November Progress 2020 | Unexpected NaNoWriMo SUCCESS and a Finished Duology

Happy almost-December, friends!

November has been BUSY! I have owned NaNoWriMo, I have published a book, and I feel like plenty of other things must have happened, too, because I’m tired. NaNo always takes it out of me, but I can’t imagine not doing it.

Here are the specifics:

NaNoWriMo

I’m 4k away from winning, and honestly? I can’t believe I’m going to make it! I was so sure I had no chance of reaching 50k this month since I had to juggle NaNo around working at the library, but I did it.

(Or nearly, anyway)

And I couldn’t be prouder of myself <3

Most of those 50,000 words have gone into Blood Song. There’ve been a few developments I did not see coming, so it’s been an exciting discovery journey.

Some of these words went into two separate short stories, one I wrote just because and one I wrote for the collection that will one day accompany the Darkened Light duology.

So, all in all, November was a massive success *high five* I had to set some other things aside (like regular blogging – the podcast transcripts are also available via Buzzsprout and I only read one book this month, so my mini review would have been somewhat bare), and while I don’t want to make excuses, here’s an explanation if you’d care for it:

I have extreme tunnel vision during NaNo *shrugs*

Brightened Shadows

I HAVE FINISHED MY DUOLOGY

*applauds self*

I’m still waiting on the paperback proof (I’ve had one but it wasn’t right), but it’s nearly there *knocks on wood* *throws salt over shoulder* *crosses fingers*

Despite that delay, the launch was my most successful one to date. Thank you so much to everyone who pre-ordered and bought on the day! Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come in the duology’s future.

These few points may not look like much, but I’m knackered. I’m planning on finishing NaNo either today or tomorrow, and then I’m hoping to sleep the rest of the weekend.

Until next time <3


Sign up for my mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and the exclusive freebies Shadow in Ar’Sanciond (the Relics of Ar’Zac prequel novella) and Pashros Kai Zo (a Relics of Ar’Zac short story, which isn’t available anywhere else).

Take me to the Welcome page.

Happy release day, Brightened Shadows!

My youngest is out in the world!

*throws confetti*

Today is the day: Brightened Shadows is out, and I couldn’t be happier <3 It’s had the largest number of pre-orders out of all my books, which bodes well for its future.

The price is in the process of going up to $2.99, but if you’re quick, you might be able to still get it for 99p 😉

Just like Darkened LightBrightened Shadows will also be available on Kindle Unlimited. Unfortunately, there’s been a delay with the paperback, but such is life. 

Thank you SO MUCH if you were amongst those who pre-ordered. Seeing the numbers go up higher than my previous books has made my month <3 And if you didn’t pre-order but would like to support me on release day:

Buy Brightened Shadows

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go eat my weight in chocolate and gingerbread 😉


Sign up for my mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and the exclusive freebies Shadow in Ar’Sanciond (the Relics of Ar’Zac prequel novella) and Pashros Kai Zo (a Relics of Ar’Zac short story, which isn’t available anywhere else).

Take me to the Welcome page.

The Writing Sparrow Episode 10: How to Fit Your WIP Around Your Everyday Routine with R.S. Williams

Listen to the Episode:

Transcript:

Sarina Langer  00:08

Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started!

Sarina Langer  00:28

Hello, and welcome back, friends and Sparrows. It’s the ninth of November 2020, and this is Episode 10. Somebody get me some tinsel or whatever. It’s 10. It’s a big number. And today I’ve got author R.S. Williams with me, Rhianne, and, uhm, we will have a chat about how she is incredibly productive all the time working on all the projects while also working full time. I have no idea how she does it. Hi, Rhi!

R.S. Williams  00:57

Hi, how are you?

Sarina Langer  00:59

Yeah, tired, but also a little bit bouncing off the walls because I’ve had a lot of caffeine today.

R.S. Williams  01:05

Well, that was a very, very generous introduction you did for me then, because, you know, I’m sure I’m about to burst quite a few people’s bubbles.

Sarina Langer  01:14

Well, all I know is that I’m forever in awe of how much you get done, because every time we talk, you have another idea for yet another project. And I’m here struggling with two. So to me, that’s incredibly impressive. Let’s talk about how you juggle that, because you’ve also got a full time job at the same time.

R.S. Williams  01:34

Yeah, yes. So I work full time, Monday to Friday. And if I go to the office, I’m out of my house from half past seven in the morning, and I don’t get home till six o’clock at night.

Sarina Langer  01:43

Oh god, I’m tired. Just hearing that. I sound really spoiled that way. I mean, I work pretty much full time as well, but I think when you just hear the numbers, I mean, that’s nearly 12 hours a day that you’re out. And you still get so many projects done at the same time. It’s not just the writing for you either, because you’ve also got your blog and your website for writers. And you’ve now also just started a Patreon page, I think you’ve also got a Facebook page running. So it just completely baffles me how you get so much done while also working full time. It’s very impressive. And then the one problem or concern that many new writers have is how to fit writing a book around everything else that they need to do like working and keeping a family alive.

R.S. Williams  02:31

Yeah.

Sarina Langer  02:32

So, how do you schedule your week? How do you balance everything?

R.S. Williams  02:36

Um, well, it took me a really long time to figure out what worked for me. So I started writing back in 2015. So it’s taken me quite a long time to get into the routine that I’m in now. I when I was single–I’m currently married…

Sarina Langer  02:57

Congratulations again. I know it was last year, but congratulations.

R.S. Williams  03:01

Thank you. So yeah, when I was single, it was a lot easier because all of my time was my own. I only ever had to worry about being at work. And then when I was at home, I could do whatever I wanted. Whereas now I have to think of work, exercise, seeing my friends, spending time with my husband, seeing my parents because I no longer live with them. And it’s just, when I started, I was like, this is so overwhelming, I genuinely don’t know what to do with myself. And then I went from being an evening writer to being a morning writer, because my husband told me I was spending too much time on my laptop.

Sarina Langer  03:42

Oh, yeah, I know. I know how that goes.

R.S. Williams  03:45

Yeah. So I decided fine. I’m a morning person anyway, I’ll just get up a little bit earlier. And I’ll write while he’s in bed. So that is how my new routine started. And basically what I do is I use Google Calendar and I block out all of my time. So I broke out my commutes, the time I’m at work, the time I sleep. And then whatever’s left I fit in as much as I can.

Sarina Langer  04:12

I am so jealous of you being a morning person because I get up and I am completely useless until I get some tea in me. I just kind of drag myself through the house like a zombie and then I kind of drag myself now to work a bit like a zombie as well, though the fresh air helps. But the idea of getting up and starting to write immediately. I don’t… I do not understand how you do that.

R.S. Williams  04:36

I don’t spring out of bed and go on my computer and write a bajillion words instantly. I…

Sarina Langer  04:43

That’s a big relief to me.

R.S. Williams  04:45

Ya, no, so my alarm goes off at 10 to 5, and I spend 10 minutes mooching around on my phone, checking all my emails and stuff like that, and then my alarm will go off again at five o’clock in the morning. I have a lot of alarms. Then I come into my office and I do a bit of journaling, feed the cats, get my lunch ready for work, then I come back upstairs. And from about quarter to six I write.

Sarina Langer  05:13

I’m just concerned that you’re not getting enough sleep. Are you getting enough sleep?

R.S. Williams  05:18

Yes, good. So, I, over the years, I know that my ideal time for sleep is about seven hours. So by me getting up at 10 to 5, I can go to bed at 10 to 10 and still have seven hours.

Sarina Langer  05:36

Very good. See, I like how organised you are, cause I think our listeners have now realised you have got an incredible amount of work that you get through. But because you’re so organised, that’s fine and you do actually managed to get it done. And I know that on Instagram, you also share every day how much or how many words you’ve written, which is really inspiring to see.

R.S. Williams  06:01

Thank you. Yeah, I mean, I also keep a spreadsheet set. Because in my first few years of writing, I used to tell myself, or I used to have a self limiting belief that I wasn’t ever doing enough.

Sarina Langer  06:15

I get that.

R.S. Williams  06:16

Yeah. And then last year, I was like, let’s actually see how many words I do write in a 12 month period. So from January 1st to December 31st 2019, I wrote down how many words I wrote every single day. And there were 97 days last year where I didn’t write a single word. My lowest word count last year was 24 words.

Sarina Langer  06:40

But you’ve still written that day, so that’s still progress.

R.S. Williams  06:42

Yeah, and then my highest word count was, I think it was something like 1100. And throughout the course of 12 months, I still wrote over 160,000 words.

Sarina Langer  06:51

That’s incredible. And did I just see that right on Instagram this morning, that you’ve just written 3000 words in one session?

R.S. Williams  07:00

Yes, but it’s also kind of cheating, because I’m rewriting. So…

Sarina Langer  07:04

No no no, that counts, that counts. That’s a very, that’s still a good session. It’s still words that end up in your book at the end, don’t they? And, and I mean, you could easily also have cut those words. So either way, it’s words that you had to reconsider, do some editing on and still include in the book, so that’s a very good session still.

R.S. Williams  07:22

Yeah, yeah. So my best session this week was Tuesday, where I wrote 4002.

