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?
June 28, 2013 @ 3:53 pm
I am!! Wohooooo. I’m gonna be drafting my second book 🙂 and editing the first on the side. Slooooowly. You’re always so inspirational, Sooz <3
June 28, 2013 @ 5:25 pm
YAY!!! You’ll have to jam on some #BAMFWordBattles with us, then. 😉 Happy writing, Adriana! And revising! I KNOW you can do it!!
June 28, 2013 @ 5:24 pm
It makes me SO happy that you’ll be participating in NaNo again! That was what really had me getting to know you as a writer and friend last November, and I’ll be forever grateful for that. (BAMF to come, yes?). And I love, love, love the advice you’ve given! It’s really hard for me to start or continue things sometimes because of that pervasive fear – but I refuse to let it stop me!
June 28, 2013 @ 5:26 pm
<3 <3 <3 I didn't even think about the fact that you and I connected through NaNo. THIS IS AWESOME AND MAKES NANO EVEN MORE SPECIAL TO ME NOW. And oh gosh, the fear is what is FORCING me to do NaNo. I've been putting off writing since I got back from the tour–and the reason is plain, simple fear that I can't do it. But I WILL ON MONDAY. End of story. 🙂
June 28, 2013 @ 11:52 pm
I think that I’ll be participating in CampNaNo July. The April version was very successful for me. I wrote the last 16k words of my current work in progress (which was my NaNo 2012 project) in about nine days (I think it was nine days). My goal for July is to write the third draft of that same WIP. Only this time, I’m adding a brand new character so a lot of what I’ve written will have to be be completely re-written AND I’m making it a trilogy so my goal is to have book one finished by the end of July. I really have no idea if I’ll be able to do it… but I’m hoping that I will!
As to fears about my writing that I face anyways…. my biggest fear is that I’ll never be fortunate enough to get a book published. Every time I set out to write a new story I think that it’ll be the “one” to get my published. Most of the projects I start I haven’t finished BUT I have had the patience and the will power to finish eight novels. I’m hoping that the eighth one (the science-ficiton one that I’m turning into a trilogy) will be “the one”. The characters refuse to leave me and I feel *so* strongly about their story that I know I will be working on it until I get it right. New projects can wait. This trilogy is front and centre at the moment. Though, I am afraid that by expanding the story so much I’ll ruin it.
How do you know when what you’re adding is the right thing to add? I mean, I always felt that this story was meant to be told over three books, even when I was starting out in November. When I was writing the ending back in April I felt like I was rushing things, but I didn’t want to slow down, I wanted to get to the end of the story and now I’m worried that by going and writing what I really wanted to write in the first place, I’ll ruin it. Will that stop me from writing it though? No. Of course not. ^_^
Thanks so much for doing such a great post! ^_^
July 1, 2013 @ 4:57 am
NINE DAYS for 16K?! Omg, that’s AWESOME, Angelica!! Good luck adding in your new character and rewriting stuff. I know you can do it. Know you can.
As for adding-being-the-right-thing, that’s tough. If it feels right to add it, then I always think you can’t go wrong. (Ha, terrible sentence there, but hopefully you take my meaning.) It’s always better to START adding, and if it feels forced or just isn’t working, then you know you’ve got the wrong approach. But if it feels “right”, then you’re on the “right track”. After your done, then you can let a CP (or 2…or 3 ;)) decide if what you’ve done is good or not. Or, taking time away from a project once it’s finished can always give you some needed perspective to know if you’ve done the Right Thing.
Phew. i’m not sure that paragraph made ANY sense. Sorry. :-/
June 29, 2013 @ 2:13 pm
Yep- Monday I too join in on the craziness as well.
Fear is something I really struggle with. (Fear of wasting my time, of not measuring up, of failing to reach goals, of writing something completely horridly awful…) Actually, the fear thing has been a little heavier than normal lately.
That’s why I’m approaching things a little different this round. I decided I would write something UN-PUBLISHABLE. I’ve tossed out all those thoughts of what other people would think, what’s marketable, whether other people would like it… and I have a story idea that I am super excited to explore. Can’t wait to get started. ^.^
July 1, 2013 @ 4:58 am
That is SUCH a cool idea, Joni. I LOVE it. There’s so much less pressure and you can really write freely when you’re not worried about what will happen to the story later. I think that’s why I love to work on side projects that AREN’T my contracted series. 😉 GOod luck with Camp NaNo. I think your project could turn out to be LOADS of fun (and I’m totally taking some advice from your book–to stop worrying about the end goal of publication). <3
June 29, 2013 @ 3:46 pm
Thank you so much for sharing! I’m rebelling this Nano with my last draft of my novel. I was in the same boat that my first draft has been trashed and now on draft seven I see the story I wanted in the first place. I love seeing your advice on the Nano forums, it gives me an extra push to keep writing. Good luck with the Epic Fantasy! That is not for the faint of heart.
