NaNoWriMo and How to Get Yourself Off Your Ass and Start Writing (SPP #129)

We’ve been talking about Fiction Unboxed 1.5 on the blog for a while. One key aspect of the project is that Sean and Johnny will be writing the sequel to The Dream Engine during NaNoWriMo.
But what exactly is NaNoWriMo? Why do so many writers take up the yearly challenge? How can a writer take some of the underlying principles of NaNo and apply them all year to keep a daily writing habit in all the months that aren’t November?
That’s what the guys talked about this week. (Well, except what NaNoWriMo is, because they didn’t really touch that.) They actually spent most of the show trying to help Dave become a more driven writer. In the end, they decided that collaboration and working with a partner is a major motivator for Dave, and perhaps for many other writers like him.
This is good stuff, and I can’t agree more with what they came up with by the end. If you ever wish you could write more (or enjoying writing more), this show could really help!
Here’s the video version:

Show Episode Transcript

Johnny: Self publishing pod cast episode number 129.Dave: This episode of the self publishing podcast is brought to you by 99 design. It’s the online marketing place that helps you get outstanding book cover designs at an affordable price. Start your custom design today at; enjoy free power pack upgrade valued at 99 bucks.Welcome to the self publishing podcast where if you want something done right, you`ve got to do it yourself, and now here are your hosts the three watch these guys, they are fantastic; Johnny, Sean and Dave.
Johnny: Everyone and welcome to this self publishing podcast, the podcast that follows three full time authors as we attempt to change the face of any publishing. Join us and our trail blazing guests as we shove the side boundaries, freely experiment and occasionally screw up. I`m Johnny B. Truant and my co hosts are Sean Plat and David Wright, and as we share our journey with you remember that despite what some people may tell you there is no one true path to being a successful writer, and your mileage may vary. Coming up online mark episode one number 120, 130 just making shit up. Is this the last episode to air before NaNoWrimo? Let’s see, maybe on the podcast feed, I can’t do the math.
Sean: No-no, I don’t think so.
Johnny: Because what is it?
Sean: It`s 17th yes, so there would be one more– the Halloween episode.
Dave: I`m not finding this on You Tube.
Johnny: I don’t know, we have four viewers so some people are finding it.
Sean: Our production values are awesome.
Johnny: Yeah I don’t know, it’s– the title if you are on You Tube, if you are one of the five who found us in the first 30 seconds as we start 12 minutes late where we are so proud– is the title is Her. Like that’s the title if you look SPP number 129???? That’s because we didn’t know what we were going to do when Jacob set up the Hang out and we decided to do it sort of about setting challenges for yourself and we are– phrasing it in terms of NaNoWrimo. So it just seemed appropriate and I was thinking about that.
Sean: Yeah, so I like the NaNo hook, but whether you participate in NaNoWrimo or not– I actually personally have never done NaNo and every year I say I’m going to do it this year. I think Johnny is once…
Johnny: I did it once, I produced 50,000 words that went nowhere. It was great. It was before I knew how to– I used to have this problem all the time where my characters would get into a room and then they– do you remember there was a Simpsons episode where Burt decided he was going to use his imagination and he– if you would scratch up here in his head and he`d kind of go like this, they kind of shrug, and he goes damn TV you ruined my imagination. That’s what my characters used to do, they would just sit around and like go Huh! And so I just– I had 50,000– and I did I hit 50000 words which is the NaNoWrimo goal, and then its– I don’t know it`s on a hard drive somewhere nothing happened. It just– what happened what was that story about; it’s great that was my success story.
Sean: Yeah I really wanted to do it right, I`d never heard on NaNoWrimo until I started writer dad, and that was in July. And then I heard oh I`m going to do this, it`s awesome and then during that time, so I was just way too occupied. And then every years after, I`m going to do it this year I`m going to this year and I did never ever could. And this year you know we are going to do it for dream engine 2, but it`s like so we write 50,000 words in a month all the time, but…
Johnny: That’s why I think it`s so absurd that you’ve been so up on doing it. I know that its part– It`s official you know…
Sean: Yeah it`s just, it’s a way of tying it in, but I like that. I still like the whole idea that okay it’s a constraint, it`s all that someone could give themselves. I know we should get to this when we actually hit the topic but I just– I like that it doesn’t have to be about NaNo. It just has to be about kind of give yourself a goal and set yourself fences so that you can you know stay inside of those fences and meet them. You know Dave and I had this for– our NaNoWrimo was on a weekly basis in 2012. You know we set ourselves a goal we are going to publish every week and….
Johnny: But you didn’t publish 50,000 words every week to be fair, NaNo has 50,000 words…
Jon: But we hit the 50,000 words a month…
Johnny: Oh yeah, but you said a weekly NaNo.
Dave: Well the first episodes of Yesterday is Gone were like 24,000– between 20 and 24,000 each…
Johnny: No, let’s face it you guys are slackers.
Jon: So Yeah, I think we did a slice of NaNo each week for like a really big chunk of that year.
Johnny: Mm-huh slice of NaNo.
Dave: NaNo for a year, yeah.
Sean: That’s the worst thing anyone has ever said.
Johnny: I– what is that about? I have a few things on my punch list for today before we really delve into the topic which is going to be about setting yourself boundaries and restrictions in order to achieve more. But here you guys can sample the– you can choose. Choose your poison here so.
Sean: Oh goody.
Johnny: We can either do– I have a voice mail from Lue and I also think I can probably play the audio from these bloopers that Garret gave on the write publisher paid conversations.
Jon: Oh I’ll– probably that’s funny.
Dave: I think we should do both.
Johnny: Oh yeah we can do both I was going for the order.
Sean: I have a Copyblogger article that I think is interesting to the audience that we could talk about too.
Johnny: Okay.
Dave: We go Lue first, then whatever.
Johnny: Dave way to step up and a make a decision, I like you for that. Okay, so here is Lue. It was a business cut off question, so we`ll find out.
Lue: Hi, Johnny Sean and Dave. My name is Lue Sauder, I`m the author of three business books, the most recent which is tragic management 101, and I`m kind of quadring [phonetic] about my genre…
Johnny: Do we– we already answered that…
Dave: We played this.
Johnny: Okay well we are moving right through this. All right, it’s good, it’s good. I feel like I`m ahead of the game now, it’s perfect. Okay, so Lue go back a week, we answered your question last week, this is good, this is good.
Dave: I love it.
Sean: I like the momentary déjà vous, that was pretty exciting.
Johnny: I know I though this sounds familiar
Dave: I know we talked to you before
Johnny: All right. So there was that. The thing about playing these bloopers is I need to– like it’s the same channels you guys, so I never know when I do this– hold on, let me turn this up and see if you guys are getting terrible feedback or anything. Okay, so talk or something and see if it sounds good.
Dave: Yes right here, you are fine.
Johnny: Okay, so let me [inaudible 0:07:06] so here is the set up on this. So we are recording these write publish repeat conversations– videos which Garret is kind of kicking ass on right now. There is like 31 or 32 of them, and he is just powering through them and editing them up and he is doing this switch multi camera POV thing and adding bumpers, and it`s going to be a Udemic course that we’ll give for free as a bonus with the fiction on boxed pre order– the fiction on boxed book pre order. So we spent five days over the course of two weeks, so it was five separate times that we met recording these videos in the midst of everything else that we are doing. And it was fun, but it was also grueling in a way and it was like by the end we were like oh Fuck Sake like can we just– can we make this one ten minutes because 20 minutes is the limit on Udemy. Can we please make this 10 minutes.
What if we had a seven minute video, wouldn’t that be awesome? And then that`s really hard because I don’t know if you’ve listened to the show for a while, but one us is Sean and so we decide like let’s just say something once and resist our natural urge to then repeat it in the same way which I do too like– I usually say that, but I`m going to say that again in a different way, and I`m just like– we are just like you know after– and we`ve go through like 20 of these videos without needing any edits, like we haven’t had…
Sean: And this idea to do the write publisher conversations didn’t even exist a month ago. So it was all like a new idea and we had to do it before this other thing that we are doing for and it was just– it was very accelerated, it was each day, and this was towards the end.
Johnny: Right, and by the end of these we were like, we are trying to get through and we are like Fuck sake I want to get on with my day. So the reason I`m preffsing this is because I sound like a real fucker in this, and I had to give Robin that disclaimer when I played it for him. I was like this is the end of a really long day. Okay, so here is what happened.
Sean: Wait, Okay you are probably going to say it anyway [inaudible: 0:09:14].
Johnny: Okay, so were like this is like video seven of the day or something and every video takes extra times, so it has to save and then you know there is a few minutes of conversation. So this is like two and a half hours in and we are just exhausted and I had heard something out in the other room that was– something with my kids. And so I get up to go just go and deal with them but Sean and Dave are talking so the chat window and I`m like just keep going I`ll be back in like two minutes. And because we don’t want to– we can’t pause because then we have to– the whole video is fucked up if we pause because it’s going to need an edit and we– no extra work, just finish it.
