Day One, Motivation, NaNoWriMo, Pay It Forward, productivity, Targets, Writing your Book

Writing Your Book, Part Four—On Your Marks, Get Set…

…and this is what you get after completing your marathon!


November 1st each year fires the starting gun on National Novel Writing Month. Join up, and you commit to writing 50,000 words over the month of November (that works out at a shade under 1,700 words a day)

If you’ve read Part One of this series, (you can find it here), you’ll know that making a firm commitment and telling other people what you’re going to do makes it easier to succeed. Putting the news out there gives you an immoveable target, and spreading the word makes it harder for you to back out!

There are all sorts of participation and milestone badges to achieve through NaNoWriMo as you work toward the goal of writing your book.  Fill in your profile on the NaNoWriMo site to link up with thousands of other authors. You’ll find encouragement, and you can then pay it forward by helping others through their own sticky writing patches.

Any completed word count is a success story. If you achieve the ultimate and manage to reach the heroic target of 50k words, you’re judged a winner. You get a fancy certificate, like the one above. More importantly, you’ll have the satisfaction of proving to yourself you can stick with your project for a concentrated period of thirty days.

I find NaNoWriMo really useful spur to productivity. It gives me the motivation to start a project, and other members give me the support to continue. Why not try it this year? You can find out more at—sign in, and you’ll be ready for Day One tomorrow!

Aims and Objectives, Project Management, Targets, Writing

Three Top Tips For Managing Your Writing Project…

by Antonio Litterio

  1. Keep all your notes. That’s easy advice for natural hoarders! You also need some way of finding exactly what you want, when you want it without being distracted by other interesting snippets along the way. WWILF (or What Was I Looking For?) is a constant danger when trawling through files, whether they’re computer or paper. Mustrum Ridcully’s First Available Horizontal Surface method of filing only works until you actually want to find something. Organize your computer documents into files, give each one a memorable name and make a separate, detailed index somewhere else, to make sure you can still recall important data instantly. Sticking the word “cat” into your computer’s search box will give you a list of every single document you’ve created where those three letters occur in that order. Make sure you have some way of narrowing down your search between Persians, catalogues, catastrophes and category romance.  For paper records, empty cardboard boxes are great for storage if you’re on a tight budget. Save old foolscap envelopes to subdivide your projects within each box.
  2. Now you’ve found your notes, get writing-and make sure you do! Set yourself a target that’s magnificent, yet achievable.  Be specific, and set yourself a time limit. That way, you’ve got something to work toward. You can measure your target, celebrate your successes and fine-tune your efforts. Your aim might be  “I’m going to write a 60,000 word historical romance by 31st December”. Write it down in your diary, make a note on your phone and add a sticker to your lap-top, so your target’s always in your sights. That 300 day-long task starts with one session, so break your project down into easily manageable chunks. Work out how many words you’ll need to write each day to hit your target, and aim for that. Celebrate when you reach it, or work out what to do differently if you don’t. 
  3. Rise to the challenge. If you’re finding the work hard going, reduce the job into still smaller, more achievable segments. Use every trick you can think of to keep you moving forward: make a chart and colour in squares, don’t go out for that coffee until you’ve reached your goal, or set a kitchen timer for one hour, then write as much as you can before the alarm goes off. Take a tea break, then repeat. Use your competitive instinct to try and beat your previous word-count. If you’re on Twitter, join up with others for the regular  #1k1hr challenges. It always helps to know you’re not alone, and others will gain inspiration from you, too. If the words really won’t come, take a walk, have a bath, a nap or try doing some puzzles. Giving your brain a rest from the hard work of creative writing can re-boot your imagination. When the words start flowing again, finish your writing session while you’ve still got lots to give. Then you’ll be raring to go the next time you start!
I write both contemporary and historical fiction – when I’m not cooking, gardening or beekeeping. You can catch up with me on Twitter and Facebook, see a full list of my published books at and get full details of my latest release, Jewel Under Siege, here.
Christina Hollis author, running, Targets

Monday Fun Run – Part 3

My first running sessions had been done in private, on a treadmill, well out of sight of anyone. As a reward for being brave enough to go out running on the roads, I bought myself a cheap sports watch so I would know when to alternate my minutes of running and walking. It was either that, or keep on carrying the kitchen timer! The thought of being seen running at all was embarrassing enough. For someone to spot me with the timer would have ended my running career before it started.
It was my birthday during the week, which luckily fell on a rest day. A bad reaction to an insect bite on my foot meant I could barely walk anyway, so I spent the day in the garden being waited on by my lovely family.  I made this my weekly treat – a whole day doing nothing but reading, writing and generally pottering about.
Going out for a run the next day was a bit difficult, but it was amazing how much better I felt once I made the effort and got out into the fresh air – and drizzle, which was fast becoming a fixture in my running life!