Writing has always been about give and take for me. You know the saying, “Your book won’t write itself?” Well I stand tried and true to that phrase. Writing takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and most of all – the sacrificing of time. Writing is a time-consuming process, one where authors can spend days to months to even years crafting and perfecting their book-babies. So when I heard about Camp NaNo last year in November, I was intrigued. Write an entire novel in a month? Try to meet word count goals? Hell yes! I was unable to participate then, or in April of this year, but before July rolled around, I was determined to join Camp for the first time! When my closest author friends were ecstatic to join in, my “Maybe” became a definite “Yes!”
To Hand-Write, or not to Hand-Write?
For years, I’ve written all my books by hand. I love the feeling of a pencil against the page, watching my ideas flow as a notebook is filled with thousands of words. There’s a sense of achievement that goes into pouring your heart out on the page, and to me, it’s more intimate than sitting at a computer.
But it takes me a long time.
I’m a fast writer longhand, but still. Through Camp NaNo, I’ve quickly come to realize that I can crank out 1,000 words in an hour. When I handwrote, it could take me two to three hours to hit 1,000 words. For me, handwriting doesn’t feel as plausible anymore. So when I joined Camp NaNo and gave myself a hefty goal of 100,000 words (I’m crazy, right?) I knew I couldn’t just sit and write my book in longhand.
I had to sit down in front of my computer and get to work.
Setting a Goal
I was in the midst of working on a YA fairy-tale retelling as NaNo quietly approached. With that book being written longhand, another book idea had been forming and stirring in my head and was begging to get out. Camp NaNo seemed like the perfect opportunity to sit down and write to my heart’s content.
So I set a goal: 100,000 words.
For comparison, that’s about as big as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
It’s a hefty goal, and thanks to NaNo’s suggested Daily Word Count, I was hit with a recommended 3,226 words a day. I was determined to meet it, or even excel beyond it. My birthday was July 1, so I didn’t start NaNo right away, but when July 2 came around I sat my butt in the chair and got to it!
My Writing Process
I’ll admit it: I’m very lucky to have as much free time as I do. I don’t have kids; I only work a part-time job; and other than taking care of myself and spending time with my boyfriend, there’s not much else going on in my life.
I always start my day by getting out of bed and making myself a cup of coffee. Then I sit down at my computer, open the document, and begin working. Over the years, I’ve learned how to write with distractions, while standing up, or even when people are talking to me. Switching my brain into writing mode has always been easy.
I keep my outline at my side and just start writing – really, that’s all there is to it. Usually I’m thinking about the next scene or chapter while I’m making my coffee or doing other things, so that way it’s fully fleshed out in my mind. Through Camp NaNo, I’ve learned just how quickly I can type words and just how much more writing I can actually get done. Camp has been so beneficial to me, even if my brain is fried from trying to meet my high word count goal.
I’m so lucky to have three writerly friends – Tauri, Joy, and Kelsey – at my side and cheering me on for meeting my goals! Without them, I don’t think I would have followed through with Camp NaNo. But with the month halfway through, I’ve really been enjoying my NaNo experience! If you’re like me and you set high goals, or you just want to test the limits of your writing ability, then Camp NaNo is a perfect excuse!
Devon Harry works a part-time job in retail and writes while at home. She currently has two finished novels and is in the querying process right now. She lives in Wisconsin with her boyfriend and big fat cat, Buffie. When she isn’t writing, she’s either watching Netflix, WWE Network, or reading. You can visit her on all her social media sites!