Camp NaNoWriMo: what I learned in April 2019

I know, it’s halfway through May. I’ve been…working on my bullet journal! Yea. Seriously though, I’ve been writing!


If you’re planning to write Camp NaNoWriMo in July, I recommend tracking minutes, not hours.

I whole heartedly recommend using bullet journal techniques to keep on top of your novel development – but I have yet to figure out what I like best so if you’re here looking for bullet journal recommendations I might not be any help. I also have no idea what format to use for a novel bullet journal. I’ve tried some stuff in a bound book and all sense of organization is lost so binders are better…. but then I ran into issues with different kinds of paper being harder to flip through and I think I might need better quality paper? Little things that might seem like acceptable allowances or compromises now might not work later. Learn what you like and what works for you and stick with it.

So, here’s my list.

  • Tracking something besides word count helps a ton. This is the first time I did any kind of bullet journal style tracking other than word counts. Turns out it’s important to track something besides words.
  • Brainstorming takes more brain power than writing scenes but I can still spend more time on it than I thought I could. I had multiple productive hour long sessions.
  • Brainstorming is idea development. You already have something, like a question, when you start. You are *not* looking at a blank page.
  • There’s lots of ways around blank pages.
  • Brain dumps are useful on a semi regular basis when I’m trying to get an idea figured out. Brain dumps are vomiting ideas onto paper or screen.
  • Organization is your friend and you aren’t as organized as you think you are, or I’m not anyways.
  • It’s important for me to write long hand on paper and on the computer. They both make my brain work in different ways. Paper is mostly better and might be easier to organize.
  • Once I get to the 8000-12000 words window in Scrivener I need to clean up my files and organizing or I got lost and don’t write anything. I noticed it with my current project and this seems to be the window where I start to lose my focus. Preferably, I can stop this from happening at all.
  • When I get lost and lose focus on what I’m doing is when I feel overwhelmed.
  • I need to experiment more on bullet journal techniques and what to keep track of where. By this I mean tracking more than just words or time. I also mean story items that have to do with characters, plot, setting, theme, etc.
  • Write in pencil because then you can erase!
  • Write on both sides of the paper for idea development that’s list based but not when you’re doing a brain dump.
  • You are *not* a pantser.
  • Be patient with yourself. Learning your writing process is a lot more complicated than I once thought.

I think that’s everything. For now. I’m sure I’ll learn more this month. For May I’ve got a page on my blog for tracking time and a page in my binder for tracking too. We’ll see which one I stick with come June.

Final tally: Camp NaNoWrimo April 2018

Yes so I didn’t think of this until April 9th but that’s okay. Dammit. This will be an experiment. I picked time this year since hours/minutes were an option. It’s really cool they made the “camp” months less rigid. I’ve also realized, since it’s the ninth day of the month, April seems to be a bad month for me. Weather is a big part of it.

Tracking my writing activity –

  • 1 – gaming – Shadowrun
  • 2 – writing wasn’t fiction/for Camp Nano
  • 3 – 15 minutes
  • 4 – 30 minutes
  • 5 – 30 minutes
  • 6 – DFW Fiberfest – most of the day
  • 7 – migraine
  • 8 – migraine recovery but I looked at my writing!
  • 9 – appointment, chores, 20 minutes
  • 10 – 60 minutes and a 30 minute walk, realized a different approach to my story
  • 11 – creativity spent in other ways, like knitting
  • 12 – 15 minutes
  • 13 – 30 minutes
  • 14 – busy day outside of the house
  • 15 – recovery
  • 16 – bad day, with an appointment
  • 17 – doctor appointment with injections in my neck
  • 18 – other things, like going for a long walk, chores
  • 19 – I think it was a rest day
  • 20 – 85 minutes!
  • 21 – walk, rain, pain levels higher
  • 22 – chores I think
  • 23 – 40 minutes
  • 24 – 45 minutes
  • 25 – long walk, just thought about writing
  • 26 – from this day until
  • 27 – ….
  • 28 – ….
  • 29 – this day my pain levels had doubled and then tripled and then gaming
  • 30 – things better. doctor appointment and 50 minutes writing

Came up with a total of 420 minutes writing and looking back at previous years, April is not a great month for me. I set my goal for the Camp NaNoWriMo event too high but learned how to track my writing in a way I can keep up with and SEE PROGRESS!! when I’m not actively writing sentences and developing scenes. Also, only counted active focused work.

post updated May 1, 2018 with full month of tracking

It’s easier to edit something that I wrote in acts, not chapters 

I’m editing, or attempting to anyways, my unfinished story from NaNoWriMo 2013. I had started editing it in 2014 and I didn’t get far. This is my planned project for Camp NaNoWriMo for July 2016.

In 2013 I used the chapter set up to write/organize what I was writing – in Scrivener. I wish past me had never read about using the 20 chapter route for story writing, especially while pantsing. So I have added the three folders representing each act of the story into the “top” of Scrivener. I’m also going to try identifying each part of each act in my own words because either all my teachers have lied to me, or that’ll help. Here’s what I have so far….

  • Act 1
    • Introductions all around
    • Inciting event
    • What’s the plan?
  • Act 2
    • Roll initiative
    • Midpoint reversal
    • Surprise! A lot of shit hits a fan
  • Act 3
    • The (new) plan to save the world
    • Climax
    • Clean up

Today Recovery, Tomorrow Writing

Today I’m wearing a knit wool hat even though it’s 70 in here (and rising) and my head has menthol on it. The migraine is down but the nerves are still twingy AND I woke up an hour and half later than normal. I’m so stiff but I’m not sure I’ll be able to stretch today either.

Tomorrow Camp NaNoWriMo starts. I’m aiming to write some poetry. I’ve already done some minor brainstorming and set aside a notebook. I draft poetry better on paper. I’ve also got a book on types of poetry. I’m hoping to test my abilities and learn some things this month. I think I’ll plan on a novel for the next round of Camp NaNoWriMo, depending on what’s going on.

In preparation, I have printed out some signs to hang around the house. These kinds of images still amuse me.

Both found on the Internet – searched google for you should be writing Neil Gaiman pictures.

I’m hoping poetry written on paper, as compared to a novel in Scrivener, will make it easier to write even when I’m in doctor’s waiting rooms. I’ve got three doctor appointments and one lumbar puncture in the month of April. Here’s hoping the lumbar puncture does not cause me any headaches or leave me recovering flat on my back.

In other news, I’ve found decaf coffee I can drink with no unfortunate effects. I didn’t have coffee for last November’s NaNoWriMo.

 

you should be writing

GaimanNeil