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Why I’m diving into Camp NaNoWriMo with zero preparation

Every year, I find myself wandering over to the NaNoWriMo website and getting really excited. Maybe this year is the year I’ll get involved, I think to myself. And then, inevitably, I put it off. I don’t have time to write 50,000 words in a month. I don’t have an idea. I haven’t done any preparation for it. It’s 2nd November and I’d completely forgotten about it. And the list goes on…

Last week I discovered that Camp NaNoWriMo is a thing. The lovely people who bring us the November event each year, also do “camps” in April and July. These virtual retreats allow for a bit more flexibility on the word count – anything between 30 and 1,00,000 words goes. So, without giving it too much thought, I signed up and decided I’d worry about being super-well-planned later.

Later has arrived, and I have nothing. But you know what? I’m still going to camp! Here’s why.

I’ll just keep making excuses not to do it

This is usually the point at which I start fumbling for my excuse about why this isn’t a good time, or why I can’t possibly expect to write anything good. So why bother at all? What is the point?

The point is this – I’ll never get any writing done with that attitude! If I’m honest with myself, I’ve been putting off writing for years, simply because I was too afraid of my writing being less than perfect – sometimes though, you’ve just got to accept that getting something done, even if it’s rubbish, is better than doing nothing. After all, I can’t make progress without practice, right? Which brings me to my next point…

I’m hoping it’ll help improve my blog writing style

The most important blog writing practice I get will (obviously) be writing for this blog, but I’m hoping, through regular writing practice throughout July, this will get even better. Now, my target for the month is very low (10,000 words), so I guess you could argue that only writing a little over 300 words a day isn’t going to make much difference. But you know what? It’s more words than I write on a daily basis now, so anything is an improvement! After all…

I’m trying to make writing a habit

So starting with 300 words doesn’t seem so bad to me! I struggle to get into good writing habits – this blog often goes on the back burner when life gets in the way. And it’s fair to say it’s got in the way A LOT this year – I started a new job, then almost immediately we moved in with my in-laws, then we bought a house and started renovating it. There’s always been something to zap my creative energy.

I’m even notoriously bad at journaling! I started out trying to commit to 20 minutes of journaling a day, and it was so hard! You’d think this form of writing, which is pretty much stream-of-consciousness, say-whatever-you-like writing, would be really therapeutic. Turns out it’s pretty hard facing up to how you feel so directly and vividly every night, even for 20 minutes.

So Camp NaNoWriMo gives me a chance to write about something, anything, and just get into the solid habit of writing every day.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll be fun!

This is something else that I’m hoping to really embrace through Camp NaNoWriMo – the fun aspect of writing! Being able to write whatever you want, and not be obliged to show it to anyone else, sounds incredibly freeing to me.

I started blogging again because I wanted to enjoy writing (and I do – it’s definitely helped). I write a lot for a living, and although I love that, it does sometimes feel like more of a chore, and there’s not much room for creative license. Camp NaNoWriMo gives me the opportunity to do something completely unrelated to work, or even this blog – just do something completely and utterly for myself and not worry about what anyone’s going to think of it (unless I decide to show it to someone!). I’ll probably seek feedback on my writing from someone I trust at some point – after camp is over and I’ve had a chance to re-do it a thousand times!

My final reason for taking part in NaNoWriMo…

I’m having a baby in November!

Yes, the Bookish Revolution Baby is due to an appearance in November, when the original NaNoWriMo takes place. If I thought I was good at making excuses before, I’m sure I’ll be a total pro once there’s a crying, screaming human taking up all my time and giving me a million excuses not to write so much as a phrase. Better to jump on the bandwagon now, totally unprepared, than to kid myself that I’ll be totally prepared in November, when I’m sleep deprived and covered in baby puke…

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo Camp? If so, let me know – I’d love to cheer you on!

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