What I Learned Writing 50,176 Words In One Month

You may remember about 30 days ago, we posted that we were tackling National Novel Writing Month.

How did it go?

Alice got part way through but realized she wanted to get more organized and do this during a time of year when she didn’t have so many family obligations going on. (If you’ve ever been to the state of Maine in March, you’ll completely understand her point.)

I decided that despite missing about ten days of writing due to a business trip and Thanksgiving, I was going to do this anyway.

Consistent productivity? Nope. Got it done? Yes.

Consistent productivity? Nope. Got it done? Yes.

A few interesting things:

If you finish, you’re a winner.

One of my writer friends scoffed at the idea that you could write a book in a month. Probably at the way I would scoff at a beginner who told me they were going to design a website in a month.

Look, this isn’t Shakespeare. I know that, everyone who attempts this knows that. For about a week, you think your little book is going to be a best seller but by week two, you realize you are in the trenches and you just need to survive.

The point of an intense period with a deadline is to get you started. It’s like doing a Detox; it’s not something you are going to do indefinitely but something you do for a period of time to better yourself and maybe have some kind of positive outcome. When I submitted my word count and got my little winner badge this morning, I was pretty excited and did feel like a winner, even if I would need years of editing and rewriting before it might be finally published.

You learn to tolerate spelling and other small errors.

I’m pretty good about not letting small things bother me. A dirty mug on the sink, the idea of finishing a work project I thought I’d get done today tomorrow, I can let it go.

But when you are on a tear and see a spelling error you could easily stop and fix now get underlined, you have a dilemma: deal with the small thing now (what every productivity expert tells you to do) or keep going with your ideas and worry about that stuff later (what you actually need to do). I changed the spelling of my main character’s name and her workplace twice accidentally but that’s what ‘Find and Replace’ is for during editing. Just get it down!

At one point I wrote something terrible like ‘and there was no putting Pandora back in that box.” I rolled my eyes at myself and just kept going.

The story writes itself once you’ve helped it along.

At a certain point, you’ll notice if you get your mind in the habit of doing something (like writing 500 words in the morning before work), your brain seems to work on it on the subconcious level. I say this because otherwise how do you explain that you suddenly write a paragraph even you aren’t expecting.

An example? I was writing at one point when one of my shy characters stood up for herself and left the room full of people. I was as surprised as if I had been watching a movie… except I was actually writing this. You go Clara! I wanted to say. I was proud that she did something I didn’t expect her to be capable of doing. It was very weird. The character I didn’t like got arrested. I knew you couldn’t trust that Buffy!

I would say all this is like an out of body experience: something kind of cool but a little unsettling.

Don’t let getting behind depress you.

If you notice my graph above, you’ll see I wrote almost half the novel in the last five days. It’s amazing how motivating a self imposed deadline with a badge you get at the end can be. If you want to keep your sanity, I wouldn’t go so far as suggesting writing 20,000 words in three days but know that it can be done. It is physically possible. But they won’t be Shakespeare.

Congratulations to all the other NaNoWriMo participants. What am I going to do with all my spare time? I’m sure I’ll find something!

Curious what the book is about? It has no title but it’s about a woman who starts an anonymous dating blog and it suddenly gets national attention. Will she come out as who she really is? Or will she have to remain behind a pen name forever?

I’d like to thank J. of Blog Sexier/Budgets Are Sexy for his tips three years ago about starting a blog that made me think ‘What if I would have?” and Matt Baya for some technical tips helping me figure out how someone would carefully stay anonumous blogging. I’d also like to thank Derrick Sekulich for cooking me dinner and otherwise helping me keep life running without one complaint. I’d also like to thank several Facebook friends who contributed bad dating stories for my character to blog about. I had many in my past but apparently not enough to fill this book.

Marketing Monday: Dana Moos, Realtor and Twitter Queen

Dana Moos is one of the most useful people I follow on Twitter (@danamoos). I happened to finally meet her in real life at two tweet-ups (that’s a meetup for Twitter users for the non-nerds out there).

Anyone who watches Dana on Twitter or anywhere else sees that she makes great food (usually associated with the hashtag #foodporn), takes gorgeous Maine photos, and otherwise seems to be everywhere at once. I asked if I could pick her brain about how she uses her website, Twitter, Facebook, and other websites and manages to sell real estate.

