Friday, March 24, 2017

4 & 4k: A Gratitude Journal for 10 Minute Novelists

All Good Things

So we have come to the final day of this series of blog posts. In them, we have explored many of the features of the 10 Minute universe. The whole point and purpose of the 10 Minute movement is not merely writing, which is where have been focusing. It is about empowerment. It is about taking back control of the only thing that is really ours, and completely irreplaceable: our time.

Seneca, the famous Stoic philosopher, said:

It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.

So this is where 10 Minute Novelists come in. If you really don't have time to write, then don't. If your priorities are such that every moment is occupied by something more important that writing, then do that thing.

But if you have a mere 10 minutes to write, you can get in about 400 words in a single sitting. That's about two to three paragraphs. And in 6 to 7 months, you will have your first draft... in 10 minutes a day. Katherine used this method to take her novel from concept to completion in 5 years, and that includes multiple drafts and edits.

If you have more that 10 minutes, or two 10 minute blocks, or your typing speed is a little better than average, your novel will start to take shape that much sooner. If you can set aside three or four 10 minute blocks a day, you are winning NaNoWriMo every... single... month. Of course, there is still the editing, etc. But you get the picture. 10 minutes.

Though I have spent the last 10 days talking about the 10 Minute Novel community, the website, the various add-ons and events, it is really all about a single thing. You. You writing your novel. That is what this whole thing is for. So take 10 minutes, right now if you can. Get some words down. They don't have to be great, or world changing, or perfect. They just have to be yours. Go ahead, I'll wait until you get back.

I wanted to wrap this series with a big thank you to all of the Admins who have given their support and Drabbles to me over the last two weeks, with a special shout out to Ian for letting me in to their world. It's been an honour to be a part of their group, even for a short time. But I think I will reserve the last Drabble to a member of the group, who I think speaks for all of us. Let's hear from Pamela Humphrey.

Hushing the crowd before the moment of the big reveal, the Admins lined up near the door. When it swung open, Katharine stepped in.  Glenda snapped pictures as thousands of writers roared, “Surprise!” Escorted to the center of the library, Katharine took her spot atop the temporary stage. Eric quieted the crowd with a raise of his hand. “Every book in this place was helped into creation by the group you created. All of these are ten minute books, in some way.” Sheri and Sandy handed out invisible drinks, and when everyone had a glass, we lifted them. “To Katharine!”

(Pamela Humphrey, a homeschooling mom to three boys and author of Finding Claire, joined 10 Minute Novelists a year ago.)

Hear, hear!

4 & 4k: A Gratitude Journal for 10 Minute Novelists

Money Meets Mouth

Before I commit to anything, especially something that purports to teach me, I check credentials. If I want an electrician to wire-up my new kitchen, I am going to look for training, licencing and referrals before I start letting him tear open my walls.

When it comes to writing books, my requirements are pretty much the same. If I am going to take your advice on how to write a novel, you have to have actually written a novel. It should be pretty good one too, even if it isn't in my genre. I want to see what others have said about your novel, and about your instructions on writing.

A quick search of Amazon will produce thousands of hits on How to Write a Novel. I don't really trust the rankings, since there are many factors that can influence that which have nothing to do with the quality of the book.

But I WILL check out your novel(s) as well. For example, I recently had a Beta reader review my novel. What she had to say was instructive and flattering, so my ego was quite flattered. But before I took the advice to heart, I bought her book (I think it qualifies as an Adventure/Romance, but since I don't read in that genre I wouldn't know.) Long story short (I know, it's too late for that) I absolutely love it. It is well written, engaging and tense. Her advice about my writing is supported by skills.

But here is the really interesting part. What if you had written and published a novel or two, and blogged about how you invented a way of writing that allowed you to do so while maintaining a so-called regular life. You are an author (published) and you have a methodology that made you an author. Ok, Check and Check What if then you were approached, unsolicited by a publishing company to writing an instructional book about your methodology. Triple check.

That is what is at the core of THIS group. A book. A book that has proven to be central to the way people do what they have always dreamed of doing, of writing their novel in the midst of their chaos. A book that makes you dig into your memory, psyche and soul to draw out the writer that is in you. A book that not only gives you instruction, but actually permission, to live a fragmented and distracted life so that everyone and everything you love get's it due.

That's a lot to put on the shoulders of one book, but it is bearing up well under the pressure. Write A Novel in Ten Minutes a Day is required reading if you want to write, and you know... have a life as well. If you are a member of this group, and have enjoyed what you have learned here, buy the book. Leave a review on Amazon. And spread the word.

