Things I learned in Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020!

I won Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020!

Hello, fellow readers and writers! I hope all of you are well.

As all of you may know from following me on Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo this past July and won. This also makes it the third time I’ve ever won Camp NaNo, meaning that I can proudly say that I am a three-time winner! Yay!

Like how I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo this past April, I figured I’d write about the things I’ve learned and achieved during this time.

1. What is Camp NaNoWriMo?

I wrote a lengthy explanation of Camp NaNoWriMo and how it differs from NaNoWriMo in my previous Camp NaNo post, so I’ll be brief here:

National Novel Writing Month is an event, taking place in November, where you must try writing a whole novel in a month (or 50,000 words, which is the equivalent of the average length of a novel).

Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in April and July every year. It differs from NaNoWriMo because you have more flexibility in setting your own goals. For example, if you can’t write 50,000 words in a month, you can lower that goal to 25,000 (which is what I did for Camp NaNo). You can also change the goal from total words written to total hours written, etc. Because of Camp NaNoWriMo’s extra customization, I usually  participate during those times instead of the traditional Camp NaNoWriMo. You can check out the official website for more details on Camp NaNo and regular NaNo.

2. What were you writing for Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020? What was your goal for it?

I used this past Camp NaNoWriMo to write the first draft of a murder mystery novel called “An Engagement To Die For.” It’s the sequel to another novel I’m working on called “Winner Takes All,” and it’s also a murder mystery.

My goal was to reach 25,000 words by July 31st, 2020.

3. When did you reach your Camp NaNoWriMo goal for April 2020?

I hit my 25,000-word goal on July 17th, 2020, with a total word count of 25,198 words!

4. Since you surpassed your original goal so early on, what was your total word count for your Camp NaNoWriMo project, at the end of the month?

My total word count for the first draft of “An Engagement To Die For” was 30,352 words!

I finished writing the entire first draft on July 23rd, so that’s only six days after I reached my Camp NaNoWriMo goal.

5. Is there anything you learned while reaching your Camp NaNoWriMo goal for July 2020?

Yes! I learned two things.

1. If you somehow diverge from your previously-planned plot outline while writing, just keep writing. 

By around July 16th-17th, I immediately discovered that I somehow wasn’t following the plot outline I wrote before Camp NaNo started. For those of you that remember reading my previous Camp NaNo post, I noted that I usually make a general plot outline before writing the novel, just so I have an idea of what points in the story I should be writing toward. This time was different, given that I wrote a plot outline, and then completely diverged from it by the midway point of the novel.

However: This is Camp NaNoWriMo. I made a goal of writing 25,000 words by the end of the month. Deleting all the parts that I wrote diverging from the original plotline would set me back about 10,000 words or so, ruining several days of progress. Because of this, I decided to just keep writing. Editing can come later, after the draft is complete.

Also: What I wrote that diverged from the original plotline ended up being better than what I had planned, so that’s a bonus.

2. Take a brief break from writing if you seriously hit a roadblock in your writing.

I somewhat discussed this in my previous Camp NaNoWriMo post regarding taking care of yourself, but I think that lesson came into fruition for me during this past month. I found myself often being stuck in my writing. I had my general outline that I mostly followed, but I would still have a hard time figuring out transitions between particular scenes, or figuring out what a character might do next that would lead to something else I wanted to happen within the book. I ended up taking brief breaks from writing altogether, and then I’d figure things out just as I came back.

Taking a break helped me refresh my mind and sort through the various parts of the book I struggled with. Despite it being Camp NaNoWriMo, where there is the goal of having a specific amount of words being written within a short timespan, I still managed to achieve my goal and write the whole first draft of a book while also taking time out of the day, every day, to take a break. I don’t write 24/7, nor do I usually write for hours at a time. If I can take some breaks from writing and also get my Camp NaNo goal done on time (or early, in this case), then you can, too. The goal of getting whatever number of words you want written by the end of the month is great, but don’t forget to have fun with it and also take care of yourself too.

6. What are you going to do with your first draft of “Not The Chosen One,” now that you finished writing the whole first draft within the month?

Now that I currently have four novels to edit, write more drafts of, and eventually publish, I’ll be working on refining those four novels before I write another. I really hope to publish one of them by sometime next year at latest (or by the end of year, perhaps? Who knows?), and I hope that all of you read it and enjoy reading it, too. And, of course, I’ll continue writing and posting my regularly scheduled fanfics and book reviews! 

7. Will you participate in NaNoWriMo 2020 in November, later this year? What about future Camp NaNoWriMo events?

My tentative decision is that I will participate in NaNoWriMo 2020. This will depend on how the current pandemic goes, as well as the progress of writing four other novels, several fanfics and book reviews. However, I think it’s fair to say that I want to try participating in the actual NaNoWriMo event this year if I have the opportunity.

Usually I don’t participate in November because I tend to be busier around this time of year for various reasons (like prepping for holidays in December, for example), but given the current events in the world right now, I have a lot more time on my hands. If I do participate, I will up the ante to write 50,000 words to challenge myself. I’ll give an official update later on in the year if I do actually participate in NaNoWriMo.

Given that I am currently  writing and hoping to eventually publish four novels, I would love to change things up for NaNoWriMo and write, perhaps, 50,000 words of poetry. Or short stories. Maybe both. Yes, I’m aware that writing poetry would put me into the “NaNo Rebel” category, given that poetry isn’t technically fiction, but I still think it could be fun.

Have you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo before? What was the experience like for you, and would you do it again? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Things I learned in Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020!

  1. Congratulations on winning! Very well done! Camp NaNoWriMo sounds super interesting to me, so I shall definitely check it out. Best wishes from the Netherlands, Martine

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