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  • Writer's pictureJGV

Camp NaNoWriMo | Week 1

Boy did I learn a lot on my first week of Camp NaNoWriMo! If you don't know what that is, it's a month-long event where you are grouped into a virtual "cabin" with 19 other writers for peer support to finish whatever writing goal you set. For me, my plan is to write 35,000 words of my young adult fantasy novel. And this week had one big mishap, a lot of lessons, and, surprisingly, tons of fun.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I haven't written any fiction for 10 years---since way back when I was writing this novel's first draft. I had over 100,000 words written and I hadn't even finished writing the ending. I stopped writing it once college really took over my life and I felt like the story, and myself as an author, needed to mature.

Fast-forward to now, my love for writing fiction has been reinvigorated with NaNoWriMo, and I am happy with the results of the first week at camp.

I didn't meet this week's word goal for a very big reason: I'm RUSTY. I had even forgotten speech tag formatting.

Luckily, every day that passed, my writing speed and writing brain improved. I reduced the amount of editing I was doing while writing. So the biggest realization week was that editing brain was really stopping me from getting much written down. I cared too much. But participating in these tight-deadlined projects means editing is literally impossible, there just isn't time for that. My extremely slow word counts for the first 4 days were due to the fact that I re-read and re-wrote every goddamn sentence multiple times before moving on to the next, and that simply isn't the point of these events. To be able to spit out 500+ words in a 15 minute writing sprint, you must write furiously and with absolutely 0 f*cks for structure, or grammar for that matter. I realized this once the results of our cabin's writing sprints kept being analyzed and I consistently failed to write more than 100 words, whereas my cabin mates didn't have counts below 200.

I'm learning to write sub-standard work sure, but at least it's fast and in the future I can re-read everything and turn it into a real first draft, hence why I'm labeling this project a "zero draft". In fact, the term "zero draft" never seemed so zero to me until now. Should be more like a negative first draft, considering that what I'm making seems like incoherent garbage at the moment, but this writing strategy will truly produce a novel in no time.

On day 2, something horrible happened. Scrivener, the writing software that everyone cool uses, crashed completely---it stopped being able to launch on computer. Being in the middle of a word sprint with my cabin mates, I found the Word document files backed up by Scrivener and finished the day's word sprints with freakin' MICROSOFT WORD. It was rough, but I managed to write 1,429 words--which is more than the 1,143 daily goal, by the way. I'm now moved on to using Plot Factory as my novel-writing software and I love it so far. Happy accidents.

That's all for my first week of camp! This week I need to focus on catching up to the word count I'm supposed to be at: 9,040 (I'm at 4,643). Bye!


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