A Guide to Nano Wrimo 2019

It’s that time of the year again when writers from across the globe decide whether to embark on one of their toughest challenges- yep, the annual Novel Writing Month Contest (NanoWrimo) is here!

I’ve entered NanoWrimo four time since I began this crazy journey of writing books and have only succeeded just the once. In case you don’t know what it is Nano challenges you to write a complete 50,000 story in just 1 month. To some this word count is easy but to others (like me) it is one of the most gruelling challenges out there. To offer some guidance I’ve put together some top tips that should help see you through to the finish line.

Write whenever you can

If like me you have to do a real job (boo! – I joke…) that takes up the bulk of your day you need to take every opportunity you can get to put those words down on the page. To hit the target you have to write at least 1,667 words per day (Around 2-3 hours of work). If your commute into work is a long one do some on the bus or train, do it in your lunch breaks and if you work a 9-5 job make sure you write in the evenings. This is easier said than done of course as funnily enough life often gets in the way. If you have children, pets and other commitments then… good luck!

Accept that the 50,000 words are going to suck

The whole point of Nano is to prove to yourself that when pushed you can hit the word count of 50k within the space of 30 days. I know a few Indy authors that can do this with their eyes closed and you’ll likely see in the Nano forums that some entrants will smash this number within a matter of days. Don’t feel disheartened. Instead get your words down and accept the fact they won’t be great. Getting the words down is the true challenge and if you like what you’ve done then spend the next few months refining them. It’s likely that you’ll end up cutting a fair amount and rewriting whole parts but for now focus only on hammering that keyboard or scribbling that pen.

Do not edit!

If you’re a stickler for perfection then Nano is not for you. Many writers fall into the trap of editing as they go. Don’t! If you do that you will never reach the end goal of 50k words. Editing, of course, is one of the most important if not the most important parts of the whole writing process but for Nano resist the urge to edit as you go.

Check the forums for support

There are many support groups on the NanoWrimo website that provide a wealth of support. One forum I’ve used in the past is the regional forum where you can make contact with other entrants in your area and work together to build your regions word count. Seeing which region will top the word count leaderboards adds an extra element of competitiveness and motivation.

Am I entering this year?

Yes, I am. I’m working away on my current project: The Temple of Arrival and Nano will be a huge motivator to get down as many words as possible. With the book currently at 50k already with probably more than that to go, NanoWrimo will be the perfect thing to push me on and help me finish the first draft.

Are you taking part this year? Do you have any tips that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments or via social media.

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What I’ve Learnt About Self-Publishing – Writing is not for the faint-hearted

Being a writer is a profession that leaves you wide open to critics from all walks of life and backgrounds. You may think you’ve written the best thing ever but be assured that someone somewhere will think its terrible and will most likely relish the chance of putting the boot in.

Now I’ve received this treatment in both my working career as a copywriter and as an Indy Author. Sometimes there is just no pleasing people. A lot of the time the criticism is constructive (no-one is perfect especially me!) but sometimes, just sometimes you encounter people that simply defy all logic and reason. I’ve had people complain about a piece of content I’ve written, but not give any reason whatsoever as to why they disliked it and then I’ve had it where an article I’ve drafted is literally waved in front of my face and been told its crap. Writing is not for the faint-hearted, and it’s a bloody tough profession to succeed in.

So many Indy authors experience the annoyance of obtuse or downright nasty negative reviews on the likes of Amazon. I’ve had some that have said I’m the worst writer ever, others that they simply hated the book and that’s that.

When I was still fresh to self-publishing, each of those reviews stung, and I was personally offended by them (so much so that I even replied to a few). Now though I simply shrug my shoulders and say to myself ‘Each to their own, you cannot please everyone’. As tempting as it is, as upset as you may become, do not respond to negative reviews.

Now don’t get me wrong, don’t just ignore the comments of bad reviews, if they’re genuinely critical then take on board what they have to say. For example, I’ve had a 2-star review that outlined things that I could improve upon, and I am genuinely grateful to that person for writing it as they were correct to highlight things that could and were improved in later titles.

Some reviews, however, are just nasty for the sake of it, and it seems some people simply get a kick out of abusing indy authors. My favourite one has to be a 1-star review from a guy or gal who named themselves The Hater. This sad act of a human being trawls through Indy books on Amazon and just 1-stars them all for no good reason.

There’s a great thread on Goodreads about 1-star reviews that you can check out here

Which brings me to the fact that as an Indy writer you WILL encounter plenty of crazy individuals. I guess as writing falls into the same category of the arts this is to be expected. It draws out all manner of eccentric personalities, (hell, just check out some of the writer’s groups on Facebook for proof of that!)

At the end of the day if we want to succeed at this we all need to develop a thick skin (easier said then done). Learn from every piece of genuine criticism and ignore the bullshit (there’s a lot of that out there). We suffer through the bad times and the negativity because we are writers and it’s what we love to do. Never let the bastards grind you down, keep going, and one day you might just succeed. I’m trying to do just that.

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