Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Gobble down that turkey, potato salad, and stuffing, the end of the race is right around the corner. What will await you? Here is one author’s story of what happened after she hit that 50,000 word mark.
A Pep Talk by Paula Flumerfelt
All success starts somewhere. It stems from a seed of confidence that gets planted and nurtured through some act. As a writer, I think that it often comes with finishing your first manuscript. You sit down and write until your fingers are going to fall off, and when you are done, you have something you created with your own two hands. NaNoWriMo is a great way to start that process.
National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. That’s over two thousand words a day. It requires making a plan…and being willing to let it all go. You have to write with abandon, finding that inspiration and making it soar. It’s the best way to get yourself started, because even if you don’t finish the whole fifty thousand words, you still have something. And as we all know, starting is the hardest.
But the bigger story is after you finish NaNoWriMo, or maybe even your whole manuscript, what do you do now? We all dream of being a publish author, of making it big and never working a day job again. The problem is that usually it doesn’t work out that way. Usually you edit your manuscript yourself and then you submit it here and there and everywhere. Then you wait. But what if no one responds?
Well, then you are where I was. I have completed NaNoWriMo four years in a row, written two books, and am ready to start the third. But I didn’t get picked up by Penguin or Random House or anywhere else. I ended up self-publishing my first book on the Kindle, and then joining a writing website, BigWorldNetwork.com.
I finished Mathieu, my first book, just out of high school. And naturally when I finished the book (which I believed was the next Harry Potter), and couldn’t get it published, I was devastated. I wanted to give up writing at that point, to say ‘forget this’. It was a woman named Amanda who helped me move past it. I started reading one of her stories, Incubus, on BigWorldNetwork, which began to inspire me. It was emotional, well written, and for some reason I felt connected to it as a writer. So I started looking around the website her story was posted on weekly, and found an area to submit my writing.
I was still guarded about Mathieu, because after all, if no one wanted to publish it, how good could it have been? So I submitted another writing sample, and lo-and-behold, if Amanda wasn’t the person who replied to my email. I was immediately star-struck that an author I had begun to really love was reading my material, and talking to me about it. Telling me that the website wanted to take on my series.
Writing Lunar Grim was very cathartic for me, as it was the first thing I had written since my flop, and it helped me be willing to eventually pass Mathieu into the trusting hands of the BigWorldNetwork team, who worked with me to edit the original manuscript and get it up on the website. Amanda, who had first inspired me to start writing again, was my editor and frequent hand-holder through the hard parts, which just meant the world to me. Moving forward with writing as my new hobby, which is has been for years now, really put some things in perspective. It showed me I was capable of writing something solid, that I didn’t have to be scared of something not coming out the way I wanted. There was plenty of writing and re-writing for my stories, but it only made me better. It helped me figure out my rookie mistakes and how to fix them. To avoid them.
There is a cosplayer (aka Costume Player, or someone who creates costumes by hand and wears them), Riki LeCotey, that said something to me about Cosplay, another of my hobbies, that I think rings true for writing as well. She said, “No matter how long or frequently you [cosplay], there will always be issues. Things you didn’t notice at first will later become issues, once you learn to deal with and navigate the beginner problems. You will always look back and think, ‘I could have fixed that, or made this better’. You will always find ways to improve”.
I guess the things I’m trying to say are these: finding your motivation is important, as is letting your imagination go wild. Just because maybe the first thing you write might never sell or make you a big shot, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a critical part of your life; it means you finished something difficult start to finish. You committed and followed through. And the other thing is that sometimes, you just need a hand-holder. Every writer has a guru, and every guru has their own. Always be open to learning and growing, take your writing seriously but don’t let it get you down if you’re having a hard time.
Sometimes you have to let go and realize there will always be problems to fix.
Success is what you make of it.
And while all year long is all easy to forget, on Thanksgiving, I am thankful to NaNoWriMo for getting me started, Amanda and the BigWorldNetwork team for inspiring and supporting me, Riki for giving me her words of wisdom, and everyone who stuck with me along the way.
Paula Flumerfelt is a four year NaNoWriMo participant and the author of fantasy, action series Mathieu and the sci-fi series Lunar Grim. Both series can be read for free on BigWorldNetwork. Her title Mathieu is also available for Kindle through Amazon.
Hope you enjoyed today’s pep talk brought to you by the wonderfully talented Paula Flumerfelt. Have your own after NaNoWriMo story? Share it with us, we would love to hear it. And don’t forget we have one more author guest blog scheduled for tomorrow.