I’m stepping down for a time.

Here’s the deal. I’m going to take a bit of a break from blogging. I’ve published 1,041 posts (today is 1,042) and I’ve only missed 1 scheduled day since I started over 3 years ago. And that has been well and good, but aside from a few flash fiction pieces, I haven’t written on any of my book projects. I haven’t been able to get one step closer to the goal for which I started blogging in the first place.

As I have told plenty of groups of writers, a blog can be an excellent part of your platform (your credentials when trying to get a book published), and that was the initial reason that I started mine. I wanted to have a space where people could read my writing. I wanted to improve my writing by making sure that I had my buns in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard everyday. But most of all, I wanted my blog to work for my writing career.

It has… to a point. I don’t think I’d be working as a marketing manager for Discovery House had I not blogged and learned a bit about the world of social media. I know I wouldn’t have been qualified to speak at the writers conferences of which I’ve been a part over the years. And those things have helped me make real connections to other writers (and the publishing world is driven by connections). But at the end of the day, if you don’t have a book of your own, you aren’t going to get anything published, regardless of how many connections you have.

nanowrimoI plan to finish one of my novels during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is in November. I’m going to take the month of October to prepare. If I have extra time, I may throw something up on my blog from time to time, but it isn’t going to be consistent.

The good news is that if you think you are missing on my daily posts, there are 1,041 other posts to read on here. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss any of my newly published posts, the best thing to do is the sign up on my email list for email notifications.

Now, if I don’t see you again for a couple of months, happy reading! And if you, like me, are going to write a novel this November, happy writing! See you on the other side.

The Value of Writing in Groups

I am a Weakling.

For those of you who don’t know, I belong to a writers group called the Weaklings. This group was created by a shared interest, then bound in the flames of the 3-Day Novel Contest. We began that first 3-Day Novel experience as friends and emerged as brethren. And we’ve been writing together ever since.

I know that some of my friends and readers are participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For those of you who have thrown down the writing gauntlet this month, I have two pieces of advice.

  1. Write with other writers.
  2. Stop reading blogs and get back to writing your novel.

And since you are ignoring the second piece of advice, let’s expound upon the first.

Here are some of the advantages of writing in groups:

  • Writing can be a lonely time. It’s good to have humans around to remind you to be human.
  • It takes a lot less time to bounce a plot idea off someone in the same room. If you venture online to get your interaction, you are likely to get sucked into a social media vortex and lose hours on your novel project.
  • It is fun to shout out word counts and random times with other writers to spur each other on.
  • You are more likely to sit and write when you are surrounded by people who are sitting and writing. No one wants to feel like the outsider.
  • Other writers won’t judge you for asking advice on how to murder one of your characters. Other writers understand.

So for any local friends who are participating in NaNoWriMo, here’s a link to some gatherings in the Grand Rapids area. Don’t hesitate to go just because you don’t know anyone there. You’ll have at least one thing in common with even the strangest of them, and you’ll be ignoring their presence for most of the time anyway.

And if you aren’t doing NaNoWriMo this year, the rules still hold true for writers who want to get some writing done. I know how thankful I am for my fellow Weaklings. I hope all of you can find a group of writers like mine.