I’ve always loved stories. Reading has been such a passion of mine since I was a little girl. I’ve never stopped reading, but I’ve also never been a writer. As much as I love different worlds, plots, and characters, it never once occurred to me that maybe I could create my own.
When I was in college, I kind of played around with the idea of writing my own novel. I committed myself to doing NaNoWriMo a few times, but after about a thousand pages of my ill fated novels, school, work, and writer’s block got the best of me. After that, I figured I was just meant to read someone else’s work rather than creating something for others to read.
A few months ago, however, my husband brought up the subject again. I should definitely write a book, he said, because if anyone could do it I could. He’s read a lot of my writing in letters and this blog, and clearly thinks I have the chops for creative writing even though neither of those are really stories. At that point I figured I’d give it another go.
I’d had a few ideas kind of kicking around in my head. Mostly short stories based on “what ifs” or too crazy to be real characters I’d actually met in the past. I didn’t really know what my first novel was going to be until it hit me one night while I was reading a completely different book. Inspiration comes from everywhere, I guess, but clearly I wasn’t paying too much attention to the book I was reading.
So I was a man with a plan. Okay, woman with a plan. With the idea in my head, I had to take the next, and hardest, step. I had to sit down and start writing. I told my husband my plans, and he got me a copy of Scrivner to help me organize and write my book. I knew that NaNoWriMo was a great way to get a book written, but it was several months away. I did some Googling and discovered there is actually another program called Camp NaNo, one in April and one in July.
Bingo. That’s the perfect way to cover some real ground with my book. Technically I’m cheating, as you’re supposed to start your novel on the first day of Camp NaNo rather than bringing something in that you’ve been working on, but that’s not what I’m trying to get from this. I want to make a lot of progress with my book. I want the motivation of having to write 1,667 words a day. I want to roll up my sleeves and dive into my work.
So, with 3 chapters of my novel already written, I signed up for Camp NaNo. I set my writing goal (a difference between Camp and regular NaNo is that you can set a word count) to 50K. Camp NaNo starts in 4 days, and I’ve been taking a lot of time to prepare for my month of frantic writing.
First, I want to focus ALL of my writing for April on my book. That creates a bit of a problem now that I’m trying to get my blog off the ground again. To solve this, I’ve spent all of the last week of March prewriting most of April’s blogs. It’s really not going that well since it’s been such an unbelievably hectic and weird week, but I’m pretty determined to get these done and scheduled so I don’t get to busy to share my ideas with you guys.
Another thing I’ve done is borrowed a few books from the library that I think will help me while I’m working on my big project. I got No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel by Chris Baty, who actually founded the NaNo program. I’m not very far into it but it’s a really encouraging read.
I also got a book similar to what I’m writing. The book I’m writing obviously doesn’t exist in the world, and I couldn’t find anything with the same subject matter. The book I got is in the same family, so I want to see how the author deals with some of the same issues.
I’m not going to tell you what book it is. Why? Because I’m not ready to talk about the subject matter of my book yet, and I don’t want anyone to guess. It’s a really personal subject for me, and I don’t want to go into all the details when someone asks me. In fact, I haven’t told many people that I’m working on it for that same reason. I’ll still review the book, but later, when you’ve all forgotten this post.
So, I’ve got the beginnings of a book, a calendar filled with word goals, and a few books to help me along the way. I’m ready for April 1st. I’m going to post a few check-ins along the way to talk about my progress, successes, and challenges. If you are also writing a novel this April or this year, let me know! Encouragement is always appreciated.
Happy writing! Here’s a cat: