Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reflections on my #CampNaNoWriMo Experience

It's official, the August CampNaNoWriMo is over - finished - complete - done - fini - over and completely done with! I survived but did I finish? And what did I learn? What would I do differently? What would I do the same way? Here are my reflections and thoughts on the experience.

  1. I'd always known that I work better to a deadline and this opportunity proved no different. I physically wrote in nineteen days (not all consecutive, life does still go on) when I hit my 50k.
  2. I found that I did much better at pantsing than I would have ever thought. I really enjoyed letting the characters and how I felt or thought at the time influence what I was writing.
  3. That said, I found it was critical for me to keep a running timeline in a text file. It helped me keep track of the days and what was happening, that way nothing fell through the cracks (I hope).
  4. I started with Scrivener and Dropbox for syncing files between my two computers. That was dropped quickly because of the lack of Internet access at home. I ended up using a 64GB flash drive to store and transfer any new files from computer to computer.
  5. I used text files for each chapter as well as one long running version of everything (backup purposes). I absolutely love the word editor program, Jarte. It let me have plain text files for my writing but rich text files for my characters. I found a photo for each person in the book and added background information as needed. Dates were a big thing since the timeline was important to the mystery.
  6. I write better when I am not at home, too many distractions and interruptions. About 75% of my writing was done at McDonald's, the rest at home. I have less shoulder pain from writing at home, nestled on the reclining loveseat, than I do at McD's, sitting in a booth or at a table. My left shoulder gave me fits, I know it was the typing height.
  7. I made the right decision in getting my Samsung Series 9 Ultra-notebook. The size and weight (or lack of) made it perfect for long stretches of writing. The portability is amazing. The only downside is that I was unable to ever get it to talk to the free Wi-Fi at McD's. No idea why, no web searches were any help. Just would not connect even though it saw the networks. Thank goodness for my aircard.
  8. Why McD's and an aircard? I discovered that I really need Internet access when writing. I end up with research needs popping up unexpectedly, a real frustration when I was at home with almost no signal for the aircard. (We now have DSL...whoo-hoo!)
  9. I tried three different cabins during Camp and never found a good mix for me. I used a Facebook Group for support and that worked out the best. I think the camp needs a regular forum or bulletin board, more like a campfire. I haven't found many folks that used the cabin approach successfully.
  10. Would I do it again? Absolutely and I may seriously consider doing it in November which is the BIG NaNoWriMo month. We'll be in Tennessee and there is a NaNoWriMo chapter in neighboring Cookeville.


  1. Hi Donna, I didn't join any organized writing effort, but I completed 52K works in 23 days. I'm a bit more than halfway through my WIP. I love writing first drafts and just letting go and writing, not thinking about revising or editing. My characters have free reign to take the story any direction they want and they frequently surprise me. I'm sure you had fun too.

  2. Sounds like McD must have made a good profit out of your 19 days - or do you make one coffee last hours?

  3. CONGRATS! I found your post over on Twitter and had to come over and read your experience, fellow camper! Congrats on winning Camp NaNoWriMo. I love all of this!

  4. Congrats, Donna, on completing your novel in August! While I fell short of my own goal, I AM happy to report Chicken Soup For The Soul accepted my story for their upcoming book, ANGELS AMONG US, so at least that's something...;~)

    Donna L Martin

  5. I work better under a deadline, always have, always will - have to figure out how to motivate myself to write 1500-2000 at least 5 days a week. Hmmm, maybe set a reward for myself. ;-)

    Thanks, Rachelle....good job!!

  6. Free refills....[giggle]. Senior coffee was 49 cents with endless refills.

  7. Thanks, Kate. It was fun. Now I need to run over and read your blog!

  8. WOOT!! Huge congratulations, Donna!! Way to go...


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