So, the other day I officially registered for Camp NaNoWriMo, which is happening in April. Now, is it just me, or was it not all that long ago that we all suffered through *regular* NaNo in November? Did I say suffer? Er, I meant, tackled –triumphed (there, how about that?).
Anyway, the NaNo camps are definitely less, er, challenging. We can choose a word count goal, and try to meet our target within the 30 days of April, but there isn’t as much…ahh, there’s no way around it — not as much pressure as during November. I really like the idea of there being a way to keep up with the discipline and writing habits you tried to develop in that time period. The thought of waiting almost a year to start on the whole go-round again just seemed terribly daunting.
So, how might you prepare for Camp NaNo, if you’re participating? Is that even an actual thing? Or do we just try to write every day, more than 10 words at a time, throughout April?
My guess is there are ways to prepare. Like write an outline for a project you’ve been contemplating, drinking lots of tea, and hiding from the world except to buy a new Blu-ray player and a bunch of new discs and try them all out, because, of course, inspiration? Okay, in my case, my husband did all of the latter. But I made him get a movie I’ve been wanting to see, too. (Could that count as research?)
In my case, I have been wanting to start work on the immediate sequel to my first novel in a series — the draft of which I won NaNo with in 2016, then proceeded to edit in record time, and get it off to the printer. I’m currently trying to finish the proofreading process as we speak, so that I can officially be published by the end of April (my other major goal for that month). Since it is already March, and this project has already been set back a few times by unforeseen difficulties (mostly relating to children), there is the sound of my head exploding about twice a day.
(Be glad we haven’t yet invented blogs that can translate that type of thing to your screen.)
I did have a draft started for Volume 2 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes — but I threw it out the window (or rather, into the shredder) several weeks ago, apart from some notes I saved on important plot points and such. Part of the reason — brutally honestly — was the fact some of the pages were almost impossible to read after Muffin got to my pen one quite unfortunate day. The other reason was the simple, common writer’s problem: “This isn’t going the way I want it to.”
So in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working again on the outline for Volume 2 (a title remains elusive). And while I’ve made okay progress, I am very, very glad that March has just begun, and I still have half a chance in Hades of actually finishing the entire outline before Camp NaNo commences.
Okay, enough whining on my part. Seriously, how might you get ready for this venture?
- Lots of tea. For real. Tea makes everything better.
- Don’t stress. Set a low word count goal for yourself (say, 10,000 for the month). Then you can be pleasantly surprised if you exceed that.
- Build up your support network. Ask your writing pals for advice, discuss your planned WIP, don’t be afraid to open up on the parts that are giving you trouble.
- (Unless you are like me and doing so would result in your entire premise of self-esteem completely collapsing. Then turn to your cat for writing advice.)
- Don’t stop doing everything else to focus on your writing. This is actually not a good plan. Life needs balance.
- Do write an outline, or at least make notes, conduct research, acquire pens and notebooks and batteries and ink cartridges.
- Stock up on music, pretty Instagram photos, anything that you get inspiration from.
- Stay. Calm. It’s just Camp NaNo. Not NaNo-NaNo. (And even when that comes, stay calm.)