Write First, Earn Later

How important is making money in the beginning of your writing career?

I casually follow a number of “writing as a business” groups on Facebook. These groups can be great for meeting people, sharing ideas, and helping newcomers out with innocent questions/concerns. But sometimes my news feed gets clogged with multiple versions of a query, within days of each other, that goes something like this:

“I’m about to/I just started a blog, and I want to know how to monetize. Please help.”

A valid question, sure. We all want to know how people earn a decent income blogging full-time.

But there’s something that really bothers me about these kinds of questions. Because while I get that you might want to make a career out of writing ASAP, I think you have things a little backwards.

Writing comes first. Good writing. Money is only a possible, never guaranteed, side effect.

I don’t know of a writer who became financially successful without a solid foundation and years of content to raise them up to that level. Money is important — we all need it to some degree to survive. But when you focus on money first, and writing second, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Yes, setting up a blog in the beginning does sometimes require that you know how advertising and affiliate slots are going to fit into your structure. I get that. I get that a good business strategy includes plans for future monetization of your products (blog posts). But I wish more commenters would point to the most important aspect of monetization, which is making sure your content is good and plentiful enough for monetization to actually work — often even before you start trying to monetize.

I prefer a “write first, earn later” approach to writing. It’s how I built the necessary foundation for enough freelance writing clients to keep me afloat for 14 months when I couldn’t get any other job. It’s why I spent three years as a writing intern, publishing hundreds of articles, none of which I got paid for. Because exposure comes first. Without it, how do you know you’re writing well enough for the right audience to have earned the right to get paid for your effort?

My many years of blogging and writing for free have more than paid off in the past six months alone. It’s because of my writing internship that I decided to get a master’s degree; it’s because of my master’s degree, and many months of freelancing, that I got a full-time writing job. I still don’t earn a cent from this blog, and most days, I don’t even mind that much. Because putting you first — my readers — is what drives me to create good content for you. Not the money. Money pays the bills, but it does not get you loyal followers, who appreciate and respect you almost as much as you do them.

People who ask questions in Facebook groups are dedicated to their work, their profession, their earnings. Just because someone asks about monetization doesn’t mean they aren’t more concerned about their content; it’s just one question. But please always remember that it’s what you have to say, the wisdom you have to share with your readers, that makes you a successful writer. Not how much you earn in a year. Believe me, I fully appreciate being able to afford to pre-order John Green’s upcoming novel the second he announces it, but I don’t write to get rich. And neither should you.

And if it ever does happen to you, well, that’s just a pretty sweet bonus. You’re allowed to be proud of that. Just don’t make it a bigger priority than making sure your readers are taken care of. They’re the ones who are going to stick with you through it all, whether you’re flat-out broke or quite the opposite.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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Things to Consider Before Starting A Second Blog

Are you really ready for this?

Some people find they love blogging so much that they want to do more of it. And sometimes, the urge to start and manage a second blog becomes too tempting to resist. That’s why many blogs fail — because people aren’t prepared for them. You’d think, already having one blog, you’d know better. But we’re writers, we’re not perfect — sometimes we make bad decisions that can hurt one or both of your blogs.

In this post, I’ll mostly be talking about starting a second blog on top of one you plan to continue keeping up with — not starting another blog to replace one you’re leaving behind. Most people assume they can keep up with more than one blog simultaneously, underestimating the amount of work that goes into each — causing both to fall apart. I don’t want that to happen to you. So here’s what you should think about before adding more blogging responsibilities onto your plate.

What’s the real reason you want to do this?

Are you starting a second blog because you’re bored with the first one — or because you’re bored in general? Because you need a place to dump your thoughts? To snag a domain name while it’s available? Because it just sounds like a good idea? Your main priority, in considering any blog, should be how it can serve an audience. Sure, there’s probably something in it for you, too. But if it’s not something that will interest, assist, or inform someone else, you’re not doing a great job of building a solid foundation for a blog you want to grow and develop over a span of years. A blog is a big commitment. If you’re serious about a second, ask yourself why you really want to do it.

Are you willing/able to dedicate enough time to your new blog?

