Thinking About CampNaNoWriMo

Maybe it was the spring-like weather we had here yesterday, or maybe it’s just that time again, but I’m thinking about CampNaNoWriMo.

It seems too soon, but April is only a month and a half away. If I don’t come up with a plan soon, I’ll run out of time.

This year I have a bit of a dilemma. Usually I have one or two projects that need my attention during Camp months. I try to pick one and focus on it. Currently I have three.

I’m so close to finishing Inbetween. April might be the perfect month to wrap up the first draft. At this point I’m almost positive I’ll have enough story left to carry me through a reasonable Camp goal.

The Dreams still needs its 3rd draft completed. About half the 3rd draft (100k) is written at this point. I want to get it done this year. It’s another contender for my April CampNaNoWriMo project.

I’m also getting impatient to start my next project. I don’t want to start writing the first draft until I finish Inbetween, but CampNaNoWriMo is flexible enough to allow me to work on planning and outlining instead. The next story has no title at the moment, but it’s going to feature dragons and witches and the story will be guided by tarot readings. It’s going to be so much fun!

Based on the size of the paragraphs above, I think you can see which project I’m currently most excited about. New things are always exciting. It might be more responsible to work toward finishing one of my works in progress.

Is it better to be responsible and work toward completing projects that I’ve been passionate about for years? Or should I work on something shiny and new to hopefully get a word count boost for Camp from the natural high of a new project?

Fortunately, I have some time to consider my options. Camp doesn’t start until April 1, after all. Have you started thinking about April CampNaNoWriMo?

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NaNoWriMo is Almost Here!

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This will be my forth main NaNoWriMo event while maintaining this blog. Every year I’ve tried to approach my blog updates during November a little differently. I’m changing things up again this year.

Inbetween will be on hiatus for the month of November

I haven’t put a serial on hiatus for NaNoWriMo since 2015 and back then I was just getting started. In 2016 and 2017 I was afraid to take a whole month off. I wanted to keep up the momentum.

This year I think a hiatus is the best thing to me and my writing. Last year I juggled keeping up with Inbetween while trying to work on The Dreams for NaNoWriMo. It just about burned me out and I was stressed out trying to keep up with my weekly posts for months after the event was over.

Honestly, I thought about trying to do it again.

I like to push myself. I like being consistent. It seems like there are a lot of pros to succeeding and only one really big, ugly con.

Over the last few days I’ve convinced the stubborn, ambitious part of myself that I’ll be happier and healthier if I give myself permission to take a break.

That’s the hardest part. There’s no one else to give me permission to take this break. I can ask friends and patrons for their opinion, but the final decision is mine alone. I’m not good at giving myself permission to deviate from my original goals.

This will be the start of working toward some new goals. I have every intention of returning to my posting routine in December, but I need some time to get The Dreams off the ground and I’m the only one who can give me that time.

I’m looking forward to dedicating a month to writing. I hope you’ll be ready and waiting for more of Inbetween in December.

Two Weeks Until NaNoWriMo: NaNoPrep Gets Real

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NaNoWriMo is only two weeks away. If you’re a planner, you’ve probably been hard at work on character sketches and your outline. If you’re more of a pantser, your methods are a bit more of a mystery to me, but I’m sure you’ve been busy preparing as well.

I’m going to keep preparing The Dreams for a huge influx of new words over the next two weeks but during these final weeks my focus shifts to preparing to take care of myself while being incredibly busy.

NaNoWriMo takes place during a busy time of year and adding writing a novel to the equation can throw even an experienced WriMo’s life off balance. Over the last twelve years, I’ve learned that I need to make a plan to make life livable while dedicating more hours each day to writing during November.

Today I thought I’d share some of the ways I prepare during the second half of October to survive NaNoWriMo.

Buy Snacks

Halloween candy goes on sale November 1, but it’s not wise to rely on discount candy to get you through a whole month of writing (not to mention the good candy rarely stays on the shelves past Halloween). Healthy snacks are probably even more important than cheap, fun-sized sweets and I can buy them ahead of time without worrying that I’m missing out on a deal later.

