31 July 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo

Last night at 10:16 p.m., I completed the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge. I crossed the finish line with 50066 words and a story that's only half finished. This is the first win I've had in five years of attempting novel in a month challenges. Over the past month, I have found some NaNo specific benefits to my writing.

First of all, as NaNo founder Chris Baty says in No Plot? No Problem! "The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a deadline." I have found this to be 110% accurate. With a firm deadline of July 31st and a goal of 50k words, I actually finished a day early.

To anyone who participates in NaNo and feels overwhelmed by the 50k goal, I say break it down. Just write 2k every day, even if it's pure gibberish. You can tie it all in later. I don't feel the 50k word count goal should be lowered simply because 50k, once completed, is too big a project to completely ignore. When you've got 50k+ words written into a story, you're not going to be turning your back on it with much success. Even if you stop at, say 35k, it's still a hefty amount of words that will not take being forgotten very lightly at all. Challenges like NaNo make you write such a sheer volume of words that you only have a small window in which to give up.

In the interests of not giving up, I've chosen to be a NaNo rebel and spend the August Camp NaNo session finishing my novel. I intend to use a separate online word counter that I've found to be fairly accurate when compared to the one on the NaNo site and write until the story is finished. My word count goal is 80k, though that number is not set in stone. I'm going for a finished novel, no matter the word count. Editing will begin in Nov or Dec.

For now, I'm going to get some more writing done in my novel. After all July isn't over yet.

15 July 2011

Writing vacation

Well, it hasn't been much of a summer vacation unless you want to count a six nights a week job that pays nothing as vacation. However, I am getting to work in a theater, so I'm not complaining. this way, I'm at least getting no pay to do something I love. When I first got this internship, my adviser told me that the point of a summer theater internship, of any internship really, is to be invited back. I consider this a goal well met - I've been invited to return before I got a chance to leave.

Dallas will have to deal with me for a week longer than expected, during which time I will be paid to do the same job I'm doing now for the Jr. Player production of Twelfth Night. I'm not ashamed to admit: I agreed because money was offered. Besides that, it will look fantastic on my resume.

Aside from hauling heavy speakers around and taping mics to sweaty actors, I've spent the last few months doing a lot of the classic soul searching and finding of self that is typically expected of twenty-somethings and have finally come to my senses and chosen to pursue a different starving artist career than the one I've been going after thusfar. I'm not changing my major or anything stupid like that, not in my last year of undergrad, but I am looking at grad school and planning on an MFA in creative writing.

With this goal in mind, as well as my goal of completing my current Camp NaNo novel, I'm sharing my planned personal milestones in hopes that others (and my huge amounts of chattering about said plans) will keep me on track.

Goal 1: Reach 50k before the end of the month on my Camp NaNo novel. (This is for my own personal bragging rights more than anything. After five years of attempting and failing, it will be doubly pleasurable to brag that I completed an internship AND wrote a novel at the same time.) Deadline: July 31, 2011

Goal 2: Complete my Camp NaNo novel. (Just in case 50k doesn't cut it.) Deadline: August 31, 2011

Goal 3: Edit my camp NaNo novel beginning after finals, December 2011

All of this is geared towards the hoped for final result.

Goal 4: A complete manuscript, ready to be sent out to publishers by March 29, 2012 - my 25th birthday.

In addition to the ultimate goal of a publish ready novel manuscript, I will also be stretching my writing muscle by working on short stories and, of course, trying to get those published as well. As you see by the sidebar widget, I am nearing the half-way point on my NaNo word count and have officially surpassed my 22k record. As of this blog entry, my word count stands at 24,528 assuming my word counter is correct. I've hit several minor and major plot snags along the way, but I have fallen in love with my story.

This summer hasn't been much of a vacation, but I've begun to develop the habit of writing daily. I've spent the past fifteen days straight practicing my passions and can think of no other way I would rather spend a summer.