April 2021 Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

Last July I won Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. Going into Camp at the beginning of last month, I felt the weight of that victory on my shoulders. I’d finally won once. If I didn’t do it again, I’d be sliding backward.

Looking back over the past month I think I hoped for too much. I’ve lost Camp NaNoWriMo a lot more times than I’ve won.

I set my goal at 10,000 new words on my 3rd draft of The Dreams. I knew it would be a stretch compared to my word counts from recent months, but I really thought I could reach it with a little extra motivation.

It turns out I couldn’t stretch my energy and motivation that far.

At the end of the month I’d written 4,049 words. That’s less than half of what I’d wanted to write. I’m a little disappointed in myself. The past 14 months or so have been absolutely awful for so many reasons so I don’t think anyone can expect to maintain the focus and drive to do better than they did before the pandemic. That said, I’m still going to beat myself up over this. I can do better.

There were so many factors in play over the course of the month, I don’t think I could begin to pin down the main reason I failed to reach my goal. There’s just too much to worry about and not enough keeping me in a routine.

Hopefully things will be better for me in July.

Did you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo last month? Were you able to reach your goal?

July Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

Can you believe July is over already?

Camp NaNoWriMo was full of surprises this time. I always fail. I always struggle. It doesn’t matter if I try to repeat a full NaNo with a goal of 50k or aim much, much lower. I never make it.



This month was so different from any other Camp I’ve ever attempted. Even after experiencing it and taking a day to process, I still can’t properly expressed exactly what made this month my first ever Camp NaNoWriMo win. Was it the low goal I set? How did limited social interaction play into my ability to get the writing done?

Honestly, I don’t have the answers. Under more ordinary circumstances, I might be able to reflect and pinpoint some different habits and behaviors that allowed me to succeed. This is not a year of ordinary circumstances. I don’t know what helped me and what hurt me in July. Every month is strange now. There are too many variables.

I’ll just accept the win and be grateful for the writing I managed to do. My writing muscles are in good shape now so I’ll do my best to carry on with writing this draft. It should be finished sometime soon!

There’s one thing I wish I explain is the drop off in my word count for several days in a row at the end of the month. Something happened and multiple low writing days in a row resulted. Even with my daily writing logs I can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong since those days don’t seem significantly different from other points in the month that didn’t destroy my word count.

Screenshot_2020-08-02 NaNoWriMo

I’m really proud of the work I put into the final four days of the month. My comeback this month was so much healthier than the sort of sprints to the finish line I tend to pull off during NaNoWriMo. I definitely pushed myself on a couple days there, but it wasn’t such a push that it felt out of proportion to my output at other points during the month. I worked to make it happen, but in a healthy way. I hope I can start doing this during NaNoWriMo as well.

How did Camp NaNoWriMo go for you? Did you learn anything you can carry over to NaNoWriMo or other writing experiences?

July Camp NaNoWriMo Week 3 Recap


The first half of the month was smooth sailing. Week 3 was a disaster in comparison.

Things weren’t all that bad, honestly. Comparing it to weeks 1 and 2 just makes things seem worse than they are. I had a couple good days and a couple not so good days in the last week. I’m still doing better this month than I’ve done during any other Camp NaNoWriMo event ever.

Going into week 4, I do have a bit of catching up to do. It’ll be a little bit more work, but I think I’m up to the task. My goal is within reach!

Screenshot_2020-07-23 NaNoWriMo

I still feel a little bit guilty for having a goal of only 10k, but 2020 seems to be all about lowering our expectations. This month has been pretty stressful. Having a goal I can reach without either setting aside several hours or counting on an intense burst of productivity every day is exactly what I needed. Managing expectations and taking care of myself is my primary goal in every aspect of life these days.

The best thing about this month is that I want to write. Even after a less productive week, I’m feeling motivated to work on this story. I love this story. It’s familiar to me, but still exciting. The excitement pushes me to keep writing. The familiarity makes it easier to get to work on the days I have anxieties weighing me down.