And so I get up and I go and take care of my kids, and it takes a few minutes and I comeback and Sean and Dave have kept the ball rolling and Sean is going on and he is making some good points. So I`m waiting, I`m going to chime in when he is done. But happened was, my video must have frozen, so he is seeing my empty chair and he thinks I haven’t come back yet. Okay so here is the video, give this a second to load, hopefully you guys can hear this. A lot of time– okay can you hear that?
Dave: Yeah.
Recording: Okay, so here we go. Your term actually ends up hurting the reader because that’s not– you just need to–
Johnny: Hold on I muted it right at the important point hold on– what the hell I was trying to turn the volume up and I muted it. All right let’s keep on going with the pro production values continue.
Sean: A lot of time thinking short term actually ends up hurting the reader because that’s not– you just need to– Fucking Johnny I just can’t talk in here, God damn it what do I say?
Johnny: I`m right here, God damn it, are you telling me that we now need to edit this video?
Dave: wait…
Johnny: I`m right fucking here I`m right here the whole God damn time.
Dave: Oh, he is here.
Sean: Dude I had an empty chair.
Johnny: God damn it, well now I don’t know what to– its 15 fucking minutes into the video and you know Garret is not going to– we are going to have to follow up to make sure he gets this. Okay so just– pausing in the middle of my ranting here. This is live Johnny, okay. I texted these guys later, I said I love the two– the two major themes are me being totally pissed off, and the total and utter lack of faith in Garrets ability to follow through. So just so you know, that’s what all of this is like he is not going to catch it.
Sean: No. Yeah he can edit this one, just take the buffer out, I`m so sorry dude I just thought that…
Johnny: He’s not going to– we are not going to remember the video 21 has an edit in the middle and he is going to mess it if we don’t.
Sean: Can we make a note of it right now?
Johnny: So Garret obviously the part where Sean just spontaneously in the middle of a good point said God damn it Johnny, Fucking Johnny that needs to be edited.
Sean: No, that needs to be made into a commercial, a new Udemy commercial, the blue burial.
Johnny: Is there anything that can be salvaged in what you just said?
Sean: I don’t even know what I just said [cross talk12:23].
Johnny: It was fine until you suddenly stopped mid sentence and yelled at me. I wouldn’t have thought there was anything amiss. I was actually waiting for you to stop so I could tie it back in. My total and utter lack of patience or understanding in that is fantastic. I haven’t listened to the other ones, are they good? Are these ones where we insult various races or did we keep those separate?
Dave: No that`s the thing I think we said– the fact that you guys say like God damn it like five times, and I didn’t even think about it, I was playing it for my wife last night and she’s oh…
Johnny: Actually that reminds of the guy who said that we had messed up his phone, we had made his phone do a search, and we said during the podcast we should just start saying Serry [phonetic] look up the latest– the closest strip club, Serry can you find me the closest strip club because then people in their cars there bring other iPhones a little, will find various insulting things. He somehow came up with a search for scantily clad overweight women was what something we said somehow forgot it, I feel you. Okay, so here is the next one, loading…
Dave: I`m like a 60 year old woman.
Johnny: I`m going to pull the audio…
Dave: That wasn’t a very good one.
Johnny: Of Dave saying I`m a 60 year old woman and keep that.
Johnny: That wasn’t a very good one, come on Garret quality control here on your bloopers. All right I don’t know what he has got. That wasn’t blooper, that was just normal. All right, so this is just another blooper 04, and that’s a much better funnel. So Dave do you want to go in to how exactly we use free?
Sean: Oh! He can’t see that one.
Dave: I can`t just shares it, but that is visual.
Sean: That one is visual.
Johnny: Sorry guys, basically it`s done. I`ll stop on this because people are getting really bored. But in that one Sean has the camera isn’t on him and so he is making like blow job faces and stuff, so Garret basically made a version where…
Sean: Oh I don’t really remember that.
Johnny: Good stuff.
Dave: We haven’t crushed it– while we have a comment Garret says I`m dying laughing already, I lost it when I edited this. Bill and Perry say a serial– a release date for the fiction unlocks book.
Johnny: December 3rd but the pre order should be up kind of soon.
Sean: It`s December 3rd we will get it up on pre order pretty soon and– but December third is the actual date
Johnny: The actual release date. In other exciting news I was really-really pleased today in my email to– if you guys want to see a difference in audio book stuff, audio book quality. We have done a bunch through ACX, we`ve done stuff which is narrated that we found that we didn’t know ahead of time, we’ve done ACX stuff with Simon Whistler from this rocking self publishing podcast with the British voice, we`ve done ACX works with Ray and now– well these guys already had one, but the beam season one through podium audio books is available now. Is it pre order or is it?
Sean: No, it`s live…
Johnny: It’s live.
Sean: Have you listened to it yet?
Johnny: No I haven’t had a chance because I`m going to listen to it before I write season three, I`m hoping that I get season two.
Sean: That’s what I`m waiting for too, I want to listen because the other one is recorded too, so I want to listen to them back to back and then hit beats.
Johnny: Right, so it’s– I made a quick link if anyone wants to check it out. It`s selfpublishingpodcast.dom/beams1, S for season.
Sean: But yeah this is the same team who did Yesterday is Gone, and that was fantastic. That’s where we met Ray, and Ray is actually in the beam also…
Johnny: Right, it’s an unsubtle thing, it`s a– this one lists 8 people, but I think that Greg told us that the total cast for both seasons is something like 16 or 20 or something, it’s a lot.
Sean: Wow, that’s so awesome.
Johnny: Different narrators, so I`m really excited to listen to it, but I haven’t had a chance yet.
Dave: Yesterday is Gone…
Sean: I think I want to listen to a bit just because like– I won’t to listen to the whole thing, but I want to listen to it a little bit just because I`m dying to know.
Dave: There is some awards thing– what the hell is it called, I forget.
Sean: It was the best post apocalyptic audio book of the year.
Dave: It’s nominated for like best cast recording or something.
Sean: Oh that’s cool.
Johnny: Yeah I saw that [Cross talk 17:04].
Sean: It was a really great production and that’s one of those cases– it`s actually, this is kind of interesting because you have that and I mean clearly you know our royalty is not the same with podium as it would be us doing it in-house you know through ACX either with profit share or paying outright. But with both Yesterday is Gone and the beam, these are big stories with really big casts, and the quality of work that we are going to get is so much better with a company like this than we could do ourselves. So it`s not a money decision, it’s like a– it’s a portfolio decision. You want the quality of your work to be as articulate– as well articulated as possible, so you give it to people who can do a much-much better version of that. You know it`s almost like, clearly the economics of it are different, but I mean the artistic decision is almost like signing your book to have a movie made of it because the work is being interpreted by actors and actresses and that’s pretty cool.
Johnny: I think that a smart artist lets those people– lets them interpret it too is he– I think you want control over your work for sure but like– I mean we told Ray for the dream engine like if you think that a word combination sounds funny– actually we said for just about anything, feel free to change it. Now we are just talking about changing a few words just so that– like he said what– I forget there was a favorite that he hates when like grasped, and then followed by something else sounds really weird and he was like really, and I said I`m talking about changing like two words Ray, well nobody lets us do that, like you are the audio guy why would we presume to know better that you on audio?
Sean: Ray, and remember it`s so true because David Lawrence was saying the same stuff when he was on right that’s its– they want to perform it, and if they do a better job with the book it`s just its a better thing. Who would come to him and they would want to micro manage it, they would want to say no it needs to sound exactly like this. And he is like why don’t you read it, and I think that that’s important if you are– you have to think of people like that as your partners and not your employees you know, and like how– they are the artists you know you are good at writing your book, you are good at making up the story, but they perform for a living, that’s what they do, and you should trust their instincts.
Johnny: I was actually speaking– I think it speaks of knowing what you want out of a decision and a lot of people I think don’t think that they think– they sort of default to is this a good or bad decision without looking at context. And actually just this morning just before we got on– I don’t– we don`t want to go into a lot of detail on this, but I will just mention it. I was pinging Sean about like there is something that we`ve toyed with, just a traditional deal like let’s say we have a chance to make a go for a traditional publishing deal that`s– we have a connection there, and we sort of said no I don’t know and this is Sean and I. This isn’t corrective lingual work, but we said well I don’t know I think we want the control over it, and I`m like I think it`s worth discussing because it would be a portfolio thing like traditional…
Sean: Okay, it`s totally worth the discussion, but I think when you have that kind of discussion you really want to have a bird’s eye view, you know you don’t want to make that decision like oh! I’m right now I`m wrapped up in the immediacy of now, what feels good now because sometimes you know there is delayed gratification.
Johnny: I’m not Jason, I know what you are thinking of, but that’s not– it’s a strategic– I think it`s worth a discussion and I`m not saying it for the reason you might think. Anyway, okay. Well apparently I ended that discussion, yeah it was great, we’ve been really-really helpful today, we’ve been really helpful.
Sean: Okay, let’s bring this topic, I think this Copyblogger article is interesting for authors.
Johnny: Am I allowed to mention the chart thing?
Sean: Yeah you can if you want, there it’s– I mean at this point it`s only a conversation.
Johnny: okay, then I won’t, then I won’t, we are being cryptic enough, go ahead with your Copyblogger article.
