Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020 Week Three


It’s been an interesting several months for a variety of reasons.  I kept my Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020 goal fairly low to allow for that.  I’ve been able to maintain a word count a little above my part for most of the month.  I’ve had a couple 3k days, which spiked me up but I’ve ended up plateauing a bit right after each of those, with some days with less or even no writing happening.  I’m back to fairly close to par again.

I’ve been playing with a brand new idea for July and completely pantsing it to get back to my comfort zone for a while.  I haven’t given up on the plotting experiment, I’m just taking a break.  The idea I’ve been working on grew out of a series of image prompt responses that will be posting in September, October, and November.  So you everyone can look forward to a little sneak peek of how my pantser projects usually start.

It’s this strange combination of modern fantasy and semi-apocalypse science fiction.  There are Fae and magic crystal fueled magitech but there are also cell phones and laptops and normal people.  It’s set in the UK, with the original image prompt posts taking place in Wales and Scotland respectively.  Eventually the whole thing lands in London and in theory the motley cast of characters will pull together to solve the problem and pull the British Isles back out of the stasis the Fae put them in to stop the actual apocalypse from happening.

We’ll see how this goes.  For perspective, that’s the level of planning I usually do before I start writing in earnest.  It may start with a scene idea or a character idea and a little writing (like I did on those image prompts) and then it will grow into a little paragraph of plot summary while more writing happens and things sort of spiral out or (or into) control from there.

So that’s what my July project has been, and I’ve written most days so far, and I’m feeling reasonably good about the project as a whole.  We’ll see if I still feel good about it a week from now when camp is over.  If so, I’ll probably keep working on it.  If not, it will join the large list of files (and notebooks and printouts and loose pages…) containing abandoned ideas that I mayor my not every return to.  That’s something I’ve found most writers have.  But that’s how you get better at all this, but practicing your craft over and over and over, even if you don’t finish every single piece you start.

If you’re doing the Camp NaNo thing with me, I hope your project is going at least as well as mine and continues to come along as we near the end of the month.

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020 Edition


It’s that time again!  Time for Camp NaNoWriMo!

I’ve talked about NaNoWriMo a lot over the years because their events and their commitment to stories and creativity really speak to me.  I participated for the first time in November 2009, in their original challenge, which is to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch in 30 days.  It’s kind of insane, but also a lot of fun.  I didn’t discover that there were regions, forums, or community around the challenge until my second year.  I didn’t discover that Camp events were a thing until 2013.  But that means I’ve participated in one of the three (November, April, July) NaNoWriMo events twenty-five times over the last twelve years.  I haven’t always drafted a brand new novel, or even been drafting at all, but that’s a lot of words, time, and energy I’ve spent during these months working on my writing.

NaNoWriMo has also been an amazing place to meet new friends.  I’ve made lasting connections with other writers and found a group of local friends that are supportive and amazing.  I owe a lot to NaNoWriMo, which is one of the reasons I’m always talking about them and their events.  I want others to share in my excitement and hope that they will make lasting connections while working on their writing as well.

I get that the full challenge isn’t for everyone.  November might be a busy month, or deadlines might be paralyzing rather than motivating.  Or you might just think you’ll never write fast enough.  Not that any of those should keep you from trying it out.  The point is to try to develop a daily writing habit and find community, winning is entirely optional.

Camp NaNoWriMo might be a better place to engage if you don’t feel ready for the full challenge.  You get to pick your own goal, so it can be something that feels more realistic for you personally.  You can also choose to track something other than words (they’re working on the site functionality for that, but you can do a conversion on your own).  I’ve tracker hours (not my best decision as 30 hours in a month is a lot), minutes (which has always gone well), and words during my past Camp NaNo attempts.  The only one I didn’t meet my goal for was the 30 hours of editing in a month.  One, 30 hours is a lot, and two, I really don’t like editing, so that was a struggle.  I did minutes the next time I tracked editing and was able to meet a more realistic goal for me.

That’s all a very rambling way to say that even though it’s the third already, It’s not too late to join the fun and try Camp NaNoWriMo out for yourself.  All you need to do is sign up (or sign in if you’ve tried any NaNo events before) at and then go to the camp page to get all the details on camp.  (Signing in should be optional for viewing the camp information, but if you’re thinking of trying it out you might as well make your account.)

If you do decide to join me for a Camp NaNoWriMo challenge this July, I wish you the best of luck!

Camp NaNoWriMo: “An idyllic writers retreat smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life.”


“An idyllic writers retreat smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life.”

That’s the motto of Camp NaNoWriMo.  And boy could we all use an idyllic writers retreat right now.  This is the craziest my life has been in a very long time (possibly ever).

The spread of COVID-19 wasn’t too bad in my area initially, but that didn’t mean it hadn’t upending a lot of the normal routines of my life.  And now, we’re under mandatory shelter in place for both the county I live in and the county I work in.

