Camp NaNoWriMo, 2021 — planning + plotting

good morning, cyberspace!

In honor of nothing particularly interesting happening in February in regards to my writing journey, I move to completely ignore last month’s statistics and instead pretend like everything is fine and my goals for the year are definitely not going up in flames before my very eyes. All in favor, say aye!

Lovely. Let’s move on!

So! It’s March! The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, my writerly muse has finally decided to return from his extended vacation in the Bahamas (thanks, Chess), and I–after a long, tiring winter–have decided that now is as good a time as any to dust off the potential I left to rot in the back of my closet and scrape together some semblence of a writing routine to get me through the next few months! And–with any luck–finally make some substantial progress on my current works-in-progress!

This surge in creating inspiration is aided by the fact that Camp NaNoWriMo begins next month (!!!). This will be my fifth year participating in the Camp session of NaNoWriMo, and let me tell you, folks: I could not be more excited. Camp NaNoWriMo–April’s session, in particular–holds a very dear place in my heart. It has helped me stay accountable to and finish so many of my writing projects, and–with any luck–this year it will be instrumental in doing it again.

I have many plans and ideas and goals for this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and while a part of my brain fears I may be biting off a wee bit more than one man can chew, I’m also incredibly excited to see what the next couple months have in store for both me and my projects!

…ah yes. You read that correctly. I’m going to be working on project(s) next month. Because I am nothing if not incredibly optimistic about the amount of side-hussles I can maintain.

>>> <<<

camp nanowrimo, 2021

With Camp NaNoWriMo just around the corner, there are two types of people crawling out of the woodworks: the writers who squeal and scream about Camp Nano and all their exciting plans for the month ahead, and their friends, who are even now buying earplugs to avoid the long, endless ramblings of writers who know not when to stop talking about half-bred goblin kings and monstrous trolls who may or may not actually exist.

I, of course, belong in the former category, and rightly so. I earned my “I’m a NaNo Fanatic” badge at the tender age of seventeen, when my friends would roll their eyes every time I started in again on the gloriousness which was Camp NaNoWriMo. “Here we go again” was a phrase I quickly became acquainted with, and one I adjusted to with just as much ease. There was a time when I wondered if perhaps I was a wee bit overexuberant in my NaNo excitement.

I now know that there is no such thing.

This year, however, while I’m planning on working on multiple projects, I am hoping that it’s a quieter sort of NaNo for me. I’ve only just gotten my excitement for writing back since it slipped out the window last autumn, and while I’m trying to get as much out of this sudden inspiration-fueled stint as I possibly can, the last thing I want is to use it all up and be left stranded again. So the plan is to gently grow my creativity over the next two months, carefully easing myself into longer writing projects as I reestablish myself into the writing groove I completely fell out of. Of course, as with most of my plans, I’m not holding out much hope for its success. But they say the best way to grow is to try everything you possibly can until eventually something sticks, so I guess I’m on a solid path.

(me. i said this. don’t judge me, please, i’m small.)

But all that aside, the projects I have prepped for Camp NaNo 2021 are–if I do say so myself–some of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on in a while. They’re books which feel like stepping stones towards the writer I want to be someday, and with a month filled with stories like that, well … what can possibly go wrong?

(*nervous laughter*)

project one – the girl and the goblin king

For anyone who’s been paying attention (lol, not me), The Girl and The Goblin Kingi is my YA paranormal fantasy, complete with goblins (duh), a starving artist, creepy triplets, and an anthropomorphic tree. So, essentially, it’s like a nightmare come to life, and I adore every single part of it.

There’s not a whole lot to do in regards to prepping this one, actually. I’m currently knee-deep in the first draft, so the majority of prep-work is simply me showing up to the story every day and putting words to the page–something I have obviously been struggling with. In a perfect world, I’d like to work out some of the kinks that I’ve begun to find within the narrative before April so I can start with a mostly clean slate, but this is, unfortunately, a first draft. And first drafts are messy, complicated, and in more ways than one, honestly terrifying to look at. If I’m able to simply hit the midpoint before April 1st, I’ll count my preparatory work as a win.

As for the actual NaNo-ing part of this project, my goal is to finish the first draft of Project Goblin by the end of April. March 31st is my soft deadline for this story, but with such a wild winter, I’ll be more shocked if it happens than if not. So my hard deadline for this project is April 30th, and if I don’t hit it, I will cry and eat a cookie in compensation give myself grace, because that is what I would give to anyone else in my shoes.

