I have been working on my recent novel for quite some time. However, as of recent, I have fallen head first into its intricacies, leaving little room for me to consider what my weekly blog post will cover. This is why I thought today would be the perfect opportunity for me to create the first entry of my Writing Log, a series of posts discussing what I have accomplished as an author over the course of a month or week’s length.
Today, I will be discussing my experience with Camp NaNoWriMo, and how it has effected my productivity.
I have participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo on several occasions. Typically, I would give up in the midst of the event and not achieve my set goal. Indeed, during this attempt, I did not reach my intended word count. However, despite my failure, I persevered through the entire month of April and vastly improved my writing. Below, I will list the top three things I have learned from Camp NaNoWriMo, and NaNoWriMo as a whole.
The importance of being apart of a community
I had always viewed writing as a private vocation, and isolated myself greatly from people, entertainment, and external activities. This has been the main reason why I was easily discouraged by failing to reach my own expectations.
Without a supportive group of like minded people, I succumbed rapidly to feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness.
This time around, things were different. I have become more active in the writing community, and felt comfortable enough to join and talk to those in my Camp NaNoWriMo cabin.
I admit, cabins are pretty hit or miss when it comes to conversation and support, but, still, it was a great way for me to break out of my shell and realize that no one’s perfect.
I especially found solace in the authors and authorly groups I discovered through Twitter and Instagram. Instagram has a variety of writing based chat rooms, and there are many different NaNoWriMo and novel themed tags on Twitter. Also, many people on Twitter set up cabins, which tend to offer more solace than the ones the website selects.
To make time for my writing
I am not a procrastinator by nature. However, I am a perfectionist, and that can be a great deterrent from pursing personal projects. But, since I was now properly supported, and no longer shunning myself from all other stimuli besides writing, I was more open to carving out chunks of my day to write.
I started out small, working in twenty minute, thirty minute intervels. Eventually, I set aside an hour or more a day to sit down and toil away at my novel.
I would reward myself for my efforts, despite my material progress. Camp NaNoWriMo had made me realize that it was okay to take a break, that I do not have to constantly be writing to progress as an author. When it comes to this craft, it is the smallest of slips of time that matter. Five minute word sprints can manifest rapid epiphanies, bursts of thought able to dig you out of the deepest of plot holes.
What type of writer I am
NaNoWriMo forced me to face two hard truths.
I am not a fast drafter. Even during my story’s roughest stages, I do not allow my script to go unrefined, my sentences to unravel past composure. Writing like this is slower, tedious. It can grow frustrating. But I know, that, when I attempt to stray away from this fact, to go against the grain and write with haste, that I become lost, diverging from my muse and natural process.
The second truth I have learned is that I am not an a heavy plotter. Though I am not a full blown pantser, I definitely sit close to that stereotype. If I have a general direction, and a steady grasp on the main elements of my characters, I am in the clear. Heavy world building leads me astray, flow charts and character bios muddying the waters and making me feel more like I am preparing for an exam than allowing my creativity to wander. I prefer relying on drawings, daydreams, and brain dumps where I look for feeling over structure.
If you are interested in an in-depth look at my writing routine and process, stay tuned for future posts.
Of course, while I will continue to evolve and improve as a writer, recognizing my personal, artistic flow is critical in refining my craft and pushing through the inevitable obstacles.
All these lessons are important, even though they do not directly relate to the content or grammar of my book. These three things describe the human part of creation, how I am defining and honing in my imagination to blossom a beautiful manuscript.
If you have not participated in NaNoWriMo already, I highly recommend it. If you are an experienced NaNoWriMo-er, please tell me your thoughts on the event. What are some things you have learned from it?