This week I also found my favorite (non) statistic provided on the NaNoWriMo challenge page for my project. I haven’t entered any writing times when I input my daily word counts which results in a blank “when I write” statistic. It’s adorable! Screenshot_2020-07-23 NaNoWriMo(1)How did week 3 of Camp NaNoWriMo go for you? Week 3 is always a bit of a struggle for me so I hope you are able to stick with it into week 4.

July Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2 Recap


I can’t believe we’re two weeks into Camp NaNoWriMo already. This month is going by really fast.

Somehow, for the first time ever, I’m staying on track with my writing for Camp. I’ve attempted to write for every Camp NaNoWriMo session since it started in 2011. I don’t think I’ve ever been this consistent at the end of the second week. Ever.

Screenshot_2020-07-15 NaNoWriMo

I’m starting to feel like I might be able to do this.

Seeing myself on the path after two weeks of writing has brought up some questions. What am I doing differently? Why now?

The first thing I’m doing differently is setting a lower goal. I cut my goal from April Camp NaNoWriMo in half. That sounds drastic, but looking at my results it seemed necessary for my sanity. Back in April I didn’t even reach the halfway point of that goal. Based on that, 10,000 words still seemed like a stretch.

Another thing I’m doing differently is getting to a place where I’m truly cut off from distractions. This is working out partly because of social distancing and other restrictions in place because of the pandemic. No one is asking me to go out and do fun, distracting things this month. Another thing keeping me away from distractions is the unbearable heat and humidity. The weather isn’t awful every day, but I’m spending enough days hiding in a cool space that I’m a lot less likely to be playing games or drawing on my desktop when I should be writing. Apparently, there are some benefits to having a laptop that can’t do much more than run Scrivener.

The final thing that’s different this month is that I just want to write. I’m at a place with this third draft where I’m itching to finish it. I can see the end in the distance and I need to get there. It might be the best motivation ever.

Going into week 3 I’m feeling very optimistic. I think I can do this. I’m motivated. Distractions are limited. There’s a very real chance this will be my first ever Camp NaNoWriMo win. This is my 20th attempt at Camp NaNo. I think I deserve a win.

How was your second week of Camp NaNoWriMo? Is this month of writing easier or harder than usual for you?

July Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1 Recap


Did I just have a good first week of Camp NaNo? Is that legal?

Things went pretty well for me this week. That almost never happens. When it comes to Camp, I struggle every day for a month. What’s different this time?

First of all, we did nothing for the 4th of July this year. We stayed home and relaxed. That gave me more time to write and I didn’t have to spend time recharging from being around groups of people. However, the excessive at-home fireworks this year has been an annoyance. I’m used to some fireworks going off around 9 pm on weekends around the 4th, but this year it has been every night and often closer to midnight than sunset.

It’s also been hotter than usual around here. Normally we get a blisteringly hot day or two and then it’s back to regular summer heat. Not this time. It’s been uncomfortably hot almost every day so far this month. That’s kept me from going out to walk around town for inspiration (procrastination). As long as I’m in a cool room, writing doesn’t cause me to overheat.

The library isn’t open. This sounds like it’s a bad thing. Overall, it’s terrible. However, I like to lie to myself and say I’ll write better at the library. I drag my laptop there and spend a few hours browsing the shelves and people watching. It’s fun, but not good for my word count. Since I can’t do that, I’ve had to stay home and actually write.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the the world. These aren’t easy or fun times for anyone, but compared to April, I feel like I have a better handle on things now. I have a clearer picture of the situation and I have some experience with keeping myself and my loved ones safe. I don’t feel as helpless and that has freed up some space in my mind for creative work again.

Even with all these variables working in my favor, I’ve kept my Camp goal low. I want to push myself to write, but making myself stretch too far to reach it will only discourage me. I’d rather aim for something just a little bit beyond what I can typically achieve. Maybe this month will be my first ever Camp NaNoWriMo win? I could really use a win right now.

How was your first week of Camp NaNoWriMo? Have you kept your goal low or are you aiming higher?

I Almost Forgot About Camp NaNoWriMo


Have I ever announced a NaNo project this late?

This year has made it so hard to keep track of dates. Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and I’m just now setting up my project. We start writing next Wednesday! I’m usually getting ready weeks before this point.

I’m in the process of creating my project on the NaNoWriMo site while writing this blog post. Hooray for multitasking!

No one will be surprised to hear I’m continuing my rewrite of The Dreams for Camp. I’m getting close to the end. Maybe I’ll get enough of a push during Camp NaNoWriMo to finally finish it. I’m setting a goal of 10,000 words because I never win Camp events and I want to give myself a fighting chance. It would still be a stretch for me because this year has completely killed my productivity.

Like last time Camp is happening on the main NaNoWriMo site. I thought this was a great move back in April. It streamlined things and the change from cabins to groups wasn’t drastic, but the seeing notifications about friends winning badges was a nice addition. Chatter in cabins always died off after the first few days in my experience. Even if people weren’t chatting, seeing the badges pop up told me I wasn’t the only one still writing. It also provided an opportunity to start up conversation again with a congratulations.

It looks like groups started for last Camp session are still around. This is great news. If you were already in my group I don’t need to add you again. We can just keep going.

If you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo next month, you should add me as a buddy. There’s still space in my group too so if you’re interested in joining, let me know your NaNoWriMo username so I can sent you an invitation.

Now that I realize it’s nearly July I’m rapidly becoming excited for another month of frantic writing. I just can’t believe it crept up on me like this.

April CampNaNoWriMo 2020 Wrap Up


Is anyone surprised I didn’t win Camp again?

I almost made it halfway to my goal. Woohoo!

It wasn’t the best or the worst Camp NaNoWriMo I’ve ever had. That surprised me. With the disastrous state of the world I expected something extreme. I was braced for either the worst month of writing ever or a sudden increase in productivity. Neither happened and I’m a little disappointed.

Overall, I had an enjoyable time. At least a few people in my writing group kept writing up until the end. The achievement feature helped make that apparent. Knowing others were still writing kept me motivated to keep going.

Am I still in love with my project? Of course! I was working on the middle of major rewrite of one of my favorite novels. I could have had the worst month ever and I would still love this story.

Camp was definitely the highlight of the month. I really wish there was more competition for the “best thing about April” award this year, but let’s be honest, there wasn’t much to be excited about.

I don’t want to think about what would have happened with my anxiety if I didn’t have a project to work on all month. I already spent too much of my time worrying even with a month-long distraction. It would have been so much worse if I only had Netflix and Hulu to occupy my time.

Did you win Camp NaNoWriMo? Was it a good distraction for you or did you find the added pressure to be a problem?

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 3 Consistency!


This month has been a great reminder that consistency is key.

Not every day is particularly productive. There have been days I barely wrote anything, but I sat down and wrote at least a few words. Doing that has made it so much easier to get to work on the days I feel up to writing more.

I don’t think my best writing days would have happened at all if I wasn’t writing something every day. My highest word count day of the month so far would not have happened at all if I wasn’t committed to writing at least a sentence or two. I went from no words at all for that day to forcing myself to write something before it got too late to suddenly having hundred of new words in Scrivener. It was great and it only happened because I want to go an entire month without missing a day of writing.

Although I’ve been loving the new groups for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve found one aspect of the NaNoWriMo website I hope they will change for the July Camp session. The achievements need some minor changes to work properly for Camp. Most of the NaNoWriMo achievements translate perfectly to Camp NaNoWriMo. They’re a great source of motivation and having them show up as notifications in the group message board helps keep things lively. The word count based achievements just don’t translate well to an event when people can choose to set their goal as more or less than the standard 50,000 words. It’s a little frustration to set a goal of 20,000 words and know that I can win the event without getting anywhere close to the 40k and 50k badges.

