Today, I’d like to introduce you to author, Amanda Martin, from the WriterMummy blog. Amanda is the author of Two-Hundred Steps Home, as well as the following guest blog post. Thanks, Amanda, for sharing your blog with us and for helping to lighten my blog load while I’m writing my Master’s thesis this semester!
The lovely Mandy has let me come to talk about my Daily Blog Challenge on my WriterMummy blog. Thank you Mandy! It’s always nice to get a change of scene.
I decided late in 2012 – on 30th or 31st December – that 2013 needed structure. My husband was made redundant (or laid-off, as one would say in the U.S.) in October and both my kids are still preschool age, so we lurch from day to day with virtually no plan. My ambition for 2013 is to have a novel accepted by an agent and/or self-published via Smashwords, and I hoped forcing myself to write every day would help motivate me. So I had the (crazy) idea to join Post-a-Day 2013.
Once I’d decided to write a daily blog, I needed a topic that would continue to inspire me for a whole year. The idea of writing the first draft of a novel in short installments germinated in my mind and began to flower. I originally wanted to write 365 words a day and call it the 365/365 challenge, but that was too hard! It’s easier to write long scenes than short ones (especially when you’re prone to verbal diarrhoea as I am).
The next challenge was devising a plot that would work in short bursts. It seemed a travel novel would provide the right momentum so I came up with the notion of a character visiting each of the 200 UK YHA hostels in a year. Thus Claire was born: a woman more interested in Starbucks and stilettos than hiking and biking.
Even though I began writing novels in 2008, and have two completed manuscripts, this is the first time I’ve written every day. And it’s hard! It isn’t so much finding time to write – I use the hours after the children are finally asleep, that I used to spend watching TV and surfing Facebook, although sometimes staying awake is a challenge! The main difficulty is finding the words, ideas, events to keep each post interesting. If I’ve been busy with the kids all day, my brain is barren. On my two nursery days, if I’m not doing art commissions or sending out agent queries, I enjoy getting stuck into a meaty 1000 word installment.
Originally, I thought I would write extra on nursery days to ease the pressure on the week. Unfortunately, I’ve since discovered I can only write one installment a day. And that’s down to editing. Any writer will tell you it uses a different part of your brain to write than to edit. Drafting a post and then editing it for public consumption uses all my ‘writing’ capacity in a 24-hour period no matter how much actual time I have.
The other challenge is research. I’ve never stayed in a UK hostel although I have been hostelling in Australia and New Zealand. All of my research for the novel is done online, using sites like Google Maps, YouTube, Tripadvisor and of course the YHA website. Sometimes it takes two or three hours to research a post. I am fortunate that my husband and kids are very understanding.
The most exciting part has been seeing the increase in views and likes, and publishing the first 31 installments on Smashwords as a free ebook. The thrill of Googling Two-Hundred Steps Home and seeing my book there for the world to see hasn’t worn off yet. I can finally say I am a published author. It has inspired me to ready one of my full-length manuscripts for self-publication.
Has the challenge been worth the effort? 52 days in, I would say, most definitely, yes.
Would you like to write a guest post for my blog this semester? If so, contact me via the contact page on my website and provide me with a written proposal for your post. Please include a proper introduction, letting me know who you are and where I can find your writing. If I am interested in your proposal, you may then write an original (no re-blogging here, please!) 300-600 word blog post, with at least one image that I may include with your post. You should also provide me with links to your own blog, website, or location where my readers may purchase your publications, if applicable. Thanks! ~Mandy Webster
- Lessons learned from one blogger’s 365-day novel writing challenge (onewildword.com)
- Happy (almost) Birthday, Amanda Martin! (lovelustandlaptops.wordpress.com)
- Don’t beat your head against the wall: Try these tips to develop a daily writing practice (onewildword.com)
- What one writer has learned so far about her 2013 daily writing challenge (onewildword.com)
- Friday Fiction #8: Home = Our Beliefs about Love (susannenelson.wordpress.com)
- Phoenix Review (kimberlypackard.wordpress.com)
- Laundry Baskets and Nene Valley Living: 2013 365 Challenge #45 (writermummy.wordpress.com)