Thursday, November 6, 2014

Goofing Off For National Novel Writing Month.

Louis Shalako

It’s Nano Month and thousands of people are madly typing away at a novel.

For some, it’s their first time ever. Taking the time and making the commitment, finding that focus, and jamming out the material is a wonderful exercise for writers at almost any stage of the learning curve.

In past years, I did participate to the extent that I had everything cleaned up, or set aside, but instead, I would try and write as many short stories as I could.

It’s still a good exercise, but I don’t do it out of speculation in the Nano sense—where maybe someone in traditional publishing likes your story and they pick it up for publication.

That does happen, and it’s part of the allure of National Novel Writing Month.

My perspective is a little different from the typical Nano participant.

For one thing, short stories are an essential part of my business plan—if I sell a story, it gets the moniker out there and helps fund further business activities. Here’s Playing the Short Game, Douglas Smith’s book on marketing short stories.

But there are other considerations. At risk of bragging just a bit, I’ve already written and published two 60,000+ word novels in 2014. I’ve written and published numerous novellas and short stories under five different pen-names so far this year. I’ve sold four stories this year, and who knows, maybe there’s still time for one more.

I’m not committed to Nano, but it’s a good idea not to waste the time. Starting into another novel, and trying to finish it before the end of the year, just so I could say that I did it, is essentially vanity. It also puts a lot of pressure on someone who has been working pretty hard for some years now, with a few short breaks here and there—none of which lasted more than a couple of weeks.

I also have a couple of websites that need some work.

I could conceivably put up thirty or forty book profile pages on Kindleboards, something I’ve been meaning to get around to. I’m fairly prolific as a writer, and this is just something I’ve been neglecting.

That job might not get finished, but it definitely needs some doing. Also, I need to learn how to change the marketing images on some of the pages that are already there. With the old images, I’m kind of reluctant to waste my time by posting them once a week. This may be problematical anyways, once you get a few dozen titles out there.

At that point, (assuming it's still November) my list of story ideas comes into play.

The thing to do is to either find the one big story that I absolutely must do—or just pick something, lesbian salamanders from hell or something, and just go. Just do it. Crank that first one out and go from there. The odds are I can still write a half-dozen stories by the end of the month and then I’ve got something to submit or just flog to all the reading junkies out there.

Taking care of business is important. I’ve never been able to write ten to sixteen hours a day anyway. After every novel there is a kind of downtime, where you sort of wonder what the hell you’re going to do next.

Sometimes it takes a while to figure out. The trouble is that time is precious and nothing lasts forever.

Creating new content is my number one overriding priority, and so we can only afford to goof off for so long.

But, at least I have a reason for not doing Nano.

For those who are participating, good luck to you and have fun with it.

Throw your heart and soul into it and you can hardly go wrong.

It’s okay to take a day off once in a while—although I tend not to. It's kind of hard to break that obsession.

In that sense it’s still fun.

Otherwise why would anyone ever want to do it, right?

Other than that, up above is the upgraded image for Time Storm.


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