4 Reasons To Do NaNoWriMo You Haven’t Thought Of.

NaNoWriMo is only a week away!! Are you ready? Because I am… not. I’m close. I think. Any who, I decided that along with my post containing NaNoWriMo resources, I’d also jabber on about why I’m choosing to participate in the insanity for the first time. I mean, let’s all admit it, writers are crazy. I know I am. These are the reasons I’m ramping up my crazy factor and why you should consider jumping on the NaNoWriMo train to psycho-ville.

4 Reasons to do NaNoWriMo you haven't thought of

 

1. It’s a chance for a new beginning

In case you didn’t hear, I published a couple new books last month. And while I’m incredibly proud of them, sales didn’t go as I’d hoped. (It never does, really.) I found myself a little more discouraged than expected. Many who PROMISED to buy/review/promote/whatever simply didn’t come through.

It sucked.

So! I’ve taken hold of this raging knife in my heart and yanked it out. Now, the blood is spurting everywhere and staining the carpet. Instead of mopping it up, I’m going to collect it, and pour it into a new manuscript. An AWESOME manuscript. A few reasons for this:

  1. As a writer, the most common piece of advice is “keep writing”. The best way to sell books, is to write the next one. Produce content. Publish more. Give readers something else to love. Yada… yada… yada… While I don’t necessarily write to make me rich, I do require food. I have a husband who insists on eating every day. And, don’t even get me started on student loans! Therefore, I gotta try to make a penny or two. This is where NaNoWriMo comes in. The timing is right for me to take a step back from marketing, and follow the advice of those who have gone before me. WRITE THE NEXT BOOK. So, that’s what I’m going to do.
  2. I actually LIKE writing. It can build my confidence (it can also demolish it to rubble, but that’s another post for another time). Writing can help me feel like I’m not wasting my destiny. It can spur on new ideas for even more books. There’s just a thousand reasons to write, okay? I’m really feeling the call, though. I hear a whisper on the wind saying, “write that story you keep thinking about in the shower…”
  3. I’ve had several ideas for fairytale retellings, and it’s high time I birth them unto the world. One is done (by done, I mean the first draft is finished), and the next is my NaNo project. Hooray!
  4. The final reason to write a new story… it shakes off the rust and reminds me I am a writer. It’s that simple. I am a writer. So, I will write.

 

2. We can try something new!

NaNoWriMo is the perfect opportunity for me to try some new writing techniques. Since I have a draft deadline, instead of a publishing deadline, I can experiment with new routines, techniques, and what not. Oddly enough, the quick deadline has given me the gift of time.

I think of it like this…

I’m usually writing with a strict timeline of all the following steps:

  • Draft
  • Beta reader
  • Rewrite
  • Rewrite
  • Edit
  • Teaser promo
  • Edit
  • Heavy promo
  • Edit
  • Format
  • Even more promo
  • Final edit
  • More stupid promos
  • Final read-through
  • Giant promo dump all over the internet
  • Submit
  • Wait for Amazon to decide the book’s fate……..
  • Publish!!

For every book it’s been like that. (Mind you, that’s just a bullet list of the basics.) It’s a lot of work and a lot of steps to get the book into the hands of readers. For NaNoWriMo, I only have to accomplish step one. That’s it!

So! Since I only have one thing on the to do list, I can mix it up. I can try a new way of writing. A new approach. Maybe I’ll write in a different room. Maybe I’ll write first thing in the morning, instead of whenever I can squeeze it in. Maybe I won’t write beginning to end. I might start in the middle! The possibilities are endless!!

My point, now that I’ve taken a hundred years, is that I can try to find new ways for myself. I very well may come across something that works amazingly and can implement it into my regular writing routine. That’s the point. I have a chance to better my process. How else do you figure out a better way to do something? You try it out!

Specifically, I’m going to focus on NOT EDITING AS I GO. Write first. Edit later. I’m 100% the worst at this. I can write fast. I can publish fast. But, I edit as I write my first draft. Honestly, for my novellas, it works out okay. But, for a full novel, it will definitely not work okay. I’m not so set in my ways that I don’t see that. For NaNoWriMo however, we’re going to write write write. And edit in December.

 

3. There’s a legit community.

NaNoWriMo has an awesome way of bringing writers together. Our industry is often a solitary one. We sit in our dark rooms, alone with the keyboard. Clattering away in isolation. AND WE LIKE IT THAT WAY.

But! NaNo is different. We sort of become this giant group of cheerleaders. Pep talks, meet-ups, write ins, parties. You name it. We’re in the same boat. We boarded “Ship Insanity” together. So, we enjoy the cruise as friends.

NaNoWriMo has an awesome and helpful writing community
(CLICK TO TWEET!)

It’s awesome. There’s support both online and in person. People helping people. It’s beautiful and wonderful. And, I’m excited to be a part of it. I know, for a fact, I’m going to come away with more than a manuscript draft. I’m going to make legit friends.

I’m going to be a cool kid! Finally!