(oh, look at that. i think i spot some growth.)

project two – project sunset

Ah, yes. Anyone remember my sunshine child from last April? The gang is returning for another Camp this year, but this time, I’m going to be reading the words I wrote last year! (much nail-biting. such fear.) I literally have not done a deep edit or revision since the Great Everlost Expedition of 2018, and–if I’m being perfectly honest–I’m kind of scared to dive in, here. BUT. I remember greatly enjoying the revision process. It’s something I’ve come to love over the years, and taking something that was once pretty good and turning it into a semi-polished really good thing is where I feel I can really shine as a writer. Or perhaps I just feel that way because most of my first drafts are absolute garbage and I’m trying to convince myself that this does not make me a terrible writer. WHO CAN KNOW. XD

Prep-work for this simply involves compiling all the chapters I’ve written into a PDF (already done), and sending it off to my kindle for reading (soon to be done). Since all I’m doing for this project in April is reading through the book and taking down notes for revision, I’m not too concerned about finishing it within a month. This is mostly a “my brain needs a break from Project Goblin–OH LOOK. SHINY NEW THING” kind of project, so it’s very low-pressure, which is NICE.

I would, however, very much like to get the whole book read and have a solid plan for revision come May if I can! But that’s simply a cherry on top of the Project Goblin First Drafting cake. If it turns out that Project Goblin gets finished, and this poor, unfortunate little pancake is left miserably on its own till the end of Camp, I can’t say as though I’ll be disappointed. I’ll be too ecstatic over my brand new book baby to care too much. XD

>>> <<<

In all truth, I really just want to have some fun with my writing next month. I’ve spent so much of my career wondering if I’m “professional” enough to be a writer–if my words were good enough, bold enough, deep enough. Everyone looks at the greats and sees their writings as these deep, existential plunges into the human existence, and there are moments when I look at my life and the words I piece together and wonder how on earth I could ever compare to those who came before me. I’ll never be the next Hemingway or Tolkien or Lewis. I’ll most likely never write something that will be praised by the masses for its intricate tug into the heart of human life. But I can write things that are strange and quirky and odd. Things that will keep both my readers and myself questioning my ever-decreasing sanity. And I am so excited to take that deep, irreversible plunge into my own originality next month. I want these to be the first steps I take in which I truly allow myself to breathe, to stretch my wings and step off the cliffs of normality into the piercing waters of the unknown. And if it turns out that what I create truly is awful and unfit to be published, then I guess the intense fun I had while writing it will completely outweigh its crippling uselessness to me. XD

talk to me, peasants!

what are you guys working on next month? are any of you participating in camp nanowrimo? have you participated in the past, and if so, do you prefer camp or the OG nano? and for all the writers like me out there, have you ever had to remind yourself that writing should be not only an adventure, but fun? I think sometimes we get so caught up in the act of thinking of our writing as a profession that we forget to have as much fun with it as possible in the process–and I don’t want to stay inside that rut.

Anyway, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below, and as always, until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

featured photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

12 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo, 2021 — planning + plotting

  1. I hope your Camp goes really, really well! It sounds like you have a nice balance between your two projects! I’m not doing April Camp, but I’m hoping to participate in July…we’ll see what happens.
    And thank you so much for your concluding paragraph. I needed those words today–I’ve been reading about some of the great American writers of the 20th century and have been wondering if I should even keep writing, if I could ever measure up. I was almost getting to the point of wondering of anyone should be writing anything, which should have been my clue that I was going off the edge a bit. XD
    But your words have reminded me that not everything has to be the next great thing that will be remembered forever–sometimes it’s enough to write something fun, something that will touch even one person. So, thank you. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dude!!! If you participate in July, PLEASE let me know! I usually don’t do July’s camp, but if you’re doing it, I might have to, as well!

      Oh goodness, YES. Those spiraling thoughts are a constant in my head, and I find that most of the time when I write things like this, I’m talking to myself as well as to others. XD (which is probably why I like writing pep talks so much, tbh. XD) I think the thing that keeps me going is the fact that all these stories in my head–the weird and whacky and more than likely insane–won’t ever be written by anyone if I don’t write them. And if all those great writers of the past decided to put their pens down because they weren’t as good as those who came before THEM, then we wouldn’t have all of the stories we cherish today.

