Postscript: Camp NaNoWriMo

With all the excitement post-Conflux, I’ve ended up almost forgetting to wrap up the big challenge for April — Camp NaNoWriMo. The target was 25,000 words in 30 days, and once again I was on schedule — ahead of schedule, actually, with around 21,500 words written with a week to go — when I hit a story block.

No, not “writers block”, per se. I knew where I wanted to go to reach the end of this novel, but I had many debates with myself as to which route I should take to get there.

Then of course there was Conflux itself, which took me out of action for five days. I daresay had I known what I wanted to write, I might have squeezed out some writing time and hit the 25K mark (maybe more), but as it happened I was happy enough to leave the WIP for a bit in the hope my subconscious might figure something out.

A total of 32 hand-scrawled pages later in my trusty writing journal, I finally figured out yesterday what should happen next. So today I got back into it and flung some words down after more than two weeks of pondering. I might only have the next three scenes figured out, but once they’re done I’m hoping the next segment will reveal itself.

The end feels so near, it’s hugely exciting. But still a few weeks away, I think.

Camp NaNoWriMo proved an excellent means of keeping tabs on myself during the month. I really like the community feeling of keeping pace with other writers, even if the “Camps” don’t have nearly the same level of energy as the November real deal. But simply having a place to log my words is really helpful — I really should resume logging my word outputs in a spreadsheet to see if that’s all I need.

How do others deal with obstacles in their creative process? Lots of brainstorming on paper as I do — or do you have some other proven method? Also, does logging your output help with productivity? I’d really like to know.

12 thoughts on “Postscript: Camp NaNoWriMo

  1. When I run into obstacles, it’s helpful for me to write out a sentence or two of each chapter ~ starting at Chapter 1. I know you’re not supposed to edit and I try not to, but when I map out in summary where I’ve been, it helps me figure out where I’m going.

    Congrats on your wordcount and finding your next place to go with your piece! A few weeks away is very exciting! Good luck with the rest 🙂


    1. I know what you mean about going over what’s already written – sometimes when I do that I find things previously inserted that will inject themselves into the present scene nicely to trigger something. Thanks for the positive wishes!


  2. Sleep.
    It cures everything. The first few minutes I’m awake in the morning is absolutely golden for teasing out plot knots.
    Oh, and sometimes taking the dog on walkies works, too.

    Congrats on your progress! Am looking forward to reading your finished project.


    1. You know, I really wish walking helped me nut out plot gnarls… But it doesn’t. I walk a LOT but my mind tends to go blank. For instance I couldn’t tell you where my mind was on the morning trek to the cafe I am now ensconced in!


  3. I admire anyone who can write that much in such a short time. These challenges do provide motivation to keep going, don’t they. The peer support is incredible. Now I want to know where you will go with this novel next…and I don’t even know the storyline. It is a wonder how our minds keep working. You’ll have your answer soon.


    1. The challenges are fantastic. I’ve become a new kind of (first draft) writer since attempting NaNo last November. Glad I managed to intrigue you with the total lack if plot information – heh!


  4. Congratulations on persevering 🙂 I dropped out practically before I even started, something about the Camp format that doesn’t quite gel with me I think, I still love the November version. Are you going to attend the July Camp – I think it’s July?


    1. Yeah, I didn’t like the camp format much either. I liked being able to gather all my “friends” onto my page and track their progress. Couldn’t do that with the camp “cabins”. I really used it as a means for tracking my own progress — which was helpful. Not sure about July. Not sure what I’ll be doing by then — probably editing I think.


  5. I do like tracking my progress through word count, something I never used to do but continued to do after NaNoWriMo. As for climbing over those stumbling blocks, I like to do something non-word related for a little bit to activate another area of my brain and give the wordy part a rest (I know, how scientific of me). For me that means doing something purely visual with images – magazines, Pinterest, books with photos, or sometimes, I watch something on t.v. There’s something about shifting to using another part of my brain for a bit that let’s other ideas come through.

    Another thing I like to try is to write out the most absurd things I can think of without editing. I don’t do lengthy excerpts or anything too time consuming. Just enough to get down on the page some ridiculous ideas that in some cases end up being a jumping off point for an idea I would actually use.

    Of course, these ideas don’t work all the time. When they don’t, a one-woman dance party sometimes does the trick. 🙂


    1. All good suggestions, Tami – thanks. I actually think it’s important to regularly break away and do something completely different. But even then, it invariably comes back to me scribbling in my notebook… and yes, often stupid things. I pose myself questions: what if this? what if that? … And repeat myself a lot.

      Sometimes I think I’m a bit thick!


      1. I don’t think you’re a bit thick at all! This writing gig can be such a challenge sometimes and we all get into that stuck place once in a while. It sounds like you’ve got a solid process in place to help you out when needed. I kind of like writing the ridiculous stuff, if nothing else to just see it on the page and have a good laugh at it.


        1. heh – yeah, sorry, I didn’t mean to sound like I needed a pity party. But if we can’t poke fun at ourselves…
          You’re right, though. It IS a challenge. All the time. And different people are challenged by different aspects.
          We must EMBRACE the ridiculous. LAUGH not cry. 🙂


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