Camp NaNoWriMo and What’s Next?

This post is a little late because I’ve been on a much needed vacation which involved nothing so exciting as not having anything scheduled and a little day trip to St. Augustine. After completing my Camp NaNoWriMo goal I took 10 days off from creative work to celebrate.

I started participating in NaNoWriMo in 2010 during my last quarter in college. It was a great experience and helped me focus on just the writing process. This was important because my end goal had been to finish a novel and over the years I had struggled with perfectionism and gotten caught up on the idea of the end “product”. NaNoWriMo was a nice stripped down way to approach writing–just write 50,000 words without fixating on editing or any of the other things that are necessary to address later but have the potential to trip you up along the way. Since then I have participated 9 times including Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve won three of the years I’ve participated but each time I’ve learned a lot about what works for me and what does not. This year’s participation was about getting back into the routine after a 2019 that has gone decidedly off the rails. In that and in meeting my word count goals it was an enormous success.

That said, I am falling out of love with the direction that NaNoWriMo is heading in. Over the years many participants have gone on to publish and become successful, which is fantastic and I think it is exciting that the process has helped people reach their career goals. However, the success has changed the tone of the event from a fun activity to something that feels incredibly corporate as it pushes out emails, messages and programs as well as donation drives. I have donated during the years in which I could without the many emails that laid on the guilt. This year I didn’t use the site much and just focused on my writing, I did track and verify my word count but otherwise did not use the site or the winner codes. I’m not sure when the shift occurred but I found myself not wanting to participate through the official site anymore.

What I did accomplish during July’s event was to focus in on scenes that were previously missing or that had been background previously but were needed in order to create more atmosphere and clarity. I didn’t focus on getting a high word count but rather on a word count that would encompass the scenes I had plotted and in the end that is exactly what happened. After my win I decided to follow a similar strategy for August and September with a weekly rather than a daily word count goal. My daily schedule varies between art and writing projects and I find that I work best when I can spend my whole day focused on one or the other. In October I will be participating in Inktober so I will adjust my word count goals in order to do both without gorging on productivity. I would like to participate in my own way for NaNoWriMo but that’s a topic I’ll revisit sometime next month.

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