Sean: Okay, so the title of the Copyblogger article is why Copyblogger is killing its Facebook page, and I think this is really interesting because they are deleting their Facebook account, and they have 32,000 likes on it. And it’s interesting because social media is treated often times as this one size fits all solution, and I think that you really have to whenever you are doing something on social media you really have to see how it fits into everything else that you are doing. And Facebook is the go to you know, of course you have to be on Facebook. And even you know internally with Sterling and Stone we’ve heard several meetings lately about social media going back a couple of months ago, and we are constantly trying to refine our strategies and Facebook has always been you know at the front for us, and of course is we are only going to pick one, it would have to be Facebook.
And I still believe that for us that probably is the most important platform to be on and on and on. But I think it`s really interesting that Copyblogger despite their likes is deleting their account because they actually went in and said what benefit are we getting from this platform? How engaged are people, how much do they share? When they do share do the people they share with click on our links? We only have so much time in the day, should we be dividing [inaudible 23:21] a lot of luck, and things go very well for us or divide that time between Google plus and Facebook where we don’t really get a return on Facebook, it doesn’t make more sense to concentrate our efforts? And it`s not by any stretch am I suggesting that anybody delete their Facebook account, that would be absurd, but I think that it`s a really-really great lesson and it’s probably worth reading just because I think we don’t ask why enough.
We don’t ask why we are doing things because we`ll see– we`ve heard that social media is great or we`ve seen this author over here have a lot of success with social media, so we assume that can transfer to us. And no it’s because of the way they use Facebook, it’s the way that their audience responds to Facebook and we all are different creators, and we all have different audiences. And what you need to do is look at the unique DNA of who you are as an artist and who pays attention to your art, and then pick the platform or platforms that are most suited to you, okay. And you know for Copyblogger they looked at all the data and they said you know what? Facebook– it may be the biggest platform out there, but still for us there isn’t a return. And I think that authors should think that critically about their behavior, and what they are doing, and where they are spending their time.
Johnny: Is that today’s post?
Sean: I think so someone sent it to me, so I don’t know what the actual publication date is but…
Johnny: Round about October 17th 2014 on
Sean: The person who sent it to me I think that they [inaudible 25:01] so I would say it was today’s post.
Johnny: All right fantastic, well let’s move in to talking about constraints and NaNoWrimo and– you know I believe in putting the cart before the horse. So speaking of NaNoWrimo Dave what do you do once you`ve got– I`m sorry I believe in putting the horse before the cart apparently like I just forgot. What do you do after you`ve got your book written? I just got confused there. You probably want to make a good cover yourself, right?
Dave: Well that depends, do you want to sell your book?
Johnny: Yeah I mean I just spent a bunch of time making this book; I don’t want to just have it sit there unread.
Dave: Well unless you are a designer the last thing you want to do is also spend time creating a book cover.
Johnny: I`ve never heard this position from you before; I mean we don’t know any cover designers do we? What hope do you have in competing with all the awesome book covers that are out there today?
Dave: Easy, you don’t have to do it you got to 99 designs. They have got tons of designers waiting to deliver you a professional quality design in less than half the time you just took to write the book, and they make the process super easy and we are all about easy right?
Johnny: Like how easy? Super easy?
Dave: So you start off by filling an online brief with details about your book cover, then dozens of designers compete to deliver you the best design.
Johnny: Okay.
Dave: After the initial designs, you pick the ones you like and then you give feedback to the designers to help them refine their work and you know then you pick the winner and…
Johnny: So you`ve got to pick the winner though?
Sean: Well you can get your audience to help you.
Dave: Well I don’t know I`m Tuning out on this. Readers evolve in the process of choosing their design you know and that makes it more exciting when the book comes out. We`ve used 99 designs several times for book covers and we used them not so long ago.
Sean: Wait, when did we use them?
Dave: Oh would you just shut up. And we`ve always been super impressed with both the quality and the speed in which we get our designs created. I highly recommend 99 designs and the best part is that 99 designs offers a 100% money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose [cross talk 27:18] nothing at all.
Johnny: So, start your custom design at and enjoy a free power pack upgrade valued at 99 bucks. A power pack upgrade makes your design to stand out from the crowd. 99 designs will bold your listing, highlight it with a prominent background, and featured in before regular listings. And I would go so far as to say if you know of this power pack upgrade and you don’t use then well I don’t want to cast aspersions, but let`s just say you are not very smart. So definitely visit 99 and get started.
Sean: You are calling people an idiot. [Cross talk] [00:27:53] I know a 99 designs story like a real life 99 designs story.
Johnny: That’s like my favorite category of literature.
Sean: No this is somebody that I know that has a traditional deal, a big six figure traditional deal and they got their cover, they didn’t like what the art department was doing and they`ve go like an 1100 dollar cover from like a full– like the contents private and they use the like premier designers and I guess did the full all bells and whistles contest that you can do on 99 designs, but they paid out of pocket for the cover because they just wanted one that you know– they just weren’t happy with what their traditional publisher was doing, and it`s actually a pretty simple cover. The typography is very eye catching, and very-very gorgeous, but it was– it came from 99 designs instead of the traditional publisher art department.
Dave: So take that traditional publishing art department.
Johnny: Yeah. We are going to have them do another– have them do another logo for us. So that will be fine. I spontaneously want to play this.
Female voice: And now incredibly horrible, deprecating, embarrassing, but memorable adroid only from our host Johnny and Dave because Sean always screws it up.
Dave: I don’t use that.
Female voice: Take it away boys.
Dave: I don’t use that one very much, I might as well play this one while I`m here.
Female voice: You can care about something and think of them as a cum box in sex. You can, you can [Cross talk29:30]
Dave: I think I read that in a hallmark card.
Johnny: Might as well play all the best, so there you go. All right, so moving on to– that was Lexi Maxwell everybody. Moving on to…
Sean: She is such a delicate flower.
Johnny: she really is. She is Leflore. Let`s move on and talk about NaNoWrimo. So like I said I did it before, but I don’t know how much it has changed like we were like let`s do fiction on box 1.5 do the dream engine two for NaNoWrimo and just show everybody and– but I don’t– like I think you can join a community, and you can have a little tracker that shows where you are…
Sean: You get a cute little badge too and I think that winning, if you say I won NaNoWrimo, it`s just a matter of saying I did it I completed my 50,000 words and I think that`s how they are qualifying, right. It’s– a novel is 50,000 words or more and you are supposed to get that done in November– between November first and November 30th.
Johnny: All right, so there you go NaNoWrimo everybody let’s move on.
Sean: I actually tried to write writer dad. The first time I tried to sit down and write that book was in–was for NaNoWrimo and its pretty funny this is when I was working with Lori and if you guys have ever heard me talk about Lori, she’s totally crazy town, she`d be the first to admit it. In fact I think that`s like she has a tattoo this is crazy town, but she said– I said I really want to write it, but we`ve been so busy lately, she says no you have to write it. That’s you have to write this book, and she gives me this whole like very empowering speech about I`ll make sure you do it, and that lasted like an hour and a half because then as Dave very well knows like Lori will send you emails with like 96,000 things to do, and they are all by lunch time. So I worked on the book for like three days and then I had to quit.
Johnny: So what do we consider basically being held accountable? So I would be interested in seeing a show of hands and the comments of people who have done or are going to do NaNoWrimo? If you are listening to this on the audio feed I would be interested in hearing it. Raise your hand, I won’t be able to see you. By the way I didn’t mean literally raise your hand because I won’t be able to see it if you that even, I meant actually leave a comment.
But you could do that in a blog post too for the Sun Because– It would be interesting to hear like just you know stories and also like how widespread– how much those communities overlap, like how many of our people have done it because I– the reason I like doing dream engine two and fiction inboxed 1.5 for NaNoWrimo is that it’s a community that we’ve largely ignored, and it’s a big deal, like November is when a lot of people say I`m going to finally write that book. We do write all the time but for people who want to write and haven’t quite gotten there, then having that deadline and having that community and that social support is really super important.
Sean: Well, I`m curious as to what makes NaNo so special? Is it the community, so that you don’t feel like you are alone right? You feel like there is people there who are– they are rowing the same boat as you right. If you fall down you have to publicly admit it, and it’s like people losing weight together.
Johnny: It’s accountability.
Dave: I was just going to say that.
Sean: So is it you were going to say accountability or the losing weight together?
Dave: The losing weight thing.
