Camp Nano Update: Week 1

Camp NaNo finally got under way at the start of this month after much planning and plotting! If you caught my writing update, you'll know I'm taking part in Camp and a member of the exceptionally awesome #RoyalWriters. I figured I'd do short updates throughout. It's Day 11 right now, but I'll try to focus on the first week only!

  • I felt like I had forgotten how to write. Especially because I haven't written for a while. Doing a creative writing module at university has been great, but it means I've been working on semi- literary things all year, not necessarily what I like to write.

  • Even with all the prep, getting back into the rhythm of a story I hadn't touched for a while was hard. I started by going over old chapters and rehashing them, and deciding what needed keeping and what needed to go in order to move forward.

  • I struggled with narrative. I'm still struggling with narrative. I'm not sure who should be telling this story yet and if the voices I've chosen to focus on are the right ones.

  • One of my favourite characters was the hardest to write. I have one particular character who I have big plans for, which is probably why writing the first chapter they're the focus of felt so boring. I fought through it because I knew if I didn't get it out, I'd never get past it. I just had to get on with it.

  • I will probably end up trashing that chapter. But for now, I will keep it because WORD COUNT GOALS.

  • BACK EVERYTHING UP. I haven't lost this month thankfully, but I tried to find some chapters I wrote ages ago and they're gone! Google Drive, memory stick, the Cloud, email it to it everywhere!
  • It is hard to switch off my inner editor. I like editing. I think I'm good at it. I hope I am, because it's one of the things I want to do in publishing. But I cannot waste time this month thinking that everything I write has to be perfect. Even if the idea makes me a little loopy.

  • Sprinting helps! Giving myself a deadline works for me. Saying, 'okay Hannah you have only thirty minutes to write as much as you can' is really effective; if I can convince myself I only have these pockets of time to write as much as I can, I will do it. Tell me I have the whole day and I will watch Netflix until 11:30pm and then cram. 
  • Besides helping me with my goals, they are so much fun. I love encouraging other writers. So even if I'm hosting (which I did, with Dana and Steph), it keeps my spirit up. And a positive attitude is so important for all aspects of life.
  • GIFs make everything better. And Dana's GIF game is always strong.
  • Having a writer community or network is even better. We don't always talk about our WIPs and sometimes I have to ignore our conversations if I'm sprinting, but having people around me who are writers and taking part helps so much. If I toss a question at them about my story, one of them can usually help.
  • Sometimes I write something and go 'THERE'S THE BESTSELLER MATERIAL RIGHT THERE'. #humblebrag

  • Sometimes I come back to that and it seems complete rubbish. So much bad writing. I am deluded. Trash the whole thing.

  • But one thing I've had to keep hold of is that it doesn't have to be perfect right now. It just has to be written.
  • I need to learn to take breaks and not feel bad about it. It's important to stretch your legs and not feel guilty for doing other things. I've read, blogged, gone to the cinema, and most important spent time with family and it helps to step away from the manuscript at times. 

  • Celebrate small victories...and BIG ones! Dana completed her first manuscript already this month! WOOHOO! Seeing other people hit their goals is a real encouragement, but just as friend, I couldn't be more proud - well done girl!
  • I hit 16K! That's crazy! I'm never doing this well this early on. Admittedly, around 5K is pre-written chapters that I have edited and added in, but still. 

That's everything that's happened this week! If you're taking part, how is your NaNo experience going? Have you encountered any of the same problems? Let me know in the comments - I'd love to know!