Becky Alexander: 1,264 Days

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Pastor Becky Alexander, author of One Smile, One Arm. Becky’s book includes a collection of stories that originated on her blog

I waited one thousand two hundred sixty-four days for it, and when it came, I wasn’t home.

My book One Smile, One Arm began as a single post on a new blog on December 27, 2009. I actually have someone I don’t like very much to thank for it, though I will never admit that to him. This person had done some infuriating things and my stress level was through the roof. I decided as a distraction I would write a story about my life, something in

Pastor Becky Alexander offers 25 heartwarming and humorous stories about life with a short arm.

Pastor Becky Alexander offers 25 heartwarming and humorous stories about life with a short arm.

which he could not have an ounce of input. As I wrote, the words poured out onto the page. They were words about my first job, and my first experience of discrimination…

I looked at her blankly and blurted out, “What?” Confused, I replayed the words in my head. I couldn’t process them. I struggled, “What does my arm have to do with custard-filled doughnuts?” I simply could not make the connection. 

In that one unexpected moment, I was introduced to the rest of my life.

I titled the story “Custard-Filled Doughnuts” and you can find it on page 25 in my book. Writing the story energized me, renewed my wounded spirit. So I kept doing it. Three weeks later, I posted “Capitol Hill. ” Six weeks after that, I posted “Dumbest Question.” I continued writing and I never stopped.

Over a period of three years, I accumulated twenty-five stories about my life experiences with one arm. I toyed with the idea of getting them published, even submitted them a few places. One of my posts, “Friday Night Lights,” was included in a book called When God Makes Lemonade. But this January, as I listed my goals for 2013, I got serious about it. Goal #4 stated: Publish One Smile, One Arm.

Becky shot this photo upon receiving the first copy of her book.

The trouble was I had no idea how to publish a book. I just dove in. I found a publisher, WestBow Press. I attended the “Called to Write Conference” in Pittsburg, Kansas to learn all I could. I pushed through the submission phase, the editorial phase, the cover design phase, and the book interior design phase. Then in early June, I received this email message:

Production of your book is now complete and we are ready to send the book files to printer. Congratulations on the publication of your book!

Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s all I’ve got to say. On June 12, 2013, a package arrived in the mail—and I wasn’t home to receive it. I guess I can’t complain, as I was in Hawaii. My daughter Cassie opened the package and texted me a picture.

I have loved this journey of 1,264 days. So now what? On to the next journey!

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Alice Anderson: Author of more than 60 books shares why she chose WestBow Press

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Alice Anderson; who’s authored more than 60 books — this summer penning eight simultaneously. As a ghostwriter, she’s never credited with many of her literary creations.  Alice did put her name on one of her latest works though, “Through the Bible in High Heels,” recently self-published with WestBow Press.

Anderson coverThe bottom line on why I chose WestBow Press?  It was the marketing and distribution services that lured me in.  If I’m going to continue to support myself by authoring books, I need to concentrate on the actual writing process and on marketing my services as an author-for-hire or ghostwriter. Obviously I do as much marketing of my own books as I can: speaking at women’s groups, writers’ groups, and hosting book signings I’ve arranged across New England. I also knew I could not get as wide a distribution by myself as a royalty publisher could provide. That was especially relevant for my latest book, Through the Bible in High Heels, published by WestBow Press.

Nothing in the literary world is as difficult for me as catching my own typos and bloopers.  Even though I always read a finished manuscript aloud to catch things the eyes miss, “oopsies” still fly under my radar.  My eyes look at my manuscript and see it as a mother sees her only child: perfect—except it almost never is.  The editorial services at WestBow caught things I would have never noticed, because I’m too close to my own work.  And they did it nicely, without making me feel like a neophyte.

Writing a book during your lifetime is quite an accomplishment, Alice Anderson’s written more than 60.

The WestBow staff is wonderful to work with!  (Yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition.  Horrors!  This is one author who’s been around the printing press a few dozen times, but please remember, I’m writing to you as a friend, not a grammar guru.)  Every person I interfaced with at WestBow was pleasant, efficient, professional, and excited about my book.  That meant a great deal to someone working at home alone.  I really didn’t feel alone on this project, because WestBow staff were a phone call away, cheering me on and answering my concerns as they arose.

By the time the complimentary copies of High Heels arrived, I actually felt sadness at not being able to work with them anymore!  Maybe I should write another book and have WestBow publish it? Actually, Through the Bible in Work Boots is already written and waiting in the wings. Too many husbands wanted to know when I was going to write one for them. Can the teenagers be far behind?