Sean: Yeah, it`s like you are joining a community for a month. So it’s like everyone– like it’s shared victory. Is that what it is? Is it the fact that you can say okay maybe it`s the defined period of time because writing everyday may sound daunting, but writing everyday for 30 days you have an exit already in mind, makes it more a manageable.
Dave: having competition we can’t forget that. I think that writing is such a lonely spot if you want to use that word that it is difficult to keep yourself motivated, to keep yourself inspired especially when real life gets in the way. Like I said before, like I was writing several books long before I met Sean and they all stalled because I had nobody else to hold me accountable or to like really talk with about the books or about the writing process you know. I was on my own and you know I think there are goals– unless you’re a disciplined person like Sean and Johnny are, but If you are like me your personal goals don’t matter, they seem to like kind of drift away. So when you actually you know put them out there for the world to see and other people as well, like are doing it at the same time, I think it helps you move forward on your goals.
Sean: Well then I would suggest a way that we could use this topic to help and to make things better for writers out there is to think how can you take the principles of NaNo and apply them outside of November so that you are consistent and you are healthy and you know you are a successful writer and not just one month of the year. And something you said just kind of broke my heart a little bit you know, and it`s– my personal goals aren’t important right, like they don’t become important until I have someone else to bounce them off of, and there are a lot of writers who are lonely, and they just have their own desk and you know they are people who they can`t even talk to their spouses because their spouses aren’t interested in what they are writing, or they don’t really care and you know maybe their friends think that writing is stupid, like that’s a pretty lonely place to be and it kind of sucks to have….
Dave: I`ve been there especially with friends like when I was writing back in the day my friends were like oh yeah keep dreaming there Dave. You guys keep bringing that issue forever but…
Sean: So let`s take this away from NaNo because I like that NaNo is the hook that we are– like it gave us the reason to do this show, but I think the show is bigger than that. I think the idea is how can you build that kind of architecture for yourself so that you can inhabit that dome and you can produce. So let`s say you don’t have a spouse who is into your work and you don’t have a group of friends who think what you are writing is cool, how do you get the motivation to write that anyway? How do you– how can you and it`s not even a 30 day because let’s be real if you want to write a real great book and you are by yourself– like we are able to write fast all three of us because we collaborate and that greatly accelerates the process.
If you are all alone and you are going from concept to final copy that you are going to pass to your editor, a month is not really long enough to do that unless you are writing a short story or something. And so how do you take the momentum and the juice that you would feel in that 30 day period, and you are able to create that so that you are able to develop the writing habit because we all agree even though we may have different you know levels of production, the three of us all whole heartedly agree that it`s consistent writing that will make you a successful author more than any other one thing.
Johnny: I would– go ahead Dave.
Dave: Johnny is back, I thought your chair was empty. I was waiting for Sean to speak out.
Johnny: I`m right here, I`m right here for Christ sake Jesus now we have to edit the podcast. Oh no I guess we don’t.
Dave: I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t know how…
Johnny: I like that this is the show where we don’t actually speak authoritatively on anything and we wonder what NaNo is and theorize on what we might do.
Sean: I didn’t know what NaNo is…
Johnny: [Crosstalk 37:39] Well Sean was like I wonder why it’s good.
Sean: Dave do self rewards work for you?
Dave: I don’t know.
Sean: Okay let me ask you this like do [crosstalk 37:53].
Dave: Self hate works for me.
Johnny: What if somebody told you that after you finish your book you can go to Red Robin.
Dave: Or what if it was more punishment, what if you don’t finish your book in a year….
Sean: Yeah, that is happening. Dave tried to text us again.
Dave: Everybody has their own different motivation, so I think you have to find the one that works for you…
Sean: But do you break covenants with yourself all the time? So let’s say you…
Dave: Yes.
Sean: Okay, so mechanisms do not do that. So for example let`s bring this to weight loss because I think that`s pretty easy for everyone to get their head around. If you are trying to deprive yourself– that’s the worst way to lose weight, is to just be deprivation because then you feel cheated, and then you over compensate, right. So let`s say that you`ve made a deal with yourself, okay I`m not going to eat poorly like all day and I eat awesome, I`m going to have one cookie at the end of the day because I have done really well– or a half cookie that`s going to be my reward. Will you even if you cheat, will you have a half cookie anyway?
Dave: I`ll probably have like five cookies.
Johnny: Right because then he has to make up for the bad feeling of failing.
Dave: Eating and writing are– while I understand the parallels, and it worked for the whole like group effort thing, I think it`s slightly different you know mechanically speaking writing…
Sean: Okay when you have deadlines, now I would imagine the number one thing that`s helped you like stay fenced is because you don’t want to disappoint me, right? So that’s what it`s come down to. Okay so – and this is actually an established cycle between Dave and I. If I pull back and I say okay like that’s fine just do your thing, take your time I’ll spend a month with my missus– when that happens, Dave all of a sudden will be molasses slow because I have already given him permission basically. So how do you– because that can’t be the solution– I actually I like this because I think if we solve this problem for you, we are solving it for a lot of writers out there because it`s not– for you the reward of actually doing it isn’t enough. You like it when it`s done and you feel proud of your work when it`s all done in retrospect, but just getting it done isn’t enough for you. It’s the external validation that you are looking for.
Johnny: I have a theory although I was responding to an email from Ray, so may have said this and I might just be repeating this. I feel like Dave doesn’t want to disappoint you.
Dave: You said that.
Johnny: Okay is that exactly what you said? Awesome, well Ray is like okay we are meeting for BOU at 3:00p.m. Pacific time, right? I`m like no, okay so sorry I think that what we need to do– let’s go back to the Rowland show and I– Dave– Sean I think that you need to be very disapproving of Dave and– if he eats that cookie, is that the way it needs to go?
Sean: Yeah, but then that’s– see that’s not fair to the other partner because I don’t want to be in the nagging role like that sucks. Right and you don’t want to have co dependent relationships. The best relationships thrive with one another, they are not co dependent. Dave should be able to produce because there is– and I don’t mean to say that there is no joy in his production because there is, when he is done with something you can see it in his face, he get’s happy like it`s exciting for him. So what is the number one thing that keeps you? So if your number one goal is to not disappoint me, what is– what gives you the fuel beyond that? Like telling the story– I’m sorry what keeps you from that is it fear that it will not be good enough?
Dave: With writing it’s– I love writing and obviously I like finishing a book and I like working, I like brain storming and all of that. With me it`s– I hate deadlines, they make me stressful and they just fuck up my entire life. Like when I have a crushing deadline I can`t sleep, I eat like shit, it`s just like I`m always thinking or have anxiety about the deadline and it just makes it worse and worse. I wish there was a way to like not have a deadline, but still come in and produce everything. It’s..
Johnny: The deadline is necessary for you to produce and it`s terrible at the same time
Sean: Yes and there…
Johnny: There is no happy media like…
Dave: Yeah specifically speaking for me because I have a lot of anxiety and the closer something comes to a deadline, and the further behind I am, the more pressure I feel and then I you know I burn out, I get sick whatever all these things happen and it is a horrible thing. I like when I have a wide open space and I can it done, but then there is a problem of like motivating me to get it done, and motivation for me is a very tricky thing because I don’t know, I work in creative spurts. It`s hard for me to sit down every single day and do and write the words. I do and I have, but it`s difficult and I don’t always want to press through because when I press through it still sucks and a lot of times where I have pressed through because that’s what I tell everyone just get your ass and sit and keep writing. When I do that, I’ll work like three days and I’ll look back and every bit of it will fuck and suck and then get going and I will start all over, so I’m still in the same place I was.
Sean: Have you ever– I know at the paper you had to be pretty routine just because that was the nature of– Like more of a punch in the clock job. Now there is a lot more freedom.
Dave: Yeah but there were smaller increments. The paper had a lot of it. The paper was 60 to 70 hours a week and it sucked so much. I loved parts of it, but a lot of it sucked so [cross talk 44:18]. We had deadlines, so we could conceive it like if you were working on a story, a lot of it is research and stuff like that, so a lot of it takes place…
Sean: Did you ever put a unicorn in anything? And you know…
Johnny: I have except for that hard news story that didn’t involve a unicorn, the escaped unicorn story. I have a theory. First of all I`m just noticing that Dave is that tortured artist that people talk about, like he needs to write and hates it at the same time. Like it just seems like it`s like you can’t produce without pain. I produce with nothing, but joy but Dave seems like the pain really is necessary. I think tell me if this resonates at all? I feel like you don’t necessarily like writing, but you like having written like you like having gotten the product out. So do you think of it as any…