A blog takes more effort in the beginning, though it might seem otherwise. You’re ideally supposed to prepare posts ahead of time to give your archives a boost before an official launch. You typically need to do more promotion and outreach to attract first-time audience members. You’re not quite as free to make mistakes or fail to keep promises. In other words, it’s going to take a lot — a LOT — more time than the blog you likely already have, whether it’s small or a bit larger in size. Are you prepared and willing to put in the time and effort necessary to grow a new blog, on top of the work you’re already putting into the first one? If not — and be honest with yourself here — you might want to hold off, or decide against the idea altogether, at least for now.

Do you have a consistent schedule gap that needs filling?

If you’re anything like me, you start looking to fill scheduling gaps as soon as they appear. This approach won’t work if you don’t have a consistent schedule in place already. I held off on the urge to start a second blog earlier this year because my freelancing schedule became too unpredictable. You don’t want to commit to something one week and then realize three weeks later you no longer have room to fit it in. Scheduling, as a blogger, is everything. One of the easiest ways a second blog can fail is if you’re unsure whether or not you can keep up with it over the coming weeks, months, and years. Just because you can’t do it now, doesn’t mean you can’t in the future.

Could you afford to hire someone to help you?

Sometimes, multiple blogs are more than possible — with help. But do NOT expect to find someone who will help manage one or multiple of your blogs without offering something in return. If you can’t afford to pay someone, at least offer them control over half of your posting schedule (ideally with credit, not ghostwritten) in exchange for helping you moderate comments, source photos, keep up with social media accounts — if you both agree that’s a fair deal. Understand that often, growing a business, even a blog, means dedicating some of your income and/or resources to hiring people who will help you make the best use of your time. If you can’t, or aren’t willing to do that, maybe stick to just one blog until that status changes.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.

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22 Ways to Impress a First-Time Blog Reader With Any Post

Be yourself.

1. Tell them something they don’t know.

2. Tell them something they DO know — make it relatable.

3. Help them solve a problem.

4. Help them help someone else.

5. Help them answer a question.

6. Tell them they’re doing something wrong — and how to correct it.

7. Show them a better way to accomplish a task.

8. Explain why a common way of thinking/doing is ineffective.

9. Bust a myth.

10. Motivate them to try something new.

11. Make them feel cared for/understood.

12. Make them laugh.

13. Make them feel happy/sad/angry/inspired.

14. Challenge their thoughts/beliefs.

15. Give them a question to respond to.

16. Offer a new perspective on a popular/trending topic.

17. Politely flaunt your expertise — show them they can trust you.

18. Let your guard down — be human.

19. Offer them something they’ll want to keep coming back to.

20. Be yourself — people are drawn to genuine souls.

21. Be skeptical — you don’t know everything for sure.

22. Do everything with your reader in mind — make them feel like they belong here.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.

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The Unwritten Rules of Blogging

Write about what you care about.

New bloggers and seasoned bloggers alike have similar questions when it comes to doing their best work on their websites. What’s the right way to do this? How do I grow my audience? How do I increase engagement? How do I know I’m not somehow messing all this up?

There are the typical blogging rules all bloggers know to follow: write well, insert as much media as possible, use keywords, etc., etc.

But what about the rules not everyone talks about — the “unwritten rules”?

So I’m going to write down these unwritten rules for you, because I’m a writer and that’s what I do. My approach to blogging comes from over 8 years of typing words and hitting publish and still not always knowing exactly what people want from me — but I love every minute of it, and any wisdom I do have from all my years of doing this, I’m more than willing to share.

Blog consistently, or not at all

Different people have asked me the same question a dozen times in the past few years: “How do you get views, likes, and comments on your blog? I don’t get hardly any.” (First, thanks for leaving comments to ask this question — really.)

Here’s the best answer I have for these queries, since Novelty Revisions only just turned two in March 2017 and I’m bad at promoting myself on social media: post consistently.

I post every day, and have for almost two years straight. I do not recommend new bloggers do this (I had been blogging six years before I started doing this) because you will crash and burn and it will hurt your brain a lot.

