I told myself that for seven months before I realized all of my excuses were just that: EXCUSES! I needed something to get me going. Something that would hold me accountable and reignite the spark of writing. That’s where my amazing writing friends came in. I say “friends” as if we’ve met and chat down at the local coffee shop all the time, but these are ladies I’ve never met in person. They are three wonderful ladies who share a passion for writing and selflessly give their time to help me and each other with their current writing projects. When the topic of Camp NaNoWriMo came up during one of our recent “chats,” I jumped on it. I didn’t wait for the all too familiar voice of procrastination and doubt to talk me out of it. Now I have these three wonderful ladies cheering me on and holding me accountable for my camp goal: to finish editing my current book, Chasing the Light. I have never participated in any of the NaNoWriMo activities before and I will admit I was a bit apprehensive to jump in, but with Joy, Tauri, and Devon working right beside me, I know I can do it. The big turning point for me was when they told me I could set “revision” as my goal instead of a word count. This is perfect because my book has been written for… well, I’m not sure I want to actually admit how long it’s been finished. Let’s just say it’s more than time for me to finish editing it!
Editing My Way Through Camp NaNo
Chasing the Light is the second book in my contemporary fantasy series. Book one, Finding the Light, was traditionally published in October 2017. With the one year anniversary coming up, I need to have book two ready to publish. Why is it taking me so long? I was struggling through some of the chapters, but my writer gals (have I mentioned how amazing they are yet?) have all read, or are currently reading, the first book in my series so they can help me through the editing process! My current plan for Camp NaNoWriMo is to start back at the beginning of the book and edit my way through. I had previously edited about a third of the book, but because it’s been so long, I really need to come at it from the start. As I edit, I plan to run the story—and any ideas I have—by my cabin mates. So what exactly will my next few weeks look like? I’ll give you a peek inside my editing process.
- Initial Read-through: The first thing I do when I finish writing a story is the initial read-through. I try not to focus too much on editing at this point but will fix little errors along the way and take notes about anything that doesn’t make sense, needs more detail, or has a glaring plot hole.
- Thorough Edit: This is where I will be “camping” out for the rest of July. For this, I almost always print out my story and edit on good old-fashioned pen and paper. I prefer to do it this way because I can easily write ideas and issues in the margins. I also really enjoy using colorful pens (what writer doesn’t?).
- Final Edit: This is what I plan to do in August. I start by transferring all of my paper edits on to the computer, including any chapter or scene rewrites, and then print the whole thing out again. This is also when I send my work off to critique partners and beta readers. Then it’s off to the publisher for their editor to hit it professionally (I’m always amazed at how many errors still slip through after so many people have looked it over).
I’m really looking forward to going through this process with my fellow campers. I know Camp NaNoWriMo is just beginning, and I’ve barely gotten my feet wet, but I can say that so far, I am truly enjoying the experience and would recommended it to any writers who are feeling skeptical or apprehensive just like I was! If you need a little extra boost to get going, find some great writer friends to make a cabin with. Now the only thing missing is S’mores. 😉
Kelsey Atkins is an elementary and middle school teacher who loves to write. Her work with young adults in the classroom inspired her to write the Finding the Light series. Kelsey grew up in a small town in Idaho where she grew to love the outdoors. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, son, and fluffy Samoyed. When she isn’t teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, hiking, and volunteering at church. Order her book today on her website or Amazon and visit her on all her social sites!