To Publish Books, You Must Write #amwriting

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In the mad rush of writing, reading, and living life, it’s important to pause and reflect because from reflection comes awareness, and from awareness comes new goals. Setting new goals helps me continually improve myself both as a writer and as a human being. It isn’t always easy, especially because there are so many things I could improve upon. Where to start?

I decided to reflect upon why I was able to write twice as many words during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last year than I did this year.  This November, I crossed the NaNoWriMo 50k finish line with 1,535 words to spare. Yay, I’m a “winner,” but it’s a far cry from last year’s 112,000 words. What changed? Here are some of the things I did differently during NaNoWriMo last year.

-I wrote every morning.

-I frequently left the house to write. Coffee houses, the public library, and the university library all worked well.

-I had not yet started blogging and tweeting. Surprise, social media sometimes draws my attention away from writing.

-I wasn’t reading nearly as many books. This November I read eight novels while participating in NaNoWrimo. In order to do this, I had to cut out pretty much all TV shows and movies–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

-I was a lot more interested in last year’s novel than the one I wrote during NaNoWriMo this year.

-I wrote with 100% carefree abandon. This year I was a tad bit more careful so the resulting first draft wouldn’t be quite such a traumatic mess.

-I didn’t have other areas of my life crowding out my writing time so much. Oh, dear reader, over the past couple of months I had a major personal thing happening and, boy, did it take me emotionally and physically away from writing, but hey, no excuses, right?

So. . . this year, things changed. Life does that. In reflecting on the differences in productivity between NaNoWriMo past and present, I’ve decided to:

  • Make it a priority to reestablish a morning writing routine.
  • Be more mindful of the time I spend on social media. I’m SO grateful for the kind and talented writers and readers I’ve connected with through blogging and social media. They have made the pursuit of a writing career so much less lonely. And I’ve learned so much about publishing and writing, as well as great new books to read. I’ve also gotten a good grasp on what makes a good query letter (thanks especially to literary agent Janet Reid of Query Shark). And I have assembled a long list of excellent literary agents with whom I’d like to work, thanks to lots of internet research, agents’ blogs and tweets, and industry insights gleaned from sites like querytracker.net. Those are all good things to be aware of, and to be prepared to execute well when the time comes. But…

To publish books, you must write.

Though I’m not at a place where I feel the need to set limits on my social media time, I do realize that–as a person whose dream, goal, and mission is to publish successful YA books–more of my free time should be spent writing.

If you’ve come up with good ways to create a balance for yourself between social media and writing, I’d love to hear about them.

–Eve Messenger

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12 comments

  1. I just remember that social media is kind of like the mountains I like to climb. The mountain will still be there tomorrow. Writing needs to be done today. I guess that’s why I don’t blog a lot, though it is enjoyable to follow some of the blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! That is a magnificent achievement!!😀😀 Don’t knock yourself for not managing your last years extraordinary and exceptional word count – maybe you could have carried over 50,000 words to this year! ha! You are very clear sighted about the differences in your life and life is fluid and changes. Sorry to hear that you have had certain problems and hope these are soon better for you. As for the balance thing, do tell me if you find a formula. Some days I stop myself even looking at the blogs and online until after I’ve worked. Couldn’t resist this morning though! Well done again Eve. Do you think you’ll finish the book soon?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Annika! So glad you decided to drop by. I’d love to say the book will be done by 1/29/16, but it’s hard to know yet how many more revisions it might need. All I know is that right now I am so in love with writing this book, and for that I am very grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh! Totally loved Queryshark’s notes. Very helpful! ^.^

    I can’t say that I’ve found the balance yet, especially when you add in in-person social time, and reading time. However, I’ve decided recently to not check my blog or social media after work. I have the opportunity to check it all day (at work/at home). I don’t need to be checking it at all hours of the day. I think just setting certain times to do things is key. Now, I can read at night unhindered by having to see what’s going on in the Blogosphere. I’m hoping it helps, but who knows. :p

    P.s. 50K is an awesome W.C. for NaNo. (112 is insane!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To make time to write, I’ve done several things . . .
    I know when I’m most productive–the afternoon–so I use mornings and nights to use social media, including reading and writing blog posts. I’ve made writing high on my list of priorities. (That’s why my house is usually a mess. :D) But the most important thing I’ve done is deciding to take early retirement from my day job–two more weeks, and I’m outta there. Having a job outside the home–a hard, stressful job–has seriously interfered with my writing time. No sooner would I get into the writing groove than it would be Monday and back to work. I know everyone can’t afford to quit their day job, but for me, I believe it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Soon, I’ll be home seven days a week during my most productive hours. I can’t wait!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on making time, very soon, for pure, unadulterated writing bliss! As you mentioned, since not every writer is able to pursue early or partial retirement, another option is to try to get a less demanding job. In the past, I’ve worked stressful, soul-robbing jobs with long commutes, and was pretty much impossible to write. Though I earn much less now, I’m grateful to be able to write a lot more now that I have a job close to home as a teacher.

    Like

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