Camp NaNoWriMo: Learning Through Doing

Camp NaNoWriMo is not just a writing race to the end of the month. It’s a journey. Through your novel, sure, but there’s more to it than that.

First, there’s the obvious question of can you do it? The answer is yes. The answer is nearly always yes. The real question is will you? And if you won’t or can’t, will you drop out early and give up or will you persevere? Writing right until the end even though you know you won’t succeed because it isn’t about winning, it’s about writing.

Which is it about to you?

Whether or not you persevere reflects how determined you are to succeed as a writer. How dedicated you are. You will learn what you are willing to sacrifice and what you aren’t. You’ll also learn whether or not you write well under pressure, with a deadline hanging over your head.

In fact, you’ll learn a lot about your writing process. When is the best time for you to write? Can you write every day? For how long can you write at a time? All of these little things that can lead to a more productive writing time. You learn through doing.

It may go deeper than that. You may discover your approach to writing novels. Your secret formula.

And of course you’ll learn about your novel: what happens, who the characters are, etc.

Really, it doesn’t matter if you won Camp NaNoWriMo or didn’t. What matters is what you learned through the process and what you’re going to do with that knowledge.

What did you learn?



2 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo: Learning Through Doing

  1. What did YOU learn? This blog post was just a list of the questions I hoped this blog post would answer! Disappointing! 😦

    • I’m sorry to have disappointed you. It was meant more as an ‘advisory’ post than an ‘update on my progress’ post.

      But since you ask (and to not disappoint you for any longer!):

      Yes I could and yes I did and yes that meant persevering when I thought it wouldn’t be possible because for me Camp NaNoWriMo was about writing, not winning. OK, it was about winning, as well. But I genuinely did keep going without a view to winning at one point. Possibly the winning is what pushed me that bit further.

      I am motivated and determined and willing to make sacrifices: sleep, leisure time, watching Come Dine With Me. I am not willing to sacrifice Game of Thrones/Mad Men night.

      I write best at night, after dinner, but I can write in the day. An hour at a time is tough but do-able. And it helps to write every day with one day off a week. If I don’t write for more than a day, it’s more difficult to write when I start again. If I don’t take a day off, I burn out.

      The process for writing this novel: learn through writing. Learn everything there is to know – about the characters, about what happens, about what happens in-between the scenes, everything. Then start to think about writing a novel. That will mean cutting most of what was written while learning. But that’s OK.

      What I’ve been saying my novel is about is wrong. It’s much more about domestic violence than anything else. Cathy’s been ‘mad’ since her wedding night, underneath. It just took one disappointment too crushing to make it surface. And Duncan…he needs help just as much as she does. Maybe even more. (Diana hasn’t even appeared, yet. 30,000 words and she’s still not here. I know. Like I said, most will be cut. In the final draft, she’ll appear in the 2nd chapter. Probably. Maybe she’ll never appear, who knows?)

      The main thing I learned (and this is something I’ve been thinking for a while) is I am not in control. This happened the way it happened and the characters are who they are. I can’t change that. All I can do is discover it, explore it, understand it and then attempt to write it to be true to the story and craft it to be enjoyable to read. That won’t be easy. But that’s OK

      It isn’t meant to be easy and it isn’t meant to be fun. It’s just meant to be.

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