Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up: What I Learned & Moving On

One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. --Henry Miller

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. –Henry Miller

Oh Camp NaNoWriMo… why, oh why, oh why did I… wait… nevermind. It wasn’t a total failure since I did, after all, learn a ton and have a plan in the making for NaNoWriMo this November!

You know those runners who take off like a rocket and halfway through the race, they cramp up, slow down, and finally trot across the finish line in 20th place? And then there’s the ones who start off slow and steady and by the time the 3/4 mark hits, they have that reservoir of energy to pull from, and go sprinting across the finish line. Winner!

So back to Camp NaNoWriMo… I was the rocket that cramped up and died at the halfway point. Some was life circumstances, but some was lack of planning to get across the finish line. It’s like I wore flip-flops to the race or something.

So I’m going to break it down: what I did, what I learned and what I’ll do differently for NaNoWriMo this fall. And you can bet that being the slow and steady one is part of my plan. 🙂 More

Days 7-13: Camp NaNoWriMo & Staying Creative and Productive

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks. - Yo-Yo Ma

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.
– Yo-Yo Ma

Day 13 of NaNoWriMo!
I’m swimming in it over here. Not quite where I’d like to be, but still moving forward. I know I need to revisit my outline since I’ve wandered into some gray territory, but getting “lost” has done wonders for my creativity and story. Usually when I hit stumbling blocks, I want to run as fast as I can back to my outline and check plot points, etc. But committing to this 50,000 word count for Camp NaNoWriMo has forced me to forget about that and just keep writing. This is a good thing, I think?

On Creativity…
One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is the fine balance of staying creative, staying in the flow. In other words, when the words on the page make me want to quit for the day and pick it back up tomorrow, what helps me to push through and stay committed? I toy with this a lot, but for me, I’ve found that sticking to a certain amount of structure and changing things up seem to be a perfect recipe.

Structure
My mom always told me I was at my best when I stuck to a schedule and I couldn’t agree more. I can kill a day doing everything nothing like no one else. Seeing as I can start making a “quick” playlist for a character, then look up 5 hours later to find I’m still looking for one more perfect song, having some sort of structure to my day not only helps me accomplish more, it invigorates me.  And it’s the only way I can consistently get things done.

Some of the structure I’m talking about here is related to actual time, and the other part is related to accomplishments. I’ll explain…

Creating Structure with Time

Part of my day follows time, or a schedule. Every morning I wake up and spend 20 minutes in silence. This could be meditation for some, prayer for others or contemplating on a character or scene that you’re planning to write that day. It’s my time to get centered, acknowledge what I’m grateful for and dream my day so to speak. Next, I make my coffee for the morning. After that, I bring up Scrivener and open my current writing project. I put on my accompanying playlist and write for 90-120 minutes. After I take a short break for breakfast, then go for another 90+ minutes if I’m planning to have a heavy writing day. On a day calendar it would look like this: More

Aside

Day 3-6: NaNoWriMo & Researching Your Story

“TWENTY bridges from Tower to Kew - Wanted to know what the River knew, Twenty Bridges or twenty-two, For they were young, and the Thames was old And this is the tale that River told:” ― Rudyard Kipling

“TWENTY bridges from Tower to Kew –
Wanted to know what the River knew,
Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,
For they were young, and the Thames was old
And this is the tale that River told:”
― Rudyard Kipling

Today is day 6 of Camp NaNoWriMo and because I was out of town for a few days, I’m a little behind on the updates and my writing. Not much, just a little. The most exciting part of my trip this weekend was that finally, after 3 years, I got to visit the library in London that houses all of the original docs and files that my story is based on. It felt like the gift of a lifetime and came at a time when I needed a boost of inspiration. I got it. And then some. Came home and been writing since. If I log 1000 more words today, I’ll be back on track!

My trip to the library got me thinking about all the research tools we have at our fingertips. There were some specific documents I saw this past weekend that were not available to me online, but aside from that, most of what I’ve needed to research my story, I’ve been able to access rather easily. All it takes is a little creativity and persistence. Since I’ve been researching for a story set in the 1800s off and on for a few years now, I thought I’d break down some of the sources I’ve used to squeeze out the most I can from this time period.

To Research, or Not To Research: That is the Question More

Day 2 Camp NaNoWriMo & Music!

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ― Louis L'Amour

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
                      ― Louis L’Amour

Day 2 Camp NaNoWriMo!

Today I wrote less than 300 words (with a goal of 1613 per day since that’s what it takes to reach the 50,000 word mark by the end of the month). Blegh! I had two other projects to complete and both took way longer than I thought they would. I almost just let it slip today, thinking that since I couldn’t really get in there and make some progress, why bother. But, I had 25 minutes to spare so I opened Scrivener and out came 260 words.

I’ll get into Scrivener in a later post, but if you haven’t stepped into the world of Scrivener, you can do so by clicking here:

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)

A couple of things I did differently really helped. First, I didn’t try to go back where I left off yesterday. The reason is that I just needed to go somewhere in my story that felt like it required no thinking or processing, so I jumped a few chapters ahead and started there. It was liberating! And (and, and, and!) the cool part is that those 260 words helped me connect to a subplot I’ve been struggling with. All basically because I let myself do a “free write” in my story! And I’ll definitely use this more often, especially when I need a dose of inspiration or just to enjoy some R&R while I write.

OK, onto music for a minute…

More

Day 1: Camp NaNoWriMo & Wise Words from Anne Rice

“Anybody can be a critic. Writers are priceless.” -Anne Rice

Day 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo is down! I clocked 1615 words and it took me most of the day to do it. I wrote steadily through the morning, took a break around lunchtime, then finished my last 500 words mid-afternoon. What I learned is that I write as slowly as I read. And that is slow. Yikes! But, mission accomplished. You can read about my prep work for Camp NaNo here.

To prep for day 2, I made a playlist at 8tracks. It’s incomplete, but you can check it out here.

Now, moving on to the inspiring bits. Every now and then we all need some inspiration. I find mine in many ways and one of those is to read the wise words and tips from successful authors. The other day I stumbled upon Anne Rice’s tips on writing while doing research for an upcoming post and found these brilliant words by her. I felt so good after reading it that I read it again. And again. And since I have it bookmarked, now I have to share it. Enjoy! More

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Camp NaNoWriMo Starts Tomorrow!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 begins tomorrow, July 1st

Camp NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow!

I’m sooooo excited!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 begins tomorrow. 31 days. 50,000 word goal. 1613 words per day! If you aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month), you can read about it here. And Camp NaNoWriMo, which is sorta the same thing but held in July, can be read about it here. With Camp NaNo, you get a “cabin” of 11 other writers and there’s a forum for trading writing tips and motivational tips. And there’s a place to log your word count everyday (where everyone can see it, so that adds to the motivation since you don’t want to let your camp friends down). And the big idea is to write a novel in one month (or a script, or whatever writing project you’re working on).  I heard about it a few years ago, but tomorrow  officially starts my first NaNo! 🙂

Here are a few ways that I’ve prepared for Camp NaNaWriMo: More