Tuesday, 23 January 2018

How I Managed to Write 14 Books in 8 1/2 Years

Two weeks ago today, I finished my fourteenth book. As always, I tweeted about it to celebrate, and as always, I received an outpouring of support and congratulations from my fellow writers. (Writers really are an amazing support network.) People were telling me how many books they'd written and how long their longest ones were and generally just sharing the love of word counts like only authors can.

@LouCadle took it even further.

So that's exactly what I'm going to do :)

To start with, all I did was fall in love with writing. There's such freedom in writing because you love it and for no other reason. I wrote my first novel because I wanted to write it, and that was all. I didn't know if I was going to tell anybody or write anything else or anything. I just wrote. And I took this with me into the trilogy I decided to write straight after I'd finished it. (I like a challenge). So my love of writing gave me my first novel, a trilogy, and the very first draft of what is now ZA. And I wrote all five of them in just over three years.


But I just wrote and wrote and wrote. Every spare hour I had was spent on my laptop. I'd come home from school, do my homework, and write until I went to bed. And that was how I kept up the pace. I think the number of hours I put in while I was still a beginner was vital to my continued pace many years later.

And then I discovered National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a hundred percent the reason I've written so many books. Six (and a full re-write) out of fourteen were written during the month of November (and finished off in December). Writing a book in a month was the key to keeping up the pace I had at school.

By the time I'd left school, I'd found myself in an easy rhythm of writing a book in the spring and a book for NaNoWriMo. And now I'm into that groove, there's no way I'm letting myself get out of it.

It also helps that I'm strict. I don't give myself a break. If I'm writing a book, I make myself write 2,000 words a day every day. (I did give myself a Christmas break though!) No excuses. Now that I'm so busy, this is vital. Otherwise, I'd put it off and off and off and it'd take over a year to get one written. I didn't always have this rule though, I used to pay no attention to word counts and just write into the night, but if you've already been sitting at a computer all day and you just want to collapse on the sofa and not have to think, you need a goal to reach!

I began this goal setting gradually a few books into my writing career. I started off just writing a little each day, then at some point I made myself write 1,000 words a day, and now I'm up to 2,000.

I'm not this strict when I'm not in the middle of a book though. When I'm not writing something, I make myself write 1,000 words a week of something or other, or a few somethings or other. This makes it easier to jump into a novel once I've started it. If I didn't write anything for a few months, I'd be stiff and timid to begin with. After all, the first chapter is always the most difficult.

My two books a year isn't always easy. When I include full re-writes (I wrote the whole novel again from scratch), I've written 16 books in 8 1/2 years, so I'm only a book behind keeping up with my target. I'm not sure when I'm supposed to catch up, but here's hoping!

I don't give myself these goals to give myself a hard time, I do it to motivate myself. What works for me might not work for you. I need strong, tough goals to keep me going. But the downside to that is that they're not always possible. But I've been thrilled to find that most of the time, I've made it!

So I guess I managed to write 14 books in 8 1/2 years because of a determination, NaNoWriMo, and a love of writing.

However, the fact that I just can't stop trumps them all.


Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Hello 2018!

I'm a little late with this seeing as we're already 16 days into 2018, but I've been so busy finishing my 14th book that nothing else mattered until it was done!

2017 was a crazy year! I didn't realise how much I'd done until I started to think back on it while wondering what I was going to write for this blog.

Let's start with something not so fantastic, and that's the fact that I blogged a lot less than normal in 2017. I'm going to be honest with you, I was feeling the burnout with blogging, and I decided I was only going to post if I actually had something to say. I'm going to continue only blogging when I have something to say into 2018, so you'll hear from me less, but my posts should be more interesting!

That doesn't mean I've been writing less. Oh no. In 2017, I set myself a goal to write something (1,000 at least) every week. Sometimes that was a blog - I did do a bit of blogging - sometimes it was adding more to my current project, and sometimes it was a whole mix of different bits and pieces I worked on during the week. I'm proud to say that I completed this goal (minus a week that I was ill and the Christmas week)! This is something I'm taking into 2018 with me because it's something every writer should be doing. I know writing every day isn't always possible, but writing every week certainly is, so I'm going to stick with it.

