Annalisa Parent knows there are many, many steps between a first draft of any document and the finished product. Her job is to help writers get from that original piece to a polished version with clarity, quality and creativity.
For Parent, a writing coach and award-winning author, those are the three qualities all good writing has. It has to be clear or easy to read, have the right tone for the audience you’re trying to reach and it should inform your reader in a way that sets you up as the subject expert.
Sounds easy, right? Maybe not. Writing is one thing; writing well is another. That is where Parent is a fan of writing experiments such as National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. November is the regular time for this project, which asks its participants to write at least 1,667 words a day every day in November. By month’s end, you have more than 50,000 words, which you can then polish into a book.
Now, that book may not be publishable – yet. That is where having a writing coach, writing partners who can read your work and editors comes in. Parent, for example, has coached hundreds of writers and has taught more than 100 writing courses around the world. She works with fiction authors, as well as entrepreneurs seeking to write their expert book.
Her book Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel without an Outline won the CIPA EVVY Silver Award in Best Business Books, and earned a merit award in the Humor category. She has been a featured speaker on writing-related topics across the globe, and she has been a guest on a variety of television, radio, and podcast shows, sharing her secrets for how to write, publish and sell a book.
Parent works with everyone from NaNoWriMo newbies to longtime fiction writers to business owners who are looking to publish a book. Having a published book puts you in an expert position within your field, Parent says, and it can help you scale your business faster.
So how do you try NaNoWriMo or discovering a writing habit? Here are Parent’s best tips:
1. Put yourself in a chair and stay there. Writing every day will put you in a writing habit and having that pathway will ensure the words get on the page. Using a tool like NaNoWriMo ensures you learn how to create a goal and meet it.
2. Find the story. Every good piece of writing has a purpose or tone. You want to find out what your audience wants and match the writing to it.
3. Write clearly. Edit what you write. Reread what you write. But, most importantly, have someone who is a writing expert look over your work to ensure it says what you want it to say.
4. Know the work continues after November. Getting those all-important 50,000 words on your computer or paper is key, Parent says, but knowing that it is just one step in the effort toward creating a book is even more important.
5. Work with a coach. Parent say she helps entrepreneurs write, edit and publish books. She also helps them market their finished works in hopes of getting the attention a book needs not only to sell well but do help you become an expert.