; social media.

Just kidding. None of that above is actually true. I made it all up. (Or is it true? Who knows?) Anyways, welcome to another writing guide. This time, we’re talking about satire. Before I continue on with my usual rambling, let’s take a moment to define satire.

As you can see, satire is a very useful writing strategy when you want to provide commentary on a topic while being subtle. For example, I wrote a whole book about two teenagers who met over social media before starting to date. I exaggerated their personalities to make them very extreme caricatures. Then I ended their relationship in a completely disastrous way.

The whole point of that book? To deter people from dating online. To teach them a lesson about how people in the real world are different from how they act online. Plus a ton of other messages that I can’t think of at the moment. The point is, satire is useful for mocking things about society without offending anyone. It’s very subtle in that regard.

I don’t really have much to teach you guys about satire because I am still learning. I mainly made this post to expose you to the concept, in case you hadn’t been exposed to it in school already, and to inspire you guys to write satire pieces, if you have not before.

And since this is a writing guide and I should be somewhat helpful in these, I’ll add some links for good satire guides in case anyone is interested. Hope it helps, and happy writing!

How to write Satire and be a satire writer

Satire Writing Tips

Writing Satire is Harder Than You Think

Author Blogs

First of all, what is an author blog?

It’s basically a neat way to keep in touch with your readers. Some of you may be surprised to learn that this is my author blog. Right now, it has mostly writing guides, but when I feel ready, I will post news about my upcoming novels here and maybe a few one-shots.

Anyways, why should you have an author blog? This’ll be better answered using a pros/cons table. So, look below for why you should or should not have an author blog.

Pros Cons
easy to share news about upcoming books yet another log-in to another website
a nice home for you and your books tons of advertising to get it known
your readers can learn more about you something else to worry about updating

The choice is up to you. To have an author blog or to not have one.

If you do end up making one or if you have one already, feel free to share your blog’s link below and I’ll take a look. Advertising is hard work, so don’t be afraid to use this post’s comment section to network with other people that have author blogs.

Life Lessons in Novels

When I was younger, I remember one of my teachers told me something like this:

“A story without a theme is not worth calling a story.”

(I might be misquoting them, but it went something like that.)

Anyways, having a theme (or moral message) in your story is a great way to teach your readers a lesson while entertaining them at the same time. It’s not the same as being lectured by a teacher because the lesson is subtle and it’s often very relatable. It’ll take some analysis to dig these out, too.

For example, a teen fiction novel where a young girl finds a way to overcome her issues of loneliness by making a new friend can inspire other people in the same situation. (ie. the message of “There is always hope.”) But it shouldn’t be easy either. That’s not how life works. Make the characters struggle so they can grow. So, the first friend the girl makes should not be a perfect friend.

Simply put, sprinkling lessons into your story is how you can reach out and touch the reader’s life. Think about all the books that touched your life. What about them inspired you? What about them made you want to change your lifestyle or even yourself?

This is basically what you should be trying to do in your books, too, if you want to leave a lasting impression on your readers. To make your book stand out from the rest.

This is great and all, but what other kinds of messages can I teach?

I’m glad you asked. Here are some lovely resources to help you get started:

And last but not least, take another interesting but related quote.

Got any questions? Leave a comment below or contact me through my contact page.

Plotting and Scheming

Before you can actually start writing your story, you need to have a clear vision of where you want your story to go. What’s the main conflict? Will there be any sub-conflicts? You’ll need the answers to these questions and more before you can start writing.

It also helps to have a vague image of how you want the story to end, so you can subtly lead your characters to that conclusion. For example, if you’re writing a story about a boy who gets lost in the woods, will you end the story with the boy returning home? Or will you end the story with the boy deciding to stay in the woods because he has to save the world?

But, Lumi, how can I take a one-sentence plot and make it complicated like other writers?

Simple. Just keep asking yourself questions.

You make it sound so easy, though.

I know, I know. It takes a while to train your mind to constantly ask questions, but it can be done. Give me any sort of stimulus and I can develop it just by asking questions.

Let’s go back to that example of the boy getting lost in the woods. If someone told me that that was the idea behind their story, here is a short list of questions I would ask them:

“How did the boy get lost in the woods?”

“How long does he spend in the woods?”

“Does he discover anything meaningful during his time there?”

And those are only three questions. I could go on and on, but since I don’t want to bore you, I’ll cut it right there. Once you get in the practice of asking questions about everything and I do mean everything, you’ll become a much stronger writer.

On that note, if any of you need help with developing your story’s plot, contact me via my contact page and I will help you as best as I can. I have a busy life, though, so don’t get upset if I don’t respond right away. I’ll try to reply back within a week, though.

Just to make this post a bit more helpful, here are some lovely picture tips: