I made it! I wrote 50,000 words in thirty days and validated my novel at 5pm. I am officially pooped and I’m going to make a cup of orange tea, and pet my cat – and also watch The Walking Dead again because I don’t remember half of what happened last night I was so exhausted!
I will give you the run-down on my last day tomorrow. Thank you all for the words of encouragement here and on Facebook and Twitter.
Day 23 How do you organize your outline? I asked a few colleagues that question and received several different responses from them all. I didn’t organize my outline before I started writing (Pantser) and that slowed my writing quite a bit. As I mentioned earlier, I had to go back over some segments to cut and paste so I could keep track of who was where and doing what. So the suggestions I received were very helpful in trying to help me do just that. Sticky notes seems to be the favourite, with spreadsheet close behind. But my favourite, and the one I’m now using, is to list my chapters in order with titles before I start writing. This tip was given to me by my NaNoWriMo writing buddy. Thanks, Melanie! I admit I’m a little late doing this, but since I gave my chapters headings, I’ve been able to stay on track with my story. I also wrote out my characters’ names and pertinent information on file cards and stuck them on the office bulletin board. If you haven’t started your novel yet, I’d like to suggest you at least put your outline somewhere handy where it’s easily accessible. I wasted a lot of time rummaging through my manuscript to find out where my supportive characters live! Do you have a tried and true method to organizing your writing?
Day 24 I just finished writing my final battle scene – phew! I’m exhausted and I didn’t lift a single sword. I basically wrote about fighting ALL day. I fed the cat, made a conference call to one of my pastors, fed the birds, talked to my son for a bit then wrote about blood and guts the rest of the day (and into part of dinner time). Once my husband went to bed I took up the final battle scene once more (my writing that is) to get it finished. Total word count to date: 35,816. That means if I still take Sunday off, and I have to take Friday off to go out of town with my daughter all day and do a virtual book launch in the evening, I’ll need to write at least 3,500 words each day including the final day on Monday! I know from recent experience I need 7-8 hours of sleep to work at peak performance. Trust me – your brain won’t work well if it doesn’t get enough sleep and people will think you’re a zombie – not good. Tomorrow is the part referred to as The Payoff part of the novel. A nice change from today. Sleep well and long.
Do you have a collection of something you treasure; art, books, old coins, stuffed animals? Most of us do. Our collections say a lot about who we are – our personalities and what we hold dear. I have a collection of books which belonged to my husband‘s parents.
In it are yellowing pages bound in fraying covers and tattered spines. Some are old children’s stories, some are poetry, and one is even a much dated ‘Household Management’ book with instructions on how to set a formal dining table for 12 guests. (I don’t pull that one out very often!).
These treasures are very dear to me because they remind me of the dear people who owned them, and also they link me to authors from long ago who had a vision of telling others what was close to their hearts. These family heirlooms I will not give away or sell, but will someday pass on to my family so they will tell stories of their grandparents to their children too.
Prompted by my daughters, I’ve recently ‘de-hoarded’ much of my home and given away what I thought would be useful to others. In the process, I realized I had collected notes and half-written short stories and poems. I felt compelled to share the literary treasures I had found, and have since turned some of the short stories into blogs or compilation pieces, and collected enough notes to write another e-book!
Do you find yourself hoarding your literary treasures? Is your notebook or laptop full of fascinating gems you haven’t done anything with yet? Share some of those gems with your audience every day. Let them see who you are and what inspires you.
I ‘follow’ several authors whose work I admire, but before I ‘liked’ them on Facebook or subscribed to their newsletter, I researched them online and got to know them as individuals. Once I liked what I saw, I followed them and even bought a book or two. Their online presence sometimes mentioned other authors they were inspired by, and I often bought their books too – all because they shared something that they treasured.
Now I do my best to pin or post one of my treasures every day. It’s not always about my work, but rather a gem I’ve discovered from someone else. I’ve collected a piece of their collection, cherished it, and then given it away for others to do the same. Check your notebooks and archived files. Are you hoarding treasure? If you are, start giving it away and see what happens…
I thought I would spend the entire winter improving my social media and using it to market my books. Then I’d sell a lot of books and become successful, right? It turns out that all this social media takes a lot of time and drags me away from what I really want to do – write! How can I become a successful author if I don’t have time to write any books? It’s like a giant cake sitting on my laptop, and – though I like cake once in a while – I couldn’t eat a whole one without being, well – you know!
What do I get from all this social media stuff anyway? As time-consuming as it may be, I’ve realized through it all that I have in fact gained something. I’ve gained an online writing community. I’ve gained friends and colleagues along the way and followed mentors. So that’s what this blog is all about. Success doesn’t come overnight – for most of us anyway. We need to take it one bite at a time, savour the morsels of small successes along the way, and share a piece of the cake with someone every day. The task isn’t as daunting that way. Let me explain…
Each day, if I follow my writing schedule, I will have worked on one of the following:
My blog is where you’re at now. You can see what I’ve written in my past posts and you can follow me if you like. You can also follow my Facebook page and Pinterest boards. All of these social media sites are an interest/hobby and I can share a piece of my cake there without it taking a lot of time. I’m doing a small piece of marketing while having fun. It doesn’t seem like much effort or need to take up too much time (although do set your timer for an allotted amount of time if you tend to get carried away!). Occasionally someone will like what I’ve posted/pinned and buy one of my books because of their interest in what I’ve shared.
If you’re a writer – share a sentence from the novel you’re writing (no spoilers!) or an excerpt from an ebook you just published. How about pinning a picture that inspired part of your book? Or make a 30 second YouTube video of you reading part of your published book, as a teaser.
If you’re an artist, share a part of your sketch, or the colour scheme of your latest design.
Remember to keep it about your work – not what you had for lunch. (Unless you’re a blogger or author of recipes). Whatever your work is, that’s your focus. Each thing you share with others becomes part of your collection. Your collection becomes who you are as an author.
Even one minute each day to pin or post something will be 30+ things you’ve shared at the end of the month.
Turn each one into a couple of paragraphs and that equals a 30 page ebook!