I didn't manage to write two new books and a re-write though. I think that was pushing it a little! I did manage to write a re-write (Fire and Ice) and a new book (the ZA sequel), so I'm keeping up with my two books a year target!

I spent 2017 talking about ZA and even writing the sequel, which is the reason this blog's so late. I
visited four schools and three radio stations in 2017, and I hope some of them will invite me back again this year!

I also took part in the Brentwood Literary Festival YA Panel with Gemma Fowler and Dan Smith, which was so much fun! As well as that, I also took part in Essex Author Day.

As with the blogs, I didn't read as much in 2017. I still read over 25 books, which is a lot to non-bookworms, but now that I look back, I need to do better this year!

My top five books that I read in 2017 in the order I read them are:

- Daughter of Deep Silence - Carrie Ryan
- The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
- One - Sarah Crossan
- A Quiet Kind of Thunder - Sara Barnard
- Am I Normal Yet? - Holly Bourne

Go and check them all out. They are all incredible.

What else? Oh yes! I got married! I know it has nothing to do with writing or books, but it was a huge milestone in my life. I married my best friend and partner of seven years, and it was perfect. And now we have wedding pictures all over the house!

So what can you all expect for 2018? Well, I'll be writing something every week and (fingers crossed) keeping to my two books a year goal. I have an idea of what I want to write next, but no idea about a second thing yet! It'll come. They always do.

I'm also going to release Fire and Ice at some point this year all going well. I cannot wait for you all to read it! Fire and Ice truly is my baby, and it means the world to me. It'll be amazing to finally share Ash and Cerulean with you all.

I'm also going to make sure I find the time to edit the ZA sequel, which I'm hoping to bring to you all in 2019, so look out for that. Hopefully, I'll also think of a title for it!

I wish you all the most wonderful 2018, and thanks for sticking with me all this time,

Molly x

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready


Monday, 16 October 2017

NaNo 2017, Here I Come!

First, let me start off with an apology. I'm so sorry I haven't been posting as regularly as I did at the beginning of the year and have been doing for the past few years. I'm so busy at the moment (which is amazing!) which means I don't have many books to review or anything much to report other than I'm keeping busy.

However, November is coming, and you can expect my weekly reports on how it's going.

And yes, I couldn't be more excited!

Business as normal then.

For those of you who don't know, National Novel Writing Month - or NaNoWriMo - is a challenge hundreds of thousands of writers set themselves every November. Namely, writing 50,000 between the 1st and the 30th of November. That's 1,667 words a day! And it is insane! (Find out more here)

I like a challenge, and NaNo is the perfect stretch of my ability.

This year will be my 7th NaNo, and I'm not about to break my winner's streak (6 years!)

This year is going to be extra exciting because I'm going to write the sequel to ZA, currently untitled because I really have left myself nowhere to go with a title!

I advise all you writers out there to give it a go. It may sound mental - and it is - but it's so much fun, and you meet so many amazing writers just like yourself. My username on NaNo.org is MollyLooby, and if you want to join this crazy race, feel free to add me as a buddy. I love to watch other WriMo's progress.

So, do you dare...?

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready


Friday, 1 September 2017

Stay #ZAReady

You've waited. You've wondered. You've pestered me.

And now it's happening.

I can now reveal that a sequel to ZA is in the works!

Thank you to each and every one of my survivors. You guys are amazing, and I wanted you to be the first to 'officially' know about the (currently without a title) sequel!

I couldn't be more thrilled with the response ZA has received, and it's getting me even more excited for the next instalment. There'll be familiar faces you know and love as well as some new survivors I hope you fall in love with too. And I can't wait for you to meet them!

Thank you for supporting ZA and allowing me to do what I love.

Stay #ZAReady


Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready


Monday, 31 July 2017

Write! Writing Software

I'm one of those writers who writes on Microsoft Word out of pure laziness. I've seen lots of different pieces of writing software online but haven't been brave enough to break out of my miserable Word bubble. After all, I can't remember not knowing how to work Word. The idea of learning new software is always going to be daunting.

I was kicked out of my lazy cycle when I was lucky enough to receive an email from the lovely people at Write! which propelled me to check out their software. And I'm here to spread the joy.

Let me tell you, there are better choices out there than Word! I think most writers will agree with me.

