In Your Corner: At the #NaNoWriMo Midway Point!

First of all, if you’ve made it this far and are still achieving your 2019 NaNoWriMo goals, whether they’re the traditional 1,667 word per day or something else–all projects are valid and celebrated!–congratulations!! It’s an accomplishment simply to get anything done, and you deserve to feel affirmed for the important work that you are doing. Well done!

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Now that you’re halfway through the month, the true doldrums of NaNoWriMo, you’re no doubt facing the universal challenges all writers face, only condensed down into a two-week span: the hard slog of keeping on keeping on even when the finish line isn’t quite in sight yet, tying together plot threads that are doing their absolute best to defy your control, and (depending on whether you draft consecutive chapters consecutively or jump around) writing those final and all-important moments of drama leading to the climax and denouement of the book’s action (if it’s fiction).

If you’re writing poetry or memoir or any number of other genres, you face a slight variation on these problems; just as with fiction, poetry and other genres still need to build toward some sort of emotional beat, and identifying the heart of a book that isn’t fiction can often be a challenge. Memoirists often decide upon what scene from life will serve as their crux in advance, but since many people (pantsers like me) get underway without a lot of preparation, one of the key challenges for Wrimos is developing the book’s structure after the fact (or partially after the fact). This is much easier to do at the midway point than at the end, which is why I mention it now. Unfortunately, it’s not always a lot of fun to do, so doing so can contribute to the general misery of the mid-month doldrums.

Giving you an itemized list of suggestions for what to do runs somewhat against the spirit of NaNoWriMo–remember, you’re not supposed to edit yourself as you write this month, in the interest of generating as much raw material as possible toward your final manuscript–so I’m going to keep my advice simple:

  • Spending the first five minutes of each day’s writing session thinking about the emotional heart of your book–before you set your pen to paper!–may just be the best possible service you can do your manuscript just now. In a separate document or on a scratch piece of paper, consider jotting down whatever comes to mind, whether it’s snatches of dialogue you want to include or descriptive words that evoke the feelings you want to inspire, and tape that up somewhere near your computer (or keep the document open in the background, if it’s digital).
  • Remember to write for yourself first and your ideal audience second. If you’re prone to obsessing over what your readers will think or need, as I am, this can totally paralyze your writing process and keep you from doing the necessary free-flowing writing exercises that are needed to reach your word goal for the month. The time to worry about other people is December, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo. Although if it helps you focus to get those thoughts down on paper and out of your head, consider jotting them down the same way you would material in the previous point (see above).
  • Clear your mind of all the things other people have told you makes for good writing or the “right approach” unless you immediately are 100% convinced that it is actively helping you write. We all love Stephen King and Margaret Atwood and all of the other authors who’ve put out “how to write [x]” books, but sometimes we get so caught up thinking about how other people think we should be writing that we freeze. Or at least, I do. The fact of the matter is, you will have your own “right approach” that is specific to you, and you don’t need to worry about anything else right now than what feeds your work and your heart as you write.

That’s it! That’s my advice for the coming weeks of NaNoWriMo! As always, I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing about your projects!

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Preparing for NaNoWriMo!

That’s right, it’s almost #NaNoWriMo time!

For those who’ve seen the acronym around but haven’t yet been read in on what the deal is, National Novel Writing Month is an annual tradition among writers looking to kickstart new projects through a dedicated month of drafting. While you can read more about NaNoWriMo’s origin story on the nonprofit organization’s website (www.nanowrimo.org), suffice it to say this has been a big deal for a very long time. As the NaNoWriMo website puts it, “before there was the Beyhive, or Nerdfighters, there were Wrimos” (participants in NaNoWriMo). The community has built up since the early days of the Internet to create a diverse set of resources for those interested in participating—or maybe in learning from the process even if writing 50,000 words in a single month is a bit much.

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There are two kinds of Wrimos: pantsers and plotters.