Post five days a week, post every Tuesday, post once a month — it does not matter how often you post. Post good content, and post it on the day(s) and time(s) you say you will. Always. It has worked for me, and in time, it could work for you too. There are no guarantees. But this is the best way I have found to draw people in and keep them coming back. Consistency tells people that you’re here, you’re committed, and they can come to you at a designated time and place and you’ll be there waiting.

Only write about what you care about

I like this better than “write what you know,” because that idea is often misinterpreted or misrepresented to mean you shouldn’t ever try to learn something new or write about less familiar topics. Writing what you care about is a completely different way of looking at writing, inspiration, motivation, and getting your work done. Knowing is subjective. Caring — well, you know what you care about. And you’re not going to give that stuff up very easily.

Never blog about something because you think it’s “popular” or “trendy” or “a lot of people will like.” You won’t last a month managing that blog unless you genuinely care about the content. Because in the beginning, you’re responsible for all the research and writing. This is going to be your life now. If you’re not completely invested in the topic of your blog, good luck trying to keep it going.

Treat your readers like good friends

No one that I know in my personal or professional life reads, likes, or comments on my posts. (At least that I know of — mom, are you there?). Everyone who follows and interacts with me on my blog is a stranger. But I don’t treat you all like strangers. I treat you like you’re my friends. I don’t talk with you about my problems (uh, debatable) or share gossip, but when you need me, I try my best to be there for you.

My whole blog revolves around the idea that I am just one of you — a writer trying to figure out how writing fits into the grand scheme of my life. I love giving advice and helping any way I can. I keep my tone conversational yet as professional as my can’t-ever-take-anything-too-seriously brain can manage. I don’t like to convey my authority in a way that makes me unapproachable. I want my readers to feel like they can say/ask anything and they’ll get an honest reply. Always interact with your readers as if you genuinely care about their well-being. Well, it helps if you actually do. I hope you do. Otherwise, what are you in this whole writing thing for?

Only quit if you don’t love it

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers drop out of their writing projects out of frustration. They aren’t getting as many views or comments as they think they should be, so they decide it’s not worth it and give up less than a year into it.

I’ll never tell you that poor performance is a good sign, or that there aren’t times when putting a project on the back burner is in your best interest. But I will tell you this: if you aren’t having fun, drop it. If you love blogging, keep it. Even if you have about a dozen regular readers and that’s it, that’s no reason to stop. Having a big blog isn’t the only way to be successful. What matters is that you’re doing something that excites you — and that you’re bringing value to your audience, no matter how small.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Why I Publish Every Draft I Start Writing, No Matter What

You’re far too critical of yourself. We all are.

Sometimes, when I’m writing, I still doubt myself. And I’ve been doing this for a long time.

OK, you caught me. I still doubt myself about 50 percent of the time.

Which means I’m not 100 percent confident about half of the blog posts I write.

Yet I publish them all. Every single one.

I use WordPress’s drafts feature as a convenient way to store ideas for future blog posts. So technically, I do have 14 unpublished drafts taking up space right now. And it’s very likely that about half of those will end up in the trash. (You know how it goes – what seemed like a good idea at the time doesn’t seem as good weeks or even days later.)

But I have a very strict rule, which I’ve held myself to pretty much since I started this blog in 2009: once I start writing a post, I have to publish it.

It might go through some revisions. I might completely change the angle along the way.

There isn’t a single post that I’ve started writing that I’ve completely abandoned, left never to be seen.

Actually, there’s a pretty good reason explaining why I do this: I cannot afford to let a lack of confidence interrupt my responsibilities as a writer. None of us can.

Believe me, if I based whether or not I published a blog post based on how confident I felt about it, you wouldn’t hear from me much. (And I just know that would break all of your hearts … heh).

I’ve always had issues with self-confidence. Yet I’ve made a career out of writing largely due to the fact that I realized early on how much a lack of confidence can destroy an aspiring writer.

When you’re not confident about something you’ve written, there is really only one way to fix it: publish it anyway. Submit it anyway. Show it to someone anyway. Because if you don’t, you’ll never get over it. You might even start to believe you can’t do it, because you’ve never even given yourself the chance to succeed.

