Camp NaNoWriMo: A Not So Fresh Start

Happy Sunday, Cyberspace!

I know, I know. You’re probably wondering why in the world I’m posting on a Sunday.


But just calm down for a second and let me explain.

As you probably are already aware, yesterday was April First.

Or, as most people prefer to call it, April Fool’s Day.

Or, as the fair few who are of the writerly mindset prefer to call it–


I actually have no pronunciation for that. The whole thing just sort of spews out of your mouth when you say it.

Anyway! Camp NaNoWriMo is one of my all-time FAVORITE times of the year, and April is definitely my absolute favorite month; the weather is extremely temperamental perfect, the birds are chirping in the branches, the world is covered in that soft golden light, the mornings are crisp, the noonday suns warm…

And, of course, April houses the very first NaNoWriMo session of the year!


Now, as I have mentioned about a million times since the very first Smudge here on Smudged Thoughts, I am currently trying to wrap up the first draft of my November NaNoWriMo novel, everlost. This, obviously, is not going very well, as I’ve been saying, “I am so close now, guys! SO close! I can taste the end like it’s a strawberry milkshake resting on the tip of my parchment paper tongue! ANY DAY NOW, GUYS! ANY DAY. I AM SO CLOSE NOW, I SWEAR!”

And I’ve literally gotten nowhere, even though I’ve been working on this thing practically nonstop for the past month or so.

But, now with Camp NaNoWriMo underway, I’m confident that I’m going to actually finish the first draft this month.

Really. I mean it this time. I think it’s actually going to happen.

yeah right

However, as you can probably guess by the slightly strange title of this Smudge, the first day of Camp NaNo did not really go as planned.

At all.

So, obviously, I have kindly compiled a list (as I always do) to explain how Day One kinda sorta ended up smelling like a cow pie rotting in a corn field.

And so, without further ado, I give you–

The Three

Stumbling Blocks of April First

Stumble One– The Hour Tracker

For starters, I’m not counting my progress by words this month, which is the only way I’ve ever done the NaNo’s. I–in my slightly delusional and confused state of mind–decided to track my progress by hours.

And if you would like to know what slowly losing every ounce of your sanity feels, tastes, and smells like, I would highly recommend tracking your progress by hours, as well.

It’s lovely.

And also tastes like death and disappointment.


Stumble Two– Waking Up

You know how when you go to sleep the night before a day that holds something AMAZING, you plan on waking up super early, jumping out of bed, and doing a small jig as you prepare for the epic day ahead?

Yeah. This never happened.

Oh sure, I planned on doing this. Get out of bed early, make some tea (which I’m still not sure that I like because I tried this weird peach/mango concoction and it was DISGUSTING [but writers drink tea, and I’m obviously a writer, therefore I SHALL DRINK THE TEA {#torture}]), put my flawless hair up into cute writerly pigtails, do a little jig, boot up the laptop that has a beautifully full charge, open up Scrivener, and WRITE.

But did this actually happen? No. No, it did not.

Instead, I slept in until the sun streaming through my window was too bright to stay in bed any longer, stumbled down the stairs, ate a donut, procrastinated about a million years, tried to tame the frizz out of my golden locks, and then finally got Scrivener open, only to sit and stare at it for about ten hours while trying to figure out A) what er werds, and B) HOW DO I TRACK HOURS????????

So yes. It was an interesting morning…

Stumble Three– Write! No…edit! Wait…revisions???Crrrrrrrzzzzzkzkkkkk……————–

Do you see the ‘Crrrrzzzzzzzkzkkkk’ up there, followed by that lovely flat line? What could that be, I wonder?

Oh wait. I know.

It is the sound of my brain.


This Camp NaNo is probably one of the most confusing NaNo’s I’ve ever experienced. And that’s taking into consideration the July of ’16, when I wrote probably 100 words and then fell flat off the face of the earth.

See, everlost is SORT OF finished, but NOT QUITE.

And before you say, “But, Kenzie! You keep telling us that you’re almost done, and you haven’t finished! Are you–*GASP*–a liar?”, let me explain.

I’ve got this book chopped up into three blocks. As to what these three blocks stand for, I really don’t know. I’ve got the beginning chapters in the first block, some middle chapters in the second block, and a conglomeration of middle and ending chapters in the third block, that is quite literally twice the size of the first two blocks.

I have no idea why I put in these useless barriers. In fact, they really serve no purpose to me, or help my writing process at all.

I just like saying, “Oh yes. I chopped my story up into blocks, horf horf horf.”

It sounds cool. And I love the word ‘block’. It has a nice ‘ck’ sound. And a soft ‘bl’.

Moving on…

At the end of the third block–and at the end of the story–I’ve got about four chapters that are currently so mauled into bits that I have no idea how to fix them into a readable state. Some of them have multiple pages attached to them with rewrite ideas and rewritten scenes. One of them isn’t even fully finished; it just sort of ends on a cliffhanger when they’re running down a corridor. And to top it off, all of these chapters are supposed to be full of action, but instead of being cool and clipped, they just fall flat.