Sarina Langer  07:27

Ooh! I don’t know how the clapping is going to translate in the transcripts, but I just clapped, and everybody else should applaud you as well for that, because that’s amazing. Well done. So how many projects do you have on the go right now? Everybody, prepare yourseves, this is going to be a big number.

R.S. Williams  07:45

Define what you mean by on the go.

Sarina Langer  07:49

Okay, we have to define it a bit more, do we? Okay, how many works in progress are you currently writing? Not editing or rewriting, just writing? How many are in the first draft?

R.S. Williams  08:00

Zero.

Sarina Langer  08:00

Okay, let me try that again then. How many are you editing?

R.S. Williams  08:06

Uuh, five?

Sarina Langer  08:08

Oh, see, that’s, that’s quite a lot. I’m rewriting one book right now. And I’ve kind of had to bench another one for the moment because NaNo is about to happen. Or actually, as this episode goes out, NaNo has already started. And I thought I should probably first focus on that series. So if I don’t count the book that I’m hopefully publishing in November, I’ve got, I’ve got two, maybe three, which two are just kind of sitting on the side. So really, I’ve got one.

R.S. Williams  08:38

So I’m, I’m rewriting Kingdom of Lies, then I’m, I’ve got to do afterwards. So they’re just kind of sitting in the pool at the moment waiting for me to start books two and three. The novella’s with an editor. And then I’ve just finished the first draft of the standalone that I was writing this year. So that’s also waiting to be edited.

Sarina Langer  09:00

Well, I’m still incredibly impressed. And I think at one point, I remember, um, you were posting how on your lunch breaks at work, how you were editing then, or writing then?

R.S. Williams  09:12

Yes. So I haven’t done that in a while, but I end it on my lunch breaks at work when I do my first revisions, because what I basically do I find it easier to edit the first draft if I print it out. I’ll have a hard copy. And then I’ll just take that with me to work and then on my lunch breaks, I’ll read through it in red pen all the changes that I need to make.

Sarina Langer  09:33

Well actually, I think my first drafts are probably way too messy. Well, depending on the book, some are obviously going to be easier than others. But I think if I just took a red pen to the first draft, that would be a really big mess.

R.S. Williams  09:49

Well, I do a lot of extensive outlining. So my outlines for my books, like, so I’ve got, I’ve just outlined three novellas, and each outline is about 3000 words.

Sarina Langer  10:04

Yes, so you’re a plotter like me, I like to outline as well. But I always like to leave myself some wiggle room, so if something does happen, and as we all know, suddenly, there’s a side character who says, actually, I’m going to be your main character now. So that, you know, that’s always going to need some level of rejiggelling. I’m really good with the words today. Didn’t I tell you I had a lot of caffeine? Oh, I hope this is gonna make sense later.

R.S. Williams  10:34

But I know what you mean, though. So even though I have an extensive outline, I tend to use that as posts that I need to get to. But how they get in between those posts is completely up to the characters.

Sarina Langer  10:46

Yeah, I think to be honest, I think that’s how it should be. Because I always, I think I’ve said this to you actually a few times as well, that if you’re stuck, what can really help you get unstuck is to just maybe sit back and not think about what you think should happen, but to ask your character how they would react to the situation that they’re in. But I think we can probably do another podcast episode on how to develop your character and how to save your plot that way.

R.S. Williams  11:11

Yep!

Sarina Langer  11:12

For now, let’s talk about how amazingly organised you are, and how you set everything around the day job. So obviously, you’ve just said that you’re a morning person, so that’s when you write. Would you say that, like, do you, do you always do it that way, like even at the weekends, or do you take at least that off?

R.S. Williams  11:32

Erm, so, I only write Monday to Friday. And I only have about an hour, an hour and 15 minutes that I push to write on those mornings. And then, depending on how I feel, some Saturday mornings, I will write, but again, it depends on how I feel. So most of the time, I don’t, I take weekends off writing. And my husband works every other Saturday. So every other Saturday I get from whenever I wake up in the morning, until one o’clock in the afternoon to do whatever I want. Which can be really helpful when you have edits and outlines and all the other things to do. So every other Saturday, I tend to schedule in some form of book work. And then I do two evenings a week.

Sarina Langer  12:23

That’s really helpful, I think. I was gonna ask you something, and it’s gone. Don’t you just hate that. So when you write at the weekends, do you feel like that’s just as easy for you? Because every now and again, my partner, he has to go out and work at the weekends. And every time he tells me that this is going to happen, I think, great, I’m going to have some time to do some extra writing, to get in some more words. And then the weekend arrives. And I feel like I’m in a completely different mood at the weekends. And then suddenly, now writing happens, because I think because I’ve now done this for so long that I’ve taken the weekends off, I’ve been quite harsh with myself on that to definitely not do any work, that now I’m just in this mindset that when the weekend comes around, that’s two days that are just for relaxing. So I really struggle then to get into the right mindset for writing.

R.S. Williams  13:13

Yeah, sometimes it can be quite difficult, but other times I just kind of tell myself, as long as you’re doing something towards the book, that’s fine. So whether it be if I’m in an editing phase, I do some editing, if I’ve got a couple of outlines to do, if I write down a couple of scenes, as long as I do something that’s for the book, I tell myself I was productive.

Sarina Langer  13:37

I’m really happy that you just said that actually, because I think many new writers, when they decide, I’m going to write a book, they don’t necessarily realise that there is a lot more to writing a book then literally just writing the book, you know, you also need to become a marketer, you may need… well, you probably… no, you definitely need to do some editing, you may need to design a map for it. And there’s, there’s all these different aspects to it. So you may have a day set aside to work on your book and you may not actually end up doing any writing on that day. But if you’ve still done some kind of world building or character developing or marketing, then all that still counts, all that is still work that you put into your book.

R.S. Williams  14:18

Yeah, I 100% agree with that. Because even though, okay, you haven’t written a couple of words, or 100 words, or however many words you think you should have written, you’ve done a character profile, so you know exactly who that character is, what they like, what they don’t like, what their background was, and how they’re going to fit into your story. That is productive, and that has put you one step further than you were before.

Sarina Langer  14:41

Absolutely. And I think your characters especially, if you know exactly who they are and if you know them like they’re real people, then that is going to save you so many headaches later on.

R.S. Williams  14:52

Yeah.

Sarina Langer  14:54

Oh, my goodness, I shouldn’t have had all this caffeine today. I keep forgetting all the things I was going to ask you. So, let that be a lesson to everyone else.

Sarina Langer  15:03

Do you think that when you’re at work, do you feel like there are things that you can get done there just fine, so you end up reserving them, so that when you are working from home, there are then other things that you can focus on. So I’m back at the day job now, I work in the library, and I have… I need to be really careful, I think, with how I balance my time, because if I’m not, I’m not going to get anything at all done. And then I end up stressed, and that doesn’t help the book at all. So I’m now learning slowly what I can easily do at home, but also what I can reserve for when I’m in the library so that I can maybe get some of those things done there. And then when I’m working from home, that’s one or maybe two fewer things to worry about. So I can then concentrate more on writing. Do you find you do the same thing?

R.S. Williams  15:50

In a similar way, yes. Unfortunately, my day job is far too busy for me to actually ever get writing done, but I do always keep an email open ready to send to myself, because 9 times out of 10, I will always get some form of idea. So I just shove it in an email, send it to myself, and then one, I won’t forget it, and two, I feel like if I was writing an email to a customer that would take up that much time anyway. And as long as I’m not taking hours away from the day job, which I know some people who are in other companies have done. I feel like that that’s the best way for me. Because otherwise, I tend to come home with like 17 scrap bits of paper and I don’t know what they’re for.

Sarina Langer  16:41

Ah, goodness, I’ve tried that once, I think, when I first outlined my Blood Wisp trilogy, right back when I still thought I would have three novellas for it. I had, I think, I was sitting, well, just at work at the weekend, I didn’t have a notebook with me, and I just wrote down all these little outlines on just little pieces of paper. And it was quite annoying afterwards to make sense of those and just put them back in order because it all got shuffled in my bag even though I had them in a notebook. So that was annoying. But I always carry a notebook with me normally, and I also have an app now on my phone that I can use basically as a notebook just in case I haven’t got a physical one with me. So basically, I will always have some kind of notebook with me.

R.S. Williams  17:26

Yeah, I mean, there have been times where it’s been quiet at my day job where I’m like, hmm, maybe I could try and do something. I tend to do a lot of outlines at my day job because again, it’s shorter, it’s quicker to write down, and it’s just quick and easy to try and… hide’s probably not the best way to describe it, but obviously hide it from the fact I’m not actually doing any work.

Sarina Langer  17:52

I think that’s an important thing to consider, isn’t it, that it’s well and good you thinking that you might have time to do some work for your book at the day job, but maybe make sure first that your boss doesn’t mind. Because you really don’t want to get fired over that before you can afford it.

R.S. Williams  18:07

Yeah, exactly.

Sarina Langer  18:08

So do make sure. I’m really lucky to work with, with people who are very supportive of what I do. And some of them have read my books, and some of them have even been beta readers in the past. So I’ve been really lucky with that. But obviously not every boss is going to be that understanding of it. So before you jump in, don’t make any assumptions. Maybe just see if they mind that if it is quiet enough, maybe see if they would mind you getting some work for your book done. And you know, bear in mind, it doesn’t have to be writing or editing, maybe you need to do some world building, or maybe you need to do some kind of research. And maybe that’s more okay than actually trying to write 1000 words.

