How Taking a Short Writing Retreat Boosted My Productivity

Disclaimer: this post will feature a lot of pictures, just so you know.

A stunning art exhibition I found. I believe it was showcased in the Esplanade building.

I have mentioned in one of my previous blog posts that I wanted to go on a creative writing retreat. Not the fancy residency kind, of course. What I’m talking about is but a short escape somewhere. It should be far enough from my usual daily routine, but it also should be within my budget—so it shouldn’t be too far, either.

Last October, I was offered a cheap flight ticket to spend the weekend in Singapore.

I took it without hesitation.

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Post NaNoWriMo 2017 Thoughts

After my bold statement last month on how I was going to participate in NaNoWriMo, you must have been wandering, where have I gone this whole month?

(Or maybe you haven’t, but let’s assume that you have.)

I am going to answer that question by letting you know where I am right now, as I believe it describes what had been happening in November for me:

Beautiful view from the cafe I’m at. More information about the cafe at the end of the blog post.

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How to Plot? – with Yarii

With the end of October only a few days away, I really have to work on my NaNoWriMo project outline on my writer’s notebook, which I have rather abandoned last week because I went on a vacation. Problem is—plotting or outlining has never been my strong point.

This is especially a big problem when I have so little time left to prepare, despite all the bragging and announcements I made at the start of Preptober. I really need a crash course on plotting, and I need it quick. But at the same time, I have to make up somehow for not posting anything last week on this website.

I obviously couldn’t focus on both. So imagine how glad I was when my good author friend, Yarii, who writes amazing historical fiction herself, agreed to write a guest blog post on my website to talk about plotting.

With her contribution, I thought, I could post something new on my website, plus I could learn a thing or two from her. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

And boy, was I right.

In any case, I’m planning to start posting regularly on my blog after I finished my outline, so please feel free to follow the blog or any of my social media (Twitter, Instagram) if you’re interested in my struggles during the upcoming NaNoWriMo, or even if you just want to know what I did during my short getaway several days ago.

Okay, I’ll stop with my ramblings and get into Yarii’s guest post about plotting below. If you find the article below helpful, please check out her works. She just independently published her book, Botan, and it is now widely available for purchase through this link. If you like historical fiction, or if you like Japanese culture, you definitely have to get the book!

source: goldendome

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Preptober Week 2: Planning for NaNoWriMo 2017 on a Busy Week

So, I found this inside my mailbox today:

“No Plot? No Problem!” book by Chris Baty, the very founder of NaNoWriMo!

And for the first time since the long and arduous second week of October started, I was reminded that I am going to participate in NaNoWriMo 2017.

Now, of course it wasn’t like I suddenly woke up one day and forgot such an important event. After all, I did make an announcement of my participation in a previous blog post. And it wasn’t like I completely did nothing in preparation. I have a legit list of all the things I need to prepare in Preptober, including purchasing a dedicated writer’s notebook for myselfwhich I did last week.

But let’s face it: life gets in the way.

Whether it is your day job or an exam coming up in school, life always seems so busy in the months leading up to November.

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How I Use a Midori Style Traveler’s Notebook to Prepare for NaNoWriMo 2017

If you have been following me on Twitter, you might have already known that I recently purchased a Midori style traveler’s notebook from a local leather craftsman.

My current writer’s notebook

If you’re not familiar with the concept, Midori Traveler’s Notebook is basically a notebook setup that consists of a slab of leather with several elastics on the spine of the cover to keep notebooks inside. People use the setup for a bullet journal, a daily planner, a diary, a traveler’s log, and even a creative journal.

Unsurprisingly, the minimalistic approach from this Japanese company (now Traveler’s Company) immediately took the planner community by storm. The sporadic distribution and sudden fame of the lineup brought about a very devout following in the community, and it had become one of the most popular choices for people looking for a notebook setup.

This, of course, opened up some rooms for business. Numerous local craftsmen had been creating their own versions of Midori Traveler’s Notebook, dubbed fauxdori. Not only are these fauxdori cheaper than the original Midori variant, they are also more customizable since you can just talk about your needs to the craftsman and they would adjust the product for you.

So that means, you could make the leather cover a tad wider, taller, or has some engravings if that’s what you fancy. This adds to the customizability of the setup, and both the original version and fauxdori had been garnering quite some followings on the internet.


For me, Midori Traveler’s Notebook is a perfect setup as my writer’s notebook

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NaNoWriMo 2017 + My Thoughts on the Dreaded Preptober


If the banner above hasn’t given away what I’m about to write in this post, then let me clarify it for you:

Yes, I am participating in NaNoWriMo 2017.

This shouldn’t be very surprising, since I have talked about how I wrote my debut novel, 3 (Tiga) as a NaNoWriMo project.

In case you didn’t know already, NaNoWriMo is an event in which writers from all around the globe attempt a very grand challenge of finishing a 50,000 words novel in the month of November. This year would be the fifth time I’m participating. So far, I have only won one of them—so clearly I have to step up my game in order to even dream of completing a new manuscript.

But what do I have to do in order to step up my game?

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