Nanowrimo 2016

Halloween is almost over, and so is October!  And while most monsters roll out of bed on November the 1st as normal human beings (y’know, minus the fangs and hollow eye-sockets) I’m the exact opposite.  I’ve just started turning into a monster.

Over the next 30 days I will forget to shower and brush my hair on more than one occasion, and my skin routine will, well, cease to be a routine and become more like an afterthought.  Drunk on more cups of darjeeling tea than at any other time of the year, I will be up late into the night.  And during the day I’ll be a sallow-faced, hunched zombie with bad hair (what’s new?) hissing at bright lights and muttering conversations between invisible non-entities.  I will snap, and I will bite.  A spell will fall over my home; dishes will sit in a swampy sink for days on end, and the fridge will cease to store fruit and veg and instead will become storage for half-eaten takeaways and pizza boxes.

All this and more awaits, but by November 30th – if all goes to plan – I will have written 50,000 words of a brand new novel in the series I’m currently writing (/slowly going mad over).

Yes, November is Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), where aspiring writers around the world pledge to forgo their sanity in favour of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  Back in 2012 I signed up for the very first time as a wannabe writer who’d never even completed a story before let alone written 50,000 words in a month (was it even possible?).  I didn’t think I could do it.  But I threw myself into it; I carried a notebook to work and scribbled during my breaks (luckily there was a lot of testing in the school I was working at during November and I sometimes wrote during class).  I stayed up late to make sure I reached the daily word count target.  I finished with a completed book and a word total of 87,000.  Yeah, it was a rough draft – and I mean rough – but it blew my mind that I was even capable of something like that, and it completely changed my approach to writing.  I’ve completed it twice more since then 🙂

Since last year’s Nanowrimo fell slap-bang in the middle of relocating to Cardiff, it didn’t happen.  So this year I’m excited to get back to it; I’ve got my plan and I’m ready and raring to go.  If you want to check out my progress (or add me, if you’re a fellow Nano’er!) click here.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel it’s a great opportunity to finally give it a go; there’s plenty of support from other writers along the way (including daily pep talks from famous writers straight into your inbox) and actually reaching that 50,000 word count is a great feeling.  What have you got to lose? (Besides your sanity and personal hygiene…!)

Submitting a Novel

There’s nothing like finally getting to write down those two magical words; The End.  If you’re a writer, then you’ll know.  Between the unexpected arrival of The Idea and the relief of those two little words is an agonising and at times back-breaking journey (I desperately need to get a new desk chair, ouch!).  I’m not really “of this world” when I’m in the middle of writing a book; I’m locked in my own head with my body stuck on auto allowing the sink to overflow and the oven to burn whatever I thought would be an easy meal (fishfingers and left over pasta, that’ll do).  It’s exhausting, no more so than for my husband who has to deal with the grumpy writer’s block days as well as the I’monaroll!Can’tstop!Goaway!ThisisamazingI’msuchageniusI’mgoingtowinapulitzer! days (and then the inevitable hangover that follows…).  So when you tie off all the loose ends, edit and finally reach that last page and get to write those two amazing words it can feel like all the hard work is done and dusted.  And it is, if you’re not planning on submitting it.  But if you are?  The hard work isn’t over, in fact, it’s only just beginning…

The submissions process is nerve-wracking and exciting; you’re sending your “baby” out into the world to be judged and deemed worthy by a list of names that know what they’re talking about when it comes to books.  It’s a lot of hard work; writing a page long synopsis shouldn’t be tougher than writing a 150,000 word novel, but guess what?  It is!  And those first few rejections are like a light bruise compared to the head on collision your ego takes when the fiftieth rejection lands in your inbox.  Believe me.

So, here are my tips for surviving the submissions process (which I haven’t actually technically survived yet, but I live in hope…!).

Continue reading “Submitting a Novel”