It’s completely acceptable to write posts and then let them sit untouched for awhile. This is just another weird thing I do that has actually turned out in my favor. Do be mindful of your gut, though. If you’ve written something that you feel really shouldn’t go public – something that reveals personal details about someone without their consent; something you wrote when you were mad/sad/dangerously caffeinated; something offensive – it’s also OK not to publish it. Use your judgment, and your common sense.

But if the only thing stopping you from hitting publish is that you’re afraid people won’t like what you’ve written – or you don’t want to make it public because you just don’t think it will ever be good enough – it’s time to start learning to trust yourself more. You know what you’re doing. The best way to build up confidence in the face of fear and doubt is to put your work out there, even if it scares you.

Publish it.

Submit it.

Show it off.

It’s probably not going to be perfect. That’s a good thing. It means you have a special kind of motivation to keep writing – so you can improve, and do better next time.

Half of confidence is convincing yourself you’re not terrified. This is a really effective, virtually harmless way to practice gathering up the strength to do what you don’t think you can do.

Go for it. Somewhere down the line, you’ll be extremely glad you did.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Everything Wrong with Modern Writing Advice

This is not an easy thing to do. We keep doing it anyway.

This morning I woke up, as one tends to do. I dragged myself out of bed and down to The Room Where Coffee Happens, and as I filled my mug I thought about everything I had to do today. Per usual lately, today’s blog post surfaced as my biggest worry. What am I going to write about this time?

This daily worry is not a self-inflicted curse. In fact, it is what prompts me to sit down and write to you every morning. But lately I’ve been struggling with deciding what kinds of topics to cover here. I very rarely come up empty when it comes to ideas for blog posts – I have this stubborn brain that never shuts up (you might know a thing or two about what that’s like).

It’s not that I don’t have ideas. It’s that, sometimes, I doubt my own ability to choose the right ones.

Giving writing advice is easy. Giving good writing advice is not. That’s because everyone seems to think they know what’s best. So virtually every writer writes about writing – to prove their expertise? Because they enjoy it? I don’t know. Coming up with advice no one has ever heard before is draining. Not writing about the exact same thing twice in six months is exhausting.

But I do it. Because I care. Because I want you to believe you have the power to earn yourself a successful career in writing. I really do.

What frustrates me the most about doing what I do every day is that my audience is small. This is not at all a cry for followers – it’s not up to me whether you click a button or not. The problem with a small audience is that I want to know what you want to know. But getting the level of response necessary to create a better content strategy, with a small audience, is pretty much impossible.

I may not be able to satisfy every curious creative that stumbles upon this blog. But I do know, from experience, what not to do – and all the shortcomings that plague modern writing advice on the internet. So because I’m in a rut, and I have no idea what to do, I’m going to talk about what we all need to stop doing. Sound fair? Let’s try it.

This is everything wrong with modern writing advice. And yes, of course I’m also guilty of some of these things. I’m only human. That’s why I’m addressing them now.

It struggles to individualize

Every time I give a piece of writing advice, I have to include some kind of tag at the beginning or end of it: ‘this is what has worked for me,’ or, ‘Maybe this will work for you; maybe it won’t.’ Because I once made the mistake of giving a generalized piece of writing advice on a different site for writers, and the faceless, far too easily offended commenters yelled at me. I’m a big girl, comment hate doesn’t faze me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty when I unintentionally assume something is the case for every person and forget to address otherwise.

A blog can’t give individual writing advice – unless posts are in a question-answer format, but again – small audience. Questions frequently go unanswered, so I gave up on that a long time ago (people just ask Google everything now … not bitter or anything). So everything has to be carefully suggested. Try this, it might work. Some people find this helpful. It’s the best we can do. I feel bad about it constantly – I’d love to coach you individually. I can’t. Which is why I’ve gradually gone back to a more traditional blogging format – using my personal experiences to help you make sense of yours. I don’t particularly enjoy talking about myself every day, but 85 percent of the time, it’s the most effective way to at least get you thinking.

