Earlier this month, I created a blog post about the National Novel Writing Month, and was pleased to come across a few authors that participated in this opportunity. (If you haven't read this post already, head over there and you will find some interesting information about it.)
I was so intrigued by this opportunity that I had hoped to find an author willing to share her experience with my readers. And what a wonderful privilege it is to have as my first blog guest, Author Chelle (pronounced Shell) Ramsey with me to share more about here NANO experience. So, let's begin!
Felecia: Greetings, Chelle! I want to thank you for taking the time to share your experience with my readers. I had some followers who were interested in the NANO opportunity, and I am so pleased to have an author follow-up with my previous post so quickly. To begin, please tell us about you and how you're connected to the writing industry.
Chelle: I write women’s fiction novels with a romantic and inspirational twist. I am happily married and a mother of three children. I am a Southern peach from Atlanta, Georgia. I currently have three published novels available for sale, and I am preparing to release a fourth one, which is book 3 in The House of BeJeweled series, next month. I initially had five novels published. However, after publishing and becoming more educated in the industry, I pulled my first two novels from the shelves. They are undergoing revisions. I have two other novels waiting to be released in the first quarter of 2016 and several projects in progress. I was recently nominated for B.R.A.B. Christian Fiction author of the year and B.R.A.B. Women’s Fiction author of the year. I am also a blogger and I host other authors on my blog to introduce them to other readers, and share their works with a new audience.
Felecia: That's great. As you know, I recently created a blog post about the National Novel Writing Month, and was looking for someone who participates in the event. Can you tell us how you are connected with it, and how would you evaluate your experience so far?
Chelle: I have been writing with Nanowrimo (short for National Novel Writing Month) for the last few years. After losing a laptop and major account information stored on there, I unfortunately had to create a new Nano account this year. This will be my third year writing with them, and the first year attending the in-person Nano events. Nanowrimo enables me to stay focused on my goal of completing a novel. It’s really helpful to have it during the month of November. With the holidays right around the corner, if it weren’t for Nanowrimo, I probably would not get any writing done. Yet, because of Nano, I schedule writing time daily, and my family supports me. Nano is great at helping writers. They provide several hosted write-ins where you can participate online or in person. They also send emails and personal messages to your inbox to keep you focused and encouraged. When you’re at that halfway point and just when you have the tendency to fall off, you’ll surely receive a word of encouragement to keep you on track. The hosts and guest speakers are transparent in the challenges they face as writers, too. Nano offers forums on many topics, where you can post in the threads, meet other writers, and find the answers to your questions. The writers in these forums are supportive and encouraging in their interaction.
Felecia: It sounds like your experience has been very positive, and I am sure that many of my readers would be inclined to participate. How can new writers also engage in this opportunity.
Chelle: New writers and aspiring writers alike can participate in Nanowrimo simply by creating an account and a profile. They will be prompted to give their novel a title and then they can begin to write. I encourage them to update their word count daily in order to attain the badges. It inspires you to keep writing regardless of the obstacles that may pop up along the way.
Felecia: Would you recommend this event to others? And if so, why?
Chelle: I definitely recommend this opportunity to others. This is especially true if you are a procrastinator and have a hard time getting started. Enlisting writing buddies in Nanowrimo will keep you accountable and will help you achieve your goal. You will also feel inspired to write, especially as you rack up the badges and receive daily email alerts about your progress.
Felecia: Wonderful! My readers will want to know what happens to your project once it's completed. And are there any awards or honors for those who complete their novel within the set time frame?
Chelle: I have actually gone on to publish my works on my own. I typically completed my goal within a day or two of the deadline. I would later go back to revise my works, especially if I was more focused on word count than content. Nano also offers support beyond the 30-day challenge for those who need it. Whether it is in editing and revising the novel, or going on to publish it, you can still find the support you need after the process is completed. Nanowrimo organizers provide little badges that you can achieve along the way to celebrate your accomplishments. They are listed on your dashboard to keep you uplifted. When you complete one goal, there’s always another one waiting in the wings to push you to the next level.
At the end, if you win (completing your 50,000-word-count goal and uploading your entire novel to the dashboard,) you can win sweet little prizes such as discounts on publishing packages and writing software. Even if you don’t win and simply participate, you can receive discounts on these items. The discount percentage is larger for the “winners.” There is no limit on the winners. You simply complete your goal and upload your completed manuscript.
Felecia: Perfect! Do you see this opportunity as something that you will continue to do each year?
Chelle: I plan to continue on with this program because it keeps me inspired. I love the write-ins. They allow me to interact with so many other writers from different locations. We participate in timed-writing challenges and then we can select to share what we have written during that time period. It’s competitive, but in a fun and inspiring way.
Felecia: Great! Lastly, what advice do you have for other writers who are interested in writing a novel, and how do you think NANO can help support their efforts?
Chelle: I say write! It doesn’t matter where you are or what resources you have available, just begin to capture your thoughts and ideas before you lose them. If it’s on a napkin in a restaurant, start writing. If it’s in the middle of the night, jump up and write that dream down. I’ve often done this and it led to some great novels, although it was challenging to read my handwriting the next morning after putting on my contacts. (Keep that pen and paper near your bed.) Don’t worry about the editing process, or whether or not it makes sense to someone else. Write what you know, write what you would like to read, and write what you’re passionate about. In the end, you can have BETA readers help you whittle down what works and what doesn’t before sending it on to an editor. In the beginning, just stay focused and write. Capture your heart and imagination on that paper. Using Nano helps you to stay focused on a goal, holds you accountable, and allows you to loosen up during this time. There are so many fun activities to look forward to. Once you create your account and select your region, there will be a list of events hosted in your area to participate. The individuals in your group will keep you encouraged.
Felecia: Chelle, I want to thank you again for sharing your experience with us. Let us know how we can find your works.
Chelle: My website is at wwwwchelleramsey.com. I can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. My works can be found on Amazon at the following links:
So, there you have it, my dear readers. Please visit Author Chelle Ramsey and purchase a copy or two of her books. Connect with her if you wish to participate in the National Novel Writing Month, if not for this year then next year. And who knows? Maybe one day you can have a featured article on the blog as you discuss your latest novel!
And as always, let's grow together!
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