As you know I'm on a sabbatical from article writing at the moment to give me chance to get up to speed on finishing the first draft of my NaNo novel. I started it in NaNo season (Nov 1st) 2009 and wrote the required 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. I'm sure most of you know what NaNo is but for those of you who don't, it's an American idea where you get to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Thousands of people do it so you'll be in good company should you decide to do it this year.
Well, I hit my 70,000 word target yesterday and I am on the final chapter now, so I'll be going over my target by a couple of thousand words. However, this is the first draft so the eventual wordage after much editing may be more or less anyway.
In the spirit of NaNo, this novel was written minus a plan and was totally spontaneous - the plot and characters grew as I wrote it. I'd recommend this 'writing by the seat of your pants' approach as, for me, if I'd have had to sit down and plan it I'd still be planning it now. Yet here we are, 5 months later, and I've nearly finished it. I have been writing it part-time as well as writong articles and working outside the home - so I think I've done reasonably well time wise. If I'd have been writing it full-time, I'm sure I'd have finished it ages ago - but I wouldn't have had any quality thinking time factored in, and that thinking time is imortant as it gives your ideas time to grow and mature.
Once I've finished it I'll leave it a while and get on with some more short stories, but I haven't forgotten about the articles! Look out for my article about NaNo coming up in Writer's Forum (hopefully!) in the Summer.See writing about what you know does work! I did NaNo and then wrote about NaNo! And I'm sure I'll get a few more articles out of that experience too.
Other articles I have coming out soon include the Wildlife rescue centre article and two about being a Governor. There are a couple of other articles still out there doing the rounds, but I haven't heard anything about them yet. I also submitted a short story recently, so I'll be interested to hear its fate.
While I'm doing all this fiction I'm also thinking of new article ideas. I'm finding that having engaged the fiction part of my creativity, it's inspiring me with the non-fiction too. I think it's helpful to have several pieces of work out at any one time, as when the rejections come it doesn't matter so much as you'll always have something else out there that may be accepted.
Because I write poetry, articles, short stories and now a novel, the potential for being published is wide. I think being a chameleon in this game doesn't do any harm. It pays to be flexible and able to turn your hand to different styles/genres of writing. So if you don't usually write poetry or short stories, give them a go, and vice versa. Or if you only write about a couple of subjects in your articles, cast your net wider and stretch your writing skills to write about something or someone you know very little about. I did it with my archery article and it got published! So don't be afraid to give things a go.
Have a look at Simon Whaley's recent blog posting Stepping Into The Editor's Shoes It gives some excellent advice on what to do with the unpublished articles you have lying around (of which I have many and I'm guilty as charged for doing nothing with them when I ruddy well should be! Kick gratefully received, Simon! - ingenious! Give his advice a try - his advice has always worked for me.