It is now Day 12. Last night, I finished at 23,728 words. I’m getting close to the next milestone – 25,000 words.

Half of today was taken by my involvement with the Magnolia Garden Club. I had to get up early because I signed up months ago to be part of the Hospitality Committee today. I did not know I would join the NANOWRIMO Challenge this November. I got up early and had to do two trays of tea sandwiches with crust cut off for the meeting. I made a tray of Chicken sandwiches with guacamole and mayonnaise and cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese and chives. These simple sandwiches were delicious, easy to make and got rave reviews. I hope my books will get rave reviews as my sandwiches.

The tips for today:

  1. Get inspiration from around you. As a writer, you have to accustom yourself to observe your surroundings. Take note of everything around you. They are fodders for your next book projects. If you notice something unusual, intriguing or interesting, take note of them and write them down. It could be something you see, feel, touch or smell. When you come into a new place, look around. Observe what you see and store them in your memory. Then write them down in your notebook. Make note of the objects around you, the events and the people and their actions. All the things in your notebook could be a source of inspiration for your books later on.

My book recommendation for today is Don’t Fall Off the Mountain by Shirley MacLaine, inspired by her journey through life as a ballet dancer to being an actress and her numerous travels. It is a wonderful autobiography.

Don't Fall off the Mountain



It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind into it. Even with a small aberration yesterday, I made my goal. I was able to put in 1,899 words, making my total 21,737 words so far. I was too exhausted when I typed in the last word but I’m proud of myself for pushing myself.

The tip for today is:

11. Write what you enjoy reading.

I enjoy reading historical fiction and so I write historical fiction. I enjoy WWII stories especially those that happened in the Pacific Theater. The market is saturated with stories in the Atlantic Theater but not much were written about the Pacific Theater especially in the Philippines. I have heard numerous stories about events there during the war but never seen them in print. It was the main reason I wrote “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”. Talking to local people who were witness to the events was a better source of information and so the stories I heard from my elders became the inspiration for “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

My book suggestion for today being it as Veteran’s Day is Day of Infamy by Walter Lord. It is an account of what happened in Pearl Harbor that led to WWII in the Pacific. It was the same day the second Pearl Harbor happened. This time it was in the Philippines and it was a part of the story in “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

Day of Infamy by Walter Lord

I salute our veterans who fought for us so we can have the freedom we enjoy today.


I made it to Day 10. Last night I reached 19,838, a little short of 10,000 –word milestone. I’m still on target to my goal. I cannot slow down. Although today I had a small aberration. My husband got a bad nose bleed and I had to rush him to emergency. We went to the nearest clinic but they were closed so we ended up in the hospital emergency which was quite a distance. I lost 4 hours of work today.

My tip for today has something to do with goals.

  1. Set realistic writing goals. Write it down and put it near your writing spot so you can see it every day. Even if you missed your goal, having a goal keeps you motivated and it encourages you to put forth serious effort to attain it. Be specific and follow a regular schedule like writing two hours a day or five hours a day or twenty hours a week but write. You can always change your goal if necessary. Keep in mind that you can always amend it except the NANOWRIMO challenge where our goal is 50,000 words for the month which we can spread out through the whole month of November at any rate we are comfortable with and convenient for us. My other writing goal is to publish a book every two years. It’s not impossible and it is easily attainable. So what is your writing goal?

My book recommendation for today is The Bells by Richard Harvell where the main character has a goal to sing at the famous opera house in Vienna. He works at it and he accomplishes his goal.

 The Bells


It’s Day 9 and I am making progress. Last night I made it to 17,519 words and I am beginning to get weary. My back begins to ache today but I have to keep on going. This gives me the idea for the next tip.

