Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2015: Week One Update

baby groot worldWhenever I do update posts, I feel like I always marvel at the quick, fleeting passage of time. But it’s always true. The first week of Camp NaNoWriMo has gone quickly. To catch up on my plan, read this.

On a personal level, I am satisfied with and optimistic about my progress. I have written quite a lot, despite family commitments and working overtime at my day job. However, on an anal, graph-stalking level, I am a little concerned that I will not be able to meet my personal camp goal, and the pressure is on.

Here is how I have done so far:

My Personal Goal: 75,000 — or the finished first draft Desert Child, whichever comes first.

Total Words Written: 13,155

Day 1: 1,082

Day 2: 1,479

Day 3: 0

Day 4: 5,526

Day 5: 1,571

Day 6: 1,460

Day 7: 2,037

Estimated Writing Time: 9.5 hours

The experience so far: With NaNoWriMo last November, I put all this insane pressure on myself. It was my first real attempt to write a novel, and I wanted to prove to myself (and everyone else) that I could do it. I’m not sure if it is the “Camp” part of this event or the fact that this is my second novel, but I feel way more relaxed. I’m not forcing myself to stay at the keyboard or type as quickly as I can. I’m just plodding along at a pace that feels comfortable and stopping when I need to stop. It’s nice.

baby groot plotMotivation: My motivation this week has been staying accountable to my cabin mates. It’s been nice to have people to give updates to, and to receive updates and cheer each other on. I wish “regular” NaNoWriMo had this same structure. You can follow our cabin adventures with #wordcountslayers. (Yeah, we’re legit.)

Another great motivator has been taking photos of my writing mascot, Baby Groot. I feel like I have to write to pose with him, otherwise it is dishonest. So, in a weird way, his adorable-ness has been very motivating. You can follow his adventures on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook, or by using #BabyGrootWrites.

Biggest Triumph: Having fun. Don’t get me wrong — I had a lot of fun writing The Cogsmith’s Daughter. But Desert Child is a whole other animal. It’s wild and untamed. Vague spoiler alerts: I’m actively getting to kill characters; there’s magic; there’s high-action scenes. It’s very refreshing after a more “political” and “dramatic” novel.

Biggest Setback: The first 3,000 words were like pulling teeth. I felt like a peeping Tom spying on my characters from the outskirts of their village. It was like I didn’t belong in their world. However, now that I’m in the groove, we’re all solid.

Helpful Insights: If you are writing your first draft, just let go. Let your characters guide you. Let crazy things happen. Have fun. This doesn’t mean that you don’t follow an outline (if you made one). This doesn’t mean you go rogue. It means you unleash the full extent of your creativity and be the writer bad ass you truly are. You can tone it down with edits later.


I did not do this last NaNoWriMo, but we weren’t as good of friends then, were we, guys? Here’s a tiny excerpt from my writing this week — entirely unedited. It’s actually the opening of Desert Child.

She dead.

I heard it like you hear a landslide. Soft, at first, slow, a single pebble bouncing down a hill. Tap. Tap. Tap. As they came closer and more voices joined them, it grew louder. A cascade of pebbles slipping out from under a boulder; the boulder breaking loose. Taptap. Rumble. Crunch.

When they finally reached the edge of the cliff, I thought the canyon would collapse around us under the force of their cries. I looked up at them from where I stood, ankle deep in the cold stream, used my hands to shield my eyes from the sun. I wanted to see them clearly, see their dirty, tear-stained cheeks bulge above their smiles.

There were ten of them. They stood in a straight line, tiny toes wrapping around the edge of the cliff. I wanted to warn them, to holler at them to back away, lest they slip and join her. But I couldn’t, because at that exact moment, as their high-pitched voices bellowed the news across the canyon, it finally hit me.


How are your Camp NaNoWriMo adventures going? Anything fun to share? Any advice for your fellow campers?

18 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2015: Week One Update”

    1. It happens to the best of us. I just need to figure out how to work writing in more regularly without Camp or NaNo giving me a pretty graph to motivate me. I think I’m getting a more sustainable rhythm down this time, though!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Wow! Great excerpt.
    One of the reasons I decided not to do Camp NaNoWriMo was because of the pressure I’d feel. Good to know the camp vibe works. Maybe I’ll give it a try next time around.
    I’m doing NaPoWriMo, which is writing a poem a day. I’m aiming for 1-2 a day and so far it’s going great.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, your excerpt certainly has my attention! If you need another beta reader when the time comes, give me a shout.

    I, too, have been loving our cabin and the community it provides. I’m thinking we could try to keep it up next November NaNo – maybe make our own little private forum, or something? The community experience is, IMO, what NaNo is all about. During the November ones, I’ve hung out with a group of locals here; we meet for coffee and write-ins and have fun that way. I don’t think I’d have got anywhere without it. So I’m really glad to have found friends this Camp, too!

    I’m also finding this a different experience from regular NaNo; like you, I’m using it to jump-start my next novel, but with the flexible wordcount, I don’t feel the pressure that November tends to generate – i.e. I’m getting to a more sustainable writing practise. I hope.

    Steve (my Stuffed Bear and co-blogger) says hi to Baby Groot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Amo! I agree. Our cabin has been really great, and we should keep the connection going in November — and in July, if anyone does that Camp. I might steal a page from your book and lower my word count goal. We’ll see how much catching up I can do this weekend!


  3. Ah love the exerpt! I agree I am enjoying this Camp experience as well! Definitely need to keep the support structure intact come November. I actually raised my goal haha. I found myself rewriting my first draft vs. just the ending so I figured raising it was only fair.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been loving Camp!! The only downside is I was gone all weekend on a choir trip and had absolutely no time to write for about three days- definitely not good for word count. But I’ve just discovered the plot twist that is going to be driving a lot of my story and I’m very excited 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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