Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2015: Week Three Update

daisyIt is safe to say that I will not “win” CampNaNoWriMo this time around. Could I have won? Given my word count from last November’s NaNoWriMo, I think the answer is “yes.” However, so far, I think I am walking away with something even more important than a finished manuscript — two lessons.

Lesson one: I have figured out my best time to write each day. Unexpected events aside, I can easily write 1,000 to 1,500 words in an hour. It’s nothing compared to the vigorous pace of “regular” NaNoWriMo, but it is sustainable. That will get me much farther in the long run.

Lesson two: I am learning how to balance and prioritize. Often times, I focus too much on “20%” activities, such as social media or blogging, and my writing gets sacrificed. While I love putting out a blog post every day and interacting with you all consistently, writing is where I should focus more of my time. And I’m going to try to keep it as my top priority in thought and practice going forward.

Okay, enough epiphanies. Here is my week three summary:

My Personal Goal: 75,000 — or the finished first draft Desert Child, whichever comes first

My Secondary Goal: Create a sustainable writing habit for the future

Total Words Written: 28,938

Words Written This Week: 11,882

Day 15: 1,377

Day 16: 397

Day 17: 1,673

Day 18: 4,564

Day 19: 1,241

Day 20: 1,000

Day 21: 1,630

Estimated Writing Time: 6.5 hours

thinkingThe experience so far: I feel like I am maturing as an author. I am going at a consistent pace, avoiding burnout, and being kind to myself, even on less productive days.

Motivation: My motivation this week has been to keep my writing routine consistent. Even when I hardly have any time, I am still sitting down and producing work. While I will not finish this draft by April 30, I still want to finish Camp strong.

Biggest Triumph: Learning to write in tiny intervals. I’m one of those people who has to finish reading at the end of a chapter. Previously, this anal tendency had crossed over to my writing, making me write for huge chunks at a time to complete a chapter or scene — or simply not write at all. It was all or nothing. Now, I can sit down and write for ten minutes (as opposed to skipping it altogether) without stressing myself out. (Seriously, one of my characters is in the middle of being cremated right now, her corpse on full display before the tribe, and I don’t even care. Normally, I’d have to save her from the humiliation.)

Biggest Setback: There is construction on the highway, so my commute takes longer. Plus, I’m helping cover for one of my coworkers who is on vacation. Long story short, I’m tired a lot.

Helpful Insights: Push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge your writing routine. I thought writing a chapter each session worked for me — and it does, but it also prevents me from stealing smaller bits of time for writing and limits what I can do in a session. By expanding how you work, you will be more productive and more versatile. This leads to increased sustainability and more consistent writing even when challenges aren’t happening.


How are your Camp NaNoWriMo adventures going? Anything fun to share? Any advice for your fellow campers?

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Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and wine tasting. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.

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12 comments on “Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2015: Week Three Update
  1. hirundine608 says:

    Some good pointers for aspiring writers. Cheers Jamie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. amo says:

    I can relate to the “finish reading/writing at the end of a chapter” part; I’m the same way. I’d heard the advice before to leave off writing in the middle of a scene, so you can jump back in when you get back to your work; and I’d always ignored it because I like finishing chapters – but this time, I’m doing some of that because I’m writing in smaller increments, and whaddaya know, *it’s working*! Sounds like we’re on similar journeys here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like it! I’m glad that it is working for you, too. I’ve heard advice like that, and I’ve also heard advice to time yourself and stop writing exactly where the timer buzzes — even if it is in the middle of sentence. But that, I think, would be too extreme for me.

      Like

  3. deshipley says:

    One of my characters was telling me just today that I’m going to have to eventually re-learn how to make the actual /writing/ part of writing more of an everyday priority. I’ve got that “all or nothing” tendency you spoke of, which has been making this principle a challenge for me lately. But hey, the first step is recognizing you have a problem…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing wonderful insights this month Kate on the writing process! It is inspiring and helpful!

    I too did NaNoWriMo for the first time in November 2014. The process to get to 50,000 words was daunting in a month. I found the discipline of daily writing made a difference. Of course getting rid of my inner critic helped the most. I took comfort that this was a chance for me to finding my writing voice for a fiction novel.

    Now camp NaNoWriMo this month! Different approach, I went nonfiction, business topic, 25,000 word count. I hit 33,044, so I guess I had a “win.” But the book has more to go.

    A favorite business book I read “Who Moved My Cheese” only had 10,000 words, so maybe there is something there to think about.

    Continued success in camp!

    Dream Big Always,
    Judy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing, Judy! I’ve heard speculation that shorter books are going to grow in popularity, given the fast pace of modern life and the emerging trends of reading on smartphones. I agree there is definitely a charm in short, concise books that give you all you need in not a lot of space. Good luck with your camp adventures and with finishing your new book!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the first things I heard in Nano is never finish a scene at the end of a writing session, if you leave yourself in a big mess, you know exactly where to jump in when you pick the page back up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Galit Balli says:

    Wonderful post with nice tips 🙂
    It looks like you got back on track even with all the things that keeps you away from your writing. You are very inspiring the way you push yourself, no matter what 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lightwalker1 says:

    It is excellent progress, when you can realize what you have learned and to put it into action. Thank you for sharing you Aha moments. They help me to question my writing behaviours which ultimately will lead to my own epiphanies. In love and light Cheryle

    Liked by 1 person

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