Writing at “Summer Camp”

I admit it.  I’m not the most disciplined of writers.  It’s hard to get me motivated.  I’ll finish a scene or a draft and let it sit while I’m paralyzed with indecision about what to do next.  So I finally decided to do something about it.

I spent the last month participating in Camp NaNoWriMo.  It’s NaNoWriMo’s younger sibling with a few differences.  Its two sessions start the first of April and July, so you can pick which one is a better time for you to participate in.  You can set your word count, although they do encourage the 50,000 word goal.  The social aspects of it are summer camp themed.  I have mixed feelings about the social parts, since if I’m writing this intensely, I don’t have time to chitchat.*

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo before with mixed results.  Since November is a crazy month because of holidays, conventions, birthdays, a family anniversary that can be emotionally rocky, not to mention my full time job, I always feel my odds of completing 50,000 words are iffy at best.  So this year I decided I would give the July session a whirl and use it to work on the third draft of my book, tentatively titled Black Oaks.  I set my goal for 25,000 words and dove in.

It’s gone surprisingly well.  Based on feedback I had been given at a Baycon’s Writer’s Workshop (I got a lot of helpful information from this two hour session.  Do it if you’re in the Bay Area.) I restructured and rewrote the first quarter of the book, paying attention to tone and a nasty overuse of the word “and” at the beginning of sentences.  And (see what I mean?) I tried to stick to a goal of 1000 words a day, figuring if I failed at that, I’d still be close enough to make the 25,000 goal.

I have hit a point in the editing stage I’ve heard a lot of novelists discuss, but never understood.  I am, despite reassurances to the contrary, certain that I am writing absolute crap.  But it’s my absolute crap, and I will continue slogging my way through it.  I wrote about 34,000 words of it during the month of July, and I’m motivated to continue onwards.

As for publishing my crap, I keep reminding myself that the phrase “You can’t polish a turd” has been busted.

*Except with a few friends through IM services.  And occasionally Twitter.  And an email that comes in… oh dear.  When did I get a virtual social life that’s more active than my real one?

One Reply to “Writing at “Summer Camp””

  1. Some people’s socializing is exclusively on line. That is why it was so hard on me going without internet for two months.

    I had never heard of that phrase until now… and wow, it’s a myth! I am happy to hear that. 🙂

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