Monday, July 2, 2012

How I Won Camp NaNoWriMo

Pigheaded stubbornness. A quality I inherited from my father, a quality that gets me into no end of trouble, but also a quality I wouldn't give up for the world. Because being stubborn is why I've been able to accomplish a lot in my life, including winning Camp NaNoWriMo.

If you read my Day 17 Update you might remember how far behind I was. If you didn't, here here's a rough breakdown of my writing progress in June.

In the first half of the month, I wrote 5000 words. Of the remaining 45000, I wrote a third in the next week (days 16-23), a third in the six days following that, and the final third on the last day.

Yep, I wrote FIFTEEN THOUSAND words in one day. Did I say pigheaded and stubborn? I think I meant pigheaded and crazy! Check out the spike in the graph:
My Camp NaNoWriMo progress. Not exact since sometimes I updated a day's work after midnight 
and I was out of Internet access for a weekend around Day 22. But close enough.
Partly, this unbalanced production schedule came from still being in school the first two thirds of the month, but a lot of it was simple procrastination. And because it was procrastination stopping me, and not actual lack of time, I wasn't going to let myself back down from doing everything I could to win.

And so, on Saturday, June 30th, I woke up at 11am and started writing. Four hours later, I hit 35000 and went for a run to work on some plot problems. I came home, wrote, had dinner, wrote some more.

I started using Written? Kitten! which is basically Write or Die but with positive reinforcement. What I love about Written? Kitten! is that I can use it to focus on the incremental goals. Just another hundred words, and then another, and then another... eventually it adds up.

I went into do or die mode around eight o'clock. I just had to write. I gave myself tiny stretching breaks to ease my aches, but other than that it was BICHOK time (butt in chair, hands on keyboard).

With just 22 minutes until midnight, I reached 50042 words. When I validated and won, I felt relief, and satisfaction, and an intense desire to chillax. (I watched Angel, since David Boreanaz = very relaxing.)

There's nothing wrong with not reaching fifty thousand words. That's a lot of writing, and not everyone has the time to make that commitment. If I hadn't been on vacation for the end of the month, I would not have been able to do it myself. But I'm very glad I did.

I learned two valuable lessons from this month of writing:

#1) It's okay to fall behind, or change your goal, or have to bow out entirely. I'm very driven, and this is good for me to know. Sometimes life gets in the way of our goals, and we have to accept that.

#2) That doesn't mean it's okay to make excuses. There's a difference between what you have to do and what you choose to do. I accepted my inability to stay on schedule during my last month of high school, because that was realistic. But I wasn't going to let myself sleep in and watch TV on vacation and then claim I hadn't been able to finish.

Going forward, I'll need to keep both lessons in the front of my mind as I start university. But I know I'll also be able to rely on my Tweeps to help me out. This was my first NaNo since I've been on Twitter (@Amethystars), and it's been amazing to have so many people cheering me on.

I'd also like to thank Sydney for interviewing me on her blog about my progress & story... even though she was looking for JuNoWriMo people and not Camp NaNo people. You can read the interview here.

If you don't want to read the interview, take a moment instead to be glad you aren't my characters. Below is a list of some of the more... interesting... google searches I've made this month.
  • human branding
  • can you laugh without a tongue
  • acrobatics with swords
  • how to fight a lion
  • giant eagles possible?
  • single strike decapitation
  • how long to learn knife throwing
  • how to kill an alligator with a sword
If this intrigued you, please do check out the interview for more about We Who Are About To Die.

On a related note, inspired by Sydney, I'd like to thank my lone but very lovely follower Shannon (aka Secretly_Samus). She has a writing blog full of interesting musings and info.

If you'd like to join her illustrious company, you can put your email in the box in the sidebar, or click the feed thingy. If you'd rather just keep up with me in general and have the option of ignoring future posts, why not follow me on twitter? There's a convenient button to the right, or you can just remember my nifty handle @Amethystars.

Still riding my winner's high, and hoping your weekend rocked,

1 comment:

  1. Aw! I feel so appreciated! And I'm backed up on reading blogs so I'm getting to this a day late... But I've got a big grin on my face at work! Hehe. And great interview! I had no idea your Camp project was a 4th draft. I can't wait to see it publsihed and read it one day.