November went by in a blur.
No, wait. That's a lie.
November was a painful trek over thorny and headache-inducing terrain. My feet are bloodied and my body and mind are broken.
But you know what? I have a first draft of a novel. Worth it.
Now that I'm in blissful December, I feel like I can breath and finally focus on things I've been neglecting all last month (like working out and housework for starters).
December 1st -- this is what freedom feels like, and it feels marvelous.
We're only a few days into December, and I'm trying to re-find myself. There's something about NaNoWriMo that helps you hyper-focus on writing that book. Because of that, other things have to fall by the wayside. Otherwise, you'd never finish the book.
I'm currently trying to get out of the habit of skipping my workout so I can free up more time. I power through the morning, trying to get all my grading done because that's what I've been doing for the last month. By the time I realize that I can slow down again and enjoy parts of my day, it's a bit late and I have other deadlines to hit (like getting my twin girls in bed on time!).
Before November, I would sit down to my meals and read a book as I ate. It was some of my favorite times of the day. In order to find enough time to write my novel, I had to cut that out. Instead, as I ate, I worked.
I actually sat down today for the first time in over a month and read my book for ten minutes while I ate lunch. I was instantly more relaxed and happy. I had forgotten it felt like that. Boy, I missed that.
I even did a little knitting today. Watch out, world!
Remembering that I'm Still a Freelance Writer
During November, I had two articles get accepted to two different publications. I was excited but overwhelmed because of everything on my plate. It didn't take them long to send back edits, which I didn't have time to touch if I was going to hit my goal of 50,000 words.
So, I put it off.
Now that it's December, I can finally get around to those edits and finally feel the full excitement of getting those articles published in a few months.
Reclaiming the Night
Before the chaos of NaNoWriMo, I spent the few hours between my daughters' bedtime and mine working on freelancing articles and querying a novel to agents. As you can probably guess, I had to give that up and devote that time to novel writing.
I love that I'm able to get back to that habit. It feels good to continue making progress on those fronts.
So, what about you? How was your NaNoWriMo journey, and how does December feel?
In my last blog post I mentioned a few online classes I teach through Rio Salado College, and now I get to add to the list!
Later this month, I will begin teaching ENG106 - Basic Writing - for Brigham Young University-Idaho, and I couldn't be more excited! I think it will help me develop stronger teaching muscles with experience from a new class and teaching for a new college. Plus, Brigham Young University - Idaho is where I went to school for my undergrad, so I love that it has come full circle.
So, if you're looking for another online writing class to take, I'd love to have you in one of my classes!
This week, I took the time to participate in a free webinar all about starting and growing a successful blog. I saw an ad for it on Facebook, and I thought, Why not? It's free!
Let's just say I was not disappointed. It's actually a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to/is currently writing a blog. No matter what your blog topic, this free webinar gives you actionable items to grow your reach meaningfully.
Out of respect for Jeff Goins' business, I won't go into details about everything I learned, but I will give you a bit of a vague synopsis. Goins goes through three major steps to creating a successful blog. He also talks about the 5 blogging personalities, and it was interesting to try to figure out where I fit in.
What I liked most about this webinar is Goins' honesty. He doesn't try to hide that he will pitch his full class. He's upfront about it, and I appreciate that. After the hour-and-a-half webinar, I feel better equipped to start growing my blog and reaching the right audience.
Here's one of my favorite quotes he shared. After all, everyone has something valuable to share.
"What's obvious to you is amazing to others."
If you have some time to spare or you can free up some time, this is a webinar worth watching and participating in. You'll walk away with a little bit of hope and the motivation to start working hard to achieve your goals.
If you've done this webinar, let me know what you thought! I'd love to compare notes (and, yes, I took 2 1/2 pages of notes).
You can sign up here: https://goinswriter.clickfunnels.com/webinar-registration
Perfecting your book pitch can be hard. In fact, I know I have a lot to learn myself. If my current book pitch didn't need to be improved, I'd have more agents asking to read my full manuscript. And that simply hasn't been the case.
Today I stumbled upon this free webinar all about perfecting your book pitch. And the best part? it's free.
I signed up, and I can't wait until April 7th. Will you join, too? If it helps us do a better job pitching our books, isn't it worth it?
You can sign up here: http://www.spreecast.com/events/the-art-of-the-book-pitch
In this post, I talked about going to the ANWA Writers' Conference last year. It was absolutely fantastic. So, I jumped at the chance of attending their local one-day writing workshop. There were two tracks to choose from. I picked the one about perfecting the writing craft rather than self-publishing track.
The first half of the day was a presentation and discussion with Janette Rallison about the basics of writing, including plot and characterization. I did find most of the discussion quite basic, which is great for those starting out, but I’ll admit that I was hoping for a little more in-depth discussion. Even so, it’s always good to get back to the basics and make sure your foundation of knowledge is strong and stable.
I’ll be honest; if it wasn’t for the second portion of the day - workshopping our own work - I probably would’ve spent my Saturday at home. I would have left politely. After all, I teach all this to my students.
However, I was pleased that Rallison gave each of us a copy of one of her books - My Fair Godmother - asking that we read it and review it on Amazon. I can't say no to a free book, and I look forward to reading her writing to see what I can learn from it.
Want to read her book yourself? You can find it here:
I enjoyed the second half of the workshop more than the first. To sum it up in one word - humbling.
Everyone on track two brought the first six pages of their book, and then it was workshopped. I received a lot of great feedback, feedback that I should've already known. I find that it's so much easier to see faults in the works of others, and it is harder to see it in your own. But after the flaws are pointed out, they're glaringly obvious.
Janette Rallison was in the critique, too, and I was honored to get feedback from a published - and successful! - author.
Now I know what to work on, and that will carry through the rest of the book.
So, the big question is: would I go again next year?
The three hours of workshopping was well worth the $50 I paid. The free book was icing on the cake. And, after all, who doesn't love cake and icing?
I'm an adjunct creative writing professor and freelance writer, but I dream of being a published novelist. This is my journey.