CAMP NANOWRIMO, WEEKS ONE & TWO: Adventures, Adjustments, & Whirlwinds

good morning, cyberspace!

Many apologies for the no-show last week! It’s been a Time over here at Smudged Thoughts central, and while I’d had this post all drafted up and ready to go by the scheduled due date, I just kinda … forgot to post it …?

Aha. Anyway. We’re going to pretend like that didn’t happen and sally onwards anyway. XD Alsooo, since it’s already the end of week two by the time I’m writing this, I’ve decided to squish weeks one and two together into one post! That way we can just sorta squeeze by and pretend as though everything is normal and good and right with the world. (I’m so smart, oh my word.)


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july 5, 2021

The first week of Camp NaNoWriMo is almost over—by the time this is posted, perhaps it has already passed us by—but for me, the adventure of writing 50,000 words by the end of the month has only just begun.

This past weekend has been a whirlwind. For many, the fourth of July meant fireworks, extra days off from work, and—if you’re a writer doing Camp NaNoWriMo—hopefully a word sprint or ten. But this year, Fourth Of July looked just a little bit different.

There was no writing. No sprinting till midnight to hit a certain word goal before calling it quits. But there were castles, toads, a very haunted looking gravestone, suspension bridges, dresses, and…


Many, many swords.

Y’all. Words cannot even describe how insane the past two days have been. How insane this past year has been. I know we’re only six months into it, but just within the past four months, I’ve been graced with the extraordinary opportunity to meet five of my beautiful writer friends in the actual, wide-open plane of existence known as reality.

Phoebe. Kate. Ruby. Ally. Leona.

Five people who have impacted my life in ways I will never be able to comprehend. Five girls who have helped me grow not only as a writer, but as a friend. I will never forget the emotions felt when meeting each of them for the very first time. I will never forget what it felt like to tackle them in the biggest of hugs and refuse to let go. I will never forget the absolute chaos we get ourselves into when we’re together.

You live your life thinking nothing ever changes. You watch the sunsets fade and the seasons pass and you wonder whether or not the dreams in your heart will ever come to pass. And then something like this happens. Something as beautiful and wild as finally meeting the friends God has put into your life—though unfortunately not always in your state. And you realize that it’s not that nothing ever changes, but the things that change you happen so very little and so very far in between that you simply must cherish them when they do occur.

This weekend, I spent 24 hours with four members of my writing group. They are crazy. They are wild. They are real. And for the first time, I’m fully comprehending that they are mine.

Were words written this past week? Eh. Not exactly. But the moments we created were moments that will live inside my memory for the rest of my life. And that is so much more precious to me than 3,000 words.

However. It wouldn’t be a Camp NaNoWriMo update if I didn’t mention some of the writing adventures I’ve been getting into—and, trust me, the first two days of Camp NaNoWriMo were filled—so I suppose now is as good a time as any to add an awkward transition to the statistics portion of this weekly recap! XD

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DAYS 1-5

WORD GOAL: 8,065

Okay, so looking at the stats, this isn’t very good progress, I’ll admit. XD Typically, I prefer my overall wordcount to be larger than the words I have yet to write. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be happening this month. (again, I’m not sorry in the slightest. just a little worried at this point. it’s fine. everything is fine.)

The word count may not be quite what I want, but the story that I have written so far has been an absolute BLAST. After working on some (minor) revisions before the start of Camp, I decided to start off right after my weird little cast broke into the Goblin King’s castle. There were some finer details which needed smoothing out—one of them being my mime.

Ah yes. My talking mime. His name is Martin, and he is—currently—my favorite character I’ve ever created. (at least for this story, though I’d go so far as to say he’s my favorite among all my stories, ever.) I honestly have no clue where the inspiration for this sad little man came from, and—if I’m being totally honest—where he came from in and of himself. He’s odd, slightly depressed, is missing his shoes, and is probably the most complexing character I’ve ever had the pleasure to write, simply because he’s so … odd.

I’d like to say that the entirety of Project Goblin is filled to the brim with odd, slightly terrifying creatures, and anyone who’s ever heard me talk about this story in incomprehensible snorts and squeals would probably agree with me on that. But despite the fact that reading through a chapter of this story would most likely give a small child nightmares, I have to admit that the weirdness is probably what’s making this book so much fun to write. There’s just something about dark, creepy forests and weird, slightly mutilated characters that makes my Tim Burton fangirl heart squeak with delight every time there’s a twist and bend in the plot line. And while I’m not entirely sure where this story is going (to be quite honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever know where this story is going until the end of it), I’m so incredibly excited to be the writer behind this project.