To borrow a phrase from National Novel Writing Month, the world needs your novel. And you just might need this book to write it.

Our penultimate Drabble comes from Sonja Fröjdendal:

One day 4 years ago I trolled around Twitter to see what I could find. Katharine found me and asked me to join her group on Facebook, it was 1 month old when I entered the wonderful world of 10 minute novelists. I haven’t looked back since and I’ve never regretted joining. I met a lot of friends for life through ten minutes and I learned a lot about what not to do writing a book. I was asked to be an admin last year and it has given me a new found respect for Katharine and the other admins.  

(Since joining, Sonja's released 3 short stories in 3 anthologies and self-published a book of poems. What’s next on the horizon for her? 10MinCon18!)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

4 & 4k: A Gratitude Journal for 10 Minute Novelists

From Facebook to Face to Face

It has happened. I have documented proof. It's kinda like photos of the Sasquatch, or sightings of dear old Nessie, or an Alien autopsy video. But like, for real.

It has come through in private chats, buried deeply in randoms comments. But it is true. Members of 10 Min Novelists have met. No, not on Facebook, but as the kids say these days... IRL. Sometimes in twos and threes, old friends who knew each other before 10 Min keeping in touch. Even 10 Min Novelists coming together from the ends of the earth, (at least the end where Britain is...)

There is something magical, and wholly unique, that happens when writers get together in person. There is that visceral knowing that comes to the surface that you, the author alone at your desk, are not alone in the world. There is a level of sharing and learning that happens in an uninterrupted flow of conversation. There is something about being in a new place that encourages you to take that extra step when you have already come this far. There is a difference between being 'friends' online and being FRIENDS with someone that you share a story, an experience and a drink with.

Now, I know that for some of us, travel is uncomfortable, physically, emotionally and financially. There is a comfortable place where we hide our bodies, our hearts and minds. But before there is a breakthrough to the new, there must a break-from the old. So it's high time we give ourselves a break.

For the summer of 2018, the 10 Minutes Novelists team is working SO hard to create the first ever 10MinCon. And you HAVE to be there. Here's what you'll get:
  1. You'll be learning from some of the best in the writing business. These folks have been where you want to go, and they want to share that knowledge and experience with YOU!
  2. You'll be meeting and creating connections that you would simply not make anywhere else, guaranteed. Networking? Please! This will be BONDING!
  3. You'll find your place in the whole group of writers. You will realize that it is not a competition, it's a COMMUNITY, and you are a member of it.
  4. You'll meet and make real friends, some that will last you for the rest of your life. I am not kidding. If you think they are nice online, just wait until you meet some of these amazing people FACE TO FACE.
So, seriously. It is still 15 months away. Reserve your spot, give the organizers a chance to prepare for your triumphant entrance, and start stashing your pennies (or nickels, if you are in Canada, 'cause we don't do pennies anymore...) YOU need to be there, and WE need you to be there.

To wrap today's post up, the incredible (and incredibly busy) Jessica White found time to leave us with this Drabble:
As a homeschooling mother of two, I barely had ten minutes to write or be on social media.  Then my inner introvert stumbled upon this tiny community of writers and found a quiet corner. Each day I met new people and made new friends who encouraged me to keep writing and shared their hard learned advice. My manuscript matured until the group gave me the courage to publish.  I wanted to give back. So when Katharine shared how she had challenged herself to write a 1000 words a day for a whole year, I challenged the group to join her. The 365k Challenge was born. In twenty-six months, 10 Minute Novelist participants have written over 70 million words, proving anyone can write if they can carve out at least ten minutes a day.
Unfortunately, she is sooo busy that she wasn't able to do her own bio. So her ever supportive fellow admins stepped in for a little extra support:

Ian McAllister: Jessica White looks after the helm over at our annual 365 Writing club challenge. She is usually our voice of calm in a crisis.

And Sheri Williams says: Just write, Jessica White is awesome. End stop.

I agree. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

4 & 4k: A Gratitude Journal for 10 Minute Novelists

But Wait! There’s More!

Post-credits scenes are all the rage these days. Go see any movie (but especially hero movies) and you will see a stalwart bunch of patrons still sitting and sipping their sodas, waiting for the 30 second plug at the end of the credits.

Because there is more.

Let’s not be the ones to break with trends and let you in on the MORE of 10MinNovelists. Because there IS more!

I have already waxed rhapsodic about the website, so we’ll let that pass.

Instead, let’s look at two other great resources.

