Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre writer and an old hand at NaNoWriMo. In her books you can escape the everyday with the time travel action adventure series Druid’s Portal, science fiction and fantasy stories or tranquil scenes for relaxation. Discover worlds where the heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.
(1) This is not your first rodeo with NaNoWriMo, why do you do it?
At first, I did it for the challenge and experience. Now I do it because it gives me a good space in which to focus on writing. Once published, it is easy to get distracted by marketing, sales, social media and the like and get substantially less actual writing done. At least with a Nano done, I have a draft to edit and a story told.
(2) What is the best part of doing NaNoWriMo?
I still find the best part is the focus on creativity. It’s a time when I do think about the one book intensely, and I find the plot unfolds more readily than if I was writing each day. The book comes alive for me, and it is enthralling.
(3) What is the hardest aspect of taking part in NaNoWriMo?
When I have been doing something else before, or been unwell, or need to finish something non Nano during the month. My focus is blunted, and I don’t enter the creative zone. Then writing becomes a torment. I have powered through it, but I never like what I write during these times. Sometimes it can be salvaged, but I have given up early in later years rather than burn myself out.
(4) What has happened with the book(s) you have written in a previous NaNoWriMo?
One became the second Druids Portal. Others are still waiting more editing and eventual publishing. One fantasy fan fiction homage won’t see the light of day due to copyright issues, and a gardening book became too much work to progress further. Generally, I’ll need a bit of work to finish them (I usually write through December to do this) and then editing etc.
(5) What project are you working on this year?
I am planning on completing the Druids Portal series, with a book and a half to do. I have been researching ancient Britain of late to get ideas and plotlines so I can finish, finally. It will be lovely in subsequent years to write something entirely new.
(6) Finally, what advice would you have for those attempting it for the first time?
I have written a short booklet for those attempting Nano – it’s permanently free as a thank you to the NaNo community. So people are of course welcome to download that! I think it is important to think about your writing self and mental state. Does the thought of so much pressure worry you? Would you feel terrible if you failed? Only one in six participants do succeed, so it isn’t an easy task if it’s not your thing. However, if you need a push to write, then the support on the nano forums and writing groups is great. There is no penalty for failure either, so you can try and see how it goes, and even starting will probably teach you a lot about your writing style. Plotter or pantser? Slow and steady or a book a month?
For the first time it is good to organise yourself and your physical environment. Clean the house, cook and freeze meals, stock the pantry, Christmas shop, and warn your family. Take time for exercise. Make time for family during the month. Organise your time to write in a dead space – commuting, TV watching etc can be swapped for writing without locking yourself away. 1,667 words don’t take all day to write, or they shouldn’t.
I would also advise some sort of rough plan. Some events, a map, characters, even a bit of dialogue. A bit of preparation can help even a pantster on days when you get a bit stuck.
When writing, you are not supposed to edit. I do find re reading and correcting spelling from the previous day is enough to get me back into the groove. Leave a few notes to yourself on ideas for the next scene is also helpful. If you need to research something not vital to the plot, make a note (highlight the text to find it again) so you don’t get sucked into the wormhole of the internet. Leave social media until the day’s words are done.
And good luck!
You can find Cindy Tomamichel on Facebook, Twitter and her own website or even sign up for her newsletter. Writers struggling with social media and platform building can get some practical organization help in The Organized Author book or find more author services from Cindy at her Organized Author website.