Updated: May 25
It’s a New Year and time for me to start looking forward to all the exciting things I have coming up. First, though, I have to say goodbye — again — to my beloved daughter as she jets back to college in Australia. She’s currently studying for her Masters in Marine Science at the University of Western Australia in Perth, and I won’t see her till the end of the year. Thank Goodness for FaceTime!
I have lots of fun things planned for the next few months, though, starting with a trip to a wine festival in Burgundy, France, with my husband and a group of friends. We have plenty of lunches and dinners planned, including attending a big Gala Dinner for 900 people on the Saturday night. It should be fun. 😃
Later on in February, I’m having a fellow World Indie Warrior, and friend, come down with her daughter to see me. We’re planning on visiting a few places in London and lots of chatting about books and writing, of course.
In March, that same friend and I are hoping to visit another friend and fellow World Indie Warrior Member in Holland. There will, of course, be even more chatter about all things books, both reading and writing, here as well. We may even have a glass of wine or two!
It’s not only a new year, it's als a new decade. Time to start planning all those amazing things you want to do and accomplish. Are you going on an adventure? Traveling to a new country? Focusing on your family? Or starting to write that book that has been in your head for so many years? Maybe you’re starting a new job, or finishing an old one. Whatever it is you have planned — make this year great. You deserve it.
I want to cast a glance back at last year. As an author it was big in several ways. My first novel, The Sentinels — Saving Her, celebrated it’s first anniversary and the reviews had been very positive and encouraging. I then published my second book, The Sentinels 2 — Saving Him, in November and was blown away by the reviews from the very beginning.
For November, I was planning on taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and finish a novel I had started earlier in the year. After two days I realized I would struggle to write 50 000 words in 30 days as I had to fit it in with what I’d already written. My plan had been to add the other MC’s story as I had concentrated on only one side of it so far. So, I switched. I started writing the third book in The Sentinels Series and it was soon obvious, to me anyway, that I had made the right decision. The words flowed on to my screen and by the 14th I had written the 50 000 words required to call myself a winner. That didn’t mean the story was finished so I carried on writing and finished at around 86 000 words by the end of November. I had done it! I had written a whole novel in one month! So, what happened to the other one, you may ask? Well, I picked that one up again in December and by the end of the year I had it finished! I now have first drafts of two novels ready to be edited and revised. It’s a crazy feeling!
For anyone thinking of taking part in NaNoWriMo this year (I know, it’s not till November but, please, bear with me.) who is feeling nervous, intimidated, scared or maybe just plain terrified, I would say, Go For It! It is such a fun and wonderful challenge to do. There are lots of groups and meet-ups all over the world for those who want and need the support, and there are plenty of live write-ins, sprints and chit-chat groups to join in with as well. World Indie Warriors had a weekly schedule for the whole month of November where everyone could take part, and a running total word count where we reached over 300 000 words together.
Even though the goal for NaNo of 50 000 words may seem daunting, and not everyone reaches that count, it shouldn’t put you off. If you use it as a means to spur you on and have something to set your sights on, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve. Even if you don’t reach the NaNo goal, you can still achieve a personal target — and get a good chunk of writing done. 50 000 words is a lot, but any words towards the end of your novel is a huge achievement, and it should be treated that way. NaNo is a challenge, not a project with a deadline. Challenge yourself and celebrate your successes.
Now, having lauded the phenomenon that is NaNoWriMo, if you’re really not relishing such a big challenge, I would recommend CampNaNoWriMo.
As the name hopefully suggests, it’s a lighter, more relaxed version of the main one. You set your own goals, whether that would be handwritten pages, number of poems, chapters edited, or a personal word count. The setup is inspired by kids’ summer camps where you can create, join, or be added to a Cabin of likeminded writers. In these virtual cabins you can chat to each other, ask for help and support, and cheer each other on. Camp is where I started my standalone novel, the one I was meant to finish during NaNo, and I set my goal at 50 000 words as I’m quite a fast typer and I had the story planned out, mainly in my head but still, and I wanted to see if I could do it. I think I hit the target on Day 16, and then I stopped and let it rest until a few weeks ago when I finally finished it.
Camp NaNo is meant to be more informal, a way to set your own target in whatever form that may be, and enjoy whichever part of the writing process you find yourself in.
So, to sum up all my ramblings; NaNo is a challenge, and should be treated as such, but it’s ok to not reach the official target, as long as you reach a goal you are happy with.
For me, that would be just words on the screen — no matter whether that’s 1 or 50 000.