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.

nanowrimo

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.

October Writing Challenge #5 NaNoWriMo

Over the past month I’ve challenged you to complete a weekly Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges were designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

Now that October is almost over, I have an even bigger and more exciting challenge for you — NaNoWriMo. If you’ve followed my blog posts in the past, you know I not only encourage authors to try NaNoWriMo, but I have also done the challenge myself.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that challenges writers to pen a whopping 50,000 words in the month of November. Hundreds of thousands of writers participate in the challenge each year.

NaNoWriMo is great for new writers looking for a creative jumpstart or experienced writers looking for a new challenge. It begins November 1st and ends on November 30th.

To sign up or learn more about NaNoWriMo, visit www.nanowrimo.org. The website helps you track your progress, gives you access to pep talks and inspirational stories, and provides a place to meet other writers.

Also, if you missed any of the October challenges, be sure to go back and check out them out: Spiritual Poetry Challenge, 15 Minute Challenge, Short Story Challenge, and Children’s Halloween Story Challenge. (You never know, they might inspire your NaNoWriMo project.)

I’d love to know, are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #4

October is here! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I am sharing a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

So far, we’ve done the Spiritual Poetry Challenge, 15 Minute Challenge, and Short Story Challenge. (If you missed any of these, click the links to check them out.)

This week is the children’s Halloween story challenge. Think of a child in your life and write out a story you might tell him or her as a bed time story for Halloween.  It doesn’t have to be scary (you want them to go to sleep after all), but it can be about monsters or ghosts or anything else related to Halloween.

After writing the story, you may decide you like the finished manuscript and want to self-publish the story. Remember, the pictures are very important in children’s books. If you happen to be an artist, this is a great opportunity to illustrate your own book. If not, many self-publishing companies offer a variety of illustration services to suit your needs.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #3

One of my favorite months is finally here — October! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I am sharing a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

So far, we’ve done the Spiritual Poetry Challenge and the 15 Minute Challenge. (If you missed it, be sure to check it out.)

This week is the short story challenge. Here is how it works.

1) Get inspired. Did one of the challenges from the last two weeks spark some ideas for you?  Use one of those ideas as a catalyst for a short story. If you are just starting the challenges, or you have an idea unrelated to the previous challenges, start a completely new story. It doesn’t have to be based off the previous challenges, but many of you probably already have ideas from working on the first two pieces.

2) Write a 500 word fiction piece  that channels your inner Stephen King. Let the season inspire you to write a mystery or thriller story, even if you usually work in another genre. Stepping out of your comfort zone and writing something completely different can be invigorating and bring new life to all of your work.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #2

One of my favorite months is finally here — October! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I will share a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

Last week, we started the month with the Spiritual Poetry Challenge. If you missed it, be sure to check it out.

This week, we’ll move on to the 15 Minute Challenge. Your goal is to write about an experience that was scary, suspenseful or mysterious, but you only have 15 minutes to write to it. The story can be true or fictional. Here are the “rules.”

1) Set your timer.

Once you are ready to start the challenge, set a timer for 15 minutes. No working on the story before or after your timer is set.

2) Focus on quantity, not quality.

For the 15 minutes, try not to stress about the details. Just write like the wind. Write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about fixing mistakes. Just write as much as you can for 15 minutes. You can always go back and “fix” the story later.

3) Keep going.

After completing the challenge you could do a couple of things. 1) You could be proud of yourself for completing the challenge and taking the time to write. You don’t ever have to look at the story again. You completed the goal. 2) You could let the challenge inspire a new project, such as a self-published mystery novel. 3) You could decide you like the story and choose to go back and continue working on it.

No matter what you decide to do after completing the challenge, be proud of yourself for taking 15 minutes to write. The more you write, the more likely you are to find success as a writer.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

October Writing Challenge #1

One of the favorite months is finally here — October! Witches, ghosts, and goblins! Oh my!

In honor of Halloween, each week in October I will share a Halloween inspired writing challenge. These challenges are designed to spark creative ideas, help you stick to your writing routine, and provide a little fun in your hectic week. (After all, writing is supposed to be fun, right?)

This week, we’ll start with the Spiritual Poetry Challenge. Tap into the spirit of Halloween and write a poem about a spiritual event or encounter. Possible topics include death, ghosts, or after death communication with someone who has passed. For instance, pick a real or fictional person who has passed and imagine what he/she would say to you. Also, if you have ever had a spiritual encounter, you could write the poem about that event.

This challenge will be unique for each individual. In some religions, spiritual encounters and after death communication are significant parts of their beliefs, and the poems may reflect those beliefs. For others, this challenge may simply be a fun way to imagine an conversation with a late celebrity, famous author, or even a childhood pet.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the next writing challenge!

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Back to Writing: Publishing Challenge

August is here and as summer is winding down, it’s time to get back to your writing and publishing goals.  Each week this month I will present you with a writing challenge for the week.  Come back every Wednesday to join the challenge and get back into the habit of writing on a regular basis. As Desiderius Erasmus once said, “The desire to write grows with writing.”

Over the past three weeks, I hope I’ve been able to help you get back into writing by completing the poetry challenge, short story challenge, and 15 minute challenge.

Now that you are feeling motivated and inspired to write, perhaps you have started thinking about publishing. Have you been working on a book you want to publish? Or have you always wanted to write and publish something, but haven’t started yet?  This week, your challenge is to set mini writing goals to get you from where you are now to where you want to be: I call this the publishing challenge.  

Let’s say you want to be a published author by the end of the year and you are about half finished with writing your book.  Imagine what you have left to write and set goals for each week in September, October and November (if necessary).  Give yourself some room the last couple of months as the publishing process can take several weeks.

The more you have left to write, the more aggressive your goals may need to be, but challenge yourself to write a chapter a week (or a certain number of pages or a certain number of words) to get you to your end goal of publishing a book by a reasonable date.  Then, discipline yourself to meet your goal each week and be sure to review your goals often to be sure you’re on target.

Good luck and happy writing!

 

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the 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 at http://kellyschuknecht.com.