Sarina Langer  18:51

So, um, what I would like from you, because, again, I’m forever in awe of how productive you are and how much you get done, is two kinds of tips for our listeners. So the first: do you have any tips for fitting writing your book around also working full time?

R.S. Williams  19:11

Tracking. Track your days. So when I decided that I wanted to change my routine and make it more productive for myself, I downloaded an app called Toggl. And basically you just turn it on when you start doing something and you turn it off when you finish and it tells you how long it took you to do it. So I used to do it for everything. So I did it when I went in the shower, when I drove to work, while I was at work, how long my lunch break was. I did that for about a week. And then you can kind of see how much time you’re spending on doing other things and where your free time is. And then the other thing I would say is time-block, because even if… I know it sounds really silly, but if you’ve blocked out half an hour to go and wash your hair, that means that’s half an hour that you don’t have to write and then, then you might find that, okay, well, if I move washing my hair to five o’clock, that means I’ve got an hour before I cook dinner at seven where I could get some writing in.

Sarina Langer  20:08

I think that’s a really good plan, because I think quite often you just don’t realise how much time you actually have until you really take such a close look at it. So it may feel a little bit obsessive at first, but actually, once you do it, you realise, you know, maybe you’ve had half an hour there, or maybe you’ve got an hour there where you would maybe just be watching TV or maybe just scroll through your phone. So all that is potentially really good writing time.

R.S. Williams  20:34

Yeah. When I, when I did it… So I recently rejigged my routine the other week. And when I had finished putting in all my, like, I call them non-negotiables–so sleep, the day job, the commute, and exercise for me, those, those four are non negotiables–and when I put those all in, I was like, crap, I actually have like four hours a day where I could, where I have nothing scheduled in.

Sarina Langer  21:00

Four hours! That’s amazing. And you wouldn’t have known that if you hadn’t really taken a close look at how much time you spend doing various things. I think it’s really easy, as I’ve just said, to just assume that you haven’t got any time because you’re already working full time. And obviously, you also need to eat and sleep at some point, so I think it’s quite easy to jump to the conclusion that you haven’t got any time to do anything else. But actually, if you take a close look at it, like you’ve done, maybe you actually have four hours free. Think of how much writing you could do in that time. And it doesn’t even have to be for all those four hours, you know, maybe just half an hour, you could end up maybe with 500 words. Think how soon you might be able to get your book done if you set that aside just three days a week.

R.S. Williams  21:48

Yeah, it does amount to quite a bit. And then I also realised that I tend to have my Sunday evenings, I, I used to do my weekly planning. But I realised that doing it on a Sunday made me less motivated for the week following. So now I plan my week on a Saturday and have a relaxing Sunday. And because I’ve relaxed and I’ve chilled out, and I’ve not done anything, and then I’m super productive on a Monday.

Sarina Langer  22:17

See, that’s why I’m not trying not to do the laundry at the weekend. It’s just more work, isn’t it! It’s such a grown up problem to have. That’s how you know I’m no longer a teenager, I’m 30 now. That’s definitely what I try to do as well. I’m really strict with myself of always taking the weekends off, I’m even turning off my social media notifications now. Because then that way, when I come back to it on Monday, I’m really motivated to come back to it. And I don’t feel as burned out as I did before when I also still used social media all throughout the weekend, because I’ve had that break. It’s really relaxing.

R.S. Williams  22:54

Yeah.

Sarina Langer  22:56

And my other question for you, the other tip that I would like to ask from you is a general productivity tip. What would you advise people to do if they don’t feel like they have that, like they’re being very productive or they don’t know how to be more productive.

R.S. Williams  23:12

So I was in a writing group the other week, and a couple of people were saying, oh, I really don’t feel like writing, I’m in a bit of a slump, I don’t know what to do. And I was like, just write one word. Just write one word, because it’s one word that you wouldn’t have had yesterday. And they were like, I never thought of it that way before. And when they wrote one word, they tended to write more words, because they would write a whole sentence, and a whole sentence is better than nothing.

Sarina Langer  23:40

And you don’t need much time at all to just write one word. I mean, you could technically… I think I knew someone once who wrote his entire book on his phone.

R.S. Williams  23:49

Wow.

Sarina Langer  23:50

And that to me just completely blows my mind, because my autocorrect is absolutely terrible. So my phone drives me insane just writing a normal text message. So to write my entire book on there, to me, is just so inconceivable. But if you think of it, as you said, to just write one word, if you feel like you haven’t got any time at all to write, just the one word, and then chances are that because you started with that, you’ll probably finish the sentence, and then maybe by the time you finish the sentence, you’ll feel then more likely to maybe do a whole paragraph, and then suddenly, maybe you’ve got 50 words. And you didn’t even think that you could to one. That’s amazing. Well done.

R.S. Williams  24:30

Yeah. And then I also, erm, after I said that she was, this girl was like, oh, yeah, no, that’s a really good idea, I’ll try that. And then she came back and said, Well, what happens if once I’ve written that one word, I don’t feel like writing anymore? So don’t force it. Because the more you try and force it, the more you’ll get blocked.

Sarina Langer  24:47

Yeah. And I think that’s especially hard to do right at the beginning before you got into the habit of writing all the time. Or at least maybe five, you know, five days a week or whatever your routine is going to be. It’s your routine, do whatever works for you. But as, you know, as with any habit, it’s always hardest at the beginning. So if you’re sitting down, maybe for the first time to start writing and it’s a bit difficult, don’t worry about that being a problem forever. Because once you get used to it, your brain is going to get into that habit of right, I sit down to write, therefore I’m going to get this done now.

R.S. Williams  25:22

Yeah, and I’ve changed the way, as I said, I changed my routine up a little bit. So while I now have an office in my house, and I find that when I sit down to work at my computer  in my office, I’m a lot more productive than I am if I sit with my laptop in front of the telly.

Sarina Langer  25:41

Yeah, definitely. No, I’ve tried that and it just doesn’t work for me. But I get distracted incredibly easily. I mean, I can’t even have music on when I write. If I do, it needs to be instrumental. Anything with words and I can no longer focus on writing anything myself. I’m terrible.

R.S. Williams  25:59

Yeah, I’ve recently got into like, instrumental music as well. So movie and game scores, and a bit of Lindsey Stirling. Loving that at the moment.

Sarina Langer  26:09

While they’ve… Things like game music, they’ve been written specifically to help you focus. So if you struggle to, if you struggle to get the words down, maybe consider something like that, you know, some, some video game scores or movie scores, because they have literally been written to help you focus on something.

R.S. Williams  26:29

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Sarina Langer  26:30

So they might just help you write a book as well. I’ve actually got a playlist specifically for writing, and it’s all just various music from my favourite games, like Morrowing and Elder Scrolls Online and the Witcher and Dragon Age. It’s the best playlist, and it’s all instrumental. So I also get into really epic mood while I write because the music is really epic. But I just know that if there was even just humming in there, my brain would go, what’s that, do you want me to pay attention to this? It really, there can’t be any form of voice in there.

Sarina Langer  27:06

All right, so to sum up, your tips are generally for productivity, to just start writing and see how it goes and general for writing while also trying to work full time. See if you can maybe put a schedule together, see how long it takes you to do various things like showering or going to work, and figure out from there how much time you actually have available. It might surprise you.

R.S. Williams  27:33

Yes, exactly.

Sarina Langer  27:35

Okay, well, thank you so much for stopping by, Rhi. It was really nice to talk to you again.

R.S. Williams  27:40

Thank you for having me. I’m honest, honestly, I’m honoured to have been part of this.

Sarina Langer  27:44

Oh, no, please. My podcast is too small to be an honour for anyone, but thank you very much. Really nice chatting to you. And I hope that this has helped some of you maybe see that actually, you have more time to write than you thought and hopefully you might actually get some words down and not feel quite so overwhelmed with how busy your schedule looks. All right, thank you very much. Bye, Rhi!

R.S. Williams  28:07

Bye!

Sarina Langer  28:08

If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learn something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sarina_langer, on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, and of course on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time! Bye!


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November Goals 2020 | NaNoWriMo and Publishing BRIGHTENED SHADOWS

It’s the most wonderful tiiiime of the–

What? No, I know it’s not Christmas. I’m talking about NaNoWriMo, obviously! :p

(Honestly, though, I really am that excited <3)

To no one’s surprise, my main goal this month is:

NaNoWriMo

Yes, even ahead of publishing Brightened Shadows XD I know my priorities 😛

I was torn between projects, but then the first of November came, I sat down to write at midnight to kick NaNo off right (might just make that a new tradition, assuming I don’t need to get up early the day after), and didn’t think about which WIP to pick up, I just continued with Blood Song.

And I’m having a lot of fun with it ^-^

I was a bit worried about writing 1,669 words between 7am and 7.40am, but it’s worked well so far. I’ve only done one day of it, mind you, but I think I can keep this up on the days I need to go into work. So far, I’m a tiny bit ahead *knocks on wood*

Brightened Shadows

I *think* I’m all set. The pre-order is live. My formatter is nearly done with the paperback and ebook files.

