Wanna try your hand at being a novelist? 3 reasons you should

Learn more about TimNot everybody is cut out to be a career novelist. But you have a sneaking suspicion that you are. Today I lay out three reasons why this may be the life for you!

If you’re still on the fence, one way to wade into the shallow waters of novel writing is a writing challenge. If you haven’t joined us for the 10K Social Writing Challenge yet, we’d love to see you there!

So, how do you measure up with this list?

1. You love to write. Well, duh. There’s just something about telling a story, and creating characters and entire worlds using only words. If tiptoeing into your writing nook at dawn, pouring a steaming cup of coffee, and tapping out an exciting passage straight from your imagination as you watch the sun come up appeals to you, then you’re in the right business.

2. You have ambition. Of course, you need to stick with it. Some novels are written quickly (A Christmas Carol took about 6 weeks), others take a long time (10 years for Gone with the Wind), but either way, you need to be able to see it through to the end. If you’ve got determination and grit, and you don’t enjoy giving up, you’ve got a bright future.

3. The life of an author appeals to you. Do you mind people constantly asking you questions, like where your ideas come from? Are you up for spending time at bookstores signing copies of your books, over and over, for crowds of fans? Can you handle reading a review of your own work? If being in the public eye and still constantly coming up with ideas for more stories is your thing, then you’ll do very well here.

My guess is you can’t wait to get started. But if you’re going to put all that effort in, you might as well end up with the best novel you can, right? The 10K Social Writing Challenge starts March 1st, and is open to novelists of all skill levels and genres. And it’s free. Get in now!

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Your mission, novelist: write 10,000 words

Learn more about TimYour mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write 10,000 words in March.

Mission Impossible? Hardly.

If you can write 350 words a day, you can be successful in the 10K Social Writing Challenge, and move that much closer to achieving your novel-writing dreams. March promises to be the month where you make solid headway on your book.

In addition, you’ll meet other writers. Get valuable feedback on your work-in-progress. And start building that all-important readership…so that when your novel hits the shelves (sooner than you might think!), you know you’ve made it the best it can be, and your readers can’t wait to get their hands on a copy.

You could even win an award! In addition to raw writing ability, we’ll be recognizing involvement and how much your work resonates with readers.

Sure, it’s a challenge—hence the name—but I know you’re not one to shy away from dedication. As a novelist, you know when it’s go-time.

So don’t miss out! This invitation will self-destruct on March 1st, with or without you.

Accept your mission here:
www.chapterbuzz.com/challenge

A “quick-start” writer’s guide: 3 things you should do TODAY

Learn more about TimHave you been procrastinating lately when it comes to writing? Need a little nudge to get you going in the right direction?

Here’s a quick-start guide to buckling down:

1. Set a goal. This could be a goal for the day, week, month, or year. How ambitious are you? Be realistic, but stretch your comfort zone. One effective—yet simple—way to set goals is to think about exactly what you want, and when you want it. Work backwards from there, and you may find that your goals will almost set themselves.

2. Recognize the incredible power you have. We writers often take our skill for granted. “Big deal,” you may think. “Can’t everyone write?” NO. No, they can’t. As someone who has the incredible power of language at their disposal, you have the unique ability to create an entire world with the stroke of a pen, and captivate readers with the words you choose. Even among writers, fewer still are actually writing novels, so you have much more of a chance than you think at standing out in the crowd.

3. Challenge yourself. Writing 10,000 words in a month is, ahem, a popular goal. The upcoming 10K Social Writing Challenge is a great way to challenge yourself and show the world you mean what you say when you set a writing goal. Think about where you’ll be at the end of March: 10,000 words farther along, and possibly even an award-winning writer!

Achievement in writing doesn’t have to be complicated. If you truly believe you have something great to offer, and are willing to take the steps to create it, you’re already most of the way there!

One month. 10,000 words. Are you ready?

It’s on!

Time to bring your writing A-game, starting on March 1st. The 10K Social Writing Challenge is your chance to write 10,000 words in a single month, alongside many of the fantastic (even award-winning) writers we have here at ChapterBuzz.

You’ll also be eligible to win an award for your writing!

Here are the opportunities that await you in the “10K”:

Write 10,000 words. This is your chance to add 10,000 words to your novel, whether it’s currently a blank page or halfway done.

Win an award. As an award winner, you’ll appear in a feature article in this blog. Here’s one recent winner

Receive feedback. Develop your talent and build confidence in your writing skills by receiving friendly feedback from other participants.

E-mails that motivate. I’ll send you daily e-mails to help you stay on track and motivate you to keep writing.

Meet other writers. You’ll have opportunities to make connections—or even friends—with other writers during the Challenge.

Post your word count. Show off your progress and keep yourself on track by posting your daily word count.

Learn more about TimCan’t wait to see you there!

Register today at:
www.chapterbuzz.com/challenge

Success = hard work: 3 writers who are making it happen, and how you can, too

Learn more about TimOur community is full of writers who get things done. Here’s what some of us are up to this week:

Sibille Rose is steamrolling through the month. “I’m happy to say I accomplished my personal writing goal for January this week by writing over 1,300 words for A Crack in the Mirror.” Nice going!

Becky Kingswell has discovered a handy writing tool: “I have found a brilliant site for organising characters, world-building, and lots of other things.” Check out the Facebook thread & discuss

Finally, Lazarus Thompson has asked for some feedback on his chapter, “A Natural Gas”: “My funny bone struck again on an off the wall subject. Any comments, please!” Read it on ChapterBuzz

Since you, too, are the kind of writer who likes to take action and consistently achieve goals, you’ll fit right in with our community. Get started now!

You want to write a novel. Now, how do you stick with it?

