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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is here! Aspiring authors around the world are challenging themselves to complete the first draft of a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. That's no easy feat, especially if you have a day job, but it can be done. The key is to put yourself on a schedule and stick to it.


For example, you could be:


A)   Writing 1,600-1,700 words each day, including weekends

B)   Writing 2,500 words each Saturday and Sunday, plus 1,300-1,400 words each weekday

C)   Writing 5,000 words each weekend, plus 1,300-1,400 words each weekday

D)  Pounding out 12,500 words each weekend


When I'm writing a novel, I give myself a daily word count quota, Monday through Friday, and don't let myself go sleep until I've reached it. That way I don't get behind and stress myself out. (I tend to get stressed out easily, so this approach works for me.) If I wrote on the weekends, my daily quota would be considerably lower, but I need that mental break to stay fresh and engaged. Other writers prefer writing every single day. Do you see my point? We're all different, and that's perfectly fine! What's the point of trying to conform to someone else's schedule if it doesn't work for you?


Some authors like to put a detailed outline in place first before they write a single word, while others say outlines are a complete waste of time. Again, I believe that you should do what works for your creative spirit and not worry about what anyone else says. Writing novels is an art, not a science.


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, please share your approach in the comments. I'd love to see how varied the responses are so we can all learn from each other!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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The Milestones You Should Track during NaNoWriMo

How to Write a Novel in a Month

 

391 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, nanowrimo, word_count, writing_strategy
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Set a goal

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 1, 2017

If you are reading this blog, there's a better than good chance you call yourself a writer. More than that, you love to write. It's a calling. We write because we feel compelled to do so. That doesn't mean we are always chomping at the bit to sit down and set words to page. There are times when we just don't have the physical and/or mental energy to do so. Let's face it, life is exhausting, and it can make finding the inspiration to write hard from time to time. The good news is there is a simple fix to those days when you just can't write. The bad news is it will take discipline.


Set a deadline. If you've ever participated in NANOWRIMO, you know the power of having a deadline. The key to making it work hinges on having a target word count. In the case of NANOWRIMO, the target word count is 50,000 words. It's a good start, and depending on the category and genre of your book, it's a perfectly acceptable word count. But if you're writing a fantasy novel, for instances, 50,000 words won't do if you want to meet genre expectations.


Once you have your target word count, set a daily word count total that is realistic. Only you know your schedule, so for me to suggest a daily word count would be arbitrary and unfair. My only suggestion is to not make it too aggressive, and when you reach the word count for the day, stop. Even if you have a flood of thoughts on where to go next in your story, stop. Walk away from a writing session knowing where you're going to start the next writing session.


To overcome those times you just don't want to write, give yourself a manageable deadline and feel the satisfaction of meeting your goal step by step.    


-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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The milestones you should track during NaNoWriMo

 

Stage three of writing – the daily word count theories

 

 

 

 

548 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: publishing, writing, nanowrimo, craft, writing_advice, deadlines
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National Novel Writing Month is here again. Are you participating? If so, the best piece of advice I can give you is to set a daily word target and stick with it.


I've never written a full novel in just one month, but I did once write one in six weeks. I got it done by setting a daily word quota and not letting myself stop until I reached it, no matter what. If you let the word count slide one day, that can quickly turn into two days, or a week, and then before you know it you have just a few days to finish the entire thing. If you're the kind of person who can power through at your desk for twenty hours and still function, then by all means, do what works for you. But my brain doesn't work that way. For me, chipping away day by day is the only way to go. It keeps me engaged, fresh, and enjoying the process.


The folks at NaNoWriMo suggest 50,000 as a target word count for a full-length novel. Divided by 30, that's a daily word count of 1,667. If you have a demanding day job and prefer to do the bulk of the work on the weekends, there are several ways to slice and dice the math to create a schedule that best suits you. The key is to:


1)    Create a word count schedule you can follow

2)    Follow the word count schedule!


That's really all it comes down to. Writing a novel is a lot of work and will be mentally challenging, but if you really want to do it, you can! There's no magic formula other than sitting down at your computer and letting your imagination (and fingers) take it from there. Now get writing!