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Gordon C. Helsel: Fulfilling a Battlefield Promise to God

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Gordon C. Helsel; Vietnam veteran, speaker and author of  “The Day God Showed Up.” 

The motivation for my book, The Day God Showed Up, began with an encounter in the confines of my kitchen while my wife and I enjoyed our first cup of coffee for the day. Suddenly a strange quiet came over me and I could not hear a word my wife was saying. Even the usual barking and playing of our Yorkshire Terriers became inaudible. The room was completely silent.

I was in sort of a fog and I heard an inner voice saying very plainly: “Do you remember what you promised Me 40-plus years ago?”

I knew right away what the message meant. I had made a promise to God when I was a U.S. Army sergeant bleeding to death in the Vietnam War. I said, “If you get me out of this, I will do whatever you want me to do!”

After I heard the Voice, my experiences in Vietnam came flooding back.

February 27, 1968 was the worst day of my life. I was convinced it would be my last day on Earth. Yet as I reveal in the book, God had mercy on me and He showed up to save my life in a most surprising way.

Our mission on that day was to find and destroy the 2nd Battalion of hardened, well-trained North Vietnamese. It was about midday as my company moved toward the summit of a vast mountain. I saw my friends Mike and Art die and, as I describe in the book, I will always remember their faces. I’m not alone with these memories. Virtually all combat veterans forever remember their fallen brothers in arms.

After Mike and Art died, I ran firing to my left. The first bullet hit my left side, right under my heart. Somehow I got to my feet and started to run again. The next bullet struck my left forearm. That took me down and I couldn’t move because blood gushed from my wound with every beat of my heart.

After the miracle that saved my life, someone picked me up and took me to safety. I couldn’t speak, but as I stared at the sky, I made my promise to God.

Many miracles took place on that trail. The interaction with folks who’ve read my book is simply phenomenal. Some told me about how God showed up for them in their times of crisis. Many said they couldn’t put the book down. Many cried and said they recommend it to other veterans to help them heal from their battle scars.

I take no credit for the book. I wrote it to thank God and everyone who honorably served our country. I pray that everyone who reads it will fully understand: To God be the glory!

- Gordon C. Helsel
11/4/2013

Note: Mr. Helsel will be holding a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Alexandria, Va., on Nov. 10 (details); and a Veteran’s Day event at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Va., on Nov. 11 (details). More information on Mr. Helsel is available at www.TheDayGodShowedUp.com.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


WestBow Authors Attend the Book-to-Screen PitchFest New York 2013

Shauna Mayer, author of WestBow Press title “Confessions of 5 Christian Wives,” practices her pitch with Keith Ogorek.

This past weekend, around 100 authors came together in the heart of Times Square in New York City at the Marriott Marquis for the Book to Screen PitchFest event, where authors learn how to pitch their book’s movie, television and theater potential to entertainment representatives and then have the chance to pitch their stories. WestBow Press was represented at this event by two authors who pitched their Christian stories to representatives from a range of top companies in television, film, and talent management.

During the event, authors heard from Robert Kosberg, known as Hollywood’s “King of the Pitch.” Mr. Kosberg has had years of experience pitching stories that ultimately are made in to movies. On Saturday morning he gave an entertaining and informative lecture, stressing the importance of having a great idea that you can present in a compelling way. After the lecture, the group divided into three rooms to practice delivering their two minute pitch directly to either Mr. Kosberg; Keith Ogorek, Senior VP of Global Marketing for Author Solutions; or Caroline Weiss, Author Solutions’ Director of New Media.

Kenneth Regan, author of “A Christmas Miracle Comes to Holy Nativity,” attended the recent PitchFest in New York City.

During this practice round they were given  advice about improving their pitch, and benefited from hearing the advice and pitches for the other authors in their group. WestBow Press author Shauna Mayer, who wrote her non-fiction book “Confessions of 5 Christian Wives,” presented her pitch and was told during the practice round that it sounded like it would make a great faith-based reality TV show. After the practice round and Mr. Kosberg’s lecture, Mayer and the other authors were able to revise their pitches and present their ideas in the most compelling way.

The afternoon brought the main event, a speed-dating style series of pitching books to New York entertainment representatives. Using their new skills, authors told their story in two minutes or less to nine different companies. The pitches were scored.  Representatives interested in any of the stories pitched, have the option of requesting a full manuscript for review.