The first is the Twitter Feed. Katharine’s @10MinNovelist hosts the Thursday Night Twitter chat, as previously mentioned, but there is so much more. As things come up, come through or are just plain interesting (with a somewhat writerly potential) they will find their way into the twitterverse and onto this feed. If your pulse is timed to the rhythm of an updating Twitter feed, then this is definitely for you.

Don’t confuse the active @10MinNovelist with the now defunct @10MinNovelistS (<- Note the trailing S.) This handle hasn’t been used for over a year, though you can get a look at the topics they covered in yesteryear (and see a picture of Katharine with long hair.)

It should also come as no surprise that 10MinNovelists has a very active page on Pinterest. The curated content, from the website as well as many other sources, lends itself well to Pinterest's model of topical boards and shareable image driven links. There are hundreds of links on dozens of boards on the Pinterest account, but before you think that that is just too much information, think again. The true power of Pinterest is in its ‘Suggested Pins.’ Well tagged topics are shared across feeds and often to people who would have no other way of knowing about our group.

In fact, one our most recent members, Diane Fullen, found her way here through a pin. (How To Describe An Object & Why It Matters In Your Novel) Pinning works, and Pinterest is the place to pin.

So there are other ways to learn all about time crunched writing practices. Check them out.

In the spirit of ‘all roads lead to 10MinNovelists,’ let’s check out a Drabble by Brian Duxbury:

Once Upon A Long Time Ago, in a time before 10 Minute Novelists, my wife introduced me to Katharine via an obscure homeschooling connection. She had a blog promoting the idea of writing in ten minute increments which kick-started the belief in me that I could do it too. Now on her ever-expanding Facebook group, she brings that vision, discipline and encouragement to thousands of writers. I’ve been kindly included in some of her projects which has stretched, pummeled, edited and boosted me through my involvement. Who knows? One day I might just actually finish one of my writing projects!

(Brian struggles to hold his crazy family together between shelved projects while writing a dreadfully long diary which might one day be published sometime in the next century.)

Top 10 Reasons To Come to Camp NaNoWriMo

As of tomorrow, there will be 10 days before the start of Camp NaNoWriMo. It's not ofTEN that we get this chance so I thought I would bring to your atTENtion 10 reasons to think about joing a 10Min Cabin.

1. FREE! It is completely and totally free. You can join Camp NaNoWriMo absolutely gratis.

2. OLD FRIENDS! In Camp you can join one of the TEN Minute Novelists cabins (chat rooms) and be surrounded by a group of your friends while you write.

3. GOALS! You set the goals you want to meet and the way in which you want to measure them. Interested in writing words? You can do that! Interested in the number of hours you edit? You can do that too!

4. PRIZES! That's right there are some groups or businesses who are interested in your business so they are giving away some of their business services and products . Some you'll get just by participating, others by winning camp nanowrimo, and because you set your own goals (see Number 3), you actually CAN'T lose.

5. MOTIVATION! Are you having a difficult time getting started/keeping going/reaching the end of your writing project? Haven't writTEN as much as you had hopen? Support from your friends is all you need! Ask questions about about conTENt, structure, character and pretty much anything! Work with your friends and it won't feel like work!.

6. PRACTICE! Unlike NaNoWriMo, there is no set goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. But you can start working up to it, really exTENd yourself, with 25,000 for April's Camp, 37,500 for Camp in July and by November, you'll be ready for the whole shooting match!

7. EXPERIMENT! Want to try your hand at epic poetry? Go for it! Song lyrics? Do it! Short Stories/ Novellas, Flash fiction? Have at it! It doesn't have to be a novel (though it can be that too!)

8. NEW FRIENDS! Meet shiny new people! Some crisp new campers with the wrapper still on, some refurbished models guaranteed to work. Learn from people who have done it all before, or who are seeing it with a completely fresh perspective. Writing doesn't have to be a lonely job!

9. SUPPORT! NaNoWriMo is a great program and donations go to their Young Writer's Program, encouraging youth to dip quill into ink and forge their own future! Buy the Merch (I have a cool mug that I drink coffee from when I participate in Camp), or better yet, get sponsored to write and make money for a good cause.

10. CAMP! Eat virtual (Three part story) S'Mores, sing (Thematic) Campfire Songs, lisTEN to (Serial) Ghost Stories, go Swimming in the Virtual (Word) Lake, Nature (Description) Hikes, what's not to love? All the benefits of camping, and none of the bugs or wildlife getting into your sleeping bag! (Virtual kitTENs are always welcome though!)

No TENts required to have an inTENsly good time!

