I celebrated fall's arrival by digging into the back of my closet for jeans and sweaters.
It's at this time of year, I hear talk about winterizing one's wardrobe, car, lawn, house, etc. So why not winterize our writing?
In my mind, that means preparing to use the winter time to write faster. It also means to prepare against derailment by installing new tracks.
Take quick inventory and assess your writing needs. Decide what will help make you more productive, efficient, excited and/or happier in your writing career. Then take steps toward achieving those goals.
I think one exciting tool at our disposal is National Novel Writing Month. Look them up online. It's free to participate. In short, the goal is to write 50,000 words of new fiction in the thirty days of November.
For some authors that number might not be impressive enough, and you're welcome to set your bar at 100,000 or more! The approaches and decisions by fellow writers is endless.
As the day light hours shorten, I become more easily distracted and worry that I'm not putting in the writing time I should, I begin to let holiday worry creep into my timelines and next thing I know I'm stressing over the calendar and clock more than moving forward on my writing.
But NaNoWriMo, as it's affectionately called, helps me keep my fingers on the keyboard. I feel inspired knowing that out there are thousands of other people pounding away writing stories as well.
NaNaWriMo was born when a small group of people complained how their busy lives kept them from writing the story they wanted to write. They decided to act and part of the legacy they created is now this annual one-month endeavor which has grown into a national phenomenon and continues to expand.
Over the last week, I've thought about the premise of my new novel and I jotted down a few scenes, but, for the most part, I'll let the characters reveal themselves next month while I type (pantser style).
I like that once a year, I squash all the fear demons, worries over plot and the editorial gremlins that pound in my head. Instead, I become consumed with the need to write as fast as I can on that one story and let the whims of those imaginary characters take over.
Others I know, studiously plot and outline their new novel this month. Their plan is to be prepared to strike that keyboard on the first of November with exacting purpose (sigh, I so admire those plotters).
Some people are so meticulous they even write-up a month long meal plan for their family and farm out chore duties. I make sure there's sufficient coffee, tea and chocolate in the house and the rest will have to fend for themselves.
If you sign up for NaNoWriMo, I recommend checking to see if there's a community liaison in your area. Over the next few weeks, they usually will have a get-together for a chance to meet other fellow writers in your area. You may meet someone who writes in the same genre as you and/or shares the same interests.
During the November challenge, fellow NaNo writers will invite you to join them at libraries or coffee shops to write. If you're not achieving your writing goals at home, you may want to try the "community" support approach by meeting with others to get more writing done.
If you browse the NaNoWriMo website you'll see they have created also e-mail loops which you can select for advice from grammar and plot lines, to historical nuances, weaponry, horror, death, romance, etc.
So, please check out NaNoWriMo and see if it's something that you'd like to participate in.
Take a little time to winterize your writing by thinking about your goals and some of the steps you could take to achieve them. Whether that's writing more, implementing a new marketing strategy, taking a course or two, finding beta readers, an agent or editor.
Placing your focus on a few key goals as we approach winter will help you get through the colder days ahead and hopefully keep you on track through the holiday season.
I will feel really good if my December is spent editing a 50,000+ manuscript I typed up in November. Who knows? I could have a brand new novel finished by the New Year!
We'd like to hear from you. Share with us your insight on achieving writing goals through the winter. Are there things you do to "Winterize your Writing" or prepare for NaNoWriMo?
About the Author
Tanja Fazzari writes mostly science fiction, paranormal and contemporary suspense romances until some Viking or Highlander shows up demanding his story at sword point. Then, invariably, there is a delay.