Author: ollguest

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Now that NaNoWriMo is over, you may be wondering what the next step is. Revision? Rewriting? Today, writer and participant Madeline Wright discusses the importance of recovering from your November marathon before revisiting your novel.

Whether or not you’ve crossed that 50,000-word mark in November, one thing is for certain. You are amazing for even attempting to crush NaNoWriMo. I hope that you took time to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished in the last month. Right now though, you may find yourself attempting to answer a question or two swirling in your head focused heavily on what’s next.

What happens when you’ve been writing for 30 days at a lightning-fast rate and then suddenly you’re not? 

In answering this question, it’s normal to feel a vague anxiety around what you’re supposed to do over the next few weeks. You may wonder: Should I keep writing at this pace? Should I take a break? Should I pay any mind to this guilt creeping in now that I’ve definitely decided to do the latter?

With an easing of the gas pedal in any creative vehicle, it’s natural to experience a loss of momentum. You’ll have days where you don’t move forward at all which may induce a feeling of guilt. If you find yourself feeling this way, you’re not alone. And also, there’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty about!

Lots of support and guidance have been funneled through all communication channels to you during the challenge, but there isn’t a whole lot focused on ramping down after November (until now). Decompressing is an important part of this challenge too. If you don’t decompress then you may end up feeling a little lost, depressed, or left with an odd sensation of guilt. 

First, dear writer, let’s acknowledge that it’s okay to take a break from your story. If you still feel the need to keep on writing at an accelerated rate until the last ‘i’ is dotted and final punctuation is in place, then consider taking some time to decompress. Doing this will help you with the post-challenge transition.

By decompressing you will ultimately find yourself further along faster than you otherwise would with these three R’s: relaxation, reflection, and regrouping.

Relaxation

Be okay with writing nothing at all for a little while. You may let the productive momentum from November carry over into other projects you may have. But allow yourself a chance for rest. You’ve earned this much.

Reflection 

Try writing something else by thinking about your overall experience. Write down some thoughts paying attention to what worked well and what challenges you’ve experienced. Note how you would do things differently if you could do NaNoWriMo all over again. 

Regroup 

Focus on crafting a short-term plan to get you writing again and in the right direction for your next goal.

Check your region for a year-round write-in schedule (or propose one be made). Plan to meet up with fellow writers and keep each other motivated to work on your writing at a pace that works well for you. 

As for me, over the next few weeks, I’ll be planning how to hit my writing goals for 2019 which includes finishing and revising my novel draft, as well as pursuing other writing projects. I will resolve to not feel guilty and rush through the three R’s because I know that telling my story will ultimately take as much time as I need it to take. I will also resolve that the time ‘I need it to take’ will be shorter than ‘taking my sweet time to make it happen’ which may fodder for a challenge for another day. NaNoEdMo, perhaps? 

Now is the time to continue on in your creative journey. Go forth and write, or not. Here’s to a guilt-free December.


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Madeline Wright is a freelance writer, product manager, and an avid reader who enjoys tackling creative challenges. With a BS from UCLA, a writing course from UCLA Extension, plus a few other writing classes under her belt she enjoys injecting humor and STEM concepts into her youth fiction oriented novels, whenever possible. She produces A Mad Vox, a podcast that explores the art of tackling ambitious challenges, like NaNoWriMo, and encourages you to try amazing things to make your inner kid proud. Connect with her on @amadvox on Twitter and Instagram, or become her Buddy on NaNoWriMo, where she goes by KwaS.

Photo by Joshua Chun on Unsplash.

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Check out our statistics for NaNoWriMo 2018! Our writers continue to write and achieve great things; in fact, more novelists reached 50,000 words than last year! Writers in our Young Writers Program also continued to crush it, with an overall win rate of over 40%. Read on for more information about this November’s numbers, leaders, and chart-toppers.

