For the record, if the featured image didn’t tell you, the title was my attempt at a spongebob reference.
Welp. It’s done. We came out on the other end of yet another Camp Nanowrimo.
And it was awesome! And as usual, enlightening. The best way to learn about yourself as a writer is to write and pay attention to the patterns.
Whenever I do Nano or Camp Nano I always learn new things about myself as a creator. I also see stuff I’ve known for years, but it’s always nice to have the personal experience to back it up.
So here it is. A bulleted list of personal writing revelations old and new!
- Work on more than one project at once, otherwise you won’t get anything done
In the spirit of my reference, let’s begin with the procrastination bullet point. When I’m writing on a deadline and I just can’t bring myself to work? I procrastinate, unapologetically. Unapologetically is key here. Guilt gets nothing done. Guilt leads to avoidance and more guilt. If I can’t bring myself to do the project, procrastinating gets me into a headspace where I can. And with Nano, it’s easiest (& sometimes best) to procrastinate with other writing projects. It gets me in the right headspace and procrastinating by doing productive things just feels like a lifehack!
- Writing everyday is both unnecessary and detrimental to productivity
I can write everyday. My 2016 writing goal was to write everyday and I accomplished it. But, it is barely May and I’ve already written more words, on a daily average, this year than last year, despite writing for less than half the days this year. I’ll concede that at least part of the reason for that was the consistency trained into me last year. But it is just easier for me to write when I don’t HAVE to write everyday. When I got rid of the guilt-induced need to write everyday, I wrote a lot more and did so more easily. You notice the ‘lose the guilt’ pattern here?
- Sadly, sometimes I gotta power through the pain to get to the good
This Camp Nano I chose a time-based goal for a month of book planning. I never plan out my books before I start the rough draft although I SHOULD. Because it is always way easier for me when I know plot and characters beforehand! So I did a month of planning and it came easily, except when I had to do it? Starting each writing session was like pulling teeth (which is probably why I avoided pre planning until now). Once a session started, I easily could go for 2 to 4 hours, but those first few minutes sucked so much that if I hadn’t powered through to the productivity afterward, I might not have bothered.
- Pantsing is the compost in which my planning seeds grow
The first draft of the first novel I ever finished was for Sasha’s Secondhand Store for Nanowrimo 2012. I came up with the idea 3 days before Nano began. Like most Nano drafts, it was trash. I had no idea what was coming next, and it was repetitive and hollow. That draft was the cornerstone of my planning process for future drafts. A lot of writers will tell you that the majority of what you write for a book won’t end up in the book. A lot of what you write is written for you to learn about the world, characters, and what have you. During this Camp Nano, there were moments I got stuck and I really didn’t get unstuck until I tried writing parts of the book out. I cringed but it worked. I wrote and out of nowhere got a solution. Pantsing always leads to more effective planning for me.
- I get more work done when I don’t tell people about what I’m working on
Accountability can suck it. The day I tell someone about a project I’m working on is the day that project dies. I keep my work to myself and that’s when work actually gets done. I kept to myself this Camp Nano and work went smoothly. It’s always easier for me to write when I’m not sharing throughout the process of writing. When I share, work becomes stagnant, even if feedback is positive! So I finish the piece and then I share it… in theory. This is a real hard lesson for me to learn and I am still learning it. How many projects must die before I learn my lesson? How many?!