I’m just waiting for the amended spine for the paperback, so that might be a little later, but everything else is ready to go! *throws confetti*

I’d count down the days until the 20th, but really I’m too busy with NaNo XD

What are your goals for November? Are you taking part in NaNo this year? Leave a comment and let’s chat <3


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The Writing Sparrow Episode 9: Critique Partner and Beta Reader 101

Listen to the Episode:

Transcript:

Sarina Langer  00:08

Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started!

Sarina Langer  00:28

Hello again friends and Sparrows and welcome back. It’s November the 2nd, and this is episode nine. Today, I want to tell you about two of the most helpful groups of people you will meet on your author path: critique partners and beta readers.

Sarina Langer  00:46

Now before we begin, as usual, I just want to stress that this is just my process, don’t feel you need to do it exactly like I do. If you want to shuffle things, you shuffle things. It’s your books, so you need to do whatever works for you and your book.

Sarina Langer  01:02

Now, when I wrote my first book, Rise of the Sparrows, I had no idea that critique partners were even a thing, which is probably why I ended up with, I think it was 21 pages of beta feedback, because they had to raise all the points my critique partners would have normally caught early. But I still got my betas at the same time that I do now, so right at the end just before the proofread, so there was a lot of last minute work to get through before I sent it off for its last proofread.

Sarina Langer  01:35

Nowadays, I actually work with critique partners first, before I even send my book to my editor. I have a dedicated group of seven critique partners that… there’s no reason for this number, by the way, it’s just how it worked out, so you don’t feel like that, like there’s a perfect number to have, whatever works for you is great. I can ask them questions and for their help at any time in the process. So for example, when I’m naming a country and I’m not sure if the names sound natural or great, I can ask them for example. If I, if I’m torn between two or more things, I can ask them for their help.

Sarina Langer  02:14

I think the last thing that I asked them for help with actually was, was a name change for a character. I changed the main character’s name for Blood Wisp from Michiko to Yua. But before I did that, I asked them if they thought it was necessary, I talked them through my reasons for wanting to do it in the first place so we could make sure that I wasn’t just overreacting.

Sarina Langer  02:38

And generally, my critique partners are always there to help when I need them and I couldn’t love them more for it. So if you’re listening, thank you so much. I love you so much, genuinely, and my books are so much better off because of you.

Sarina Langer  02:52

You can discuss anything you want with your critique partners. So be that first lines, maybe you got two or three book covers that you can’t choose between, your blurb, or you can even ask them to read your whole book and give you feedback on that. My critique partners are there for everything. I should really buy you guys tea, thank you so much, and cake. Whatever you want, you deserve it.

Sarina Langer  03:16

With beta readers, on the other hand, I kind of see as my last line of defence before I do the final proofread. So by the time I get betas now, my book has already gone through critique partners,  it’s had at least a line edit, maybe a developmental edit, and it’s had normally at least three rounds of my own edits as well. So the book at that point is around the fifth or sixth draft. Sometimes it’s more than that, depending on how easy the book was. Again, you can do this completely differently if you prefer, but I always think that my book should be as close to the finished version bar the proofread as possible before I send it to my betas. As I said, I’m normally only missing the proofread at this stage. And that way, I can make sure that real people, not necessarily other writers but just readers, you know, who read to enjoy a book, can tell me if the book works and if everything hits the way that I want it to. After that, I normally also get advanced readers. But that’s a topic for a whole ‘nother post.

Sarina Langer  04:26

Normally, both groups, critique partners and beta readers, they are generally unpaid. You might eventually maybe get spam emails, or if you do a search online you might see people offering those services but for a fee. And generally you should never pay for critique partners or beta readers. You can give them something in return if you want. With critique partners, it’s polite and usually expected to give feedback on their book when they are ready, it’s a partnership after all, but don’t feel that you have to give them anything and you definitely don’t have to pay them. It’s very much up to you what you do. And neither group is a replacement for a professional editor. But again, that’s also a topic for another podcast.

Sarina Langer  05:11

Your action step this week is to start recruiting. It sounds terrifying, but bear with me. There are sites that can match you with beta readers, but I can’t recommend any of them because I haven’t used them. If you’re a way off finishing your book still, you probably don’t even need beta readers anyway, to be honest. But with critique partners, it’s never too early to get them on board. As I said earlier, I can, I might even ask my beta readers – my critique partners, sorry – about things like first lines or even to read the whole book before anyone else sees it, including my editor, or maybe we discuss a name or a country name. But you can only do that, obviously, if you have critique partners. And the easiest way to find them is to ask people you already know.

Sarina Langer  06:01

A good critique partner needs to have only one quality and that’s honesty. If they are writers, too, they have a pretty good idea of what to look for, because they know what they need when they give their books to critique partners. But it’s also just as fine to ask readers or even friends and family. But, and I can’t stress this enough, be really careful when you ask friends and family. As I said, honesty is the most important skill for critique partners to have, and often your friends and family members will opt for white lies because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, whereas critique partners shouldn’t have any such issues. If you do ask a close friend or a family member, maybe recruit another critique partner or beta reader at the same time, just to balance that out to make sure you definitely get honest feedback and not just someone who’s just generally really impressed that someone they know has written a book. If you’re already on social media, then that’s a really great place to start.

Sarina Langer  07:01

My critique partner group is actually on Instagram. We have a private message group on there, just the eight of us, so my seven critique partners plus me. And I first met most of them on Instagram directly or Twitter, but I wasn’t actively asking for critique partners at the time, I just started having conversations with like-minded writers and readers. And I just got to know people that way. And then when it eventually came time for me to need critique partners, they volunteered and I asked them if they would mind.

Sarina Langer  07:32

With beta readers, I do it a little bit differently. I tend to ask my mailing list when I need beta readers, so I don’t have a ready-made group of people who are just ready to read my books and tell me everything that’s awful about them. So again, you can do that however you want. If you’d like to have a few beta readers already on backup, people you know who will probably be up for it, then you can do that, or you can just recruit as and when you need them.

Sarina Langer  08:00

I think it’s always a good idea to have a few people in there who you already trust. If you have an ideal reader in mind, it can also be a good idea to ask them, because you will probably get some very varying feedback. Some people might really hate one chapter, others might really like that chapter, one might not comment on it at all, which does not simplify things. So if you have someone in there who you already trust, whose opinion you definitely value, and maybe even your ideal reader, then if you are torn and if your beta readers or critique partners are torn, you can always ask yourself, what did this person say? And then you can trust that and go with that, because not everyone will love your book. And that’s really true as well for your beta readers.

Sarina Langer  08:47

Now if there’s anything else you’d like to know about critique partners or beta readers, get in touch by leaving a comment or asking on social media, my links will follow in just a second. Otherwise, thank you very much for listening!

Sarina Langer  09:05

If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learn something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sarina_langer, on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, and of course on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time! Bye!


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October Progress | A Cover Reveal and The Difference 15 Minutes Can Make

Happy early Halloween/Samhain, friends!

A few weeks ago, I read a book: The Nifty 15 by Honoree Corder and Brian Meeks (if you’re interested, check it out on Amazon – be advised this is an affiliate link, so I’d earn a small commission if you buy it through this post). It explains how to write a book in just 15 minutes a day and is based on the assumption that, while many of us may not have a whole hour to write, everyone can make 15 minutes to sit down and write. It’s not a big commitment, and the time flies once you start. They set the challenge to write like this for 100 days and record your progress.

(Yes, I did create a colour-coded spreadsheet. You know me so well.)

I admit, I always thought I wouldn’t be able to write in only 15 minutes. In fact, I was convinced it wasn’t for me. I like to get into whatever I’m working on, and 15 minutes isn’t enough for that.

But.

This has completely transformed my writing life.

Blood Wisp

Remember how I said I wanted to put the heat on my Blood Wisp rewrites this month? Well, I finished the rewrites (this round – I swear it’s never ending for this book) and I’ve started writing Blood Song.

I don’t write much in 15 minutes – 600-800 words – because the time frame is so short, but multiply that by 7 and I’ve written a decent amount that’s not to be scoffed at that week.

So, if you don’t think you could write in only 15 minutes but don’t have time for more, just try it. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying, and you might just surprise yourself.

NaNoWriMo

I was planning on writing The Silence of Magic, but I think anyone can see that it makes much more sense for me to write Blood Song and continue what I’ve started. I feel like I’ve been on this series for ages, and I kinda have – I’ve had the covers for all three books since August 2018 – early 2019 (depending on the cover), so it’s about time.

(*ignores tempting third WIP waving from the corner*)

It’s been nice to write new adventures and secrets for Yua to discover rather than rewrite old ones. I’ve been on Blood Song since the start of this week, and it’s been a nice change of pace.

So, that’s the plan right now. Watch as I ignore it and write something else after all 😐

But I’m getting into my November plans, and it’s not time for that yet. I’m prepared for NaNo. I just need to choose a project and stick to it.

Brightened Shadows

I love how near the end of a project, everything suddenly happens at once. You go through months of feeling like there isn’t any progress, and then BAM – all the progress.

I have revealed the cover. I have chosen a releases date. I have sent it to my formatter and am about to make the pre-order live.

In case you missed it:

Blurb:

Naavah Ora has found the weapon that can kill the Dread King, but there’s one setback: she is the weapon, and she shares her mind with her patron goddess. Naavah Ora isn’t prepared to lose herself to stop the undead invasion, but when the Dread King makes the fight personal, she might give anything to stop him after all.