  1. Find and establish a place to write comfortably and productively. Some writers can write anywhere. With the new technology, you can choose where and when to write. I don’t use a laptop. I prefer to use my desktop so I have to write at home at a particular location in my house. I can type faster on the keyboard to my desktop than on my laptop. Some people like to be in a place where they can interact with other writers like in a restaurant where some of the NANO writers meet to write in. Some like a background music. In my case, I want peace and quiet when I write so I can concentrate on the task at hand. My computer faces east and looking out to my yard and my little garden. It is bright and sunny but away from the afternoon sun which is too bright. I have a sheer curtain in case I have to tone down the glare. I have my supplies close by. My only problem that I find right now is my chair which is too low for me. I have two cushions but still the back does not give me enough support and I’m beginning to have a backache. I take one of my dining room chairs and replaced the chair that I was using. Now it feels more comfortable. So find a place more conducive to your writing mood and claim it as your writing space. It’s important to be comfortable but not to the point of being too comfortable that you forget your mission to be a productive writer.


Here is a nice dog book: Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan. I am a sucker for dog stories. Since we had Dallas, my son’s Dalmatian, years ago and he saved my life (another story someday) I love reading dog books. Here, John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow puppy and fun began. Life would never be the same again. Love it!


It has been a week since we started the NANOWRIMO challenge. Yesterday was a Double Up Day. Our normal goal for the day is 1667 so to double up, I had to write at least 3334 words yesterday. I really worked double time yesterday. I was able to put in 3425 words ending my total word count at 15486. I’m moving right along.

8. The tip for today is “Be Consistent”. Just like what we are doing this month, we are consistently writing every day. Most beginners have an ambitious goal of becoming famous and earning tons of money. Nothing is wrong with that except when reality sets in, they realize it is not that easy. Then they get discouraged and dropped out. That is not the way to go. You have to keep on going in spite of the hurdles along the way. Eventually people will discover your writing. There are some authors that hit the jackpot with their first book. I’m happy for them but it is a pity because they have no idea how they got there. Learning your craft as you go along your writing journey gives you more insights on how the writing process work and give you more incentives to improve your craft and be consistent in your effort.

Gold Coast by Nelson Demille

Here is a book by Nelson DeMille about the fabled Gold Coast of Long Island regarding a Wall Street lawyer and his Mafia neighbor. The Gold Coast is Nelson DeMille’s captivating story of friendship and seduction, love and betrayal. After reading the Gold Coast, one was lured to read the next book which is the Gate House, another Gold Coast story. Nelson deMille is consistent in his writing, always having a work in progress to keep his fans happy and anticipating the next book.


Last night, I advanced to 12, 061 words on NANOWRIMO Challenge. Today is Double Up Day? What is my goal for Double Up Day? I’m planning to write at least 3,334 words, which is double the recommended daily word count for Nano. We’ll see what happens when I finish today.

Here is my tip on becoming a better writer for Day 7:

  1. Begin a Writer’s Notebook. Not a journal or a diary although you can have that too if you want. A Writer’s Notebook is merely a place to record your ideas, observations, outlines, descriptions or anything you think you may need for your future writings. It should provide materials and inspirations for your writings. You can divide your notebook into sections and write in appropriate headings for easy reference. A notebook can be anything that is easy for you to use. It can be spiral notebook, a blank bound book like the marble notebook we use in school, a three-ring binder or a legal pad. It does not have to be fancy. Most likely you can use your iphone if you have one and take notes on your Notes icon. As long as you have a piece of something to record your thoughts and ideas when you think about it, that will be fine. Keep it handy at all times. You never know when an idea pop into your head.

Upstairs at the White House

Here is a fascinating book about the life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue  – Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West, the man who spent nearly three decades in their midst. J.B. West is the chief usher of the White House who directed the operations and maintenance of the home of our presidents and their first ladies – Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He supervised all activities from mundane tasks to state functions and had to interact daily with the first families and the relatives and friends who visited the White House. He must have thousands of notes to fill up this book. A fascinating read by our own version of Mr. Carson of Downton Abbey.


