Writing, writing, writing…

For a little change and a little challenge, I took on participating in NaNoWriMo this year. The background to taking that on comes from my day job workplace, a public library, where the youth team are working to encourage young writers to participate. I’m going to run a couple of workshops for in the Youth Space too.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, held every November. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in the thirty days. That works out around 1667 words a day. In any given month I write more than that so it’s manageable. This is the first time, though, that I’ve started a novel intentionally on the first of the month, targeting a finish by the last day. Mostly my novels come in around 60,000 words. Sometimes they spill over to 70,000, even 75,000.

NaNoWriMo is a funny thing, though. Signing up is cool and it’s nifty recording my word count each day as I progress toward that target. They have pep talks and encouragement, but sometimes miss the mark.

The first one I came received, from a well-published and award-winning writer talked about how “writing is hard”. Really? Sorry NaNoWriMo, that’s no pep talk. That sounds discouraging. I did read the whole of the ‘pep’ talk and it wasn’t really to my taste, wasn’t really talking to me.

I would have loved something about how writing is fun. It’s a blast. You’re making up stuff just for the heck of it. Because you can. I would suggest that if it’s hard you might be doing it wrong, or coming at it from the wrong approach. And if it’s not fun, go do something that is.

Last year I railed against an article in the Sunday Star Times* titled if “Writing is torture and you hate it, you might be a writer”. What is the deal out there with so many people writing about how tough writing is? Let’s encourage writers rather than put them off.

*[In previous years I also railed against the T&C of the SSTimes story contest which were a rights grab. I noticed this year that they’ve updated the terms to drop that grab. Good on them, finally. Sorry I didn’t notice this until the contest closed – I guess I’d become cynical about it over the years.]

On a lighter note, I am having a blast writing this novel. It’s fun and different and once it’s had a once-over and a copy-edit and a proof-read, it should be out sometime in the first half of next year.

 

Oh, yes, about next year. I’m looking at publishing a little less. Publishing ten novels (albiet one of them a short novel), a few novellas and numerous short stories this year has been good, but I still need to learn marketing better, and social media [talking about something that’s hard – try social media… oh, what, that’s easy? I wish I found it easy… it doesn’t come naturally to me, so I need to practice I guess ūüôā ]. I do have three novels in various stages of preparation to be released through the first half of the year, likely to be February, April and June. Another focus next year will be collections – I have a whole lot of stories that I’ll gather together. Including all the Cole Wright shorts from this year. Considering the title¬†No Lack of Courage. Cheesy? Corny? I don’t know. It’ll be nice to have them all together in a single book.

The last novel for this year will be the sixth in the Cole Wright thriller series, Zero Kills. It should be up for preorder soon. The cover it a little different from the original, but matches the story better. (cheeky me, I’ll reuse that original image on another book, maybe next year).

I’ll have another short story – “Junkyard Mornings” up for free in early December for a week or so. You know, marketing and promotion. Reader magnet or what have you.

Thanks for reading.

 

Novel three underway, novel two passed in.

glass baysmbig sur cover sm

Once again I’ve been caught up in the writing and forgetting to post. I think that’s a good thing.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking Dean Wesley Smith’s three novels in three months challenge. Heading into the last three weeks now, with the third novel well underway.

I completed the second novel – Glass Bay – and got it turned in on time. It turned out to be the second of my Emily Jade thriller series. It’s been a couple of years since Big Sur came out and I was starting to wonder if I would find the next book in it (my thriller Taken by Surprise, from last year) has an appearance from Emily, but it’s more like¬†a side book, with a diff103339c0684d4020197c34075c956ca076bdabdcerent lead character (I just noticed that on the cover of the two Emily Jade books I’ve got “Author of Taken by Surprise).

Once I have Mr Smith’s first reader notes back I’ll get it¬†underway with fixes and tinkering and underway to a copyeditor. Hope to have it out before the end of the year.

And a funny thing has happened. Not only have a learned a whole lot about writing, but I’m having fun writing a novel a month. Wondering if I might try to keep it up as a challenge for the rest of the year. That would be fun too.

At the risk of getting myself in trouble, some NaNoWriMo thoughts for writers

National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo – is a celebration of writing, described on the website as¬†“a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing”. The idea is to write a whole novel during November.

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I think NaNoWriMo is a wonderful thing. It gets people writing. Gives focus and milestones and goals. Fabulous.

One little niggle though, and I may be wrong, so feel free to shout me down. It seems to me that participants are encouraged to write fast and sloppy. Get the words down and come back and fix them later.

As if ‘fast’ and ‘sloppy’ are irrevocably linked.

I’m not convinced that’s the best approach.

For a time I tutored in a university creative writing programme. I hold a Masters of Philosophy in creative writing. As part of my job I even run writing workshops for children. I’m not sure any of that really qualifies me to give NaNoWriMo advice (or any writing advice for that matter).

Nor have I ever participated in NaNoWriMo.

So, my thoughts are really just the opinion of a relative layman.

That said, I have written a novel in a month. It just happened to be June of this year, rather than November. I’ve written several other novels this year, mostly though, taking more than a month (forty days seems to be my around-about duration).

So, if I think¬†‘fast’ and ‘sloppy’ is not the best approach, what do I think?

Why not write fast and the best you possibly can? Those two can go hand in hand. Really, that’s how I strive to write. I can’t say if my writing’s any good or not (that’s up to the readers), but whenever I sit down to write, I don’t go sloppy. I write the best I can. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but I’m always working to write the best I can.

I think if you write sloppy, that might be how you’re training yourself to write. I doubt that Venus Williams plays sloppy when she’s practising. I hope the guys who put a new roof on my house didn’t hammer sloppy. I don’t do a sloppy job on my taxes and come back to fix it later.

Write the best you can. Every time you go write. Even if you’re aiming to write a novel in a month.

So, that’s my two cents on NaNoWriMo. Have a great month. Write a great novel. And as you write, do the best you can.