Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How to Stay Motivated During NaNoWriMo

Good news is goal number one/priority number one has been reached. All the World's a Stage, is on schedule. Book #1 revisions are complete, cooling off, waiting for the editorial calendar/clock to begin and I have already started writing Book #2 in the series.

And since I haven't figured out how to add two or three extra hours in a twenty-four-hour day, NaNoWriMo is not happening for me this year, but that's okay. My marketing and PR efforts are taking up way more time than I anticipated, and to be honest, my gut told me to shelve the idea of NaNoWriMo this year and keep going with my original goal of getting my trilogy written, ASAP.

Although I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo, the excitement is still around the writing community and I know lots of teens taking on the writing challenge. So I'm doing a virtual cheer for all you brave writers in the trenches, your fingers wildly tapping away. I feel your pain. I know how your eyeballs hurt from too much screen time, and your shoulders and back ache. And since I can't give you all a virtual back rub, I figured I'd share a few ways I stay inspired and on track with my writing.

Tip #1:  Exercise. Every day.
Do whatever works for you. A very smart person told me that if a lumberjack never sharpens her saw, she's going to work harder and be less productive, i.e., chop down less trees (not my favorite analogy because I get choked up when any tree is being cut down, but hey, you get the point). Daily exercise is a must and when that cursor is sitting on an empty page and you've done nothing but write and delete a hundred times, get up, take a walk or a run or whatever you like to do, and come back to your story.

Tip #2:  Mindless, repetitive tasks.
Mindless, repetitive tasks help cultivate creativity. Get up from your story and do something mindless for at least twenty minutes after about an hour of writing time. Laundry, dishes, cleaning the shower stall with a toothbrush, shredding documents - you get the idea.

Tip #2: Read your previous work.
I always start every writing session reading the previous writing session's work (and tweaking and revising as I read). I'm not a sports person, but I've taken enough P.E. classes in my day to know that you must warm up before any kind of exercise or game. Same with writing.  

Tip #3: Know where you're going.
When I get stuck, it is because I'm lost. Look at the big picture for your story. Maybe you need to rewrite what you just wrote yesterday because you wrote yourself into a corner. I know it sounds daunting, but sometimes rewriting the previous section, gets you out of that corner, frees you up, and you will double your word count for the day. In other words, you're going to go backwards to move forwards.

Tip #5: Find a routine.
It's cliche' but you have to find a writing routine that works for you. I like to use the analogy of getting ready for bed. You have a routine for that, and the "getting ready for bed" routine helps your mind wind down. Writing is the same. Get some kind of routine going that gives your mind a signal it's time to write.

Tip #5: Life outside the novel does not exist.
If you're going to focus on getting to your word count for the day or week or whatever, you have to block out life. There just isn't any other way to put it. When you sit down to write, nothing else happens. Period.

Tip #6: No freaking out.
Sometimes the thought of writing so many words is worse than actually doing it. You might have had a bad day, or life gets in the way and you're way behind on your word count. When you sit down to write, set your goal but don't panic. It might seem a like a huge mountain but don't freak out. Just write. Decide you will stay at your computer until you reach that word count, no matter what and do not check your word count until you are ready to cry (seriously). When you're exhausted, check where you're at. If you made it to your goal, great. Reward yourself big. If you're close (within a few hundred words) give yourself a break and call it a day, but make a goal to make up those words during your next writing session. The biggest thing is this: you need to decide you will reach your goal no matter what. Tape that word count onto your computer and keep at it. Within a few days, you'll catch up and reach your goal, as long as you don't panic. I promise.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Crazy Good Things

As you know, I’ve been working on revisions for All the World’s a Stage, which is going at a super-duper clip, meaning 85,000 words will be redone, revamped and revised by the end of October. (I'm at about 31,000 now - which is ahead of my self-imposed deadline!)

My next plan of action is to take on the ridiculously insane task of writing a brand new novel for NaNo in November, while All the World's a Stage takes a break and cools down. I’m plotting the book as we speak, and although it is untitled, the genre is New Adult, which are stories featuring protagonists a bit older than in YA (18-24 years old).

After NaNo's over and December rolls around, All the World's a Stage gets passed onto my editor. After she edits, I'll work through another few revisions, while drawing up my marketing and promotion plans. All the World’s a Stage should come out in April/May. 

Okay, so while writing six to seven hours a day, I’m still marketing and selling like crazy. In September, I had an awesome time at the Chicago Writers Conference, speaking on a panel about self-publishing, which is my second most fav subject to talk about - aside from writing.

I’m also doing signings and more presentations. October 19th, I’ll be at the Barnes and Noble in Rockford, Illinois signing books, and November 2nd I’ll be signing books at an Indie Book Fair in Lake Forest, Illinois. This is an event where only independent authors will be in attendance, so if you’re a reader who wants to discover the next best author, come check us out. It is a free event. All the info is posted below and on my events tab. You can also check out my other social media sites for more information as well.

And finally, if you want to know how to become a successful self-published author or know of a writer who's thinking about self-publishing, come to Lake Forest, Illinois on November 3rd. There will be an agent rep, two other successful authors and myself hosting a half-day workshop. We’ll cover almost everything there is to know about publishing options, and what to do and not do in an industry that is literally changing daily. For more information and to register, click on the link to the right. I also have a link on my Facebook page and other social media sites.

That is it for now. Plan on hearing from me in November, as I blog briefly about my NaNo experience. Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. J As always, thanks for your support and loyalty! 


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Train's on the Tracks

One of my loyal followers sent me an email wondering how she accidentally unsubscribed to my blog.  She was all like, “I don’t know what happened. I don’t get your posts anymore.”  And I’m all like, yyyeeeaaah, that's 'cause I haven’t posted since April.” 


Right.  So I'm announcing my return. I'm back in the writing chair, back on the dance floor, back in the game, the train is back on the tracks. And since I can't think of anymore cheezy metaphores, I'll get to the point.

First, I’d like to report some really awesome news:  Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye won another award, taking the Gold (first place) in the Independent Book Publisher’s Contest for best eBook in the young adult category, and Wish I Could Have Said Goodbye made its first appearance at the national American Library Association conference in Chicago last June.  And speaking of appearances, I'm scheduled to speak and/or sign books in and around Chicago from September through November at various locations and venues.  Check out my calendar on my events page for details.

And what about All the World's a Stage?  Here's the scoop:  In the midst of making lemons out of lemonade (blog post January, 2013) All the World’s a Stage had major production delays and won’t be released until the first half of 2014, which seems light years away, but in terms of book-publishing-calendar-time, it is really super-duper quick. My revised plan for All the World's a Stage will give me enough time to finish edits, go into production, and give you (my loyal fans/readers) another award-winning, fantabulous book.

I have to admit, I’ve missed my characters, my writing, and my life in general.  My life was completely derailed without warning but the good news is I'm ready to roll again.  Part of my derailment involved having to move my kids, my dog, my office and my life, and I gotta admit, it was like whoa, what happened??? Major life-changing times for sure, but that’s life, right?  In fact, as I was plowing through what seemed like ten-gah-zillion-boxes, I was thinking about how as writers, this is what we do to our characters.  We invent one ginormous event to set off the story and then -- pile it on baby. 

Anyway, that’s my story.  You’ll see more of me now and I’ll keep you posted on progress, I promise.  I still have a novella in the works with Carmella and Howie in Paris and a host of other things in the hopper.  So be patient, stuff is on the way, and thanks a truckload for your support.