Tag Archives: writing process

NaNoWriMo Success: 3 Tips To Achieve Your Goals

NaNoWriMo Success: 3 Tips To Achieve Your Goals

I was chatting with a friend who’s entered NaNoWriMo several times, and has an excellent question. She asked how to achieve her goals this year. She’s never published any of the novels she wrote in November, even though that was always her goal.

Her challenge: “Every time I do NaNoWriMo, I tell myself that this year will be great. But even though I finish, I never do anything with my novels. What’s your advice?”

How to achieve your NaNoWriMo goals

Writing a NaNoWriMo novel is just like writing any other novel. Every novel you ever write will have irritating problems. Often those problems involve editing and revision. Or something else.

For example, I’m working on a novel right now, and am within 2000 words of finishing it — but I’m not happy.

I’d like to add more scenes. I won’t. I’ll just tell my inner editor to shut up. If I start adding more scenes this late stage, I’ll unbalance the structure of the novel, for no reason other than feelings.

So managing your feelings is our first tip.

1. Be aware that your feelings always change

If you’re feeling depressed about your NaNoWriMo novel at any time, take a moment (five minutes, no more) to review your goals for the novel, as well as what you’ve done so far.

In my “we need more scenes!” novel, I’ve written 60,500 words when I aimed for 55,000. I structured the novel for 55K words. Since I’m at the deadline for this novel, adding more scenes would be madness.

Any feeling that something’s wrong with your novel is just uncertainty. Like all feelings, it will change.

When you review your progress, your feelings won’t change immediately. But they will change. Tell your inner editor “thanks for sharing”, and keep writing.

My friend reported that she hadn’t reread any of her previous novels because she felt that they were a disaster — feelings, again.

We’ve created an editing schedule she can begin after NaNoWriMo so that she can knock all of her novels into shape, and get them published.

2. Edit as you go, to avoid depression on December 1

Most of my friend’s feelings about her novel stem from post-novel depression. It’s normal to feel bereft and disoriented when you’ve worked hard on something, and it’s done.

Editing as you write helps with that. Generally speaking, I’m against editing while writing because too many authors keep reworking chapter one until they stall on their novel completely. They’ve lost their inspiration and their vision. Editing is a completely different mind state from writing.

However, if you suspect that you might feel overwhelmed when your first draft is done, edit as you go. Wait until you’ve completed a chapter of three scenes (or however many scenes you choose) then edit that chapter.

By the way, I’m talking about editing as revision, not editing as tinkering with word choices. Macro editing, rather than micro twiddling, if you like.

3. Schedule revision and editing — and publication day, if self-publishing is your goal

Writing 50,000 words in November is a wonderful effort, and kudos to you when you finish. It’s a huge achievement.

If your goal is to self-publish your NaNoWriMo novel, there’s one important thing you need to do before you start writing — create a schedule for revision, editing, and publishing. Yes, create that schedule now, and stick to it.

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell. More info →
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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
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Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

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Outline Your Nonfiction Book Today: A Simple Template

Outline Your Nonfiction Book Today: A Simple Template

Last week I chatted with a friend I haven’t seen in years. Back in the day, we contributed to the same magazine. The last I heard, he was writing a nonfiction book. Of course I asked him how the book went — was he traditionally published, or indie?

“I wish,” he said. “Neither. I gave up on it — it’s a mess.”

He asked me whether I had an outline or a template or something which worked for nonfiction.

Of course I do. I sent it off to him; maybe you’ll find it useful too. It’s beyond simple.

Want to write a nonfiction book? Here you go…

Create an outline. If you hate outlines, I don’t mean the kind of outline that your English teacher harassed you into creating when you were 12.

The kind of outline you need to create is one based on components.

Non-fiction is much easier to write than fiction because nonfiction books contain similar components.

Let’s have a look at some of them:

• A foreword. This is similar to an introduction, but a foreword is usually written by someone other than the author of the book. It helps if you can get someone famous to contribute the foreword. (They’ll expect payment.)

• An introduction. This is optional. If you can’t think of anything to put in an introduction, leave it out. Think of including an introduction if you want to tell your own story: how you came to get the information you’re about to share.