It assumes everyone is at the same level

All writers start out as beginners, and all move through different stages of writing at different speeds and intervals. This means I have to write every post with the understanding that some people reading it won’t even have started writing their first thing yet – while someone with years of publishing behind them might also come across that same piece of content. It’s both challenging and intimidating. I’m sure within this niche there are bloggers who only write about what to do when you’ve finished writing a book. There are blogs about how to start writing, blogs about grammar, blogs about characterization. Blogs about blogging about blogging. This blog is none of those things.

It is, literally, about putting ideas into words. About getting writing done, about motivation, about organization, about Getting Stuff Done When You Don’t Wanna. So I write for writers. I assume writers come here looking for answers to all kinds of questions. It’s not that my audience is too broad – it’s that bloggers like me are challenged to know the needs of their audience at differing stages of a process. Pleasing everyone is literally impossible. Trying something new, you risk turning people off. Unfollow. You risk attracting people who are genuine and grateful and want to become part of the family. The moment writing advice stops being relevant to one person is also the moment many people might decide to leave and never come back again.

Trying to be inclusive in anything you do is harder than you think. I suppose it’s just part of the deal.

It often comes off as one-directional

I never realized until I started blogging 8 years ago how much of writing consists of talking at other people. I sit here and I tell you what I think. I do this for a living. I don’t count comments, I don’t judge my level of success or the worth of my work on how many comments each post gets. But I do notice when things get quiet. In the back of your mind, for a few seconds, you wonder what you’ve done wrong – when in reality, people only leave comments when they have something to say. And writing advice, let’s be honest, isn’t always a solid conversation starter.

Engaging people on blogs becomes more and more of a questionable effort every day. I know for a fact only a handful of you are still reading at this point. This is the reality of publishing things online – people stop reading. It doesn’t matter if they’re bored or annoyed or just don’t have the attention span to focus on what you’re saying – it just happens. So most of the time, I end up writing as if I am talking to you. And I know that to some degree, some of you are absorbing my messages. I simply can’t depend on discussion-driving posts to keep this blog alive. I have to have faith that using my voice to add more words to the void will at some point generate some kind of conversation.

As a writer writing about writing, you learn you can’t force other people to do anything you suggest. You send off your words of wisdom or hope or desperation into the world and you start to wonder why you keep doing this. Much of writing is believing you’re helping someone, though you’ll never know for sure whether you are or not.

As I hope you already know, I do the absolute best I can to use my words to help you grow and thrive as writers actively pursuing your creative passions. I strongly believe 2017 is the year this blog will shift from a casual jog into a full-power sprint. I always hit these awkward points of questioning and struggle before we make a mad dash toward a new milestone. It always gets harder before it gets easier.

That being said, if there is anything you ever want me to discuss here, you are always welcome to address it in a comment. Unless you’re  a spammer (please stop), I publish every comment left here. This blog is not about me. It’s about you, about us. For now, these posts are all I have for you. I do my best every day to provide the best content I can for you. Know it’s because I genuinely want to do good things here. I hope that’s enough.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

What I’m Leaving Behind at the End of This Year


Everyone around me has been a little cranky about the end of 2015 this week. “Why do we have to wait until New Year’s to change things? I hate New Year’s resolutions!”

Well, first of all, you don’t have to wait. If you don’t like New Year’s resolutions, don’t make them. That’s why I make goals toward the end of the year and start working on them right away.

Second of all, don’t worry about what other people are doing. Some people (me – you?) just need the vibe of a brand-new year to get going again. It’s like a reset button. An automatic full recharge. You may not need that, but some people do.

2015 was a weird year for me. A very odd mix of good and awful things. I started two new jobs and had to say goodbye to one of them (my primary source of income at the time, so as you can imagine, the last half of the year has been a little hard). I started and got halfway through graduate school – I’m feeling a little burned out but hopefully in a few weeks I’ll feel ready to tackle the last half.

I finished writing one book. Started a new one. Decided I’m going to finish two in 2016 (more on that “next year”) among a few other secret writing projects (though not a secret for much longer!). I started writing for a few new websites, which has taught me a lot about modern web content and what I do and do not love about different styles of content creation, reproduction and editorial processes.