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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How to Write a Novel in a Month

Productivity vs. Perfection

1,170 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, writing, nanowrimo, writing_month
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A few weeks ago I went to cheer on my pal Kelly, who was running the New York Marathon. That is twenty-six miles--and change! Insane, right? It's not like you can just roll out of bed and wing it. Preparing for a marathon is no joke. Kelly has a pretty demanding job, but she was determined, so for months she dragged herself out of bed before work and on weekends to put in the miles.

 

Her distance increased weekly until she was literally running for hours at a time, by herself, while her friends were off having fun doing other things. Yes, at times the training was boring (she's the first to admit it), and yes, at times she wondered why she was putting herself through such torture (she admits that too), but she knew her body wasn't going to get in marathon shape by itself. So she put in the work, day after day after day.

 

Kelly finished the marathon and is (deservedly) extremely proud of herself. She should be! She worked her tail off, and no one can ever take that accomplishment away from her.

 

Writing a novel is similar to running a marathon in the sense that it takes a great deal of time, effort, and discipline. A book isn't going to write itself, no matter how desperately you might want it to. Trust me; I've experienced that feeling a lot. To complete NaNoWriMo you have to sit down at your computer every day, before work or after work, or both, and write, day after day after day. Push the story forward, and keep going until you're done. Just like Kelly, you'll have worked your tail off to achieve your goal, and just think of how great that will feel.

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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Productivity vs. Perfection

Writing Takes Discipline

1,239 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, author, writing, nanowrimo, national_novel_writing_month
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It is the new year, and I have an idea to help kick-start your marketing efforts. In November of last year, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In a 30-day period, I contributed 50,000 words to a new book. It was exhilarating, not to mention that it accelerated the writing process. I am much further ahead on the project than I had initially planned for and I've adjusted my schedule accordingly.

 

So, in the spirit of the new year and NaNoWriMo, why not have your own novel marketing month? Every day for 30 days, contribute to the marketing of your book. Whether it is writing a blog post about your book, contacting a reviewer or creating a video about your book.

 

This can do two things for you.

 

  1. It can give your marketing efforts a serious boost. By contributing to the marketing of your book every day for 30 days straight without a break, you're increasing the opportunity that your marketing will find traction somewhere along the way. The more "at bats" you have, the more likely you are to get a hit.

  2. You will gain a comfort level with marketing your book and by extension build your author brand. In essence, you will form a marketing habit. You'll develop a taste for it.

Just as writing takes a commitment, so does marketing. Make the commitment and pick a month to spend every day marketing your book.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Keep a Brand Journal

Book Marketing Takes Persistence

2,127 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, writers, nanowrimo
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I did it. I participated in my very first NaNoWriMo. Well, more accurately, I kind of participated in NaNoWriMo. My project was nonfiction, and I had written 12,000 words prior to the November 1 start date. I essentially used the event to contribute 50,000 to my next book.

 

I have to say I found it utterly exhilarating. Getting up every day facing a new word count goal kept me hyper-focused on the book for 28 out of the 30 days. The first 14 mornings, after my coffee, of course, I sat at my computer and wrote 420 words. I then broke away and answered e-mails. Then I sat down to write 420 more words. Another break to tend to other work was followed by another 420-word writing session. The final 420-word session would come before dinner. Most days looked like this. The ones that didn't required slight adjustments due to other obligations. I took day 15 off and then broke my four sessions into 448 words each. I took one more day off and adjusted my word count sessions to make up for the lost time. In addition, I kept myself honest by updating my progress on my blog and Facebook every day.

 

I have written 12 books, but I have never done it with this much pressure before. I loved every minute of it. I am not finished by any stretch of the imagination. I have a very rough first draft that needs a lot of tender loving care, but thanks to NaNoWriMo, I have it in record time. If you have not participated in NaNoWriMo before, I would highly recommend it. Get ready for next November. I know I will be.

 

How was your experience with NaNoWriMo? Did you find, as I did, that the pressure helped keep you productive?

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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How to Get and Stay Motivated

Is the Early Bird More Creative?

1,651 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, author, writers, timeline, writing, nanowrimo, national_novel_writing_month, craft
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November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you participating? If so, good for you! Given the inherent deadline of the movement, I'd like to share one of the most important lessons I've learned about writing books: If you try to make every sentence sound perfect NOW, you'll never get anywhere.

