Last November, I felt like I turned a corner with my writing and NaNoWriMo as a whole. No, I did not “win” that time, as I did not get to the hallowed 50,000 words, but I did work on my intended story for 30 days and got pretty damn close to the word count too at the end of the month. Personally, I’d call that its own sort of “win”.
NaNoWriMo is a great setup for me – you don’t really have time to stop and thing and worry about the direction you’re going to take your story in. For someone with indecision, NaNoWriMo forces you to break the cycle you can so often fall into.
I’d tried many a previous year and never got very far into NaNoWriMo before giving up but 2018 seems to be the year I cracked it and it was principally because I was working on a relatively simple contemporary story that was full of tropes that I love. It didn’t require masterful world-building or plotting to within an inch of its life which meant that I didn’t feel the pressure to prep everything in October. Instead, I could just pop a few things on a Pinterest board and call it good, meaning I wasn’t prepped out and sick of my project by the time November rolled around.
All that being said, as much as I loved my little contemporary story, next NaNoWriMo I do want to give a proper crack at one of the more complicated fantasy stories that I have floating around in my brain – and strewn over Pinterest boards and Google Docs files! To do that, I need to prep. There’s no two ways about it. The couple of story ideas I have need world-building and they need plotting, properly this time, not flying by the seat of my pants one November. Since I’ve worked out from experience that preparing in October burns me out on my story idea before I’ve even started, I thought I’d instead do some (much needed) prep work on these ideas earlier in the year. Enter: Camp NaNoWriMo!
My goal for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo isn’t a specific amount of words. It’s not quite as tangible as that, even though I know the way to success is to set a quantifiable goal. Mostly I want to properly work on building my ideas from mere whims to actual stories capable of being written half-decently during November 2019. Therefore I’ve decided to set myself a time goal: I want to work on my novel ideas, in some form, for 30 hours during April – basically, an hour a day. I’m not going to lie, I’m not likely to get to an hour a day on a week day because work is a thing, but I’m hoping to catch up on weekends if I find myself flagging during the week.
The main goal is that, by the end of April, I want to feel like I have a clearer picture of what these ideas could look like as novels. Whether that means working on character building, narrative voice, world building, plotting out a structure, or just doing a hell of a lot of historical research about the time period I intend to set my story in – I don’t mind, so long as I’m popping more ingredients into the proverbial pot of my story ideas so it can bubble away until November!
Are you taking part in next month’s Camp NaNoWriMo? If so, let me know in the comments and we can help cheer each other on in April! Or, if you’re a writer, let me know your best tips for fleshing out an idea into a serviceable novel! If you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo and you’re looking for a cabin, let me know too, because there’s likely space in mine, if you’re interested!