Aside from the talking mime and the invasion of the Goblin King’s castle, I’m also proud to announce that I’ve officially hit 30,000 words in this manuscript! I totally thought I’d hit this milestone like a week ago, but alas alack, apparently I lied. XD I’m currently at 33,811, which means I only have (insert awkward silence for math 46,189 words left until I hit my overall goal.

Which shall hopefully be enough words to wrap this book up and call it done. *grins awkwardly*

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july 11, 2021

I have officially lost my marbles. I mean, anyone who truly knows me knows that I’ve already lost my marbles (more than once, even), but this time … yep. They’re gone.

If you look at my progress this week strictly through the lens of word count, not a whole lot happened during this second week of Camp NaNoWriMo. If, however, you take a peek at the inner workings of my mind, you will see that there has been a major, almost terrifying shift.

My friends. Colleagues. Fellow scribes and poets.

I have officially become a scene skipper.

I’m not sure what, exactly, possessed me to do this. I’ve never scene skipped. In fact, I usually pride myself on my ability to slough through the chapters which truly bore me just so I can get to the ones I’m excited to write. But this past week I was staring at the blank page and thinking about how, if I could only just make it through this one scene, then I could finally write the fun stuff, and I just … snapped.

I snapped.

I clicked open a new document in my binder, titled it ‘chapter 16’, and started writing. Before I knew it, I had an entire chapter down and was heading into chapter 17–all within a single day.

And all without finishing off chapter 15.

It was a beautiful freedom, I must admit–albeit terrifying–but during this brief stint into insanity, I have discovered two things about my creative psyche:

  1. It is, in fact, possible for me to outline a book and enjoy it. Maybe it isn’t for EVERY book that I write, but it is certainly working for Project Goblin, and I’m definitely interested in plotting books in the future…
  2. If I’ve done enough plotting and am comfortable enough in the stability of my plot to know what happens multiple chapters in advance, I can successfully scene skip without any immediate issues.

These should, under normal circumstances, be cause for celebration. But as a writer who’s found peace with the fact that she’ll never be a massive plotter, I’m a wee bit worried about how this is going to affect all future endeavors of mine.

On the other hand, however, I’m extremely excited to see where this new inspiration takes me! Perhaps my next novel will have a 12k outline, complete with road signs and plot point maps. Who can say?

Certainly not me. XD

In other news, I’ve hardly done any writing this past week. XD We’re already heading into the tailend of Week Two, and I’m only at *checks word count* 5,000 words total for the month.

This is, of course, exceedingly mood-dampening, but I have faith, my friends! …faith in the fact that I’m dropping my word goal from 50,000 to 33,000. XD

Okay okay, so I know that dropping my word goal should probably make me feel ashamed and all that nonsense, but like…? I literally have no shame. I’ve discovered that the first draft of this book is going to be weirdly small (for a Kenzie Keene novel, that is XD) and I’m PREEEEEETTY sure that 33,000 words will be plenty for me to wrap this book up? According to my plot map, I have about 6-8 chapters left to write before this guy is complete. Which means that I…might…actually….???? finish this book before the end of July??????

I’m crossing all of my fingers and toes at this point, friends. I’m also VERY worried that I completely miscalculated, but lol whatever. It’ll be what it is and I’m excited. XD

(also 10/10 going to still shoot for 50k because why not so YEET. we shall see how this goes, peasants. XD)

Alas. If I’m to write 50k 33k before the end of July, I guess I should get cracking. It’s gonna be a LOOOOOONG month, my friends. XD

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talk to me, peasants!

how did the first two months of Camp NanoWriMo treat my fellow Campers out there? is anyone else egregiously behind on their word count? or are you blissfully ahead and can’t hear my distant sobbing through the intensity of your maniacal laughter? let’s talk about ALL of the Camp NaNoWriMo things down below, shall we? And until next time…

* flings cookies in the air and disappears *


10 thoughts on “CAMP NANOWRIMO, WEEKS ONE & TWO: Adventures, Adjustments, & Whirlwinds

  1. Aaaaahhhhh, Kenzie! It positively THRILLS me that you got to meet such dear friends! Getting together with internet friends is the most magical, surreal thing EVER and it fills my heart seeing your girls being together! What a blessing!!! So, so glad you were able to make that magic happen! <333

    AND OKAY BUT. Every time I hear more about this story, I fall in love with it even MORE. A talking mime??? He sounds like a DELIGHT. And I adore his name! XD This has to be the most fun cast and concept everrrr! I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH ALREDY GAH.

