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Here’s Why You’ve Gotta Put First Thing’s First

The last few days I’ve been Upper Limiting like a mofo and I’ve been feeling really annoyed and even resentful of all the stuff I had to do (especially work-related stuff). I was also self-sabotaging by napping too much and only doing the bare-minimum work every day.

And that was making me even more annoyed.

This past weekend it all just got worse. I seriously found myself questioning everything I’m doing and literally wanting to tear down my entire business and rebuild it from scratch. It took me ’til last night to finally realize what the real problem was.

Last night I realized that over the last few days–and especially the days where I was feeling the most annoyed and resentful–I hadn’t been working on my novel revisions. 

Instead, I kept putting everything else I had to do before the revisions, and was watching the draft sit on my coffee table , but I wasn’t touching it. BIG PROBLEM!

Because writing novels–writing fictional stories–is my soul’s work. It’s the one thing I am meant to do, more than anything else that I’m meant to do. It’s the one thing that truly feeds my soul and fuels me to stay motivated and productive in other areas of my business and life.

But I wasn’t doing the work.

After I realized that’s what the problem was, I hit up my accountability buddy about it and she suggested that we support each other in making sure we do AT LEAST 15 minutes of work on our fiction every single day, no matter what.

‘Cause that’s the thing about your soul’s work. If you don’t do it and if you don’t make it a priority, it will ruin everything else in your life. It will make you feel angry, annoyed, resentful, and a whole array of other things that you don’t really need to be feeling.

This morning, before I did any of the other work I needed to do, I spent 30 minutes working on my novel revisions. After that I was able to quickly complete the other tasks on my list.

But on the days when I don’t do that? On the days when I think all the other stuff I need to do is more important than my fiction?

That’s when my life, my business and my happiness starts to suffer. 

And it doesn’t have to be like that. You can intentionally choose to put first thing’s first, every single day, and do the work your soul calls you to do.

The thing you’ve gotta remember is that it’s a CHOICE. It’s a choice to put your writing–your soul’s work–before everything else. And even if it’s a tough choice–or sometimes feels like an impossible choice–choose it anyways.

Because in doing the soul’s work first–in making your soul’s work a PRIORITY–everything else will work better. Everything else will fall into place, and you’ll be happier and more motivated and productive, because your soul work is done for the day.

Fifteen minutes a day. That’s the bare minimum you need to focus on your soul’s work. And if you do that, you’ll find yourself a totally different person. 

Your soul’s work is important. It’s imperative. And if you’re not doing it, that could be why other parts of your life aren’t working as well as they could be.

You can’t ignore your soul’s work and still be happy. You can’t ignore it and be motivated and productive. You can’t because you’ll walk around feeling resentful of all the stuff you have to do or all the stuff you’re doing that doesn’t feed your soul.

And your creativity will suffer.

Don’t do that to yourself. Make a commitment right now TODAY that you will put your soul’s work first. That you will spend at least 15 minutes a day, every day, working on the writing that makes you feel ALIVE.

If you do this, I promise you, you’ll see significant improvements in your mood, your productivity, your motivation, your personal relationships and more.

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What’s your soul’s work? Share in the comments. 

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“Will It Ever Get Any Easier?” One Writer’s Journey Into Craft

NOTE: This is a guest post by Stephanie Raffelock 

The very first novel that I ever wrote was one big face-plant, replete with a black eye. Like so many writers before me, I believed that because I’d read a lot of books, I could write one. I mean, how hard can it be, right?

A story analysis with writing guru, Larry Brooks, revealed a crucial missing element to my efforts. My 65,000-word narrative was not even remotely close to an actual story. Enter Jennifer Blanchard, courtesy of an introduction via Mr. Brooks.

She remains one of the most important relationships in my writing life.

Deciding to work with Jennifer was a big investment, both in time and in money. Nonetheless my eyes had been opened to the fact that creating a novel was going to involve a little bit more than just reading one.

