Today we have Benjamin M. Weilert joining us to talk about their NaNoWriMo experience and how it’s affected his writing career.
1) How many years have you done NaNoWriMo?
2013 is my fourth year doing NaNoWriMo, and I’ve won every year.
2) Can you tell us a little bit about this year’s project?
This year is the start of a new trilogy: a tournament between all the constellations to determine who gets to be the next Zodiac signs, in charge of supernovas/black holes, and who is the center of the universe?
3) Has Nano lead you to getting something published, either self-published or traditional/small press?
Yes. My first three novels were self-published through CreateSpace. I then converted them to e-books and have those available online at Smashwords.
4) How did you get started with Nano?
I had a cousin who had participated one year, and after hearing about it, I thought to myself, “That’s a novel idea!” (har har har). But seriously, I did think that I had a story stored away in my head somewhere which could be used as the foundation for a novel. I signed up for the site early in 2010 and spent the next nine months planning out what would eventually become “First Name Basis”.
5) Have you ‘won’ NaNo every year you’ve participated?
Yes. 50,000+ words every year, although the first few years I didn’t finish the plot of the novel and had to write into December. That has not been the case these last two years.
6) If you haven’t won every year, can you tell us why you think it failed? If you won every year, will you tell us your strategy?
I believe that the best strategy is taking a hold of the community. The one year that I barely finished was the year I didn’t go to any write-ins. I think the simple fact that you are removing yourself from your comfortable, home environment helps you to focus on the task at hand. And besides, if you’re writing with a bunch of other writers who have the same goal, the unity of the group really helps advance word counts. But if you want to know the real strategy to getting 10,000+ words written in a day, the trick is to view it like a job. Pack a lunch, get your laptop, go somewhere and just sit down and write all day (7 to 9 hours straight).
7) What’s your advice for aspiring authors who participate in NaNo?
It is difficult to turn off your brain and just write. As you get better at writing faster, you’ll learn to ignore the urge to “craft” your words. The key is to get the ideas on the page as quickly as possible. You can “craft” in January.
8) What advice do you have for those who struggle towards the 50k mark?
Take breaks. There’s no sense in banging your head against a wall and punishing yourself by sitting there, quietly, not writing anything while the clock ticks away. Go watch a movie, eat some dinner with your family, go for a jog, or take a long shower. Sometimes removing the monotony of writing helps to get the creative juices flowing. And if all else fails, kill off one of your main characters and see if that works.
Now that we’ve got the NaNo questions out of the way, let’s get to know you a little more.
9) Tell us a little bit about yourself
Well, as it says on my personal business card, I am a 14er climber, Rocket Scientist, Published Novelist, Movie Connoisseur, and Amateur Photographer. Essentially the “Jack of all trades”.
10) What is your upcoming work?
My upcoming work is something I arrived upon while researching the end of my last novel trilogy. I really love science, so diving into astronomy and learning a lot about it has been really fun. But the really fun part is taking what is known about all the constellations and fitting it into a tournament structure. Ergo, my upcoming work is a battle tournament between all the constellations! I wrote part one in 2013, but parts 2 and 3 will complete the story. I also have another trilogy in the planning stages, as well as a memoir about my dad and I climbing all of Colorado’s 14ers.
11) Where do you see yourself as an author in the next 5 years?
I think by that point in my writing career (which is a hobby; by the way), I’ll probably have an agent and be published traditionally instead of relying on the self-publishing route. I learned a lot in those first three years about publishing, so I think I’m about ready to step up to the big leagues. Besides, I’ve got enough novel ideas to last me until 2020.
12) Please, tell us where we can learn more about you!
I have a facebook page and a twitter [@BMWtheAuthor] where you can receive updates on what I’m writing and other aspects of my author life. My books are available on CreateSpace, Amazon, and Smashwords under the name “Benjamin M. Weilert”.