NoNo NaNo, WhyNo FOMO?

NSW Oct 2019

Next month is National Novel Writing Month, or as it’s called in the (writing) biz, NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short. Yes, I know it sounds like something Mork would chant right after he called Orson, but NaNo is serious.

The goal is to write (at least) 50,000 words of your WIP (work-in-progress) in the month of November, an average of 1666.66 words a day, give or take a decimal point.

I did my first (and only) NaNo in 2018 while we lived in Porto during our sabbatical. I had written 30,000 words of my (then) WIP, and I set myself the goal of finishing the manuscript during NaNo. As we were on sabbatical and I didn’t have any contract work in November, I could dedicate myself to full-time writing. I smashed it. 75,000 words in three weeks.

I had an online support group — NaNo encourages community — and a group of young Portuguese writers who I got together with once.

Only once, because the in-person group weren’t really working towards getting published. One of the gals I met was doing her 12th NaNo. She looked so young , I jokingly asked her if she’d done her first one when she was ten years old. No, she’d been eleven. She’d written eleven manuscripts eleven years and none had seen the light of day since. The others in the group were the same — for them, NaNo was about the community, putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys, and letting the stream of consciousness flow.

For me, NaNo was about writing a novel I could get published. (The novel I finished last November, That Night in Paris, is being published in March by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins. Watch this space — literally.) I gave these young writers online support for the rest of the month, but as we had very different goals, they weren’t really my writing tribe.

Flash forward to July this year. July is ‘Camp NaNo’ with the more achievable goal of 30,000 words in 31 days. I had an idea for a Christmas book and got 35 000 words in. The biggest difference between NaNo 2018 and Camp NaNo 2019 was that this year, I have a full-time job. I was happy with my Camp NaNo word count, and the manuscript — another ‘watch this space’ for Christmas 2020.

The intensive NaNo approach seems to work for me, so surely I am doing NaNo 2019?

No. NoNo NaNo for me this year.

And, as soon as I made that decision, I felt like I could breathe again.

Because, I’ve got enough to get on with in the next few months. Finalising edits for That Night in Paris, then handing over structural edits for the third book in my travel romcom series, then finishing my Christmas book.

I am already at capacity, and I already have the motivation I need to get the work done.

So this year, I will be championing my writer friends from the sidelines. You got this. You’re amazing. Practice self-care. And write, write, write.

The author’s juggling act

The past 6 months of ‘authorhood’ has seen me juggling quite a few projects and responsibilities. I am not complaining—it has been an incredible ride—but I tend to re-prioritise (nearly) daily.

In March, after job-hunting for a couple of months, I was notified that I’d landed a fulltime job at the company I’d worked for prior to my sabbatical. I was concurrently signing with HarperCollins. Timing wise, I would have about a month before I started fulltime work and received my structural edits for my debut novel.

I got to work, starting Book 4 in my travel romcom series, about a character called Jaelee (who you will meet in Book 2) taking herself off to Bali on sabbatical. In a month, I got 50000 words in.

Then I started my new job and received my structural edits, so Book 4 was left in the drawer. Once my edits went back to the publisher, I started on the marketing for my debut. With my agent and publisher, we teed up early readers and a book blog tour, and I shouted out about pre-orders. I built my online presence even more.

My debut launched at the end of June.

In July, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, tasking myself with writing as much as possible of a stand-alone Christmas novella, an idea that had arrived overnight in late June. I wrote 35000 words of the novella in July—while working fulltime and marketing my debut.

In August, I sent my half-finished novella to my agent, who loved it and had feedback. I tweaked it, and the manuscript, along with a lengthy synopsis of ‘what happens next’, went off to my Editor. I can’t say too much about this at the moment, but watch this space (hint, hint, it’s good news).

September came and I learned the publication date for Book 2 was being bumped up three months. EDITING TIME!!! The book was written, but I hadn’t touched it since January, so I gave it a comprehensive structural edit—particularly important as when I wrote it, it was 3rd in the series and now it will be 2nd, so some chronology to fix.

I sent the edits off in September and went back to Book 3 (which I wrote 2nd), conducting a similar structural edit to tighten up the writing and fix the chronology. I am about 70% through that edit, but I’ve just received edits for Book 2 back from my Editor, so I am switching gears again.

When Book 2 edits have been handed back, I can wrap up my edits of Book 3, which I will aim to have done by the end of the month.

But, back to the Christmas book or Book 4 in the series, both unfinished? I really want to do NaNoWriMo next month, with the lofty goal of 50000 in 30 days. BUT, the last time I did it (75000 words in 3 weeks!) I wasn’t working fulltime. Writing was my only job. And marketing for book 2 will start soon…

Mostly, the juggling feels like this:


But sometimes, it’s like this:


And occasionally, like this:


But on the whole, I love this ‘being an author’ gig.