I started this blog (sort of). That’s been pretty cool. I won’t talk about that much here – I already have, on here and in my newsletter (which you should totally sign up for if you want some more awesome stuff from me). I’ve learned so much since I started posting regularly in June. For one thing, it zaps a lot of energy, writing a blog post every day, but it is so, so worth it. And I get a few extra cups of coffee out of the deal, so everybody wins.

What am I looking forward to in 2016? Well it’s much easier to say what I’m looking forward to leaving behind from 2015. All my insecurities about the things I’ve decided to do with this blog is a big one. Yeah, even I still get nervous about some posts and that podcast that only has two episodes and the super awesome writing project I’m developing as I write this.

Sometimes I know I’m writing a post not many people will like or respond to. Like this one. Hey, that’s okay. That’s not why I’m doing this. Everyone who comes here, comes here for a different reason. I have to keep that in mind while I’m developing content. Not everything is going to resonate with every reader. That’s the most important lesson I’ve learned. Some of you come here for my monthly Dear John letters. Some of you come for my rants. And I’m assuming some of you actually come for the tips and advice, which I do appreciate, believe me.

I worry too much about this blog. I wrestle with things like: do I want to bother with advertising? Not really, because Novelty just wouldn’t be the same with ads and sponsored content. Am I doing too much of something my readers don’t want? Not enough of something they do? Am I not promoting enough or doing enough activities on our Facebook page? Should I do a survey? Do I even have enough readers to get good results from a survey?

Do I want to invite additional writers to contribute to our daily content? Well, I sort of do that already. But if you didn’t know that, there’s a link up a ways to fix that.

I foresee big things for this blog this year. I wish I could tell you all of them. I do hope you continue to stick around. I do hope that, at least once a week or once a month, I post something that helps or inspires you. That is the most important thing to me: that when I hit publish, someone out there is going to feel inspired to sit down and write something.

It’s hard. I know. All of it. Work, school, words, trying to be better, setting goals, setting smaller goals. Life in general. Looking back on a year isn’t always completely reassuring. I am always here for you. That might not mean much. But you are my priority. You can make the changes you want to make, and write that story you’ve been putting off. This is a great time of year to start. A new year. A new writing schedule. New writing goals. Maybe even a new you.

I’ll see you in 2016, Noveltiers. I should probably stop calling you that.


Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

When Words Alone Aren’t Enough


I’m sorry for all the less helpful or constructive, more personal posts going up lately. I really am. I’m trying my best to create the best possible content for you. This is a really hard time of year for me. Not an excuse, I know. Some days all you can do is your absolute best, even if it’s not the best you’ve ever done. I’m a perfectionist, but I’m learning, slowly, that it’s okay not to be all the time.

Sometimes, I really struggle with words. I’m better at writing them down than I am speaking them out loud as it is, so when even writing them seems impossible, I’m stuck. It’s not very often that I find myself so out of sorts I can’t even write.

The first thing I do when I wake up, usually, is fill up a few pages in my journal with thoughts. It’s a healthy, necessary activity for me. I don’t post personal things on social media, so it’s how I work through my frustration, confusion, doubt, even excitement and the good kind of anticipation (my favorite emotion).

I know I’m in trouble when even journaling is a struggle.

Mind you, I’m not living a terrible life. I’m really not. The things wearing me down are big things in my head, because that’s how everyone views their own personal tribulations. It’s not about, “Oh, I have it much worse than you.” Or it shouldn’t be, anyway. To you, that thing is your worst thing. To you, it’s an unbearable obstacle, and if you can’t get around it, you have to figure out your own way to work through it.

Usually, for me, words are my way of working through it. Lately, words alone haven’t been quite enough. Toward the end of every year I start looking back into the archives of my life, so to speak, which can be both constructive and destructive. I do it a lot less than I used to. But there’s an anniversary coming up I’m not looking forward to, and as much as I love the holidays, it’s stressful as an adult. Especially when you’re the kind of person who would rather give than receive, worry about others instead of yourself.

People keep asking me what I want for Christmas. I don’t have an answer for them. I want abstract things. For my friends and family to be happy. Energy to keep going so I can continue helping other people. Time to reflect without feeling guilty about it.