Pantsers are those who go through NaNoWriMo “by the seats of their pants” or however that expression goes, and plotters are those who prepare, or plot out their book outline, extensively beforehand. I myself have participated in NaNoWriMo several times, once as a pantser, once as a plotter, and once or twice just casually taking part in the prompts and sprints and group writing sessions without aiming to get to the 50,000 word mark by month’s end. These days I fall somewhere between these Wrimo alignments, as many writers do.

nanowrimo plotter pantser

With only two weeks remaining between now and the beginning of NaNoWriMo (my next post, for context, will arrive on the day before NaNoWriMo begins), I feel as though now is the time to encourage those of you who are plotters or plantsers or otherwise in-betweeners to start digging deep into the resources you will need in the month of November. Even those of you who are pantsers or who are not at all interested in participating in NaNoWriMo on any level might find it valuable to tap into the extensive writing-related resources that Wrimos have compiled over the years. These are the kinds of resources anyone can turn to at any time of year, not just during the official NaNoWriMo period.

First, I want to point you to the NaNo Prep 101 Workshop, which is hosted by the organization that really started it all. It can be completed at any time of year for free and provides tips on the following:

  1. Developing a story idea
  2. Creating complex characters
  3. Constructing detailed plots or outlines
  4. Building a strong world
  5. Organizing your life for and around writing
  6. Finding and managing your time

You can find out more about that workshop here.

I also want to point you to NaNoWriMo’s incredible collection of author pep talks, which include several from self-publishing successes like Andy Weir as well as a number of traditionally published authors whose names you might recognize (James Patterson, anyone? Neil Gaiman? Sue Grafton? No?). Those are all available (again, for free) at the link.

I also really recommend that you spend some time looking into all of the many other excellent resources that writers all over the world have compiled on their own blogs and websites. Every author’s experience is different, and chances are that any author you meet is going to have opinions about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of NaNoWriMo to their own process. It’s pretty definitely proven, though, that there are many amazing books in the world that wouldn’t otherwise have been self-published (or traditionally published for that matter) without that core group of writers and organizers who got together and made NaNoWriMo a thing.

So, will I be participating? I’ll let you know … in two weeks. I honestly haven’t yet made up my mind, and I’m okay with that.

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

#NaNoWriMo2017 is Coming to an End!

Tomorrow marks the close of the 2017 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and its participants’ pledge to write 50,000 words in 20 days. “Winners” (those who met or exceeded that goals) have already started to be recognized on the NaNoWriMo website.  If you’re one of those ambitious few (statistically speaking), congratulations; that’s impressive!  Many writers enter.  Much fewer cross the finish line.  But everyone who participates is a winner in our book, because NaNoWriMo is a stepping stone toward establishing a writing habit. As they say, a writer writes.  And in order to crank out 50,000 words in 30 days, you must force yourself to write every day.

That being said, 50,000 is no reason to stop writing. Books are rarely as short as 50,000 words, so crossing the finish line for NaNoWriMo is not the final step. The final step is completing a manuscript and then revising it, editing it, proofreading it, and then publishing it.  One doesn’t publish 50,000 words. One publishes a book.

In order for NaNoWriMo to accept your word count you need to cut and paste your manuscript into their word-count validator.  Sounds easy enough, but it’s surprising so many writers are so willing to give their hard work to an organization without a second thought.  Many writers exhibit hesitancy about sharing their work with publishers and that’s even AFTER a contract has been signed expressly protecting them and their copyrights.  No such agreement exists on the National Novel Writing website.

It’s clear that this issue has come up from time to time because on their forums, they provide a link to another website that “scrambles” your manuscript for the specific purpose of only providing your word count to NaNoWriMo, rather than a book that makes any sense.  But to do that, aren’t you submitting your manuscript to the 3rd party (who may hold even less legitimacy than NaNoWriMo)?