Honestly, the writing community is one of the best things in the universe. We’re helpful, encouraging, and supportive. I’ve had an amazing experience. Other writers are simply the best. And NaNoWriMo is an opportunity to expand my “personal community”. It’s a great time to meet EVEN MORE awesome writers. I’ll take as many friends as I can get within the writing world. They’ve been an invaluable resource. My success is attributed to the community. And, I can’t wait to grow mine!

 

4. Writing can FINALLY be a priority.

Sometimes, it’s all I can do to kick out 500 words. The day gets away from me, too long of a to do list, stuff comes up, whatever. There are days when it just… doesn’t… happen.

Enter NaNoWriMo! For a month, I get so say, “Sorry, can’t do that. I gotta write!”

I have prepped my family and friends. They know that come November, I’m gone. I’ll be head down, cranking out 1667 words a day. AT LEAST. My goal is at east 2000 a day. Pretty sure my story is going to need more than 50,000 words, so my target is a bit loftier than NaNo “requires”.

My point is, tell yo kids… tell yo wife… November is YOUR time to write. Say no, as often as you can to the other stuff. This is when you get to make writing a priority. It can come first. Not second, or fourth, or umpteenth. First.

As best you can, anyway. Obviously, we all have responsibilities we can’t throw away. But, for NaNoWriMo, we get this legit excuse to move writing closer to the top of our to do list.

I’ve literally told people, “Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. I’m booked until December.” I’m really excited to immerse myself completely. I’m diving all the way to the bottom of my imagination’s ocean. See you in December everyone! Byeeeeeee

I am seriously looking forward to it just being me and my book. My words. A golden opportunity is lurking within NaNo. An opportunity to write your story. For you. You deserve it. We all do. We deserve the time to write what we need to. And in November, we get it!

So… Are you NaNo-ing??

Because, if you’re a writer, you totally should.

And, most importantly, enjoy the writing.

 

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NaNoWriMo 2016- LET’S DO THIS

In six-ish hours it’ll officially be NaNoWriMo prep time. For me anyway. Some have been preparing since September 1st, some before that, some may not gear up for a few more weeks. But! No matter when, or how, NaNoWriMo is coming for us all.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for those that don’t know) takes place November 1st-30th. It’s a challenge for writers to complete a novel draft of 50,000 words during those thirty days. Basically, write a book in a month. Boom. Easy, right?

Um…. no.

It is not.

This is my first year participating. While very excited, I’m doing my best to OVER prepare so as to avoid getting overwhelmed. As a result, I’ve gathered some awesome resources. And, lucky you! I’m going to spill it all here, so you can play too!

NaNoWriMo advice, resources, and general help for National Novel Writing Month

Okay!

Let’s start with NaNoWriMo in general.

First, I found this great, probably pretty accurate, representation of what to expect. Our friends at BuzzFeed wrote this up a few years ago. While not SUPER helpful for participants, those who know someone involved may learn a thing or two. I’m planning on sending this to my husband come November 1st. It has some hilarious info and gifs on the stages we writers will experience during NaNoWriMo. Like this gem. Stage one:

 

NaNoWriMo Madness from BuzzFeed

(It is from like… 2012 I think? But still relevant)

 

Next up, some great posts on preparation:

Checklist: 30 Things to do for NaNo Prep

A great list of stuff to do. Everything from plotting to social calendar clearing. Even a handy graphic I may print out and carry around with me. She’s has great visuals with every step. Many of which cracked me right up:

 

Game of Thrones NaNoWriMo funny meme

 7 Strategies for NaNoWriMo Prep

A lovely compact list to help with plotting. I especially like the idea of drawing a map. Fantasy or not, a map of your character’s surrounding and geography can be immensely helpful. Also, thoughtfully choosing a point of view helps a ton. Pick one and stick with it.

The National Novel Writing Month official website

Alrighty. Head over here. Register. Get yourself set up for success. I did. My profile is still a bit bare for the moment, but find me. Add me. Let’s be friends and cheer each other on. I love to hear from readers and writers. And, I love talking and joking and sharing ideas. All that jazz. Sign up!

Now for the juicy stuff.

Once November is here, these will help you stay organized and keep you going.

Day-by-Day NaNoWriMo Outline: Your 30-Day Cheatsheet

An awesome day-by-day process of where your story should go. Great for the planners (like me) to read through before you outline. Can also be good for the Pantsters*. You crazies can peek at it to keep your plot moving along. Super great list for story construction. Also contains a neat graphic. Woo!

*A “Pantster”, I learned, is a writer who “flies by the seat of their pants” when book writing. For example, they don’t outline and such. Pretty sure I would actually die a death if I tried it. They’re cool and badass and I want to hear their war stories…

NaNoWriMo: The Art of 1667 Words Per Day

Great tips on how to keep your micro-goal of 1667 words per day. That’s all we have to do. One thousand six hundred sixty-seven words. A day. For thirty days. We can do that, right? It’s going to be fine.