I normally take the bus to work every weekday and go to a write-in at a local café on Sundays.  While public transit is still running, my university system mandated that everyone work from home if possible in mid-March.  I’m lucky that my job can be done from home, and thankfully the university is offering administrative leave (for now at least) to anyone who can’t do their work from home. Continue reading

Camp NaNoWriMo: July 2019 Edition


July is a Camp NaNoWriMo month, so I went in with the goal of writing at least 30 minutes a day.  I rounded up a little for a goal of 1,000 minutes of work across 31 days, which averages out to about 33 minutes per day.

My final count was 1,050 minutes, which is also the target average of 33 minutes per day.

All of those minutes were spent on the third book in the Swords and Shields series.  I’m pretty happy with book two, but have one more round of beta readers looking at it before I start contemplating the copy editing and cover design phase.  Book three needs a lot more TLC and a lot of redrafting before it will get to that point, but I made a lot of progress this month.  I have a better idea of the overarching plot, what’s important, and what’s not. Continue reading

Camp NaNoWriMo Success


April was a very successful writing month.  My goal for Camp NaNoWriMo was 30 minutes a day of work on some writing project, whether it was new words, editing, rewriting, or planning and world building.  I ended up doing a little bit of everything too.  A secondary goal was to at least do five minutes of work every single day, and I accomplished both goals.  My final count for the month was 1415, 515 above my 900-minute goal, and I didn’t miss a single day.

I worked on a variety of projects.  I did a little bit of drafting new ideas, worked on the edits for book two, and came back to some older fanfic stories to try to finish them off.  I decided to repost some of my fanfic since the original site it was posted to went down a couple years ago.  I think it will be good for my emotional wellbeing to see the reviews that come in, or even just see the view counts going up over time.  Writing is primarily about its value to me personally, but sharing it with others and seeing them enjoy my work is a very close second. Continue reading

April Camp NaNoWriMo Check-In


April is a Camp NaNoWriMo month, so I’ve been working on the revisions for Swords & Shields book two.  My goal was to rewrite the first 100 pages.  I picked this number using the 250 words = 1 page formula.  I neglected to actually check how many words per page my current formatting produces.  It’s a little closer to 450 words per page, so I was being more ambitious than I originally thought.

Despite that, I’ve been doing very well this month.  I’ve been hovering near par for the day (and even fell behind that a couple times) but going into day 26 I was one page above par at 87 pages completed.  I’m confident that I’ll reach my goal this weekend and be in a good place to keep the momentum going into May and June so that I can have a completed draft before July’s Camp NaNoWriMo session. Continue reading

My Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Project: Swords & Shields Book 2


The second book in my Swords & Shields series has been in the works since before the first book, Strong Fort Spathí, was released.  It’s been a long process getting the draft to the point it is now, and it still needs some major work, so that’s my goal for Camp NaNoWriMo 2018.

My initial idea was to try to get through one revision pass in April, but as I look through everything that needs to get done, I think that’s a little ambitious.  So I’m going to aim to get half done in April.  If I’m productive through May and June, maybe I’ll be done by July’s Camp NaNo Session.  If not, then I’ll finish it in July.

To give you an idea of what I’ll be working on without any spoilers for future readers, I’m going to talk about the revision process so far, and some of the pitfalls I run into because I’m a pantser (as opposed to a plotter who goes into a draft with a plot already outlined). Continue reading

Camp NaNoWriMo Time Approaches


For anyone who’s been on my blog across a November, April, or July, you’ve probably heard me talk about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) before.  This paragraph will be to catch up anyone new to the concept.  NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge that occurs every November.  Hundreds of thousands of people around the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word novel from scratch in the 30 days of November.  Whether someone makes it to that word count or not, it’s a month full of crazy inspiration, challenge, and an amazing community.  Camp NaNoWriMo is a similar challenge held in April and July where participants can select their own goal (words, pages, lines, hours, or minutes are options this year).  This gives participants the versatility to say they want to do 500 lines of poetry, a 100-page script, or a 120-minute screenplay. Continue reading

March & April Writing Reflections


So it’s May now, which means April is over.  Anyone who has been following along the past couple months knows that for me, April means two things: Camp NaNoWriMo and the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

This post is reflecting on how those two things have gone this year.

So, they both technically happen in April, but with two things going on, I prep for A to Z in advance and schedule out all the posts, so that’s usually more of a March project than an April one.

Not so much this year. Continue reading

Writing Adventures of April


So April is going to be a month full of writing adventures for me.

I love a good writing adventure, so this is great, but it will also mean I’m going to be very busy and possibly a little frazzled.

I covered the A to Z challenge in last week’s post and revealed my theme the week before, but writing for that is still going to be progressing into April.  Normally, I’m a little more on the ball about it and I’ve written all my posts by the end of March.  This year, not so much.  So I’ll be finishing up the twenty-six posts for that which will probably translate to about 26,000 words in total by the time I’m done.  And then I’m sure I’m going to want to finish the story by then, which will mean lord only knows how many more words.  But that’s a May problem.

The other big thing I have in April is Camp NaNoWriMo.  Anyone who’s spent much time on my blog knows that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a huge part of my life.  I’m a volunteer regional leader during the main challenge in November, and I’ve participated in the Camp NaNoWriMo session each April and July since I discovered them. Continue reading