I Became a Published Author Today and This Is What I Learned

Use your words for good.

Life is weird.

You wake up early one morning, everything seems exactly as it should be, and then you remember that, technically, you are now eligible to cross off yet another one of the many ridiculous items on your bucket list.

And it’s all your fault.

Technically I won’t be crossing anything new off my bucket list today, because I have not technically published a book, not in the traditional sense. I still and will continue to have a goal to publish a full-length book or novel through a more traditional medium, because I am old-fashioned and proud of it.

Also, I self-published a novella, less than 100 pages of fiction. But in some ways, it still counts.

The weirdest part about this whole thing is that it is nothing like I always imagined it would be. My whole life I have always pictured myself so excited for ME, so proud of MY accomplishment, so eager to promote MY book so everyone could read MY story.

Instead what I’m so excited for has virtually nothing to do with me, and everything to do with those I will be indirectly helping through the royalties I receive from all of you.

Team work is my favorite phrase, and never once have I thought it could accomplish something as amazing as what we’re about to do together.

One month into this project, the most important thing I have learned has nothing to do with the self-publishing process or tax forms or proofreading (though all equally important).

I’ve learned that, if I accomplish nothing else as a writer – if every cent I make, I donate, if I never work with a traditional publisher, if I never make a living as a writer or get any of the perks that come with doing so – that is okay.

All I have ever wanted to do my entire life is give and help people and not make everything about me. I never thought I would figure out a way to do that by writing, but I have. I still can’t wrap my head around this and I’m not sure I ever will. The feeling is indescribable and I am crying again. UGH.

Thank you for everything. For following me, for putting up with my crazy ideas over the past 10 months, for helping to spread the word about The Novella Concept (you will, won’t you?). For giving a little something to TSWGO whether the prize you get in return is of much value to you or not (I won’t be offended if it isn’t).

The whole point of this project is to provide well-meaning humans a different method of giving back to other humans. To allow all of us to look at different issues from a new angle and pay attention to all the small ways we can help.

Use your words for good. It is revolutionizing the way I see the world and it can do the same for you. You can get more involved in this project here.

(Oh. I suppose you may want a link to get your own copy of my novella. Here you go.)

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

THIS STAR WON’T GO OUT to Receive Proceeds from January’s Upcoming Novella

The proceeds of this month’s novella will go to families caring for children with cancer.

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SURPRISE! Novella 1 of 12 is almost ready for release!

Which means it’s time to announce where the money earned through its online sales will go.

Last month I told all of you that I would be writing 12 novellas throughout 2016 and self-publishing them as a way to encourage readers and writers to help support various causes throughout the country and around the world.

To be honest, I didn’t spend much time ruminating over the idea before I decided to go for it. At first I definitely had my doubts. But yesterday I actually finished a second draft and started editing, which means this is really happening and I can’t even believe it’s real life.

Right. What you came here for. Sorry.

Novella #1: Ribbons, a story about cancer (and much more)

I’m happy to report This Star Won’t Go Out will be the first charity I will be donating to this year. TSWGO is a nonprofit foundation serving families supporting and caring for children diagnosed with cancer.

While my novella, Ribbons, is about much more than cancer, its themes are all tied together by the subject. I chose TSWGO because cancer is about much more than the disease itself, finding a cure and raising general awareness. It’s about the families of those who are fighting, too. They go through hardships just as much as those diagnosed with the illness do.

TSWGO’s impact

Over the past five years, this nonprofit has been able to provide numerous families with financial assistance. From TSWGO’s website:

Since its founding in 2011, TSWGO has helped more than 200 families, with gifts totaling $300,000 to help families suffering from financial hardship related to childhood cancer.

It is my hope that some of you will invest in this upcoming opportunity to give a little something and help make a difference in the world (and why not? You get a quick read out of it, if you want). While I don’t have details for you yet, it won’t cost much. Probably a little bit more than a typical novella would sell for on Amazon because I want to be able to give as much to TSWGO as possible, but still not much.

It’s not about the story. Stories are important, but it’s so much bigger than that. I get to do this 11 more times this year and I haven’t felt happier about a writing project ever in my entire life.

I won’t stop donating once the next novella comes out. I’ll keep all novellas available for purchase at all times throughout the year starting next week. So if you don’t think you’ll be able to afford your copy now, don’t worry – you’ll have plenty of time.

We are capable of so much more than we perceive. I’m just writing novellas. I don’t have an editor and I’m publishing them myself. I could make $5 and that’s it. But that’s $5 more than I have to give, and knowing I’ll facilitating that donation through someone I don’t even know just warms my heart and my spirit.

I look forward to everything else that is to come this year. You are all amazing. You might not know it, but I wouldn’t be able to do this without you.

Want to get involved with The Novella Concept? Join the Facebook group for updates and more ways you can help make the world more awesome.

Image courtesy of This Star Won’t Go Out.

Introducing The Novella Concept, Our 2016 Writing Challenge

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So I’ve been doing some thinking lately. Dangerous, I know.

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing. Obviously. About how, as much as we all would love to get paid to write (and many of us do), that’s not really why we do it. We simply want to be able to do what we love while making a decent living doing it.

But here’s the thing. I think we can do better than that.

I think there’s a way we can all accomplish our overall goal – to write as much and as often as possible – while contributing to something much bigger. A cause, or multiple, that satisfies much more than our desire to put our ideas into words.

Friends. Fellow writers. I think we can take it a step further, and turn our words into actions. To promote change, just by sitting down and writing.

That’s why I’m taking a risk this year. Not for myself, but for hundreds of thousands of people I’ve never met. You can join me, if you want. Here’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to write 12 novellas this year. You read that right: 12. One novella per month. Each covering a different topic. Each addressing an issue that needs attention, the kind of attention only storytelling can  gift.

I’m going to take those finished novellas and self-publish them on Amazon throughout the year. And I’m going to donate the money, every cent, to 12 different charities, each representing one of the causes I address in each of my novellas.

That might seem like a lot of work to do if I’m just going to give the money away.

I don’t see it that way.

I see it as a chance for me to give something to someone in need when I have nothing to give other than my ideas and my words.

I’m telling you this so I don’t brush this idea off to the side like we’ve all done so many times before. It’s been rolling around in my head ever since Project for Awesome, in that way good ideas do. I waited for it to go away and it hasn’t. So that’s how I know this is meant to be. And I hope, if you are willing, if you have the time and words to spare, you will join me, and write at least one novella this year to contribute to the cause.

There will come more info as the month goes on about how we can make this more of a community effort. I will probably start a Facebook group as a place where I, or a few of us, can share our finished work with one another and help promote this totally awesome (and terrifying) idea I’ve come up with.

For now, check out this page with more general info about The Novella Concept.

I’m not asking you to make a commitment to writing one novella or 12 or anything in-between. You have your own goals to achieve in 2016. I am asking for your support. There will be periodic updates, because to be honest, I’m a bit terrified this will not actually happen. I can write a lot in a short amount of time, but I’ve never done anything like this before.

Then again, it’s not about me, is it? It’s about everyone else. I’m not just donating to charity. I’m using my words to make a difference, which is all I’ve ever wanted to do anyway.

I don’t know. I think it’s a great idea.

I’ll keep you updated.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.