CampNaNoWriMo is Here!

Posted: April 8, 2013 in Twelve
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Technically, it started on the first, but I’ve been too busy to make mention of it.

If you haven’t heard of it before my apologies for the chain reaction I could create for you by explaining here and now about NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and typically takes place in November. The goal is to write a novel (50,000 words) during a month. It’s a really cool opportunity for people from all walks of life to get together and do what they’ve been talking about for a long time but have yet to put their money where their mouth is. During the month of November there’s writing meet-ups, word wars, and a score board that shows where your city/country ranks in comparison to everyone else. Not to mention the fantastic message boards where people can lament about falling behind, writer’s block, or cheer each other to victory.

“But wait,” you say, “This is April, not November you crazy time traveling fool.” Yes, you’re right, hence where Camp comes in. Due to generous donations and general outcry for more opportunities The Office of Letters and Light (the people who run this crazy event) have provided several other opportunities for people to get their write on. It’s called CampNaNoWriMo, and is a more laid back approach to the whole process. Much like camp, you’re sorted into cabins to meet your bunkmates, share awesome tales on your private message board, and can challenge each other to writing wars or pick on another cabin and work together for victory and glory. This year they’re offering camp during April and July, and another fun thing: they’re offering flexible word goals. This means if you don’t think 50,000 is in the cards you can pick a slightly more relaxed pace.

I love NaNoWriMo. I stumbled upon it way back in 2009 and had a crap job of attempting it. My heart wasn’t in it, I had other things to do, and I petered out early in the game. I then became too busy in general and let it alone until august 2012 when a friend told me about summer camp. I had time. I had an idea. I ran with it. I did not succeed. I finished around half the required word count and headed off to lick my wounds.  When November showed up I thought I’d continue with my original idea and see if I could finish it (it’s called rebelling). So I continued work and somewhere in the mess of 30,000 words I became confused as to what my story was about and what I all needed to add or delete or focus on. Needless to say, I didn’t win.

The novel plagued me. I continued outlining, editing, and working my way through. When I heard Camp was starting this month I decided to use it as an opportunity to propel my rewrite ahead. I had an original deadline list with a paltry 7,000 words per month, giving me enough time to finish before November. At least my fingers were crossed. By using Camp to bolster my rewrite efforts I figured I could cut the time down a bit and see what I end up with. I’m working, and April is looking extremely hectic with the work schedule so I reduced the number of words to 25,000, which for those of you following along is half what is normally required, but if I succeed in my goal I’ll have propelled myself into satisfying my monthly goals into July, thereby giving me extra time to really finish this sucker, print a draft, and let it sit and sulk until I’m ready to edit.

I can honestly say, I am hungry for a finished draft, start to finish complete so I can sit back, read it, and mark trouble areas to fix up. In August I’ll have been working on this thing for a year. Lots of people will say a year is nothing, particularly for a novel, but already I’m feeling wanderlust. By starting to write again I’ve opened the floodgates of ideas. There’s so many other ideas I’d like to pursue, but Twelve is plaguing me. I can’t work on anything else until I’ve finished the first complete draft (which by now is more like a third draft, but who’s really counting).

As I’ve never successfully finished NaNoWriMo I’d really like to do so this month. It’s going to require a bit more focus on my part. Focus tends to be the bane of my existence. It’s not that I can’t focus, but I like to have a somewhat fresh mind when I write. Call me old fashioned or something but I like to have more mental prowess than a zombie. Some days I come home from work and would give my left arm to have the mental prowess of a zombie, as I have a feeling there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface than we see. My work schedule is intense. During this month there are many days when I will wake up at 5:30AM, start work at 7:40, and not finish working until 9:00PM with a 40 minute drive ahead of me. The saving grace is that it leaves me a few hour break in the mid afternoon from 3:30-6:00 where I’m stuck at work but not on the clock. I’m hoping to take advantage of the time and keep up my word count. We’ll see how well that goes.

How is my word count? I’m behind schedule. I had a simple task of roughly 800 words per day and I botched the first one and never fully recovered. I did not write double the second day to catch up, nor did I make sure to at least satisfy word count every day since. I’m trailing my goals by about 2,000 words. If I hadn’t lessened my word count I’d be a lot further than that. The strategy is to try to eke out 1,000 words per day this week Monday through Thursday because I know I won’t have writing time on Friday. With any luck I can make up the distance that I’m behind and stay on top of what is coming up. That way I’m not horribly behind.



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