I’m a writer and sometime comicker based in Edinburgh. In 2011 I wrote the first drafts of 12 books in 12 months and since then I have mostly been editing them (in between the day job and projects like commissioning and publishing an eBook, Homespun Threads, and contributing to a crowd sourced Choose Your Own Adventure story called The Working Barbarian).
12 Books in 12 months began, as so many things do, with National Novel Writing Month. In November 2010 I wrote my first book (or 52,000 words of a first draft), The Single Mum’s Aristocratic Library Assistant, and enjoyed myself so much so that in December, far from being emotionally drained from all the writing, I felt bereft at the lack of creative challenges.
Writing 12 Books in 12 Months was the answer to this problem. I picked a different genre for every month and after midnight on the 30th / 31st day I moved on, finished or not. Unsure whether I would be able to keep up the momentum all year I appealed to the public through this blog, Twitter and Facebook to give me ideas for character names and genre tropes to work into each story. They were very supportive, as were local media types in Edinburgh, so that whatever other challenges I faced during the project I knew I wasn’t alone. That might sound trite, but I was genuinely overwhelmed by the level of support I received for what I described self consciously to friends thus: ‘hey guys, I’ve got a potentially really stupid idea…’
Even now I’m still trawling through the ramblings and trying to make sense of them all. There’s a lot of raw material to sift, especially in light of the fact that I took November 2012 to start work on a thirteenth book about the experience of writing 12 books in 12 months – and because I’ve since started work on several other books for children. The main legacy of the project seems to have been too many half formed ideas and a devastatingly high WPM.
The long term plan is to self publish some of the manuscripts – although as the only person who has read them all, I can safely say a couple really aren’t worth it (for instance in August, for SF, I accidentally wrote a story that already exists – Uglies by Scott Westerfield. Awkward.).
In the meantime, this blog consists of musings on my own writing journey, news about literary events, stories, author interviews, and attempts to put a bookish spin on various photography challenges. I hope you enjoy it!
July 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm
I was seriously impressed when I thought you were writing 12 books in a year but now that I know you’re writing 12 books in the year and working 35 hour weeks I am in AWE.
July 29, 2011 at 10:59 am
Well, if you can’t do something as silly as this in your mid twenties, when can you?! It’s really just a safeguard in case I get arthritis and have to stop…
October 20, 2011 at 10:39 am
Good on you, I have wanted to write for such a long time, but didn’t have any direction, so I was creatively constipated! I have just done my first written poo, my blog, and people like you give me hope that one day, I, too will write ‘that’ book, or even a few… Good luck, I look forward to reading them.
October 21, 2011 at 10:53 am
Thank you Sarah, I have looked at your blog and it’s good – I hope you have fun with it and keep going 🙂
January 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm
I have to admit, I’m intimidated by your project’s success. i also plan on working on a follow-up memoir later this year. How does it feel to be done? I’m looking forward to it but also slighlt nervous. What is there after 12 books in 12 months?
January 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm
It hasn’t really sunk in to be honest… I am taking January to get my bearings and read books by other people again, so at the moment I am sort of shell shocked but happy! I am sort of excited but nervous at the prospect of going back to things again – the main worry being that things i thought were good at the time might turn out to be awful!
January 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm
I totally understand. A lot more people than I ever thought are asking to read my stories, and they seem to like them. Too bad I think they suck! I don’t know about you but I’ve discovered my voice and style and let’s just say I’m not a fan of either.
I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised with more than you expect. Enjoy your month off then enjoy a year worth of editing, rewriting, tweaking and working on that memoir!
Maybe my books will wave you your books in a bookstore one day! Fingers crossed!
March 3, 2012 at 5:32 am
This gives me inspiration to read more. Goodluck!
March 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm
Thanks Kris 🙂
March 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm
I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! I love your blog, keep at it!
March 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm
Oh thank you! That’s really nice 🙂
April 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm
Wow awesome! I like the look of your blog. 🙂
July 17, 2012 at 9:50 am
July 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm
Ali, I’m impressed! You have discipline, girl. So many people say they’re writers but don’t write. I did NaNoWriMo last November and am currently editing that novel. But after I wrote the novel I thought, “I could do this every month.” AND YOU DID. Awesome. You’re definitely an inspiration to writers.
July 17, 2012 at 9:50 am
Thank you, that’s very kind! Although I always want to clarify that writing a book in a month isn’t the same as finishing it – I have so much work to do it hurts my brain…
August 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm
Very inspiring! I feel as if I must go write something besides blogging. Thanks for the encouraging words and sharing your plan.
January 19, 2013 at 10:30 am
December 19, 2012 at 11:03 am
Hey Ali, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Check out the details here: http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/
All the best and Merry Christmas!
January 19, 2013 at 10:28 am
Thank you, I will check out those other suggestions too!
January 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm
Thanks for stopping by and for the follow. Oh, and great blog!
January 19, 2013 at 10:28 am
Thank you very much 🙂
January 20, 2013 at 9:29 am
Hi I have nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award 🙂
I’m always in awe of what you have accomplished and hopefully it will inspire me one day to finally write my own novel 🙂
February 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm
I nominated you with the Versatile Blogger Award! Please click this link http://kuyasnotebook.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/versatile-blogger-award/ for more about it! It’s amazing to see the work you’ve done, and it gives me inspiration to continue writing! 😀 And besides, I love meeting other people who’ve completed NaNoWriMo!
March 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm
I am totally motivated and want to try this 12 book in 12 months project!
July 18, 2013 at 11:36 pm
Do it! It’s totally worth it in terms of getting you into good writing habits and stretching yourself creatively 🙂
March 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm
I’m really quite impressed.
July 18, 2013 at 11:37 pm
I think the really impressive feat will be if I ever manage to finish them all!
April 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm
12 novels in a year!! I’m impressed, I struggle to get 12 sentances down in that time!
July 18, 2013 at 11:37 pm
Working to ridiculous deadlines, it’s the future!
June 25, 2013 at 7:09 am
I am sincerely impressed! All the best with your amazing pace!
July 18, 2013 at 11:38 pm
Thank you – the pace has slowed down somewhat since the editing/rewriting became my main thing…
June 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm
I just figured out why my blog (Twelvein12) was removed. Apparently I’m not the only one who took 2012 as a challenge to do something every month. Similar to your challenge, I chose to publish a book a month. Since I have been writing many years more than you, I had a bunch of unfinished or just-plain-bad manuscripts lying around. I decided it was time to polish them and let them “out”. I made it, with the help of CreateSpace (although the last two books weren’t released until March 2013 because of CS dragging its feet.
You have chosen a great challenge for a writer to pursue. Please don’t wait until you’re 80 years old before finishing your books and sharing them with your many readers.
I’m going to try to keep up with you this year. I’m working on two major works that also have been sitting around too long. Time to move them out!
Best wishes in your many years ahead as a published author!
July 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm
Hi Val! I’m not sure why Twelvein12 would be removed, I know of at least two other people who have done this and theirs are still up (12novels.com and 12novelsin12months.com)… Sounds like you are a lot further on than us though, having published all yours! I am still mired in editing at the moment, but I promise not to wait until I’m 80 🙂
July 11, 2013 at 9:57 pm
I think this is such a great idea and I’ve really enjoyed your writing. Also, I can’t resist getting into another Scottish blog 😛
July 18, 2013 at 11:47 pm
Thanks Jennifer! I like your blog too, although I don’t relish the prospect of being a ‘real’ adult – it sounds sort of hard…
July 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm
It unfortunately is hard!
July 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm
Keep writing, Jennifer. You have a fine talent! And endurance (probably more important if you do the re-writes)!