• A “How To Use This Book”page. This can be short, or quite long. For example, if you’re writing a book on yoga, you could use this chapter to give four or five exercise routines, compiled from the various poses that you discuss in the rest of the book.

• Chapters with problems and solutions. If you were writing a book on dieting for example, you could write seven chapters all posing a typical problem, and then provide solutions for each problem.

• The last chapter is the wrap-up. In this chapter you’ll want to give readers instructions on where they go from here, and you’ll also want to include an inspirational message.

• A glossary is useful if it will be necessary for readers new to the subject area. For example, if your ebook contains a lot of jargon with which your reader may be unfamiliar, give explanations of terminology here.

• An index. I’m always disappointed when an otherwise excellent book, that I’ll be referring to again, omits an index. I know creating an index is a hassle, but if you think your readers will use it, then go the extra mile and include it. MS Word makes this simple enough, and so does Apache OpenOffice Writer, which is free.

What you include in your nonfiction book is up to you

It’s your name on the cover, after all. And self-publishing means never having to explain yourself. 🙂

On the other hand, what if you want to go the traditional route, and hunt for a literary agent? In this case, your agent and editor will want input into your book, preferably right from the outline stage.

This can be a challenge. A few months back I worked with an author who hated the changes her editor asked her to make. There’s a simple answer to this: “Don’t make them,” I suggested. “If you think a change is pointless, just say no.”

She’s a new author, so she thinks that her editor is all-seeing, and all-knowing. I pointed out that as the author, she came up with the idea. She had a concept for her book, and knew her audience. It’s perfectly fine to refuse an editorial request. If an editor really wants a change, the editor can make a case for it, and the author might decide to make the change. Or not.

I hope this simple template helps you to write your next nonfiction book — have fun. 🙂

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 5
Genre: Writing
You're a writer. You need to make money from your words. What if you could create AND sell a nonfiction book in just a day? More info →
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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
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What’s The Best Software To Write A Book?

What’s The Best Software To Write A Book?

For some reason this question’s been coming up frequently: “what software’s the best to write a book?”

The short answer is: whatever you use for your writing sessions now.

Here’s why. Writing a book is challenging, even for people who’ve been at it for years. Learning new software is stressful.

If you want to write a book, keep to your writing routines

You’ll hit “the wall” as anyone does when they write a book. This book crash usually happens around page 100 or Chapter 3. At this stage, you’re looking for reasons to quit.

The book’s crap and you have many, many excuses for not carrying on. The idea’s lousy, you’re too busy, you’ll write next vacation — and so on and so forth.

You don’t need special software to write a book

I adore Scrivener. I’ve been using it for a decade, ever since the beta version. Much as I love it, for the first couple of years I wrote in MS Word, then dragged the docs into Scrivener. Mostly that was because clients and editors wanted Word docs. But also, it was wanting to get stuff done.

You have a writing routine now, even if you’re a relatively new writer. If you tinker with that routine too much, you’ll procrastinate, or worse, you’ll block. Your productivity will go out the window.

Useful software for writing books

After all these years, Scrivener is part of my book-writing routine. My books and writing courses start and end in Scrivener.

I write shorter material like articles and blog posts in Ulysses. Not only is Ulysses a fun writing tool, it also makes it easy to output docs to HTML, PDF, ePub, and DOCX.

Many authors use the Ulysses app (Mac)
Many authors use the Ulysses app (Mac)

I know several authors who write their books in Google Docs. I couldn’t imagine anything more punishing, but kudos to them.

I’ve also heard good things about:

  • yWriter, which looks Scrivener-like;
  • (free) FocusWriter, a cross-platform app which is minimalist. The bare bones interface is meant to remove distractions;
  • (free) LibreOffice, an MS Office alternative;
  • (free) Sigil, open source, cross-platform, and useful only if you’re a little techy. Outputs ePub documents. Inputs can include HTML, and plain text. Creates elegant ebooks. If you’d like to try it, this is the official website.
Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99
Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters. More info →
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The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99
Do you love your life? If you don't ADORE your life, you can change it — more easily than you can imagine. More info →
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