Camp NaNoWriMo: Am I Doing It?

Camp-2020-Event-Banner

Taken from the official NaNoWriMo site

Well, I signed up for it, but does that mean I’m actually doing it?

If you read the post I imported over from my old “blog” page, then you know I have mixed feelings about it. For NaNoWriMo I managed to barely pass the 50k word mark. I basically hit the milestone and dropped what I was doing and moved on. Didn’t even finish the story. I thought it was an okay piece, but the more I wrote it, the more I realized it would need a LOT of work to ever be viable.

But that’s the point of NaNoWriMo. You’re not expected to write a finished product. You’re just volunteering to track yourself as you put 50k words to “paper”. The end result can be garbage, but as long as you reach that magic number of words, you’ve “won”.

For November 2019, I decided to do an exercise unrelated to “The Q’taxians”. Like I said, I kinda liked the idea, but it just got messy as I kept “revealing” things to myself as I went forcing me to go back and change stuff and stimying my progress. Was it worth it? Eh… Not really for me. I threw away a month of story progress for something that I knew would never go anywhere. I had some fun and got a little badge I can throw around on social media, but that’s it. There is no real “winning” in NaNoWriMo. It’s just “finishing on time”. It’s an exercise in writing “every day” which I didn’t even do. Which means the project is more about writing something “long” in a short period of time.

I, like many others, do not like due dates. Especially when they’re built around something I do for fun. Writing is my passion and I do hope to one day make it my career, but NaNoWriMo didn’t really help me further that goal. That could EASILY be chalked up to me voluntarily choosing to work on something unrelated to the web series. That’s where my mind is 90% of the time. I’ve pretty much thought that plot through from beginning to end hundreds of times. I know the plot of the series. Maybe I didn’t feel fulfilled with NaNoWriMo because I chose to write something I wasn’t 100% comfortable with.

The idea behind NaNoWriMo is nothing to laugh at. The organization does good work in inspiring people to write when ordinarily they might not. It lights a fire under the butt of writers who may feel like they have no reason to write. It creates a sense of achievement that many people thrive on. And I respect that.

Camp NaNoWriMo is the summer equivalent. It started a few days ago on the 1st of July. I signed up on the 2nd and haven’t written a word towards it since. Do I plan on actually writing for it? I really don’t know. I’ve kinda thrown out the idea of deadlines and schedules and have since decided to just write when I want to. So far, the new site has received daily updates and this is WITHOUT me creating and following a schedule. I think, for me, not having a schedule is the best way to, well, make one. Rather than strictly adhering to a timeline, I do things however I want and eventually form a schedule out of sheer natural rhythm rather than disposed deadlines. This works for me.

On the flip side, I’ve been lax with The Q’taxians. The series hasn’t received an update in months. Camp NaNoWriMo could be the “incentive” I need to get it rolling again. I already have a decent plot outline for where I want this next section to go so the ideas are all there. It’s just writing them down. Is the allure of NaNoWriMo enough to get me writing? I’m not entirely certain. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

I, personally, never took the 50k words milestone seriously. Its a weirdly middling wordcount. 50K is a short novel. It counts, but its, like, really short. From what I’ve heard across the industry, publishers want to see ~80k for your first novel which means NaNo’s count falls short, but it is a reasonable number to accomplish in 31 days. The only problem I see is that people seem to think they’re intended to write an entire start-to-finish novel in 31 days and at 50k words. NaNo never makes the claim that this should be the case, but a lot of people just assume it is. It isn’t. NaNo’s goal is to set you on the path to writing a complete novel. Get you in the rhythm by imposing a deadline and a hard, trackable means of showing progress. For some people, this is exactly what they need. For me? Eh… Still kinda on the fence.

I’ve seen blog posts ranting about the evil of NaNoWriMo and how it serves no real purpose and only damages the writing process. I don’t feel that’s the case. As I said in the last post about this, NaNoWriMo is NOT for everyone. They like to market it like it is, but it isn’t. NaNoWriMo appeals to a certain mindset that many writers have: needing a reason to write. It serves a purpose. It has its place. But to assume it’s a one-size-fits-all system, is a bit silly.

I can’t say I walked away from the experience without learning anything. I found some useful tools that I use to this day via my NaNoWriMo experience. I think there’s something for almost anyone to learn through the organization. But are the writing events worth it? I think that’s like the third or fourth time I’ve asked and the answer remains the same: It depends on the person.

The point of this post was to explain whether or not I’d be doing Camp NaNoWriMo 2020. I honestly have no reason not to, but since I’ve abolished imposed deadlines in my personal life, participating might do more harm than good. I did enjoy watching the little graph go up with my wordcount, but that’s such a small response to such a larger task that is writing a novel. I’ll definitely work on the series this month. I may or may not count it against Camp NaNoWriMo. As I’ve said throughout, I’m really not sure about participating. We’ll see how I feel once progress starts making way.

In the meantime, if you are doing NaNoWriMo, tell me about your experience and how you feel about the process. I’m genuinely interesting hearing from all sorts of people and how they’ve experienced this unique writing event.

Leave a comment, message me on the site, find me on Twitter: @TavorieWrites I want to hear from you!

So until next time,
Tav \o

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