NaNoWriMo Breakdown:

  • 287,327 participants (that’s more than the population of Toledo, Ohio)
  • 35,387 winners (that’s nearly 29% of writers who started novels!) 
  • 2,791,454,312 words (that’s more than three times as many words as the average person supposedly speaks in their lifetime)
  • 22,871 words written on average by those who started novels 

YWP Breakdown

  • 64,374 novels started
  • 26,183 winners (that’s almost 41%!) 
  • 11,820 classrooms participated

Website activity

  • 849,540 unique visitors (that many people would fill the University of Michigan Stadium—the largest in the U.S.—almost eight times) 
  • 22,338,654 pageviews 

Top Ten Countries (by visits)

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Top Fifteen Regions (by word count)

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Genre Popularity by Novels Started

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Now that November is over, you may be wondering how best to use your newfound free time. Will you keep writing? Or will you take a well-deserved break? Today, writer and illustrator Juliana Xavier shares her tips on how to relax and renew yourself after NaNoWriMo:

As NaNoWriMo’s 2018 session officially comes to an end, take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back and remember to Treat Yo’ Self—you’ve earned it!

Now that the month and the event are over and done with, what does one do? After all, it’s always bittersweet to be done with something you invested so much time and effort in. Stopping out of the blue can often leave some feeling lost. If that just happens to be you, maybe I can help!

Thinking back on the month, maybe you managed to write 50k in under a week; maybe you discovered writing 50k in a month was harder than you thought. Either way, what comes next might be just as important as what came before.

Here’s my personal plan on what to do next:

1. Do nothing.

Is your brain fried? Can it no longer come up with good words to word good and write… well? That’s cool, and totally normal! That means it’s time for a little something we like to call “self care.” Sometimes the best self care on the planet is enjoying things that take no brain power at all, like laying in bed in your PJs while eating ice cream and watching cartoons.

2. Don’t touch that ‘script.

Allow yourself not to touch your MS until you actually miss working on it. Treat it like you would treat your parents during summer camp or after moving out to go to college. You love them, but having some distance makes missing them more special… plus you’ll have more things to discuss that way (please call your parents, they miss you).

3. Consume junk food and/or entertainment.

That chocolate you were hoarding as a reward for all your hard work? Go for it. It’s good to spend your time reading and watching things that allow you to have fun! Including bad stories. Why not watch that awful C movie your friends keep telling you to watch? Might be fun to figure out a way to rework the plot and make the story work!

4. Make writer friends.

Investing in writing communities completely pays off. Don’t use people! Be kind and make friends. Form your writers’ coven. These are the people who will be there with you, help cheering you on in the same way you’ll cheer them on! Which brings me to…

5. Beta read (and be beta read).

If you’re not one already, consider doing this. Although you might not be quite there yet with your own MS, becoming a beta reader or critique partner often times leads to self improvement, along with the fact you’re helping others! Going through the experience yourself will help you know what you’ll need from your future readers! There are plenty of people out there who need this, but remember! Only offer if you plan to follow through.

And that’s basically it! If you decide or not to follow a similar plan to mine, it’s totally up to you. Just make sure to take care of yourself so you’ll be ready for the next writing event in your life, for you are a true NaNo champion.

Signed,

Your friendly neighborhood Wrimo participant.


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Juliana Xavier is a writer, illustrator and sequential artist. SCAD alumna, all about that kid lit. Brazilian born but partially American grown. Works as a freelance artist and would love to draw your fantasy maps and book covers. Coffee is ok, but Thai bubble tea is the real MVP. Inkstress witch of the Writer Coven. Find her at: website, twitter, patreon. Like my writing? Buy me a ko-fi!  For inquiries, feel free to e-mail at hey@juliejubz.com

Project For Awesome 2018:

Project for Awesome has begun! If you want to help support NaNoWriMo, it’s an easy 5-step process:

1. Be awesome.
2. Click through to the “NaNoWriMo” videos on the Project for Awesome site.
3. Click on each video about NaNoWriMo.
4. Click the “I’m not a robot!” box, then click the big VOTE button on each video.
5. Share this post and encourage your friends to vote, too.

And… that’s it! If you’ve always wanted to support NaNoWriMo but haven’t had the resources to donate, all this will take is 30 seconds of your time and a few clicks of the ol’ mouse. In previous years, the support of P4A (and users like you) has helped NaNoWriMo continue encouraging writers around the world!

NaNoWriMo 2018 may be over, but we’re still thinking about what we’ve learned along the way.

During last week’s Virtual Write-In, we asked NaNo participants about the lessons they’ve learned over the course of November—about writing, community, and themselves—and compiled them into a handy infographic for you. 

What did you learn during NaNoWriMo 2018?

