An ode to NaNoWriMo (and a Happy Birthday too!)

IMG_6904It’s almost November! And that means two very cool things for me:

  • NaNoWriMo (of course!), and
  • My debut book’s first birthday month is almost over.

The two are actually linked, because ‘The Lost Stone of SkyCity’ was written during NaNoWriMo 2016. I had heaps of fun writing it, but I had no idea it would be the first of my MSs to be published.

aurealis-awards-finalist-high-resI certainly never dreamed it would be shortlisted for an Aurealis Award (OMG!!!). Or that it would get such a positive response from readers. The past year has been full of new experiences for me, from first writers festivals to first COVID-19 cancellations, crash-courses in online presenting and then – just last week – first CBCA Children’s Book Week as an actual author!

I’ve been really lucky that my state (Western Australia) has finally turned having the world’s most isolated capital city into a real bonus for everyone: our kids are back at school and I was doing in-person presentations every day. I loved that I could meet so many awesome students, filled to overflowing with so much epic imagination and inspiration!

So, as a thank you to my TLSSC baby and a thumbs up to NaNo, here’s a short history and me and NaNoWriMo 🙂

2014 – Don’t even ask. Seriously.

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Five lessons I’ve learnt on the path to my debut: ‘The Lost Stone of SkyCity’

9781925815948_WEBLARGEMate. There are no decent maps to show the path you’ll take to your debut and beyond!*

My middle-grade fantasy adventure ‘The Lost Stone of SkyCity’ came out this month. As my debut, it’s been a whirlwind of preparation and editing and excitement and <eeep> stressing about the unknowns. Which there were a lot of.

Still are, actually.

My book was originally scheduled for publishing Q1 2020, until one sunny day in February I got a phone call from my publisher. A spot had opened up for October. Could I get everything done in time?

To which I replied, ‘I have no idea what “everything” is, but yes.’

(Note to self: awesome on-the-spot thinking! This was totally the correct answer!)

I’m still learning at this game, but for what it’s worth here are five lessons I’ve learnt on my way to getting published:

*Note: this post probably isn’t a good map either!!! If you feel like you’re stuck in a forest, and my path sounds like I was up a mountain, relax … I think that’s how most of us feel! 🙂

Lesson 1. Find the writing process that works for you (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo rocks)

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