If you’re like me, and have momentary panics about achieving even a hundred words a day, this post will really help. Awesome advice, about distractions, momentum, etc… I also loved her idea of changing your font color to a super light gray. To keep from editing as you write. I’m a major culprit (victim?) of that. I’m horrible. Fixing every little problem that shows up when my atrocious first draft crap spews out. I tweak here and there. Bad! No! I’m the worst person to tell you not to do that, because I can’t stop doing it myself. But, DON’T. I’ve actually made a sub-goal for NaNoWriMo. JUST LET THE CRAP FLOW. Don’t edit. This blog made some great suggestions for overcoming that. Awesome.

This Generous Person’s Spreadsheets

If you’re like me, I love to see progress. While I’m usually one for instant gratification, sometimes it’s nice to see steady progress toward my goal day-by-day. Especially if I have thirty days where I have to stay focused and finish. These spreadsheets (all totally and completely free) can really help us keep track of word counts. Which, as we all know, are important to be watching.

The spreadsheet with this link is technically for 2015. But! The post states there will be an updated one for this year posted soon. Hooray!

Also, you can donate to the cause for more spreadsheet goodness. If you’re feeling extra nice, it’s a cool thing you can do.

Write a Novel in a Month (without Losing Your Mind)

This one isn’t NaNoWriMo specific. But, it’s a great resource for reminding you why we write first drafts. It’s got some good stuff on plotting and discovering your story. While the post is sort of an ad for a book about writing a novel in thirty-one days, it still has some great points about first drafting.

I hit up this blog a lot for advice and motivation. So, browse through some other articles. This is where I first read about publishing shorter stories on Amazon. And even though my novellas are longer than what is suggested, I found that I loved writing shorter fiction. It taught me a lot and I’ll keep doing it. My point? You never know where you’re going to find inspiration, or have an “ah ha!” moment. So poke around. Read a little about what you don’t think will interest you. You’ll be surprised. This applies to ANY blog, of course.

To conclude…

NaNoWriMo is going to be awesome. I’m really looking forward to it. Even though it’s my first ride on this merry-go-round, these are the things I’m going to keep in mind that you’ll also want to consider:

  • Don’t forget to prep your friends and family. Let them know you’re not going to be as reachable as normal.
  • Guard your writing time. This is one month out of the year when you are going to choose you. You owe it to yourself to write. You love it. You deserve it. For thirty days, say no to the other stuff. Protect the time you’ve set aside for yourself to do what you love.
  • Write through writer’s block. That syndrome doesn’t get to exist in November. My best advice when you think you’ve got it? Pretend you don’t. Write anyway. The point of this exercise is to write. Not to write well. Remember that. Just put words on the page.
  • Don’t edit as you go. Just say no, kids.
  • Try to get enough sleep.
  • Plan. Plan. Plan. Have an outline. Set micro-goals. Word counts, page counts, scene completions, whatever. Strategize so you can be successful. And so you don’t get overwhelmed. (As a side note, this point may be lost on the Pantsters. I don’t know how you do it, and I have MAD respect for you dudes that can fly like that. PLEASE tell me how you do it. I think I’d just end up weeping under my desk.)

The point of #NaNoWriMo is to write. Not to write well. Remember that. 

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There you have it! For now, at least. As I find more throughout this crazy writing spree, I’ll update this post. Again, find me on the NaNoWriMo official website so we can hold hands and cry together. I mean… win together.

LET’S DO THIS!

Pinterest & Me

I am quite the Pinterest user. I’m on it all the time. Some say it’s an unhealthy addiction, but I don’t heed that kind of toxic talk. They’re just jealous of my awesome Pinterest skills.

Any who! The point is, I use it frequently when writing to stir up my creative juices. It helps to look at what I’m talking about. Let me illustrate that point a little:

I have many Pinterest boards for my books. I have a New York board for Kevin, I have a complete collection of what seems like randomness to others for Maia, and I have a Delilah board for my Demonic Illusions series.

Delilah is the demon in the series (debuting  in Demonic Impulse due out this weekend, January 9th) and she’s really fun. To help me understand/visualize/have more fun with her, I created a Pinterest board to refer to. It’s great! I can pin things I want to mention about her. I can go back to it, and remind myself about a certain trait. Sometimes, I just scroll through it, to kick off the dust if it’s been a few days since I visited her story.

It’s not just Sam’s story, it’s her story too. That’s what makes this book so great. There’s double, almost conflicting, views to everything.

The point of me prattling on about all of this is twofold:

  1. As a writer, Pinterest can be an awesome tool. I highly recommend it to others for help. Also, it’s a fun way to explore your character, settings, or to find all sorts of writing advice. I’m there all the time for work related pins.
  2. If you want, you can check out my aforementioned boards, or just get to know me a little better, or follow me. I’m quite active there.

Here’s an example:

Delilah Eye

That’s a cool inspiration image I found for Delilah.

Fire Escape

This set me in the perfect mood when I was revising Kevin.

Thumbelina and Swallow

I love this. Maia is a retelling of Thumbelina. This illustration warms my heart, since my focus often centers on her relationship with the swallow. So great.

You get the idea. (And you can click the images to view the Pinterest boards.)

Keep an eye out for Demonic Impulse. I’m really excited, and quite proud of it. And fellow writers, do try Pinterest for career related assistance. I cannot rave about it enough.