Camp NaNoWriMo! We hold you in our hearts…

…and when we think about you, it makes us want to– Ah, Salute Your Shorts. A 90s gem, if I do say so myself. Ah, Camp NaNoWriMo, a 2013 gem, if I do say so myself. You guys know I’m a HUGE–like GIGANTO-BIG-HUGE-MONDO-ENORMOUS supporter of NaNoWriMo. I mean, I was even featured on their blog! Wha-whattttt! (No joke: that was a highlight of my life.)

The plain fact is, I love NaNo. There’s just something so INSPIRING about the camaraderie! About the intensity and deadline. Even if I don’t have anything that needs drafting, I participate in NaNo every single November.

Well, how lucky am that now that I do have something to be drafted (that ol’ epic fantasy WIP of mine ain’t gonna finish itself), it’s perfect timing for Camp NaNoWriMo! HUZZAH!!!

But the smart and cool people over at NaNo realized not EVERYONE will want to draft during July or November, so they’ve started something AWESOME called the NaNo Rebels! Basically you can “rebel” and work on whatever you want to while still participating in the hype and adrenaline of a NaNo month.

So, friends, now that you don’t HAVE to draft–you could revise or do your summer school essays or whatever–who’s WITH ME for Camp NaNoWriMo? I’ll admit that I probably won’t write 50K. I’m actually only shooting for 30K, what with July being A Darkness Strange and Lovely‘s launch month…

Actually, this is the perfect segue into a reader question from back in March:

The fear of failing on a project–that one you don’t feel like you can do justice to.

How do you get past that?

This is an excellent question because it can be applied to not only a single project, but every project. And not just writing, but pretty much any life pursuit. This question ultimately boils down to a very basic fear that we can all identify with.

How do you get past the fear of failing?

I know I’ve talked about fear before–about how fear of rejection held me back and how you must face that fear to reach your goals. And honestly, that’s all there is to it. No matter how afraid of that project you are–how certain you might feel that you cannot make it what you want it to be–you have to sit down at your computer and write it anyway.

You have to create anyway.

The simple fact is that there is ALWAYS a chance you will fail–not matter how skilled you are at something. You could fail to get to run your usual 9-minute-mile pace because you didn’t eat well a few hours before your jog. That failure has nothing to do with your ability as a runner and everything to do with a bad choice over lunch and an unexpected stomach ache.

The same applies to storytelling. Very few writers nail a book on the first draft. A lot of writers don’t even get it “right” on the second draft. Hell, editors wouldn’t exist if we could perfectly execute a book. 😉 Authors know when they sit at their computers that they will eventually revise the book they’re writing.

And that’s WHY we can conquer our fear and write the books we’re afraid we might ruin: we can always revise them.

Truth: Something Strange and Deadly took me 12+ rounds of revision before I submitted to agents. I knew the instant I finished the first draft that I had failed miserably to tell the story I wanted to tell. So I revised and rewrote until the second draft was NOTHING like the first–except in character names. Even the POV changed! Fortunately, I loved the story and I believed I would do the story justice eventually. And by god, I was SO STUBBORN I was not giving up on that story until it finally felt “right.”

So ultimately, here’s my advice:

Give yourself permission to write bad words.

Give yourself permission to mess up the story up so bad that revisions will make your head spin.

And then give yourself permission to fall so deeply into the story that you forget about the quality of the prose or the intensity of the character arcs. Fall so deeply that you forget about everything but the story. 

That’s certainly what I’ll be doing during Camp NaNoWriMo. 😉

Now here’s some music to help you get in the writing mode.

Now you tell me: Will you be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? Or do you ever have any fears about your writing that you face anyway?