Meanwhile, Doran, Levi, and Ash struggle with a prison break and the realisation that Ceallach still wants Levi as his sacrifice. They reach for Naavah Ora while she slips further away, but how can they fight a battle happening in another realm?

To end Ceallach’s invasion and retake peace for the dead, Naavah Ora hopes that her other gods joining the fight will be enough. When Ceallach ends the things and people she loves the most, she must decide: =

Is she prepared to pay the price and surrender her consciousness for good?

Release day: November 20th 2020


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Mini Book Reviews October 2020 | The Crowns of Croswald, Mythos, Yes Please, Quantum Messenger

Happy Halloween/Samhain week, friends!

I was going to tell you that I haven’t finished a single book since my last mini reviews, but I can see now that that’s not true (although, I’ve only actually finished 2 of the 4, but the other 2 I’ll finish today, so that’s good enough, isn’t it?)

Please note: I’m using affiliate links throughout this post, so I may earn a small commission if you purchase anything through my links at no additional cost or hassle to you. It’s one of the things that help me keep this blog running, so thank you <3

THE CROWNS OF CROSWALD by D.E. Night

Review: This little book was my first Netgalley book and I wanted to do right by it, but it fell short for me. It had lots of potential, but it tried too hard to be Harry Potter without the likeable main character. It could be a great first read for a young audience as an introduction to epic fantasy, but I’m afraid I was much too picky for it.

Favourite Quote:

That evening Ivy was, as usual, lost in her sketching.

I was struggling to find a line I really liked, so I give you the opening line.

Rating:


MYTHOS by Stephen Fry

Review: I’ve always felt drawn to Greek mythology, so I was excited to listen to the audiobook narrated by Stephen Fry himself. He was the perfect choice for this–his humour made listening to this a great experience, and it made me smile several times on my walk to work. It’s a fantastic introduction to Greek mythology, and you might also like the general history chapter on all things myths.

Favourite Quote:

“Gaia visited her daughter Mnemosyne, who was busy being unpronounceable.”

(there were so many good moments, but I keep coming back to this one)

Rating:


YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler

Review: This is the book my soul needed <3 I listened to the audiobook narrated by Amy Poehler as well as several guests, and it was the best companion on my walks to and from work I could have asked for. I will come back to this book when I’m sad. I laughed so much. Thank you, Amy.

Favourite Quote: Everything she said, but I had to choose something–which was really hard because I honestly loved everything because she’s my spirit animal–so:

“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.”

Rating:

Also, I loved every moment of this book. I hope you got that.


QUANTUM MESSENGER by Caitlin Lynagh

Review: What’s this? Another NetGalley book! :O I feel so accomplished 😀

While Quantum Messenger was a bit slow at times–especially in the beginning, when Apollo, a robot, describes the world in detail (as in, how many steps it took to cross how many metres)–I loved the premise and that it tackled so many questions I’ve asked myself many times. It deals with questions like ‘when is an AI no longer a program but a person?’ and ‘what is the soul?’, and I really enjoyed seeing the world through Apollo’s eyes.

Favourite Quote:

I passed a large building and stopped when I noticed a couple of the strange orbs drifting upwards into the sky. Wait, what? Where are they going? An ambulance turned on its sirens and screeched away from the building and I finally noticed the sign above the door. It was a hospital. I turned on the spot, scanning the sky, and I saw another orb a little further away, and then another, all drifting up like miniature hot air balloons. Were they all coming from hospitals? According to my maps they couldn’t be. Why are they leaving their humans? Will they come back? I gazed up and wondered if perhaps these orbs were venturing out to the stars in search of a new body to inhabit.

(imagine the bits in bold are regular italics – it didn’t show properly because of the quote! Also, it’s the last line that stood out to me here, but without the rest, I feel it wouldn’t have made much sense.)

Rating:


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The Writing Sparrow Episode 8: How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo Without Overpreparing

Listen to the Episode:

Transcript:

Sarina Langer  00:06

Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started!

Hello friends and Sparrows and welcome back. It’s the 26th of October 2020, and this is episode eight. Two weeks ago, I talked about my favourite time of the year, the glorious beast that is NaNoWriMo. And this week, I wanted to give you a few ideas on how to prepare for it without completely overwhelming yourself in the process. Because let’s be honest, that’s a possibility. I know it’s a bit late given that NaNo starts on Sunday this week, but I don’t recommend you completely plot everything anyway. And who hasn’t decided to do NaNo last minute? I know I have once or twice.

So NaNo prep, for me at least, is all about the basics. If you plan too much, as I admit I tend to, NaNo arrives and you’ve got this huge list of things to consider and a whole notebook full of ideas and things that you want to fit in there somewhere. And trust me, you’ll really feel the pressure if you do that. And you probably won’t even know anymore where you’ve left what in your notebook, so that just overcomplicates something that’s already quite difficult to start with. So my advice is to keep it simple and stick to the basics so you have just enough to know where you’re going. And hopefully you won’t get lost partway through NaNo, because that’s a nightmare.

Now, the following will sound like a lot, but don’t worry, the most important points are also included in the show notes, so you can always just copy those for your character prep.

Think about the most obvious things like the names, age, looks, you know, obvious things like that, but also consider other personality points like speech habits, like their wants and needs, because that will really drive your plot forward when you’re lost. Things they are afraid of and their strengths and weaknesses, because those things will also help you keep everything informed when you’re not quite sure what to do and hopefully keep you from getting stuck because no one wants to be in that position, certainly not during NaNoWriMo.

Now, of course, there’s plenty more that you can add when you plan your character and get to know them, but this should be just enough to keep you on track during NaNoWriMo.  When you think about your world, you could think about details like the country names, what the countries are known for, what their traditions are, their culture, how growing up there influenced your characters, things like that. Now, I love world building,so I can get a little bit carried away there. But the last thing I want to do is get carried away now and ask you to create an ancient, complex religion that influences that country’s religion at the time of your book. So do keep it simple to start with. Of course, if you’re writing something that’s in our world, you can just google those details if you don’t know them already. You don’t need to come up with those things because they’re already there.

The plot is another thing I can easily get carried away with very easily. But don’t worry if you’re not a plotter, there’s no need to have every last detail planned before you begin your NaNoWriMo project. In fact, I recommend that you don’t overdo it at this stage. Because again, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself. But knowing how your book starts, what causes your character to go on his journey, what happens at the midpoint that changes everything, and how your book ends will hopefully keep you from drawing a blank partway through NaNoWriMo. Because that’s the last thing you need, trust me. 

Finally, figure out your necessary daily word count to reach 50,000 words and realise it’s not that bad. If you write every day, it’s only 1,666 words a day. Sounds like a lot at first glance, but it’s not even 2000 words a day. It’s not that bad. You can totally do that. If you take the weekends off like I do, it’s a little more at 2,380 words a day, but that’s still not even 2500. Totally doable. Make a strong tea or coffee or whatever helps you focus, get the words down and get writing. And as I’ve already said in the last episode, it doesn’t matter if you don’t reach 50,000 words. I am back at the day job now three days a week, and I’m working from home Monday and Friday. I take the weekends off on top of that. So I’ve a feeling I maybe won’t make it this year. And I’ve made peace with that because by the end of November, I will have made progress and quite possibly more than I would do without NaNoWriMo motivating the next month. And really, that’s what matters.

Ultimately, NaNoWriMo is all about getting into writing habits and starting or finishing your work in progress. So those 50,000 words? Great goal, but don’t worry if you don’t get there, that’s fine.

Your action step for this week is to jot down a few notes about your characters, a few notes about your worlds, and to keep it simple so you don’t overwhelm yourself next month and add any extra stress to yourself. You don’t need that. Nobody needs that. I definitely don’t need that, and neither do you. And most of all, take a deep breath. We’ve got this NaNonite, let’s go smash it.

Although, having said that, there is another thing that you might like to do, which might just help you keep focus during November. It’s something that I quite like to do, and that’s to set rewards for myself at various stages throughout the month. I tend to set the first one when I reach 15,000, another one for when I reach 30,000 words, and something, not one, not massively extravagant, like not a holiday, you know, but something that I really want to motivate me to get to 50,000 words. It can be anything you want, as long as it keeps you on track and motivates you enough to keep pushing forward, even when NaNo, eventually, let’s be honest, gets a little bit harder to follow through. So, it can be a book or a candle, or maybe even just some time to yourself, whatever helps you keep focused. And when you reach those milestones… you can set them to whatever you want, so 15,000, 30,000, and 50,000 are just what I like to set them to, but you can do as many or as few as you want or not at all if that’s more your thing, whatever you like. And then make sure that you also hold yourself to them when you reach them. So if you get to your first reward, whatever it is, wherever it is, make sure you treat yourself to it because it’s really good motivation partway through the month. And if you don’t hit one or two milestones, don’t get yourself those rewards anyway, because then what’s the point of having set them in the first place?

Okay, are we ready? Just a few more days. Let’s calm down, join my cabin if you haven’t already if you’d like, and let’s get excited for NaNo and let’s show our works in progress who owns whom!

If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learn something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sarina_langer, on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, and of course on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time! Bye!


