Sunday, August 4, 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo Results (Rachel)

Some of you guys might remember how pumped up and determined I was in the beginning of July when I made the decision to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. My goal was not to hit a certain word count, but to finish the draft I'd been working on since the last NaNoWriMo in November. This was a good goal, I think, because when I started writing the draft again, I found myself really loving the story and characters again. I was so excited to continue writing this book that had been floating around in my head for ages.

But then, about two weeks into the month, I sort of, kind of...gave up on Camp NaNo. It started with the BookTube-a-thon (which was basically just a week-long reading marathon for BookTubers) when I was too busy reading to find time to write, but after the BookTube-a-thon was over and I found myself a little sick of reading, I still didn't seem to have much interest in writing.

So I didn't write. I had hit a bad place in my book, and I didn't know how to continue, and to be honest, I didn't really want to continue. Everything I tried to write just felt like I was digging myself a deeper and deeper hole that would be impossible to get out of later on. So I decided to put the book down and not look at it for a few days, and spend some quality time on the couch with Sherlock and the Doctor and the Ponds instead.

I ended up only writing a little over 1800 words for Camp NaNoWriMo. Since I hadn't set a specific word count, it's hard to tell exactly how much I failed, but I was estimating that another 50,000 words would need to be written during July. Clearly, that didn't happen.

But I'm actually not that upset about it. Going into Camp NaNoWriMo, I knew I wasn't going to take it completely seriously. It's summer and I'm supposed to be enjoying my break from school, so motivating myself to write isn't the easiest thing. All I want to do is be a lazy teenager and watch TV and waste my entire summer scrolling through Tumblr. And I don't feel bad about doing any of those things, because I am sixteen and it is summer and it is my right as a sixteen-year-old to be lazy during the summer. :D 

I'm a little disappointed in myself, of course, because if things had worked out, I could have totally found myself finishing my first draft this month. But at the beginning, I decided to look at anything I ended up writing as progress, since I originally hadn't planned on writing anything specific at all this summer. So those 1800 words I wrote? I consider that to be a decent amount of progress. Those are 1800 words that I didn't have before Camp NaNoWriMo, so I'm proud of myself for being even the littlest bit productive.

Again, I'm not too torn up about my failure at Camp NaNoWriMo. In fact, just a few days ago, an amazing idea for a new book seemed to just fall out of the sky and into my head. Seriously, it just came from nowhere, and I knew right away that I needed to write it. So I've been writing a little bit at a time over the past few days, completely for fun, without setting any word count goals or deadlines for myself, just to see how things go. I'm not naive enough to think that this will be the story I finish, or that I won't abandon this story when the next new idea comes along, or that I won't get sick of writing this story after awhile. But I'm a writer, and it's been a long time since I've focused my writing energy on something other than Red (the draft I was working on during Camp NaNo), and I almost forgot what it was like to start a story and watch the characters come to life for the first time. Maybe abandoning my current project for a new shiny idea isn't the best strategy for finishing things, but oh well. I'm having fun with this new story, and writing it doesn't feel like a chore, like it was starting to feel like during Camp NaNo.

And I might be getting a little ahead of myself here, but I have a lot of confidence in my ability to actually write this new story. For one thing: I've been working on it just for fun, my only motivation being that I want to see how it all works out when I transfer it from my head to the page. Also, it's a contemporary romance, which is my favorite genre to read, and the genre that I see myself writing (and publishing?!) in the future. Some of my favorite authors are Sarah Dessen, Maureen Johnson, and Stephanie Perkins, and I always wanted to write books sort of like theirs in the future, but it occurred to me that I hadn't actually tried to write that kind of book...ever. I'd been writing a bunch of other genres, trying them out and seeing what I liked or didn't like about them, but I had yet to try out my favorite genre, and the one that I was likely to have the most success with. So, as of right now, I have high hopes for this story. But I'm also a little annoyed with myself for never even trying to write a book like this before. Like, hello? Rachel, why didn't you think of that before?!

To sum it all up: I failed Camp NaNoWriMo, which wasn't that surprising, and I'm totally okay with it. While I wish I'd done better, I'm still proud of the progress I made. Also, I'm completely in looooove with the new draft I started working on the other day, so fingers crossed this story works out for me, I guess.

If you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, I'd love to hear your success/failure stories in the comments! Or if you have any stories about writing in general, feel free to share those in the comments as well. :)


  1. Ah well, you're not alone! I never expected to be able to finish and I think I realized that as soon as I changed my goal from 50 000 to 30 000.

    But funny enough, I'm not disappointed either. Because after I had stopped Nanowrimo, I started outlining for a new story for the FIRST TIME EVER. And if that's not an omen of great things, I don't know what is. I'm still not sure where the story is going to go and I KNOW there's going to be a lot of work - I've already done some major reshaping - but I'm excited!

    So here's to Camp Nano failures who somehow managed to come up with stories we love despite of it. I can't wait to see how your new story goes! :)

  2. I was planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo but it just didn't happen for me! I wanted to and everything but my novel fizzled out a bit. So, yes, you should be extremely proud of writing even that, Rachel! Well done!