    So many congrats on hitting 30k words!!! And I think it's awesome you're discovering you can plot. I love trying different things for different books–pantsing, plantsing, plotting. I think it's great to give ALL the methods a try and/or shake them up for each story. There is no rule that we have to write every book the same! It's GOOD to experiment with different things and see what works for us and each book.

    You're doing AWESOME, girl, and I'm so excited for the future of this book. I do hope all the writing will go well and you have the most fun with it. <3

    Liked by 2 people

    • Honestly, it was the most surreal event I’ve had in a great long while. XD I honestly cannot believe it even happened! (We were legit brain dead and all hoarse by the time we got back. XD) And EEP. Having this taste of IRL friendship makes me even more excited for the day that I get to meet you!!!

      MEEP!! Oh my word!!! Christine, your kind words make my heart SO happy…. I absolutely adore my mime, and I can’t wait for you to meet him someday!!! (He is…quite a character. XD)

      Oooh, yes!! I never thought I would be someone who looked at plotting as FUN? But the way that I’ve been doing it (very, verrrrrrry loosely 😂) has honestly been SO freeing. And I can’t say that every book I’ll write after this will take to plotting like this one has, but for right now, it has been such a wonderful adventure!

      Meep! Thank you SO much, Christine! That legit means the world to me… You have no clue how much your encouragement gives me wings.


  2. Awesomeness! After reading this, I don’t feel so bad about being further behind than I’d like to admit 🙃. Writing this month is a love/hate relationship, but it’s been amazing watching the progress being made, and getting to flip through pages of writing… And all the ‘aha’ moments and new characters are really fun!

    And yes! I too am learning how to plot (somewhat).

    Keep up the good work! I really want to meet your mime 😉. You got this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I TOTALLY relate to writing being a love/hate relationship lately! It has been quite the journey. XD But YES! There really isn’t anything quite like looking back at all of the progress, however hard it might have been, and knowing that you pushed through and did the thing!

      I SO WANT YOU TO MEET THE MIME. XD He is…so odd. 😂 And eep!! I wish you the best of luck, as well! We’re so close to the end! XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awww, I’m so happy for you that you got to meet some of your dear internet friends in person! How amazing!! <3

    YOUR MIME SOUNDS DELIGHTFUL. I want to meet Martin right now.

    I hope that the rest of the month goes amazingly well for you, Kenzie!! (I love reading these posts with your status updates! Project Goblin sounds more and more whimsical and delightful the more I hear about it!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, thank you so much, Amelie! This is legit the sweetest!

      ACK I WANT YOU TO MEET HIM, TOO! I miiiiiiight have to do an interview with him soon??? Everyone seems to want to read him, so naturally I think there needs to be an appearance of some sort. XD

      Meep! That makes my heart so happy! I adore writing these kinds of things (no matter how sporadic they may seem XD), so it makes me so happy to know that people enjoy reading it!!! I hope your month has been absolutely beautiful! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love when people get to meet their internet friends. Looks like you guys had a blast.
    A talking mime and Tim Burton esque characters sound so cool!
    30K is awesome! Congrats!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This year has seen me meeting so many people I never thought I’d meet this year… It’s been incredibly humbling… 💛 We diddd. I think we had too much fun, honestly. XD

      MEEP! Thank you so much, Skye!!!


  5. “we’re going to pretend like that didn’t happen-” well mood

    aHHH SWORDS. AND YOU GOT TO MEET WRITER FRIENDS, WOW, THAT IS SO COOL. <3 <3 <3 Were you all in the same area or did you have go gather? And the memories are 1000% more important than getting words written for Camp!!

    A mime? I… would say I wouldn't have pictured it, because I wouldn't, but now that you've said "oh I have a shoe-less mime", I can't help but think "ah yes, of course Kenzie has a shoe-less mime, why would Kenzie not have a shoe-less mime honestly”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am nothing but one giant Mood, my friend. XD

      It was SO. COOL. Most of us were in the same area (Michigan), but Phoebe actually drove all the way down to Illinois to pick up Ruby. And then drove all the way back. And then back and forth AGAIN to deposit Ruby once more. XD

      “why would Kenzie not have a shoe-less mime” is literally the vibe of this entire book, I cAn’T. XD

      Liked by 1 person

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