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The Writing Sparrow Episode 7: How to Write Short Stories for Anthologies with Beverley Lee

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Transcript:

Sarina Langer  00:06

Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started! All right, hello friends and sparrows and welcome back. It’s the 19th of September 2020, and this is Episode Seven. I’ve got horror author Beverley Lee here with me on Zoom, nicely socially distanced. And we’re going to talk about writing short stories and submitting them to anthologies, because that’s something that she’s really excelled at this year. So hello, Beth, welcome first of all.

Beverley Lee  00:52

Hi, Sarina, thank you so much for inviting me to take part.

Sarina Langer  00:55

You’re very welcome. I’m very excited to have you. Well, as I’ve just mentioned in the brief introduction, you’ve been doing really well this year with just generally writing horror stories and getting them into anthologies.

Beverley Lee  01:08

I know, it’s been quite a surprise for me, actually. Because now that I’m actually a horror novel writer, the short stories kind of came about because I moved house this year. So I didn’t have the focus to really work on anything longer. So I started messing about creatively with short stories. Yeah, and I’ve just been really surprised at how well people have taken to them.

Sarina Langer  01:33

I’m not, I know how great you are. But I also know just how long your move has taken. So I know that it was, you had quite a lot of time to write short stories and get used to that format.

Beverley Lee  01:44

Yes, the whole move, I could write a horror novel on the whole move.

Sarina Langer  01:47

I mean, moves are never great anyway, but I noticed how much of a nightmare yours has been. So to start with, I’ve tried to write some short stories, and I find it to be a very different format to writing full length novels. So my first question will be how do, you how do you approach it? Is it very different for you? Do you approach it in a similar way?

Beverley Lee  02:11

What you have to remember is that there’s not a lot of room for sort of endless rambling or world building in a short story. You’ve got a specific number of words, and it’s very important to keep to that number of words. Don’t go under and don’t go over because obviously, the people that put the ontology out have set the word count for a reason. But like a normal story, you do need a beginning, a middle and an end, it’s just an abridged version of that. You’ve got to keep your pacing even, you can’t really start off slow and then build up. And the most important thing is the ending, you have got to satisfy your reader. At the end, you can’t leave them thinking, well, what was this all about?

Sarina Langer  03:01

No. Definitely, I mean, I’ve read some, well, I’ve read quite a few short stories this year. Actually, I’ve been reading a few more anthologies as well, because I, I would like to try doing what you’re doing. Maybe get some of my short stories into maybe some anthologies. And for me, it’s been, well, writing, it has been a very different process, but also quite exciting. And I think when I’m reading short stories, you can really tell the difference between an author who’s really researched how to do it and someone who’s just approaching it in exactly the same way as a full length novel, because they’ll build it slowly, as you said, and they end up getting carried away a little bit. And you know, you sit there as a reader thinking we don’t have time for this.

Beverley Lee  03:43

That, that is very true.

Sarina Langer  03:46

Yes, I think it’s quite… not, not difficult as such, but I think you definitely need to… but it’s almost a whole new thing to get used to, isn’t it?

Beverley Lee  03:54

It is, it is. And I know that when I’m reading short stories, if that first paragraph grabs me, I know it’s going to be good and that’s much like a novel. It’s the, it’s the hook, you know, you don’t just want somebody in a room talking about something, you want something that’s making me to go and want to carry on.

Sarina Langer  04:15

I’m not sure if this will apply to you so much because I know that you’ve actually been approached to write for anthologies rather than you having to find them yourself and then apply to them. People are approaching you to write for anthologies, which is incredible. But if you, if you look at various listings of anthologies looking for more stories, they tend to ask for a specific kind of theme. Do you, do you write to the theme specifically?

Beverley Lee  04:45

I do. I’m very, I’m very aware of the brief. I mean, there’s not much point, you know, if they’re asking for say, a story set in a graveyard, when the graveyard is only mentioned in one paragraph. No. They’re asking for it for a certain reason. And I think it also applies that do your research on your genre and the anthologies you wish to submit to. It’s not any point, you know, submitting a dark fantasy to a proper horror unless there’s a crossover. And as they say, there’s a crossover because it’s just a waste of your time and a waste of their time.

Sarina Langer  05:22

Yeah, definitely. I’ve tried doing a bit of both this year, I think I’ve tried just writing a short story just for the sake of writing a short story and then see if I could possibly fit it to-

Beverley Lee  05:36

I’ve done that as well.

Sarina Langer  05:37

Yeah. But then I also, I can, god, I can get so carried away with this. But when I look at the listings, and what the various short story collections are looking for, I get quite… it’s almost like falling down the Pinterest rabbit hole where you think, that sounds exciting, I can write something to that. And then suddenly, you feel inspiration to write something for like 10 anthologies, and you don’t really have time to write anything for two. So-

Beverley Lee  06:02

It is a bit like those, like being in a sweetie shop, isn’t it?

Sarina Langer  06:04

Yeah, I was just thinking it’s a bit like being in a candy shop. It’s, it’s very exciting. It’s almost like a writing prompt, really, isn’t it?

Beverley Lee  06:13

Yes. Oh, it is, it is. And once you find one that really gets you excited, you kind of know that yes, this is, this is what I want to do. And quite often though, when I start a short story, I have no idea how it’s going to pan out, I’ll just start with an idea and know I have to have a certain thing in it. And then I’ll just let whatever character that I’m writing kind of show me the way. And that’s really very exciting. Because when you’re writing a novel, sometimes it takes a long time to get to know a character, whereas in a short story, you have to instantly know what my character wants.

Sarina Langer  06:48

Yeah, I think for me, that was another thing that I wasn’t quite sure about, is when, when I start writing a new novel, I do quite a lot of plotting beforehand, I need to know that I know the characters, at least, at least the main character and the main villain, so that I know how they might influence the story and how they might end up influencing each other. But when I sit down to write a short story, I almost feel like I should still do that kind of level of getting to know my characters first. But then on the other hand, you’re only writing something that’s maybe at most 5000 words long.

Beverley Lee  07:19

Yes.

Sarina Langer  07:20

So I’m never sure if I still want to put in that same amount of work beforehand, if I should really just start writing and just go for it.

Beverley Lee  07:28

Well, you can. Again, you can get a first draft down and you can look at it and you can go, hmm, this isn’t working, and then just take out the elements that you would do if you were editing a novel, take out the elements and put them into the second draft and then, and then just rewrite the bits you don’t like.

Sarina Langer  07:46

Yeah, I think I’m gonna have to do some more experimenting with that. I haven’t written too many yet, but I’m seeing how well you’re doing with yours. And another friend of ours, Villimey, she’s starting to get into quite a few anthologies as well.

Beverley Lee  08:01

I noticed that. I noticed that on Twitter, I saw that Villimey was, so that’s, that’s really good.

Sarina Langer  08:06

I said to her it’s, it’s, it’s I’m having what I’m calling like, like this Pokemon moment where I go, you know, I put up my sleeves and I go right, I’m going to try my best as well. Seeing you guys, that’s it. I can almost picture Ash doing it.

Beverley Lee  08:24

But, but, but again, it just springs around about. I mean, I’ve just been incredibly lucky this year that every bit, everything I’ve submitted whether they’ve asked me to submit it or whether I’ve actually submitted it cold, they’ve accepted and nobody’s more surprised than me.

Sarina Langer  08:42

That’s gone extremely well. So have you been approached to submit your short stories for all of those anthologies, or have you approached some of them yourself first?

Beverley Lee  08:54

The first one, which was by, released through Kandisha Press, which is Graveyard Smash Volume Two, I was approached by the editor for that one. The second one, which was the charity anthology in aid of COVID research, Diabolica Britannica, I was approached for that one as well. The one that has just released, In Places We Fear to Tread from Cemetery Gates Media, that, that, that was a cold submission. I just followed the brief. And I’ve also had a flat horror accepted by them for the beginning of next year. That was a cold submission. And the one that’s coming out, I believe at the end of this year for another charity anthology in aid of women’s refuge, We Are Wolves, which is edited by the lovely Gemma Amor and Laurel Hightower, I was approached for that one as well.

Sarina Langer  09:53

And the list just keeps growing longer, doesn it? That’s amazing. Erm, well, normal mortals like me, erm, you know, we’re probably not going to just get approached to just submit to an anthology. But I think what you’ve already said is probably going to be quite helpful for that. One, do your research. Follow the brief as you said you’ve done, and also just stick to the theme, cause there’s a reason it’s there. So if the theme is graveyards, then there’s no point writing a story, getting carried away with it, have nothing at all to do with graveyards, and then just quickly put in one line, like, when I was five, we went to a graveyard once, and then hope that that ends up meeting the brief because it probably won’t.

Beverley Lee  10:41

I’m not quite sure they would accept that.

Sarina Langer  10:44

Maybe not. Even if it is really good. And even if you end up… well, maybe if you were famous enough, because then the name is going to-

Beverley Lee  10:52

Yeah, maybe. Stephen King, you could maybe get away with it.

Sarina Langer  10:56

Yeah. Yeah, maybe. But we probably can’t.

Beverley Lee  11:00

No, definitely not.

Sarina Langer  11:03

You know, as you said, it’s basically a writing prompt, isn’t it?

Beverley Lee  11:05

Yeah, it is!

Sarina Langer  11:07

Yes, I mean, I think for me, that’s easier to write than to just sit and just start writing something completely out of nothing, because I need to have at least some idea of where I’m going.