And when I say flat, I mean flatter than a flat Stanley. In fact, if you want to know what these scenes physically look like, I would recommend sliding a flat Stanley through your favorite paper shredder. It’s a perfect visual.

But anyway, because of this strange hobbin-globbin of writing and revision and editing that must take place this month, I have absolutely no idea where to start.

I still don’t, in fact.

So basically I’m just running around this story like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to piece scenes and plot lines and dialogue and action and just a whole bunch of seemingly random things into a seamless story.

And it is sort of working.

So when I say, “everlost isn’t finished yet,” what I’m really saying is, “everlost is currently in a very messed up state of mind, and though the first draft is sort of kinda finished, it is definitely not something I can wave in the air and be proud of, so it’s not done yet.”

Now, for those of you who are wondering what my goal for this month is, I have considered it greatly, and finally landed on setting my goal for 90 hours over the course of the month. This means that I must write/edit/revise for at least three hours every single day.

This, as you might have guessed, is not necessarily going well.

I had this wonderful idea in my head of writing for one hour as soon as I wake up, finding a few chunks of time to write in the middle of the day to make up for an hour, and then writing for another hour before I go to sleep at night.

But has this happened?

No. Not it has not.

Instead, I’ve been struggling to even hit two hours.

In fact, I have created this handy dandy Great and Powerful Hour Tracker to show you just how terribly I’ve been doing the last two days. Let’s take a peek, shall we?


Day One–

Goal– 3 hours

Hours Completed– 2 hours, 40 minutes

Day Two–

Goal– 6 hours

Hours Completed (as of 7:02 p.m.)– 4 hours, 25 minutes


Oh joy. I’m behind.

Here’s hoping I can write for another solid hour and 35 minutes before I crash and burn today.


Alright, so that’s it for today’s (rather spontaneous) Smudge! Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? Did your Day One for Camp NaNoWriMo go more smoothly than mine did? Are you having mass amounts of trouble and want me to send you virtual cookies to help you along? What are you using to track your progress? (please tell me I’m not alone) Do you like tea, or do you find it oddly gross? Like, seriously, that goopy little bag thing filled with leaves is kind of throwing me off…

Anyway, let’s chat about all of the NaNo and writerly things in the comments below!


13 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo: A Not So Fresh Start

    I am so so sorry!!
    I, unfortunately, have been doing GREAT with this NaNo and really am thinking I should have made a higher wordgoal!

    I wrote 1741 words first thing in the morning of day one, and then another thousand or so that night and I am loving my story so much I could squeeze it to death!!
    But I will stop talking about it. I don’t want to make you feel worse! (I still welcome cookies, though. Always good with cookies)
    It sounds…. Fun??
    I actually highly enjoy tea! Not herbal tea as much as black teas though. Chai, Good Earth, Bengal Spice, those kinds are GOOOD!!
    I am of the strong opinion, though, that brewing tea is an art. You have to know how to make it JUST right to your own taste otherwise it falls flat. It’s a worthy pursuit, however, to find your perfect flavor and perfect cup of tea and drink copious amounts of it. As C. S. Lewis says, “you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” or something to that effect.

    Soo… I was just thiinking…. Weelll, your book sounds really really good…. And well I have a strange thing for beta reading things… And… Well…
    Phew!! I said it!! *sigh of relief* now I just have to wait on pins and needles for your reply…. Gosh.. this will be haard….
    Answer me soon, and dare I ask, favourably, pleeaassee??????

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww!!! You are literally the sweetest bean!!! 😄😄 And oh no!! I didn’t mean for this to come across as sad! Slightly sarcastic and OH WOE IS ME COME PITY MY SAD LITTLE FACE, possibly, but me, sad? Nah. 😂😂😂😂

      Oh my word, CONGRATULATIONS!!! That is quite the accomplishment! I am so happy for you! I think. If I was actually counting words or chapters or something actually NORMAL I would be in less of a pickle, but alas! I have chosen my path. (Actually, I could technically change my tracker still, but I AM STUBBORN AND THEREFORE SHALL NOT.) But seriously, almost 3k in one day is FANTASTIC! You deserve all the cookies!

      Well… Maybe not all. We shall leave some for the sad little crumbs like me, bahahaha!! 😂😂

      Trust me, you definitely dodged a bullet there. BE FREE. BE FREE WITH YOUR WORD TRACKER!

