November has been a crazy, but good month.
For NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I wrote the first draft of a second in a three-book fictional series I plan to release next fall. Four to six people from a local writers group I’m involved with in Omaha met for nine “write-ins” during the month at a Perkins restaurant. We wrote for two hours every time we got together and it was usually enough time to hit our 1,667 word count goal for day. As an added benefit, we got to know each other quite a bit better.
At the same time, I was preparing for the re-release of The Experience of Christmas by Bold Vision Books. The book was originally released by Barbour Publishing in 2006 and went out of print in 2010. The book still has a lot of life in it though, so I dusted it off, revised it, and found a new publisher for it. I love the new cover design, and have been pleased by how well people are receiving it. Amazon is offering both the print and e-book version, if you are interested.
I held the official book launch today on Facebook and was pleased by the number of people who showed up. We had a great time talking about our favorite Christmas traditions, and five people walked away with a free copy of the book. If you missed it, I plan to hold similar events for upcoming releases.
Previously, I told you about a book of coffee shop essays I’m writing. Initially, I planned to call it “Caffeinated Confessions,” but I’m not really a title guy. It takes me a while to find the right fit. The other day, the right fit came to me for this project. It’s going to be called “Common Grounds: Coffee Shop Essays from the Corner Table.” The sub-title might be tweaked a bit, but it’s getting there. By the end of December, I should be able to show you the book cover.
If it sounds like I’m refocusing my efforts on books, then you are tracking with me. I stepped down as a writer at SB Nation’s MinorLeagueBall.com this month, so I won’t be writing any minor league material in the off-season, or possibly next season. If the right deal comes along (the occasional feature, as opposed to regular content), I may take it, but for now, it’s full steam ahead on my book projects.
You are invited to an online (Facebook) book launch for my 31-day family Christmas devotional book, "The Experience of Christmas" from Bold Vision Books on Friday, November 28, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
We'll be talking about your favorite Christmas traditions, your favorite Christmas memories, and more. You'll also have a chance to win one of several free copies of the book that I'll be giving away throughout the event. And the book will be discounted for this one day only, so it's a great opportunity to save a few dollars.
Stop by the event page and click the "Join" button.
If you want to order a copy before then, here are a couple of links:
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins Saturday and I’m stoked. I love diving into a new manuscript. If you are participating for the first time this year, here are a few roadblocks that tripped me up in the past.
Roadblock #1: Lack of Community
Without having others to cheer me on, it was difficult to write 1, 667 words every day after I’d already written and/or edited other projects all day in isolation. You’ll find my solution over on the Authors’ and Editors’ blog this morning in my guest post. This year I’ll be attending three write-ins per week with a group of six writers.
Roadblock #2: Lack of Scheduling
I lived my life during November like I did any other month – trying to keep up on my laundry and other household chores, going on social outings with friends, watching my favorite television programs and following my favorite sports teams. As such, I tried to fit my novel writing time between my normal routines and that didn’t work.
If I didn’t take my novel more serious than that, then I had no chance of actually finishing it. Writing the first draft of a novel in a month isn’t something you do when everything else is done. It’s something you commit to for blocks of time every day, regardless of the laundry, fancy meals, social gatherings or television.
So, last year I told everyone I would not be available in November, but I was looking forward to re-engaging in December. This freed me up to write every night and I finally “won” NaNoWriMo for the first time.
Roadblock #3: Lack of Understanding
I didn’t understand that some writers are plotters and some are pantsers (seat of the pants), and I certainly didn’t understand that you don’t choose one process or the other rather than it choosing you.
I ended up listening to plotters who told me to buy index cards (to map out major plot points and scenes) or to create character bios and a full synopsis before I started. I could never fully develop a story arc using this method though. I wasn’t deep enough in the story. And I didn’t know my characters well enough yet. As a result, I ran out of ideas, became frustrated and quit.
Years later, I learned we aren’t all wired to be plotters. Some of us are pantsers. I prefer the phrase “discovery writer” because it makes me feel less disorganized and it is more accurate. I discover my story as I get to know my characters better. Once I learned who I was, I embraced it. For NaNoWriMo last year, I started with just an idea and the story unfolded as I wrote it. Whichever type of writer you are, embrace it.
If you've visited my website in the past year, then you know I've been reevaluating traditional publishing for a while now and that I've been leaning toward indie publishing. As I make the shift, I'm looking to have more control over my income flow. I don't want to be dependent on publishers any more. I'm tired of hearing "the check's in the mail."
I'm currently writing a series of three novellas that I can't wait for you to read. They are everything I've always wanted to write but have been unable to due to financial constraints. I'm working on a non-fiction book that captures my voice better than anything I've ever written. I have an idea for another devotional book that is begging to be written. And I have a few other minor projects in the works as well. I just need the financial freedom to attack them.
Financial freedom brings creative freedom for the full-time artist. This has been true as long as art, in its various forms, has existed, but never has there been such great opportunity to attain both types of freedom.
Enter Patreon – a website that allows anyone who loves the arts to support the artist(s) of his or her choosing. If you are interested in supporting my writing endeavors, I've set up a page on the Patreon website in which you will be given the opportunity to offer as little as $1 a month. You will not only be helping to support me, but you'll also be helping to pay for editing and book cover designs as I transition into writing and producing the books I want to release on my own terms.
If you support my writing with any amount, you will receive copies of my books as they are released (no charge, including shipping). You can discontinue your support at any time, no questions asked.
Thank you for listening to my appeal. If you want to know more, just ask. I'd love to talk to you. For more info, visit my Patreon page.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.