Today I am very pleased to welcome Marie Ann Bailey to Fiction Favorites. Marie is a very talented writer and is the creator and chief correspondent of 1WriteWay, an interesting and very well-written blog which is found at http://1writeway.com . Marie is also a regular contributor and editor of The Community Storyboard which through her efforts won the coveted WordPress Freshly Pressed designation. The Freshly Pressed symbol can be found on the blog but is there for a piece Marie wrote. Marie also co-authors the Monday feature The Top Ten Things Not To Do which is posted here and on her blog in what has been described as a simu-publish effort. Marie is also a member of the Rome Construction Crew which is a group of writers pleased to help each other attain self-established goals. She regularly coaches and encourages her fellow members to strive to be the best they can. I have described her as a saint, which is a title she strongly disputes. So without further embarrassing accolades, let me turn to welcome Marie.
John: Welcome Marie, it is so nice to have you visit Fiction Favorites. I hope none of those dusty manuscripts are in your way. If so, just shove them on the floor.
Marie: Thank you, John. I am quite comfortable (cough). Those manuscripts aren’t dusty at all (cough). Thank you. I’m honored to be here.
John: I am wondering if you are catching a cold. Would you care for some tea and a scone or perhaps something stronger and some chips and salsa?
Marie: Somewhere in the world its Happy Hour. Fix me up a margarita, John!
John: It just so happens I have some already made up, here you are. Now that we are settled I would like to get to the first question. Marie I understand you just finished NaNoWriMo and made your fifty thousand word goal. Could you explain what NaNoWriMo is and what a writer hopes to accomplish in setting this kind of goal?
Marie: Sure. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s been held every November since 1999. I completed my first one in 2007. For the November NaNoWriMo, the writer commits to writing 50 thousand words of a novel in 30 days. It’s an honor system, but it’s a wonderful way to get people writing. In the last few years, the group behind NaNoWriMo started “camps” in other months; this year, the camps were in April and July. In the camps, you can write in any genre and you set your own word count. I set mine at 50 thousand because I tend to compete with myself. What you get out of the challenge is exactly what you put it in to it. It’s a win-win because any number of words you write are probably more than you would have written if you didn’t participate. Also, you get access to forums, morale boosting emails and, like the blogging world, you can meet some very cool people. If you do meet your goal, NaNoWriMo offers discounts on software like Scrivener. Your readers can find more details at http://nanowrimo.org.
John: That is really impressive and thanks for the link. So how did you discipline yourself to do the 50K?
Marie: Discipline is something I always strive for but rarely attain. I had planned to prepare an outline, set a schedule for writing, get up earlier and write. I didn’t do any of these things. I basically hit the ground running. I did have a rough idea of the plot, but that’s it. I just grabbed time to write when it was available. Since I work full-time, that meant writing the bulk of my 50K on the weekends. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it this time, even though I gave myself a big push over the 4th of July weekend.
John: What advice would you give other writers who are thinking of doing the same in November?
Marie: Do as I say, not as I do. Prepare yourself by writing up an outline. Even the briefest of outlines can help. You can get some great tips from Sarah M. Craditt [http://sarahcradit.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/mitosis-or-how-to-outline-when-you-suck-at-outlining/]. If you work full-time, be prepared to spend your weekends writing to the point where your fingers cramp up and you’ve lost all feeling in your butt. Try to schedule at least an hour a day when you can write. I often wrote in the last hour before I went to bed. Most important: be willing to write gibberish. Do not edit while you write. Don’t even reread what you wrote. Just write.
John: Just write. That is the best advice of all. What was the most difficult part of the program?
Marie: Either the panic or the writer’s block. I’m never sure which comes first. Panicking that I might not make my goal can cause writer’s block, but writer’s block can cause me to panic. Once I gave myself permission to fail, I could start writing again.
John: I know it could not have been easy but what would you say was an easy part?
Marie: Writing my blog posts into my novel. It took a weight off my shoulders when I decided to do that, plus it was fun and I learned more about my characters through the process. By the way, this is a great margarita!
John: Why thank you. It is an old family recipe. Speaking of recipe, I heard from a reliable source that you have three books in a series already written. Would you care to share with us your plans for these books?
Marie: They are all in first drafts so I have a long, long editing journey ahead of me. Eventually I hope to self-publish all three, but it’s going to take me a long time to get even the first one in shape. Life is short so I’m not planning on looking for an agent or publisher. I’m not a patient person so I know that once I have my novels ready, I will want to see them in print even if I have to do it myself.
John: Well you will certainly be in good company with other self-published authors. I know you have plans to continue writing,but do you have anything else on the burner?
Marie: Actually, I have a novel from the 2007 NaNoWriMo that I want to revisit. It’s completely separate from the series. It’s a horror story, whereas the series is mystery/crime fiction. I’m thinking it might be nice to work on something completely different from where my focus has been for the last year.
John: That is interesting as well. What do you do in you spare time; as if you have any?
Marie: (smile) Yeah, writing and blogging is like having a second job. I manage to squeeze in yoga practice, knitting, caring for my three cats, watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Show with my husband. Sometimes I even get to sleep.
John: You are one very busy person. Three cats, a husband, writing, knitting and drinking Margaritas. You are indeed an amazing person. I really want to thank you for stopping by. Oh, and I hear the folks over at Rome Construction named August 3rd as Marie Ann Bailey Day in recognition of all your talents. Congratulations on that as well. Now to the mundane; can I get you a refill on that drink? How about more of chips and salsa?
Marie: Thank you for the interview, John. It was a lot of fun and you make a mean margarita. Yes, I will have another. Just don’t tell Briana. I promised her I would limit myself to one drink. And I’m very honored by the holiday. All I need now is to be canonized and my life will be complete 😉
John: Well if you keep going with all your projects I’m sure the folks in charge of the cannon will get you one. Have a great weekend.