Camp Fridays: Week One

Though technically Camp NaNoWriMo started last week, we’ve only just finished our first full week. To the fellow campers out there: How are you feeling? A little sunburnt, so to speak? Or going strong and ready to compete in the canoe race?

I’m feeling pretty good after the first week, though I had some pretty close calls. From June 1st to about Wednesday, I was completely behind in my word count. I honestly thought maybe I should just quit at that point and do it next month when things weren’t so crazy. Then, a fire lit in me Wednesday and I not only caught up but got ahead. Now, once more, I’m right on target.

I won’t bore you with too much detail about what I’m writing about. It’s a science fiction piece. I’m still feeling around the territory and getting myself situated in the setting. The nice thing is I’ve been thinking about this story for months, if not over a year. I have no idea where it’ll go, but I knew about where I wanted it to start. I just hadn’t written anything until this month. Now, time to put pen to paper, or type to the computer screen in my case.

The first week is usually the easiest. We start out with ideas and are able to knock together 10,000+ words fairly easily. It’s next week you’ve got to look out for, because by the end of it, you’re at the halfway point. You’d better have the plot in full swing and nearing the halfway point, too. You don’t have to know how it ends, but you do have to figure out what direction you want to go.

To help prepare you (and me!) for the second week, here are a few of my tips:

1. Just write. Sounds goofy, but sometimes it’s the simple advice that’s the best. The problem I always have is trying to wait for a good idea to come around before I write. In Camp NaNoWriMo, that’s not a good plan. You have to go for it. You’re only writing a rough draft anyway; there will be time for edits later. Right now, you’re getting your ideas out there. That’s the important thing.

2. Pick a specific time/place to do your writing. We’re creatures of habit. When you create a habit of writing in one place at one specific time, your brain knows when to switch on to do the work. Now, the all-nighters are going to get you in the end, so I wouldn’t recommend really late at night if you have work in the morning. I picked my specific time/place to be during my lunch hour at work. I pull out my kindle and get straight to writing. If something comes up and I can’t write, or it’s the weekend, my other specific time/place is kitchen table (not the comfy sofa) at 6 p.m.

3. Time yourself. Now, I’m not recommending setting Write or Die to Kamikaze (unless that works for you), but do set  a specific time. I get 1 hour, my lunch break. That’s it. No more time after that. If it’s the weekend or a day I can’t use my lunch hour, it’s 1 hour from 6-7 p.m, and I set a timer to make sure I stick to it. You’d be surprised how much you get done in such a tight deadline.

Now, I’ve done NaNoWriMo once and the camp twice. That doesn’t mean the second week doesn’t still knock the wind out of me. It can be brutal! I honestly don’t know how this week will go, but I’m ready to find out. How are you doing on your project?

Word Count: 11,693

Today’s Target Count: 13,336

(PS: I’m almost at the really lacey part of the shawl! I finished the lattice part last night. I’m so excited!)

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