No Camp NaNoWriMo?

Hey guys,

So, the observant writer’s and Nanites among you may have realised that I am not partaking in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo this year; this is true but it is not simply that I am not writing for April, it is that I am attempting a different way of looking at my writing and the strains and pressure of a NaNoWriMo event is opposite of what I am currently doing.

Firstly, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is generally in November where all those decide to accept the challenge attempt to write a 50,000 word manuscript (completely unedited) in the 30 days of the month. Although this was the only event for majority of its time, over the last few years months have been added nicknamed Camp NaNo. These additional months are where you set your own word count and can work on alternative projects but are still held by the monthly time frame.

Currently, I am struggling to maintain a writing habit, whether it be daily or weekly; sometimes even monthly. I rarely picked up my projects across the entire first quarter of this year. For me, I understand that I am still adjusting to a new work regime (yes, even four months into the job) and that this has affected majority of my life. Where is used to complete between 12 and 20 books a month, I am currently averaging between 3 and 7. Where is used to write 2000+ words a day, I can barely write out a few hundred words on a blog post without swaying or remembering that I have laundry to put on or something needs cleaning.

So instead of setting myself a hard limit and a framework for me to do it in (and trust me, I have tried this method- hands up if you tried the 500 words a day challenge in March?) and it hasn’t worked. So I have decided (for once) to give myself a softer option and look at simply doing something. So across the month of April I will simply write when I feel like writing, whether this is on a blog post (see, that’s why there have been almost daily posts) or whether it is on a short piece of fiction, or even on some hand written journaling.

I know that if I set myself a target, once I start falling behind I will punish myself by giving up. But this way, there is no target for me to miss. I don’t have the additional mental strain and stress of wanting to be perfect and surpass the target. As, I have highlighted to myself, my perfectionism (where it can be beneficial) can also and has also been extremely detrimental to my writing and progress as an author.

For April, I have decided to focus on my mental health. To not pressure myself into writing but to see how good I feel after getting the words that are floating around in my brain out and on to paper.

Now I am not suggesting that Camp NaNo isn’t great because I am going to miss being part of the sprints and the cabins, I am going to miss the atmosphere and hype associated with it. I love camp, but this month I am stepping out of the trees and sitting myself in a calm meadow where I can think- and write if I want to.

Thanks for understanding guys!

Helen x


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