Thursday, August 25, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo

For those of you who don't know what NaNoWriMo is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. In short, you write a novel (or at least 50,000 words on a novel) in a one month span. NaNoWriMo takes place every November, and I've never been able to participate because of the holidays and being out of town to visit our family.

Well this year they changed things up a bit and did something called Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the same thing as NaNoWriMo, just set in the summer (hence the summer camp theme). I stupidly decided last minute on July 30th that I was going to participate. Why? I honestly have no idea. I was a little over halfway finished with my second round of edits on the contemporary manuscript I was working on and wasn't planning on starting anything new until I got finished with that. But on August 1st I found myself starting a new story and putting my edits on hold.

This story flowed like no other that I have ever written. It seriously seemed to take over my thoughts, my actions, my life. I found myself writing much more than the daily quota needed to "win" at the end of the month. And I was totally okay with that. It was like I couldn't tell the story fast enough. Sometimes I'd check my word count at the end of the day and see that I had written over 4K for that particular day, but it didn't seem like I'd written hardly anything at all.

Last night I hit the 50K mark, thus "winning" my first NaNoWriMo. I am pleased as punch. I never thought I'd be able to write a nearly completed novel in less than a month. Never. This whole experience has taught me so much about writing, and about myself. I see how that I wasn't writing nearly as much per day as I could have been. Sure, I was still writing, but I never seemed to get anywhere with my story. I see now that it can be done, it can be accomplished, it just takes a lot of work and self discipline.

I took today off from writing after writing literally every day for 24 days straight, and it felt weird. I felt almost lost, like I had no idea what to do with my day. But I do think my brain needed a day off to rest. My new goal starting next week is to write (or edit) 2,000 words a day at least four days a week. I will take weekends off, because it'll be nice to have a break and I need one day out of the week to get all my errands/appointments done, but I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to write 8K a week. None. The only thing that has been holding me back was laziness and excuses.

So my question to you is, what's holding you back? What excuses are you making to not write that novel you've always wanted to write? Because I promise you, if I can do this, anybody can. Including you.

(Also a special thank you to my NaNo "cabin mates" Carolyn, Jackson, Kate, and Natasha. You have all been such an inspiration to me this past month, thank you for helping me stay motivated and keeping my tummy full on virtual smores.)


  1. Steph, you are awesome! Congratulations again and thank YOU again! Great post! :)
    - Carolyn

  2. Congrats!!! That's such an awesome accomplishment. =)

  3. Congrats!!! Its such a great feeling, isn't it?! I am also a fellow 'camper' who won Camp Nanowrimo as well (officially on the 16th but had way more to write so validated on the 26th). Last year was my first NaNoWriMo in November, and I have to say I enjoyed Camp Nano a lot more. Just the atmosphere - and the cabins were a fantastic idea. I too felt totally lost after I'd won like I had no idea what to do next!

    thanks for posting this!