Monday, March 20, 2017

4 & 4k: A Gratitude Journal for 10 Minute Novelists

I Get By... With A Little Help

A few months ago, I came across a very interesting site... service... thing. At the time it struck me as very Renaissance. In those days (and before and after) there were individuals and families who would support artists. Now it was MUCH more complex than that, but the concept of Patrons continues to this day.

Now I have a confession to make. I am little passionate about certain YouTube channels. When one of the YouTubers (I am still not trying to think of potatoes every time I hear that) quietly mentioned that if we liked what he was doing, we could support him.

Fast forward several weeks, when another of my favourite creators again quietly asked for support through something called Patreon. (I betcha see where I am going with this.)

Writing a novel a labour of love with a view to eventual remuneration. Most authors do eventually want to sell their book(s), so the work put into the writing, editing, cover design, and marketing is really a kid of investment. It's a risk, but one the author takes on willingly.

Creating quality content for a website or a Facebook group also takes time. Time to research, create, edit, post, react, and repeat. Again, often this is also a labour of love.

We hear a lot about wealthy individuals being 'Patrons of the Arts.' Even today. Watch any PBS special and you'll a list of the donors and their foundations who helped to support what you are about to see. And there is that line at the end of the list of Patrons... "and by viewers like you."

So.... Patreon. If you like what this group is doing, if it is helping you, there is something you can do. Pick up the book that is the core of all of this. (This isn't the first time I have said this) And there is something else you can do as well. Head over to Patreon (and again Google) and look up 10 Minute Novelist. It's worth a cup of coffee.

Before we get back to our regularly scheduled program, we have time for another Drabble. This one is sponsored by Joanna Melfka Maciejewska,

Not Just Any Group

Just another Facebook group—could it be any different? Yet, I kept coming back to it, drawn by its unique atmosphere. I participated in discussions, shared what little I knew, and helped when I could, while I learned about writing from other members. I even signed up with the 365 Writing Club… Before I realized, I was writing every day.

It was time to give back some of what I received, so when Katharine asked me to join the Admin team, I didn’t hesitate. If she could find those 10 minutes for others in her busy life, so could I.

(Joanna writes speculative fiction (fantasy & sci-fi), and has so far been published in her native language, Polish, though she writes in English too.)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

4 & 4k: A Gratitude Journal for 10 Minute Novelists

The More You Look, The More You See

Fast or slow, Facebook and Twitter are fluid. Miss a day, and the posts have been buried in the latest share or comments. Even if you do remember which post you were interested in, the search engines are problematic and imprecise.

So it is good to know that there are some places that don't really change. Head on over to the 10minutenovelists website (remember, Google is your friend). That is where you will find a host of articles covering a variety of writerly topics.

There is a new a post every single day of the week. You read that right. Every weekday. Topics range from Creativity to Craft, from Community to Writing Prompts, and my favourite, Beautiful Words.

Thursdays are usually where you will find Guest Posts. These are chance to hear some of the greats and the up and coming in the writer's craft. Since January, the Friday posts have been reserved for the Drabble competition. Go. Go now and read some of the most creative takes on three phrases and one hundred words. I am always amazed at the breadth of the approach of these.

And that is only on the FIRST PAGE! There is a wealth of information and encouragement here. There is the ubiquitous author's page, of course, plus the links to her craft book (Write and Novel in 10 Minutes a Day) and two (and counting) fiction books.

But the Jewel in the Crown is a short page entitled "Want to Write a Novel? Start HERE!" This page gives it all away. Here is the 10-step approach (note that I didn't say easy) that tells you how to do it. This is the core of her craft book and the core of the whole concept. Beware though, because you are going to be pulled and stretched, and a lot of bad habits will likely be broken. Enter if you dare (to become the best writer you can be.)

Take a few minutes and sign up for the feed, and get to know the site that Writer's Digest labelled as on of the top 101 Writing Sites of 2016!

Rounding out today is a Drabble by Christine Hennebury (who has a pretty awesome website of her own. Again, Google is your friend):

We met on Twitter, Katharine and I.
Two dangerous dames, both deadly with a timer.
It could have been an epic battle of words but, instead, we became allies of wit and word. I joined the legion of 10 Minute Novelists and now I stand atop the two million words I have written and shout her praises.
‘All Hail Katharine Grubb, the Duchess of Determination! Long may she reign.’
Katharine has not just created a Facebook group, she has created a space where anyone can see that 10 minutes is enough when you believe in the power of your words.

(Christine Hennebury lives in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, she's a thinker of things and a maker-up of stuff who likes helping everyone be more creative.)