Week one – Camp NaNoWriMo

Life is all about choices, and accepting responsibility for those choices – good or bad.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I am in the midst of rewriting a novel that I have struggled with for a very long time.   At the beginning of the year, I tried to force myself into a whirlwind of writing in order to finally complete it.  That backfired on me and I wound up walking away from the entire project.  In March, I picked it back up and decided to approach it differently.  I drafted a detailed outline.  I hated every minute of it, but it helped.  In mid-May, I started the rewriting process in earnest.  It was slow and tedious – almost as painful as the first go around.

In the last few days of May, one of the members of my writing group mentioned a June installment of the November NaNoWriMo challenge.  I’ve never participated.   November is a crazy month around my house between school, work, family, the incoming holiday season, and my irrational desire for sleep.  By contrast, June is a relatively easy month.  I took the plunge.  I signed up.

I’ll be honest, the prospect of writing 50,000 words in 30 days scares the shit out of me.  Not because it is this great unattainable thing, but because I have never before produced that volume of words in such a short time frame.   I see other writer’s do it and I am in awe.  Julie over at Word Flows is a prime example of this.  She is a writing machine.  I envy her free-flowing ability.   I’m not like that.  I’m a slow, methodical writer.  I tend to write for a bit, stop, go back to review and reassess, ponder my position, let things percolate around in my head for a while, and then rewrite it before I move on.  In my professional world, this works out great for me.  Unfortunately, in my creative world, its debilitating.

When I went into this challenge, I knew that I was going to have to let go of my notion of perfection, understand that the story wasn’t always going to gel completely, and accept that I was going leave a trail of mistakes in my wake.   The thought of that made me all itching, but I chose to do it anyway.  The first few days were tough.  Around day three the little perfection troll that shares my head with my phobia troll pulled out all of his hair and ran screaming from the building.   That was the best thing that could have happened.  My head is much quieter now and I am letting go of old habits, rereading only the proceeded paragraph, and referring to my rough outline for guidance.

As of last night, I was right on track with 12,034 works written.  Each day it gets easier to just let it flow and I find that I am enjoying myself.  It’s been a long time since I felt a connection to my writing like this.  It seems this is exactly the kick in the pants I needed.

Only 23 days and 37,966 words to go.

Author: Peggy Isaacs

This is me. Is that you?

4 thoughts on “Week one – Camp NaNoWriMo”

  1. To be honest, the idea of doing NaNo terrified me for years before I ever did it. I just kept saying that there’s no way I could write 50k in 30 days, even if I was willing to let it be drivel (which I wasn’t). I don’t think I got over that until I did the math and realized that it only meant 1667 words per day (that’s every day, but I thought then that I could do it if I kept focused on one day at a time).

    I think the best gifts I ever got from NaNo are the ones you’re talking about. The inner critic gets left in the dust after a couple of days, and I totally gave up the notion of a perfect (or even great) first draft during my first NaNo. I learned that the most important thing was getting to the end, because only then could I truly understand all the things the beginning had to be and where the middle was leading everyone. Most of all, the pace required forced me to silence that nagging fear that I wouldn’t be good enough and kept me focused where I had to be, on the story.

    There’s a reason I do every first draft NaNo style since my first outing with the event. It’s the only way I get to the end, the only way I have something to edit that’s worth the time to do it. The relentless push forward has pushed me forward in a much broader sense.

    I guess all of this is my way of saying that I’m so glad to see it working out for you. I’m glad you’re reconnecting with writing. I’m glad you’re learning from it. Isn’t it amazing what can happen when we ignore fear and try anyway?

    Oh, and thanks for the link 🙂

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