Beverley Lee  11:17

Yeah, you have to have an idea. It’s very hard just sitting down and opening up a Word document and then just staring at the blank page and the cursor flashing, and thinking ooh, I have to do something, because nothing is guaranteed to make your muse run in the corner and hide than something like that.

Sarina Langer  11:34

No, definitely not. I’ve tried that a few weeks ago, when I first thought, right, I’m gonna try doing some writing shome… erm… writing some short stories… that’s weirdly hard to say, it’s like a tongue twister. But you know, I just, I think I put into my bullet journal, write two or three short stories that week, which, obviously is going to be quite ambitious anyway. But I had lots of free time. And I was feeling really pumped up to do it, you know?

Beverley Lee  11:58

I can do this! I can do this!

Sarina Langer  11:59

Yeah, so I thought I was really excited to just get down some short stories. And I sat down, and I think because I had no idea of what to, what to go for. My enthusiasm died very quickly.

Beverley Lee  12:12

Yeah, I mean, that’s what happens, though, isn’t it? You’ve just got to kind of grit your teeth and just get some words down. And sometimes you can’t get 100 down, but sometimes they just flow out of your fingers. It’s just one of those things about being a writer.

Sarina Langer  12:27

Yeah, I mean, every story is always going to be different, you know, whether that’s going to be a short story or a full length novel, they’re all going to be slightly different. And one approach that’s worked for your last story may not work for the next one.

Beverley Lee  12:39

Well, absolutely.

Sarina Langer  12:41

Which is not helpful.

Beverley Lee  12:44

No.

Sarina Langer  12:45

If we could like just have one process, and then just stick to that, and it just works for every story that would be brilliant and really useful.

Beverley Lee  12:53

And I mean, you kind of learn as you go along as well. I mean, you kind of learn what format works for you. And then sometimes you’ll think about… I mean, I submitted one, and they’ve asked for a rewrite, because it’s not… they like, they like the idea. They like the theme. But they don’t like the way I presented it. And that, and that was just, that was just an experiment on my part to see if it would work. And it doesn’t. So I’m in the middle of rewriting that one. But hey, I mean, that’s how you learn, isn’t it?

Sarina Langer  13:23

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I always think there was something like what we did with writing books, the best and really probably only good way to learn is by doing it. You know, you can read all the theory books that you want, hundreds if you, if you like, but you’re not really going to see what actually works for you until you sit down and make yourself write the words.

Beverley Lee  13:43

That’s it. Um, I mean, in regards finding markets for submissions, which I’m assuming is going to be one of your next questions, I’m pre-empting this, I use, I use Twitter a lot, because you will find that a lot of people, authors that write short stories will actually mention that there’s an anthology coming up. The Horror Tree is a very good one to follow. And they do weekly links to the short story anthologies that are wanting things, and also follow accounts that produce the short stories like Cemetery Gates, because they’ll often have links to say that they’re accepting submissions.

Sarina Langer  14:27

See, that’s where I then end up getting carried away. It’s on the Horror Tree website. I’ve had a look and they are listing all the various places that are currently looking for submissions on there. And you see this story is looking for something with ghosts and witches and lots of gore. So and then the next one is just looking for something that’s a bit more lighthearted but obviously still horror related, and it just needs to, it just needs to have something somehow to do with regret of some kind. So you start going through all of those and you think, Oh, this one’s exciting. I can write something to that. And then suddenly, before you know, two hours have passed, and you haven’t written anything, but you identified about 20, or 30, anthologies that you really want to submit to, and you don’t really have the time to do any of it, because you just end up browsing more instead of writing anything.

Beverley Lee  15:15

Again, it’s like falling down that black hole of Pinterest isn’t it. I think what you have to do is you have to kind of limit yourself, you have to go on and you go, I’m going to find three, say, that I want to submit to and then when you found your three, leave the site, go away.

Sarina Langer  15:30

Yeah, just close it. I mean, I’ve got the Forest app installed, even on my browser so that I can just, I can start planting a tree. And then I can’t open anything while I write, which is really useful, because I can tell while I’m writing, I get carried away so often that I think, I just quickly just see if I have an email. It doesn’t say that I do, but I just quickly look at my inbox for no good reason other than procrastination, and it won’t let me. Say, the amount of times that I have started writing and I thought I was quite focused but that I then just had to open the timer instead.

Beverley Lee  16:08

Yeah.

Sarina Langer  16:09

Really makes you realise how unfocused you can be when you think you’re being really focused.

Beverley Lee  16:15

Yeah, it’s not it’s almost like these people that said that they, they turn off their their WiFi when they’re actually writing so that, you know, they can’t get any emails and things and but then we tend to think, what if somebody needs me urgently. It’s ridiculous.

Sarina Langer  16:29

Yes. See, I wouldn’t be able to do that, because my partner works downstairs, and he needs the WiFi for work. So I wouldn’t be able to try that theory, but I can see why it might work. I mean, I always figure, you know, what if you have an email, say, if you’re, maybe you’ve gone shopping, or you’re out and about just going for a walk, and maybe there is no WiFi, then whoever’s emailing you can probably wait for half an hour.

Beverley Lee  16:53

It’s not a matter of life and death, is it.

Sarina Langer  16:54

No, I mean, it’s unlikely to be, so it’s probably okay if we ignore it just for a little bit, you know, it’ll still be there afterwards.

Beverley Lee  17:02

Yeah, but with that we’re very good at going I’ll just check Instagram, I’ll just check Twitter, and you can’t just check it, you have to scroll, answer a couple of tweets.

Sarina Langer  17:12

Because the next post that comes up might be important. And then what if you miss it? But I started telling myself more now that because the Internet has widened everything so much, you know, I mean, most of my author friends end up living in America, or maybe in Australia, like Jaynelle who I’ve just interviewed the other day. And they, you know, on the one hand, it’s great that we can talk to each other so easily, thanks to the magical powers of the interwebs. But on the other hand, we end up being in so many different time zones, the chances are, they’ll end up emailing me, just as I’m going to bed which I won’t see for eight hours or more. And by the time I do see it finally in the morning, after all the time, it’s still fine and nothing has burned down. And there haven’t been any catastrophes. So, you know, it’s probably fine if we just focus on writing for just half an hour.

Beverley Lee  18:09

Yeah. I think I think the worst thing though, is when you, you have a submission, you’ve submitted it, and you’re waiting for that email to say whether you’ve been accepted. It’s like, I know, they’re not going to do it immediately. But maybe the day after the day after that, and you’ll find yourself looking through your inbox and then look into your spam box in case it’s gone into spam.

Sarina Langer  18:31

Well, it can happen quite easily, can’t it? I’ve had an experience with that it’s maybe worth mentioning is that the first short story that I’ve submitted was to a rather large online magazine. And I, by the time I submitted it, I think we only had like two weeks left or something before the deadline. So I thought I quickly get into that. But it told me that I was I think roughly the 860th submission or something in their queue. And I think it only went down by about five or six stories a day. So they weren’t getting through submissions overly fast. I think finally by the last day before the deadline, I think I’d made my way up to spot 300 something. And then suddenly, overnight, I don’t believe for one second that they suddenly read 300 stories in one day. And then I then got the email to say we’re very sorry but your story isn’t for us right now. And you just sit there and think there’s no way you’ve read suddenly so many stories, you’ve just run out of time.

Beverley Lee  19:35

They probably just filled their slots. Yeah.

Sarina Langer  19:38

So, so I think it’s probably also worth considering just how large the publication is that you’re going to submit to but also in this case, it was for a magazine, you know, which could probably only take one or two stories at a time. Whereas of course with anthologies, you tend to have 9, 10 authors in the book at the same time. But it still may be worth just making sure that the publication or the anthology that you’re choosing isn’t so large that your submission might just disappear.

Beverley Lee  20:10

Kind of like a little minnow in a huge pond, aren’t you. I think maybe start small, start smaller is probably a better way to go.

Sarina Langer  20:18

Well at the time it was an easy one, it was right there. The submission was easy enough. And again, I was in that mindset of I’m really excited to do this now, I’m going to submit to them and we’ll just see what happens.

Beverley Lee  20:30

You have that, you still have that story and that story you can submit somewhere else.

Sarina Langer  20:35

That’s it. You know, it didn’t, it didn’t get into it on this occasion, but it might get into the next one. You know, you never know. So if you do get a rejection, don’t think in any way that it’s not, that it happened because your story isn’t any good. Or even just that, even though they told you that it didn’t, that it wasn’t right for them, it might actually have been perfect for them. It’s just that they ran out of time.

Beverley Lee  20:59

So you’ve got to treat it like every rejection with a kind of a pinch of salt. It wasn’t right at that time for that particular publication. So yeah. And then just find somewhere else for it, just market it somewhere else.

Sarina Langer  21:11

Exactly. I mean, at that point, you’ve also already then got the cover letter for it. And you’ve already got it formatted. So actually, if anything then the second submission you do is even going to be easier, because you’ve already got all that sorted, you then just need to adjust it a little bit. So that also helps. All right. Do you have any, any tips for writers who want to do what you’re doing with all the short stories be that writing related or submission related? We’ve already touched on some parts, like really sticking to the criteria that they’re looking for and doing the research.

