Camp NaNo: July 2019

I signed up! I’m doing it and let daily goal too! I’ve never done anything like this but I’m really enjoying my cabin, the support of my fellow campers and a chance to totally focus (as much as I can!) on my writing.

I’ve been sensible with my goal: 15,000 words for the month, just under 500 words a day. I’m also using Chris Fox’s 5k power hour method of weird sprinting which is stressful but do good!

Anyone else taking part in Camp NaNo?

I never win anything!

The last thing I remember winning was a bottle of Babycham from the Summer Fair raffle when I was at primary school. It promptly vanished and I never got to enjoy my prize, although my parents seemed quite chuffed (!) But, I can now say differently as I recently won a critique from a professional editor on the first 5000 words of my WIP!

I came across the giveaway on Kristin McTiernan’s new YouTube channel. Kristin is a professional editor and fellow author I know through Instagram (@kristinmagoo) and when she announced her new channel I immediately subscribed. I now eagerly await her videos to be uploaded. As someone who is self-editing one book and writing another, I devour any hints and tips I come across from editors and authors. Anything to help me improve. Her channel is no different.

One day whilst listening, I heard her mention a giveaway: a critique of 5000 words! I immediately entered with all my fingers and toes crossed. I’m nowhere near sending my manuscript off to editors, but I knew I would benefit from a professional’s opinion. Days later, a notification came through that I’d actually won!

After taking the weekend to make my first 5000 words as good as I could, I nervously pressed ‘send’ and a week later my critique arrived!

I received several pages covering “First Impressions”, “Grammar/Punctuation/Mechanics”, “Characters”, “‘Grab’ Factor” and “Editing Recommendations”.

As a teacher, I understand the benefit of constructive criticism, so the process didn’t faze me at all. It was great seeing the opening chapters from someone else’s point of view. Sequences and reactions were questioned which I would never have considered. Kristin herself was friendly with her critique but honest; the perfect combination needed to get manuscripts looking their best. I would highly recommend her and can already see improvements in my manuscript. All in all, it was a really positive experience. (Phew!)

If you’re in need of an editor or simply want to reach out, her website is can be found here.

NaNoWriMo 2018

As the dust settles for those who completed NaNoWriMo 2018, I’d like to reflect, as one who didn’t take part.

As a semi-full-time mother (with a broken laptop!), I knew there would be little point me taking part this year as I rarely get time to read let alone write, especially with Christmas on the horizon. But I’ve been watching colleagues on Instagram take part and following their journeys.

I won’t deny to being a smidgen jealous of those with the opportunity to take part, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them reflect and clock in their daily achievements. It’s been great seeing people post their graphs and their winner pages and being part of such an amazing journey. Because it is. Writing 50+K in a month is no mean feat!

So, will I take part next year? Honestly, no. I can’t see my situation changing that much to allow such dedication. (Though I do hope to have a new laptop soon!) My family comes first. People might argue that that shouldn’t be the case, that writing should be the most important thing in my life, but I can’t let it. Not when my child needs me. One year, I will get the opportunity so I shall enjoy that adventure when it happens.

If you are toying with the idea I would highly recommend it. The NaNoWriMo community is very supportive on Instagram (from what I saw), and would help make the experience even more special. Visit http://www.nanowrimo.org for more information. Happy writing!

What am I doing now?

There are two weeks left until the end of the academic year here in the UK so I’m currently struggling through tests and marking. I’m really looking forward to using naptimes on my author work rather than marking and planning.

My plans for the summer are:

  1. Edit my first draft to send to my editors.
  2. Organise my author website.
  3. Find a designer for my front cover.
  4. Finish a gift for any who sign up to my mailing list.
  5. Learn how to format properly
  6. Start plotting Book 2…

I think that should keep me out of mischief! *^_^*

A writer’s life ruled by naptimes

As a very lucky mother to a young toddler, I don’t get much free time for my writing (Yes, I could wake early but I’m so shattered from teething that that’s currently impossible). So my writing time is restricted to naptimes, unless that naptime is needed to do planning for my lessons.

So, yesterday I had a clear naptime and had got my laptop out to start writing when my neighbour comes round for a chat.

An hour’s chat!

I could have cried! I probably should have asked to get on with the work I was blatantly about to undergo, but I didn’t want to be rude. Then my toddler woke up and all hopes of writing were gone.

What would you have done?

Hopefully today will be more successful…

Traditional vs. Self Publishing

Now, back when I dusted off my novel in 2017, all I dreamt about was finishing it. After editing, I then just foresaw me sending it off to agents and waiting. Waiting for them to tell me I’m amazing *cough*; that they had to represent me; that great things lay before me; that I’d be the next J. K. Rowling (I know, I know)

I then stumbled across Joanna Penn and her website and learnt about self publishing. Of course, I already knew of it but never condidered it seriously. Why would I self publish? I have little time to write let alone manage everything else.

But then, on reflection, why wouldn’t I? Why wait on someone else to decide if people will or won’t like it? Why not let the people think for themselves? And I’ll get my free-time back one day. Right? Plenty of time then to edit, market and publish my book.