In fact, I was slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t realized learning the craft of something before claiming it as your art was arrogant as well as ignorant. So it was with a fair amount of humility that I gave myself to becoming a student of story. I gave myself to the pursuit of craft.

 Enter the Process

Meeting on the phone one time per week, Jennifer started me out by brainstorming a dozen “what ifs.” This was the how she ushered me into “discovering my story.”

Writers have lots and lots of ideas, but the story must be discovered, courted, wooed into existence. Each week she took me to the next step. Concept and Premise. Synopsis. Character background. Plot Points. Pinch Points. Resolve. And then we started the beat sheet, which would grow into a detailed scene list. As the structure came together, I created a personal code by which I worked: Complete the assignment. Finish on time. Don’t push back. Stay open.

By the time I was given the green light to begin writing my prose, the process was easeful. I knew my story, knew exactly where I was going and I skated to the finish line. I completed two sets of revisions and then sent it off to a professional copy editor.

In the end, I birthed–with the help of a wise “mid-wife”–my first real novel, a novel that garnered me representation with a good New York City literary agency. 

Novel Number Two

Yes, I worked with Jennifer again, certain that I would need her expertise to help birth another creation. On this go around however, she pushed. She held back answers, offering instead more questions. It was a more difficult task, but again I completed a novel. However on this novel, I decided that the execution, meaning the narrative, was off somehow, so I shelved it, promising that I would return and revisit once my ideas about the piece had cooked and simmered a bit more.

I have no issue whatsoever with shelving something that doesn’t feel like it’s my best. I am not in the business of saving or salvaging work. I crank out about 150,000 words per year between novel writing and essays and I know that not everything I write is going to be good.

Third Time’s A Charm

Jennifer guided novel number three into existence with just four phone calls. From there, I sprinted to the finish line. I like this manuscript a lot. I know that it’s a good story. It is on its first set of revisions and my goal is to have it on my agent’s desk by December 1. It is my Plan B novel.

Here’s the thing about traditional publishing; first of all it moves at glacial speed. Second, there are no guarantees that your first novel will sell, so you need to keep writing and keep writing well. Sometimes your first novel sells because your third one did and the publisher decided to go back and pick up the first one. I am in it for the long haul, so I will keep writing.

Integration (AKA: “Will This Ever Get Any Easier?”) 

I will start a new novel in January 2017, unless I am lucky enough to be re-writing one of my first two novels because a publisher wants it. The next project will likely begin with a phone call to Jennifer. I’ll get to go through my synopsis and each plot point with her. Then I’ll be on my own. After writing three novels, I’m to a place where I understand craft and how to use it in my own story.

Most good authors have a team. Go-to people with whom they can discuss and hash out their works. Jennifer will always be a part of my team.

Here’s What Makes You Integrate the Craft and Novel Development Process

Here’s what will help you integrate craft: Repetition and study. Read all of Larry Brooks’ books and all of Jennifer’s blog posts on story. Participate in her Facebook group. And find a few blogs that emphasize craft and sign up for those too. I like Steven Pressfield, Larry Brooks and Kristen Lamb. Take workshops and keep reading the novelists that you admire.

In the beginning, working in the long-form format of the novel will seem daunting. As you keep studying and practicing it becomes easier. Then you’ll be able to see for yourself when your Midpoint is thin, and you will begin to notice when you need more conflict and tension. It will occur to you one day that dialogue is in fact, action.

But you have to be committed for the long haul. You never stop being a student of story. You never stop investing in yourself. If the first novel doesn’t sell, you don’t cry, you create a Plan B.

 Eventually it gets easier and you start to feel like a pro, because honestly writing novels is not for the faint of heart. It requires the strength and courage of determination and tenacity. It demands that you keep learning the same thing over and over again, each time on a deeper level.

To some this may sound too hard. For me, it sounds like a perfect way to spend my days. I say of prayer of thanks each morning that I get to get up and write today!