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Another November has come and gone; while some of you are celebrating the completion of 50,000 words, some of you didn’t make it quite as far as you’d have liked. Today, writer Adrianne DeWeese shares some words of encouragement about continuing to write, whether or not you met your word-count goal this year:

November has always been a month of great promise for me. It’s the eve of one of the busiest months of the year, before the calendar page turns for the final time that year. It is a month of thanks, of renewed hope. As one of my all-time favorite bands, Jimmy Eat World, summarized it so eloquently in their 2004 album title track “Futures”: 

I always believed in futures
I hope for better
In November.

I held onto that same sense of promise and optimism this year going into my first-ever NaNoWriMo experience. Unfortunately, a brief bout of seasonal sinus issues found me bedridden during my spare time for two weeks.

It was certainly frustrating, as I was hell-bent on reaching that 1,667 minimum daily word count. I knew I had to take care of myself, though, so I asked myself what the alternatives were: I did what I could to continue chipping away at my bucket-list goal of one day writing a book.

I continued to write by hand. I checked out several amazing books about writing from my local public library: The Thorn Necklace by Francesca Lia Block; and Elizabeth Sims’ You’ve Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams.

I also rewrote the outline to my novel twice (third time’s a charm!), while using the two earlier iterations as the backbone for what I feel is going to make a solid first draft. Most importantly, I was gentle with myself in what I could achieve, even if it were just 200 words on the screen – and I kept my eye on December.  

December also happens to be my birthday, and as a gift to myself for turning 33, I’ve vowed to keep up an unofficial NaNoWriMo effort throughout the month.

Perhaps you, too, need to keep writing in December to reach the “Now What?” months of January and February. Here are two tips I’m going to use for the upcoming 31 days:

#1: Visualize a time in your life when you overcame a challenge.

Writing a book often seems impossible. But you and I both, my dear reader, have been here before. Think of a time in your life where something once seemed out of reach, but you were able to accomplish it anyway.

For me, I think about my competitive running days in high school. I visualize the times when I didn’t think I had the strength or momentum to finish the second mile of the race. Then, I remembered that I already had – many times – when I ran six, seven, eight miles in a row at practices. Writing is no different: Put in the time and the work, and the output will follow.

#2: Figure out where you are “spending” your writing time, and set your intentions.

My writing time is limited to very specific portions of my days, typically two to three hours in the evening. For me, I actually prefer this structure, as I should ideally be able to focus in such a short span and get the work done. However, November often found me wandering over to Twitter for “check-ins” or answering personal emails.

For December, I plan to set a daily intention before my writing begins. Also, if I feel the Internet is going to pose too much of a distraction, I also can opt to shut my laptop altogether for several days a week and write longhand, a practice that Sims recommends in her book. (NaNoWriMo also has a great new video related to battling distractions.)

Above all else, be patient and gentle with yourself if you didn’t hit 50K in November. December – a whole new month, with an extra day! – awaits you. You can – and you will – begin again. Returning to Jimmy Eat World, and the words of “Futures”: My darling, what matters is what hasn’t been.


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Adrianne DeWeese is a nonprofit fundraising professional who writes and reads as much as possible in her spare time. A former newspaper reporter, she earned her Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May 2018. Her first novel, Be For, is a work in progress, exploring themes of self-awareness, the convenience of technology, and what to do once you finally have the answers to life. She enjoys tweeting about writing and reading, the nonprofit community, space, and much more @AdrianneDeWeese.

That’s a wrap on another NaNoWriMo, which means it’s the end of another year’s 30 Covers, 30 Days series! Whether you wrote fifty words or fifty thousand, you got your stories onto the page! So pat yourself on the back. I’ll wait here.

Excellent! I want to talk a little bit about this project; as this was my second year coordinating the series, I got to read all of your nearly three thousand synopses, and every one of them brought something unique to the table. I’m seriously blown away by how amazing your novels – and the covers they inspired – have turned out to be.

Before I get to the fast facts about this year’s series, I need to extend a few words of thanks.

First, immense thanks as always to the amazing Debbie Millman, for facilitating this project every year, gathering all these fantastic designers in one place, and for designing a cover herself! Thanks for all your help getting this project off the ground, and answering all my questions along the way.

