NaNoWriMo isn’t getting much of my attention this November

The holiday season is closing in on us, and I find myself wondering just where 2023 went.

My attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is failing but with grandbaby #2 on the way soon, I have been helping my daughter a lot this month. I can write anytime; family comes first.

In addition to that I have been working on increasing the numbers of my free crafting community on Skool, plus I have created a paid community for information product creators. Both have kept me busy in the evenings.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

Attempting NaNo this year was not the wisest thing for me to do but it has gotten me to write a little more than I would have otherwise. And being the pantser that I am, I think it’s going alright story-wise. I’ll have some time to write over the next couple of days so I should be able to add a few thousand words to my word count.

Something I have learned other years while doing NaNo is to not try to cram too much writing in all in one day. It can cause temporary burnout, especially if forced.

Something else I have learned is the story flows easier if there’s at least a general plan. This year I had a plan, then switched at the last minute. I know where I want the story to go, but am having a little trouble with the setting. I know it’ll all fall into place as soon as I dedicate some time to it.

I thought NaNo would be a good way to get back into writing fiction. As many of you know, I’ve been at a standstill with it since Ross passed away. I think it’s a combination of things, with one being I had a more regular schedule then. I’d make myself fit in writing time after work or on weekends.

Now that I have more time to write it seems as if I’m writing less. I lost my biggest supporter when he passed, and that is playing a part in it as well. He used to tease me about being a kept man when I became a famous author. Not only have I not reached that point yet, but he is no longer here to enjoy the fame with if it ever happens. (Life has moved forward but the missing him will never stop.)

I used to use Scrivener for my writing but have realized that using Google Docs is more practical. When all I had was a desktop Scrivener was the logical choice. However, now that I use my desktop, laptop, and iPad, Google Docs makes it much easier to get some words in here and there.

Not only is it practical for my books, it’s also perfect for my articles and courses I’m working on for my info product hub. I can brainstorm on my iPad before bed and then sort out the ideas into separate documents the next morning.

Before I go let me recap what I’ve learned by doing NaNo (plus a couple other tips):

  1. Don’t try to write more than your brain can handle in one day.
  2. Use a cloud-based word processor so you can write on the go. Be sure it has the capability to save offline as well.
  3. Have a plan; at least to some degree. Pantsing is okay, but plotting it out is better.
  4. Take breaks when writing. Remember to eat, and have a bottle of water nearby so you stay hydrated.
  5. And last but not least, follow the characters wherever they take you. I have had a lot more fun writing when I let the characters determine where they were going.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year are you ahead, on par, or falling behind (like me)? Let me know in the comments.

Getting Started with Your First Book

Alas, the flooring is all done!

I still have to install the transition strips, but that’s a project for another day. It will be done by the weekend however, along with my spare room being painted. That room now sits completely empty, except for the paint can in the middle of it.

My thought was to put everything back and paint in a month or three, but my boyfriend convinced me now is the perfect time. I have to admit he’s not wrong. And it will be nice to have one more thing checked off the list.

My office was the last room to be done, and I have to say this is much nicer than the carpet that was in here. Moving my chair is now effortless. In fact, I have to be careful because it rolls too easily. I somehow foresee myself forgetting, and rolling back into the bookshelf when I push myself away from the desk.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be installing vinyl planking I would have told them they were nuts. Even when I picked out the colours I didn’t see myself doing any of the installation; yet here I am with some new experiences under my belt.

Granted I didn’t do the entire house alone, but I did enough to know it’s not something I’d want to be doing full time. Kudos to the professional flooring installers; they are definitely worth the money they charge. (I had the linoleum in my bathrooms installed by a local flooring company. That was NOT something I was willing to tackle.)

Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. Or try new things. If it works out that’s great! If it doesn’t, then at least you can say you tried.

Writing a Book

The same goes for writing. If you want to be a published author, you first have to write your book. It is scary in the beginning, and all the self-doubt can be paralyzing.

But don’t listen to the negative thoughts in your head. Or for that matter, to the naysayers in your circle. Do what makes you happy, and if that involves writing a book, then go for it.

It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or nonfiction. The goal is to get your story/knowledge out there. Take a few minutes and do some brainstorming. Write out your ideas, or use a mind map to get your ideas out. The latter is a great tool to use if you’re more visual.

The Process

Once you have some topics/story ideas, work on your outline. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll concentrate on nonfiction in this post. Although I also write fiction, I take a different approach to it than I do my non-fiction.

If you’re having trouble with your outline, consider turning it into a series 10 questions your audience wants answered. Each question is a chapter and every subtopic is a supporting question. For example, your might have an outline that looks like this:

Chapter One: What Is Calligraphy?

  • Where Did Calligraphy Originate?
  • Why Do People Use Calligraphy Today?
  • What Can I Do with My Finished Calligraphy Work?

Chapter Two: What Supplies Do I Need?

  • How Do I Know If I Picked the Right Pen?
  • Do I Need to Use Specialty Paper?
  • Which Ink Should I Buy?

You can use as many questions as needed in each chapter to share your information. Some chapters may need several questions to cover all of the points you want to share while others may only need three or four questions. Don’t get hung up on how many questions you have right now.

When you’re finished with your outline it’s time to flesh it out. Answer the questions as thoroughly as you can, without boring the reader. Keep your tone friendly, and it doesn’t hurt to add a little humour in as well.

Once you’ve finished your first draft, it’s time to polish it. This is where your editing comes in. Sometimes it helps to take a step away from it for a few days or so, and look at it with fresh eyes. You’ll find sentences you want to reword, or you may omit entire paragraphs.

It’s all part of the process, but is a necessity if you want to create a book others will want to read and learn from.

For a more detailed look at writing nonfiction, you can pick up my 12 Module Course here. If you have any problems with the download please contact me. It’s a small price to pay for a course that can be the beginning of a regular stream of passive income for you.

The hardest part to anything new is getting started. Once you take the first step (even if it’s a baby one) the rest will fall into place.

What’s something you’ve done that scared you to death at first? Let me know in the comments below.

Moving forward in life and venturing into new territory.

Winter has arrived here in Alberta. I’m not ready for it, but Mother Nature doesn’t care. It’s here and I can either embrace it or complain. (Chances are I’ll do the latter more.)

The home renos are coming along nicely; only two more rooms to do the flooring in. My office is going to be the last one because it is the smallest and has the least amount of things to be moved. I’m thankful for the built-in bookshelves; no need to empty and move them.

At the end of this month the arborist is coming in and taking out several trees that have lived beyond their years. I presumed them to be healthy but when the leaves fell I realized just how unsafe they are. I don’t like to have trees cut down, but when they become a hazard it’s time. I will end up with some nice firewood at the end of it all though, which is nice.

Plus I’ll be able to plant some fruit trees in their place come spring; which I’m looking forward to. I know they’ll do well in that spot because they’ll have all the sunshine they want, yet be protected from the west winds by an existing hedge.

Now that life has settled for me, I am able to pursue something I have wanted to for a long time. It’s going to take time and work but I’m so excited about it!

For those of you who are authors or information product creators, you know how hard it is to get your work seen. And it’s even harder to earn a living from it. (For those of you who are earning a full-time income from your work, kudos to you!)

At the end of October I bit the bullet and started my own publishing company, Birchbark Publishing. Right now I’m concentrating on ebooks and information products, with the intent to expand to other digital formats (audio and video). Digital is faster to distribute, easier to fix errors, and can be read on any device (as they’ll be in PDF).

For those with an artisitic flair, I’m also accepting submissions for colouring books. The beauty of PDF is these can be printed by the buyer and coloured in the traditional way, or opened with a note-taking app and coloured digitally. Portability at its finest.

Fiction or nonfiction. Novels or short stories. Kids books too.

I know there’s going to be a learning curve, but I’m going to do my best to not have any screwups.

You can read my latest blog post on my publishing site here, and let me know what you think.