 

When I was writing my first novel, anytime I found myself stuck about where to go next with the plot, I would go back and wordsmith what I'd already written. At the time, I reasoned that as long as I was working on the book, I was making progress. Looking back, however, I realized what I was really doing was procrastinating! I was putting off the hard work of developing the plot, instead choosing to spend hours and hours fine-tuning what I'd already written. The problem with that approach is if you don't push the story forward, you will never finish the book. (Click here for my post on how to keep the plot moving.)

 

If you want to complete (the first draft of) a 50,000-word novel in a month, I suggest you take a clinical approach and set one of two goals, depending on your schedule:

 

A)  Write 1,600 words each day

B)  Write 2,500 words each weekend day and 1,300 words each weekday

 

Writing that many words, especially if you're working full-time and/or have kids, is quite a task, but it's doable. The key is consistency. Skipping even one day will put you way behind, so don't even consider that as an option. And if you find yourself on a roll at some point, keep writing! There's nothing wrong with going over your daily quota.

 

Once you finish the first draft, by all means go back and edit from the beginning. And you know what? As you read the story with fresh eyes, you'll probably end up cutting some things that for whatever reason don't work for the story anymore. Just think how glad you'll be you didn't waste your valuable time and energy tinkering with them.

 

Good luck!

 

-Maria

 

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, Cassidy Lane, and Katwalk. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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How to Stay Committed to NaNoWriMo

How to Write a Novel in a Month

2,336 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, nanowrimo
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The goal during NaNoWriMo is fairly cut and dry. During the 30 days that make up November, participants complete a manuscript that is a minimum of 50,000 words in length. Now, you may want to stand back while I do some math because this could get messy. I believe that works out to roughly 1,667 words a day. That is a pretty substantial word haul in a single day. It's not outrageous production, but it is a healthy dose of story day in and day out.

 

The best way to achieve this somewhat lofty goal is to set milestones that can serve as guideposts to your final destination. My recommendation is to give yourself four milestones per day to reach. Cut the daily word count goal into four parts. Basically, I'm recommending that you cut your workload down into four achievable goals. Each goal is set at 420 words. After you reach the 420 word mark, give yourself a small reward. It doesn't matter what it is, but make it something that will help you relax and decompress. If you follow this strategy, you'll have 50,000 in 29 days.

 

Whatever you do, avoid the weekly milestone. The temptation will be to fall short of your daily word count goal by telling yourself you can make it up the next day or the day after that. You'll convince yourself that it doesn't matter as long as you reach your weekly goal. This philosophy is bound to leave you frustrated when those unfinished days keep adding up, and you're faced with trying to catch up.

 

NaNoWriMo isn't that daunting if you pare it down into manageable workloads. Give yourself frequent milestones so you'll stay on task and feel the progress as you go along.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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The Distraction Fast

How to Stay Committed to NaNoWriMo

2,390 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, nanowrimo
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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is just around the corner! Join hundreds of thousands of authors who are taking the challenge to write an entire novel in the month of November.


50,000 words. 30 days. And 8 tips to get you started. Write on, Wrimos!

 

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3,018 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, writers, writing, nanowrimo, novels, nano
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The Distraction Fast

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 27, 2014

Let's face it: NaNoWriMo gobbles up your free time. Sure, there may be time to squeeze in an episode of The Walking Dead, but there's absolutely no time for anything else. Okay, I forgot about the release of Mockingjay on November 21. You have to take time out to go see that. You're only human. And, you know what, I completely forgot about watching all those cat videos on YouTube. We all need our daily cat video fix. So, by all means, get those in too. But there's absolutely no other way you should be spending your free time other than writing…unless you want to post 80 pictures of your breakfast on Instagram. People need to see that. On second thought, given the enormous amount of distractions out there, I don't see how you're going to be able to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

 

Here's a crazy thought: Why not just forgo those distractions during the 30-day writing marathon? Set them aside and get back to them when December rolls around. Call it a distraction fast. Cut out the TV watching, the movie going, and the nonessential social media activity. The only essential social media activity is your regular NaNoWriMo status update. The one thing I wouldn't give up is the time you spend with real live human beings in a non-virtual setting. Human contact is essential to the writing process so make time to be with the people in your life.