About the Author: Stephanie Raffelock is a novelist and a blogger. Her debut novel is represented by Dystel Goderich Literary Management in New York. Subscribe to her quarterly newsletter and receive an appreciation gift: “The Writers Dinner,” a unique vision for an entertaining evening. 

 

I’m humbled to hear my students and clients sharing experiences like the one you just read in Stephanie’s guest post. My mission is to EMPOWER you to UNDERSTAND and be able to effectively IMPLEMENT craft in your stories. 

I want you to walk away from working with me–regardless of if you’re doing private coaching or a group workshop–and feel like you could do this again, all on your own. (Not that you have to be on your own, but I want you to be able to be.)

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year and DON’T want to waste your 50,000 words, but want to write 50,000 words that you can actually do something with, be sure to check out my sixth-annual NaNo prep workshop, Novel University: NaNo Edition. It’s an idea-to-draft workshop that uses the power of story planning combined with the momentum of NaNoWriMo to help you say, “2016 is the year I FINALLY wrote a cohesive novel!”

Not only will this workshop help you plan and develop your story before you write it starting November 1, but it will give you a REPEATABLE PROCESS that you can use with every story you write from here on out. You’ll know what questions to ask, what information you need to know, and how it all works together.

Process and an integration of craft are PRICELESS when it comes to being a successful novelist.

>> Learn more about Novel University: NaNo Edition here 

The Most Important Ingredient in Every Novel (And One Proven Way to Deliver It to Readers)

Note from Jen: This is a guest post from my badass bud, David Villalva. He’s awesome. You need to check out his site here

The epiphany struck in the bathroom.

I stood in front of the mirror as my inner voice revealed I was meant to write novels.

That revelation forced me to unleash the story living inside my head. I wrote everyday by the seat of my pants, and less than a year later, I celebrated the completion of a first draft.

During my first read through, it took me all of a few minutes to realize my story sucked all kinds of suck.

That’s because my story lacked focus. Every character drifted without purpose. Uh oh, I’d written a two-hundred plus page hopeless opus.

This enlightenment encouraged me to start looking into authors who had actually written and published novels. I ended up investing in an author’s lecture series where he asked one simple question:

“What’s the number one thing that readers want in a novel?”

I froze because I hadn’t considered that question. Of course, I knew why I wanted to write my story, but what would future readers want from it?

Did they want my story to inspire them? Educate them? Change them?

The author’s lecture shared the answer, but all I needed to do was look inside the very definition of the word, “story.”

Story (noun): An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.

Novelists Must First and Foremost Entertain Readers

People want a form of escapism. They’re begging you to transport them into your created world, but it better be entertaining upon arrival.

Because if it falls short of their expectations, they’ll hop back into reality, and look for another novel that offers the right recipe of leisure. (Or cruise Facebook, Twitterest, Instachat, uh, you get the point…)

Quick poll:

  • Why did you read the last novel you purchased or borrowed?
  • Did you read it to be inspired by the author?
  • To be changed?

Come on, you probably read its synopsis, thought it looked fun, and leapt inside. If you got more than entertainment, that was a cherry on top.

Entertainment is the greatest common denominator among fiction readers.

Except far too many emerging novelists misplace the importance of this core ingredient. Heck, even well-known authors end up getting sidetracked during portions of their story.

Ever heard this one about a popular or trending novel? “Just get through the first fifty pages because then it gets really good.”

Do you really want someone talking about your story like that?

Of course not! Your goal is to captivate the reader on page one, and keep them hooked every chapter thereafter.

Fortunately, there’s a proven approach that you can use to increase your chances of giving readers what they want.

Explore the Proven Structure Living Inside Novels

Novels are pieces of art but even the most creative art often comes to life within a proven framework.

We all know that novels have a hook and climax, right? Well, it turns out the hook and climax are just two of the plot milestones inside a novel’s plot structure. There’s also a proven scene structure that moves your readers and characters throughout an overarching plotline.

