Monday, December 4, 2017

Trying New Things

Part of being an author is trying new things. Sometimes that’s exciting and sometimes not. There’s a big part of me that would just like to hole up in a cozy chair next to the fire, tune out the world and write. But, that would mean completely ignoring the outside world. And there are people in the outside world, and those people are readers. So, we try new things.
I actually tried two new things (yay me). The first was NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, you sign up with whoever actually runs this and commit to writing 50,000 words. That translates to 1,667 words per day, in case you’re interested. You keep track of your word totals, can interact with other writers who are doing the same thing, and at the end, if you make the word count, you can win a variety of prizes.
I’m not sure who decided November was the best month to do this—sorry, Mom, I can’t come over for Thanksgiving dinner until I get in my word count!—but they did. I’ve never participated before because November tends to be busy. But I’ve been really bad with my concentration lately and I decided to give it a try. If you give me a daily deadline, I will meet it! So I wrote and wrote and wrote. And I made it with one day to spare. I didn’t actually start a new novel, but added those words to one I was already writing, which means I finished it on November 29.
Here are some things I learned about NaNoWriMo. The discipline of having to write approximately 1,700 words a day was great. Again, I am too afraid of the consequences—even the made-up ones—to ever miss a deadline, so I wrote like a demon. But the words I wrote? Ugh. They will require a lot of editing. And because I was only supposed to write and not edit meant my typical writing process—write to page 100, go back and edit, write to page 200, go back and edit, write to the end, go back and edit—wasn’t possible. The result? I have a finished manuscript, but I have a major character whom I don’t know and right now has no purpose. I can’t delete her because, well, she’s my heroine. So, like I said, I have a lot of serious editing to do.
To be honest, I’m not sure I’d do this again. I think it will depend on where I am in my writing, what my concentration is like and how much of this I forget between now and next November. My writing chapter also hosts a similar thing in February, but you only have to write 30,000 words. That’s much more doable and having done it for several years, it requires a lot less editing. Again, I’ll see where I am at the time, but I hope to participate in that one.
The second new thing I’m trying is an Instagram account for my author persona*. I have a personal one, but I often post photos of my kids on it, and I don’t want to post too much about my books because I don’t want to annoy my friends. Plus, that account is private, which means I have to approve everyone who wants to follow me and I really don’t want strangers following me—again, I post photos of my kids.
But according to my publisher’s marketing department, the most useful social media tool is Instagram. So, I created one where I just post about my books, my writing life and things having to do with being an author or a reader. I use lots of hashtags so people with interests in those things can find and hopefully follow me. The account is public so anyone can follow it (although I still block the creepy men who are looking for dates—eww).
I’m curious to see what will happen and whether or not it has any affect on my sales. My goal is to post a photo a day and hopefully grow a following of interested readers. We’ll see!

*If you're interested in following me, you can do so here:

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