Last night, I finished NANOWRIMO challenge with 9,656 words, a little short of 10,000-word target. I’m hoping to make good progress today. The sun came out finally so I went out and raked some leaves and it made me feel good. I’m tired feeling confined in the house. I needed some fresh air to clear the cobwebs off my brain and rest my eyes off that glaring screen from my computer.

Here is today’s tip on becoming a better writer.

  1. Read the work of good writers especially those on the genre you are working in or plan to work in. You’ll learn the various techniques they use to attract readers. Do you have to read the literary classics? Only if you want to. You can even read almost anything, even magazines and newspapers. My son gave me a subscription to Wall Street Journal and I enjoyed reading it. There are some great writers there besides business articles and some great book reviews too. I subscribe to Writer’s Digest, a monthly magazine and I read that magazine cover to cover. How much reading should you do? That depends on how much time you have. It should not cut into your writing time. If there is a choice between reading and writing, you have to choose writing. But set aside some regular time to read, say an hour a day or a few hours a week.

Here is a new bestseller, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, that I read in the genre that I am writing.

Unbroken by Hillenbrand


It’s now Day 5 on NANOWRIMO challenge. I’m still on the game. Last night I hit 7638 words. I don’t know what today will bring but I’m working hard to make my story continue on its path. I’m staring at my goal hoping it will inspire me to gather steam.

My tip for today is very obvious. As a writer, what do we do? We write. So here is one thing we should always remember.

5 – Develop a good working habit and write every day. You’re a writer, so write, write, write until your hands ache. Since I decided to be a writer, I have made it a point to write every day. It can be a blog, an article, a letter or something for my book. I don’t write all day long but I have set up a time of day when I write unless I have a deadline like doing a newsletter then I can be writing all day long for three or four days straight.

A Woman of Substance by Bradford

Here is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and one of my favorites – A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Ms. Bradford has written a series on Emma Harte’s life which started on “A Woman of Substance”. She must be constantly writing to publish so many books on Emma Harte’s life.


I’m moving along with the NANOWRIMO Challenge. Last night I hit the 5,000-word mark, the first hurdle. I’m pushing into the next level. The story is shaping up even if I don’t write nonstop. It’s good to get up from my chair once in a while otherwise, my back aches and my eyes get blurry staring at the computer. Today, I even went out grocery shopping to get my Wednesday senior discount. Here is today’s tip:

  1. Have an attention-grabbing book cover.

Just as a memorable title is important to publishing a book, a great looking book cover is as important. It is the first thing the reader will see and it better grabs their attention right away. It should appeal to your readers, the libraries, bookstores and other outlets that you will want to sell your books. Unless you are traditionally published, your best bet is to hire a graphic designer or buy a predesigned book cover from some websites. Get a professional to design your book cover or at least make it look professional.

The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck

Here is the book I recommend today – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I like the cover but the story is something else. It’s so depressing. I almost did not finish the book but it’s one of the classics. I had to read it.


It’s now day 3 of NANOWRIMO challenge and I’m moving along. Yesterday I produced 1738 words on day 2. Not bad at all. At least I’m doing a little bit more than my 1667 goal a day. If I keep the momentum, I will be able to make the 50,000 words by Nov. 30.

  1. For today’s tip, here is a very important tip – Have a memorable title.

Whenever you write something, have a great title. Something that will grab someone’s attention. Something different or unique. My first book was titled “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”. Some people might not be able to pronounce it right but it was different. Then I added a secondary title “A WWII story of Love, Faith, Courage, Determination and Survival” which gives the readers an idea of what the book was all about.

A stillness at Appomatox by Bruce Catton

Like this book pictured here, Bruce Catton could have used “The End of the Civil War” but “A Stillness at Appomattox” was eye-catching. It is an interesting read if you enjoy reading Civil War stories. It is heavy with battle description and at times, you wonder how the North won the war.

For new author, it’s rather important to have an attention-grabbing title. Make the title stand out. When you are a published author, title might not be important as your name, then you can switch to making your name bolder. But for now, the title of your book should grab the attention of the reader.