Dave: No that’s not true because I wrote forever, I wrote all night…
Sean: He likes writing and he likes having written, he doesn’t like having to write when it becomes an obligation. It`s almost like..
Johnny: Why don’t we just free him like a falcon and just be like Dave we`ll come back if you love something– If you like Dave set him free and every once in a while when we’ll be having a meeting Dave will come and say I produced a book.
Sean: No, but if you look in the ink wall’s history, those times when he has been the falcon that`s flied free, that’s when he`s gone a little off the rails, right. So we have available darkness season two and crashed. Those we like really long productions and it was because they were exactly that. I was like okay I`m not going to nag, just deadlines suck you do your thing, but it`s like Dave actually does thrive on buried deadline. It`s just miserable for him. And so no it`s so true, and for me like I don’t want to make him miserable. I mean I won’t do it, but then you know like then stuff doesn’t get done.
Dave: An interesting situation we find ourselves in.
Johnny: It`s kind of no win. I`m realizing like– so Dave’s options are produce under a deadline, get it out and produce stuff that sucks, or be free and don’t produce anything or like there is kind of no win….
Sean: But it doesn’t suck that’s his perception. One of our best work so far.
Dave: But the initial still sucks.
Johnny: You aren’t seeing that stuff Sean, he is throwing that out before you get it gets going with– the bears are going to get it.
Sean: So there`s got to be something like…
Johnny: Cookies and Yesterday is Gone out takes him.
Sean: Okay, so Dave has there ever been– let’s get rid of the paper and just talk just with creative work. So really and from available darkness on, has there ever been where the time that you write, the time, location, any metric that you would use to kind of is sustained over a period of time. So it`s the same time a day, it`s the same– well I guess it’s always the same location, right? You always write in your office?
Dave: Yes.
Sean: Okay, so you are always in the same location. Does the time wildly fluctuate? Or is it mostly through the night? Is when you– your optimum time to write is through the night, and it`s harder if you write in the day that’s true, right?
Dave: It depends where I`m on my schedule– like I have been up on day time recently. It all depends and while I can get going at night, I also can get interruptions at night like when my son wakes up with a bloody nose and that’s like an hour gone right there. Just all these little things that just hop in the way, and I really shouldn’t even bitch about it because there are so many people that have demanding schedules than I do that somehow find a way to create, so.
Sean: What about food, does that have anything to do with it? Like if you are trying to lose weight and– I know that when I`m watching what I eat I think about what I eat a lot, and so I find myself less able to focus on other stuff because I`m distracted, so do distractions like that– does that impact you?
Dave: Oh Yeah, like whenever I`m trying to do anything else or I got something else on my mind, that fucks with the creative flow as well.
Sean: And I know another thing about Dave, I think we talked about this on the show.
Johnny: Is it better off on den?
Sean: Another thing about Dave is that he’s always thinking about the project he’s not working on.
Dave: Yes. And I always– also wherever I am I think about whatever I need to be doing next. So I never like ever, ever, ever in the moment like except like right now…
Johnny: You are not crazy about it though.
Dave: I have to be in the moment, I actually have a conversation…
Johnny: You’ve never done anything like taken– you are not crazy about it though, you’ve never like taken a laptop when guests are going out with you to dinner and worked on work before, right?
Dave: No, never.
Johnny: That would be absurd.
Sean: Awesome.
Dave: What’s Sean’s point about?
Sean: I`m just trying to think because again this– I love this is for you, but I do also feel that if we figure stuff out…
Johnny: Save the cheer leader, save the world.
Sean: Yes exactly. So I like that and I think that you are– I don’t think that– I think that Johnny and I are the aberration here, not you. I think that most people have a hard time finding a consistent time to write, I think most people love having written and they love writing, but don’t like having to write. And I think that because we do what we think sometimes you feel worse than you should, and that’s not fair and if we can figure that out, if we can get you to where you are just more naturally productive and you are saying this will work for me this didn’t work for me, some of those things are going to transfer to other people who are listening to this right now. And you know it`s…
Johnny: Would NaNoWrimo work for you Dave, I think that’s the question on the table? Would NaNoWrimo work for you? Like if you weren’t with us and said you were going to write a novel in NaNoWrimo and get involved in the community, would you do it?
Dave: I could try.
Johnny: That’s not really an answer, right?
Sean: Yeah that’s the weakest answer ever, that’s like asking him if he will– no-no, okay so…
Johnny: You heard it here folks, NaNoWrimo doesn’t work.
Sean: No what? I don’t think he is naturally driven into it. He is like– Dave is an isolated writer, the fact that we have collaborated is…
Dave: I honestly– I know a lot of people feel the sense of pride in having done a book a month. I couldn’t give a fuck, I couldn’t give10 fucks if people like slapped me on the back, Oh Dave great job. I don’t give a shit because there are things that feed my ego, but finishing a book in a month isn’t one of them, maybe because we`ve already you know written so damn much, it doesn’t…
Johnny: This is like a pandemic movie where they are trying to say well this person didn’t catch the disease. What is unique about them and we can figure it out for everybody. Like what is it Dave Because…
Sean: Dave is patient zero.
Johnny: Because right you are patient zero, you are a paradox, you have– there is no way we could get this person to finish a book and yet you do it all the time. So what is it that’s making you finish these books, is it all Sean, is it…
Dave: It’s Sean with a whip. Well part of it is we have readers and I want to please the readers. I want to keep the readers, and I want to– I dreamed of this all my life being able to write for a living and people would want to read where I write. So that is like living the dream and that is all I ever wanted since being a child. So I honor that and I love that. It doesn’t always help me. It`s good for like bursts of encouragement and stuff, but it`s hard to like keep my mind on while I`m actually working, doing this for the readers. It’s a hard day to day sort of thing to hold on to.
Johnny: I think we are approaching this from the wrong end. I think that we are saying what it that that makes this work for you Dave, but I`m wondering…
Dave: Which should be like obstacle focus like…?
Johnny: No, I’m thinking it’s the other way around. Like is it possible that this actually is a successful work and like any other job literally in the world would be much-much worse. Maybe our standards are too high, maybe there is no joy. Is there no joy? Is there no level of joy and this is just the best of the worst options. Is that possible?
Dave: Well I think– I forgot what my dad– Well whenever I used to bitch about any job I had like growing up, my dad would say it’s a job you are not supposed to love it, and that’s the… any father has ever given his son.
Johnny: Yeah that’s no hero parade. I would rather punch Ethan in the ear than give him that advice.
Dave: Well my dad was a very blue collar guy who basically you know worked his ass off to you know support us, and he had a job he hated, but it was a job he had to do and I think a lot of people are like that, they have a job that they hate but they have to do it. I don’t consider myself having a job I hate that I have but have to do. Not at all, there are a billion jobs worse than what we are doing, this is an awesome job.
Johnny: Is it possible that it’s guilt that’s driving you? Is it possible that you…
Dave: What’s up with the microphone link?
Johnny: Yeah. I feel bad for– sorry everybody in the recording like our upload download speeds are shit today, I don’t know what the problem is. I said is it possible that it’s guilt that is driving you, and you like you have to perform because you have a job that you don’t hate, and if you don’t perform it you are spitting in the eye of all those blue collar people out there?
Dave: Well I have no guilt about blue collar people. I`ve worked jobs I hated forever.
Johnny: No you are guilty about your good job where you aren’t blue collar?
Dave: No, I have guilt if I don’t you know follow through and you know I have guilt for Sean, I have guilt for readers like if I don’t do what I need to do . Yeah guilt drives me a lot. I`m practically Jewish in my guilt.
Johnny: So how do we replicate that for everyone out there in SPP land, how do we get to them all?
Sean: Feel guilty. What everybody needs is to feel bad about your mother.
Dave: My mother?
Sean: Yeah, mothers make you feel guilty like…
Johnny: Your mother Sean because Dave has opinions on that.
Dave: Have we helped anybody?
Johnny: No I really don`t think we have. So anyway so do NaNoWrimo, maybe you’ll feel guilty.
Sean: No, but I’ve been working on you for six years, so I feel like we made a couple of millimeters of progress. What about the comments Dave, has anybody weighed in on the comments?
Dave: I`m checking on the net now, hold on a moment.
Sean: What if we did something, I`m actually not trying to be funny, I’m serious. What if we did something with our next book where we– like Dave do you remember blog to fit? Of course you do, like that whole thing. What if we did something like that where we actually– you wouldn’t have to share your word count or your actual route words, that’s not what I mean at all. But where we kind of like talked about process and we tried to get, we tried to get things a little more streamlined a little more you know all the stuff that I`m always on like come on dude this will be our next project, we will be systematized where we actually do that, but because accountability is part …
Johnny: Extreme make over SPP edition.
Sean: What did you say Johnny?
Johnny: I love how I can’t say anything without you guys asking me to say it again.
Dave: Well because every time you start to interrupt, your microphone is doing some weird thing and it doesn’t sound– it`s fucked up so…
