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NaNoWriMo

November 30, 20226 min read

#NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

For many writers, the month of November is one they circle on the calendar at the beginning of the year. For others, November is the month where they realize how far behind they are on their New Year's Resolution for January. Still others approach November with whimsy and throw themselves into a challenge just for the hell of it. The one thing all of these writers have in common is they devote themselves to the craft of writing and challenge themselves to complete the first draft of their new book for #NaNoWriMo.

Today is the last day for #NaNoWriMo but it doesn't mean you should stop writing. Take a moment today to see where you began and where you stand with your book. I'll bet you are much closer to finishing than you ever thought you would be! Let's take a look at what your next steps are after #NaNoWriMo.

I'm Still Writing!

There is nothing wrong if you are still writing your first draft! In fact, it is normal for first-time and even long-time writers to not reach 50,000 words in a month. If you are a new writer, here are a few suggestions to help you finish your book and continue writing.

  1. Find a time and a place to write.

  2. Remove distractions.

  3. Write!

Be Consistent

The first and most important tip for new writers is to find a time and a place to write! Writing is like any other habit or skill. We become better writers the more we do it. The best way you can write more is to give yourself a consistent time and place to write. Put it in your calendar and make sure you stick with your schedule. It is not important to hit a specific word count each day (though I would suggest hitting a minimum word count) but it is important to use your time for writing by writing! Also, make sure to write in the same place everyday. We can trick our brains into being more productive if our brains know that every time we sit down at our desk we write. Don't leave your desk until you hit your word count or allotted time!

Remove Distractions

Surprise! Distractions are everywhere, especially in this digital age! We are swamped day and night with distractions. Our first tip for scheduling a time and place to write can help you keep your family, friends, and colleagues from interrupting your writing time, but too often it's the other stuff distracting you.

I know I am not perfect. In fact, I can count at least 10 times I've checked Facebook or email while writing this blog. Each time you return to your project you have to refocus your mind and imagination. Little distractions like this add up!

Another form of distraction comes from our phones. I challenge you to keep track of the number of texts, notifications, and other distractions you receive from your phone in one hour. I just looked at my phone and saw three notifications in the past five minutes.

There are two ways to minimize these constant interruptions. First up, almost every phone today has some type of do not disturb setting. When I need to sit down and write I turn this feature on and I only see calls from three people. No texts, no Twitter notifications, no news updates, nothing. If you need a more hard-core way to remove distractions, you can find tools that will limit your internet browsing. Take a look and find one that fits.

In this same vein if you need more ideas on removing distractions or being more productive in general, I would highly suggest reading The Productivity Project. I led a book club discussion on this book and I also wrote a book review. This might be the most influential book I've read in terms of being a better writer and business owner.

Write!

This might sound obvious, but the best way to continue writing is to write! And I don't mean by finding a time and place to write. I mean actually writing. If you are anything like me, oftentimes you can become caught up in the other parts of writing and those parts don't actually include the act of writing.

Researching your characters, reading about how investigations work for your crime story, watching videos about your business topic, working on your marketing, reading other books, and so many other tasks can pull us away from the actual act of writing. I suggest these activities, while being necessary for a complete and accurate book, are tasks you can do when you aren't writing. Your two-hour morning writing session doesn't include these activities.

Oh, and editing doesn't count as writing!

I'm Finished!

For some of you out there, you won! Writing the first draft of your book is no small feat so be sure to first take a moment to recognize this amazing accomplishment. Do whatever it is you do to celebrate. Grab a drink with your friends, take your partner out to dinner, read a new book. What's important is for you to celebrate!

Next, take some time away from your new baby. One of the best pieces of advice I've heard is from Stephen King in On Writing. He says he puts his first draft out of sight until he forgets what he was writing. This gives you a bit of a chance to approach your new book with a set of fresh eyes. You'll think more like a reader on your first pass after letting it sit for a bit and less like an author while doing your self-edit.

FInally, it's important to start making decisions on how you plan to publish your book (or if you even will). Today publishing is more accessible than ever before, thanks to independent publishers, printers, bookstores, and other avenues. E-books are great ways for independent authors (self-published authors) to release a book to their audience.

The two tracks to publish are self-publishing and traditional publishing. There are benefits and drawbacks to each pathway and it is important you understand your role in whatever route you choose. Plus, there are some predatory practices authors need to be wary of when approaching what might look like a respectable publisher.

If you want to take the step to educate yourself on the proper way to publish your book, take a look at our Author Training Program. Here we take authors (and their author assistants) through the enitre publishing process and show you how to properly publish your book. Learn more about how you can become a Certified Publishing Professional today!

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Peter Wietmarschen

Peter, a 2014 graduate of Morehead State University's Caudill College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music. He strives to express his thoughts and ideas in a creative and professional manner. Peter is our President of Operations and Marketing, and a contributing writer for The Author's Voice. He also contributes to 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching's digital magazines and is a content writer for their social media. He enjoys writing blogs and providing the best resources for writers. In his spare time, Peter is an avid soccer fan, supporting FC Cincinnati, and is a member-at-large of The Pride: FC Cincinnati Supporters Group.

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