 

November means one thing: You write. You write like you've never written before. You write like a fiend. There is no time for distractions.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Fix It in Rewrites

How to Write a Novel in a Month

2,257 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, writers, writing, nanowrimo, drafts, national_novel_writing_month, craft, rewrites, writing_tips, writing_advice
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Fix It in Rewrites

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 20, 2014

The temperature is dropping outside. The leaves are turning brown. Shoppers are dodging fake cobwebs while they fill their carts with huge bags of candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Thanksgiving meals are in the planning stages. All this can mean only one thing: it's NaNoWriMo season.

 

Are you ready? Do you have all your ducks in a row? Have you committed all the common grammatical errors to memory so you can avoid them as you're pounding out almost 1,700 words a day? What about plot points and main character backgrounds and secondary character development? Is all the preliminary work done? No?

 

Good, because it doesn't have to be! NaNoWriMo isn't about writing the perfect manuscript in 30 days. It's about writing a first draft, and what have I told you about first drafts? They're supposed to be bad - bad to the point of being embarrassing. Don't waste your time during NaNoWriMo carefully crafting a first draft that you will be ready to publish as soon as the event is done. Write a sloppy, ugly, I-hope-nobody-sees-this first draft. You will have plenty of time to get the manuscript into shape when you rewrite it.

 

During rewrites you'll switch gears and turn your ugly first draft into a pristine work of beauty. But for now, you don't care about mistakes. You don't care about inconsistencies. You don't care about formatting. The only thing you care about is piling up as many words in a day as you can. This isn't about writing well. It's about writing fast. Now, off you go, speed demons. Go forth, and slam out a first draft as fast as your fingers can dance across the keyboard.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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When to Say "I Don't Care"

Unfinished and Happy

3,747 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, nanowrimo
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November is fast approaching, and that means it's time for National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is an annual creative writing event that challenges authors to write a 50,000-word novel in a single month. Last year more than 350,000 authors participated. Are you going to be one of them this year? I asked Grant Faulkner, executive director of the nonprofit organization, for some tips on how to complete 50,000 words in just 30 days, and here's what he had to say:


  1. Go on a time hunt: A lot of people say they just don't have the time to write a novel in a month, but most of us have more time than we think. Toni Morrison was a single, working parent before she was a novelist. After putting her kids to bed, she'd write for 15 minutes each day, even if she was tired, and that was how she completed her first book. Before November, track what you do on a typical day. Figure out what you can give up in order to find the time to write. Cut out TV? Wake up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later? Write during lunch? Write on the subway? All of the above? You have more time than you think. And what will you remember more later in life - the TV shows you watched in November 2013 or the novel you wrote?
  2. Build accountability: You can build accountability by signing a blood pact with yourself. Or you can adopt a more effective strategy: risk public shaming. Tell your friends and family that you're writing a novel in November. Post your word counts on Facebook and Twitter. You don't want to see people in December and face their questions about your novel if you gave up.
  3. Simplify your life: You're going to have to say no to things in order to accomplish any grand task. You might have to skip that weekend getaway or Saturday night party to hit your word count. Or you might have to order takeout sometimes. Remember: there's plenty of time to clean your house in December.
  4. Reward yourself for milestones: NaNoWriMo might be an endurance test, but it's also a writing party. Figure out a reward for each 10,000 words you complete. It could be as simple as dancing to your favorite YouTube video. Some treat themselves to banana splits. Others have gotten tattoos. One man bought a boa constrictor. Whatever works for you.
  5. Show up: No explanation needed. You might miss one day of writing, but try not to miss two. Remember what Woody Allen said: "90 percent of success is just showing up."
  6. Write with others: Writing doesn't have to be a solitary, toilsome affair. NaNoWriMo has volunteers in more than 500 regions around the world who organize local writing events. Finding a community of encouraging support does wonders for any creative enterprise. Find more about the goings-on in your region on the NaNoWriMo site.


Thanks to Grant for his thoughtful suggestions. If you need some extra motivation to write that book, there's no better time than NaNoWriMo. Will you be taking the challenge this year?


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Block Out the Distance & Enjoy the Journey

Writing Takes Discipline

8,482 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, nanowrimo, national_novel_writing_month
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Fingers cramping? Eyes tired? Brain exhausted? Computer overheating? If you're experiencing any of these plights, you may have just spent the month of November writing a 50,000-word novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The authors at CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing are right there with you! We've watched their progress at the start and midpoint of NaNo; now let's see how they concluded their month of furious writing!

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Phoebe, Kindle Direct Publishing

FINAL WORD COUNT: 50,064

What was your overall experience?