Kenneth Regan, author of “A Christmas Miracle Comes to Holy Nativity” from WestBow Press, said this about his pitching experience:

“I entered the event hotel with trepidation not knowing what lay ahead.  But from my first greeting at the event, I was made to feel comfortable.  The opening night was a chance to meet other authors, which I found to be a very supportive community.  We also met the speakers who would lead us through the weekend.  They were informative and made themselves available throughout the event to answer any questions, offer suggestions, and calm nerves.  The advice and coaching made us well prepared for our pitches.  While the pitching experience was quite nerve-wracking, it also proved to be exhilarating.  The event was put together well, making for a positive overall experience.  Even if nothing else comes from it, it proved to be a valuable learning experience.  And who knows what it may lead to?”

 


Eileen K Parsons: Writing, Selling, and Keeping Your Sanity

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Eileen K Parsons; author of “The First Rose of Summer.”

Prior to publishing my novel, “The First Rose of Summer,” if anyone had ever said to me, “The writing part is easy,” I would have thought they were crazy.  I’ve been writing for years.  Some days the words flow easily.  Other days, just focusing on the computer screen takes real effort.  Writing is a part of me.  I love it, but never would I say “it’s easy.”

Editing is far more difficult, sometimes downright painful.  Those first changes are the hardest.  ParsonsThese words are a part of you.  It’s like being told to cut off a finger.  But, the editor is an expert, it’s their job.  So, just as we don’t need eleven fingers, that extra, unnecessary scene has to be cut.  And, once finished, the editing has made your work greater.

Finally, it’s written, it’s edited, it’s sent to the publisher.  Release dates are set, launches are scheduled.  By the grace and direction of the Lord, your book is ready for the masses.  Your private launch is successful; family and friends buy your book and, thanks to their recommendations to their family and friends, your first public signing is also a success.

Those first signings, however, are not reality.  The real work is about to begin.

The independent book store hosts your next signing.  Refreshments are offered.  You set up your table, pray for God’s continued blessing and smile as the doors open.  Two people walk in.  Both stop for refreshments.  One takes cookies and coffee, tips his hat to you and promptly leaves the store.  The second customer walks over to your table, munching on a cookie and sipping their coffee.

“So, you wrote this?  Where can I get a copy?” they ask, admiring the cover and reading the description.

“Well, yes I did write it, and you can get it here, in this store,” you reply with a smile.

“No, I mean is it available in a real bookstore?  You know, like (chain bookstore)?”

You feel that “you’ve-got-to-be-kidding” look on your face.  “Yes, it’s available through (chain bookstore),” you reply.  You’d like to add, “This IS a real book store.  Look around!”  But, you don’t; you remain professional.

“Okay, thanks,” they say, turning away, scattering cookie crumbs as they leave the store.

Selling our book is the hardest stage.  Frustration and discouragement taunt us endlessly.  To overcome them, we must remember that not everyone wants what we offer.  Don’t take it personally.  More importantly, we must focus on God and His hand in our journey.  Trusting Him and His call on our life will help us stay sane, even as the cookie crumbs trail out the door.

-  Eileen K Parsons
10/12/13

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Cynthia Eggl: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Author Shares Her Story of Survival

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Cynthia Eggl; breast cancer survivor and author of ““Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace – My Journey through Breast Cancer.”

I completed monthly breast self-exams, annual mammograms starting at age forty, annual physicals, with no indication of breast cancer.  Excruciating breast pain radiating out under my left arm finally forced me to my doctor’s office. Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family; I’m the first to be diagnosed with this disease. I was stunned when I learned I had stage

Cynthia Eggl chats with a reader at a recent book signing.

Cynthia Eggl chats with a reader at a recent book signing.

2b breast cancer in April 2011. Despite having a double lumpectomy, removal of nine lymph nodes, sixteen chemo, and thirty-three radiation treatments, I decided I would take action to help others—by educating people about being proactive, rather than reactive, and encouraging and inspiring them to offer up their walk to God, should they be placed in a similar circumstance. I chose faith over worry!

There is no doubt in my mind that God entrusted me with the message of hope, which I shared when I published my book, Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace—My Journey through Breast Cancer. Publishing a book was never on my bucket list. Many family members and those closest to me told me what an inspiration I had been to them and others throughout my battle. Writing my journal was cathartic—it helped me deal with my emotions, allowing me to provide updates as to how I was coping. But it also provided a way to spread the message to trust in God during challenging times, to educate people about awareness, preventative care, and offered a look from a patient’s perspective in surviving this grueling health ordeal as I fought for my life.

Eggl CoverA recent gratifying moment occurred when I stopped in an office to drop off my signed books, and by the time I left, I had sold and signed three more books. One person purchased my book because of a recent TV story I had done, and she wanted her sister, who had been recently diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer, to be able to read it for encouragement. I have six book-signing events scheduled during October and November, giving me a chance to thank people for their prayers, compassion, and support.

