Camp NaNo Week #4: Failure?

I didn’t get to print out a Camp NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate this month. Of the half-a-dozen times I’ve committed to fast-drafting this is the first time I’ve failed. But I’m not too upset.

I have 3,000 words of a short story that wouldn’t have existed if I hadn’t attempted to write 10,000 words during this crazy-busy flying all around the place April. I’m excited to finish the story and write the next one and next one now. Life is going to slow down quite a bit soon.

Lazy summer days are ahead for me!

Camp NaNo Week #3: I have words!

Finally–I have managed to get a nice start on my short story. YAY!!! I am far from of my 10,000-word goal, but I will have a solid first draft of one short story (kind of hoped to have three stories started…). It’s still possible to stretch 2,000 words to 10,000 (I do that all the time during November fast-drafting). But I’m not going to beat myself up if that doesn’t happen this month.

The key to writing this month: escape.

I wrote nearly all of those words during a writing date with a friend at the cool library with a cafe. So, if you’re ever feeling stuck invite a fellow writer on a writing date. Someone else’s tapping fingers can be quite motivating!

Stunt fingers: mine need, um, attention, but I should probably vacuum first! 

Camp NaNo Week #2: My Camp Counselors Are Worried About Me

Ack! I still don’t have an actual word count. The dialogue scribbled in my notebook hasn’t been translated into a story document yet, so I’ve ignored the official NaNoWriMo folks. They sent me this  note:

Dear Writer,
We’re sending this email to check in on you. (Our budget doesn’t allow for home visits. Yet.)
We want to be sure that you do a couple of things this Camp session:
Update your word count. You created your project and you may already be writing. If so, up those digits to share your progress!
If you haven’t gotten around to starting yet, that’s totally okay. There’s still a lot of month left: adjust your word-count goal or bravely promise to catch up. As long as you write something (even if it’s only on the last day), you’re making it happen.
Say hello in your cabin. Your fellow Campers are looking for you. Seriously.
From many years of doing this kind of thing, we know that creative quests work best when you have a support group. Your cabin crew is a built-in accountability system, and they’re friendly to boot.
If your current group isn’t working, you can always opt out and handpick some folks via theFinding Cabin Mates forum.
Okay, check-in over. We’ll let you get back to that wonderful project of yours.
Thanks for writing it during Camp NaNoWriMo, and here’s to a great rest of the month.
Chris Angotti
Director of Programs

I’ve never been so NaNo negligent before! I feel terrible about ignoring my cabin-mates! I really thought I’d be productive during my daughter’s college visit last weekend, but writing squished into the middle seat on the plane wasn’t going to happen. And I didn’t write in cute cafes, I only ate too many delicious doughnuts (oh, Frosty’s!) and muffins… And my evening alone turned into me lounging in an exhausted stupor eating gelato in my hotel room watching a Chrisley Knows Best marathon on TV.
Week #3 is looking good, though. I even have a writing date planned! 

I’m Going To Camp!

Next week I’m going to camp–Camp NaNoWriMo!

April would be a terrible month for me to fast-draft a 50,000-word novel. Mostly because I’m distracted by my daughter’s big looming college decision. So I’m excited that Camp NaNoWriMo is letting us set our own word-count goals, as well as projects.

I’m going to write a 10,000-word short story! YAY!!! I’ll certainly need something to distract me from that big looming college decision.

Delving into a big fat novel will be the perfect distraction when my daughter heads off to college in a few months–in one direction (hundreds of miles away) or another (thousands of miles away).


Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Four

I survived camp NaNoWriMo & ended up having such a great time that I’m going to beg to go back next year!

Word Count: 50,404 words (a little more than halfway through my first draft)

Temptation: Now that I’ve completed my marathon to reach 50,000 words, I’m fighting the urge to go back to the beginning and make all the little repairs that have occurred to me as I’ve written. I could make that first part so nice, I think. But I know that I’ve got to push on through the middle to the end, even though I’m not sure exactly how it will all happen. Revision sounds so good right now.

November NaNo vs. Camp NaNo: People always bring up the Thanksgiving holiday when I mention doing NaNoWriMo in November. That’s just one day, though. And if you’re clever you can get someone else to invite you to dinner… If not, turkeys cook for a long time, enough time to hide and pound out a few words. If you’re visiting family, taking a writing break is a great excuse to escape for a bit, one that everyone respects and supports. Plus, eavesdropping on everyone else’s family drama at the Starbucks is fabulous fun!

Summer proved far more distracting. My kids were home, needing rides, school clothes, and entertainment. The sun was shining and sometimes just reading outside sounded so much nicer than writing something really rough. Plus, there was all that soccer. November is easier for me.