This wouldn’t be possible without all the designers who volunteered to make covers this year (and in years past). You made some stunning covers, on a short deadline, for free, frequently ahead of schedule, and with enthusiasm every day. Thanks for your patience and quick responses to all of my emails, and for making covers that thirty authors will cherish, and that amazed, thrilled, puzzled, and inspired writers on the blog, forums, and beyond all month long.

If you received a cover, or just felt inspired by one, please take a moment to let these designers know how cool they are; the complete list of designers, including links to their websites and social media, is available at the end of the post.

If you want to leave some feedback, there’s a form available! This helps us tweak and tune up the project each year.

Finally, thank you to all of you who took on the challenge, submitted synopses throughout October and November, and for keeping up with the blog and forum posts every day.

As with every year, of course, November only has thirty short days – and with them, only thirty lucky writers selected for each edition of the project via our proprietary, time-bending, squirrel-powered synopsis algorithm.

This year, we had winners from all around the world, including from Iceland, Nigeria, and Peru. And, as novels from Young Writers made up about a quarter of submissions, there were set to be seven YWP covers. Alas, a couple of them fell through a hole in time and space and there ended up being only five; next year will have the complete set. There was also a wide range of genres represented:

We also used the keywords and tags from thousands of submissions to create a word tree!

Please give another round of applause to the designers who contributed their time and effort to this awesome project!

It’s been a blast helping coordinate 30 Covers, 30 Days once more. I’m looking forward to seeing next year’s covers!

-Nick Fierro, Editorial & Programs Intern

Every November, during National Novel Writing Month, thirty professional designers volunteer to create book cover art inspired by novels being written by aspiring authors from around the globe. Why? To encourage new, diverse voices, and help build a more creative world.  

30 Covers, 30 Days is presented in partnership with designer and author Debbie Millman. Read more about these NaNoWriMo 2018 novels-in-progress, and the cover designers, below.

The Sorcerer’s Maid

A Fantasy novel being written this November by NaNo participant N.A. Davenport in the United States.

Melody Brooks is a poor college student who takes a job as housekeeper. But the eccentric old man she works for believes that he is a medieval sorcerer. She struggles working in an old house without electricity, cooking over a fire, and avoiding the mischief from his pet raven. Then things change when the old man believes his mortal enemy is closing in, an enemy who doesn’t care how many he kills to draw out the old sorcerer. Melody starts to think that things aren’t quite as they seem.

That’s it for the month! Keep an eye out for our Wrap-Up post, coming tomorrow!

I want to mention there is a Feedback Form open now that will allow you to send in your valuable comments, concerns, suggestions, and more about the 30 Covers, 30 Days program.

Cover Designed by Jina Anne

Jina is a consultant, community builder, and advocate focused on design systems. She organizes Clarity, the first Design Systems conference. She co-authored the Design Systems Handbook, Fancy Form Design, and The Art & Science of CSS. She has been said to be one of the most cheerful goths. You can follow her online @jina. 

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Every November, during National Novel Writing Month, thirty professional designers volunteer to create book cover art inspired by novels being written by aspiring authors from around the globe. Why? To encourage new, diverse voices, and help build a more creative world.  

30 Covers, 30 Days is presented in partnership with designer and author Debbie Millman. Read more about these NaNoWriMo 2018 novels-in-progress, and the cover designers, below.

Bianca: It’s Complicated!

A Women’s Fiction novel being written this November by NaNo participant Erryn “Writer_Dye” Howard in the United States.

Bianca is ushering in her 30th birthday alone, at a bar, with her favorite drink, a purple margarita. For many, turning 30 is a rite of passage into the true, real world of adulthood but for Bianca, it is quite the opposite. Age 30 is a solemn reminder of all the plans in life she made but never fulfilled, a visual reminder of her “Things To Do By 30” checklist that hasn’t accrued many checks yet. When it comes to following her innate passion in life, understanding who she is as a woman (even if it doesn’t adhere to societal norms), and of course, finding a prince among paupers…let’s just say “It’s Complicated!”

“Bianca, It’s Complicated!” is a novel that follows one young woman’s journey into  the next phase of womanhood, but not before revisiting all the milestones and pitfalls that has brought her to where she is today. Will she be able to face her past and embrace her flaws in order to claim her crown?