It's been a blast! I love meeting and talking with fellow authors who are all working toward the same goal. There was a period when I was doubtful, but I just kept plugging away and thinking about the "winner" t-shirt I preordered, which was hanging on my wall waiting for me to earn it.

 

How are you celebrating?

On Friday I went out with the Seattle Drunken Write-In crew, on Saturday I went to the official "Thank Goodness It's Over" skating party, and on Sunday I did a whole lot of nothing but video games.

 

What are your plans for the book?

After I've set it aside for a few weeks, I'll take a look back through it and see what kind of actual story I came out with. Even though I hit 50k, I definitely didn't get to "The End." So much of it came from the pressure to just get out more words that the narrative flow is all over the place. After much editing and rewriting, I'd like to send it to some beta readers for feedback.

 

Will you do it again?

Without question. Toward the end of the month when I got up a good head of steam and really had confidence that I was going to reach 50K, I realized it actually feels like I'm getting better at NaNo each year I do it. I stick with one story more consistently and I write more words per day more consistently, and even if Sturgeon's Law and my own two eyes tell me 90% of it is crap, that still means I've got an awesome 10% I never would have had otherwise.

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Margaret, CreateSpace

FINAL WORD COUNT: 30,000

What was your overall experience?

Overall, it was really good. Before NaNoWriMo, I didn't make writing a habit because I didn't think I had time for it. Because of the contest's goal and deadline, I had to include writing time in my daily schedule. Now I have time built in to keep writing!

 

How are you celebrating?

I'll probably keep writing; I didn't quite make it to 50,000 words, so plan to keep writing to complete the novel by mid-December.

 

What are your plans for the book?

When the book is done, I'll give it to a few different people to read, edit it from their feedback, and then likely publish it on KDP.

 

Will you do it again?

Definitely. It's been a great exercise in time management. Next time I'll know how to prepare going into NaNoWriMo. I'll do more timeline, outline, and character preparations before diving in.


Zach, CreateSpace

FINAL WORD COUNT: 20,000

 

What was your overall experience?

I truly enjoyed getting back into writing after such a long dry spell. It was great to work with a deadline in mind, and even though I didn't make it, it was still a lot of fun.

 

What are your plans for the book?

When it's done, I really want to work on getting it ready to publish. I have several friends who will read through it with me (whether they know it or not) so I hope that the editing will go smoothly from there.

 

Will you do it again?

I'll definitely do NaNoWriMo again, but I also want to try smaller challenges, like setting aside a week or weekend primarily for writing. For me, it was easy to skip a day and argue I could make up the difference tomorrow since I had a whole month, so I want to see if I can set smaller goals to keep me on track throughout the year.

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Katy, Kindle Direct Publishing

FINAL WORD COUNT: 12,390

What was your overall experience?

About halfway through November, work and life got exceedingly busy, so I had to put NaNo on hold, which is frustrating! I got back to it every several days, but my stories were effectively dead in the water by 11/20. Curse you, life!

 

Will you still work on the novel?

Heck yes. I know the idea's good because everyone I've ever described it to has loved it - I just have to get it done. I'll then have several of my friends copyedit it. I worked as a writing tutor in college, so I'm also going to print it out and rip it apart by treating it like someone else's writing (I am ruthless). And then, publication through KDP and CreateSpace is the plan!

 

Will you do it again?

Definitely. It makes me write even in the face of everything I have going on in my life. Halfway through the month, I almost always get sidetracked by how insane November can be leading up to the Christmas season, but what I get written is awesome! The main thing for me to remember is that setbacks aren't death knells.

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Andrea, CreateSpace

FINAL WORD COUNT: 12,000

What was your overall experience?

LOVE LOVE LOVE. I can't wait for next year. Maybe I'll actually finish!

 

How are you celebrating?

I'll keep writing in the month of December and hope I can do it in two months instead of just one. There could possibly be a glass of liquid courage in there too to celebrate the long month of literary tenacity.

 

What were your relationships like with other writers throughout NaNo?

There was nothing but positive feedback and mutual enthusiasm. Who could ask for anything more?

 

Any final thoughts?

Keep at it. And remember, the first person you need to satisfy with your writing is yourself, not the critics.

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Jonny, CreateSpace

FINAL WORD COUNT: 1,850

What was your overall experience?