I recommend emerging novelists explore the principles of story structure for the following reasons:

1. Readers expect to be entertained by a well-designed story.

People subconsciously know stories should have a special rhythm to them.

Readers have been encouraged to receive stories in a certain way because story structure has been infused into novels for decades. So audiences expect to experience plot milestones at specific intervals, meaning plot points occur at well-timed moments to deliver maximum impact.

And then there’s scene structure which helps pace readers to inhale, exhale, process, and absorb all of those special moments in your story.

2. Story structure focuses your ideas.

It’s a beautiful thing to be blessed with exciting story ideas except it can feel like a curse when you’re not sure how to use them.

Story structure can help you arrange your ideas inside a novel’s proven foundation. Don’t worry, this isn’t like painting by numbers because that approach tells you what colors to use. Story structure is more comparable to building a house.

Every house needs a solid foundation to make sure the big bad wolf can’t blow it down. But once that foundation is established, its interior and exterior can be customized in unique ways.

3. Story structure can solidify your mastery of the craft.

You may have instinctively picked up story structure through years of reading and writing.

I was amazed the first time I compared one of my drafts against story structure’s basic principles. That was the moment in my storytelling journey where I became lucid to how the pieces fit.

What if you’re already using some story structure principles without realizing it? Better yet, why not discover if story structure’s full potential can help you finish a story you’re proud to share with the world?

Create Your Story With Purpose

People read novels to be entertained. It’s that simple.

So let’s take advantage of a proven approach that helps us give readers the entertainment they’re seeking.

Fortunately, story structure can help you, too! It can focus your ideas, solidify principles you’re instinctively using already, and help you finish a story you’re proud to share with the world.

Straight up, story structure isn’t going anywhere. It’s just a matter of whether or not you’re open to going anywhere with it.

About the Author: David Villalva helps novelists write stories that connect with readers. Connect with him HERE to receive a free visual guide that illustrates the plot and scene structures used in best-selling novels and screenplays.

I’m On Periscope! Check Out My Replays…

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Periscope, the live-streaming video app from the people behind Twitter. If you haven’t, you can learn more by going to the app store on your smartphone and downloading the Periscope app. Once you do that, you can watch live broadcasts, interact with the broadcaster, ask questions/chat, and give “hearts” (Periscope’s version of “likes”).

I’ve been doing tons of Scopes lately, covering all different writing-related topics, like how to create playlists for your stories, whether or not story structure is formulaic, the 6-week story planning process and more.

You can find me on Periscope at @JenniferBlanchard. 

And since not everyone is available when I do the Scopes live, I created a landing page where you can go to view all of the replays. I will be posting all of the video recordings on there when I’m finished with the live broadcasts.

>> Check out my Periscope video replays

What’s your handle on Periscope? Let me know in the comments so I can follow you!

Why Every Novel Needs Tension (And How To Create It)

Pro photo for book cover-small image

C.S. Lakin

This is a guest post by C. S. Lakin

I hope I don’t need to tell you why you need tension in your novel. Every story, regardless of genre, needs to ooze with tension.

Why? Because tension determines the pacing of the story.

Without tension of some sort, readers may lose interest. Their eyes might glaze over or their minds wander. They might start thinking about what to make for dinner or glance at all those bills sitting on the desk.

The last thing an author wants is for readers to think about anything other than the scene they’re reading.

To ensure readers stay riveted on a story, you need to ensure there is tension on every page.

Every page? Is that possible? Yes, it is.

But before we look at how that’s possible, we need to examine the types of tension at work here.

Different Types of Tension

Just what is tension, anyway?

In real life, we avoid tension, often at all costs. We don’t want to be tense, and we don’t like tense situations. And we don’t want others around us to be tense (although, some people are really into drama).

So let’s break this down a bit.

First, we need to look at two aspects of tension. There is the tension the characters feel as individuals, and then there is the overall tension in the story.

