Camp NaNoWriMo: April 2015 Winner!

Camp-Winner-2015-Web-Banner

Hooray! Look at that fancy Winner banner!

I’m happy to say that I hit my goal of 50,000 words this month. As of today, my word count is 52,540. My total word count for the project is around 65,000. Now that I’ve hit my word count goal, I don’t feel the need to writing like a crazy person every night, so I took it easy yesterday, and I may not write much over the next few days.

So, what’s next? Well, now my goal has shifted from just a word count to actually finishing the project. I still have a significant chunk of story to get through, so I can’t just sit around. In November, that’s exactly what happened. I wrote so much during NaNoWriMo that I basically burned out on the story, and then in December, I was just sick of it. I didn’t know where it was going, and I was tired of the characters invading my mind.

This month feels different. I still love my story and (most of) my characters, and I have a clear idea of where the story is going (not to say that there haven’t been a few surprises along the way). My end date for this project is June 30th. That gives me two months to write what will probably be another 50,000 words or so. That means I only have to write about 800 words per day to make that happen–so I have no excuses.

My other goal, moving forward, is to write a little bit every day. I’m giving myself a little bit of leeway here, because I may step away from the project for a few days, up to a week, just to get some distance and clarity. But once I jump back into it, I want to make sure that I put something on paper–even if it’s just one word–every day. I think this is a good practice in general, but I also think it’s crucial in the middle of a project. If I can finish this by the end of June, perhaps beta reading could take place in July and August, editing after that–who knows? Maybe it could be a polished final project by the end of the year (fingers crossed).

To those of you who are still working on your projects: don’t give up now! The finish line is so close, and even if you don’t meet your word count goals, it’s still worthwhile to keep putting words on paper. Good luck to everyone!

Camp NaNoWriMo: Day 24

The end is near.

It’s hard to believe that we only have 7 days left in the month of April. That means that you (yes, you) only have 7 more days to reach your Camp NaNoWriMo goals!

After an embarrassing lag, I came back strong this week. My word count is now 45,809. I hit two records this week: on Tuesday, I wrote 3,120, and yesterday, I wrote 4,450 words. Part of my spurt is due to wanting to hit 50K, but most of it is due to my story. I’ve just written a crucial turning point (that sparks the entire rest of the story), including a grisly scene where half of my characters are unexpectedly killed. It’s been great knowing you guys, but you need to get out of the story in order for this to properly move along.

My total word count on the project is about 56K at this point. As I keep writing, I think the final word count may be around 110K or 120K – those are absurd numbers to me. I’ve never written anything close to that. But I’m finding this time around that the more I write, the more ideas come into my head. As I’m writing a scene, my mind is finding ways to twist the plot to add more tension, set up more obstacles for my protagonists. I’m sure that this will all get narrowed down when I finally edit the completed version, but for now, it’s write, write, write.

I’ve accomplished a huge goal this month in that I think I’m finally letting go off my fear of writing. Sometimes, I’ll write a scene, and I know it’s not great. I know it probably won’t make the final cut. But I want to write it – I want to get those words out, even if they’re not perfect. Even during my first NaNoWriMo, I found myself editing during the writing process, fixing my verb tenses and taking out words that didn’t quite fit. Nope. Not anymore. A first draft should be an idea, fleshed out and on paper (well, on a Word document). It doesn’t need to be pretty.

How are your months going? Anyone else close to their goal? Anyone just giving up?

An apology to my NaNoWriMo project

Dear Camp NaNoWriMo Project,

I’m sorry. I know it feels like I abandoned you. We were going so strong, writing every day, and then, bam, nothing. I didn’t mean to ignore you for so long. I know that I promised you that I’d write a lot while I was away during the long weekend. I promised that I’d wake up early and knock out at least 1,667 words every day.

I did not do that.

But never fear, Project – we’re not out yet. At over 35,000 words, we’re still on track. 50,000 is not only attainable, it’s in sight. In fact, we might even hit 50K before the 30th.

More than that, I have plans for you. I know it might have seemed like I was a little sluggish. You haven’t seen a ton of action recently. But don’t worry – we’re just getting to the good part. You’re going to meet a couple new characters today and tomorrow, and I think it’s going to reenergize you.

So, once again, Project, I’m sorry for ignoring you. I promise I won’t do it again.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Day 12

We’re almost halfway done with Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s hard to believe that the midpoint of April is this week. I’m happy to say that this month has been extremely productive. Since my last post, one week ago, I’ve written 13,755 words. And you know what? Some of them aren’t too bad!