You’ll be happy to know that US Copyright protects you in these instances, as long as you can establish the date your manuscript was completed. Send it in its entirety to a friend via email, and keep the send-receipt.  Or use the “poor man’s copyright” and mail a hardcopy to yourself through the mail, and then keep the postmarked package unopened.  These are quick, easy, inexpensive measures you can take IF you are worried about NaNoWriMo or the 3rd party scrambler taking liberties with your work.  Or, you can rely upon the reputation of the NaNoWriMo organization and rest assured they have better things to do.  

For those of you who cross the 50,000 word finish line tomorrow at midnight… kudos!

nanowrimo 2017 winner


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list. 

From the Archives: “How NaNoWriMo Can Explode Your Writing Career – Yes, Really!”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: October 19th, 2012 ]

National Novel Writing Month, shortened to the kitschy NaNoWriMo (nan-no-RYE-moe), is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that challenges writers to pen a whopping 50,000 words in the month of November. Though it started in 1999 with fewer than two dozen participants, it’s estimated that more than 200,000 speed-writers tackled the challenge in 2010.

NaNoWriMo can kick-start a newbie’s writing efforts, or helped experienced authors loosen up and try freestyle for a while. Many NaNoWriMo participants have even gone on to have their projects published! At the very least, the project is a great writing exercise – and an chance to promote yourself as an author or your future book. In the true spirit of this virtual writing challenge, use the Web to turn NaNoWriMo into a prime marketing opportunity.

  • Start by crowing about your plans. If you don’t already have one, build a blog page on WordPress or another free blog site. Give readers daily reports on what work you’re doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Perhaps you’re reading Moby Dick for inspiration, attended writers’ conference, or you’ve bought a new thesaurus. Bring your audience along with you and get them excited about your adventure. Duplicate your efforts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and any other social media platform you wish.
  • Solicit feedback. Engage your readers in the process by sharing potential plot points and asking them for their ideas. People love the be involved in the creative process, and you may be surprised what scintillating characters and plot twists could spin out of these virtual brainstorming sessions.
  • Poll your potential audience. Ask your friends and readers to answer simple, multiple-choice questions: Should my protagonist be male or female? Which name do you prefer for the main character? Should the hero get the girl – yes or no? It’s a quick way to get people invested in your success and to gather a general consensus when you’re not sure which path to take.
  • Choose cover art. This could be as simple as changing your Facebook photo for the duration of the NaNoWriMo challenge or as involved as designing a prospective book cover. The idea is to associate an image with your project that will set a tone, create an image, inspire you and engage your readers.

Once November 1 rolls around – and, trust me, it will sneak right up on you – it’s time to hunker down for real. To successfully complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, you’ll have to write consistently most days from November 1 through November 30. You’ll need to average 1,667 words per day to meet the 50K quota, more if you take any days off. That means at least a couple solid hours of writing most days. (And leave a little extra writing time to update your blog or Twitter followers and post progress reports on Facebook.) The trick is not to get caught up in achieving perfection in a few short weeks; the goal is a lot of words in a short time, so focus on quantity in November — you can sort out the quality later.

I highly recommend joining a regional group so you can communicate with other participants, listen to ideas, share writing tips and gather suggestions from others. Many past NaNoWriMo authors have valuable advice that can help you make the most of the NaNoWriMo experience.

Now get writing!

– by Elise L. Connors

On this, the second-to-last day of NaNoWriMo 2016, I thought we might take a quick peek back a the beginning of things—not because, at this point, any of us want to travel full-circle, but because sometimes it’s important to be thinking more in terms of beginnings than endings. (And trust me, there will be plenty of time to talk about what comes next over the coming weeks and months. We’ll be checking in with you on what you do with your NaNo projects, dear readers.)

