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May 6, 2014 / Heather

Surviving NaNoWriMo & Camp

There’s a trick to it. I won’t lie. The trick is this:

You just have to write.

That’s it! That’s the big secret. You have to write to get ahead in Camp NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo, and just generally in writing. How are you going to improve if you don’t write?

Stephen King writes a minimum 3 pages per day, some authors write for x number of hours, and others write to x number of words. During Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo I fall into the last category.

Truth be told, before NaNoWriMo was a part of my life I never finished a story. Unless you count the ONE flash piece I wrote about a character or different roleplays (rps) or essays for school… You get the idea. It wasn’t until November of 2011 that I ACTUALLY managed to flesh out a rough draft. A full 50,000+ word story. Since 2010 my NaNo and NaNo related writing has been the following:

November 2010: Failed NaNoWriMo

November 2011: Finished NaNoWriMo

November 2012: Finished NaNoWriMo

April 2013: Failed Camp NaNoWriMo

July 2013: Finished Camp NaNoWriMo

November 2013: Finished NaNoWriMo

February/March 2014: Finished a short story.

April 2014: Finished Camp NaNoWriMo

As you can see BOTH my first time doing NaNoWriMo AND Camp NaNoWriMo I failed. Did I ever let that stop me from writing? Obviously not! I have friends I talk with who say they feel terrible because they haven’t yet finished NaNoWriMo or finished a story and I tell them that I failed both my first NaNo and my first Camp.


You can very clearly see here that I did NOT write on a regular basis for this story (Cry, Wolf, Cry). Sometimes I have days I don’t write at all with NaNo events. Maybe I’ve done too much, maybe I’m sick, I don’t know. Sometimes you’ll have days where it feels like getting words on paper is impossible. Other days it’ll be like you can’t stop writing.



Here’s just the three Camp NaNoWriMo novels I’ve done so far. See? I did NOT complete Killer Love. Do I plan on going and finishing it? Maybe. Honestly I feel it was crap for my writing. I would like to re-write the whole thing though because I could do it better.

I love Camp NaNoWriMo and I love NaNoWriMo. They make me feel free because it’s a great way to remind yourself you’re NOT alone in writing. You’re not the only one struggling with a story. I’m getting better with my speeds and things and with my editing, but I’m still not where I want to be. Will I be doing NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo July this year? You bet! I’ve already got ideas for them and I”m going to soon be planning out July’s novel. It’s not going to be a 50,000 word beast, but it will be around 20,000-25,000 words. I will be doing these for a long time to come.

How to survive NaNoWriMo and Camps? If you’re testing the waters with Camp, don’t make your story some 500,000 word monstrosity. While I do know someone who could get that done, I’m never going to be able to hit that in a month.

Pace yourself. If you can and need to, take breaks. Stand and stretch every hour or so for about 5 minutes. I do this because usually I’m needing to stop staring at my computer or get something to drink.

And by the way, you’re probably writing more than you think you are.  This post alone for me is a little over 600 words. Be you, be true to your writing, and pace yourself. Injuries that are wrist related, for example (I’ll go into more detail in another post), SUCK! Speaking from experience.

I’m off everyone. Peace to you all.




Leave a Comment
  1. Aussa Lorens / May 10 2014 1:30 PM

    Dang, girl. It’s amazing what having a goal or a limit in place will do for your productivity. I need to follow your lead. In other news! My semester is over, which means editing the manuscript begins very soon… probably first week of June. Cannot wait. And yes, that’s sick.

    • Heather / May 10 2014 5:25 PM

      Deadlines. They make fun whooshing noises though. Lol. I really like having a deadline to stick to because it lets me plan better. It’s also why I’m planning out my editing and things. Hope your editing goes well!


  1. Writing and Injuries | H. R. Shavor

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