[Giveaway Closed]I have a real joy of presenting Rochelle Melander a writing coach and the author of Write-A-Thon!
As several hundreds of thousands of people take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this month I was very happy to get Melander to write about NaNo as I'm a participant as well!
Don't forget to take part in The Signed Copy Giveaway at bottom of the blog entry!
From Novice to Novelist
By Rochelle Melander
By Rochelle Melander
I look at marathon runners with awe. They have done something I hope to do someday: finish a marathon. When I ask them how they do it, their answer is: train. According to most runners, most anyone who puts in the training time can run a marathon. It reminds me of that old joke: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” You practice, practice, practice.
I used to look at authors the same way I look at runners: with a great deal of awe, respect, and wonder: how do they do it? The answer for the runner, musician and writer is always the same: practice. For those of us who aspire to become novelists, we practice by writing a novel during National Novel Writing Month. When you get to the middle of the month and practice seems more like a chore and less like a fun adventure, remember these sayings from wise writers:
1. I learn by going where I have to go. -Theodore Roethke, The Waking
We may be novices right now, but we will learn how to become novelists by writing the novel. Think of this month as training and practice. Doing NaNoWriMo feels a lot like going to school, without the teacher and the tests!
2. We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon. -Emil Zatopek
The experience you are having right now is qualitatively different than writing a poem, short story, or article. If it feels challenging, that’s because it is challenging. But do not worry, challenge is actually good for you. Just think of how proud of yourself you will be when you cross the finish line!
3. Do not assume that you have to have some prescribed conditions to do your best work. Do not wait. -Anne Bogart, theatre director
Okay, so you may be 11 days into this and be so far behind on word count you worry that you will never catch up. You may even be saying to yourself, “I should wait until next year to do this. By then my life will be less chaotic.” Ha! There is never a better time to do this than now. Go for it. Even if you fail to finish in time, you will have tried your best.
4. Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. -E. L. Doctorow
Usually about 10 days into National Novel Writing Month, I panic because I have no idea where the story is going. Yeah, I know I was supposed to be plotting this thing in October, but I got distracted. I’ll tell you what I tell myself: Don’t worry. All you need to see is the next scene. You do not need to see the whole book. That will come. For now, focus on what happens next.
5. I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. -James Michener
Yup, even the masters wrote rotten first drafts. Knowing that your first draft stinks doesn’t make you less than them it makes you one of them. Don’t get paralyzed by what you think you should know. Just write. Stop comparing your writing to finished books. Put your head down and keep writing—you can revise the whole thing in December!
What words of wisdom are you holding onto this month?
Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach and the author of 10 books, including a new book to help fiction and nonfiction writers write fast: Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) (October 2011). Melander teaches professionals how to get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing to at-risk tweens and teens. Visit her online at http://www.writenowcoach.com.
"Everyone has dreamed of writing a book, but so many start writing only to stall out due to writer’s block, mental fatigue, and other challenges. Write-A-Thon helps you overcome those stumbling blocks and complete your book once and for all. And you don’t have to type away for years on end. Here’s a plan that’ll help you write your book—in twenty-six days!"
Pages: 240 pages
Publisher: Writers Digest Books
Published: October, 2011
Form: Paperback (provided by the publisher for an honest review)
Genre: Non-Fiction / How-To
Amazon: Buy / $11.55
Barnes&Noble: Buy / $11.65
Writer's Digest: Buy / $11.55
Excerpt: Avoid Overwhelm
I have never come across book that lets you know how to get a novel out and not dance around it and your writing issues - that as effective as this!
I've got a Project Journal now, and a Story Bible! And I sort of had one before on some loose notes at the back of my drawer... ahem, just call me professional. But as I read this book it came naturally to get everything out and ready, and I was excited to do it.
Melander gets you excited about writing, and getting in the mind-set to write! The tone isn't condescending or high and mighty but just the perfect amount of "this is what you need", "this is what you can do to change it" and "just do it"!
This is no boring How-To - but a book that gets you excited about writing, prepares you and then lets you know just what to do when you got your rough draw done, in 26 days.
I found the Part One: Training my favorite, it was exactly what I needed, a little kick on the butt. The titles tell so much so I'm going to bring them up so that you can see for yourself that it's all taken care of: ( my favourite chapters are in the ( ) )
Attitude Training: Get Rid of the Excuses ( Take Yourself Seriously )
Writing Training: Learn the Basics ( The Project Journal )
Course Training: Plan Your Novel ( Three More W Guestions )
Course Training: Plan Your Non-Fiction Book ( Find Your Purpose )
Life Training: Schedule The Marathon ( Create a Life Priority List )
Part Two: The Write-A-Thon is all about Melander coaching us readers throughout the 26 days, with almost like pep-talks and inspirations to keep us going for day to day! These aren't just to keep going, but very informative of what you can do while in writing process, one I really liked was the following:
"Want to write better? Get a day job. Or sign-up for a volunteer gig. Just get out of the house and do something! I'm not kidding."
"Don't get it right. Just get it written." ~James ThurberThis is a section I know I'll spend the rest of the month with as I'm writing my NaNo.
Part Three: Recovery, has titles like Why Revise (this about gave me a heart attack as I couldn't even contemplate not revising, as what comes out in the rough draft is just mush), Write It Right: First Lines and How To Get Your Query Rejected. This part has absolutely valuable information that all new novelists should know! And I am glad that I now do!
This book is amazing, I can't tell you how happy I am to have read this! If you have any desire to write, or write a novel then this book is for you - do not miss it! It's one of a kind in the "How To Write Books" sections, if you come across it I highly recommend you get it. A giant thank you to Rochelle Melander for writing this, it might be thanks to you that I get my first novel out.
Win A Signed Copy of Write-A-Thon!Open till Nov. 17th!
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