Photo credit: Steven Depolo
Wow, am I ready for some roasted marshmallows* and hot cocoa now!
If you don’t know what Camp NaNoWriMo is, I described it back at the beginning of the month, so read here first: Heading back to Camp!
As I explained back then, my goal for Camp NaNo was to submit 25,000 words’ worth of stories to publications. I sat down with my huge spreadsheet of places that accept short fiction, and my long list of stories in various states of revision, and MADE A PLAN. Seriously, just making the plan took most of the first weekend of Camp. Still, it felt great to get organized.
But you know what they say about the best-laid plans…
…they work better than no plan at all! Yes!
Isn’t that what they say? Well, they should.
Most of the stories needed a fair amount of revision, and it was frustrating that those hours and words didn’t “count” for Camp NaNo. I was doing all this work, but my numbers on the stats page still weren’t going up! Which of course, it exactly why this goal was so motivating for me: because it forced me to stop revising and send those suckers out!
Side note: It helps that I gave myself “credit” for the words I revised because they counted toward my Project 10K monthly goal. If you’d like a little accountability with your monthly writing goals, feel free to join our little P10K movement — everyone’s welcome, just click here.
In the end, I had to scramble. I didn’t get as many of my “big” stories revised and out as I was hoping. But I got just over the 25,000 mark. 25,267, to be exact.
Combined with the four smaller pieces I already had out (three submitted just in March), I currently have out:
- 3 short stories (4,000+ words)
- 5 flash fiction stories (~1,000 words)
- 4 micro fiction stories (< 300 words)
For a total of 12! Okay, I know that sounds like peanuts to real professionals, especially since some of them are super short. But most of these are submitted to paying magazines, including a few with professional rates. And most importantly, this is three times more than my highest number out at one time, the record I set only the previous month! It’s definitely an improvement, and I was super happy about it.
I ran around the apartment singing an improvised rap song titled “Yay 4 Me” where I rhymed the words “done” and “won” in as many combinations as I could think of.
That exuberance lasted for about a day, and now I’m already back to stressing out about the remaining five short stories that need to be revised (some of them substantially) and sent out before I can really be DONE.
But boy, won’t that feel good? Then I can start working on all these other intriguing ideas for stories that I keep having, totally guilt-free. Yay!
So that’s another Camp NaNo in the bag. Down the hole. Straight through the basket, all net, baby.
I couldn’t have done it without the fun and support of my great cabin mates.
Plot Bunnies, you rock!
In addition to working on getting stories out, I also went to the Los Angeles Festival of Books for the first time — which was amazing! I saw lots of super cool panel talks. I also attended a two-day science fiction/literary conference — which was also amazing, not least of which was because it was a small group, so I got to actually hang out with a few big name SF writers and some really fascinating scholars and critics, too. I learned so much and was so inspired! Both events were totally worth losing time to my Camp NaNo push.
I hope everyone else had a wonderful and productive month! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting as many stories or commenting on others’ blogs as much as usual. I hope to get a bit more back into the swing in the next couple months — until the next Camp NaNo, in July. Can’t wait!
Happy writing, my friends!
* Footnote: The photo is for my non-American Camp NaNo cabinmates, who were baffled about the whole concept of marshmallows. Tip one: do NOT eat them raw! Tip two: this is how they should look when properly roasted: brown and crunchy on the outside and so gooey on the inside that if you’re not careful, it will slip off the stick into the fire before you can grab it. There is a skill to this, folks. The one in the photo seems to be a bit too dark for my taste, but I couldn’t find one that was perfectly roasted. But hey, you’re writers: use your imagination!