Things I learnt during my first (successful) Camp NaNoWriMo

This was not my first year attempting a NaNoWriMo project, but it was my first year completing the 50 000 word count. Here are a few things I learnt on the journey-

  1. It Doesn’t Have to be Good

You may have 50 000 words at the end of the month but you will not have a novel. At best you will have a draft. Which is good news because it means that if you’re writing something and you think ‘oh God this is crap’, that’s okay. You can make it not crap in the re-write/edit. Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus) has a great post on her blog about this. I think this was a huge thing that stopped me in previous years- it didn’t feel good enough to be a novel. But that’s fine. Because it’s a draft.

2. Protect Your Writing Time

Writing means sacrifice. When you have a deadline to meet you need to keep your writing time sacred in order to get the job done. I wrote on my lunch break or during down time at my temp job. I wrote in to the wee hours of the night. I sacrificed social time, sleep and the occasional meal to get things done. People who don’t write seem to forget that an author doesn’t wake up one day with a book magically on their desk. It takes time to write a book. Find that time in your day and protect it.

3. Some Days Will be Easier Than Others

Some days you’ll write over your goal and the words will flow out of you. Other days it will be like pulling teeth. Just make sure you get it done. If you’ve under written one day push for an over-write day to even it out.

4. It’s Okay to Fall Behind

I’ve definitely given up on past Nano projects because I fell behind and thought I could never catch up. I felt like a failure and rather than push through I just threw the towel in. I didn’t see that even if you’re on 10 000 words, but 5 000 words behind you’ve still written thousands more words than you probably would have that month. And that’s great. Also, for the record, a weekend trip away with friends did put me about 5 000 words behind, but I managed to pace myself over the remaining days and catch up. You can too!

5. You Will Fall Out of Love with Your Project

You know what it’s like when you first get the idea for something and it’s all you can think about? That rush of excitement and the burning need to write. This idea is amazing. This is the idea you’ve been looking for… If you’re anything like me you’ll have days where you’ve grown to hate it. The excitement isn’t there any more. The idea was good but you don’t have the skill to execute it properly. Whatever slump you’re in, write through it. You can take a few weeks off looking at it and fix problems the month after. You’ll find that spark again.

That’s all I can really think of just now, I just wanted to get it done coming off the back of my post-Nano high. It may not have been that coherent, but my brain is fried!

If any of you did Camp Nano this year I’d love to hear about it. Whether you completed it or not- I’m proud of you for getting some writing done!

5 thoughts on “Things I learnt during my first (successful) Camp NaNoWriMo

  1. I am not aware of what NaNoWriMo is but the lessons you’ve shared, I appreciate them all the same. I go through similar moments just to write a post. I saw myself referring to your guidance the next time I encounter a challenge. Thank you for sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah… probably should have explained that… it stands for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write 1 677(ish) words a day, meaning that at the end of the month you have around 50 000 words, which is the length of a short novel. It’s a good challenge to motivate yourself to write more frequently and worry less about it- things you don’t like can be fixed in the edit. Thank you for the lovely comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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