Camp NaNoWriMo (2017)

I have only done Camp NaNoWriMo twice. Once in June 2012, the other in July 2013. Since then, the two months have been April and July and unfortunately, I’ve been busy in both months for the past few years. April was either exams or deadlines to deal with, so that was never going to happen. July was typically when I’d go on holiday or have so many plans, I didn’t have time to write.

So, why do it this year?

I do have plans this month, but I wouldn’t say they were that extensive. There are only three important events happening this month and they go on for 48 hours at most. That gives me plenty of time to write. Plus, even if I were flying off to somewhere else, I’m physically writing down my story, therefore a laptop isn’t a problem. There is no excuse for me not to do this.

Am I ready?

Well, here’s a counter question: am I ever ready?

The answer is usually a mix between yes and no. Yes, I do have a vague plot outlined in my brain, but no, I haven’t thought this through enough. This won’t be the best quality but that’s not the point of NaNoWriMo. The point is to get the words out. Maybe I’ll make up the plot as I go and hope I won’t regret it or hate it. Maybe making it up will create a wonderful masterpiece I’d never have done had I told myself to write it in my free time.

Basically, this is my kick up the arse to get the writing done. Get another draft done. No more excuses.

Week One

If we were to judge my writing based on the chart I’m supposed to be updating on the official website, it would say I’d written nothing this past week. However, because I chose to handwrite it and have procrastinated typing it up yet, I have written at least a thousand words. That being said, that isn’t enough for the amount I’m supposed to have done by now.

Onto the excuses! Truthfully, the first two days, I was at my cousin’s wedding and that should excuse me. This weekend, I was at a local festival in my hometown and there literally wasn’t any spare time except before I went to sleep. I didn’t bring my notebook with me (and boy am I glad I didn’t! My backpack wanted to explode on the way back) so no writing happened. In between that time? Yeah, I have no good excuse. The heat shouldn’t be used as my scapegoat for all avoidance of everything.

I’m tempted to lower my word count. I can’t see myself reaching 50k words. Not that I’m not invested in my story, but I’m lacking motivation right now with anything in my life. Add handwriting into that equation and it’s doubly hard to do so.

I hope this week will be a better week for me, but we’ll see.

Week Two

Once again, just like last week, if we were to base my progress on the website, I would currently be on zero words. That is incorrect.

However, like last week, I have procrastinated writing and in all honesty, I realised why. No, it’s not just because I’m handwriting this story and generally my handwritten work needs tons more work to it (I add far more details in the typed version, but handwritten allows me to get the basic plot down). It’s a realisation I didn’t realise I needed: I was in a writing slump. Doing a creative writing degree, you’d think you’d fall in love with writing more and never want to stop. Unfortunately the opposite happened. I grew sick and tired of writing things I didn’t enjoy writing, or else writing what I wanted and receiving bad marks for it. Granted, if you want to seriously pursue writing, you can’t allow this to stop you. I didn’t realise it had stopped me, in a sense.

It was only after going to a book signing and hearing the author talk about writing that I realised how much I missed it. Truly missed it. I hadn’t written anything in a while that sparked that love within me and I struggled to convince myself that writing really is my forte. It was only after that signing that the spark was reignited and now I’m as passionate as I was when I first began as a young teen. I’m itching to write and believe me, that’s been gone for the past year!

Since the signing only happened on Friday, the rest of the week was spent in that writing slump. While I have no excuse after Friday not to have done any writing, I still managed to procrastinate doing it. Ah! Being static isn’t good for me mentally and this goes towards my writing. Because I’m in a limbo state, convincing myself to do anything isn’t happening. I don’t feel as motivated as I know I can be because I’m too busy battling my mental health (or else running away from it, which doesn’t solve anything).

Regardless, I am adamant on finishing this notebook, which I suspect will take me until after Camp NaNoWriMo to do. I’m hoping to take it away with me on holiday, but because it’s quite chunky, I think my mum might protest. Eh, screw it. I’m not entirely convinced I’ll reach my 25k writing goal either, so we’ll see if I can even make it to 10k. I’m hoping so. If I gave myself a kick up the arse, I could do it. I know I can. I’ve been 10k down before and managed to reach 50k. Let’s see what happens.