I’ve been turning to songwriting (lyrics and music, I studied that a little in school too, as if two degrees weren’t enough) to handle sorting through all these memories, which I haven’t done in a long time. You saw an early draft of one a few weeks ago. It’s weird to me. It’s like writing a poem, but it’s different. It takes words and gives them a completely different feel.

So instead of writing a letter to someone I miss, which I’ve tried and can’t do because I don’t know what to say in what order, I write a song instead. It just flows right out onto the page. I’ve been writing songs for over 10 years (not necessarily good ones), and I still don’t understand how my thoughts and emotions just spill out when I’m putting words to a melody, as opposed to writing straight prose.

Whatever gets you through the day, I guess.

Eventually, when I’m ready, I’m going to start sharing these songs via Storie. I love blogging and talking to cameras (sometimes) and being honest and trying to be helpful, but as a writer and creator, when one form of storytelling doesn’t work, doesn’t satisfy you, doesn’t send the message you want to send, you have to find another way, a better way.

Does that scare me? Duh. It terrifies me. It took me years to work up the courage to blog and share my writing with other people. My music is personal and deep and I don’t like exposing myself that way. But I can’t keep writing posts like this to you because I don’t have another outlet. I need another medium to express the things that are bothering me, so I can focus on helping you write stuff better.

Just know that I’m trying. I’m doing the best I can. You are in my thoughts always. If you have any suggestions about ‘how-to’ or ‘blank ways to write blank’ posts, send them my way, if you can. That would really help me continue to help you over the next few weeks, which is, truthfully, all I want to be able to do. I mean it.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Austin Kirk/flickr.com.

Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

A Thank-You Note to All My Readers (Thank You, for Everything)


If you follow this blog but don’t usually read posts from start to finish, you might want to make an exception today. This is for all my readers. Every single one of you.

When things don’t go the way we plan, it’s not quite as easy to be grateful for what we have as it is when we feel like we have everything we need. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just part of being human.

It’s also not as easy to convey that humanity through a static web page than it would be if we were speaking face-to-face.

Which means, in writing one post per day to satisfy some kind of writing or life-related want or need or hunger, I have to rely solely on my words. Which, as you can imagine, is a hard thing to do on days I don’t know what else to say.

Sometimes I feel as though I’m repeating myself over and over again, always saying the same things, sharing the same ideas, never offering anything new to those who come here searching for it. In some ways running a daily blog by yourself results in brutal consequences just like this. You burn out. You step back and look at everything you’ve posted already and you think, “How can I possibly keep this going even one more day?”

But I’ve done that, every consecutive day since June. Five straight months of daily posts. Soon to be six, if this weekend doesn’t strip me of my motivation to push through the not-wanting-to-do-it mindset.

I don’t do this just for the fun of it or to prove something to someone. I made a promise to myself. I told myself that if I really wanted to transform this blog into something that would help people, into something meaningful, I couldn’t go halfway. It had to be all or nothing, otherwise, I knew I wouldn’t be able to give a (surprisingly) rapidly growing audience what it deserved.

As a result, I know a lot of you don’t come by often, and believe me, I understand completely. As a writer, my philosophy is that you absolutely cannot please everyone. Not every piece of content will prove helpful to every person. I’m not offended. I don’t take it personally. Because as a reader, my philosophy is that you should spend your reading time in ways that will help you grow and thrive, learn and achieve.

But at some point in the past seven months – or maybe you’re one of the very few who were here before I started Novelty – you stumbled upon my words, and read some of them, and decided, “Hm. Maybe this is worth a follow. Maybe this will help me, or someone I know, grow and thrive and learn and achieve.”

That, my dearest Noveltiers, is why I do what I do.

I used to have a running joke on Writer’s Blog/Heartfelt/Tales of a College Novelist that I had 2.5 readers, and would address them as such. Sometimes I still toss it in just for my own amusement. But there isn’t much merit in letting that gag live on, because it’s just not true anymore.

There are a lot of you out there now, and potentially a good portion of you are reading this right now. And the majority of that growth has happened since Novelty happened. And some days, I still can’t wrap my head around how. Why. What. What am I doing that’s so meaningful to all these strangers?