Dana Moos, Twitter Queen, Maine enthusiast, and interesting person.

First question: Do you ever sleep? If so, how do you manage to do your job, study, be a social media superstar, and have fun?
For the most part, I work from home. So if I’m not out showing property, I am on the computer from the first cup of coffee until it’s time to think about dinner! Then I might be back on the computer after dinner for a little bit.

It takes time, dedication, focus and organization! And it has become part of my routine. Just like exercise (which I don’t do as much as I should!) but the time that it takes hasn’t become a chore for me because I can be so creative with it. Any time I can be creative, I’m happy about what I’m doing. In high school and college I was involved in the Arts, then got away from it and into business, now I’m back. But now I can combine both and I love it.

How did you get into using social media? Did it start out with a blog like it did for me?
That’s exactly how I started. When I was an innkeeper, I learned a great deal about web marketing. So when I got into lodging brokerage, The Swan Agency Sotheby’s International Realty has a beautiful website, but I wanted my own, for my listings, my focus. So in December 2008, I designed a blog through Google Blogger ( because I didn’t have the time to have a website designed by a professional. Besides, I wanted to take a stab at eventually designing my own! So after my blog was established, I joined Facebook and Twitter. And I follow my stats very closely. Seeing the impact of just these two social media sites, I expanded my blogging and photo blogging, primarily for business.

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This Week In Business: The Open Minded Edition

Sometimes, I catch myself thinking in terms of black and white. I’m sure this comes from making my own decisions (most of the time rather quickly) as a business owner. “I don’t buy that.” or “I always do this.” The truth is, of course, a little less simple than that but it’s easy to convince yourself one way or the other when you are the only person there is to convince.
I’ve spent this week beginning to really work with other people as peers. And while this is a sign things are growing, it also means this is no longer all about me, and my snap judgements are no longer going to work. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week, besides realizing I’m not the center of my own universe:
The workshop organizing continued.
I apologize to those of you who are probably sick of hearing about Matt and my upcoming workshop. I keep telling myself that the first one is taking so much planning because, well, it’s the first one. We fielded questions over email (and put them in an FAQ on the website, work once use twice I say!); got a few more registrants; and put up a website at I also created and sent out a press release and Matt made a Facebook page for the event.
Since three people have registered and a few more have said they’ll come, I think we might actually have enough people to *gasp* break even!
I began life as a paid blog contributor at Almost Frugal.
When my friend Kelly posted that she was thinking of selling her blog, I sent my condolences. Thinking about ending a blog seems (at least a bit) like ending a long term relationship. It takes more time than you’d expect and you care way more about it than you’ll publicly admit as your ego gets pretty tied in. (Full disclosure: I won’t even date a guy who doesn’t read my blog.) And while I haven’t dated Kelly (she’s married and in France), I have been reading Almost Frugal since the very beginning so I was a bit sad about the end of an era.
A few days later, I got an email from her.

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What I Thought About Julie and Julia

Breaking Even blog is mostly business and money related but Fridays, I’m going to write about whatever I darn well feel like. Because aren’t Fridays supposed to be fun?

My alternative Superbowl consisting of 'Julie and Julia' and a lot of carbohydrates was splendid.

And when I think of fun lately, I keep thinking about the part of last weekend where I parked my butt on a couch. Instead of watching the Superbowl last Sunday, ie the most watched television program in recorded history, I watched ‘Jule and Julia’. It was a movie about cooking and blogging, two of my favorite things.

I actually enjoyed myself. Meryl Streep’s performance makes me wish I would have met the real Julia Child and Amy Adams makes an adorable blogger.

My first, eye-rollingly geeky first impression is that this movie makes blogging look easy. Within a few months, Julie’s blog gets over 50 comments in one day and by the end, the New York Times has featured her. I’ve been blogging going on three years. Honestly, I’m ecstatic when more than two of you reading this decide to comment.

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Breaking Even Is Back

Where has the Breaking Even blog been? It’s a good question.

I promised I’d never write an apology post but this blog needs one. I am sorry I haven’t been keeping things up. For the last few weeks, I’ve been looking at this blog as a chore. In short, I had forgotten why I started writing it, which is that I love not only the idea of blogs but an excuse to write on a regular basis.

I am back in love with the Breaking Even blog, folks!

This week, it’s back to the usual schedule from now on. You can now count on a posting multiple times a week:

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