National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) November 2014

Winner-2014-Web-BannerWALKING IN THE RAIN_300dpi

Can’t believe I made it!

For the whole of November I’ve been holed up with my laptop, writing my work in progress. Other than when I was working for the university, supporting my doctoral students, and walking in the countryside. Oh and going out and organising family Christmas! Looking back I’m not sure how I did it!

NaNoWriMo has been a great experience. It’s an international support strategy for getting on with your writing (or starting if you’re an aspiring writer). The target is to make 50,000 words by the end of the month. ¬†It was the first time I’ve participated and I wasn’t sure about it. There are local groups for support but I knew that I wouldn’t be bale to make the meetings. Very soon, a group of romantic fiction writer friends, some of whom I met at the Festival of Romance Literature this summer, got together and we started our own support group as an off-shoot from NaNoWriMo and named it NaNoRomMo. Every day has started with a visit to the site to compare notes. It’s not competitive with each other, but very encouraging.

It’s not about who gets there first (although I think maybe some of the folks in the local group might have seen it that way!). It’s about helping each other to get the motivation and maintain the momentum to get there, as and when.

All in all, It’s been a good experience; all about competing against myself, setting targets instead of just rambling through a WIP as I normally do. Knowing it didn’t matter if I didn’t make it but that it would be a great achievement if I did; it was about taking part and trying. And it’s been about support and friendship and encouraging each other. I’ve made some lovely new friends with whom I share a lot, as writers and in life.

I’m sure I’ll do it again next year for my next WIP, which will probably be the last in the Drumbeats trilogy. In the meantime above this post is my award certificate and the preview of the cover of the book that won it, Walking in the Rain. Thanks to everyone for all the support … oh, I feel an Oscars speech coming over me …!

Radio show interview in the US: how to get the feel for another time and place.

What a lovely chat with the wonderful Janice Ross yesterday on US blogtalkradio show, Saturday¬†Cultural Cocktails! The hour flew by so quickly. We talked about my new book Drumbeats which is due out in the next couple of weeks and will be available through Amazon in paperback and ebook formats. Because it’s set in Ghana (West Africa) in the 1960s we talked about preparation for writing, ie research, and how to become immersed in the atmosphere of a book so that you can write authentically. We talked about my “little box of tricks”, tips for writers, and the fine line between fiction and reality. Do I log in the back of my mind places and people I meet so that I can use them in my novels? Well, maybe, but they have a habit of changing and going their own way as I write. Hear more if you click on the link below …

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/culturalcocktails/2014/06/28/saturday-cocktails-w-julia-Ibbotson