      AND OH MY GOODNESS. THIS >>> “sometimes it’s enough to write something fun, something that will touch even one person” THIS IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF THING I WANT TO TAKE INTO APRIL. I honestly think sometimes it’s better to write for the one person who will absolutely adore our book and cherish it forever than to write for the masses and be well-known for a time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Best of luck with Nano! I think having fun with your writing is super important.
    As a starving artist obsessed with Goblins that first story really appeals to me, hope you’re able to finish it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been starting to get back into writing after a (unintentional) break, too! I even wrote and submitted a short story. In retrospect, I wish I had edited that story a little more before submitting it, but too late now. >.<
    I hope Nano goes well for you! Your stories sound SO cool.

    Like

    • Oh no!!! But take it from someone who has submitted multiple short stories she later wished had been edited better…it’s all part of the learning process!! (*she says to herself as a single tear drips down her cheek in remembrance of her first rejection letter*). It’s always such a panicked sort of thing when you submit a story. I always end up going back and finding at least three typos before dunking my head under a faucet. XD But I am SO proud of you for doing it!! Most people don’t even take that first step, so this honestly is amazing, and I am so so proud of you!

      Meep! Thank you so much, Becky!!! I’m really excited to keep writing them!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In response to your first paragraph: AYE! We’re not even going to talk about how little I’ve worked on my stories this year. *siiigh*

    BUT, like you, I am determined to make progress in April! And EEEEEE!!!! I’M SO THRILLED ABOUT ALL YOUR PLANSSS.

    PROJECT GOBLIN. I can’t even express how much I already love this story, so to hear you’ll be working on it makes me want to just squeal all the day long. And prepping Project Sunset for editing is also SO WONDERFUL! The reading over a draft and making notes is honestly one of my favorite bits (it’s way less work and more fun than every other part of creating a story XD), so that’s a BRILLIANT plan to do that while you’re heavily drafting another one.

    Every single bit of progress counts, so WHATEVER happens in April, you’re gonna do amazing!!!

    And GIRL. Your last paragraph spoke to my soul! I, too, keep having to relearn how to just ENJOY writing. To stop playing the comparison game and remember I chose this BECAUSE I LOVE IT! And to remember God didn’t create us to be Tolkien or Hemingway or Lewis. He created us to be US, and He has a specific purpose for each and every one of us. It’s not our job to write the next Narnia, but to just write the stories of OUR hearts. Plus, I think those stories we just have fun with often turn out to be the most meaningful, beautiful ones. Which I keep having to remember too as I hem and haw over what stories to work on and second guess every single project I have a thousand times over.

    SO BASICALLY. I loved everything you said and needed that reminder! Right now in our writing careers, the number one goal really should just be to have FUN! And I do hope you have the most fun, magical Camp NaNo EVER! Cheering you on alllll the way, girl!!! *waves pompoms*

    I’m not 100% sure I’ll be doing Camp this April. I keep thinking about it, but I think I do better with NaNo events for first drafts, and right now I really want to focus on edits. It’s a bit hard for me to track my progress with edits. BUT I do plan on working on my story a LOT in April. So even if I don’t do the official Camp, I’ll be with you guys in spirit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • EEP. Christine, words cannot even describe just how much your kind words mean to me!!! Like honestly. If I’m ever having a rough day, I just have to hop on here and immediately you make it 100 times better…

      I am so, SO beyond glad that what I said spoke to you!! Sometimes I wonder if maybe I’m just ranting out into the void, but this is something that’s been weighing on my heart so much lately, and it’s something that I really needed to just remind myself of. It’s so sad to me that us writers start out so passionate and excited to tell stories, and then the industry kinda sucks that out of us as we struggle towards publication. It’s a process I’m trying to overthrow, tbh. XD

      MEEP!!! Oh my goodness, I am SO excited to hear all about what you worked on in April!!! My camp didn’t go NEARLY as I’d wanted it to, but I learned so much and I think that’s the important thing at the moment. XD (and EEP. EDITS. Those are simultaneously terrifying and exciting all at once!!!)

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  5. Both of your projects sound like a lot of fun! And that’s a nice balance of writing and reading you’ve got planned. I hope that Camp goes well for you!