Plan Meals

Making and freezing meals ahead of time is usually recommended for NaNoWriMo. I’d love to do this, but I have very limited freezer space. Instead, I stock up on supplies for crockpot meals and semi-homemade food that I can prepare in 15 minutes or less. I also try to squirrel away some extra money for pizza days when I’m too overwhelmed to bother.

Clean

I’m lucky enough not to host Thanksgiving so if my apartment gets a little grubby during November I don’t have to worry about guests noticing it. I try to get everything tidied up at the end of October so it won’t get too bad if I decide to cut corners in November.

Get Plenty of Rest/Eat Healthy

Getting sick at the start of November is almost certain to derail plans for a NaNoWriMo win. It’s impossible to guarantee I won’t catch a cold around November 1, but I can do my best to keep my immune system in decent shape before the chaos begins. I try not to push myself too hard in the second half of October so I’m well rested for at least a couple days at the start of November.


Do you do anything to prepare for NaNoWriMo outside of planning your novel? I’d love to know so I can add it to my own preparation plans.

I’m Using Anger to Fuel my Writing this Year

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Being angry about the state of the world and feeling powerless to change it is exhausting.

Doing nothing is not an option, but there are only a few things in this world I think I’m genuinely good at doing. At least when I’m writing I can take what I’m feeling and weave it into a fictional world where my characters have the power to change their world. It makes me feel better and I hope it will help others escape to a world capable of real change too.

The Dreams at its core has always been a story about my anxieties and fears. Some of them are more grounded in the reality of my life experience than others, but over the last year or two more and more of the aspects of that story have been real worries for me. I feel less and less safe in this world as attitudes in my backward hometown become more toxic, or rather the people that have always had hurtful attitudes become bolder.

I had planned on writing The Dreams for this year’s NaNoWriMo since the end of last NaNo, but now I need to write this story again.

I’m terrified and angry and so, so tired of feeling powerless.

This is the story I can dump all of these feelings and shape them into something coherent. Writing is always therapeutic, but not every story is made to store certain feelings.

I’m not good at talking about myself or experiences that have made me who I am. I’ve never been comfortable talking about things I experienced that aren’t neutral or positive because, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been told I’m too sensitive or I have an overactive imagination when I try to share what frightens and angers me personally. I can’t remember a time I was comfortable writing about myself or my life experiences on anything but the most superficial level. Writing autobiographies in elementary school left me a sobbing, panicked mess. I remember trying to explain what was wrong by telling my mom that my life was private. What I meant was that even little-me understood that my truth was not considered acceptable as nonfiction. On the other hand, fiction is the perfect place for me to express myself without being shut down for being overly sensitive or exaggerating. For me, The Dreams is a place where I can store the darkest, most painful things I’m feeling about the way this country treats women and actually process them.

Inbetween can’t help me there. It’s just not the right story for those emotions. I have to hold back my anger while working on Inbetween or I’ll end up burning the story with my rage.

It has to be The Dreams when it comes to this kind of anger.

I’ll work through it and I’ll come out the other side a stronger person.

I’m Rebelling Again This NaNoWriMo

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I’m usually a big fan for following rules. I even make up my own rules just so I feel like there’s some order to my life. When they make sense to me, rules are a comfort to me. It’s a way to be sure I’m on the same page as everyone else, which I need since I have a tendency to wander off when I’m preoccupied. Rules keep me grounded and give me a place to return to once I realize I’ve started to stray.

I’ve been breaking one of the basic rules of NaNoWriMo a lot during recent events.

One of the basic rules of NaNoWriMo is that we’re supposed to start a new novel on November 1 and write at least 50,000 words of that new novel during the month of November. This is a great rule in general. Usually, the start of a new novel is full of creative energy which is exactly what a writer needs during a marathon like NaNo.

Starting with something new for November also makes sure everyone is starting at relatively the same point. People might be more or less prepared, depending on when they decided to participate in the even and their place on the planner-pantser spectrum, but no one has started telling their story before the start of the event. Everyone is going through the same stages of writing and discovery together. I think it’s a beautiful thing to experience. There’s a real sense of camaraderie on the forums and at write-ins because everyone is on the journey together.

