Friday, November 11, 2016

The Benefits of NaNoWriMo

If you know a writer you probably have heard about November and NaNoWriMo. You may have noticed some frazzled people pecking away at laptops or scribbling in notebooks, circles under their eyes and hair a bit mussed, maybe even a crazed look in their eye. This, friends, is the sign of a NaNo participant.

November is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to complete a 50,000 word novel in a month. But, it's also much more than that. It's about establishing a habit, about challenging yourself to pursue your passion. Not everybody can do it. And that's okay.

I've personally participated in NaNo since 2010. I completed the challenge every year but one (2015). It was one of the toughest challenges I've ever undertaken but after several years of competing and almost a dozen completed manuscripts under my belt (I've published eight of them), I was able to leave my jobs and take up life as a freelance writer.

Since May 2016, I have written more than a dozen novels and novellas that have been purchased and published by clients. Most of them have been well over 50,000 words. I've always been a writer, always felt the need to expel my feelings on paper (or the equivalent). NaNo showed me what I really had inside and what I had to do to live the life I want to live.

If you've followed my blogs, any of them, you know that my kids are unbelievably supportive. They even ask me if I've done my writing for the day and chastise me if I haven't. The thing is, I write every day and NaNo has taught me the importance of that more than anything I've read or anyone I've talked to. Everybody under the sun can tell me to write every day, to make writing a habit, but until I experienced the benefits of writing every single day - whether I was up to it or not - became clearest during NaNo.

Take today for instance, I'm nursing a hell of a sinus infection but I still am writing. In fact, I was silly enough to sign on for a 10,000 word day with a few friends of mine. While my body is screaming "stupid, stupid, STUPID," my brain is saying "thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!" Maybe I don't hit 10,000 words today, maybe I do. Either way, I moved closer to my goal of a completed novel and maintaining the practice, or rather the habit, of writing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New Year, New Direction

Friends, I've done a lot of soul-searching over the past year. As somebody who tends more toward the "free-spirit" camp, I've always been rather fluid in every aspect of my life. I'm learning that as a single parent in a world that thrives on multi-tasking and double-booking your time, it's not so easy to drift along where the wind takes you. Though it pains me to do so, I'm calling on skills I buried long ago. I'm dusting off my organizational skills - long reserved for things like research papers and real-world jobs - to apply them to my current endeavors.

What would possibly so incredible as to cause ME to fundamentally alter my world view?

Quite simply? My kiddos. I want to be present in their lives. I want to be here to help them through and be that involved parent and cheerleader. No, not a helicopter parent - yuck. I do want to be present. I want to make them meals AND teach them how to cook. I want to be a part of their educations because they both need me to be involved for very different reasons. I want them to be active in their communities and at their ages (10 and 11) that means being available to transport them outside normal school hours.

So, I'm embarking on a new, lofty endeavor that has required a major shift in mindset and time use. I'm going to devote my time to blogging, social media, and freelance writing. I've been freelance writing and offering my services as a social media consult for the past six months or so but I'm looking to expand and build on that foundation. To that end, this here blog that you all so kindly follow, will continue to focus on the finer points of one of my passions - books.

I'm looking to appeal to readers, to discuss a variety of books that I read (or fail to read) and create and open dialogue about what we as readers seek out in books. What draws you in? What keeps you coming back for more? Most importantly, what book should I be reading next??

But that's not all, I'm not JUST a reader. I write. I write A LOT. And I love to help other authors who are just getting started or those who are stalled out and looking for a jump start. Maybe you come along and let me interview you. Maybe you have some questions about where to go next. Or, maybe you have some incredible advice for other authors. Whatever you, as an author, have to offer, I want to hear it!

Sound like something you're into? Let me know - I'm booking for early 2017!