(or, The Magical Land of Word Frenzy and Writing-Related Camping Puns)
You may remember me talking about NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writer’s Month, which occurs in November of each year. Well, they also have two summer “camp” sessions each year, and this July, I’m taking part. Did I love the grueling hours in front of my computer so much that one intense month of it would not suffice? Not exactly. But I did love the sense of accomplishment, the progress I made on my storytelling, and the real hope it gave me for one day becoming a legitimate author. Can I reproduce the results in a month full of sunshine and the potential for summer fun? Well, if I can, that will be one hell of a confidence booster.
In some ways, Camp NaNoWriMo seems a little more fun. For one thing, their website is fully-geared into that camp theme. The entire visual element (which is very nicely done, by the way – bravo, webmaster!) evokes the sense of an “idyllic retreat.” The theme also creeps into their content in the form of puns like “the Block Ness monster,” giving the whole endeavor a sense of (admittedly cheesy but still delightful) humor that banishes the sense of dread or overwhelming that may otherwise accompany the daunting project ahead. The atmosphere is much more casual, and you can even set your own word count goal, as low as 10,000 words. You also have the option of being sorted into “cabins,” giving you the chance to interact with a small group of other random humans pursuing the same goal as yourself, talking with and supporting each other without having to express yourself to all the thousands of participants like you would in an open forum.
For me this month, I aim to add on to the project I started back in November, a novel that has since grown to just shy of 80,000 words. If I succeed in writing 50,000 more words in July, then I will be nearly complete with my first draft! It’s hard for me to imagine, actually having a full, completed draft of a novel, finishing a story I’ve loved and pondered for years. Of course, that’s not nearly the end of the process – there will be months if not years of maddening edits ahead of me, followed by the uncertain process of attempting publication. But that doesn’t deter me, not now. Who knows, maybe a year from now I could be calling myself a published author! Maybe even critically-acclaimed … or bestselling! Yes, those may be a bit less realistic, but a girl can dream, can’t she?