NaNo is Over but Your Writing JuJu has Just Begun By Raina Schell


Today we welcome back Author Raina Schell to Writer’s Fun Zone as she shares with us “NaNo is Over but Your Writing JuJu has Just Begun.” Enjoy!


In the spirit of NaNo past I wanted to focus this month’s article on “how to take it with you.” For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writer’s Month where the challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. If you haven’t done it before I suggest you do!

My personal NaNo story is – I had been working on my first novel for 15 years, yup that’s correct. But I hadn’t really… What that means is I’d work on it feverishly for a few months and then put it away for years, then work on it again for a bit and so on and so forth. After I joined a writer’s group people would ask me “what are you working on” and I would tell them. Then they’d ask “how far are you? Or “when will you be done?” or something else along those lines and I’d have to admit I’d been working on it forever. Last year a group member said to me, “Why don’t you just finish it? NaNo is next month, finish it then.” I had never heard of NaNo and just hearing this woman I didn’t know tell me to “just do it” was the push I needed to get it done.

RSNaNoCuteI joined NaNo in 2013 and wrote my first novel. This year (November 2014) I joined again and wrote the prequel. Are they “finished finished”? No. But each of them are over 50,000 words and I am rewriting. So what makes a writer actually sit down and write? That’s the question I found myself asking. And there are a lot of answers, for most people there are different things and different reasons. The one issue that is undeniable however is consistency. When you take any writing challenge you HAVE to produce. Let’s say you set a goal to write 5,000 words a week. You do the math and find out that’s 715 words a day and then, no matter what, you make that happen. If you’re too tired when you get home from work you sit down and write anyway. If you have a lunch break, you write during lunch. Sometimes I take out my laptop in my car (not while driving) and write there. The one thing I’ve found that’s more important than anything else is forming that habit and NaNo did that for me, it formed my daily writing habit.

So much so, that this past week I wrote over 11,000 words on my third novel. The one thing I can now say is that it gets easier and I’ve heard this over and over again. Once you get into the habit and once you get the hang of doing something new that you’ve never done before it begins to flow. Just like when you’re exercising a new part of your body and your muscles are stiff and don’t stretch as much or as well. The more you practice/stretch/shoot hoops, the easier it becomes.

Figure out what works for you writing wise and don’t make the number something so high you cannot achieve it. Make it achievable. Start with 1,000 words a week if you need to, that’s 143 words a day. This blog post is over 500 words and I wrote it in 15 minutes (not including editing), just to give you an idea… Once you’ve hit your 1,000 words a week, up it in small enough increments you won’t fail and you won’t feel overwhelmed. Forming that daily writing habit seems to be more important for people than trying to eek out writing sprints once a week. Plus you won’t have to go back and read what you wrote because yesterday’s scene is still fresh in your mind. I loved reading that Neil Gaiman wrote a chunk of his book Coraline by writing 50 words a night before bed instead of reading. The take away? Just do it – daily!



Author, Raina Schell

Raina Schell lives in an undisclosed location near Marin County, California with her secret boyfriend, invisible dog and a fish named Larry. After being on the lam for the past 8 years Raina is finally coming close to completing her first novel, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy that may or may not be titled Exquisite Destiny and may or may not be the first stand-alone book of a projected 5 book series.

In the field of writing, non-novel specific: Raina has written and produced dozens of television segments and half-hour television shows. These have aired on local, national and international TV stations which will not be disclosed. For fun she’s also written un-optioned screenplays, a maverick movie trailer and countless blogs. When Raina is not writing she has other jobs that she isn’t nearly as passionate about.


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