July 1, 2013 @ 5:00 am
Ha. No, epic fantasy definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. I actually have two separate fantasy series going…not sure yet which one I’ll devote camp nano too. 😉 MY HEART WILL KEEP UP–I WILL MAKE IT!
Also, GOOD LUCK with your rebel self during July! I totally feel you on the draft seven, and I can imagine you’re feeling pretty pumped to finally “spotting” that right story. 😉
June 29, 2013 @ 9:58 pm
I am already signed up. I will be continuing on what I had started in the April Camp. Though I can’t write every day, I am on the last leg of school for my Bachelor’s degree (slated to graduate in December). I write what I can when I can. My goal is to have 1st draft done by Halloween.
July 1, 2013 @ 5:02 am
WHOA! First off, that’s AWESOME about your bachelor’s. GO YOU. Second off, that’s even more awesome that you’re also WRITING. GO YOU x 10 million. Third off, you have set yourself the most reasonable, smart goal–the sort of goal I recommend aspiring authors set. You can’t control getting published, you know? But you CAN control when you finish a draft or revise or hand it off to a critique partner. So GO YOU x 20 million for setting manageable goals that I am SURE you’ll meet. GOOD LUCK, SARA!
July 1, 2013 @ 10:18 pm
Thank you. I think that is the most excitement and encouragement I have gotten in just a short paragraph compared to multiple conversations that I have had with others. I couldn’t help but have a cheshire cat grin when I was done reading it. 🙂
Sara (Page Sage)
June 30, 2013 @ 5:16 am
I wanted to participate, but didn’t think I could since my goal is to finish a first draft I’ve already started. Thanks for the heads up about the Nano Rebels!!
July 1, 2013 @ 5:03 am
YAY!! I hope you participate as a rebel then! I’m rebelling in that I know I will NOT hit 50K this month…but a 30K goal + book 2 promo + mentoring a workshop seems like more than enough work for me. GO REBELS!! And good luck finishing your first draft!
Sara (Page Sage)
July 1, 2013 @ 10:01 pm
I signed up yesterday! Woohoo! 😀 Sounds like you definitely have your plate full, but in a very fun way. Good luck to you, too!
July 1, 2013 @ 3:44 am
I’m participating! It’s my second serious NaNoWriMo, but my very first Camp NaNoWriMo! I’m writing a completely new story (about fencing, musical theater, and kissing on monkey bars, among other things), alongside revising the third draft of my current project that I’ll be querying in February! I’m so happy to see that you’re participating and I can’t wait for #BAMFWordBattles!
July 1, 2013 @ 5:03 am
OOOH!! A new story–how exciting, Melissa!! And I can’t wait to see you in the word battles! GO CAMP NANO!! And good luck! <3
July 8, 2013 @ 9:56 pm
I am in love with this post. Like really, really, in love. This is some stellar advice Sarah!
Nano has definitely taught me how to write past my fears and to just GET IT DONE and written on paper. Sure, it may need to be taken to pieces later but it is the backdrop to it all. It would be like asking a painter to take a paintbrush and paint straight onto the canvas without ever drawing the scene first. Or asking a runner to run a marathon without any training. That first draft, no matter how awful, is ESSENTIAL to the entire make-up of your eventual novel.
As for fears with my writing, I am always fearful when I write. What if people don’t understand, what if it doesn’t come out the way it’s supposed to? What if I put too much of myself into it and my characters all turn out to be exactly the same? But, then I just write anyway. I put the music on, I block out the world and I write until my fingers bleed because the one thing I always forget when my fears are overwhelming me is that I LOVE to write. It is in my very nature to write, and it would be inexcusable not to allow myself to do it.
July 8, 2013 @ 9:58 pm
Oh, and I’m participating in Camp NaNo too! Perfect timing for me too as I got an inspiration for a new novel just before it started 🙂
July 8, 2013 @ 10:38 pm
Picked this up from Grant Faulkner’s retweet! Yes, doing Camp NaNo. Yes, a hardcore Rebel! Yes, revising and hoping to finish my own perpetually-work-in-progress fantasy novel. I can write 50K for it in any given November and it’s never finished and total dreck. Which is why your story about 12+ revisions heartens me no end! Thanks!