I’m finding that I’m taking much longer than anticipated in the first half of the story. I estimated that this project would be about 75,000 words, but I think it’s going to end up much longer than that. I have almost 37,000 words on the project right now, and I think it’s about a quarter done. So, although I hope to hit the 50,000 word mark in April, I will certainly not finish the project.

This is the start of the third week of Camp NaNoWriMo, and I know from experience that this is when motivation can wane. After the initial burst of energy from starting a new project, the words can take a little longer to get on the paper. My goal for getting over this is a commitment to write every day, even if it’s only 500 words. In past NaNoWriMos, I’ve taken a few days off, but I’m going to avoid that this month. Missing one day leads to missing two days, then three days, etc.

Back to writing!

Camp NaNoWriMo: Day 5

Well, friends, at the end of Day 4 of Camp NaNoWriMo, I had logged 9,590 words – averaging 2,397 words per day. Not too shabby! I’m impressed that I’ve already written more in April than I did in either February or March.

For whatever reason, I’m finding it to be a little easier this month to sit down and force myself to write. I definitely have a trend–before I get to 1,000 words, it’s hard for me to get momentum, but once I have a decent amount down on the paper, I just keep rolling.

So far, I’m enjoying my story and my characters. The outline that I wrote before the beginning of the month has been very helpful and keeps me on track.  Though I’m optimistic that I’ll hit 50,000 words this month, I don’t know that I’ll actually finish this project. I’m at around 22,000 now, and the story is just getting started. There’s still a lot of ground to cover.

If you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo, or if you have any other writing goals this month, I hope they’re going well for you!

March Recap: Vacation Edition

March was a mixed bag. On the reading side, I read 10 books, including two from my 2015 Reading List.  I’m still on track to complete my goal this year of reading 100 books. Notably, I read The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, which has been sitting on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for quite awhile, and I finally read two classics, The Time Machine, and Lord of the Flies. My 10 books included 2 history books, as a result of my traveling, which I always find a little harder to get through.

On the writing side… mm, not so productive. I wrote a total of 8,677 words, which evens out to a sad 279 words per day. As I’ve written on here before, part of this was because I hit a block in my current project that I just couldn’t bypass. Another reason for this was just focusing on things other than writing (I know–what??). My day job has been busy and stressful, and by the time I got home and decompressed, writing was pushed to the back of my mind. There is more going on there, I think, but I’ll save that for another post.

But that needs to change this month. It’s Camp NaNoWriMo! Honestly, I’m wavering back and forth between excitement and reluctance. I need to just buckle down and work. I’m returning to the same project I started last April during Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve done a detailed outcome, and I’ve split my Scrivener file into parts, so I think I have a good road map. This project is connected to my novel, The Historian, though I’ll keep the connections vague in case you haven’t read it. It’s currently sitting at about 13,000 words, and I hope to get another 50,000 this month. I know I can do it, because I’ve hit 50,000 in both of my previous Novembers. I just need to push myself.

What are your April goals, readers? Anyone else doing Camp NaNoWriMo?

Writer’s Block and Camp NaNoWriMo

Welcome Spring! I’m so excited that the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. I took a long vacation earlier in the month, which was great for my well-being but bad for my reading and writing goals.

I expected vacation to clear my head and spark inspiration, but that’s exactly the opposite of what’s happened. Since I got back from vacation, I’ve written a total of 500 words. That’s it! For some reason, my story feels stagnant. The weird thing is that I’m right about to really dive into some crazy action – I’m about at the halfway point, and I’m about to make a big reveal that motivates the actions for the rest of the story. So, why can’t I push through this hump and get to the good stuff?  My goal is to push myself to write something–anything–every day until the end of the month on this project.

Why only until the end of the month? Because next month is Camp NaNoWriMo! And during April, I’m switching projects. I need to back away from my current project for a little while and reassess where it’s going. I’m going back to a project that I started last April during Camp NaNoWriMo. Last April, I failed miserably and didn’t even hit 10,000 words. This year, my goal is 50,000 words. Over the past year, the story’s word count has crept toward 20,000, so if I sit down and commit, I think I should be able to finish it next month (or if not, get very, very close).

Are you signing up for Camp NaNoWriMo? Friend me! My user name is rbohlen, and I’m always looking for buddies to help with motivation.