Lessons from Nano (November Update)

How is it the end of November already? I swear a minute ago it was August, and now we’re closing in on the end of the year at the speed of light.

This month, my focus has all be on Nanowrimo, which has meant my short flash fiction & other short stories have taken somewhat of a back seat. It’s actually been really nice to focus on just one project at a time, and I’ve made some significant progress with the plot. It’s still got a long, long way to go, but I think I’m going to try and keep up this focus until this book is finished at least it’s first draft. I want to finish it, I need to finish it (it’s already been one year’s worth of work, and I’m estimating probably another year to get the manuscript ironed out).

However, saying that I am still going to be doing my weekly flash fiction Teacup Story/100 word stories. Just not sure how regularly I’ll do my stories on a theme pieces.

Nanowrimo 2019

I won!

This year I had the benefit of going into Nanowrimo knowing that I could write 50k in a month. After last year’s event, I used the word count goal to keep my writing progress for the rest of the year, and it’s helped me develop some really useful habits that you too might find useful:

  • If the story is not going in the right direction, it’s okay to step back and breathe. Maybe you need to go in a different direction. I saw somewhere that the problem is not with what you are writing now but probably what you wrote a few paragraphs before. Find it, adjust it, and continue.
  • You can still write when you are uninspired. In fact, writing when you’re not inspired to write is what makes it a craft rather than a fun hobby you do when you feel like it. You know when you go to the gym and you don’t feel like it, but you still do it? That’s the same with writing.
  • Music is important. Curate your music to your story. Find the pieces that work and save them in a playlist.
  • It’s okay if you spend your “writing time” planning your world instead of getting words down on the page. Sometimes taking half an hour or an hour to do this will help you write more efficiently down the line.
  • Make your writing space special. Whether it’s a room, a particular pair of headphones, go to that space each time you write. It helps you when building a mental space where you can sit down and work.
  • It doesn’t matter if you have one hour or half an hour. Some words is better than no words. The only important thing is that you show up to write.
  • Make sure you do other things other than writing, and don’t feel guilty about doing those other things. Writing is richer when you have more experiences to throw at it, so go out and live those experiences.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Whatever is happening in the world, whatever people might say about the usefulness of art, this story that you’re writing is still important. Don’t feel guilty about writing it.

For Nanowrimo 2019, I was a true “Nano Rebel” and took my existing “Assassins Book 1” Manuscript to add more words to it. I was thinking about writing a new story, but then as my husband pointed out, you need to finish one thing first. I have a bad habit of doing multiple projects and then never finishing any of them, so this Nano I wanted to really focus down on my book without any other distractions.

Did I succeed? Well I did write my 50k words! And 3 days before the end of Nanowrimo to, which is a huge achievement for me. I managed to be relatively consistent over the month, which was helped by the writing habits I’ve built over the past year. But the best bit of all is that the story has unravelled in front of me, and there is even more to write.

(It’s fantasy, it’s going to top out at 100k words, most likely 150k words).

As at the end of Nanowrimo, I now have:

  • A new POV (because I need one POV for each plot point, so I now have three POVs)
  • An understanding of my main villain’s drivers
  • The overarching theme for the trilogy (it’s not a fantasy story if it doesn’t accidently spawn sequels!)
  • A new plan for the next section of the book, taking me up to the main gear-shift in the plot where my Main Character becomes a badass assassin (*cue Assassins Creed theme tune*)

Want to keep up to date as to how I’m getting on? I hang out mostly on IG at the moment (esp IG stories) as I’m still getting the hang of the “yelling into the void” vibe that is twitter.

Newsletter Short Story

I have a newsletter that I send out every quarter (3 months) which looks at some of my favourite blogs & stories, some updates on my WIP (more than I could do on an IG story!) and some behind the scenes bits on my WIP worldbuiding too. It’s also got a short story that is subscriber only to view until it’s published on my blog (normally around 3 months later).

The last Newsletter Short Story was 3% which you can now read on my blog here!

The next Newsletter Short Story will be my entry into the #fantasyqueensfall competition on IG. Even though I didn’t place, it was still a good little story and I want to share it with the world!

To get the password for “The Curse of the Silver”, sign up to my newsletter below & in mid December I’ll be releasing my Newsletter which will have the password in it!

Success! You're on the list.

Other Things

I’m still working out a lot of this internet blogging/short story gig. Whilst I’ve been writing for many years, it’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve taken it seriously enough to try and build a little internet platform to showcase it.

Given my success from Nanowrimo this year, I want to keep focussing on my WIP novel, because at the end of that day that’s what I want to write (as fun as flash fiction is!). So I want to dedicate my time to doing those stories.

This means the “Stories on a Theme” that I was posting each weekend is going to be put on the backburner for a little while. I still want to do something like this, but the amount of time it took to queue up, prep the posts & update links etc took a huge chunk out of what little writing time I have in the evening.

However, saying this I’m hoping by saving some time on that means I have a bit more time to do my “Opinion” pieces which have disappeared for October/November due to lack of time & Nanowrimo. Not sure how December is going to go as the holiday season is always busy, but at least in 2020 (!!) I want to spend some time sharing my opinions on writing with the world.

So that’s it for November! Keep in touch with me on social media, share you Nanowrimo tips below and stay in touch with me over December!

Featured Image Credit – Frédéric Perez on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.