Johnny: Awesome this is good, this is good. At least the recording on my end will be good of my mic, I don’t even remember what I was going to say. So there you go.
Sean: So like the same stuff that I`m always saying, but if accountability matters and you are looking at– now the SPP audience is kind of like looking through the window a little bit. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. So like that’s why things like word counts and actually raw draft words will not be a good idea, but may be just sharing our process a little bit and saying like this is what worked and this is what didn’t. Unless that would feel a little too much like weighing in which I don’t want you to feel that way, but do you think that that would help you and then help the listeners?
Dave: We could talk about that further elaborate what exactly you want to do and yeah, it might be something I`m up for.
Sean: Johnny is staying away from his mic, but in the chat window he just called it Dave on box.
Dave: Jumping fucking box. Okay we got some comments, Cortelian Light [phonetic] says I attempted NaNo several times but finished for the first time last year and also because it’s sort of a writer’s holiday a lot of people come out that are normally not active online. The You Tube videos, articles, and tweets tend to be really helpful but remember words sprints are fucking golden prevent feeling alone. She also quoted Dave on the need– for a deadline, but deadlines are a horrible thing. Ryan [inaudible 58:24] says I think rewards is what you create the end product. For me I get excited about what happens later. The next book in this series potential movie or TV series, a sound track, a franchise, I think the end product is just a stepping stone to something bigger, maybe that helps Dave.
J P Howl says for writing is about building a habit and creating a momentum, deadlines also don’t work at all for me because they do stress me out too much. When I keep my head down and focus on momentum, I get way more done when I`m– than when I`m thinking about deadlines. Ryan [58:55] says hey Johnny is the title of your next series fat falcon? Chrissie Moss says personally I love publishing, that’s what keeps me going, ideally eventually I can hit– publish on that book and that other people will enjoy it. Till then it’s a long slog to the end. I enjoy parts like writing a plot down, but other parts are miserable like for myself to finish a tough battle scene. It`s learning to love writing those parts that’s making writing easier.
Johnny: See this is really interesting to me because it really is just– I wonder if it’s collaboration because I`m excited pretty much every day when I write pretty much anything, and I actually just wrapped like I just said the first said the first story for– that Jon and I are writing for Lexi’s line Lefleur de blank. I just wrapped that today and that was the hardest so far because there was so much that I wasn’t familiar with like I don’t, Sean is the one who owned the flowers shop, Sean is the one who know about food and it was just very hercky jercky, there is nothing supernatural in it, so I didn’t have that.
Sean: Yeah it was our first story ever with just people, there’s no supernatural element to it and there was really no big shocking climax. It’s all just like people being people, which I think is one of the things I love most about it because the feelings in it are very real. But also you know supernatural stuff is kind of a trick, like it allows you to cover outside the lines very easily and this was a little harder than that, but I like it I mean it challenged us in the right ways.
Johnny: But even that is– like I said I wonder if its collaboration, I wonder if having a community does help for a lot of people because it’s kind of like having a partner or having an accountability somebody you talk to a spouse just who you are talking to because with Leflore more than any other book so far I needed Sean, like not only did he write the beats and all that stuff but he– I needed his support during the book. I was like dude I don’t know– I`m kind of out of my element in this and it was before he was even able to catch up and read it, because he was doing some other stuff. So Sean couldn’t even keep up and say this is good, it’s just like well I don’t know this could happen this could happen keep going. But usually it doesn’t matter what I`m writing, it could be sci-fi, it could be horror, it could be whatever, it could be a mind fuck like Axis of Aaron, it’s just there is always something interesting and exciting. So I don’t know, but it did take me a while to train into that– but having partners makes a big difference
Sean: It really does because I am motivated, I can write on my own, but there is no doubt I am so driven by my relationships you know. When Dave and I are writing anything– when it’s my turn with copy I want him to be happy, and when we have a story meeting I want to hear him go oh! oh! And I want to be responsible for that feeling. Like I want to see his glee you know when I`m writing beats for Johnny like my number one job is to impress him, I want him to be like– I want him to laugh and spoil over the dream engine too the beats are not funny at all. But the other side of that is, if he doesn’t laugh I want him to be impressed, I want him to be wowed. The access beats were not funny at all, but I got the wow I was looking for and so maybe the take away is that even if you are not a part of a community, and even if you are not collaborative writing because collaborative writing is something that is very unique, like that is you really need a solid relationship and I don’t think that’s something you can just do, but…
Johnny: But I would offer what you just said about trying to impress me, I do the same and it’s a different kind because I’m handing over draft like I just– like I finished and sort of figured out the end it was– it’s a cool climax that we figured out. And so I said I got to know when you read that like I– here is what I want, I just want yeah that’s awesome, that’s all I want. So I think that if you are a solo writer having– if you have somebody, if your spouse likes to read, if your brother or sister, your mother, then maybe you can get those kudos there. I mean we are– a lot of people are, not everybody but a lot of people are driven just by validation, yeah you did good you know.
Sean: Yeah you know what, that’s a good point and it`s like even if you are not– okay, so whenever we are writing one of the core principles of writing a great story or selling that great story is to know who you are writing for, right. So maybe if you have your ideal reader in mind as your starting, you just need to touch base with them more and more. I know that the most– the hardest they have ever had writing a project was available document season two. And the hardest I ever had writing a project across any line anything ever was threshold. I got the least enjoyment out of that book and the common denominator between those books were that we didn’t have a lot of story meetings around them, and we weren’t really a part of the process for one another. Now even though Yesterday is Gone, Dave did all the [inaudible 01:04:23] I mean the draft on the latest season, but we had a lot of story meetings and we were always talking about the story. So we were really able to feel each other’s mutual enthusiasm.
Available darkness season two Dave just wanted to go on the corner and do it, he’s like no, no, no I got this, but that ended up– when it was all over and we were reflecting on what could be done better yeah the story meetings would have helped. And so I think that even if you don’t have story meetings where you are actually creating something with somebody or you are not trading drafts like that is a different level of the process for sure like maybe you have somebody and you are checking with them and it’s more than any partner, it`s more like– because an accountability partner that’s a weigh in like I wrote– I wrote 8,000 words this week and I`m happy with them, like that’s the end of the conversation. I don’t think that’s what we are talking about here, it’s more somebody that you would call up and say, yeah I did this and this is what happened end of story, and you are just explaining it to them because that makes you feel good, you got it out to them and it becomes more real in your mind, and you have something to tell them.
What Dave said when he was a kid and he was writing stories for other kids in class, and they were like I want to know what happens next and that gave him fuel that drove him. And now it’s about fulfilling his commitment to me and impressing me, but also it’s about that somebody out there cares about the things that I`m saying, and I think that that is something people could duplicate.
Dave: I just got an email from Kate Morgan. I won’t read the email because she sent it personally so I don’t know what she would want me to say or not say. But she did say there is a non NaNo writing challenge that respects that you have a life. It’s called a round of words in 80 days administered by an author. The challenge takes place in several 80 day rounds throughout the year, you declare your goals, check in on your progress once or twice a week. Moreover, you are permitted to adjust your goals as life happens as life tends to do. They get together and they discuss their processes and challenges and she has met a lot of great writers through it. The website is if you want to check that out.
Johnny: Awesome.
Dave: I haven’t checked it out, so if it sucks don’t yell at me.
Johnny: I think we better move to better off and dead, we are going to be talking to Ray Chase again, we are going to be talking to Birdemic two, so such an experience. Yeah so we are going to do that, but our NaNoWrimo is like I said the dream engine two and we are doing fiction on box 1.5. If you are one of the platinum writers which used to be sterling and stoners there is a half off coupon in the member’s library. The rest of you, if you interested you will find it in your blog. We`ve had a few posts. So I guess that’s it unless you we any other things to add, no-no-no.
Alright I’ll give you the chance to actually respond to that, I will just steam roll past you because my microphone is all fucked up, but thanks for tuning into the self publishing podcast. If you would like to get all our best advice without all the off topic bullshit, be sure to check out our book write publish repeat the no lock required guide to self publishing success at, and if you ever want to see and have another really good well written magazine you can watch us write one with nothing held back at, every little bit shown. So thanks so much for listening, and we will see you all next week.

