Home from Camp NaNo!


I’m back! Once again, Camp NaNo was fun, and productive — made more so by having a great group of supportive fellow writers in my cabin.  It was a lot tougher for me this year, because some crazy things happened at work at the beginning of April, making me so busy that I might not have been able to post much on the blog even without working on my Camp NaNo writing goals.

You might recall that my plan was to work on “submittable shorts” — that is, short stories to be sent out for publication, rather than posted on my blog.  My goal was to write or to edit (for which I give myself partial writing credit) 15,000 words of short stories.  Okay, that doesn’t sound like a ton compared to the 50,000 word count goal of regular NaNoWriMo, but I have my excuses, er, explanations:  (1) I’d been having a hard time meeting my Project 10K monthly goal as it was, and (2) I think the per-word difficulty level is harder for several short stories than for the same amount of novel, because you have to keep thinking up new characters, plots, and endings.  (Argh, I say!  Endings are killing me this month.)

I had a pretty productive first weekend for Camp NaNo, getting almost 6,000 words in.  That made me feel optimistic.  Ambitious.  BOLD.  If I could do that in two days, why not push myself to do it every weekend?  Get some more writing in during the week, too?

So I increased my word count goal to 20,000.  (Okay, maybe not that bold.)

As if on cue, my life promptly exploded, and I barely had time to eat, sleep, and do the other basic functions of life during weekdays, much less write.  Then work rudely pushed itself into my weekends.  By the time I got to the last weekend of April, I had only managed to add another 6,000 words in the intervening 17 days.  I had just under 8,000 more to go in the last two days.

Could I do it?  Well, luckily work had slowed down to a less-raging scream, which was a great improvement.  I blew off what little else of my life there was to blow off (who needs showers or clean clothes anyway?) and pushed on through.  The weird Sasquatch image says it all:


Hooray for me!  I “won” Camp NaNoWriMo! 

The whole idea of “winning” still seems odd to me, but it sure does feel good to meet my goal.  And I never would have written or edited this much this month if it weren’t for Camp NaNo, and setting those public goals for my progress.

Hooray for goals! 

Once again, though, the word count did not seem to satisfy me.  I had grand visions for how many short stories I would have at the end of the month, expertly written and edited, gorgeous and pristine, ready to be sent off to publishers and snapped up as the perfect little gems they are.   I had a whole list of story ideas that I had been meaning to pursue, and thought I could finally make some progress on them.  What I ended up with instead:

  • Three previous stories gone through a few more turns of the wringer and which are now in Much Better Shape.
  • One previous story revised and sent off to my online critique group (which, based on my initial perusal of their comments, they do not believe is perfect exactly as it is, dang it).
  • One earlier story idea that I got 2100 words written for on the first draft before I stalled out.
  • Two new story ideas that I completed first drafts for, in the 2500 and 5000 word ranges.
  • One new story idea that I wrote up most of the plot and character for that I’m pretty excited about.

So the good news is: PROGRESS.  And also: more story ideas, whee!

My goal for the next month is to actually finalize some of these (or rather, to admit that I cannot revise them indefinitely), and to –gasp– actually send at least one of them out for publication.

And once I get some of these shorts out, I promise to go back to the novel.  (Sweet novel-in-progress, I haven’t forgotten you.  I still love you.  I just think it’s right for me that I see other stories for a while.)


I want to shout-out to my great cabin mates — Plot Bunnies 4-Eva!  Gabi, Lynn, Sammi, Megan, Dale, Casey, and Jean – you gals are the BEST!  I missed some of the writers from last year, but hope they can join us again next time.  We didn’t have as much chatter on our cabin page this year as last year.  It seemed like Real Life was just busier this time around; some of the others were dealing with hassles even worse than mine.

It really does make a difference to have your buddies there for you when you’re dealing with a writing challenge like this, so THANK YOU to all my cabin mates.

For the rest of my friends out there in blogland, I’m sorry I was pretty much absentee for the whole month.  I tried to read a few blog posts here and there and make comments, but I didn’t get to all of my “regulars”, much less everyone else.  I’m especially sorry I missed so many of the posts from the A-to-Z challenge and NaPoWriMo — you guys were really jamming out there, good for you!

The Horrible, Terrible Work Situation has not totally resolved yet, so I won’t be back up to regular blogging speed until next week at the earliest.  But I will be back, I promise.

I miss you! 

In the meantime, good luck on your writing goals this month, my friends!

Art Hard!


16 thoughts on “Home from Camp NaNo!

  1. Well done, Joy! It’s always an achievement to reach that word count goal and it sounds like you made loads of progress on a number of projects. 🙂
    I too found Camp tougher this time round, and I didn’t get to chat in the cabin as much as I’d like to have. By the time I got round to writing and updating my progress (which, I admit, wasn’t that often) I just seemed to run out of words…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about running out of words. I actually had a little time free some evenings, but I felt so used up by the end of the day — like a blown-out tire, or a deflated balloon — I didn’t even have the energy to read blog posts. Or my email, half the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done on finishing and ‘winning’ Camp NaNo! I’m really impressed that you achieved so much despite all the pressures from work – not to mention, everyday life. I hope you’re really proud of yourself, because you should be! I wish you lots of luck with the publication of your short stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Millie. It’s amazing how much that “public setting of goal” thing pushes me to get things done. I’m hoping to get into a more productive daily routine, now that work is calming back down to “only” a full-time commitment instead of more like 24/7. I’ve so completely gotten out of the habit of writing flash fiction for the blog, it’s going to take another push to get me back on track. And now I have quite the pile of half- or mostly-finished short stories vying for my attention. Plus I just agreed to do a beta read, and it’s 140K, hm…But for today, I will concentrate on the eight loads of laundry I’ve been putting off, and actually making some food from scratch for dinner, and see where I go from there. 🙂


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