Learn more about TimI’m going to present a harsh truth: anyone, literally anyone, can say they want to write a novel. It’s not a bold statement by itself, and it takes no courage to say it.

But how do you go from someone who says they’re going to write a novel, to someone who is writing a novel?

Ah, there’s the rub. Writing a book requires patience and persistence, qualities we don’t all have.

And even those who do are sometimes ill-equipped to deal with:

Writer’s block. “The ideas just aren’t coming.” Sometimes you simply have to start writing words—truly any words that come to mind—in order to move forward. Even if what you write doesn’t make sense! But just watch: solid ideas will start to emerge from the primordial soup.

Discouragement. “What I’m writing isn’t very good.” It’s easy to let these thoughts creep in, but understand that even some of the most well-known and widely read authors have had these same concerns. Your mind is well intentioned—it thinks it’s protecting you from hurt—but it’s doing more harm than good. Don’t let your mind derail your dreams.

Uncertainty. “What if I do all this work and no one likes it?” Fear of the flop is perfectly understandable. But this would be a moot point if readers were giving friendly feedback as you wrote your first draft. Why? Because you’d know with certainty which parts they liked, and which parts could use some improvement.

The best way to rise above these “mind obstacles” and power through? Start out with—and stay connected to—a group of people who are like minded, supportive, and have the same goal: to write a novel and share it with the world.

Join us for the 3rd semi-annual ChapterBuzz 10K Social Writing Challenge, and experience a new, social way to stay motivated.

Oh my gosh, I almost forgot to mention: we’re handing out awards to authors of promising novels.

You have a dream. It’s time to achieve it!

“I love fantasy, and I love Japan.” For this award-winning novelist, inspiration is everywhere

Bexx Matthews’ novel-in-progress, The Girl With White Hair.

For someone who likes to daydream so much, Bexx Matthews sure gets a lot done.

Case in point: when Bexx was just seven years old, she penned her first trilogy. Inspired by the personality quirks of her family’s three Rottweiler puppies, the stories she wrote made her realize that the only thing she liked more than daydreaming and imagining, was writing it all down.

More recent case in point: In October, Bexx cranked out 10,000 words in the ChapterBuzz 10K Social Writing Challenge—and won.

The Challenge, for the uninitiated, is a month-long writing marathon where novelists qualify for top awards by writing at least 10,000 words. (Incidentally, the next Challenge starts March 1st. You can—and should—join us! Learn more and get updates here)

But almost as impressive as her win was the dramatic fashion in which she completed the Challenge. “I’d written for hours on the last night, trying to hit that 10,000-word mark,” Bexx recalls. “I was so happy that I managed to get through and finish.”

Her hard work paid off. Bexx took home the Most Buzz Award, meaning that she attracted the most readers for her novel-in-progress, The Girl with White Hair, which tells the story of Tsukiko, the youngest girl in a long line of Japanese hunter/warriors, who seeks revenge against the Emperor for an attack on her clan. With such an exciting premise, it’s no wonder the book swiftly soared into the site’s Top 20.


The stories she wrote made her realize that the only thing she liked more than daydreaming and imagining, was writing it all down.


Now that The Girl with White Hair is officially an award-winning novel, will it be published anytime soon? Between university classes, learning to speak Japanese, and of course, long bouts of daydreaming, Bexx has a lot on her plate. But she still plans to finish her manuscript by September—so I’ll take that as a yes!

From filling up her workbook during class writing sessions in primary school (“I just couldn’t stop the words”) to her current focus on strong character development (“Characters live and grow alongside the person writing”) to how The Girl with White Hair is continually challenging her (“It’s a bit out of my comfort zone”), Bexx’s writing journey has led to plenty of personal and professional growth over the years.

But that journey hasn’t been without storm clouds. “I’ve had my fair share of struggles,” she reveals, “including a particularly bad episode of depression. I’ve had times where I hated everything I put on paper, and wondered if writing was something that I actually enjoyed.”

Fortunately, she managed to pull herself out of her funk by writing poetry and fan fiction. “I started a blog and gave myself no obligation to write on a daily basis,” she explains, instead writing only occasionally about “the little things that I really appreciated.”

Then, inspiration struck. “I love fantasy, and I love Japan,” she says. For The Girl with White Hair, “the initial idea was to have fun in a Japan-inspired fictional world. It’s totally different than what I would usually write.”


“Why should a chapter be tedious to write? Why shouldn’t every page be bursting with your own individual voice?”
—Bexx Matthews


Any advice for aspiring novelists?

“I feel as though anyone who has ever considered writing as a career has gone through this stage where they just become so focused on being a writer to prove to themselves that they have what it takes, and in the process, forget to enjoy themselves,” Bexx says. “Why should a chapter be tedious to write? Why shouldn’t every page be bursting with your own individual voice?”

I couldn’t agree more. Writing is to be enjoyed, and of course, it’s even more enjoyable when that hard work is rewarded.

“The morning I opened the e-mail informing me The Girl with White Hair had won the Most Buzz Award, I was half asleep and squinting to read the screen. There was this pause where I processed it, followed by the biggest flood of relief and sense of achievement.”

“Writing this novel,” she hastens to add, “really is a dream come true.”

Congratulations again on all your hard work, Bexx. Or as they’d say in Japan, omedeto gozaimasu!


Want to be an inspiration to other writers? Share this story on Facebook! You’ll also be supporting Bexx’s burgeoning career. Simply use the “Share this” buttons below, and while you’re at it, we’d love to hear your comments.


I’m Timothy Pike, book publisher and editor-in-chief of What Inspires Your Writing? I love discovering talented, up-and-coming writers from our community, and featuring them here. Get involved in our ChapterBuzz community, and the next article may just be about you!