Well! So far I’m trucking right along and am right on track! This is a pretty cool thing for me, as I’ve never made it very far in a Camp NaNoWriMo before. But then, before last November, I’d never won a NaNoWriMo before either. I feel as though I’ve crossed a major hurdle: now that I know I can finish a novel, the challenge lies elsewhere. (The challenge is probably plot related, honestly.) I suppose those moving goal posts can be a bitch if you let them, but for the moment I choose to be happy that I’ve gotten past one really big obstacle and can focus on the next one.
This Camp NaNoWriMo I’m focusing on steadiness. Yes, I could have set a time goal (e.g. 30 hours spent on this project) but I wanted a word count goal to track specific progress within the novel. So while my target daily word count is relatively low, the ultimate goal is for me to be writing every day. And I am! A few days have had lower word counts than target (Thanks, brain, you’re so helpful!) but with a lower target, I can make up the words the next days without too much extra effort.
In the first week I’ve also been learning to love this novel again. Last year I pulled out this same novel and resolved to start revising and editing it. But when I looked at what I’d already written, I just completely hated it. Nothing had quite worked the way I wanted it to. There were too many holes. I didn’t know what was going on in the middle of the novel. I gave up then because I really didn’t even want to look at this novel. So I put it away, and I worked on other things. And by the time I picked it back up again this January, I didn’t hate it quite so much. I got myself a notebook and did some major brainstorming for this novel. And sometime in the middle of the planning, I remembered why I’d wanted to write this story in the first place.
And, bonus! All that planning is paying off, since I can write the story without also making it up as I go—something Rachel Aaron talks about in (yup, you guessed it) 2K to 10K. To paraphrase: figuring out what needs to happen to move the story forward in the most dramatic and exciting fashion is already difficult, so if you can not do it in the most time-consuming way possible (in the middle of writing) it’ll be easier to keep momentum moving forward. So far, all the planning and prepping I did has proven to be the best thing I could have done for this novel.
Two things I’ve learned during Camp NaNoWriMo so far:
- I tend to leave out descriptions. So far it’s been mostly descriptions of people and places. (And maybe a little bit my MC’s feelings and emotions.) This has meant that I’ve been going back and adding the descriptions that are missing, which is working out fine. I’m not sure if I leave the descriptions out because I forget about them as I’m writing, or because it’s almost easier to add them where they go after the fact.
- When I get stuck, it’s usually because there’s something I don’t know. The last time I got stuck, I stepped back and asked myself what was wrong, and I realized that I didn’t know how the conversation I was trying to write was going to go. So I took a step back and thought about that for a few minutes. And when I went back to it, I mostly knew where I was going again. I just need to remember that when I get stuck I need to figure out what piece I don’t know yet, and more often than not, just identifying what I don’t know helps me figure out how to start moving forward again. Still, remembering that is often the hard part.
- Total Word Count: 7,063/30,000
I’m having a really good time with this rewrite and Camp NaNoWriMo experience! I can only hope my second week goes as well as my first!