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In the beginning, when you decided to dive into this NaNoWriMo thing, you were excited. Passionate. Completely blinkered to the outside world as you dove into this other world, the world of your own creation. (Even if you were writing about the “real world,” it’s never quite as magical as what you put down on the page, is it?) As the days passed, you began to feel the grip of pressure tighten and the weight of responsibility begin stalking you seriously down the block. And at some point or other, you considered giving up. Maybe you did, in fact, give up.

That’s okay.

But again, let’s go back to that beginning—where everything was golden and rose-colored glasses weren’t even necessary to see things as bright and full of opportunity. Every author needs that moment, once in a while, to reinvest the writing process with joy and meaning. And it’s so elusive, so fragile, so easily lost.

Don’t give up on yourself, even if you gave up on NaNoWriMo or your latest lengthy writing project. Don’t despair of never getting that golden moment back. It will come. It might take its time in coming, but it will come. It might crop up unbidden, or it might crop up as you work hard to cultivate it.

Whether you finished NaNoWriMo or not, go back to those early structures and habits and practices—like the one in Elise’s list from 2012, above—and evaluate: what worked? What hurt? What can you use or adapt moving forward? Don’t beat yourself up about what’s over and done and beyond altering; keep one eye on the past and one eye on the future, and you’ll find a way forward.

And as always, we’re here to help you with that.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “Seven Ways to Make NaNoWriMo More Enjoyable”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: October 31st, 2012 ]

I am so proud of all the self-publishing authors who are beginning the NaNoWriMo challenge TOMORROW! It takes courage and dedication to commit to writing a book, especially when your timeline is only 30 days. To make the task easier, it is important to stay organized and focused. Here are seven tips to make the NaNoWriMo experience more enjoyable for all self-publishing authors.

1. Get in the “write” mindset. Before you begin each writing session, prepare yourself mentally. Everyone has a different approach that works for them. If you aren’t sure what is best for you, try different tactics. Some ideas include reading a few pages written by one of your favorite authors, listening to inspiring music, or doing a few yoga poses. The goal is to clear your  mind and get focused on your book.

2. Create a schedule and write it on the calendar. Decide exactly when and where you will write, and make sure friends and family know when you’ll be unavailable. You may have to pass on a few social events this month to fit in extra writing time. If you do have events you have to attend, schedule writing time elsewhere during that day.

3. Don’t forget about your outline. While your story may morph into something you didn’t expect, it is a good idea to keep the outline you created prior to NaNoWriMo on hand at all times. It is your road map to finishing your book and will keep you from getting off course. There will be time to make changes to your manuscript after NaNoWriMo has ended. For now, your goal is to finish the manuscript.

4. Keep an idea notebook with you at all times. As you write your story,  you may think of ideas for later chapters. Be sure to have a spot where you can joint down any ideas that come to mind. It is a good idea to keep this notebook with you even when you aren’t writing. Sometimes the best ideas appear when you aren’t working on your book at all.

5. Give yourself a break. Writing a book in a month is time-consuming. This is not the month to hold yourself to unrealistic expectations. It is okay to order take-out for dinner, accept your mother-in-law’s offer to switch your laundry, and let the kids watch an extra hour (or two) of TV. For now, focus all of your energy on your book.

6. Get moving. Sitting at a computer all day is tough on your body, so be sure to schedule in some time to exercise. Go a for a short walk, or do some stretches. Not only is it good for your body, but exercise can else help clear your mind and break through writer’s block.

7. Reward yourself. When you reach your writing goals each day, acknowledge your success and reward yourself. Treat yourself to a bubble bath, ice cream sundae, or other special reward. You deserve it.

Writing a book can be challenging, so you need to have a plan, be surrounded by supportive people, and take care of your mind and body. Doing so will help you stay on track and focus on your book. It is when we let ourselves become overwhelmed and exhausted that we aren’t able to stay organized and successfully finish our manuscripts.

I’d love to know, how do you plan to make NaNoWriMo more enjoyable?

– by Kelly Schuknecht

By  now you’re more than halfway through November and your NaNoWriMo challenge—congratulations!! I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this fantastic community of authors than I am today, in November of 2016. Let’s talk a little about how it’s going!

