Reflections on CampNaNoWriMo

Now that my hands have recovered enough to type more than 140 characters at a time, this seems like a good point to think back on CampNaNoWriMo.

The first week went quite well – I made it over the 5000-word mark, and I realised that the idea suited a novella rather than a novel, so revised my goal to 25000 words.

We had visitors at around Day 10, and then the Technician had some time off, which we used to work on sorting the house out, and I stopped writing regularly, which in turn sapped my motivation. My characters, annoyed that I had been avoiding them, started giving me the silent treatment, and I let myself get distracted by drawing maps, and playing Fable 3. It looked like failure was imminent.

We were having new windows fitted on the final Saturday of July. With the Tiny Tyrant at Grandma’s house, I had an opportunity to sit and write all day. With my total sat at 6444, I knew that I couldn’t win, but I decided to go down fighting. Since CampNaNo is more relaxed than November’s NaNoWriMo, I decided to spend the time working on some worldbuilding sparked by that mapmaking, and changed my project name to ‘Various’.

The world-building rubbed shoulders with some story ideas I’ve had rattling around for a while, and they decided to go into partnership. By the end of the day my total word count sat at 12593. I joked that I just needed to double my total on the final day and still win.

I joked. But I’m stubborn and competitive, and I kind of wanted to see if I could do it. The Technician, who’s also fond of ridiculous challenges, agreed to wrangle the Tiny Tyrant for the day, and the challenge was on. I managed to fit in 9 hours of writing, adding 12455 words to my total, and validating my project with 7 minutes to spare. I’d won.

And, since I was mainly writing notes on character and setting, and outlining plot,those 12455 words are usable, despite the increasing number of typos as my hands cramped up in the final hours.

So what did I learn?

Based on both this and last year’s CampNaNo I have to accept that I can’t manage the kind of output that comes easily to me during November’s NaNoWriMo. I simply work better in the cooler months, and now I need to use this knowledge to my advantage.

In the category of ‘things I already knew, but ignored’, skipping a day or two is a slippery slope. A day or two turned into a week, then two, then I was left with 2 days in which to write 18556 words. Proud as I am of my achievement, I do realise that this is not a sustainable way to write.

I hope to do CampNaNo again next year, but if I do, I’ll need to be smarter about it – use the time for editing, or work on shorter projects. For now, I’m going to work on that elusive daily writing habit.

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