3 Thoughts for the Future: NaNoWriMo 2015 Lessons

For many of us, December marks the end of NaNoWriMo and the beginning of remembering our family and friends we’ve been ignoring through the challenge. There is also the stack of unread books that has continued to grow while we warred with the words. Although I did not reach my goal of 100k during the month of November, I finished 11k over 2014.

Total words: 86,248


A handful of scenes will push it over the 100k mark for the epic rough draft of a series I’ve titled, “The Shadows of Eleanor.” The other 3 novels-to-be-added remain in short story form from last year’s challenge. Looking across the stern of 2015, I am where I hoped to be in my writing career, if not further than I imagined. I am a few lengths away from being published, but I think I see it nearing on the horizon!

During this brief moment together, I would like to share my own personal goals and hopefully inspire you to do the same. As Red Green would say, “Remember I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.”


The “next” project

I’ve heard countless authors tell me to have something else a phase behind your current work in progress. If you are revising one, get a rough draft started on another story. Even if it is not in the same genre, it builds momentum and crushes those pesky writing blocks. I was halfway through my revision of the first novel I hope to have published and set it aside for NaNoWriMo. The modern science fiction story is still waiting to get finished, but I have a renewed vigor to wade through it.


Enjoy writing prompts

There are multiple ways to find word prompts for short stories. I picked up “Speculative Fiction: 167 Creative Writing Prompts to Jump-Start Your Fantasy, Steampunk, and Horror Stories” by Alyssa Archer and Leslie Watts on Kindle. This book gives me inspiration whenever I need it. You can also just Google writing prompts and sample to your muse’s content. Give yourself 10-30 minutes of free writing on the prompt either daily or on specific days. You may find a new character you like or a plot device you can use in your novel. It can even lead you to write a short story that you can enter into contests (i.e. the two short stories I wrote based on writing prompts from the book. They have been sent in to different contests already and are waiting review. I hope to have them anthologized somewhere before I self-publish them.)


Connect with other authors

Find other authors who have gone traditional and self-publishing routes. Bonus points if you find someone who does both! In some ways, I’ve considered myself more of an author groupie than a writer. As I sail closer to being published, I see them as mentors and fellow pilgrims on our voyage. These connections are invaluable and often create a sharing of stories and marketing. All of mine are sitting on my bookshelf, beginning to overpower the books of authors I have never met.
An author hero* of mine shared his own 6 year journey on his blog recently if you care to check it out:


There is still an entire month left until we hang up the towel for this year. I still have a few more rounds of writing and editing in me. I hope that your struggle is starting to show results as well. Let me know in the comments which turns your writing has taken this past year. If you are published, feel free to pimp your books here as well. I’m always looking for new authors to stalk… I mean… promote and sit on my shelf.

(I’m also taking requests for groupies)



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