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(That badly, huh? Well, let’s hope not. There are a gazillion “Keep Calm and …” memes out there and I will use all of them if I have to in order to cheer you up and keep you motivated. I say “you” but really I mean “me, too.”)

What are the challenges we face most often in the midst of November? I can’t necessarily speak for you, but I can speak for myself and those writers who I keep in close contact with—and we all seem to suffer most from three concrete struggles:

  1. Low energy.
  2. Lack of direction.
  3. Low confidence.

You’ll note that all three of these issues are touched on, even if only obliquely, in my original post from 2012. The ways to conquer low energy include getting up and moving around and giving yourself a break. The ways to find a sense of direction include putting yourself in the “write” mindset and working from an outline (if you haven’t written one ahead of time, it’s still a good idea to set aside an hour or two to sketch out something mid-November). And the ways to combat low confidence? Let’s just say one of the first things I write in my “idea notebook” each year is a list of quotes and facts about authors I love, many of whom have faced the exact same challenges and overcome them.

There’s no one way to “Keep Calm and Carry On”—instead, there are many, many ways. Not all of them will work for you, and even the ones that used to work for you four or five years ago might not work now. I find that the older I become, the more I struggle with maintaining my sense of focus and direction, which puts the related coping mechanisms under a lot of strain. Take a moment this November to evaluate where you’re at and what struggles you face, and tailor your approach to those needs—objectively, and with an eye out for how you’ve changed. Consider it the writing equivalent of your yearly physical exam at the doctor’s!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “6 Ways to Keep Up the NanoWriMo Momentum”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: November 5th, 2012 ]

The first few days of NanoWriMo are now behind you. If you are like most writers, you probably started out enthusiastically and determined to reach your goal, but as the days go by, you may start to lose motivation and focus. You are not alone. If you want to ensure that you finish the first draft during NanoWriMo, consider these six tips.

1. Accept that it won’t be perfect. NanoWriMo more is about writing a 50,000 word novel in a month, but no  one ever said it has to be a perfect, ready to publish novel. This is a first draft, and like all first drafts, it will need work later. Right now, focus on finishing the 50,000 words. You can go back and make changes after the challenge.

2. Set daily goals. It can be overwhelming to think about writing 50,000 words in a month. Instead, focus on how many words you will write each day or during each writing session. This will help you break up the project into manageable steps and will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

3. Check out Write or Die. This is great software for self-publishing authors who are struggling to meet their goals. This creative software lets you enter a time or word count goal, and encourages you to accomplish it without letting your inner editor take over. After you’ve meet your goal, you’re praised by the sound of trumpets.

4. Turn off the internet! Email and social media sites are major time-suckers that distract from your writing. During writing sessions, do not let yourself use the internet. If you can’t resist the urge, consider software that blocks the internet during your writing sessions.

5. Set a timer. Instead of focusing on word count, let yourself freely write for a set period of time, but don’t focus on the time. Instead, set a timer and forget about it. Write without interruption until that timer goes off. Then, take a break before writing again.

6. Become a morning person. Writing in the morning is great because the stresses and excitements of the day haven’t taken over yet. Your mind is clearest in the morning, and there are fewer distractions. Some writers like to wake up early and write until their brains get tired. Then, they allow themselves to enjoy the rest of the day however they wish. If you find that you’re having a hard time completing your writing goals because your to-do list grows throughout the day, writing in the morning may be the perfect solution.

I’d love to know, what are you doing to keep the writing momentum going?

– by Wendy Statina

nanowrimo 2016

50,000 words.

Let that sink in for a minute:

50,000 words!

(That’s a lot of words.)

