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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Take the NaNoWriMo Challenge for Fun and Profit (Guest Post by Rochelle Melander)

You probably know that November 1st also welcomes the beginning of National Novel Writing Month. As a freelancer who writes nonfiction and makes money from it (or wants to), you may be thinking, so what? Well, NaNoWriMo may be just what you need to boost your freelance career as well. I'm thrilled to have Rochelle Melander, author of Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It), write today's guest post: 

Take the NaNoWritMo Challenge for Fun and Profit 
by Rochelle Melander 

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is designed to give wannabe writers the push they need to complete a novel in a month. But my first success at completing National Novel Writing Month came when I devoted the month to writing the nonfiction book I’d been kicking around for years, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days(And Live to Tell About It).

Whether you’re a professional writer with years of experience or a newbie with a great idea, National Novel Writing Month can provide the structure and tools you need to write something you can sell. Here are five ways to use National Novel Writing Month to build your portfolio and earn money:

1. Tackle your passion project. Nearly every writer I know juggles two types of writing projects: the first pays the bills and the second makes their day. Ever since I started writing professionally, I’ve wanted to write books for children. But I also need to pay the mortgage. National Novel Writing Month provides the perfect opportunity for me to devote time to the projects I’m passionate about (like Write-A-Thon). If the novel or nonfiction book turns out well, I can pitch it to an agent or self publish it right away. Choose one of you passion projects and use this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge to get it done.

2. Try ghostwriting. In a September article on the Fast Company blog, Ryan Holiday announced that books are “branding devices and credibility signals.” ( CEOs, community leaders, coaches, and consultants can use their books to get consulting gigs and speaking deals. Holiday goes on to say that, “close to half of all books are ghostwritten.” If you’re one of those writers who’ve read Kelly’s book, Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks and wondered if you could ghostwrite a book, NaNoWriMo might be your perfect opportunity. Use the month to pen a book for someone else and see if you like the challenge and the paycheck.

3. Develop new business. In the midst of deadlines and family duties, I often forget to set aside time for the part of my business that keeps those deadlines coming: querying. If you’re struggling to build your freelance business, use the word count goals of National Novel Writing Month to write queries, letters of introduction, or a book proposal. By the end of the month, you’ll have cast several fishing lines and you can spend the next months reeling in the cash!

4. Write an informational ebook. Nearly every day, I receive an email from some guru or another promising me that I could earn big bucks by writing and selling an ebook. Well, why not try? No doubt, as a professional author you have amassed a huge amount of knowledge and words in your niche. Use NaNoWriMo to envision, structure, write, and publish that information into ebooks that you can sell on your website or through popular vendors.

5. Improve your social media platform. Nearly every day I whine about not having time to blog, pin, and tweet. I often imagine that if I had an extra day, I would write my blog posts for the next month, schedule a week’s worth of tweets, or play with creating new business-attracting Pinterest boards. Why not use National Novel Writing Month to do one or more of these platform-building activities?

Your turn. How will you use National Novel Writing Month to build your portfolio and earn money?

Note: If you sign up for the National Novel Writing Month challenge and read the fine print, you’ll no doubt run across this rule: “Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!” ( This little loophole makes it possible for you to write whatever you want during NaNoWriMo without breaking the rules—as long as you tell yourself it’s a novel!
Rochelle Melander is an author, speaker, and certified professional coach. She is the author of ten books, including the National Novel Writing Month guide—Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) Rochelle teaches professionals how to write good books fast, use writing to transform their lives, navigate the publishing world, and get published! For more tips and a complementary download of the first two chapters of Write-A-Thon, visit her online at

**Thanks, Rochelle, for this guest post. Readers, what do you think? Will you use NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to work on your own book project? Comment and let me know! 

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