Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap up

Camp NaNoWriMo ended yesterday. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s when writers pledge for the month of July to write 50k–essentially a novel in a month. However, this means different things to different writers. Some pledge to write more or less, dependent on their schedule and what they need to complete. Most often, a novel isn’t 50k, so it may just be half a novel. But the main idea is to get words out, turn off your self-editor, and then go back after the month is finished and work through what you’ve written.

This year was my first year doing Camp NaNoWriMo and I really believed I could hit 50k. My life unexpectedly got hectic–in a good way–and I fell behind, at a rate that I couldn’t catch up from. So instead of risking my mental health to reach the goal–I lowered 50k to 40k.

Previously, I had participated in NaNoWriMo, which is the original 50k challenge that happens in November. I’ve never gotten past 20k, so as soon as I reached 20k for July, I was already ahead of my own game.

This year, I chose to work on my new work in progress–a young adult novel. It was perfect timing. I wrote 20k of the novel before Camp NaNo started and I made the goal for myself that I would finish this first draft by September 1st.

My issue started when I needed to outline more than I could write–yet I wouldn’t give myself that time because I was so desperate to just get words on the page. I’m not a person who enjoys outlining often. I prefer to just write the exciting scenes and worry about the nitty gritty later. This isn’t helpful when you’re on a time restraint for NaNo.

So instead, I started working on the sequel to Underneath the Whiskey, in hopes that turns into something worth reading. And something that people may be interested in. (Let me know if you are!)

Eventually, late on July 31st, I reached my 40k goal at 40, 316!!

So what happens now?

  1. Read through what I’ve written (NaNo + 20k earlier)
  2. Refine the outline by week 2 of August
  3. Create writing goals to accomplish 1st draft!
  4. Finish draft!

It’ll be harder than I’m letting myself believe at the moment, but it’ll be well worth it!

While I didn’t get to 50k, I do have some important takeaways from the month:

  1. I learned how to sprint – in writing novels, not running, although my new main characters are avid runners!
  2. I wrote more than I would have without NaNo.
  3. I set goals for myself, thanks Sam Baker, that I will take in August to finish up my draft.
  4. I learned that sometimes writing words don’t mean anything, if you aren’t writing coherent information.
  5. Outlining is crucial. Whether at the beginning, middle or end of your project.
  6. Even if you do outline, that doesn’t mean a character won’t come in and ruin everything you’ve planned.

So until next time NaNo. I imagine November won’t work well for me, but there’s always hoping!

Have any of you participated in Camp NaNo this month? If so, how did you do? Congratulations to all the writers who participated this July! And even those of you who didn’t and are working on different projects–you deserve a shoutout too!

Chelsea Lauren

Chelsea Lauren is addicted to drinking coffee, writing in cafes, and walking the beach. A New York native, she recently moved to Melbourne, FL and found having conversations with her character’s on the beach is the perfect cure to writer’s block. To learn more about her, check out “About Me.” Her debut novel, Underneath the Whiskey, is now available on Amazon.

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