Why I Will Love Camp NaNoWriMo (A Prophetic Love Letter)

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Two days. Two days! That’s how long I’ve been 40, and how long I have until Camp NaNoWriMo starts. Perfect time for some goal setting.

My stated goals for 40 were: “Recover from being 39” (which, frankly, kicked my butt), “Swim another 100 fly” (hopefully this time without injuring shoulder), “Publish novel” (I didn’t state which one), and “Take life as it comes” (seemingly at odd with list of goals).

My first novel, Timber Howligan-Secret Agent Cat, was the product of last November’s NaNoWriMo. Without its goal of 50,000 words in 30 days, I wouldn’t be able to say “Hey, I wrote a novel!” (To which people say, brightly, “Have you published it?” and to which I mumble, “No….but I’m trying.”)

What I learned last November is that I can write 1,567 words a day. Barely. Eventually, it turned into work. When it did, the creative side of my brain flipped off, and I slowed down. The days that took the longest to write also took the longest to edit. The days I whipped out in an hour and a half were the most fun to read and needed the least re-working.

How do I have more of those hour and a half days???

Last year, I hadn’t yet figured out that writing is a creative activity: I tried to force it. I’m a little OCD that way, and too goal oriented. I believe in showing up every day to write. I believe  inspiration comes to those who show up. But you can’t squeeze blood out of a stone, and everyone needs a recharge, especially when you’re in creative mode. Recognizing when you’ve stopped being productive is important.

So my goals for this Camp NaNoWriMo are less imposing: What I love about it already is that I can set my own word count, so I picked 1,000 a day, knowing I could easily achieve that and still have fun. I will allow myself to take a day off here and there without feeling guilty. My goal is not to “win”, but to make progress on my novel (Timber Howligan Book 2–IN SEARCH OF A TITLE!).

I went back to a Pep Talk I saved from Scott Westerfield last November. He reminded us WriMos that life is messy, and the real world is gnarly, but that’s often where inspiration comes from (in other words, “it’s not always about writing more words or drinking more coffee”).

I do plan to write lots of words. I will drink lots of coffee. But to make the most out of my writing time, I’m going to let my novel get messy and complicated and hella fun for the next month.

Then I’m going to tie together all the loose ends and, come August or September, let the left side of my brain out of its cage.

Wish me luck! And if you’re feeling inspired, maybe I’ll see you there!

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4 thoughts on “Why I Will Love Camp NaNoWriMo (A Prophetic Love Letter)

  1. Oh wow! I’m a real fan of Scott Westerfield, didn’t realize he’d been involved.

    For me, it takes me three hours minimum to write the amount I need per day for NaNo. It’s going to be a rough month!

    • Scott Westerfield’s Pep Talk was one of the best last November–I’ll mail it to you!

      I always took 3 hours a day to reach my word count, too. I’m hoping for better this July. The kids don’t go back to school until the end of the month…

      Good luck!

  2. Hahaha you have such an awesome style of writing, I’m sure you’d get something published sooner or later. (I’m hoping sooner, of course!) I just signed up for the NaNoWriMo Summer Camp, and this is my first time, so I’m super excited! Super lots of good luck for the camp! xoxo

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