October 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue:

AnchorIt’s SWAGr Time

The Serious Writers’ Accountability Group is back, for its October Check-In.

How’s your writing going? Need to set some new goals to keep you on track?

Check out what other people have been up to and leave your own writing commitments in this month’s SWAGr comments section!

One big change: from November onwards, the SWAGr check-in date will move to the First of the Month (easier for us all to keep track of!).

That makes today the perfect time to try the SWAGr challenge:

AnchorNaNoWriMo Is Coming

I know, from previous years, that you lot love a challenge and a huge number of you will be plunging into National Novel Writers’ Month in November.

63% yes, 32 % no, 5% well...
Results of the 2013 survey

Some Unsolicited NaNo Advice

Outlining – Until I attempted novels, I was a dyed-in-the-wool ‘pantser’ (writing by the seat of your pants). Now, I’m more of a ‘write until I get stuck,  outline the next bit, write until I get stuck again’ kind of writer.

If you don’t have a clue about outlining (as I didn’t), I can’t recommend this book highly enough:

Million Dollar Outlines* by Dave Farland. And he actually does sell lots of novels, so his system works, at least for him. I like Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering* too, but it seemed to stall me, more than it helped me. Farland’s book was much better for my style of working. Take a look at them both and I hope one or other helps you. (*Amazon Affiliate links)

Mental Prep – Don’t forget about the free StoryADay Creative Challenge Workbook that you received when you first subscribed to this list. (Don’t know where it is? Get another copy here.)

It’s a kind of ‘guided meditation’ through the mental prep for a big challenge like NaNoWriMo. The workbook helps you:

  • Get excited about the challenge;
  • Think about practical ways to increase your odds of success/sticking to it;
  • Create a customized, personal ‘creative well’ that you can keep coming back to, throughout the challenge, to remind you about what you set out to do.

This is NOT an outlining tool, but rather a roadmap to your own creative goals (with your own personalized key to the pitfalls you want to avoid).

Training Runs – You wouldn’t run a marathon (or even a 5K) without doing a few training runs.

Sitting in a chair typing for 2000 words a day is more mentally and physically draining than you’d expect.

Naturally, I recommend short stories as a great way to warm up for a novel. You can write

  • Character studies,
  • Prequel events (that shape your characters/settings/mysteries),
  • Dialogues that explore the issues and characters in your novel-to-be.

Get writing NOW for November success!

If you’d like to get hold of a pre-made plan of how to get 10 short pieces written before Nov 1, AND support StoryADay at the same time, check out the Warm Up Your Writing Course in the StoryADay shop. It has three weeks’ worth of  writing assignments, audio lessons, workbooks, worksheets and handy checklists you can print and adorn with gold stars.

(If you’ve bought this in the past and have any problem accessing/finding your files, drop me a line and I’ll help you out.)

AnchorA Bit Of Fun

Even if you have no intention of writing a novel in November, you might enjoy this trip in to our blog archives in which I address writing, fear, and That Awkward Moment When I Met NaNoWriMo Founder Chris Baty


Well, that’s it from me, for now. I hope your October is delightful and filled with stories and Story Sparks. Don’t forget to check in at the Serious Writers’ Accountablity Group page and tell us what you’re up to (get your friends to come along and post too. There’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure!)
Tweet This:

I’m making a commitment to my writing this month. Dare to join me? http://bit.ly/SWAGr #amwriting

Keep writing,
JulieJulie DuffyAnchorP.S. Writer’s Digest is taking nominations now for their 101 Best Websites for Writers.  If you’ve enjoyed the StoryADay challenge, the community or the articles here, and would like to help expand StoryADay’s reach would you do me a favor and send an email to Writers.Digest@fwmedia.com with the subject line:”101 Best Websites”  and let them know what you love about StoryADay.org? They’re taking nominations until Dec 1. Thanks!

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