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14 Replies to “NaNoWriMo and How to Get Yourself Off Your Ass and Start Writing (SPP #129)”

  1. Jim Wilbourne

    Early in this episode, you talk about audiobook pitfalls.
    I would love to hear a whole SPP focused on how to make sure your book translates to audio well and what to do or avoid in order to create the best experience for both the narrator and listener.
    Ie. Word combinations to avoid, scene constructions that are confusing when listened to, narration horror stories (if you have s guest narrator for the show).

  2. Ingrid K. V. Hardy

    You mentioned wanting to know about listeners doing Nanowrimo… I did it in 2011 and succeeded (and got the winner’s t-shirt). The result was utter trash, but it was a fantastic learning experience for me. First, it showed me that it is possible to do (though it’s advisable to warn the family ahead of time to leave your bad temper the bleep alone), that I was able to actually finish a book, and that pantsing alone doesn’t do it for me (I prefer my significant other 🙂 ). It – and later attempts – have taught me that at least some partial plotting is the way to go.
    Nano also taught me that an idea alone is not enough (but it helps). Time management and the will to do it are essential.

  3. Anastasia

    Hello, this may be a silly question, (i’m also not sure if this is where I should be placing it) is there a transcript of this episode? I am a fairly new listener and I listen while I am at work. You guys made some fairly good points in this episode and I was wanting to take some notes. Sadly though, I do not have the time to listen to the whole episode again.
    I hope that you can help me out with this predicament.

