The Debate: Camp NaNo or no Camp NaNo?

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The first time I really committed to a NaNoWriMo-related event was the spring of 2016. I had wanted to do real NaNo for many years, but always chickened out at the last minute (okay, maybe way before the last minute). However, when I decided to do Camp NaNo two years ago, I actually made my goal. I committed to writing 25,000 words (half of the regular NaNo goal) and ended up slightly exceeding it and getting a good chunk of that novel drafted. I eventually had to table it because I couldn’t figure out where it was going, but it was a really positive writing experience for me and helped me prove to myself that I can be a writer if I set my mind to it.

Unfortunately, I have a REALLY hard time motivating myself to write outside of events like NaNo. I psych myself out too easily and too much when I’m not working toward a conscious goal with an actual deadline, so I don’t even bother trying to put words on the page. Most of the time I have ideas I could put into words, but getting them on the page is a struggle I most often lose.

I’ve been sitting on two novel ideas for a year or two though, and since Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up next month in April, I’m debating whether I should participate in the challenge again to get them going. One is the novel I shelved, which for some reason I’ve been vaguely interested in again. Another is the queer bookish novel I started for actual NaNo last November, which started out as a tragic queer novel but kept telling me it wanted to be a fluffy romantic queer novel, so I stopped writing it while I tried to figure out how to make it the story it wanted to be, but stopped writing for so long I lost momentum and the drive to keep going with it.

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There are many pros and cons of the prospect of doing Camp NaNoWriMo this April, since my life is in a completely new and different place than it was both of the previous times I have participated in NaNo events. The following is a list of the pros and cons of my Camp NaNo participation that will, ideally, help me decide whether or not to commit to participating in it again this year:

Pros

  • I can set my own goal, be it 500 words/day, 25,000 words total, or even less…I can make it as manageable as I want in order to fit my work schedule and current lifestyle
  • It doesn’t even have to be a novel–for Camp, you can write anything! I’ve also been really wanting to get back into poetry, and would love to write my own poetry collection, which could be a good goal for Camp
  • It would be a good way to revise something I’ve already started on, so I wouldn’t feel terrified by starting from scratch. I could edit the novel I started two years ago, or rewrite what I started in November, but the point is: I don’t have to begin a completely new project
  • It could help me get motivated to write again. I REALLY want to have a novel written this year. I’ve been wanting to write at least two for a while now, but like I said above, I am TERRIBLE at motivating myself to write on a regular basis
  • I could even start something new, if I really wanted, that I’m passionate enough about to continue writing after the month is over
  • It would be a chance to utilize Scrivener, which I bought last year because I thought using it would help motivate me to write more…which it has not. But there’s still time
  • I’d have more to blog about. Honestly, I am struggling a bit with coming up with post topics since I don’t really want to write traditional reviews on this blog. I also really liked writing about my writing process during NaNoWriMo last year on my old blog, and would love to do that again on this one

 

Cons

  • I really, REALLY don’t know how I’m going to make time for it. I’m still not totally used to my full-time work schedule, and when I get home I’m always super tired and basically eat dinner and go to bed, which leaves little writing time
  • I’m not super passionate about the two novels because I feel like I don’t know how to write them or where they’re going, and I’m bad at just pantsing while writing and writing without ideas
  • Depending on what goal I set for myself, it could end up just becoming another thing to stress about, of which I have PLENTY. As if moving, starting a new job, getting kittens, and trying to make my new apartment feel like a home isn’t enough, now I want to throw writing with a deadline into the mix? idk how I feel about that

 

To be honest, at the beginning of writing this post, I was fairly certain I was going to decide to not do Camp NaNoWriMo this year because I thought I’d have way more cons than pros. However, it seems that the opposite happened and I definitely have more reasons to do Camp than to not do Camp. I still have no idea what project (or projects? if I want to be crazy?) I want to work on, but I still have a week to decide. It turns out that writing this list of pros and cons for this post did help me decide whether I should do Camp or not, since I knew I wanted to do it, just not if I should or if it would be a good idea. Hopefully I will have a better idea of the project I want to do before April 1st, but even if I don’t, I still think I might just go for it…

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? What are you working on? Have you participated in NaNo events in the past?

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