I’m doing Camp Nanowrimo right now. For those of you who don’t know what that is, Camp Nanowrimo is a writing challenge, a contest of sorts, with a fun theme of going to camp.
For me, it’s motivational. In the pre-published world, no one gives you deadlines. You can meander with a book for a year or two and never make progress. Or even drop it completely and start something new. There isn’t any accountability or motivation, except your own internal drive (which to be honest does flag upon occasion.)
Camp Nano helps me become laser focused and completion driven. To sweeten the word-count pot, because of the public commitment to finish X amount of words per day, there’s a social pressure to finish.
The program works for me because I was wired by public school to get assignments in by due dates. I was never late with homework. The loss of points terrified my A-grade-obsessed self.
That part of me is alive and well and thrives on assignment completion. Camp Nano allows you to set your own goals (unlike its autumn cousin Nanowrimo in November where it’s set for you at 1, 667 per day.) I find that setting a challenging but not overwhelming goal keeps move me forward on my I-don’t-wanna-do-this days, my this-sucks days, or my I-don’t-even-know-why-I write days. Can’t throw it away. Can’t stop. Can’t question myself or my ability. The words must be written. Assignment due!!
One tool I’ve found helpful in keeping pace is a book by Martha Alderson, “The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts.” It’s designed to be uses with Nano or during a period of first drafting. The daily prompts encourage you to dig into character, visceral senses, and gently guides you in getting the story down without killing the flurry of words.
In fact, when I read a few prompts before writing, I am brimming with ideas on how to deepen the story. I believe this guidance will assist when I go back to edit, as well. The structure and character development will be solid before I even start.
I may not finish my first draft this month, but thanks to Camp Nano and my Prompts book I will have an excellent start. And August is looking good as a ‘finishing’ kind of month.
Is anyone out there doing Camp Nano or has done Nano in the past? Any tools you recommend to meet your daily word count? And in general, how to you force yourself to get things done, even when it’s hard? Are you carrot person? A stick person? Other? Please let me know in the comments.