  4. Brittany Gulbrandson

    This will be my tenth year doing NaNoWriMo. So far, I’ve hit the 50,000 word goal every year, but I’ve only managed to write a complete story maybe half of those years.
    When I started, I was in college, and it was a test for myself. I was thinking I wanted to write novels, and NaNo seemed like a good way to find out if I had it in me to write that much. Turns out, I do. (Hooray!) I made it further into those stories than I had ever made it into any story before, which was super encouraging. NaNo helped me prove to myself that I have what it takes to write a book.
    I keep going back to it for a lot of reasons. November has become the one month that my friends and family understand that “I’m writing now” means leave me alone and let me do my thing. (It’s not that they aren’t supportive, it’s that they don’t understand boundaries.) I’ve made new writer friends through NaNo I never would have met otherwise. I love the silliness of it and the yearly reminder to not take myself so seriously. I love the community. I love the pep talks and the support and the spirit of encouragement and wide-eyed enthusiasm that characterizes NaNo interactions.
    And I have learned so, so much about writing during NaNo. It wasn’t intentional at first but when I noticed that each year I seemed to instinctively focus on one element of storytelling to learn more about, I started to make it intentional. One year was learning how to write an ending. One year was developing simultaneous character arcs. One year was creating a coherent story world. This year I’m focusing on pacing. I’m not perfect at any of these elements, of course, but I’m better than I would have been.
    I haven’t published anything yet, but I am infinitely closer to publication now than I was ten years ago, and I believe that I am way closer than I would be without the structure and encouragement that I get from NaNo. In fact, I’m so close that I now have the goal of publishing my first novel in the coming year. (Not the first one I ever wrote. That thing is languishing on a hard drive somewhere and deserves to stay there. It was a learning experience, not a story.)
    And apparently I’m warming up for November already, because this post has turned out ridiculously long.

  5. Patrick Stemp

    I’m doing NaNo for the first time this year. Scary and exciting. I’m spending the next week wrapping up beats and planning. I need this end date (Nov 1) to get me out of analysis paralysis and just writing the damn book.
    Anyone can connect with me at NaNo by name, no strange user ID for me 🙂

  6. Luke Morris

    I’ve published seven books (both fiction and non-), and am about to publish my eighth – but I’ve never completed a whole NOVEL.
    That changes this year. I’ll plow through the rough draft in November, when everyone else is doing it. It will suck, it’ll be shit, I’ll hate three-fourths of what I write… but that’s why it’s a rough draft. In the end, I’ll have a crappy (but FINISHED) piece of coal to polish into a diamond.
    Good luck on FU 1.5! As an FU 1 participant, I can say from experience that I’m sure this will rock. I’d love to watch you guys do it, but I’ll be up to my neck in my own work. Can’t wait to see your end results!

  7. Rebecca Laffar-Smith

    Hey Guys, listening to this episode right now and you asked about listeners who are existing NaNoWriMo participants so I’m putting up my hand. I first did it in 2005 and then 2007 but didn’t finish both years, then came back and won in 2012 and 2013. In fact, my debut novel is launching as part of our local NaNoWriMo events this year and 70,000 words of that were written in November 2012.
    For me the real benefit of NaNoWriMo is actually the local community. When you home to your local region you can go to your regional forum and find out about Write Ins, Kick Off, Marathons, local versions of the Night of Writing Dangerously, and Author Talks and Workshops that are put on in your region.
    I was a freelance writer (the copy-writing and contract work that is soul destroying!) for 12 years but had no clue there even was a writing community in Western Australia. I assumed the writing culture was all based on the East Coast (Sydney & Melbourne) and that I was alone out in the boonies of a culture-poor city. When I started attending and organising events locally for NaNo 2012 I discovered that there are hundreds of literary industry professionals right here in W.A. And thousands of aspiring writers! Discovering that inspired me so much that I became the ML (municipal liaison) of my home region in 2013 and now am an active advocate year-round for raising awareness and promoting and increasing the industry events and opportunities locally.
    I’ve worked with seven city councils this year to promote NaNoWriMo and our local calendar of events and we start planning in March for what is a crazy busy month for me in which I host events almost every day but am also obliged under my ML agreement to write my 50K. It’s crazy, but I write more in November because of the inspiration, motivation, and support of the local community than I do any other month of the year. And it’s been an incredible opportunity to meet and greet with other professional writers, editors, publishers, media magnates, etc.
    So yeah, long and rambley but the point is, local writing community support is the reason NaNo is such a powerful movement for me.
    Cheers guys and I’m very much looking forward to Fiction Unboxed 1.5 (but will probably read/watch it in December while I recover from the NaMo chaos).

  8. Alexandra Ségur

    Hi guys!
    I’ll be participating in my first NaNoWriMo this year. I want to use it to write at least 2/3 of a first draft. In doing so, I hope to learn how to better pace myself and also to not let myself get too distracted by all my other interests.
    I’ll also be checking out A Round of Words in 80 Days website. If it is motivating enough and not too complicated, I might end up using it as a writing tool in 2015 for my next writing project.
    Thanks for the info!

  9. Tom Treweek

    I’m with Dave on NaNoWriMo. I have absolutely no desire to join in that clusterfuck of would be and wannabe writers trying to churn out anything just to say they finished a book. I would much rather take my time to produce something worth reading than to rush out an inferior product. In fact, my second book should be ready to publish in November, and I think I’ll be holding it back just so it doesn’t get lost in the pile of shit all these NaNoWriMo hacks will be uploading to flood the market.

    • Jeremy Collier

      Tom, I agree with you on a lot of what you said, one thing that I learned in participating and watching NaNoWriMo over the past few years is a lot of people take it as “oh, I wrote this [crap], now I should publish it!” which, as any good writer knows, is not a good idea. But there are also a TON of great writers out there who produce GREAT pieces of work during NaNoWriMo.
      For me, it was about pushing what I thought was personally possible. I wrote my first novel in 2012 during NaNoWriMo and it’s yet unpublished because I knew if I had put it out at that point, i would have been contributing to the crap. But it made me a better writer and will always be something I look back on as the turning point in my writing career.
      With all that said…i have no need to do it again just because it’s NaNoWriMo.

  10. Rebecca Laffar-Smith

    “NaNoWriMo hacks” huh? Did you know famous books like Water for Elephants and even Hugh Howey’s Wool were NaNo projects? Lots of great stuff comes out of NaNoWriMo and the real point is that it helps people stop procrastinating and actually get the writing done.

  11. Jeremy Collier

    I have an interesting NaNoWriMo story that might interest some people who are “not quite writers” and interested in doing it (although I realize it’s a little late this year).
    I’ve always loved to write, but never wrote anything longer than 8k-10k. In 2012, I had just graduated college and decided to take a crack at writing full time (didn’t happen yet, but that’s for other reasons). I had never heard of NaNoWriMo and first heard about it on Halloween night, the day before it started, on ISBW podcast and was like I want to do that!
    With ABSOLUTELY NOTHING planned, I started writing the next morning. I wrote just shy of 60k words in November and then proceeded to write another 70k over 2 months (final manuscript was just about 135k) What resulted from that was a novel that is yet unpublished (soon to be, though!), but I created a world that all my other work has since been written in.
    I completed NaNo, got a few cool things from their store, I can say I did it, and now have no pull to do it again. Not because of anything in particular, but I did NaNoWriMo to prove to myself I COULD be a writer, and I succeeded. I would do it again if I have time or if a project happens to fall around that month (right now I’m in editing mode), but won’t go out of my way to complete it again.
    NaNoWriMo gave me the confidence I need to call myself a writer, to become published, and to keep pressing forward with my writing. While that was 2012 and I’ve only published a single short story since then, I’ve written over 250k words that will be published over the next year, and I can honestly say it’s all thanks to the push I received while doing NaNoWriMo in 2012.

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