    I was planning to still be working on The Orb and the Airship in April (though I wasn’t planning to officially sign up for Camp… something about NaNo seems to send my muse screaming for the hills. Or possibly Bermuda… so I’m not going to mess around with that… whatever it is about NaNo that terrifies my muse must be avoided at all costs… I only just got her back from wherever she went into hiding during the Great Awfulness that was 2020 (Jupiter. I think she spent the year on Jupiter… with possible excursions to Pluto)). :-D But I might be done with Orb/Airship before the end of March!!! So then I shall move on to Mantles of Oak and Iron. We shall see. I have to go back and work on the beginning of Orb again… but I know what I want to do with it, and that’s half the battle.

    N-E-WAY…. I completely and totally just nodded my head off while reading the second half of your post. I often spend way too much time worrying about not being all these other authors… and having to be reminded that I am the author God created me to be… and He has a purpose for the words He’s given me. I may never know what that purpose is… but that doesn’t change the fact that He has made me a wordsmith. And when I write… I feel His pleasure. (to paraphrase Eric Liddell slightly) :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, but SAAAAAME with the whole NaNo thing! I don’t know what it is about me lately, but I’m so much more productive outside of NaNo than I usually am. There was a time when all my writing got done during the NaNo months, and now it seems as though all of my writing goes on OUTSIDE of it. It’s confusing and I’m very concerned. XD (also your muse sounds about as helpful as mine, which tends to go on extended vacations RIGHT when I warn him we have a deadline coming up. he’s impossible to deal with, that one. XD)

      OH. MY. WORD. The Orb and the Airship sounds like SUCH a fun story???? Just that title alone makes me want to read it immediately. XD I’m in love with anything to do with airships, because typically there’s some sort of rollicking adventure that happens alongside them. (don’t ask me why I think this. this is just where my brain goes when I hear the word “airship”. XD) And that is AWESOME that you know what you want to do with the story!!! Plot and direction is one of the things I struggle with the most when it comes to my writing. Characters come into my head unbidden, but plots are something I have to make an actual effort to dig up and polish. They’re where I usually stall. XD

      WORDSMITH. Oh my WORD, I love that!!!! I feel like I’ve heard the term before, but it’s never actually hit me as it is right now… And yes yes YES. I absolutely agree. It’s so easy to get swept up in all the other authors and how they’re doing that we lose sight of the path God has set before our feet–and even though it may not look like the journey other writers are taking, it’s actually so much more beautiful, because we’re walking the path that He wants us to. The path He specifically created for us, even. And that’s beautiful in and of itself.

      Thank you so so much for this comment, Jenelle!!! You are literally the sweetest human, and I absolutely adore you. <333

      Like

  6. I give a hearty Aye Aye! to your first paragraph. XD I’ve barely written since January… I’m beginning to doubt I’m going to accomplish my goal of 3 first drafts this year… >.> Ah well, as long as I get more writing in than I currently am, I’ll call it a win. ;)

    Your projects sound fabulous! That is such a great idea having one project to first draft and the other to read through and make notes. It’s perfect for when your brain needs a break from one or the other. ^_^

    *squeals* Camp starts soon!!! I’m so excited to focus on my Sleeping Beauty retelling again!

    Having fun is something I need to relearn in my writing. I seem to forever be in editing mode, instead of exploring my story, having fun with whatever comes my way, and just so much yes to your last paragraph. I need to just let go and let my story breathe. …easier said than done, but it is what it is. XD

    Like

    • Honestly, it would seem as though EVERYONE is having a bit of a bumpy start to this year, and knowing that helps me feel much less alone in this whole “lol what is life” existential crisis I’m experiencing. XD And my goodness! Three first drafts in a year would be quite a feat, but I completely agree–writing what you can is all that matters, and even if it doesn’t equate to three first drafts, at least you’ll still have written! (but, of course, if you need someone to cheer you on to writing three first drafts in a year, my door is always open to such conversation! XD)

      “I need to just let go and let my story breathe” << MY GOODNESS, I LOVE THIS. All of the yes!!! I think reclaiming the fun of writing is something that a lot of writers–and almost especially published authors–struggle with. There's something about deadlines and the fear of failure and expectations that weigh us down and make the writing process that much more difficult, but I have to believe that there's a way to find the joy in writing, even with those stresses!! And I think part of it is choosing to accept the place where God has put us, and embracing the path He's asking us to walk. That's something I'm still struggling with, but alas. It's a learning curve. XD

      Like

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