21-Day Novel Challenge: Epilogue

Accord of MarsIt's been a fun journey. I'm on Day 22 now, looking back. It's been a challenging trip.

The goal: in 21 days, write, edit, and upload a novel.

Mission accomplished. The final book was uploaded to Amazon at about 10:30PM on the 21st day. A lot of other people were inspired to work hard over this 21-day period - HUGE kudos to Chris Fox for getting us all so motivated! A few other people completed first drafts in the challenge days. One other person - Chris, the originator of the challenge - finished his edits too. His book is off at proofreading and will be uploaded soon. We both hit every milestone right on track the whole way.

The editing process was especially odd for this book. I added 5000 words (bringing it up to 60k), which is a VERY big increase for my work - my final drafts are usually much closer to my first. I also changed up the order of the final three chapters, which resulted in heavy re-drafts of all three. It was a good learning experience, and I think the final book is much stronger than the draft form was. I'm still at the point where I am a better writer by the end of each new book than I was when I started it. Learning as I go is a wonderful part of this job - I hope it never stops!

I had to push myself harder and more consistently than I have ever had to before, just to get the work done. I still work full time at a NON-writing job. I have one day a week that is totally dedicated to time with my three small children. Oh, and I moved on Day 20 - so I was packing for a move at the same time all the rest of this was going on.

Working my way through this challenge tested every theory I'd written about in the "Coffee Break Novelist" book - and made me come up with some new ones, too. Maybe it's time for another book on "writing in the time you have"...! I certainly have more to say at this point.

Do not EVER let yourself believe that you are too busy to write. If writing is what you want to be doing, make the work your priority. MAKE it happen.

Too often life is something that happens TO us. We drift through, going to work, coming home, idling away the few hours we have left until its time to go to sleep. Then we wake up and do it all over again. Unconsciously, most of us simply go with the flow, living our lives the way others tell us we should, rather than looking at what it is we actually want to be doing.

Those big dreams are for bucket lists, not for reality. We don't have time. We have obligations. We have things we need to get done. And we're so tired after doing all the things that we are supposed to do - where can we find the energy to write?

This is my standard advice for anyone who is wondering what they should do with their life: "Do what makes your heart sing."

That thing you get excited about every time you get a chance to do it? That thing that you can't wait to go do? That thing that brings you intense personal satisfaction after you've accomplished some milestone? That. Go do that thing.

Most human beings will never get the chance to do that 'whatever it is'. Most of us simply live in the channels that life has carved for us, not even realizing it's a rut, not a path. Make a difference for yourself. Go do the thing.

This book is done. I've already begun outlining Book 3, which will launch in April. Because that is what a writer does, the day after finishing a book: we start the next book.

Accord of Honor is on sale right now, at a special price of 99¢ (it's usually $3.99 and will revert to that price soon).

Accord of Mars is already selling on Amazon. It's in Select for now - I'm trying that out with some of my books.

Accord of Victory will release in late April 2016.

I'm also working on a special prequel short story... It's about 1/3 of the way done. It tells the story of the incident where Nicholas Stein ended a world war with one fatal action - and in doing so set the stage for the Lunar Accords, and everything that followed from them in these books. I've told this story before (badly) years ago, but this is a complete rewrite with a lot more detail, done in the same first person style as the Accord books. That short will ONLY be available to people who sign up for the Accord series newsletter; it will not be available for sale in any store, but will be free to my readers. I'll be posting about it here (and elsewhere) when it is finished.