I haven’t started with a new project for NaNo in years.

It might not sound like a big deal, but it really does change the nature of the event. The experience changes enough that I’ve seriously considered starting something new just to join in that part of the fun again. I miss it.

I can’t justify starting any new projects right now.

Inbetween is a beast. I’m over 80 chapters in at this point and the story is going to end up well over 200,000 words by the time I reach the end. My momentum with this project is so tenuous at times that I’m not sure I’d be able to pick it up again if I allowed myself to start something new before finishing it.

I’m also still working on The Dreams. This story is my baby. It has such a special place in my heart and I really want to shape it into the vision I have in my mind of what it was meant to be. This will probably be the first book I publish and sell.

The Dreams hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention from me since I started writing Inbetween. Either I’m having a great time writing my current novel or I’m struggling to untangle the mess I’ve made to keep my posting schedule something close to consistent. Circumstances simply haven’t left me with a lot of time to dedicate to a major rewrite.

NaNoWriMo is the perfect excuse for me to give my favorite project some TLC.

Writing an already started 3rd draft goes against a lot of the principles of NaNoWriMo, but it’s what I need to do for the sake of my writing this year.

Hopefully, my rebellious streak won’t last too much longer and I’ll be back to writing a brand new first draft for NaNoWriMo in 2019.

3 Weeks Until CampNaNoWriMo

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It’s been a few weeks since I did an update on my thoughts for the April session of CampNaNoWriMo. Since the event hasn’t started yet, there isn’t too much to say.

I’m definitely going to continue working on draft 3 of The Dreams. I want to get back into having a steady stream of scenes from the new draft for my patrons (be sure to check out my Patreon if you’re interested in that) and Camp seems like a good time to help myself get back on track with that.

This morning I finally settled on a word count (for now). 30,000 words seems like a totally sensible amount to write in April. I don’t want to put myself under the same sort of strain as November since I’ve shown myself many times before that I can’t pull off NaNoWriMo outside of November. 30,000 words comes to 1,000 words a day which is plenty of a stretch from my current word daily word counts.

Something I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t done yet is find cabin mates. Cabins are one of the most unique features of CampNaNoWriMo so I want to make sure I’m in one. There’s still time to figure it out, of course, but it is easy to let time get away from me when we’re talking about a few weeks until the start of an event.

How is your CampNaNoWriMo prep going? Have you picked a project? Settled on a word count? Joined a cabin? Need someone to talk to about your plans for Camp? Let me know in the comments!

NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 3 Recap

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I’ll be brief. Week 3 was terrible!

A migraine mostly took me out of the running for several days. I was already behind at the start of this week, and barely functioning at all for several days did not make that gap any smaller. I just barely managed to keep my writing streak for the month going. I forced myself to write at least a few words every day so I can get the badge for writing 30 days in a row on NaNoWriMo.

I have a lot of writing ahead of me in Week 4 and Thanksgiving might help or hurt my ability to get caught up depending on how the holiday goes. There’s more than enough time to make a comeback from almost anything so I’m not giving up.

How was Week 3 for you? Winning has begun. Have you validated your novel and turned your progress bar purple?

NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 2 Recap

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Wow! Week 2 is already behind us. It feels like we just finished the first week, doesn’t it?

The second week of NaNoWriMo is always terrible for me. The excitement and energy of the early days has worn off, late nights are coming back to bite me, and real life is starting to make some serious demands on my time.

The second week this year was no different. I had some pretty good days, but I had several awful days as well. My two best writing days of the month so far happened during the last week, but my two worst writing days happened as well. The good days were not quite enough to balance out the bad ones.

I’m starting to panic about my dwindling backlog of writing for Inbetween. I’m making an effort to keep the buffer from disappearing completely, but I’m starting to feel a bit nervous about the coming weeks. Getting the chapters revised and formatted hasn’t been too much of a problem, but as I start to have more adulting to do, I’ll start to run out of time for both writing and revising.

