Coming to a Close

Somewhere at the very end of May, it came to my attention that there was such a thing as Camp NaNoWriMo. You probably know, National Novel Writing Month is November. Affectionately referred to as NaNoWriMo, participants commit to writing 1667 words per day to have a novel of 50,000 words at the end of the month.

Quantity, not quality, folks. Well, at least for mere mortals like me.

I made one attempt at NaNoWriMo a couple years ago. One way of looking at it is that I failed. I didn’t even make it to the half way mark. But I prefer to look at it as I got a good chunk of raw material towards what has become my work in progress.

For some reason, when I saw “Camp” in front of NaNoWriMo, I was thinking, Camp must be shorter somehow. Camp must mean a smaller word count. Camp sounds like something I could do!


So I Tweeted my friend Erin, who writes the blog MomFog. She has five kids too- and she actually gave birth to all of hers, leading me to believe it was at least somewhat intentional. Erin completed her first NaNoWriMo this past November and I asked her if she was doing Camp.

To which she replied, well I guess if you’re doing it, I’m doing it. And because I’m a Twitter NitWit and don’t have a smart phone and am not on it all the time, the next Tweet I got from her said she was signed up.

So I signed up. Because at this point, I had to.

Turns out, “Camp” is still 50,000 words.

I did a bit of a cheat. I am bogged down at a place in my work in progress where I have a crapload of backstory. Way too much. I don’t know how to work it in, I’m not sure if it fits. I’ve been struggling with moving forward. What happens next. So I decided that for CampNaNoWriMo I would simply write what happens next. No building on back story, nothing in the past, only forward motion allowed.

I did really well for a while. I was even getting up extra early to write and I was totally on target.

Right up until the week that the kids got out of school.

Which is the week that CC started working a second job during the day, prepping the next tour to go out.

Which is the week that camps started and the chauffeuring began.

Which is the week that my show posted the closing notice.

It came down to the last day of June and I was 8,000 words short. My plan was to finish, even though we had a two-show day. I would finish between shows.

I’ve been on shows closing before where the atmosphere backstage is a total downer. But this is such a great bunch of people that it was total party time. All kinds of people were stopping in to say goodbye, the head carpenter brought in a bunch of food, the ushers made a bunch of food. I typed about three sentences and finally decided I would really rather enjoy the time.

And so I did not complete CampNaNoWriMo. But I have 42,000 words of what happens next. And I don’t regret either my decision to start it, nor my decision to not complete it.

Also, I can’t wait to start revising. There’s some serious crap that should never see the light of day contained in that 42,000 words.



7 thoughts on “Coming to a Close

  1. 42,000 words in one month is seriously impressive, JM! Wow. I’m SO excited to hear you have a work-in-progress, too! I was wondering about that.

    I’m sorry the show is closing, but happy the atmosphere hasn’t been glum.

    You rock!

  2. Enjoying the time is the best way to spend your time. 42,000 words in a month is nothing to sneeze at. There were several times last month when I was cursing your name but I’m glad I did it. I started something new and I like it. I’m actually going to finish it in August–during the next CampNaNoWriMo. Want to join me? šŸ™‚

  3. 42 is very impressive! I actually finished NaNo 2005, and it was one of the most soul-sucking experiences I’ve ever gone through. Getting to 42 is pretty brilliant. Now get that red pen out and get at those revisions!

  4. Hmmmmmmmmmm,
    Since my human is a writer I asked him about Nanosanowamo thing. He said, “Works well for some folks.” Then I ask him about you quality comment. He said, “She had the “write” thread there. Hemingway’s goal was 300 quality words a day. I kinda favor the qual over the quan. But who knows.”

  5. I’m just AMAZED that you manage to write at ALL given your job, your husband’s job(s), your children, and everything you’ve got going on!! But to have 40,000 words? My first book was only 50,000 — you’ve got a lot on your hands to edit … but give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for getting so far. (And smart thinking, to let all the back story go and just move forward & break through your block). I seriously cannot wait to read your book — wowsa!

  6. Dang! I’m impressed! I don’t know how you do it. Please feel free to share your secret to getting enough hours in your day… I can’t even find the time (willpower?) to actually do PostAWeek2012; NaNoWriMo seems pretty daunting. Now have fun with that red pen!

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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