So, as I have mentioned before, I decided to partake in Camp Nano Wrimo this month. And how has it gone? Well…
Not so good. Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve had some personal things to deal with this month (my nan was not well and in hospital, and then there’s been a lot of looking after her since she came home) and so while I started off well, I couldn’t quite keep it up.
So, am I in a position to be giving you tips of how to do a Nano of your own? Probably not, but who’s stopping me?
- Number 1: Set a reachable goal
The great thing about Camp Nano’s is that, unlike Novembers official Nano, you can set your own goal. This can be words, pages, hours (I think?) and a couple of other criteria. In November, you have to aim to write 50,000 words, which although only comes out at 1667 words a day, is still a lot. Here, you can choose your own. I chose 30,000 – only 1,000 words a day, and I found it so much more doable.
- Number 2: Make the most of your days off.
Luckily, I was off work for the first few days of April, so I spent that time writing as much as possible. Getting ahead means that you can take the occasional day off if you don’t have time or just aren’t in the mood to write, and can still be on track with your word count. I’ve now just had four days off for Easter, and have worked to up my word count back to where it should be. Similarly….
- Number 3: Write more at the beginning.
In my experience, the first few days are easy to do. You have so much momentum and motivation, and your head is brimming with ideas, so make the most of that and get everything down as soon as possible. After a few days you start running dry – you’ve used all your big scenes and now you’re stalling on plot points and finding flaws. Don’t worry! Rewrite scenes if you want but don’t delete the old ones! It all counts to your word count, but more importantly, it all counts as work you’ve done towards your novel and when you come to edit, you might find you now prefer the original. It’s good to bounce ideas around and try out difference scenarios. That being said…
- Number 4: Don’t worry about your word count!
As I write this, I’m about 6000 words behind. And that’s sort of off putting. Is there any point in carrying on if I’m not going to win? Of course! The whole point of Nano is just to get you put words on paper (or screen) and work on your project. So what if you don’t write 30,000 words, or 50,000 words, or even 2 pages. It’s better than no words.
- Number 5: PLAN PLAN PLAN!
I will admit I’m not very good at this. I have such good intentions and then suddenly it’s time to write and I don’t have my full plot figured out. Which is why after the initial rush to get all my ideas out, I struggle. Having some good ideas of your ending, but especially your middle is key, as I think, personally at least, that the middle is the hardest bit to write.
- Number 6: Write with snacks!
Set some time, grab a few drinks, some snacks to keep you going for a while (thank God for Easter eggs, amiright?) and camp out by your laptop. Get rid of distracts and create a little writing den with everything you need. If only for an hour, that short length of time with no distractions will be invaluable in letting you get ahead.
- Number 7: Don’t give up!
So what if you’re a bit behind? You don’t have to meet a word count to be proud of what you’ve written. Maybe it’s only half or a quarter of what you intended to write. As I said before, it’s better than nothing!
Will I win this month? No. Have I essentially given up? Kind of. I even changed my goal to 25,000 words, but I still won’t even make that. I will keep writing but I know I’m not going to reach my goal in the next 8 days. So yes, I’ve given up on the Nano aspect of it, but I’ve very pleased with how much I have written and the progress I’ve managed to make on this story that’s been dancing around my head for a year now.
So if you are participating in Camp Nano, I hope it’s gone a little better than mine has. But if not, don’t fear! Well done for even writing anything, cause more often than not, it’s the first words that are the hardest. (And yes, I definitely wrote that to the tune of ‘the first cut is the deepest…’)