For the most part writing the new draft of The Dreams has been going great. Some parts are still difficult to write. It’s not a case of not know what to write, but writing about stuff that still hits pretty close to home. I think I pulled my punches too much last time I wrote this story, particularly in the early parts and I’m trying to fix that problem this time around. The story is purely fiction, but certain parts are very much inspired by my life and digging into this stuff still hurts no matter how careful I am.

I’m sticking to my plan of posting completed and lightly edited scenes from this new draft of The Dreams to my Patreon. So far I’m feeling pretty great about the whole thing. Nothing I’ve written so far has been too incomprehensible so that’s always helpful.

As of right now I’m about 4.5k behind the target word count. If I pushed myself I could make up all those words in one day. I’ve written that much and more in one day before, but doing it would probably burn me out. My plan for the next week is to gradually get caught up. If I can do it, the last week or so of the month will be a breeze.

How was your week 2? Are you ahead? Behind? Already past your goal?

Are you ready for week 3?

NaNoWriMo 2017 Week 1 Recap

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The first week of NaNoWriMo this year might be the best I’ve ever had. For all the enthusiasm I feel for the start of NaNo, the first day is always a struggle for me. Going from nothing to something is the biggest step, in my opinion. It’s just a shame that it happens to be the first step.

This year I got over the fear of starting relatively quickly. I didn’t achieve astronomical word counts on the first day, or any other day in week 1 for that matter, but I had a decent stretch of consistently good days until Monday.

On Monday I struggled. It was the first day this month I didn’t feel particularly well and my word count reflected it. I wrote less than 1,000 words that day and I’m still trying to make up for the deficit. There’s plenty of time left in the month and I’m behind by just a bit so one really good day should get me back on track.

I’ve been posting completed scenes of my NaNoWriMo project to my Patreon after running them through spellcheck. Some days I’ve skipped and combined with other days because posting something I haven’t polished can make me incredibly anxious. Most days it’s a blast to show off my progress, but I’ve given myself permission to hold off if I’m not feel great about it when the time comes to post. The last draft of The Dreams had some diehard fans and I’m excited to know what they think of this new and improved version.

Looking forward to the second week, I’m hoping to catch up and keep pace with the target word count. Week two is usually pretty rough for me. Doubt starts to creep in and things I neglected in favor of writing during the first week start to become more urgent. I’m trying to keep on top of everything this month, so hopefully, that won’t happen. Only time will tell if I manage to make week two work!

How was the first week of NaNoWriMo for you? Are you ahead? Behind? How are you feeling now that we’re entering the second week of NaNo?

Draft 3 of The Dreams will be on Patreon Soon

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I haven’t made a post specifically to announce my project for NaNoWriMo this year, and with November just around the corner, I know it is now or never.

This year I’ll be rewriting The Dreams for NaNoWriMo. It’s not a traditional start-from-nothing first draft NaNo project, but I am starting this draft with a 0 word count so I feel like it still fits into that aspect of the spirit of the month.

There are aspects of The Dreams I’ve wanted to change for a long time and rereading the story has helped me discover more things I want to change. This draft is my chance to change those things. I hope that the changes will improve the story and bring me one step closer to a version of The Dreams suitable for publication as a book.

I’ve decided to post this new draft on Patreon for several reasons. First of all, I don’t want to bore or confuse readers here by having multiple versions of the same story available. On Patreon people are already dedicated to following my progress as a writer and will be less likely to be confused or annoyed by the reappearance of a familiar tale. Second of all, I want to reward those who have given me the most support by giving them something special and exclusive. And finally, there is a part of me that hopes a new and improved version of The Dreams might convince a few more people to share at least $1 a month with me.

If you’re interested in following the further progress of The Dreams from its current state to the next step on its journey, head over to my Patreon and join the fun. I’ll need all the encouragement I can get so I don’t lose my nerve halfway through making the changes I have planned. If you haven’t read The Dreams yet, you can read the entirety of the current draft here.

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