Here’s to another week. Let’s hope I don’t procrastinate through all of it this time.

Week Three

Surprisingly, I did update the Camp NaNoWriMo website. 1283 words. However, as I have been saying for the past three weeks, I have written more than that. Still, I know in my heart of hearts I haven’t written 10k. My goal of 25k is unachievable at this rate and in all honesty, I’m okay with it.

Why?

Because this is the best damn draft I’ve ever done. True, I say this about every draft, but this one I really do mean it. I’ve taken a different approach to writing it this time that, while more time consuming, has worked effectively. I handwrite it, then type it up in first person, which I will revert back to third person once this draft is finished. I find handwriting it has allowed me to get the basic plot down while the first person narrative has allowed me to focus in on a specific perspective. By the time I write it into third person, I’ll have the basic plot and perspective down and I’ll just need to edit/tweak some changes.

It doesn’t help I’m a pro at procrastinating. I could’ve written so much more if I hadn’t procrastinated. Truthfully, the first week is the only week I can say I had good excuses for not writing as much, but even then, that was only two weekends. The rest of this month, I could’ve found time and done it, but I chose not to. But for once, the threat of failure isn’t scaring me. Perhaps because there’s no pressure to fail or succeed (a massive relief from November). If anything, this experience is allowing me to take my time, which I’m enjoying. I’m allowing myself time to think while I write.

I’m aiming to get this draft finished by November. Then I can spend November converting this into third person, tweaking it as I go along. That’s the dream. Whether I will or not all depends on if I can bring my notebook away with me on holiday. If not, that’s two weeks lost. If so, I’ll only be able to write in my notebook and not type it up. I see no problems with that. We’ll see. But even if I lose those precious two weeks, I still have two months afterwards to do it. Hopefully, it’ll all work out.

One more week to go. I wonder what word count I’ll end on…

Week Four

*With an extra day

I ended Camp NaNoWriMo with 7,681 words. My target word count was 25k.

I was hoping, by the end, I’d at least hit 10k. Unfortunately, I procrastinated a ton again this week. Despite being the most motivated this week to reach that 10k target, life had other plans, as did I. If I wasn’t sorting things out at home, I was going out with friends and family to places. I’m not a morning person so writing before lunchtime didn’t really happen, then in the evening, I’d be watching something on TV or else spending three hours on Youtube and not writing.

What’s the lesson learnt here?

I’m a pro-crastinator.

(Get what I did there?)

But also, I need November’s NaNoWriMo to be committed enough. The community constantly motivates me to keep going and I feel obligated to succeed. I can’t fail in November. I don’t like the feeling of failing in November. But with the Camp NaNoWriMo? I didn’t feel as bad. Probably because this feels relaxing, like a real camp (we don’t have those over here in the UK, but I’ve heard stories about camp in America (thank you TV/film) and it sounds relaxing).

Plus, choosing your word count is super helpful because then you know it’s a chilled vibe. ‘Oh, you hit your target word count? Great!’ ‘Oh, you didn’t hit your target word count? Doesn’t matter. Just try again and keep writing.’ Whereas November just feels like, ‘WHY HAVEN’T YOU WRITTEN TODAY? DO YOU WANT TO REACH YOUR WORD COUNT? THEN WRITE!’ Maybe that’s just me interpreting the general vibe of NaNoWriMo into that feeling above. But hey, it does actually work on me so…

Anyway, this story is still being written. Just because Camp NaNoWriMo was a fail and is now over doesn’t mean I’m stopping. If anything, the approach I’ve taken has motivated me to keep going. I’m loving it right now. Although, like always, I haven’t planned the story out enough so god knows what’s gonna happen in the middle. It’s usually a lucky dip that ends up feeling unlucky when I re-read it. Let’s hope this is the first time my middle isn’t actually that bad. Fingers crossed!

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