I’m not sure what I would do to change those badges for Camp NaNoWriMo. Maybe they would work better as percentages? What do you think?

How’s Camp NaNoWriMo going for you? Are you on track to reach your goal by April 30th? Let’s keep writing!

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2 Optimism!


This is unusual. Week 2 was so much better for me than week 1.

My word count wasn’t all that much larger than the first week of Camp, but I felt so much better about writing this week. The world is still scary and we’re still stuck in isolation, but I’m learning to accept it. Maybe I’m just numb now. Who knows.

Seeing all the achievements popping up in my Camp NaNoWriMo writing group has been super inspiring. It keeps the chat alive when we’re all too busy writing or procrastinating to initiate a conversation. It’s also an extra motivation to earn those badges. Other people can see them so I want to earn as many of them as I can.

I’m having a really good time with my project lately. I’ve put a lot of thought into this part of the story since writing the last draft and it is paying off. I know what I want to keep and what I want to change. It’s efficient and I hope the resulting rewrite will be that much closer to perfect.

There’s still a good chance I won’t win Camp this month. I’ve never won so I won’t be surprised. I’d love to break the losing streak, but I’m also pretty comfortable with my comically long track record of failing every single Camp event while more often than not winning the main NaNoWriMo event in November. Win or lose, having a bit more of a community online this month has been a blessing.

If you’re feeling bored or lonely, say hi! I’m usually around. There’s no reason social distancing has to mean less socializing.

How’s Camp NaNoWriMo going for you? Did you find the second week to be easier than the first?

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 1 Disaster!


The first week of Camp NaNoWriMo is behind us. Many of my friends have made great progress with their projects. Seeing word counts rise day by day is so motivating and inspiring.

How did my week go? It had its ups and downs.

I wrote every day so far this month! Writing seven days in a row is hardly the biggest achievement. I’ve had much longer writing streaks. However, those writing streaks didn’t happen during a pandemic when I have nothing to do but stay home and worry about my friends and family that are still required to go to work. Being able to turn my mind toward creativity for at least a few minutes every day for a week these days is a huge victory.

The writing groups added this year for Camp have been a fantastic addition. The old cabins were fun, but this takes it to a new level. In my experience, keeping activity going in a cabin was next to impossible. It was nice to collect some like-minded friendly writers for a sense of community, but we rarely kept up a conversation in the cabin itself. Social media already kept us in the loop. There still isn’t a ton of chatter happening in the writing group, but having badge achievements show up in the chat makes things more lively. I love seeing notifications of everyone make progress toward their goals. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Camp moving to the main NaNoWriMo site, but I’m happy with the changes so far.

However, not everything so far this month has been wonderful. Sometimes I think there’s some sort of conspiracy to make sure I stumble at the start of all WriMo events. This time, poor sleep and anxiety created the perfect environment for a migraine to take hold. It was awful. I 100% do not recommend having a migraine while trying to write a novel.

Other than the migraine, the uncertainty of life these days has made it hard to be creative. I know some people have had amazing success with their writing since they’ve been stuck at home. It just hasn’t worked out that way for me. All it takes is one troublesome bit of news to slither into my thoughts and my ability to use the creative side of my brain is ruined for hours.

It’s completely unpredictable too. Sometimes I avoid the news, stay away from social media, and generally just have an upbeat, healthy attitude and I still end up worried and afraid. There’s no way to win. Being informed is scary. Avoiding the news to try to be happy only makes me worry. All I can do is try to give myself some time each day just for me. I’m not great at stopping worries from bleeding over, but I’ve got plenty of opportunities to practice now.

The second week of Camp NaNoWriMo is going to be better than the first. I can feel it.

How did the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo go for you? What do you think of the new writing groups feature?