Harnessing the Power of Camp NaNoWriMo

I’m starting this post off with an apology.  To my fellow word sprinters and writers: I’m sorry I’ve been so absent over the last month! If you haven’t noticed my radio silence, it’s because Faye and Cristina have done some a wonderful job of keeping the site and word sprints running while I’ve been MIA.

Now, I have a hundred excuses as to why I haven’t written a Sprint Shack post or hosted any word sprints in the last few weeks, but none of them are really good enough. When you love writing, you shouldn’t let anything get in the way. So I wanted to return to Sprint Shack with a short post about the power of Camp NaNoWriMo and getting yourself back into the writing game.

Over the last month, I’ve managed to barely keep myself on track with the short fiction posts for my personal site and meet my Write Chain goal each day.

But because of all the other things that were happening in my life, I began to resent the fact that I was sitting down every day to write. I had a million and three things to do – I couldn’t afford to be sitting around for an hour each day, writing a bunch of fiction.

So my writing suffered. My heart wasn’t in it, and I could see that my stories were forced, my writing unimaginative. I missed loving to write. I wanted to look forward to that hour of writing like I used to. But I didn’t know how. And the more mediocre my writing became, the more unmotivated I was to write, and the more my writing suffered. It was a vicious circle.

When the end of June rolled around and I began to see tweets about Camp NaNoWriMo, I wondered if I should even bother signing up. But after some contemplation, I realized that if I gave up on Camp NaNo, I may as well give up on my writing.

So I set my word count goal low and spent the first week of Camp NaNo putting off actually starting my new novel.

After 7 days of no progress with my Camp NaNo project, things were looking bleak.

But then I logged into my NaNo account and checked out all the messages left in my cabin’s chat section.

These people were so excited. They were writing and loving it! They were complaining about blocks and joking about ways to get over them. They were supporting one another and giving updates on milestones that they’d reached with their projects.

It was infectious! I couldn’t help but want to join in. And so I did – I began writing. And not out of a sense of obligation, but from a place of curiosity. I wanted to see what I could do. Even if it ended up being horrible, I wanted to write the story that had been taking up space in my head for weeks.

Since then, I haven’t been able to stop. I’ve been writing like crazy and loving it.

I realize that what I was missing was the camaraderie. I’d used the excuse of being too busy and then sequestered myself off from the freedom of word sprints and encouragement that comes from interacting with the wonderful community of writers that I used to be so involved in.

All I needed was to realize that I wasn’t alone. Everyone feels this way about their writing at times. Everyone thinks they’re no good and that they don’t have time to spend writing below-par stories. Yes, writing is inherently a solitary pursuit. But it doesn’t mean we have to go it alone.

I’m feeding off this positive energy of other writers during Camp NaNo and using it to fuel my own writing.

If you’re in a writing rut, I recommend jumping into Camp NaNo or joining in on some of our Twitter word sprints. Let go of the excuses and enjoy writing again.

~

Are you guys participating in Camp NaNo this month? Tell me why you’re NaNo-ing in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “Harnessing the Power of Camp NaNoWriMo

  1. I’ve got a book to finish! Camp was a bust back in April, this time I’m redeeming myself. At the last minute, I joined a cabin along with several other members of the Writer’s Cafe forum on kboards, and we are all shocked at how much better all of us are doing since we’re in this cabin. It’s the first time I’ve been in a cabin, and I’m already over halfway through the 50k words I set for myself.
    I’ll be looking for you on Twitter!

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