Don’t confuse action with tension. Don’t confuse high drama and high stakes with tension.

You can have the most exciting plot elements in the world—with car chase scenes and buildings blowing up and the threat of the end of the world and still completely lack any tension—as far as the reader is concerned.

So while you may be writing about tense things that should make people feel tense or you are showing characters under stress, that doesn’t necessarily equate to your book’s tension. The tension a writer should be aiming for is something other than making readers feeling uptight or worried.

Make Your Reader Tense

What we as writers want is tension in the reader. And that kind of tension is not dependent on what kind of action is going on in a story. Even the most subdued, quiet, nothing-seems-to-be-happening scene can have tension ramped to the max.

No, this doesn’t mean we want our readers to be stressed-out—although if you are writing intense suspense, that probably is exactly your aim. The kind of tension we want readers to feel is a sense of heightened anticipation, interest, curiosity, excitement.

This is a good kind of tension. Think of the tension in a tightrope. We want a reader’s attention to be taut.

In other words, we want readers to care so much about what is going on that they are uncomfortable. And when someone is uncomfortable, they want to resolve whatever it is to the point at which they can again feel comfortable.

The Secret to Tension

So what is the secret to creating that kind of tension in a novel? Great characters. Characters with a lot of inner conflict that is continually present.

Sure, outer conflict will add to that tension. But if your readers don’t care about what happens to your character—because you did not present and carefully showcase an empathetic, intriguing, vulnerable, engaging character—they won’t have much interest in the story and won’t feel that niggling need to know what happens next.

Let me just say this: without constant tension in your story, you won’t have a story.

If there are no stakes, no risks, nothing for your protagonist to lose, how can you have any tension? You can’t. And you can’t have a compelling story either.

So tension is story. Outer conflict throughout is crucial.

And the inner conflict your characters struggle with also creates tension. If your characters aren’t having problems making choices and don’t have conflicting feelings, your scenes will lack tension.

Keep in mind these important points about creating tension:

  • Create great characters who struggle with inner and outer conflict.
  • Have a terrific plot that features lots of outer conflict (which creates outward tension in the story).
  • Make the stakes high—high for the protagonist and ones that impact her goal for the book. High stakes are about what the character cares passionately about. This is the key. To create tension, then, you need your very empathetic characters, and particularly your protagonist, to be facing trouble with high stakes.

If you spend time making sure your novel is full of great characters struggling with conflict, tightening your plot so it moves ahead at a steady clip, and raising the stakes for your characters as high as possible, you will succeed in making your readers tense. Which is a good thing.

About the Author: C. S. Lakin is the author of sixteen novels and three writing craft books. Her award-winning blog Live Write Thrive gives tips and writing instruction for both fiction and nonfiction writers. If you want to write a strong, lasting story, check out her new release The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction, part of The Writer’s Toolbox Series, which provides a foundational blueprint that is concise and practical, and takes the mystery out of novel structure.

Image courtesy of conejoazul 

5 Ways to Avoid Doing A Full-Draft Rewrite

No matter how good of a writer you are, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to do a lot of revising if you want to end up with a kick-ass final draft. And with revising comes a lot of rewriting.

But that doesn’t mean you have to rewrite your entire draft.

There are things you can do—five things, specifically—that can help you avoid doing a full-draft rewrite.

Now don’t get me wrong—if you want to rewrite your entire draft, or if you want to use the “write multiple drafts” process for story development, that’s up to you. But it’s definitely not something I recommend.

Writing multiple drafts take a lot of time and effort, and it’s likely you’ll either get burned out or grow bored of your story if you have to write several drafts in order to get to a final one. Or maybe that’s just me.

All I know is, if I have to rewrite a draft more than one time, I’m not going to finish the story. I don’t have the attention span for multiple drafts.

