It’s time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post to boost my confidence and encourage myself to engage with the writing community. The IWSG post on the first Wednesday of every month.
I can’t really answer this month’s optional question about publishing pitfalls since I have no experience in that area, so I thought I’d talk about my Camp NaNoWriMo experience instead.
If you’re not familiar with it, Camp NaNoWriMo is an extension of National Novel Writing Month in November (a challenge where participants aim to write 50,000 words in 30 days), but this time you can set your own word count goal and are assigned to a virtual ‘cabin’ with other participants. It’s a lot of fun!
My Camp NaNoWriMo Goals
I was working for most of July and I knew I would be really busy so I decided to set myself a modest word count goal of 15,000 words. I decided to work on a fantasy/sci-fi crossover novel that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but was too scared to start. It always takes me a while to pluck up the courage to start working on a project that really matters to me because even though I’m excited, I worry that I will mess it up. My main goals for Camp NaNoWriMo were to make a good start on my novel and to get back into the habit of writing daily.
I’m pleased to say that I achieved both of those goals and am now about a quarter of the way through the first draft of my novel. I know that 15,000 words don’t seem like much, but to me, this represents a big achievement and for once I actually really feel like I can do this. I’m no longer saying “I hope to finish this book”, I’m saying “I will finish this book.” Yes, I still have a long way to go and will need to do extensive editing later. But right now, I’m just proud that I’ve made a start and excited about where this story is going.
I work full time and am mum to a toddler, so I don’t have huge amounts of free time to work with. My strategy was simple: set an achievable goal and commit to it every day, no excuses. 30-40 minutes of writing daily (equating to about 500-700 words) was realistic for me. Gone are the days when I could sit down and write 7000 words in one sitting! I set an alarm for 5:30 am every weekday, I dragged myself out of bed and made a coffee before sitting down to write for a minimum of 30 minutes. Anyone that knows me will recognise that this is a big deal for me. Saying “I’m not a morning person” would be an understatement- I didn’t even know there was a 5:30 in the morning. But I was surprised to find that there were several benefits to this strategy:
- I had peace and quiet with no distractions while everyone else was still asleep.
- I got the ‘hard stuff’ out of the way first thing so I could relax in the evenings after work.
- I already felt like I’d achieved something before breakfast, and that put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.
- My writing flowed better and was more imaginative. I think because I was still waking up I was able to access my subconscious, dreaming side more easily.
I think there’s a lot of truth in that quote! Writing in the morning really worked well for me and has been a bit of a revelation. I’m off work for the next few weeks but I still plan to keep getting up early to write. I’m really excited about this project and am looking forward to bringing you more news about it. I’ll be sharing another picture collage tomorrow for #ThursdayAesthetic.
Before you go…
Did you take part in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? Do you like writing in the mornings or is there another time you prefer? Let me know in the comments!