Cover designer Adriane Stark shared these sketches and notes about the design process:

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I was honored to take part in the NaNoWriMo program. The provocative title drew me to select this novel. Typically I work on covers with a completed manuscript, so having only a synopsis was challenging. A cover can’t tell the whole story, obviously, but it needs to convey enough visual clues to grab your attention and want more. When starting a cover I always ask myself a lot questions from the mindset of the reader. I thought a lot about “who is this woman”? The synopsis mentions her sitting alone at a bar on her 30th birthday with a purple margarita, but that would have been too obvious a direction. She’s 30, not 90, far too young to feel her life is over. A purple martini in a glass or a bar scene would have been way too easy and simple a design solution. I wanted an image that hit the right note without looking too forlorn. This image is engaging and conveys that things aren’t quite right but not hopeless with a touch of humor.

The title which drew me to this book initially turned out to be COMPLICATED to work with. What does it mean? Is life complicated or is Bianca or both? That colon! In earlier layouts I had the title on one line but it began to read as “Bianca is Complicated”, possibly too confusing. I also felt it was important to establish the main character. By breaking up the title and giving each element its own importance, the title became stronger and more balanced visually, a great quick read. This type solution appears as a note of kindness and love from a friend, advice and support through life’s ups and downs, something we can all relate to.

Stay tuned for new covers every day of the month!

I want to mention there is a Feedback Form open now that will allow you to send in your valuable comments, concerns, suggestions, and more about the 30 Covers, 30 Days program.


Cover Designed by Adriane Stark

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Adriane Stark is the founder of StarkWork. As
Creative Director, she creates strategic design communications for a broad
spectrum of global publishing, service, financial, entertainment and
retail corporations. Her work has been nationally recognized in various
areas of the field by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Art
Director’s Club, Graphis, The Society of Publication Designers, and The Type
Directors Club. StarkWork is honored to have its work selected for the
permanent collection of The Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Adriane is a
graduate of Parsons School of Design and attended the Columbia University
Masters program in Strategic Communications. She is a former instructor at the
School of Visual Arts in New York City. Connect with StarkWork online at
Instagram @StarkWork, StarkWork.com and on
StarkWork’s Facebook page. You can also follow the #StarkWork and #AdrianeStark hashtags.

Every November, during National Novel Writing Month, thirty professional designers volunteer to create book cover art inspired by novels being written by aspiring authors from around the globe. Why? To encourage new, diverse voices, and help build a more creative world.  

30 Covers, 30 Days is presented in partnership with designer and author Debbie Millman. Read more about these NaNoWriMo 2018 novels-in-progress, and the cover designers, below.

The Author

An Experimental novel being written this November by NaNo participant Icea Ophan in the United States.

Faoiltiama: she is different, she is aware. She is part of some undefined larger part of this world. There is so much in her head, so much that spills out of her in music, words, drawings, and ideas. She has become lost, unable to find herself, drowning not in her own ideas, but in the harshness of the world. So she escapes into the woods behind her house. Women of wolves, she finds her way. She is determined to be the author of her own story, though poems, classical music composition and art she becomes Faoiltiama. Her story told through poems and viewed from a distant and all-knowing vantage point.

“Dappled sunlight streams down from trees up high;
Snowflakes adorn: stem and leaf and petal;
Birds sing with joy then, on feathered wings: fly;
Minute haven now found, my mind settles.
Snow melts, cascading: icy flow below;
Crisp air, timid breeze: the sky seems to breathe;
Sunlit snow pools ‘neath a weeping willow;
Fragile flowers encased in icy sheathes.
Inspiration surrounds, my mind abound;
Now in my head: music, notes unconfined;
Nature: simple influence, so profound;
Sound caught, everlasting now: I rewind.
I’m the budding leaves: rustling in the breeze;
I’m the melted snow: crashing to the seas.”

Stay tuned for new covers every day of the month!

I want to mention there is a Feedback Form open now that will allow you to send in your valuable comments, concerns, suggestions, and more about the 30 Covers, 30 Days program.


Cover Designed by Ksenya Samarskaya

Ksenya Samarskaya is a strategist and creative practitioner, fascinated with the nuances inherent in our visual and literary culture. Samarskaya has served on the board of AIGA/NY, and judged design competitions including Communication Arts, TISDC, TDC, and the SoTA Catalyst Award. She currently splits her time between Brooklyn, NY and Barcelona, Spain where she teaches at Harbour.Space University. Follow her on Twitter, Medium, and Instagram at @samarskaya and at samarskaya.com.