I've wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo for years, and I am glad I finally gave it a shot. I knew I would be busy this month, as I set out to overachieve, and I was only able to complete part of my goals. When I was able to write, it felt rushed and stressful, as I had other obligations that took priority. The experience gave me a greater appreciation for the authors I work with every day, most of whom have jobs, lives, and children to balance as well. Every book that is published deserves applause. It takes time, dedication, and patience to write.

 

What were your relationships like with other writers throughout NaNo?

When speaking to my peers who participated, they took on a wonderful literary tone. It warmed my heart to have a more thoughtful conversation than a normal day would provide.

 

Any final thoughts?

Sometimes it takes a finish line to motivate us towards our goals, but just remember that life goes on after the race is done.


Can you relate to any of the CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing authors? How did you do in this year's NaNoWriMo?

 

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NaNoWriMo 2012: The CreateSpace & KDP Chronicles, Part 2

NaNoWriMo 2012: The CreateSpace & KDP Chronicles, Part 1

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Over the past two weeks, hundreds of thousands of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) participants have been working on the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. In our previous blog, we introduced you to some of the authors who work at CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing who are taking the NaNoWriMo challenge in their free time. Let's check back in with them!


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Margaret, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 16,000

What is your book about?

My novel takes a different spin on the romance formula. In my book, the heroine's best friend returns from her time abroad with a surprising memento: an English boyfriend. The heroine is skeptical about love - and the situation in general, rightfully - but she eventually agrees to marry her friend's man so he can stay in the country. Soon, romance leaks into the marriage, and the boyfriend is hiding a thing or two about why he left England so quickly.


Have you hit any writer's block?

I have reached some parts in the story that require extensive research, which is just not something time will allow. My solution has been to write through these scenes as much as possible to get the main points on paper. That way, I have the basic information there to build on, but I can still go back later to improve the authenticity of the text.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

I started off really strong, doing the necessary word count per day, if not more. Then, I hit a week where life happened; work or other commitments overtook my writing time. Since then, I've been trying to catch up and get ahead before Thanksgiving.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

My technique so far has been to think of this project as a skeleton. I'm building a firm foundation that I can put muscle on later.


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Phoebe, Kindle Direct Publishing

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 11,336

What is your book about?

My book is about LGBT space pirates! It came to me pretty last-minute as I was thinking about what kinds of books I've enjoyed reading in the past and hadn't seen enough of recently.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

No matter how much you try to get the rest of the world to leave you alone to write, there's always stuff that comes up to distract you. I think I've taken care of the big stuff that has come up, though, and I'm looking forward to getting back on track with my word count.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

Stick with it! Being behind at the halfway point can be disheartening, but there's still plenty of time to hit 50K! The "Words Per Day To Finish On Time" stat on my NaNoWriMo page is very reassuring (and helpful); I know I can manage 2K/day.


Zach, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 15,000


What is your book about?

My book is a modern science fiction work about a government program which selects and trains children with special abilities.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

Probably the biggest challenge so far has been getting in the mindset and devoting more time to writing. Finding the extra time - and some days, the motivation - is difficult. But I try to spend time each day planning out what I want to write so that when I sit down, I can really just go with the flow. Showers, commuting, and before I fall asleep are all great times to think of new ideas and get a layout in my head.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

One of the most fun things I've found in writing this is the research. If a location I'm using includes a huge forest or mountain or something geographic, I'm immediately online trying to find a suitable site. If a character uses a computer, drives a car, etc., then I get to try and figure out what they would use. Asking questions like "Is this character a Mac user?" is something that's fun to work through, and it helps me build better characters.


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Katy, Kindle Direct Publishing

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 7,000

What is your book about?

I'm gravitating between two projects: one's a YA novel about an emotionally repressed girl who gets sucked into a world of magically-reanimated corpses, unicorn-run organized crime syndicates, and a man who steals people's vitality via Polaroid shots. The other project is fan fiction for one of my favorite television shows, because I have a lot of feelings about preexisting fictional characters.


Have you hit any writer's block?

Definitely. I have a two-pronged approach to writer's block depending on the issue I'm facing. If I'm just having problems with a scene, switching scenes solves it. If I'm having problems writing at all, I go do something physical; while I do that, I let myself think about ways to solve whatever it is that's making it hard for a scene to progress. Adding movement to my thought process helps a lot.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

The first few times I did NaNo, I beat myself up for not sticking with the 1.6K/day regimen, and then when I didn't finish, I beat myself up for it more. I'm really pleased with the general zen I've got about it now. I may be 14K behind where I should be, but dang it, I'm 7K ahead of nothing at all.