But time and again, I find the answer.

Whenever one of you leaves a comment, thanking me, or telling me how a certain piece of advice helped you with your story.

Whenever one of you subscribes to my newsletter, which is just a bonus weekly bundle of shenanigans from me that you don’t need, but subjected yourself to anyway.

Whenever someone new says, “Hey, I heard about this blog, thought I’d check it out and I’m hooked!”

I don’t deserve that. Any of that. I’m just a person. Lately, quite a miserable person with no direction or confidence or much of a reason to keep working so freaking hard. But you gave that to me. Every single one of you, just by stopping by, even if only for a minute.

Today, I am thankful for you. All of you. For many different reasons. But mostly, I’m just thankful I have behind me a group of people who believe in the power of thoughts and words and creation. Who believe writing, as complex and unpredictable as it may be, is an art and a science worth manipulating, worth executing, worth refining.

I’m not sure Novelty Revisions would be what it is today without you. Some days, it’s really all I have to cling to. I put my whole heart and soul into this. I don’t expect you to return after your first visit. I don’t expect likes or comments or for you to stick around for two or three or 20 posts. But sometimes you do. And that, to me, is beautiful.

Thank you for all you do. You continue to push me to put all my effort into making life an unpredictable adventure, one that will go on, thanks to you, for a very, very long time.

Enough with the sappiness. Go write some words. It’s what you’re best at, after all.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Sean X. Liu / flickr.com.

Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

NaNoWriMo 2015: This Novel Is Everything I’ve Been Afraid to Write


In my newsletter this week I wrote a little about beginnings (T-Swift lyrics may have been mentioned). As you probably already know, I started writing a new book this past weekend. The timing just so happened to line up so that my first new project in over three years began at the same time NaNoWriMo did. My elevator pitch? Kaylee walks into a bookstore, picks up a new release and reads the book dedication. It’s to dedicated to her father, who has been dead for just over a year. The author, who she has never heard of before, isn’t answering her emails.

I’m excited. More than excited. And a little terrified.

This new book is like probably most other NaNo novels I’ve started (and I’ve started eight of them now – I think I’ve actually only ever gone on to finish one or two of them so far). Usually the first few days you’re just burning off all your excitement by writing a bunch of words – I LOVE WRITING I LOVE THIS BOOK I’M GONNA GET IT PUBLISHED!!! This doesn’t last forever, but the first week or so usually my novel is all I think about 24/7.

I’m excited because it’s new and I get to “bond” with new characters and really settle into a more comfortable writing style (I loved my sci-fi experiment but it’s definitely not where I’m most at ease writing-wise). I starting writing YA and I’m not afraid to branch out, but it’s definitely my niche and most of the authors I follow are YA. It’s all-around amazing. Mostly.

The only concern I have is still a good concern in the long run. The problem with working on a novel for three and a half years is you can’t fixate yourself on one story for too long. Toward the end there I really started recognizing how hungry I was for a new writing challenge. I wasn’t challenging myself anymore. I was still in college when I started working on that book and I’ve matured a lot, writing-wise and life experience-wise since then. I knew I was ready to take on something a little different, which was why I went with this idea in particular for NaNo 2015.

I won’t say much more about it other than the short pitch I gave above, but it has some heavy stuff in it. A lot about innocence and growing up, grief, believing what you need to believe to get through the day. There’s a really dark secret that I almost thought about abandoning. But that would be taking the easy way out. You have to do what terrifies you in real life and I think it’s important to act by the same principles in your writing as well.

It will be tough to write, but in a good way. The closer and deeper in I get, I’ll probably get nervous and it won’t be quite as easy to crank out 2,000 words in one sitting as I have the past few days. That’s okay. Writing a novel isn’t supposed to be easy. That’s the whole point of this entire website. Writing isn’t easy. We’re supposed to challenge ourselves, and rejoice when we’re excited and figure out how to push through it when we’re struggling.

I can honestly say this is the best NaNo experience I have had so far. I love being an ML and being able to write about writing to an audience bigger than 2.5 people. Thank you for reading. Write on!

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.