Nano Time Again!
The lazy days of summer are long gone, and even though I’ve written a couple of new entries here on the site, my blog posts have been scarce. With the exception of the recent weight-free page to help promote the Justiss Goode weight loss book, I’ve been taking things pretty slow for the past couple of months. Sometimes a mental rest is needed after completing a novel (November 2016), not to mention following up with a short read that is more than half the size of the novel. It’s hard to believe that I finished writing my self-published novel: Skipping Childhood exactly one year ago (yesterday- the 20th). What’s even harder to believe is that it’s actually Nano time again!
Last year, it was my intention to attempt to participate in the Nano (National Novel Writing) Competition. While Nano is often referred to as a “competition”, the writers are only competing with themselves and their own determination. Nano challenges the true writer in you to get up off your butt, and actually write and complete something. But not just anything – a novel – full length, from beginning to end; all in the course of one month. Yep! You heard me right. The Nano challenge is to write and complete a novel during the month of November. My entry in 2016 was supposed to be the above-mentioned novel, only I was so excited to get things ready for the challenge, I found myself starting two whole weeks early! By the third week in November, manuscript was finished.
2017 Nano Submission
As of yet, I haven’t fully decided if I’ll be making a 2017 Nano submission, but I’ll make a decision by Halloween. Since the competition has very definitive guidelines, I didn’t officially meet the Nano challenge last year, although I successfully wrote a novel in 35 days. I figure that’s an accomplishment that is still worth being proud of. But rather than stop and pat myself on the back, I spent the past year trying to consistently promote “Skipping Childhood”. Being as this was my second novel, I knew that all the needed marketing and book promoting would leave me no time to gloat about my achievement. I also convinced myself not to lose my writing momentum (like in the past), so I started the short read (“One Bad Deed“) in January and also managed to complete it pretty quickly.
In spite of knowing for sure that I’m capable of reaching the 2017 Nano goal, I still find myself hesitant about accepting the challenge.
The Big Picture
For first-time authors who plan to pursue the Nano challenge, I encourage you to try and envision the big picture. That means, recognizing that writing the book is a huge part of the challenge, but writing it should NOT be the only objective. No, it’s not enough just to get it done. Have some vision for what you want for your book, even before it’s finished. Write and get the story out, but write with your readers in mind. Don’t wait until you’re done to think about your readers. Write with book placement and positioning in mind. Don’t write dialogue that compromises where and who you’re able to promote your book to. In other words, try and think beyond the pages of your book, even as you’re writing the words and watching them fall. The more you get right during the initial writing process, the less you have to go back and correct.
In order to get a better understanding about the above paragraph, notice a similar point in my experience with a recent book.
Since the short read story that I created deals with violence, the original book cover that I created had an image of a gun, a bloody knife, and a pair of handcuffs. I later wanted to enter the book in one of Amazon’s contest, but feared the cover was too graphic for the contest guidelines. I began to wonder if perhaps it was just too violent looking in general. I ended up changing the cover (removing the gun and the bloody knife and leaving just the handcuffs)
From my experience above, you can see that this is something that should have been considered before I actually published the book, but it wasn’t. This only dealt with the cover of the book, but going back to make any kind of changes can be tedious and a big inconvenience, so remember the advice in this post.