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Was Camp NaNoWriMo Worth It?

July is over. A month of scrambling to get word counts in, sweating over a crumbling plot, disregarding the dishes, and crying over days when you're behind. After all of this, how did I fare?

That little winner bulls-eye up there is indeed mine! I succeeded in winning July's Camp NaNoWriMo. Now let's take a less serious moment for me to freak out with excitement and strut around the house doing my victory dance!


(Each one of these exclamation marks represents the number of times I yelled "I did it!")

This was me three days ago. For real. I'm closer to finishing this novel than I've ever been on any other story and I couldn't be more excited. If it weren't for my fresh gum graft I would still be celebrating with adult beverages as we speak.

Would I do it all over again?

You bet.

I wanted to take the time to discuss what I learned from my experience this month and what I plan on doing differently come November's NaNo. As I've said before, this was my first NaNo experience and boy did I have a lot to learn!

Don't sweat the small stuff.

This was perhaps one of the single most difficult things for me to practice in the month of NaNo (and any time you plan to write over 1600 words per day). This advice applies to both your writing and your real life conquests. Yes, my house got messier than usual at times, but I knew it would be worth it in the end. Confession: I am not a clean freak...unfortunately for my boyfriend. So although the dishes bothered me, I didn't lose any precious sleep over it.

When you're writing, don't worry about whether or not you'll keep that scene you wrote. If you learned something from it then it was more than worth writing every crappy word. Off the top of my head I can think of three scenes I know I'll be editing to oblivion or even redoing altogether. There wasn't anything I liked about them the next day when I sat down to write again. I knew that but I kept my head down and I focused on moving forward!

I turned off my spell check, and you should too!

This was something I discussed briefly before starting NaNo and I loved it every day. I'm not sure exactly how many errors I'll find, but I'm surprised that I type rather accurately and if I don't I'm quick to notice it. What this helped me with is right clicking and finding the correct word, valuable time if you think about doing it at least five times every day that you sit down to write. Yes, I know I'll have fun later on when I plan on doing my editing, but for now it keeps me focused. It also put me in the mindset that I will be coming back to edit. It's okay that it isn't perfect because guess what? I'm not done with it! This is another step in the process, albeit a messy one.

One of the most important thing that I learned this month: You can do it!

Like I said, this was something I had never in my life achieved. I had never written 50k words in one month and I honestly would have admitted to defeat if I had never come across the NaNo community. Hearing of so many people that have full time jobs, schooling and/or parenting gave me the kick in the butt that I needed. Every day I was saying one day I'll write my novel. Everyday this month that I sat down at my computer, that turned into today.

In November I plan to...

Spend a lot more time plotting.

While this isn't something you should do during November, I realized this time around my plot was nearly ready. I definitely had a good chunk of it figured out, but filling in all of the details took some thinking throughout the month that I could have spent writing. I'm kind of glad with how it worked out, because I wrote some awesome un-plotted scenes and learned a lot from the crappy ones. Again, if I learned something it was worth it!

Expect a bog.

I had read of fellow campers experiencing this and had the unabashed feeling of invincibility as I assumed that could never happen to me. It did. And as you can see below, it affected me dearly. Some days you just don't feel like writing. But perhaps those are the days you'll stumble onto the perfect plot twist!

I hit a slump at around day 10 that I couldn't quite shake until the third week, when I realized that all I have to do to attain my dream is to write. I have all the tools that I need and I just need to sit down for a couple hours each day to get to it. How many people can say that about their dream? All they have to do is sit (and write)!

Actually write posts about my NaNo experience.

I set out to do this in July and failed miserably. I chock it up to inexperience, but I won't let that happen again. I find inspiration from reading about other people's NaNo experience's and I would be elated if I could do the same to others. Plus, it would help me when I tried to figure out what exactly worked and didn't work, rather than trying to do it after the fact as I'm doing now...

I plan to continue writing every day, whether on my novel or on this blog. There has been so much I've learned about myself, most importantly that I get joy from writing. And that's the most important thing right?

What did you learn about yourself this past month? Anything you would do differently?

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