There are so many pitfalls awaiting the eager author, whether participating in NaNoWriMo or just slaving away at the mines on some other project outside of the NaNo-verse, and a lot of the advice you’re going to read out there about how to move past Writer’s Block and so forth is going to sound canned. At this point in your journey, you’re past the point where trite pep talks land with any sort of impact; you know what works for you and what doesn’t, and looking to others for insight just strikes you as … derivative. Everybody’s doing it, and that kind of takes away from its power.

Or does it?

I would caution our readers here at SPA from becoming disenchanted the way I have become disenchanted after so many years, and so many writing marathons. I caution against this because, ultimately, losing hope is the only thing that will truly ruin your November—losing faith that you can do it, and that there’s wisdom to be picked up from those others who have passed through this process.

And while I would be the first to admit that any list, including our old list of ideas from 2012, is bound to be incomplete … well, I would also be the first to stand by the efficacy of the points contained therein, the points tested and verified by the experiences of so many authors.

Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! And don’t lose your faith in others … as well as yourself.

You’ve got this, dear reader. You’ve got this.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

From the Archives: “4 Things NaNoWriMo Authors Should Never Do”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.

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[ Originally posted: November 7th, 2012 ]

It’s hard to believe the first week of NanoWriMo is behind us already! How are you doing so far? I hope you are enjoying the challenge and that your manuscript is coming along. As you’ve been writing your draft, you may have noticed that it is easy to get distracted or discouraged, but a few simple changes can help you succeed. Here are four things you should never do if you want to finish NaNoWriMo (and maybe even self publish your book someday).

1. Skip a writing session. Unless it is an emergency, you must always stick to your writing schedule. If you must miss a writing session for an important reason, make sure you reschedule it. Ideally, you should reschedule it for another time that day or week. You don’t want to have to play catch up at the end of the challenge because you missed too many writing sessions.

2. Become jealous. Connecting with other writers is a great a way to find encouragement and inspiration during NaNoWriMo, but don’t let their progress discourage you. Some people write faster or have more time to commit. Try not to compare word counts. Focus on your success, and trust that your approach to writing is best for you.

3. Worry about editing. As you write your first draft, it is tempting to think about all the things you need to go back and fix. You should not be worrying about editing right now. You need to focus on writing. There will be plenty of time to worry about editing later. If the thought of editing really discourages you, treat yourself to professional editing services  after you achieve your goal.

4. Give up. There will be days when you become frustrated and consider giving up. Don’t do it! You can and will succeed as long as you keep trying. If you need some motivation, talk to people who believe in you, read about other successful authors, or take some time to relax and come back refreshed.

Remember, your goal isn’t just writing 50,000 words this month. Your ultimate goal is to write a novel (and self publish it). That goal takes time, dedication, and possibly hundreds of cups of coffee, but it is an achievable goal. Stay focused and trust yourself, and you will succeed.

I’d love to know, what habits are interfering with your NaNoWriMo goals?

– by Kelly Schuknecht

 

nanowrimo

This post goes live the first day of the second week of NaNoWriMo, and I’m willing to bet that those of you who have decided to participate this year are beginning to find the cold hard facts of extended writing sessions unbearable. Or, perhaps, you’re the opposite: you feed on pressure, and deadlines. But no matter where you’re at and what perspective you take of NaNoWriMo—participant or abstainer—one thing certainly remains true:

Writing is Hard.

If you need any proof, just look at what some of our most respected writers have to say on the matter:

And:
writing is hard ernest hemingway

No literary blog is complete without a reference to Ernest Hemingway, right?

My point isn’t to make you feel depressed over the inevitability of struggles cropping up during NaNoWriMo and all other writing projects, but instead to remind you that even the great All Stars of creative writing face the same challenges, and they struggled too. Which means that you’re not doing anything wrong, even if the worst happens and you make one of the four mistakes I first wrote about back in 2012.

There is always a way forward, and we’re here to help you find it! Clue us in on where you’re at with NaNoWriMo and your other projects, and we’ll pull out all the stops to find you resources, advice, and those tangible actionable ways forward!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.