Flashback to January 2020: I had two books scheduled for release from two publishers. The first was historical about an old bluesman, and I’d planned a legendary release party. Live music, food, and probable fame. Then COVID made hash out of my marketing plan. Meanwhile, the other publisher postponed my second release until January of the following year. The company’s usual marketing efforts could have been more present. The book was effectively orphaned.
In 7th grade, my best friend lent me the first Wheel of Time book by Robert Jordan. As a veteran of Tolkien, including The Silmarillion, I was excited to dive into another high-fantasy series. Over a hundred pages in, after a detailed description of the Bel Tine festival and one village’s preparations, there was no sense of plot movement or even who our protagonist was meant to be. I closed the book and sheepishly returned it.
I remember fearing she’d be upset, but she only shrugged and admitted Jordan’s writing style wasn’t for everyone. I’ve never attempted to revisit those books. Still, I think about that experience often and why the initial overload of exposition turned me away from the series so quickly.
Whether you are closing in on your NaNoWriMo word count or plugging away at your magnum opus, those rigorous word counts take a lot of think-juice. You have been diligent, laying one word after another, watching the chapters take shape. Your verbs are immaculate. Your adverbs are scarce. You always attend a date with your word processor. Even when you’re tired, you push through. And things are going great!
Until they aren’t!
Suddenly, the words won’t come. You try to force it, but the… words… just… don’t… writing… goodly… anymore! What happened? Is this the dreaded Writer’s Block?
The most frustrating part of being a published author has to be marketing. Marketing your books takes two valuable resources (time and money) and offers no guarantees. Worse, for most authors, promotional efforts yield little in the way of results.
If you’re not a published author, you might think, Woe is you. I’d take that problem in a heartbeat. What you should consider is, when my work-in-progress publishes, how will I promote it?
The writing journey is a hazardous one, full of setbacks and self-doubt. I remember asking myself why I thought I had a story to tell. I felt like a fraud. The sight of my manuscript in progress would put me into a tailspin of criticism and despair. I wondered if Amazon would deliver sackcloth and ashes to help me wallow. The memories are vivid. On the one hand, it feels ages ago. On the other—more literal—hand, it was last Thursday.
You need no introduction to your inner critic if you are a writer. It follows you around an inner voice, shaming you for your mistakes, pointing out all your failures, and scrutinizing your every decision. The inner critic can have a detrimental effect on your writing life. It lays the foundation for imposter syndrome. Inner critics are the bane of first drafts, harping on all their infantile flaws before they can grow into anything. They are unyielding perfectionists, draconian masters, and lousy roommates. But are they all wrong?
Fantasy fiction employs magic—influencing events through supernatural means. The concept of magic dates back to the dawn of civilization. In Mesopotamia, ritual practices were developed to affect reality. Defensive magic was the accepted protection from demons and ghosts. Rites were used to purify a person’s sins. Another branch of magic involved love spells.
School is back in session, the spell of Pumpkin Spice Latte is in the air, and many of us are gearing up for NaNoWriMo. As someone who thrives off of writing deadlines, the key is to plan ahead. Back in March, I talked about how I set myself a weekday writing goal. Now let me walk you through how to prepare for adhering to a daily word count schedule.