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Jonny, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 1,250

What is your book about?

I chose to use my dreams as inspiration. My goal was to develop a dream log and elaborate on it to create a narrative. Unfortunately, I have not been able to recall my dreams since the start of the month. I then thought it would be interesting to write elaborate dream-like scenarios. I have been using my yoga practice and philosophy and other daily inspirations to help build a narrative.


This is a tough contest; what's been the biggest challenge so far?

Time. Between yoga, chores, wrangling a child discovering to walk, and work, it has been difficult to stay up an extra hour to write. One of the themes of my book explores the influence and restrictions time has on our lives and thoughts, and how we would act and think if that influence wasn't present. This is not the case, at least in this reality.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

NaNoWriMo is a lofty goal in itself, and just setting out to do it feels like an accomplishment. I would love to have written more at this point, but with some groundwork in place it may be easier to at least contribute every day. I typically write sporadically, from a haiku to a short story, once a day to once a month. If I end up with a short story or novel, I will be pleased that I tried and created something new.


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Andrea, CreateSpace

MIDPOINT WORD COUNT: 5,000

What is your book about?

My book is a comedic memoir about growing up Irish in South Boston, MA. I'm a storyteller by nature; I tell and write what I know.


How much time per day are you spending writing?

I don't know if you would call it writing, as much as rewriting over and over and over again. I spend up to an hour or two (not including all the time going over it in my head and not actively on paper).


Have you hit any writer's block?

Whenever I have hit writer's block, I have always found it best to go back to the beginning when it was simple and when the voice was the most raw, but fresh. That's when what I was trying to say was the most honest.


Anything else you'd like to share at this midpoint of the contest?

Everyone should be proud of him or herself at this point for even taking on this challenge. It's a great way to get to know your fellow authors and share in the passion of the written word.


Now we'd like to hear from you! What's your current word count? Has your novel taken any unexpected turns? Do you have any advice for the CreateSpace and KDP authors?


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NaNoWriMo 2012: The CreateSpace & KDP Chronicles, Part 1

2,105 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: books, authors, author, createspace, writers, writing, nanowrimo, craft
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Around the world, hundreds of thousands of authors are beginning National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's a month of furious writing to reach a 50,000-word goal in 30 days, and authors at CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing are getting in on the action. CreateSpace and KDP employees Andrea, Katy, Zach, Phoebe, Jonny, and Margaret are taking the challenge and will be using their free time to write those novels alongside you. We'll document their experiences here as they start the contest, race towards the finish, and work to hit that goal. You might even see similarities between your experience and theirs; if so, let us know in the comments!


Without further ado, meet the CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing authors!


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Andrea, CreateSpace


I was born and raised in South Boston, MA and am a Northern transplant to Charleston, S.C. I am a proud community actor and will audition for anything comedic. I write mostly as a form of therapy; it's a wonderful outlet. I write what I know, which is mostly about my crazy family...crazy in a funny way (mostly)!

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

Our authors. I have procrastinated for years to finish my project. Every day, I work with authors who are not only plugging away at day jobs and other day-to-day responsibilities, but are still finding time to write. I want to be that motivated and finally finish my own project that has been 10 years in the making.


What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

This is a hard one for me; I want to divide 50,000 by 30 and make sure I hit that mark each day, but I know life will happen. I also have the worst habit of not wanting to write until I want to write. I'm hoping to find daily inspiration and stay motivated.


Anything else you want to add?

I'm scared I won't finish! But I'm also scared that I will. Will this be my Harper Lee? She wrote one killer book that still rings true today, but never wrote again. Really, though, I would be happy if just a handful of people read this book I'm composing and it makes them laugh.


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Katy, Kindle Direct Publishing


I've worked at Amazon for a year and a half. I'm a huge word nerd who likes dark humor, dry wit, and rewatching Hot Fuzz monthly. I read voraciously, watch too much genre television, game, and love to travel - though in a party of adventurers I'm typically the person left standing at the mouth of the cave going, "Guys? Guuuuuys? I'm not sure if we should be doing this...." I've made my peace with it. Adventures always need a fuddy-duddy.