The first thing I loved about Write! was that I could write on my Microsoft laptop or my Mac, and the document would be sitting ready and waiting on both of my devices. This means I won't have to remember which one I last used. I know this isn't a problem for a lot of people, but it's an issue I've had for over a year now. When you have a tiny laptop for travel and a bigger one for your desktop, you have to remember where everything lives. Write! has taken care of that for me. I can be writing on the go, come home, sit at my desk, and carry on without having to send things to myself or get the memory stick out. This was a huge plus for me.

Write! also does everything I could want it to do. All the usual text options are there, meaning it's easy enough to separate my work into chapters. It's also much easier to find chapters, unlike in Word. I won't waste any more time scrolling through my documents unnecessarily.

Another great feature is being able to export the document into PDF straight from Write! without having to go to a PDF converter like I usually do. Already, Write! is saving me time, which in turn gives me more time to write. You can also convert into Word if once you've finished with the document you're more comfortable looking at it in a Word format. This means you can do the transition into Write! in stages. You can also convert to plain text, which is useful when you come to typesetting.

What I've seen of Write!, I absolutely love. I can't wait to truly test it out during NaNoWriMo. After all, NaNo is the ultimate test. But so far, I'm a total convert!

First blogged on my website: http://www.mollylooby.com/single-post/2017/07/31/Write-Writing-Software

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready


Friday, 14 July 2017

Top 25 YA Books/Series for I Read YA Week!


It's that time again! Happy I read YA week! The blog I wrote for I read YA week last year is fitting this year as the theme is #YAStandsFor, and my blog was all about Why #IReadYA. The year before that, I listed ten YA books that people should be reading.

Now I'm going one step further. I'm going to list my top twenty-five YA stand-alone books and series. Every book/series on this list should be added to your TBR list immediately! They are phenomenal!

(In case you were wondering, they're alphabetical by author.)

  1. The Reapers are the Angels - Alden Bell
  2. Anna Dressed in Blood duology - Kendare Blake
  3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
  4. The Hunger Games trilogy - Suzanne Collins
  5. Before I Die - Jenny Downham
  6. Just One Day - Gayle Forman
  7. Gone series - Michael Grant
  8. Paper Towns - John Green
  9. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
  10. Unearthly trilogy - Cynthia Hand
  11. Lorien Legacies series - Pittacus Lore
  12. Warm Bodies series (including the prequel) - Isaac Marion
  13. Chaos Walking trilogy - Patrick Ness
  14. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
  15. Divergent trilogy - Veronica Roth
  16. Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
  17. Daughter of Deep Silence - Carrie Ryan
  18. The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy - Carrie Ryan
  19. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series - Maggie Stiefvater
  20. I am Not a Serial Killer series - Dan Wells
  21. Rephaim series - Paula Weston
  22. The Art of Being Normal - Lisa Williamson
  23. 5th Wave trilogy - Rick Yancey
  24. Dustlands trilogy - Moira Young
  25. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Now I'm not saying these are the top twenty-five ever; they're just my current top twenty-five. I know for a fact there are a few books on my TBR list that'll make it onto this list. That's one of the great things about YA. When you think it can't get any better, a book comes along that blows you apart, breaking you and fixing you all at once.

And that's why I read YA.

If there's a book that made you feel this way that I don't have on my list, please let me know! I live for that kind of YA!

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready


Monday, 3 July 2017

Book Reviews: January-June

Here are all the reviews I wrote during the first half of the year. I read more than this, but I'm changing how often I write reviews. I'm no longer going to review every book I read.

The Road to Ever After - Moira Young  (Movellas)

The Trees and Other Stories - Thomas Emson (Fangs, Claws, and Wings)
Daughter of Deep Silence - Carrie Ryan (Movellas)
Angel - L.A. Weatherly (Movellas)
The Fate of Ten - Pittacus Lore (Fangs, Claws, and Wings)
The Burning World - Isaac Marion (Movellas)
The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson (Movellas)
The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater (Movellas)
United as One - Pittacus Lore (Fangs, Claws, and Wings)
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (Movellas)

My five top reads for the beginning of 2017:

Daughter of Deep Silence - Carrie Ryan
United as One - Pittacus Lore
The Burning World - Isaac Marion
The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

Any books you really loved that I need to read? Comment, and I'll add them to my TBR list!

Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready