Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Young Writer's Struggle With NaNoWriMo

It begins with a thing called NaNoWriMo, a which is the funky short form for National Novel Writing Month, a huge event that happens in November where a bunch of crazy people prepare to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

At first, I shrugged it off, and I felt satisfied when I read blog posts that slammed NaNo. I would gobble up every blog post where someone justified their reasons for not doing NaNo, or said it wasn't for them. Basically, I just agreed with all the people who didn't do NaNo. NaNo wasn't my thing; I wouldn't do it; I could write without going crazy doing 50k in a month.

But really, I was just giving myself excuse upon excuse, because NaNo scared me. 50k in a month? No way. I can't do that. Too much commitment. Finally, I admitted to myself that I just didn't want to commit myself to writing that much.

However, I've come to the realization that I can no longer just write when I feel like it, or when it's fun for me. If I'm going to write, I have to make an effort, or I'll end up never writing at all. 

In November 2012, I did my own version of NaNo - 30,000 words in a month. I did it! It was all right. And making a commitment to write a certain number of words in a limited amount of time seemed a little less scary.

Then In June 2014, Elle contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a member of her cabin for Camp NaNoWriMo. I had one of my goals for the summer as finishing my rewrite of my current WiP, but I was still hesitant. Could I do it? Maybe. It was a big commitment. What the heck, I thought, and said yes.

I'm so glad I said yes! Camp NaNoWriMo is different because you can make your own goal. I made my goal 30,000 words and I did it! I won. Now my WiP is up to 40,000 words and I only have maybe 30,000 words left until the end. The best thing about doing Camp NaNo for me was having the support of my cabin mates. You could go on to the message boards and see if anyone was around, discuss word count, and sprint if you wanted. It was great having that accountability, and the feeling that other people were counting on me to reach my goal. 

Sprinting was also a new thing for me. It's basically where you pick a time - say 15 minutes - and do nothing but write as many words as possible. When you're sprinting with other people, it adds a competitiveness, so you want to ignore all your other websites and other distractions.

Now I'm committed to finishing my WiP, and maybe I'll even be around in November to do a 50k. (Even if still terrifies me). Thanks to Elle and the rest of my cabin mates for encouraging me!


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