NaNoWriMo Thoughts and Wrap-Up

Dear Reader,

Thank you for following along with as I participated in NaNoWriMo this year. I am an official winner with 50,218 words total. I was in danger of not being able to finish on time as of the morning of November 29th. But, in the final two days, I wrote over 10,000 words. I was determined to finish successfully, and I do work better under pressure. So, mission complete and I have a draft for my fourth book. At my moment I envision it will be book one in a new series.

What I learned from NaNoWriMo.  First, Scrivener works better on a mac. I have both an Apple laptop and an HP laptop, a surface pro. Don’t even try using Scrivener on a Surface. I also have tried not using Scrivener and just using Word. And being a pantser (writing without outlining or other pre-writing organization) Scriven helps me at least some semblance of pre-planning my story which does help. I can put character profiles with pictures in the same place that can be easily accessed for reference. I can make note cards rather than an outline, write scenes as they come to me and easily reorder them later. So I have switched back to using my MacBook full time. I also, enjoy using iMovie for making book trailers but that is outside of my NaNoWriMo experience.

Second I learned, or rather had re-enforced is that I work better and looming deadline. Tell me I have 30 days to do something and it will take me all 30 days, so I need to set shorter goals for myself. I managed 10,110 in two days, 8,000 of those words were written on the 30th. So I had to sit back and think. Wow, I worked my day job both days and still managed to write 8,000 words in one day. Plus, still, have family time and dinner etc. Why don’t I do that all the time? If I can even boost it to 10,000 words a day imagine how much my productivity will increase. So lesson learned “get it done.” Now, admittedly I didn’t blog on the 29th because I was writing so, need to have a more set schedule for doing social media tasks like blogging. My facebook, twitter and Instagram book-related posts are prescheduled. I set them usually on Sundays for the upcoming week. I do post other items as they come up during the week on those platforms. I use Buffer to pre-schedule my social media posts. I do not pre-schedule my blot posts those I write and post in real time.

Third,  I learned is Scrivener has a voice to text feature. I need to try that and see how accurate that is going to be. My first test of it was not that successful, but I wasn’t using a dedicated microphone. And I was at work so I was talking quietly so no one would hear me. I want to try it again in a more private setting to see if the speech recognition is any better. I hope so because that could potentially allow me to get more words in a day.

Fourth, I learned was even though you may be writing to a deadline or in crunch time. You need to take time for yourself. Go to a museum or otherwise walk away from your work. It is healthy for your body but also your mind. Seemingly unrelated activities can help spark creative ideas. One of my favorite places to go for inspiration is the Mariner’s Museum. Where I live we have a motto of ‘From the Sea to the Stars’ and that couldn’t be truer at the Mariner’s Museum. Seeing the restoration of the Monitor and related artifacts, the history of cruise liners like the Titanic and various sailing vessels both old and recent high-tech like the Oracle sailing team boat and America’s Cup provides me with a ton of inspiration.

The take-away from the November challenge is to challenge myself every day to improve my writing and productivity. My next challenge is to write 3,000 a day this week. If I can meet that challenge I will increase my personal goal the following week.

I hope you have enjoyed following along and if you haven’t already sign-up for my monthly newsletter for freebies and advance notice and access to my work.

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I Need a What?

Dear Reader,

Are you a new author? Or thinking about self-publishing a book? Have you been listening to a variety of podcasts and reading articles and blog posts on “how to” be an indie author and self-publish your book?

Yeah, me too. I have listened to every podcast, webinar, read every blog and article I could get my hands, and attending author talks taking copious notes. You know what happened? Information overload! My head was spinning with all the knowledge out there. I’m not suggesting you not continue to listen, read and learn. You should. Because there is no one silver bullet that will get you on the best sellers list overnight. And for every successful author out there-there is a different way to reach that success. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. How frustrating is that? And while there is a necessary component of trial and error, there are some things that I believe will work and allow for your own original spin. I have two books published, so I’m still new at this and am learning, but hopefully knowing you and I are in similar places you can appreciate my advice is relevant and helpful.

One thing I’m sure you have heard in your research is that you need a newsletter list. Take heed, that is excellent advice. You need a newsletter list. You may not yet appreciate how critical this really is, but trust me. You need this.

So how do you get one?

  1. Ask, friends and family for starters. They are typically willing to support you and that will get you started. But, you will need some additional names on that list to really get where you want to be.
  2. I’ve tried a lot of different ways to get people to sign up, I have a newsletter sign up on my facebook page. I’ve tried collecting names at book signings. But the one best way I’ve found to get a bump in adding names to my newsletter is by joining a group give-a-way on Instafreebie. Look for groups in your genre and contribute either a short story, a preview of your book or your book itself. *Now if you’re just starting out you may not have a lot of money to spend on things like month memberships etc. But, you can use the Instafreebie 30 day free trial for their Plus plan which is $20 a month. You need to at least have the Plus plan in order to collect email addresses. I joined a group give away for the first time and gave away my first book in a trilogy and gave away over 200 copies of my book. That is potentially over 200 new email addresses for a newsletter and over 200 potential readers for book two and three. It is also over 200 potential reviews.

Doesn’t that sound phenomenal? imagine over 200 names, sales, and reviews before you even publish your book or your next book?

I didn’t learn this until after I had my second book published and I was still struggling with a newsletter list with less than 20 people and only 4 reviews on my books.