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