So I follow these five little steps to help me avoid having to do a full-draft rewrite:

  1. Convert Your Story Idea Into A Concept and Premise

If you write a draft before you’ve fully determined if what you have is a story or not, you’re guaranteeing yourself a full-draft rewrite. Without knowing what your story is really about ahead of time, you won’t know what to write when you sit down to the page.

So what will happen is you’ll start writing, heading in one direction, but then the story will take a turn and you’ll end up somewhere you never expected. Which is great for story development. But all signs point to you having to write another draft.

Take some time to work on your idea—do what it takes to convert it from a simple idea “seed” into a full concept and premise.

Once you can write a 1-2 sentence “pitch” of your story, then you’re ready to develop it.

2. Develop Your Story

Once you’ve converted your story idea seed into a concept and premise, you can begin the story development process. This is when you really dive in, dig around and try to drag out all the details and information about your story that you can.

The best way to start developing your story is to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.

Who is this character? What does she really want? Who’s going to oppose what she wants? Why? What characters will support her on her journey?

The deeper you go with the questions, the better your story will be.

3. Plan Your Story

After you’ve spent time developing your story and really trying to make sure you have a grip on what this story is about and who this Protagonist and Antagonist are, then you can begin planning your story out. The planning process is all about determining your story structure.

What structure will support your core story? (Of course keeping in mind that there are specific structure points that you must hit). How will you execute this structure in a way that keeps the reader hooked ’til the end?

You need a First Plot Point, a Midpoint, a Second Plot Point and two Pinch Points.

4. Create A Story Road Map

Now that you have your story structure points in place, you can put together a road map that includes all of the scenes you need to connect these structure points. Creating a road map requires you to think about what scenes are needed in order for the story to unfold properly.

You’ll want to think about each part of the story—part one, part two, part three and part four—and determine what needs to happen in order to fulfill the mission of each part (part one is set up; part two is reaction; part three is attack; and part four is resolution).

Then when you’re finished with your road map, you’ll be able to write a strong first draft (at least structurally speaking).

5. Work With A Writing Coach

Of course writing a first draft can be a lot of work to take on all by yourself. Sometimes having support really does make the difference between a draft you finish and a draft that never gets started.

When you work with me, I will take you step-by-step through this process and help you pull the story idea from your head, develop it into an actual story, build the structure and scenes, and then I’ll be your rock while you write the first draft.

Together we will bring your story to life.

Jennifer has been incredibly helpful in structuring my work-in-progress. I now have an easy-to-use plan to write from, which makes the process so much more enjoyable”—J. Waggoner

>> Join me for a free Strategy Call  

We’ll talk about your story and see if we’d be a good fit to work together.

Image courtesy of Nana B. Agyei 

The #3 Thing Stopping You From Writing Your Novel

>> Download the Slides From This Video

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How do you organize your story ideas? And when it comes to your stories, do you plan them out first or no?

The Lie That NaNoWriMo Has Perpetrated for 15 Years

If you’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) before, you’ve fallen victim to the lie that NaNoWriMo has had going for a decade and a half now. Your potential novel has fallen victim to it.

Since the beginning, NaNoWriMo has prided itself as a novel-writing month. In just 30 days, you can write a 50,000-word novel.

Hundreds of thousands of writers all around the world participate every year. And the writers who cross the NaNo finish line are duped into thinking that they just wrote the draft of a novel.

This lie has been going on for far too long. It must stop.

The NaNoWriMo Lie

The lie that’s being sold to writers all over the world, is that they are, in fact, writing a novel during NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all.

What most writers are writing during NaNoWriMo is a story.

It could be part of a story; it could be a few stories that are mushed together, in need of separation. It could simply be an exploration of a novel idea seed (or concept).

But it’s certainly not a novel.

No, novels have structure. They have purpose, a mission. They have a beginning, middle and end that all ties together in a nice little package.

NaNoWriMo churns out 50,000-words worth of notes on a story that you may want to write as a novel someday. But that day is not NaNoWriMo.

Ask a writer who has participated in NaNo what happened to the “novel” she wrote. Nine times out of 10 it’s in a drawer somewhere collecting dust. (Maybe they should change the name to NaStoWriMo–National Story Writing Month.)

That’s because there’s a lot more to writing a novel than the writing part.

How To Truly “Win” NaNoWriMo

The only way a writer can attempt NaNoWriMo and actually come out at the end of the 30 days with the draft of a novel, is if she does some serious story planning ahead of time. And that’s totally allowed, based on NaNo rules.

You’re allowed to do all the planning, character creating and note-taking that you want to before NaNo starts. The only thing you’re not allowed to do is do the actual writing.

You have to wait ’til November 1 to start on that.

If you want this to be your best NaNoWriMo ever–an epic year where you actually come out of NaNo with the draft of a novel–you must commit yourself to finding your story (and planning it!) now. So when November 1 rolls around, you know exactly what your story is about, who the hero is, what the journey entails and how everyone is getting from page one to “the end.”

Here are some story planning resources to get you started:

Don’t let the opportunity to do some major NaNo prep pass you by. Take the next few weeks of October to really dig in and plan out the story you’re going to write in November. That way you can walk away with the draft of an actual novel. Since you’re putting in all that time and effort.

Regardless of What You Write, NaNoWriMo Still Rocks

While NaNoWriMo isn’t quite what its name suggests, it’s still an awesome annual event, for three reasons:

  1. It gets you started–the hardest part of writing is getting started. NaNo is brilliant for getting you started on your writing.
  2. It creates community around writing–writing is often a lonely calling, so it’s nice that NaNo month (aka: November) brings writers together, both online and in your local community.
  3. It gets writers off their asses (or on their asses, rather) and writing–NaNo is a great motivator for finding time to write every day, and churning out a really cool story idea that you can turn into a novel.

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How do you feel about NaNo? If you’ve competed before, what did you do with the 50,000 words you wrote? 

 

Join the Idea to Draft Story Intensive

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2013 is just around the corner. Before you know it, writers everywhere will buckle down and pump out 50,000-word novels in 30 days.

Do you want to be one of them this year?

Then you need to start thinking about your story now. Right now. So you can have a plan come November 1.

Having A Plan

When you have a plan for your novel (rather than sitting down and just writing to see what happens), you’ll come out with a much stronger draft than you will without a plan. A draft that’s a polish away from being publishable.

Approaching NaNoWriMo without a plan guarantees you’ll have to write another complete draft. That’s because you’ll still be searching for your story, instead of coming to the table November 1 with a story already found and figured out.

Plus when you have a plan, you’re so much more likely to actually finish NaNoWriMo. Without a plan, you may just quit a little while in. Where’s the fun in that?

NaNoWriMo Road Map Workshop

That’s why I’ve decided to offer the third-annual NaNoWriMo Road Map Workshop!

Last year at this time I helped more than 22 writers create a Road Map for the novels they wanted to write during NaNoWriMo. We worked through their story milestones, characters and the scenes that needed to be there.

What they came out with were Road Maps that lead them from the beginning of their stories all the way to the end.

No more guessing. They knew exactly what to write and where to write it.

“With the Story Road Map workshop, I was able to walk through the different phases of my novel and be ready to write when November 1st rolled around. I hit the 50,000-word mark with three days to spare and ended up writing close to 60,000 words before writing THE END. If you’re looking for someone to help you put some structure to your thoughts, I would highly recommend Jennifer’s Story Road Map workshop.”–Kerry, 2011 workshop student

And now you can too, by joining my NaNoWriMo Road Map Workshop. Don’t waste your time during NaNo this year. Go in with a detailed road map that will tell you exactly what to write and when.

>> Find out more and sign up for the workshop here

Take NaNoWriMo as a serious opportunity to finally fulfill your dream of writing a novel. Come to the challenge November 1 with a plan.