Nanowrimo 2015 – Sort Of

NaNo-2015-Participant-BannerNanowrimo is this super cool event where writers from all over the world, both professional and amateur, try to write a novel (or 50,000 words of a novel) in the month of November. If you’ve ever written before, you might know that this is well, really really difficult, which is why there is a large support group and forums and pep talks to keep you going.

November is never a good month for me. It’s smack dab in the middle of the academic year, and there are often exams to prepare for an papers to be written. I’m currently doing a master’s degree, and they do not believe in free time. So I have none. Nor do I generally have the energy to write anything after slavering away on a theoretical essay.

But.

I do love writing. And I love the Nanowrimo community. And I do want to be part of that, in a way, even if I can’t write 50,000 words. So this year I’m going to try to participate with a much lower word count goal: 10,000. Instead of working on a novel, I’ll be writing science fiction and fantasy short stories – and if all goes well, finish two or three of them. Of course, I will keep you guys posted on my progress.

Are you participating in Nanowrimo this year?

On Productivity

It’s hard to get the most out of your time, especially when there is a project that just has to be finished before a certain deadline. If you’re anything like me, that deadline will be looming all over you and killing every inch of motivation you might have had. I had this unpleasant experience trying to get through writing three academic papers at the same time.

There are literally thousands of posts out there that all claim to have discovered the holy grail – the one sure-fire way to “boost your productivity”. I’m more of a pragmatist, and subscribe to Stephen King’s motto: butt in chair, hands on keyboard. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any cool tips to make life easier, but honestly, without any actual butt-in-chair time, nothing will get done.

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Back at the Writing Table

scrivener2For a month, I didn’t write a word. I was stuck with the plot on one story, stuck with the mystery in another, and stuck with the characters on a third project. I got into a major slump, that was made worse by the pressure of school and blogging combined.

November is the month of Nanowrimo, a contest where writers pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Because of my obligations, it will be impossible for me to produce 50K words without sacrificing my grades. But I do want to make a target this month. I started a new story which I’m extremely excited about. I’m pledging here and now:

  1. I will not start a new writing project until I have finished a complete first draft of one of my three current projects
  2. In the month of November, I will try to write 10,000 words

I’m currently LOVING the fact that I’m putting words on paper again, no matter that I had to start a new project to rekindle the passion. If you would like to follow my progress, I added a bar depicting my manuscripts current word count in the sidebar to your left.

What rekindles your passion to write when you’re in a slump? Are you participating in Nanowrimo this month?

I Queried My First Book

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During Camp Nanowrimo I’ve been back into the writing groove. I’ve finally finished the story that has been in my head for over six months. It was so thought through, the only thing I had to do was fill in the scenes with words. Every scenario had already played itself out in my head, every chapter planned. It was done within a week.

And I feel like I wrote a good one. That this is a story people (especially kids) will enjoy. That they will smile and care for the main character. Unlike the YA novel I’m currently working on, this book feels like it’s one finished and polished whole. There is not a scene or page too many. It’s as good as I can make it.

Which is why I decided to query my chapter book. It’s now sitting in the first literary agent’s mailbox. It’s the first real step towards being an author, which has been my dream since I was eight. And if this agent passes on it, I will query again. And again. And if no one is interested, I will query my next book. And the next. And with every query and every book I will come closer to fulfilling my dream of some day seeing my own book in the stores.

Do you have a dream job? If there weren’t any limitations, what would you be?

On Camp Nanowrimo

Camp Nanowrimo is the little brother of Nanowrimo. During camp you set your own monthly word goal – and then try to reach it. You can write on any kind of project you like; it’s kind of a more relaxed Nano (because if you know anything about Nano – that shit’s crazy). You can choose to be paired with other aspiring writers in a cabin where you can discuss writing and motivate each other.

I’ve signed up for the normal Nanowrimo for at least two times, and I think I’ve signed up for Camp before as well. Somehow I’ve never succeeded in keeping up with it for more than two or three days. Except for this one! I’m actually doing really well. I set my goal for this July on 20,000 words, and today I reached 10,000!

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What’s different this time that I now do manage to keep up with my goal? For starters, Camp/Nano shouldn’t be underestimated. If you don’t know what you’re going to write, or if you miss one or two days, getting back on track already becomes a gargantuan task. For it to work you’ll most like have to write every day, and that’s hard. You can’t wait till you find time, you have to make it.

Having this deadline really helps me to get more motivation, and it keeps me writing on days I don’t even feel like it. Some people don’t react well to deadlines – apparently I’m one of the people that needs a deadline to finish something. During this Camp I’ve already finished one project, and am doing well on a second one. I wish it was Camp nano every month! Seeing my word count stick over the top of my goal line feels amazing.

One of the really cool things about events like these is that you’re not alone. Writing is a very solitary occupation and can get lonely sometimes. During the event it’s easy to find like-minded people that are in the same boat as you. I love checking out other people’s statistics and seeing them coming closer to their goals.

Camp Nanowrimo is perfect if you’d like to try to write a story. It’s not as stressful as the November Nanowrimo, and a lot more flexible if you’re not ready to write 50,000 words in one month. It’s been a great experience so far, and here’s to hoping I’ll be able to call myself a Camp Nano winner!

Have you ever participated in a Nanowrimo?

If you’d like to be Camp friends, you can find my profile here