I am still fighting the side effects of my breast cancer battle today, but I take whatever it is God gives me and make the most of every day. My favorite quote is, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” I am quite simply grateful to be alive!

My book is available as an ebook, in paperback and hardcover, published by Westbow Press.  More information can be found at www.boundlessblessingsandgodsgrace.com or my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Cynthia-J-Eggl/137992159692239

- Cynthia Eggl
10/3/2013

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Sheryll Sanderson: Attending the 2013 Women of Faith Conference in Orlando, Fla.

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Sheryl Sanderson; author of “The Consequences of Choice:”

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 2013 Women of Faith Conference in Orlando, Florida with a friend of mine. It was our first time at a women’s conference, so we really did not know what to expect. Our experience was electric and fulfilling.

WestBow Press author Sheryll Sanderson stops by the WestBow Press booth at 2013 Women of Faith Conference - Orlando

WestBow Press author Sheryll Sanderson stops by the WestBow Press booth at 2013 Women of Faith Conference – Orlando

Lisa Harper, Holly Wagner, and Sheila Walsh were outstanding, and the stories they shared were heartbreaking. However, they did not dwell on the pain, but rather the strength they received through Christ Jesus. They were an inspiration for everyone.

Mark Lowry was hilarious when he spoke of “life’s interruptions.” The fact that he wrote the song “Mary Did You Know?” was a great surprise, and then when he performed it for us, well that just blew us away. The real treat was getting to hear Max Lucado, one of my favorite authors. His gentle speak and inspiring words offered hope and peaceful reflection.

During the breaks, I walked around with the young woman I came with, and we stopped by the WestBow Press tables. It was so exciting to see my e-book stubs there among all the other stubs. I could tell my book was in very good company. By the end of the conference, all of the stubs were gone, indicating a very successful two days.

Thank you, WestBow Press for doing such a beautiful job in the publication of my book, and for your constant support and encouragement. I pray that everyone who reads this will explore your website and take a look at the books they have published and consider a purchase. They are all exceptional and WestBow Press’s quality of work is second to none.

Sanderson Cover

As an aside, just to show how God works in our lives, during the time I was writing my book,
The Consequences of Choice,” I was in great distress, hoping and praying that I was doing it for God’s glory and nothing else. During a time when I was questioning my motives, I prayed that God would show me that this was what He wanted.

Several days later, I received a call from WestBow Press asking me if I was interested in publishing my book. That was enough for me to know that God was behind my… no, our project. If anyone is considering writing a book to glorify our God and King, I urge you to consider WestBow Press.

May God bless and keep you all safe.

- Sheryll Sanderson
@imamarinemom2
9/27/13

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Sarah Hixon: What She’s Learned About Book Marketing and Signings

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Sarah Hixon;  author of “Nuggets: Establishing a Daily Quiet Time:”

Author Sara Hixon signed copies of her book at a local Chick-fil-A. Her pastor ‘s wife helped arrange the signing.

I wanted to share some of my learning in regards to marketing and book signings for my new book. I was blessed to recently publish the devotional book, Nuggets: Establishing a Daily Quiet Time. My pastor was very supportive of me writing the book, and he actually wrote the Foreword. He told me that he wanted to give copies of the book to new believers at our church. The Lord put it on my heart to donate five copies a month to my church for this purpose. I also give a discount to the church for any copies that they purchase. Shortly after the book was published, I asked my pastor if it would be possible to have a book signing at the church to announce and celebrate this opportunity that the Lord had provided. He agreed and the book signing was a big success with 40 books sold!

Another opportunity I had was to do a book signing at a local Chick-fil- A. Our pastor’s wife knew the owners and she inquired if they would be interested in hosting a book signing. They told her to have me call their marketing consultant. I gave the marketing consultant a complimentary copy of the book. After we set the date for the book signing, I began to invite friends via email about 2 weeks before the event. Because many of the people I invited already had a book, I told the invitees not to feel obligated to buy a book, but by coming to the signing, they would support Chick-fil-A and say thank you to them for hosting this signing. Sixty friends and family attended and 35 books were sold! Many who bought books already had one and wanted to buy some for their friends and family. I also had a drawing to give away four free books. I was blessed to have this marketing opportunity, and Chick-fil-A was excited to get 60 additional customers that evening!

I am currently working with another Chick-fil-A to have another book signing. I called and talked with their manager and she in turn put me in touch with their marketing consultant. I plan to invite different friends this time, including neighbors and coworkers, inviting most via email, flyers and conversations about 2 weeks before the event. Looking forward to what God has in store!

