Camp NaNoWriMo Didn’t Kill Me

2014-Participant-Facebook-CoverI haven’t posted recently because, well, because I’m ridiculously lazy. And it’s been ridiculously hot here in Estonia, which only contributes to my laziness. Excuses, excuses. I always have a plethora of them waiting in the wings.

I mentioned on Twitter but never got around to updating here that I managed to “win” Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I had a late start. My parents didn’t leave until the 11th or so of July and since I was traveling so much, there wasn’t a whole lot of manageable writing time available to me. (See, more excuses!)

In June when Chris invited me to join a private cabin with a few other selected writers (who also won by the way, because they are amazing), I had a few reservations such as ‘Can I actually do this?’ and ‘Damn, I’m going to be so busy next month, too.’ Not to mention that I still hadn’t forgotten the failed attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo in April when I had an even smaller goal than the one I was aiming for in July. I think I managed all of 800 words and those were accidentally deleted, so I was technically going backwards, if that’s possible.

But I’m kind of extremely stubborn, and I actually work best when I’m pressured, and despite my innate ability to prolong and avoid writing what I’m supposed to be writing, I don’t actually like to lose. So when I accepted the invitation and set my goal for 30,000 words, I decided no matter what miraculous, terrible crap I managed to write for it, I would meet that goal. Perfectionist Michelle was appalled, but I was getting tired of her anyway.

I started writing toward the 16th or so. I didn’t post an updated word count until I had written about 8,000 words, and that wasn’t until the 20th-ish. Then I started writing about 3,000 words a day. The way I was going, I’d have gone way over my goal, actually. But then the usual happened: I got tired of the pacing, the forced effort I was making, and I took about four or five days off. On July 31, I still needed almost 9,000 words to reach my goal. So I did what any normal expert procrastinator does. I waited until about five hours before the end of Camp NaNoWriMo before I started to write, and after that, being well aware that the clock was ticking, I zoomed through those 9k words until I thought my fingers would fall off and my brain would explode and that the world might actually end from the utter nonsense I was typing into existence.

Needless to say, I made it . . . barely. And though my success was somewhat dubious and the words I wrote probably all need to be thrown into the incinerator, I still finished a task, a challenge, that had to do with writing. Though I think I’ve grown a lot as a writer this past year alone, that’s the first time I’ve done that in almost four years.

And, admittedly, it felt good.

Did you guys participate in Camp NaNoWriMo? How’d it go? Did you meet your goals?


4 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo Didn’t Kill Me

  1. I have never participated in a Camp NaNoWriMo. I guess I tend to be a little more laid back. One could say I don’t thrive on the same pressure packed situations as you do 😉 What I have done, however, is to cultivate a daily habit of writing for a specified period of time. I label it as my imperfect commitment. I may not always live up to my standards (perfectionist shining through here), but if and when I falter to put pen to paper on any given day, I pick myself up and start anew the next day. In a sense, it’s this process of honoring a commitment, it’s the personal integrity that has helped me feel better about my writing than whatever gibberish I manage to scribble out on any given day.

    Congratulations on your accomplishment and may it lead you to even bigger realized dreams in the future 🙂

    • Thanks Dave!

      That’s excellent that you have the daily habit of writing. People in my critique group argue for the same thing, but I have yet to succeed at making a consistent habit of it. I do tend to write something every day, but it’s generally not what I’m supposed to be writing. . .

      But good for you that you’ve managed to cultivate it! I imagine you’ll only reap benefits from committing to such a practice. 🙂

    • Well, we were holed up in a virtual camp, but it went well — more or less. Most people set a daily word count goal and managed to meet it. I’m a bit more inconsistent, and procrastination left me typing most of my stuff toward the end of the allotted time. But we were productive!

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