      Ah yes. It is truly fun! *distant sobbing*

      You know, pretty much everyone I have talked to about tea has recommended Chai. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. I shall try it as soon as I can… And ooh! You can never go wrong with quotes from famous people!! And C.S. Lewis is awesome!!! I’m hoping I can find a tea I like. Tea and books just sounds so quaint…

      Oh dear, you know, I’ve got a rapidly expanding list of people who want to beat read this story, hahaha!! It’s actually kinda nice having people take an interest in it! And aww!!! Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like my weird little book! I shall definitely keep you in mind for beta reading! I’m not quite sure how many beta readers I’m going to have initially as of right now, but I shall definitely keep you up on the list!!! Thank you so much!!!! :D (I hope my answer was–although slightly vague since I haven’t sorted out the whole beta reader process yet–favorable???)


  2. Oh my gosh I’m the same way with tea😂 I mean, I liked this one orange vanilla flavor. But that was a long time ago. Now I’m telling myself that writers drink tea and it must be helpful somehow😂 (I haven’t actually picked any up yet, but the next time my mom goes to the store I’m insisting on it👍🏻) I saw the hours option but then I ran away because I’m famously spontaneous and I write really fast soooo. I decided to do word count😂 But I wish you luck! My first day went pretty well, but in all fairness I had gotten a bit of work done already, before I decided I would be using that particular project for Camp. YOU CAN DO IT! *pushes you ahead of schedule* Good luck❤️😂 – Abi

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! I AM NOT ALONE!!! *high-fives* Ooh! Orange vanilla either sounds like something I would thoroughly enjoy, or something that I wouldn’t really like, and I’m not sure which it is! 😂😂 And I know, right? There is some weird connection between writers and tea, and I shall not stop until I discover what it is… (I’ve heard really good rumors about Chai???) Let us go on this tea testing adventure together, and hopefully survive without getting stuck in a tea coma, haha! 😂

      Oh yes! Run! Run as fast as you possibly can!!! Aww, I’m so glad Day One went well for you!!! Tracking by word count is definitely my favorite approach, but it really was impossible to do with this particular stage of my WIP. Oh well!

      Aww, thank you!!! You are so sweet!!! Hopefully I can get back on top of these hours soon!! XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am procrastinating soooo much. It’s a serious problem. However, I did do the PERFECT writerly pigtails today, so that’s definitely a step in the right direction! Don’t worry – we’re all in the same boat, Kenzie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eek! Another writer who does writerly pigtails! HOW HAVE I LIVED WITHOUT YOU ALL MY YEARS???

      And ugh! Procrastination is awful isn’t it? Yet so fun when doing it…

      Awwwwww!!! That is honestly just the encouragement I needed!!! Thank you SO much!!!! :D


  4. It seems like stories always massively fall apart in the process of writing them, So Everlost will find its way if you keep writing…despite how contradictory that sounds… o.0 Maybe if you nickname it Soonfound it will help? ;)

    I like tea, but mango peach sounds kinda weird. Maybe try peppermint or Earl Grey, those ones are nice. I think I’ve only had chai a couple of times, but it is very tasty and we should all have more.

    My first day started out only half well, and the next day was terrible, but yesterday I got past 2,000 words, so I’m hoping I’m used to forcing myself to type and can get into it at last. It’s funny, because we all know roughdrafts are messy and that’s okay…but it always feels too messy, or not the right kind of messy. It feels like you have a million mosaic tiles spilled onto the sidewalk on a cold, windy day without a coat, while what you really want is to hang out in a cozy sitting room munching on cookies and tea while surrounded by crazy knickknacks that have no order and yet are incredibly intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my word, I literally busted out laughing at ‘Soonfound’, bahahahaha!!! Thank you for making my day, haha! That was epic!!!

      Yeah… It was pretty gross! And I’d try peppermint, but something about peppermint flavored things makes me think of toothpaste? I do not think tea is my writerly drink, haha! I TRIED. I FAILED. But yes! We should definitely try some Chai!

      Aw no!! But CONGRATULATIONS on hitting over 2,000! That is a wonderful accomplishment! Oh yeah, I think I’m starting to get the hang of it too. It’s difficult though! Strict schedules are not really my forte, haha! Oh my goodness, that is SO accurate! I know this first draft is supposed to be terrible and messy, but it’s just not…the right KIND of messy, haha! YOU TOOK THE WORDS OUT OF MY BRAIN MATTER. And I’m totally in love with that room you just described, and I shall live there for the rest of my life if that is possible, please.


      • So glad I could give you a laugh! :D
        Hmm, I guess that’s understandable for peppermint, but there are a ton of choices out there, whether true teas or herbal teas that don’t have actual tea leaves in them…(tisane is the French word for them.)

        Please enjoy your new cozy writer’s retreat, oh and it has a tiny little fireplace so you can keep any hot beverages warm. And the baby dragon that’s curled up in it…we must have those. AND…Taking words out of someone’s brain matter is so much more ACCURATE a description of this phenomenon! If I have concepts floating around my head, with no idea how to say them, and then someone says them…the words were nowhere near my mouth beforehand. Excellent saying.

        Liked by 1 person

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