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

I function best within constraints, particularly when it comes to writing, so NaNoWriMo's perfect for me. I always have oodles of ideas bashing around my head, but I never take the time to commit any of them to paper. The competitive and social aspects of NaNo (even if I'm competing against myself!) give me that extra oomph to tackle one or more of those ideas a year.


Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

I'm a seasoned veteran, but I've never won the war.


What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

My plan is the gratuitous application of Write or Die while commuting. Write or Die is a program that harasses you if you stop typing - with punishments as innocuous as flashing red lights across your computer screen or as terrible as the mode that will start eating your words with no chance of recovery if you stop typing for long enough. It's terrifying, but also a fabulous motivator.


Anything else you want to add?

The most effective thing I've done during NaNo is plot out what I wanted to write each day before I sit down to write it. That way, when I have those horrible moments of "ACK CRAP WHAT NEXT?!" I have a general idea. I'm sure this is old hat to tons of people, but it took me waaay too many years to grasp that it was vital to the process for me.


 

Zach, CreateSpace

 

I began writing in elementary school and took many classes about writing both fiction and nonfiction through middle school, high school, and college. While initially I wrote poetry, I found I liked reading and writing fiction more. My hope is to eventually publish the work I'll be doing this month.


What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

I was inspired to participate this year because I have been neglecting my writing for a while due to work, school, and sometimes a lack of motivation. After working with so many authors who participated in NaNoWriMo last year, I decided this was the perfect time to start writing again.

 

Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

I've participated in NaNoWriMo twice before, to varying degrees of success.

 

What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

When I was first introduced to NaNoWriMo, the best advice I received was that the goal isn't a coherent, final story; it's just the idea of consistent work. One problem I run into is that I get part of a story done, but then begin to edit and revise parts, rather than pressing forward. My goal here is to keep the flow going and sort out the details in December.


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Phoebe, Kindle Direct Publishing

 

I've been with Amazon just over 7 years, working in a variety of positions mainly connected with Amazon's digital endeavors. When I'm not working (or writing) you can usually find me going to pub trivia in the evenings or playing video games.

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year for the same reason I've done it every year since 2006 - whether I sail happily across the finish line or flame out on day 2, it's incredible fun and a much-needed reminder that yes, this whole "writing" thing can really happen, but only if I make it happen.

 

Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

This will be my seventh year of NaNo and I'm hoping to get my win ratio over 50% for the first time since my first year.

 

What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

The key for me is minimizing distractions, maximizing writing opportunities, and getting my engine running in the first week. A couple of my best assets in years past have been GetYarny.com and a trusty netbook with monster battery life.


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Jonny, CreateSpace

 

I live in beautiful Charleston, S.C. with my partner and my daughter. I am exploring pescetarianism as an alternative to being a vegetarian, because how can you not eat seafood in Charleston? I enjoy writing, yoga, paddleboard surfing, graphic design, and creating music. My favorite authors are Emerson, Thoreau, and Chopra.

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

November is going to be a whirlwind month for me, as I have committed to completing a month-long yoga challenge, growing a moustache for Movember, building a small online storefront, and pushing myself creatively through writing.

 

Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

This is my first time participating in NaNoWriMo, and I am excited to see where it takes me.

 

What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

At this point, I have taken to heart that this be a pure spark of creativity from day one. I have only come up with two thoughts and a potential title, and I have restricted all other planning or thought on the subject. Ideally, I will produce about 2,000 words a day and everything else will fall into place.


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Margaret, CreateSpace

 

I'm a native South Floridian and work on CreateSpace's editorial team. When I'm not reading and writing for work, I am reading and writing for pleasure...or chasing the impossible dream of finding the perfect sandwich. But that's not what my book is about.

What inspired you to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?

I've been mulling over some book ideas for a year or so. I love working in editing and helping authors' manuscripts come together, but a full day of work can make it tough to do the heavy lifting on my own projects when I get home. I knew I really needed some motivation to get these ideas in process and hold myself to a deadline to come out with a workable draft.

 

Is this your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran?

First time. Go easy on me, NaNoWriMo.

 

What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words in 30 days?

In the immortal words of Tim Gunn, "Make it work."


 

We also want to hear from you! How are you preparing for NaNoWriMo? What is your plan for reaching 50,000 words?

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