Beverley Lee  21:47

Maybe just start with an idea of your own. And see if you can keep it say, under 6000 words. Just practice getting the whole story down in that brief amount of words, making sure that again, you have an exciting beginning, a solid middle, and a fabulous ending that’s going to leave your reader very, very satisfied. Just see if you can do that. And if you can do that and you really like what you’ve written, get it to a couple of people that can beta read it for you, and can tell you if they think it’s any good. And then you actually have something to go by, you can try and find a market for it. But if there isn’t a market just leave it be, there will be a market eventually. But then you’ve got that form, right, you’ve actually done it, you’ve completed one which will give you the confidence then to start looking through proper submissions and applying with brief.

Sarina Langer  22:47

I think that’s very good advice. And then I think what people tend to struggle with is to just start if I haven’t got an idea, so I thought what we could do maybe is leave them with a writing prompt.

Beverley Lee  23:00

Oh!

Sarina Langer  23:00

And then if they do want to give it a shot, they can dive straight in. So I don’t know if you’ve got something in mind. Probably not because this is improvising on my part as well. I’ve just thought of this.

Beverley Lee  23:13

This is definitely improvising! Just let me have a think.

Sarina Langer  23:17

I do have a book here, we can run with that.

Beverley Lee  23:21

Okay, go on, pull something out of there while I have a think.

Sarina Langer  23:23

Shall I just open it on a random page?

Beverley Lee  23:25

Open it on a random page.

Sarina Langer  23:26

Alright guys, so your, your writing prompts, this is from a book called 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers Grotto. It’s exactly what it says on the title. And your, your test writing prompt just to get you started on something is, write down as many cliches and aphorisms as you can think of. Go back and star the ones you actually say. That’s not a writing prompt.

Beverley Lee  23:55

That’s not really a prompt, is it.

Sarina Langer  23:56

That doesn’t work. Let’s do another one.

Beverley Lee  23:57

Let’s try another one.

Sarina Langer  24:00

Here you go. That might Yeah, this one might work: Scientists announced they’ve discovered the secret to immortality. Write a petition letter to save the event of death. Over to you people.

Beverley Lee  24:15

That’s actually quite tough.

Sarina Langer  24:17

Yeah, yeah. Well, maybe we should have gone with something easier. This is, that was just me opening it on a random page. You also get very simple things like write about an object that has personal meaning to you.

Beverley Lee  24:31

Yes, maybe just do that.

Sarina Langer  24:35

I’ll include all three in the show notes and then you can pick your difficulty level that you fancy that morning. Have you thought of anything?

Beverley Lee  24:46

Oh, I’m just trying to think. I’m useless at doing these off, off the spot thing but as, as it’s nearly Halloween, you could possibly write a short story that includes a scarecrow in a graveyard.

Sarina Langer  25:03

There you go. Doesn’t have to be complicated. See, I’m overthinking it. That’s what happens when I don’t plan.

Beverley Lee  25:10

So you can do anything you want, but it must include a scarecrow in a graveyard.

Sarina Langer  25:15

There you go. Any genre, anything you want, but try to keep it under 6000 words because I think that’s what most anthologies are looking for, might even be shorter than that. But I think for a start, just see if you can do that. Now remember to include a clear beginning, middle, and end. That’s all we need to do. All right, well, I think we can leave it on that. I will definitely link to all that in the show notes as well. I’m gonna link to Horror Tree.

Beverley Lee  25:43

Well, thank you very much for hosting me. It’s been a pleasure as always, Sarina.

Sarina Langer  25:48

Always, always. And we’ve had tea! No cake this time. Thank you very much for having a chat with me. And I hope that it’s helped you guys get started with writing short stories. Thank you very much, Bev!

Beverley Lee  26:02

Bye bye!

Sarina Langer  26:06

If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learn something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sarina_langer, on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, and of course on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time! Bye!

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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The Writing Sparrow Episode 6: What Is NaNoWriMo?

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Transcript:

Sarina Langer 0:06
Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started!

Hi friends and Sparrows and welcome back. It’s the 12th of October 2020. This is Episode Six, and today I’m talking about my favourite subject NaNoWriMo. If you’ve been anywhere on social media this month, you’ll have seen other writers mention NaNoWriMo quite a lot, but you may not actually know what it is. So today, I wanted to explain to you what it is and hopefully also get you excited to take part yourself if you haven’t done it before.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it happens every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words between the first and last day of November. If that sounds like a lot, you’re right, it’s a monster event and I love it so much. There’s always this excitement I get around early October when I realise that next month is NaNoWriMo, and then from there on, I’m just motivated until I eventually get really tired halfway through November, because it’s also really difficult. But I don’t want to put you off already.

So, you can prepare for it if you like. I normally do but then I’m a plotter anyway. But there have also been times when I didn’t prepare for it, and I was kind of surprised by how well it worked anyway. I think the only thing to remember is that you don’t overprepare for it because otherwise, you’ll end up with so many notes come November and so many pages upon pages of information that you’ll end up overwhelming yourself. And I promise you, there’ll be plenty of that during November itself.

You may also have heard of the smaller events that happen twice a year, Camp NaNo. They happen every April and every July, and they’re a lot more relaxed, so you don’t even need to write for them. Just editing or outlining is a perfectly good goal for camp. And your word count goal doesn’t have to be as chunky as 50,000 words, it can be whatever you want it to be. So if you just want to write, say, a 5000 word short story, for example, then that’s fine. If you want to edit 20,000 words of something, then that’s also perfectly good. Whatever you want to work on in the camps is great.

A lot of writers actually use the smaller camps to edit the book they’ve started or finished or continued in November. But you can also start something completely new if you want. The only important thing to remember is that for the big event in November, the idea is to only count the words towards that goal that you’re writing in November. So, say if you’ve already written 10,000 words in October, then they do not count towards your NaNo goal.

Joining NaNo is completely free, but if you fancy it, you can donate to support the good people who keep it running every year, because they do a really smashing job of that. And I… there’s also lots of other events that they put on around the country – maybe not this year so much given COVID – but normally, there’s lots of other events that they run throughout the world, I think. So all the more reason to donate if you want to. But again, you don’t have to, just joining and taking part itself is completely free. So don’t worry about that.

You can do either event, the big one in November or the smaller camps, on your own. But I actually recommend that you join a cabin so you’ll have people to cheer you on throughout the month. A cabin is basically like a private-ish chat room. On the NaNoWriMo website, well, you can join, I think the number is limited to about 20 people, so it’ll never be too packed and never feel overcrowded. And to be honest, most people who join it, or a lot of them anyway, they end up just being silent throughout the month. I think they’re then mostly just there to read all the encouragement from the other writers, but they don’t necessarily take part in any of those chats themselves. So the number is quite small to start with and then it’ll never feel that busy anyway.

I don’t think joining those, well actually it definitely wasn’t possible to join those cabins for the big event in November, they were a camp only thing, but it seems like they’ve changed that for this year. My cabin is still active and people can talk in it, and I’m very excited about that because the cabins are a really good way to talk to other writers and generally keep your excitement going for the month and get that support and encouragement. So they are a really cool thing to join and I recommend that you do if you fancy maybe the more social part of such a pig monster event.

You will have to declare your project on the website to take part officially and you can also collect badges that way. So I think you got, say, one if you’ve written 1666 for the first time and then you get another badge if you’ve written for seven days in a row, things like that. And that’s always quite fun. I like collecting badges. All of those things will also help keep you accountable and get your excitement going as NaNo gets a little harder every week.

I’m not selling it, am I?

But the most important part of NaNo is that you do not have to make it to 50,000 words, okay? You don’t need to write that many. Because let’s be honest, that’s a monster goal for just one month. So don’t worry if you don’t. Just have fun, enjoy the excitement, get swept up in it as I normally do. And if you, if you make it, then yes, that’s a fantastic feeling obviously, 50,000 words in one month is a huge achievement, but NaNo’s really, really hard. It’s really easy to burn yourself out on it, trust me on that, I’ve done it once or twice, and especially if you’re also working at the same time, maybe even full time, and you’re trying to keep a family alive. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself.

So just remember that all progress is good progress. And it’s totally fine to just join for the hell of it, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Enjoy it, do your best to reach 50,000 words, and if you make it, great, if you don’t, who cares? Look at all those words you’ve written during November and just… or maybe if you hadn’t joined NaNo, maybe you wouldn’t have written all those words. So that’s a great achievement already. Well done. Just join and enjoy the NaNo madness cause there’s a lot of that.

I’ll leave it here because I want to keep the episode short as promised. But in two weeks, I’ll do another NaNo specific episode on how to prepare for it without overpreparing for it.

The action step this week is to join the fun, join the madness, sign up for NaNoWriMo and declare your project. Make sure you stock up on tea or coffee or whatever your brew and make sure you have a few snacks ready as well, because you’ll want them and you’ll deserve them. You can sign up at nanowrimo.org but don’t worry, the link is also in the shownotes, so you can just click that. If you would like to join my cabin, get in touch. There’s limited availability, but I’ll fit you in if I can. The more the merrier or you know up to 20 people because that’s the limit. The easiest way to do that is probably via social media. The links for that will just follow in a second. See you there!

If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learn something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me on Twitter @sarina_langer, on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, and of course on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time! Bye!

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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