CampNaNo Failed. Now What?

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

As you will know, April 1st is the day where you trick people into believing something that isn’t true. I did something similar this year. I told everyone that this day marked the start of my Camp NaNoWriMo challenge! A lot of writers have beaten the challenge already, but for me, it seems as though it was just a pretty good April Fool’s trick. Nice one, Em.

Day one went swimmingly. I beat the word count I’d set myself and I was off to a great start. For NaNoWriMo back in November last year, I set about 1600 words per day as the ideal. For CampNaNo, I set myself a 1000 word count. So, naturally, you’d think this was a much more achievable target. I didn’t want to go full steam ahead, but desperately needed to work on my novel, or risk getting to that stage where you lose all hope for it. A writer’s worst nightmare.

So, day two came around. I decided not to write that day. I didn’t want to have the same pressure as I had back in November, because that well and truly wiped me out. I didn’t want a to become obsessed with a word count. I wanted to just love my story instead of forcing myself to write where I did not see fit. Then came day three. It happened again. By this time, I was quite behind with my word count, but not by a huge amount. It was still doable.

In fact, this went on day by day until we reached day nine, where I only managed a measly 215 words. Now as they say, anything you manage to write is better than writing nothing at all, but again, I was forcing myself, and I didn’t enjoy it.

The pressure.

I see writers all over social media. I read their incredible books for my book club. I see authors publishing their first books and how happy they are when they can think, “You know what, I DID IT.” You’d think my motivation levels would be through the roof, which, when I read a really good book, they are. But when I sit down in front of my laptop to write, all I can think is what people have done before, or, even worse, I think of absolutely no ideas for my current WIP at all.

It hurts. I desperately want to get into my own work, but the pressure of actually finishing something is so overwhelming. The words just don’t come to me when I force it. The days where I do think of the odd paragraph or two is great, but they’re definitely not my best work.

Do I complete CampNaNo?

No. I’ve already made my mind up. Even if I aim for a lower word count, it doesn’t really mean anything to me now. The whole point of these things for me is the challenge and sense of accomplishment. But if I manage 2000 words in a month, that’s not really something to shout about.

In fact, I’ve come to dislike word counts completely.

I’ll write when I feel like it, and one day, maybe soon, I’ll finally be able to write “The End” on at least one project I’ve got going on.

New projects.

On a brighter note, all creativity has not been lost. It’s been a week or two since I made any changes to my main story, but I have come up with a couple of new ideas for novels. I wrote a random prologue earlier today to a story that I have no title or plot for. I wrote a few basics for another serial killer novel that I absolutely love (but don’t know if I can pull it off yet). I just think that as long as I keep chipping away at things, they’ll come together in the end.

I have 2 children’s stories and potentially 4 novels that I’d like to write, 2 of those I’ve already written a lot for. The key is organisation, which, where my own writing is concerned, I have absolutely none of.

Reading for encouragement.

I read an awful lot these days and it always makes me want to be just like all the other amazing authors; being able to show people that all the hard work has paid off. I want to hold my work of art in my hands like the iconic Lion King scene and think, “Thank Christ, I did it”. It will happen one day.

If you have a book you think will inspire me, throw your ideas at me. If you’re an author and want me to give you some thoughts on your book, please drop me a message!

New plan of action.

From now on, things will go like this:

  • As long as I write something once per week, I’ll eventually get each project finished. What’s the rush?
  • Keep on reading the work of other authors for inspiration, guidance and to give back a little support.
  • Only take part in writing challenges when I think it will help me. Not all of them will. They will more than likely add to the pressure.
  • Make time for other things. Life is moving on and I don’t have all the time in the world to write. That’s okay.

Camp NaNo failure isn’t the end of the world.

If anyone else has failed at Camp NaNo and is kicking themselves, don’t. It’s not the end of the world. Some people are destined to write quickly and release books every other month, but for most people, it’s not feasible. Life happens, your imagination may need a rest, and sometimes, we just can’t be arsed to write anything. We’re only human after all.

Organise yourself (like I’m going to do right now) and hopefully things will look up. It’s important to remember you are only one person. It’s also equally important to remember that no one else will be able to write your story the way you can, so what’s the rush?

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