To Nanowrimo and beyond!
I am thankful for Nanowrimo. Nano teaches us to persevere, to commune with other writers, to push past “block,” to sit down and write, to finish. It is a yearly reminder to pursue our creative goals. I believe that the most important trait we learn from National Novel Writing Month is consistency.
Consistency is what takes writing far beyond a hobby. It is possible to put your work out into the world, to have it published, and even to get paid for it. The good news is that there is more than one avenue for your stories. No longer is it required of you to travel to New York and get a face-to-face meeting with an agent or publisher. You can sell your stories for anthologies, to magazines, e-zines, and more.
The first step is to complete the story. The following steps regarding any story are what you already know such as editing, rewriting, polishing.
The “beyond” steps are all about research. You may have no intentions of taking your nano novel past your own personal computer files and that’s okay. As you continue to write stories, whether short or long, as well as poetry, you may want to put them out into the world.
If you’re interested in having your stories published consider these next steps.
- Continue the consistency: Nano is about creating a habit. Use what you’ve learned and keep going beyond November. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how fun it can be as well as how much you improve over time with just a little effort everyday.
- Write all kinds of stories: experiment with genres, sure. But try stories at different lengths.
- Familiarize yourself with places you’d like to be published: read the stories that a magazine you admire has published. Find out who published your favorite books and…
- Research: research and more research. Research agents you’re interested in, research publishers you like. Check out their twitter pages, their blogs, their wishlists. Search #MSWL (manuscript wish list) hashtag on Twitter to find agents who might match your stories. Find them on QueryTracker.com and AgentQuery. Find submission call lists for short fiction publishers and literary journals.
- Study guidelines: before you submit anything anywhere ever, carefully read the guidelines and follow exactly what the publisher is asking for.
- Learn how to write cover letters. This also applies to queries as well as one-line pitches and synopses. This is an ongoing process that I’ve accepted will need continual practice all throughout my writing career.
- Never stop improving and practicing your writing. Take writing classes, read books on writing, and write as much as you can and as consistently as you can.
This takes time.This takes practice. This takes a hell of a lot of patience. It is worth every bit of effort. It is so much fun even through all of the work. Just like Nanowrimo.
I dare you to go Nanowrimo… and beyond!