Cover Reveal Aria’s Travelling Book Shop by Rebecca Raisin

It’s a pleasure to be part of the cover reveal for Aria’s Travelling Book Shop By Rebecca Raisin, which is releasing on April 8th 2020 with HQ Digital

Aria's Travelling Book Shop


With her merry band of Van Lifers, Aria heads to France in her travelling bookshop, best friend Rosie by her side for a summer they’ll never forget!

Hopeless romantic Aria vowed never to love again after losing her husband, TJ, but fate has other ideas and keeps throwing the bespectacled, booklover Jonathan in her path. When a memento from TJ turns up it brings Aria’s past back to the fore.

Nomadic by nature, Aria can’t see how love could work anyway when home is always at the end of a new patch of road…

A long, hot summer travelling off the beaten track, surrounded by newly loved up couples reminds Aria of what she’s missing.

Will she bookmark her love life at the point her husband left, or she will begin a new chapter under the sizzling sun of the Cote d’Azur…?

Book Links: 

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon AU | Google Play | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Rebecca:

Rebecca Raisin Author Photo

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

Follow Rebecca: | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Make It Up to You by Lucy Keeling

I have the great pleasure of being a (small) part of the launch of my friend Lucy’s debut novel, Make It Up to You, an entertaining and sexy read which romcom and chicklit lovers will adore! I am sharing a scene from Chapter 4 (scroll down), but first …

About Lucy


Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters. When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking. Lucy is currently writing the third book in a contemporary romance series, the first of which was runner-up in Choc Lit’s ‘Search for a Star’ competition which was sponsored by Your Cat magazine.

Lucy lives in Greater Manchester with her family.

About Make It Up to You


What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common? Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure.

Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way …

A scene from Chapter Four to whet your appetite

Sophie took a deep breath and— KNOCK KNOCK. She rolled her eyes and hit pause. As she stepped away from the table she assumed it would probably be another delivery for Mya. Or maybe it would be a parcel for herself, maybe some fabulous new make-up brand wanted to send her loads of free stuff so that she could review it for them. The idea made her smile wide as she pulled the door open. Her smile ran down off her face faster than cheap mascara and wine crying as she saw Marcus standing there. He was looking over his shoulder at his van, so she took the opportunity to quickly give him the once-over. He had a cap covering his hair, a plain grey T-shirt that clung unnecessarily tightly showing his muscular arms, and was that a six-pack? He had on cargo shorts, the ones with the obscene amount of pockets – like really, if you need to carry that many things get a bag – finished off with thick socks and work boots. He was quite tanned and for a minute Sophie wondered what fake tan he was using.

‘Hi, I thought I would come and take some… erm, measurements.’

Marcus was looking at Sophie with a strange look on his face. Sophie felt herself redden. Had he realised she was checking him out? Well, not checking him out, she reasoned with herself, more giving him a professional once over as was a requirement of her job. She realised she was looking at his T-shirt again, trying to see if she could make out any more muscle definition. With a cough she looked back up, telling herself to get her act together.

‘I didn’t know you were coming today. I’m actually working.’

‘That’s OK.’ Marcus stepped over the threshold and around Sophie. ‘I just need to take some measurements, just go ahead and carry on doing your work.’

The way he said ‘work’ made Sophie’s lip curl. She took a breath as she remembered she had promised herself to stop letting Marcus antagonise her. Cheeky git had stopped to put the kettle on, on his way to the garden. There was a back door through the kitchen itself to a side entrance, as well as the French doors behind the table she was currently working at. Fuming, but trying to remain calm and mature, Sophie went back to the table to go over her notes regarding what she had been recording, and what products she was reviewing. Next she would need to look at how best to title and tag the videos for her social media. Well, she was trying to, but it wasn’t working.

With her back to the French doors, it was very unsettling knowing that Marcus was behind her. She couldn’t read the notes that she had written, and she was fidgeting in her seat. Was he looking at her? Could she turn around and look at him? She should’ve kept the curtains closed after all. Deciding that it was her garden – well Mya’s – she could look at whatever she wanted to look at, whenever she wanted to look at it. She turned around. He was at the bottom of the garden with his phone, clipboard, pencil and tape measure. He was clearly just getting on with his work, which just made Sophie mad. Why was she so affected by his presence, and on what planet did he go around being the professional one?

Where can you get it?

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon AU | Apple Books

Congratulations, Lucy! I’m looking forward to the next two books in the series!