Blessings,

- Sara Hixon
9/25/13

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Joel Trenkle: Book Leads to New Calling, Congregation in Montana

"Abide in Me"From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Joel Trenkle; co-author of “AIM, Abide in Me:” 

I chose WestBow after researching several other companies. My decision was made in part because of a two-for-one promotion.  My expectations of WestBow have been more than met.  I have been amazed at the support I have had with the publishing of the first book and the writing of the second. In our book, AIM, Abide in Me, I used areas of my own life to demonstrate how a person can walk through their own personal journey and see how God has been with them through the good times and the tragedies. At the end of each chapter, there is a section for personal reflection and meditation on the key point of each chapter, whether it be forgiveness, repentance, or celebration. A person in Denver, Colorado, gave a copy of the book to her parents and to her in-laws who live in Montana for a Christmas gift. I received a message from her mother-in-law, stating that her pastor was trying to retire and that they had not found a replacement for him.  She said after reading the book, she thought I would be a good fit. My wife and co-author Doni and I prayed about this.  We told her we would not want to have to explain to our Lord why we would selfishly not do something He asked us to do.  We came to Montana and met the congregation. This was a forty-year-old church which had no ministries, no outreach; not even an e-mail address.  I preached on two Sundays, and we returned to Colorado. We received a call asking us to come and shepherd this beautiful congregation.  We sold our home and left Colorado, six children, and twelve grandchildren. We are happily serving our Lord and Savior, Jesus, at Dayspring Mission in Sheridan, Montana.

- Dr. Joel N. Trenkle
9/14/13

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

 

 


Writing Tip & Prompt: 3/15/13

On Fridays we like to share writing tips and tricks with our readers.  We hope this section will encourage and inspire you to continually improve as a writer.
 
Writing Tip – Perspective
 
Walk around the block or hike a new trail. Absorb your surroundings. Stop, turn around and look back, observing where you have just been. This change of perspective offers a surprisingly different view. Pay attention to the details you failed to see when walking forward and how those details alter the scenario. It is this backward or alternate perspective that will help to open up your story while discovering uniqueness from another view.

Find Your Special PlaceWriting Prompt – Find your Special Place
 
Within each of us is that special place. A place we look to for comfort, for happiness, for warmth. It is a collaboration of sight, sound and feeling, that even when simply thought of, you are able to relive this place with its sensations centered in your being. It may be the sound of the ocean and the waves curling over your toes, sand beneath your feet. Or the heat from your grandmother’s oven with the smell of her home-baked pies strategically placed on the checkered tablecloth. Think of this place – this feeling – and dig deeper. Find the meaning behind its importance. Write about each ordinary detail that makes up your special place.


5 Steps to Success for National Novel Writing Month

You’ve probably known for a while that you want to write a book. Now, all you need to do is get the words onto the page. Of course, anyone who has ever sat down to write anything more than a grocery list knows that it’s rarely so simple.

But just as every thousand-mile journey must begin with a first step, every 50,000-word novel must begin with one single word. And that’s the great thing about National Novel Writing Month. Even if you’re not one of the “winners” who reaches the prose promised land of writing a 50,000-word manuscript between Nov. 1 and 30, you’ll still be on your way to completing your book.

By signing up at nanowrimo.org, you’re challenging yourself, holding yourself accountable and gaining access to a community of like-minded marathon writers.

So use this advice from a two-time NaNoWriMo participant; then go forth and make the most out of your November writing opportunities, NaNoWriMo or no.

  1. Be Accountable – One of the most important aspects of NaNoWriMo is the accountability factor. That’s why you should tell as many people as possible that you’ll be going for the 50,000-word goal in November. The more people you tell, the more help you’ll have during the challenge.
  2.  Seek Support – Take advantage of all the resources available through NaNoWriMo. In addition to receiving pep talks via Twitter, Facebook, email and more, you can use the site to connect with other writers in your community. These people can be your allies as you work through difficult passages or find yourself growing weary.
  3.  Prepare – Have an idea of who your characters will be and what they’ll be doing. Some people like to outline or have a rough three-act structure in mind; others storyboard. Do what works for you, but do it.
  4.  Focus – Figure out what time of the day and in what environment you write best. Then make a date with your writing desk every single day at that time (or two or three times a day if you work better in shorter spurts). 
  5.  Go with God – Should all else fail – the plot you started with begins to unravel; or you feel your focus slipping – come back to this: “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another … Do it with all the strength and energy God supplies.  Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 4:10, 11

Whether or not you decide to join the hundreds of thousands of people all over the world participating in National Novel Writing Month this November, trust that you have what it takes to complete your book. Now go forth and write!


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