Write-A-Thon Write Your Book in 26 Days (and live to tell about it) By Rochelle Melander - Author Interview
Here we go again with another great interview! This time, with Rochelle Melander. Her new book Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and live to tell about it) was out on October 18. Rochelle's interview is probably our "jucious"interview so far! Lots and lots of details!
Write your book in 26 days
(and live to tell about it)
by. Rochelle Melander
1. In your book chapter summary, there are so many topics and things you go through, where did you begin and why? How difficult was it and did you have to restart several times? When did the idea come to you to write such a book and why?
In 2005, I knew I wanted to write a book about how to write a book fast. I created a huge mind map of everything I knew about writing. Then I grouped the ideas by subject and transferred the information into a chart. But, I still was not ready to write. I stared at that chart off and on for several years. I wrote chapters, but could not get the momentum going to write the whole book. Whenever I found an idea or article that I thought might help with the book, I stuck it in an idea folder. It wasn’t until 2009 that I got the idea to combine my interest in marathon running with a book on writing—thus Write-A-Thon was born.
I wrote Write-A-Thon during the 2009 NaNoWriMo (in just 26 days)! In January 2010, I wrote the book proposal for the book. During the long Wisconsin winter, I revised the book—cleaning up prose, clearing out repetition, and adding new material. Writers Digest Books accepted the proposal in February 2011. I had a month to add 25,000 words to the book and finish revisions.
Why a book on marathon writing? I’ve always liked marathon style writing. In college and graduate school, I chalked up my all-night writing marathons to procrastination. But in the past 15 years, I’ve been blessed with publishers who have given me insane deadlines! I’ve completed nearly every one of my thirteen finished books (ten of them published) in less than three months, most in 6 weeks, and one in just nine days.
When I found out about National Novel Writing Month, I discovered that I am not the only crazy person who likes to write marathon style. Every November (and now during the summer Camp NaNoWriMo), a whole bunch of folks attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I signed up, figuring it would be one way to finish my mystery novel. I failed miserably—my poor victim is still languishing naked in a hunting cabin in the mountains of western Pennsylvania because I couldn’t find the courage to have my murderer kill him.
So, I tried to figure out how to succeed at writing marathons. I began researching writing, how famous writers worked, and what psychology had to say about how writers could work faster more efficiently. In 2007, I taught a class to help other writers successfully complete National Novel Writing Month. I have taught that class in local bookstores every year since.
2. Your book, Write-A-Thon, is meant to help writers to write their book efficiently and with haste, did you use your steps to help write this book? Do you use the steps when you write all the time?
The short answer is yes!
I’ve been writing books since 1995. Over the years, I have created a life that helps me to be successful at writing books fast. Many of the ideas from this system come from the world of positive psychology. In Write-A-Thon, I encourage writers to develop their own systems to set up a life that supports their writing. For example, I know that I write best in the morning, before checking Facebook, Twitter, and email. I treat this writing window as sacred and will not violate this time frame. In the book, I encourage readers to discover their own sacred writing time.
Write-a-Thon also includes specific steps for nonfiction and fiction writers to use to gather their ideas and write their books. Throughout the book, I remind readers to do what works for them. Not all of my steps will be helpful to other writers. Some writers will have their own tried and true systems. In the same way, when I work on a new book project, I use the steps in my process that I need for the specific book.
3. Do you feel that you could've added more to your book? Are you thinking of writing a similar book to Write-A-Thon?
Great question. Write-A-Thon started out as a 50,000-word book. The publisher asked me to add 20,000 words, and I ended up writing 25,000 words. Now that I look back at the book, I think I could write a whole separate book on How to Write a Nonfiction book. At this point, I am working on writing fiction and revising my memoir. I don’t have any specific plans for writing a new writing book—but who knows what will happen!
4. When first learning to write, the first basic skills are your point of view and your audience. How difficult was it for you to choose your audience? What kind of point of view did you want to create in your book?
That is so true!
For me, every book has a different point of view and audience. It took me a long time to realize that a book needs to have a very specific audience. A book written for “everyone” usually turns out to be for no one. For Write-A-Thon, I am writing for two audiences. The first audience is the people who are already doing marathon-style writing and want to do it better. These folks are already pretty tuned into the writing world. They go to conferences, read about writing, participate in a critique group, and write. The second audience is the people who have always wanted to write a book but do not know how to do it. They have great ideas but have not yet been able to figure out how to manage their life or how to put together a book.
In terms of point of view, in this book I am truly the coach—teaching, encouraging and guiding the reader to write now! I want the reader to feel like I am on their side—helping them get this book out into the world!
5. In your book you say: “...Deadlines work.” Do deadlines work for all authors you feel, or only some? How can other authors learn to make deadlines work for them?
I think we tend to take the time we have to finish a project, whether it is two years or two months. So, if writers have two years to write a book, they will take it. But if they have only two months, they will make that work. A deadline helps writers get their work done. Otherwise, we would probably revise ad nauseam because in our minds, nothing we write is perfect or even good enough!
Although I believe that deadlines work for everyone, I do know that deadlines can be scary for a writer. They force us to get serious about our writing. They also give us (and our work) a predetermined “date with the world.” When the deadline comes, we need to send our work out into the universe—to our critique group or to an editor or our agent. Yikes!
So how can authors make deadlines work for them? When I first started writing professionally, I always gave myself an extra deadline. I had the deadline the editor gave me. Then I gave myself a deadline that was a week or two earlier. That gave me extra time to revise the manuscript before the real deadline. It also eased my anxiety—because my deadline was extra early, I knew I would meet the deadline.
For writers who find deadlines very scary, I would encourage them to give themselves some deadlines to practice with. A good first deadline might be an agreement with a writing buddy. Promise each other that you will finish your manuscript by a certain date. Once you get good at meeting this deadline, you will be able to try something more challenging—maybe competing at National Novel Writing Month, where you try to write a whole book in a month. When deadlines feel less scary, writers can make them real by turning in their manuscripts or query letters to editors or agents!
6. What will be 2012 for you, as a writer and/or simply as a person?
January was filled with a lot of external work as a coach. I traveled a good bit, did some speaking, and met with a lot of people face-to-face. Some of this will continue for the rest of the year, but I am hoping to spend some time working on my children’s novel, revising my memoir, and reading. Later this year, I will be doing a second launch of Write-A-Thon, which should be another fun whirlwind!
Personally, I am working on keeping my life calm and grounded. I have a husband and two children, ages 15 and 10. I love spending time with them and our two dogs. I try to get out to walk the dogs at least once a day. I exercise at the gym 5 days a week. And, in the evening, I try to get in as much reading and family time as possible!
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Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach, a popular speaker, and the author of ten books including, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). Melander who teaches professionals how to write fast, get published, establish credibility and navigate the new world of social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.writenowcoach.com and sign up to be a member of her Write Now! Mastermind class for professionals at http://www.writenowmastermind.com
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