Final Care Packages:

40,000 words earned me a chocolate shake–one of those that come with the extra bit in the silver canister. So much chocolatey goodness!

50,000 words: Gummy Gators! Unfortunately, I had to settle for Gummy Hammerhead Sharks because my store no longer carries the gators… But they were delicious.

School started today, giving me back my quiet morning writing time. So I will press on finishing my WIP, without so many snacks… I’m going to miss Camp!

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Three

The thing I love about NaNoWriMo writing is that the middle is the best part. No longer wishing for those lazy days of sitting with a book & simply thinking about my future WIP, I’m committed to the story, making stuff up, letting my characters get a little crazy sometimes–and it’s fun.

Word Count: 41,015 at week’s end. I’m still behind, but I know I can catch up. Heck, I just read this blog post about 10,000 words a day! I can do this!!! 
Aha Moment: I volunteered to drive both ways to soccer practice, thinking I’d bring my laptop and write. Well, my procrastinating teen happened to be catching up on her online class (PE!?!?!?), so I surrendered my laptop & took my paper notebook. Eeek! I was going to get further and further behind on my word count.
Lounging on a blanket I started scribbling little extra stuff. I wrote a fan letter to my character’s favorite celebrity. I scrawled a note to her high school crush. In an hour I had nine notebook pages filled with various notes and letters. I loved the way my character’s voice popped in some of these short pieces. Later that night I typed my words into my manuscript–shocked to find that I’d written 1,500 words in an hour. That’s a record for this WIP! 
I really don’t have any excuses for not writing since I can always bring a notebook along… 
Care Packages: I celebrated the halfway mark with a massage (what a treat!). The knots are worked out of my shoulders & my wrists are ready to hit the finish line. 
We also had a 30,000-word cupcake party! Yummy!!! 

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Two

I tipped my canoe over this week–and fell way behind.

Word Count: 24,010 (I’m a few thousand short, but almost halfway)

Biggest Challenge: My twelve year old played in a soccer tournament this week, so my writing routine got lost. She’s got a shiny medal to show off–YAY–but I’ve got a gaping gap in my word count goal.

Even Bigger Challenge: Another soccer tournament in Week Four.

Lesson of the Week: I wrote like crazy one morning, adding 2,500 words in only two hours. BUT… I erased more than a thousand previously written words. Those words took my plot in a stupid direction, but I wish I’d highlighted them in some ugly color and kept the word count.

My Care Package: A trip to the Farmer’s Market! (Next Saturday because there won’t be any soccer.) I’m going to buy bread and fancy tomatoes… maybe some cute earrings. Can’t wait!

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week One

I did get a little homesick this week, missing those weeks of not needing to squeeze writing time into the day no matter what. But I did treat myself to a S’More cupcake–better than starting a fire on my desk, right?

Here’s how my week went:

Word Count: 12,446 words (just a bit under finishing pace)

Worst Moment: My husband asked how it was going and I admitted that my structure was a huge mess. He said, as someone who works in a field of clear paths and evidence, “That’s not good.” No it isn’t good!!! I freaked out a little bit.

Best Moment: (see above) But then I sat back down at my keyboard, determined to write 50,000 horrible words of this mess-of-a-novel, and the solution to my structural difficulties came to me. YAY!!!

How I Procrastinated: I actually stopped writing to make a dentist appointment. I also became an instant fan of Olympic kayaking one morning when I should’ve been writing.

My care package: My daughter created six little care packages that I chose at random and mail to myself every 10,000 words. This week I get to go out for a sushi lunch. Can’t wait!

Silencing That Internal Editor (Blogging Elsewhere)

A few weeks ago, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, a fast-drafting novel challenge like the one in November, but during the more lazy days of August. A couple of weeks ago I started having doubts…maybe I should write the old-fashioned way, the more authentic way, the more author-ly way. You know, slow, painful, full of doubts and deleting. But then I read Jonas Lehrer’s book Imagine. His chapter “Letting Go” convinced me that fast-drafting is a great way to get that first effort of a novel down on paper.

I blogged about it today on YA Outside The Lines.

So I’m off on another NaNo adventure–I figure with Camp NaNo that I’ll get some care packages, make s’mores, and maybe do some arts and crafts. Watch for updates!

*** OOPS: So apparently, Lehrer used even more fiction techniques, faking some of his anecdotes, etc. Read about it here on NPR’s blog. The publisher is offering refunds for people who purchased the book. I’m still going to let go while I write tomorrow, even if the Bob Dylan stuff is all bunk.