Time to get real. It is 2:07 p.m. on November 1 and I am already procrastinating about beginning National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. I took Sarah Harriet out to lunch, set up the Evenstar Little Library in the laundry room in my apartment complex, read chapters in Bill Bryson’s new book, fondled my renewed passport, and fiddled around with email. It is time to write, as one friend would say, “No shit, no kidding.”
Seventy nine words in the last paragraph. Only need 49,921 more words by midnight November 30, 2013.
I accomplished this goal two years ago when I was living in St Heliers, Auckland. I wrote the first draft of Death by Sand and Gravel, a mystery featuring Felicity, an American penguin scientist who finds a body in a construction site in St Heliers. It kick-started me on the writing path and taught me that I can write every day for several hours and produce something worthwhile.
Since I am an avid fan of mysteries, especially the classics by Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh, I assumed that my preordained genre would be mysteries. I working on revisions of my novel, joined Sisters in Crime, and attended the Left Coast Crime conference. Lo, it turns out I am miserable at creating and sustaining conflict. I want all of my characters to play nice and quickly resolve their differences through communication.
Travel fever returned with vengeance once I was resettled in California and back in funds making a segue to travel writing easy. Plus in the course of researching my main character Felicity, I grew increasingly enamored with penguins. I envisioned a “Penguin Guide to Penguin Viewing in New Zealand” in the classic orange Penguin paperback. It also provides an excuse for returning to New Zealand and seeing all of the country, as if an excuse is needed.
One of the first Capital Crimes chapter meeting I attended featured a youngish writer who was not only writing her mysteries, but independently publishing and promoting them through her own media company. This appealed to me even though it requires so much more work. I like many aspects of the publishing process. It also affords more control and currently the barriers to the marketplace are smashed up.
I launched On Your Radar Media Company and new blog Adventures of American Julie this summer. The plan is to write approximately 10,000 word travel essays with photos. These will be marketed through Kindle and directly via On Your Radar Media Company for 99 cents. I will also continue writing my penguin guide, a full size travel guide published by On Your Radar Media Company as an e-book in the United States. Hopefully I will find a traditional New Zealand publisher to print and market paperbacks in New Zealand. One day you will be able to walk into a visitor center in Tauranga and buy a copy of my guide.
My Nanowrimo will be slightly twisted as I plan to write at least two of these short publications and many blog posts to make up my 50,000 words. I will be honoring the spirit of Nanowrimo although not producing a novel. I am hoping that the discipline required for Nanowrimo will also help me rebalance consulting and writing in my life. All of the recommendations are for establishing a certain time that is your writing time. That will not work for me, instead I am going to set aside 3-4 hours everyday at some part of the day to write.
Nanowrimo, the non-profit organization, gives out certificates and other “rewards” for writing 50,000 words. I am more interested in getting a couple of these essays from my head onto paper, to an editor, to a book layout artist and onto Kindle. I outlined two essays, tentatively titled “Hip and Chic Guide to the World of Wearable Art,” and “Hip and Chic Knitter’s Guide to Norway.” I have a third idea for a guide to volunteers on short-term missions or Habitat for Humanity builds. The outline is not as well-developed and it is available if my writing gets smoking hot. There is also always my funny penguins.