camp nanowrimo · nanowrimo · writing

What I learned in April 2017 Camp Nano is…

For the record, if the featured image didn’t tell you, the title was my attempt at a spongebob reference.

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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!

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  • 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. Β 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.

 

  • PantsingΒ 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?!

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camp nanowrimo · nanowrimo · writing

I Won Camp Nanowrimo & It Was Surprisingly Easy For Once

I’ve been participating in Nanowrimo and Camp Nanowrimo since 2011 and it always takes a major effort on my part to participate, let alone win.

But surprisingly, not this time.

The main difference is this year Camp Nano introduced time-based goals. Considering I had about four projects I needed to start planning before I wrote them, this was quite serendipitous.

So I set up a minutes based goal that amounted to 27 hours. I’m gonna be honest with you, I legitimately thought I wasn’t gonna make it. And if I did? Barely.

For someone who prefers to know what they’re gonna write beforehand, I rarely do it.

And it causes me heartache on a daily basis, I assure you.

Since I needed to get some major planning done and such work is difficult to track in terms of words written, time spent was a much more useful tracker.

And apparently a more effective motivator.

Having a goal that’s more effort-oriented than results-oriented made it a lot easier to just sit and write.

With a words-oriented goal, I can put butt to chair and work in earnest for half an hour and be lucky to get 200 words. With a time-oriented goal, I can write 50 or 500, either way that’s 30 minutes achieved. So I worry less about words written and, of course, that tends to lead to more words written.

In hindsight, it makes sense that a time based goal worked wonders for me. In retail, I tend to do better work when paid hourly than paid by commission.

Each Nano and Camp Nano I learn something about my writing habits and what works or doesn’t work, and this Camp was no different.

I’ll definitely do a write up about what I learned this month so look for it in the next couple of days!

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The month’s not over yet so keep at it πŸ™‚

poetry

Bed fans

the white noise

though a plus isn’t the only reason I need a fan to sleep

the moving air
tugging at my hair
tugging at my blanket

It’s perfect though I wish I knew why

Even when my teeth chatter and I cling to the sheets for warmth
on it goes

The moving air upon my face lulling me to sleep 

even as I shiver

poetry · writing

sleep

Sleep is amazing.

Sleep is one of the most wonderful things the world has to offer and everyday I am so grateful for its existence.

Think about it. We could be living in a world where sleep isn’t necessary. Where sleep isn’t a thing at all!

I’m glad sleep exists. I’m glad that we sleep.

It feels nice and it’s good for you.
It is never difficult to find activities that are one or the other but it is rare to find an activity that encompasses both.

poetry · writing

grey

Grey is silver without the glitter
Grey is silver without the sheen

I suppose that means one could say that silver wouldn’t exist without grey

I suppose that means one could say that silver isn’t it’s own color, just a dressed up grey, one could say that if they were pretentious enough

I also suppose that means that one could say that if you like silver then you MUST like grey.
Silver IS grey after all.

But may i say… as one who enjoys both grey and silver…

It makes perfect sense to like one and not the other. No matter how connected they are.

After all, loving sequins does not require one to love velvet.
Even if they are the same color

writing

I ran a short distance today

I was late for my bus
I made the bus but I had to run

A miracle happened. 

I was not winded. I did not sweat. I could breathe.
For the first time in over a year, I could breathe while running.

My breathe wasn’t stolen by this illness that so brazenly chose to take root in my gut. I ran and it was not a major ordeal.
I ran and it really didn’t take much of anything.

Which is an event so momentous that I haven’t the words to explain

how wonderful it feels

wattpad · writing

Wattpad’s Got a New App <3

It’s called Tap and it’s lotsa fun.

It’s an app where you can read and write simple chat type stories.

Because it’s associated with Wattpad, you’ll find plenty of Wattpad authors using Tap stories as supplementary material for their Wattpad books.

But the original content far outweighs the supplementary, so no worries if you don’t want to commit to reading a whole novel just to get context for a short chat story.

The most popular categories for writing seem to be horror and suspense but I’m more a magical and funny type of gal. If you know me, I absolutely ADORE fairytale retellings and I was excited to see some of my fave Wattpad retelling authors, putting their spin on such tales through this format.

If you get tap definitely make sure to check out “The Silver Heels: Cinderella Retold” by Pennywithaney or “Wicked Love” by Rebecca Sky.

Tap has beenΒ great fun to read and I have a few tap stories planned for down the line πŸ˜‰

I’m LookingStunning on Tap if you want to add me to get notifications for my future tap stories πŸ™‚

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The Tap chat stories app is available on iTunes and the Google Play store.

media

Stories & ‘Need a Break’ Moments

Sometimes a story will affect me so strongly that I’ll have to step away from it for a while.

Sometimes, there’s just a moment or a scene in the book I’m reading or show I’m watching and I’ll just need a few moments to process before I start it up again. This tends to happen a lot when I suffer from second hand embarrassment or if something outrageous happens that I did NOT see coming.

The most extreme example: I had to stop watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, no second hand embarrassment, the characters just really affect me. My reaction was so intense, I needed two years to get back to it.

Do y’all suffer any notable ‘need a break’ moments in stories you read or watch?