Tag Archives: camp nanowrimo

I’m a Gollum and Why It’s Okay To Phantom Menace When You Meant To Empire

I feel like Gollum. I haven’t been getting out much on account of Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’m all pale and my hair is stringy, my only company during the day is my hobbit-sized son and I’m OBSESSED with my precious. Not the one ring to rule them all, but my novel. All the time I devote to thinking on, talking about and, of course, writing my novel, is making me crazy.


Which is fine by me. See having a creative brain can feel like insanity. It is crazy to have make-believe people and imaginary worlds in your head and the longer we fight to lock them away or ignore them, the harder those characters and ideas fight to get out. I’m treating my particular case with heavy doses of writing. I pour all of my crazy out on the page, so that my brain can have a break from the constant hammering of ideas. It’s like popping in a cough drop to cure a sore throat. It does nothing to cure the overall condition, but it does offer some blessed, albeit temporary relief.

But none of that explains why I haven’t posted anything in over a week. I’m behind on my goal and I had a few days there where I struggled to find the words. See writing is also communication and the challenge is to take these amazing movies that we see in our heads and describe them in such a way that others can see them. This is a great plan in theory, but when I’m writing my rough draft this is rarely the case. I envision Empire Strikes Back, but I end up writing Phantom Menace.

Now when this happens, I’m tempted to throw my computer against a wall and call it a day but, while that would feel amazing, that is not how novels get written. Also, eventually the crazy of creativity will return and then it’s back to square one. No, the only real solution is to let your Empire Strikes Back be Phantom Menace. Let it be crap.

I get to the point eventually where I just throw it all out there. As Hemingway put it, bleed. Naturally this can be painful, particularly when I read through what I’ve written. I cope by leaving comments for Future Hayley like “make this suck less.” And sometimes I will write a paragraph from a new angle to see if second take is better, but I don’t delete anything.

As mentioned, writer me is nuts and what Present Hayley thinks is crap, Future Hayley might appreciate. And there is nothing worse than knowing you’ve already written the perfect words to describe something and those words are gone because Past You was a jerk and deleted them.

So, I hope this ranty rant is of the sense-making variety and if you don’t hear from me much this month or I don’t post anything for awhile, check the Misty Mountains.

Total Words Written in July: 14,788
Goal for this point: 18,387
Manuscript total: 82,101

How I feel about writing today

Now I want to hear from you! How is your writing (or reading) going? Rate it either Phantom Menace (sucktastic), Empire (you seek Muppet guidance), Jedi (fun and space bears) or A New Hope (ALL OF THE AWESOME).


Being a Unicorn Chest-Burster and Getting Out the Words

I swore I wouldn’t let it happen to me. I told myself that I would stay the course, but I gave in. I socialized. Don’t be social, kids. Writing a novel in a month and interacting with other humans in a face-to-face capacity does not a novel make. (See that? Even my sentences are all wonky now.)

What happened was that I took a day off for the 4th of July and then that turned into a couple more days because I had company in town and then my kid had all these needs that required parenting and then before you know it, I was behind over 5,000 words.

If I had efficient time management skills, I could have done the parenting, socializing and the writing. I have heard of mythical creatures that can accomplish this task (I’m pretty sure unicorns can), but I’m not too worried. I’ve written more than 5,000 words in a day before and I’m sure I can catch up if I get started tonight.

I have a good feeling about this. Today I took time for myself and read, watched some vlogs, and listened to music from the playlist I created for my novel. That was just what I needed. A Vlog Brothers video I watched today reminded me how lucky we are to have the time and freedom to write and how awesome it is that we have stories in our heads and the ability to write them down.

I’m feel inspired and I’m confident that I will catch up. Like ALL OF THE WORDS are going to erupt from me like the chest burster from Alien or Spaceballs! I’m just gonna word explosion all over the place so you might want to duck and run for cover or else you’re gonna get words all over you. Or maybe the words will just do a song and dance number and be on their way. You never can tell.

Total Words Written in July: 3,104
Goal for this point: 8,709
Manuscript total: 70,428
How I feel about writing today:

Now I want to hear from you! How is your writing going and when you fall behind what gets you amped to get back on track?

Becoming a Vampire and Writing While the World Sleeps

Camp NaNoWriMo has turned me into a vampire.

Okay, it’s not as bad as that. I mean, hey, at least I don’t sparkle. What nano has done though is messed with my sleeping schedule so that I am now staying up all night and sleeping through the better part of the day.


It all started the first night of nano, I put my writing off until 2am and then wrote until 5am (by Hayley logic the day is not over until I’ve slept. Yes, I know. There is a fly in my logic ointment). So, then I slept in late. I won’t say how late but let’s just say I would not have been able to order from the McDonald’s breakfast menu. Then I did normal Hayley day stuff which includes cleaning, playing with the kiddo and dancing around the house singing “Rump Shaker”…forget that last part. Of course, I procrastinated again and then at 2am writing happened.

A lot of writing actually, I not only met yesterday’s goal of 1,935 words total, I almost met today’s goal as well. I ended up writing 2,782 words, putting me at 70,095 total for my manuscript.

Surprisingly, I cranked these words out within a couple hours. I think this was in part because there is a huge reveal about one of the characters in the scene I was writing, so I had a lot of exposition to cover.

Still, I was surprised. That’s much more than I usually write in a day never-the-less two hours. I sort of sat there for a moment thinking, “well, that was weird” then went to bed.

So, now I’m left with two problems. One: I need to get back onto people waking hours before someone comes to stake me or some high school kid falls in love with me. This could be difficult because I do tend to enjoy writing at night. I like the quiet but I’m also missing out on fun daytime activities. Ugh am I going to have to give myself a bedtime?

Two: I’ve written about 70,000 words and I’m only halfway through act two. I’ve been developing this book for six years now and writing it since last November. Is this book ever going to end? Am I going to be writing this book when I’m a crazy old cat lady? I am still hoping my goal of 30,000 words for the month will be enough to finally finish this novel. If not, the good news is that I’m over my word count so I guess if I finish early, I can just keep writing (and now I’m hearing Dory from “Finding Nemo” in my head. I am going crazy).

Total Words Written in July: 2,782
Goal for this point: 1,935
Manuscript total: 70,095
How I feel about writing today:

Now I want to hear from you! What time of day (or night?) do you get most of your writing done?

Productivity at Camp NaNoWriMo

I feel so productive! Day 1 and not only did I exceed my word count, but here I am posting about it. I also managed to clean my house while I was at it–mostly because for me, the hardest part about writing is getting my butt in the chair and getting started. So, yeah, I cleaned and then at the absolute last minute I got to work. It was slow going at first but with a bit of perseverance, a lot of coffee and a splash of rum I exceeded yesterdays goal of 967 words and wrote 1,080 words. I also finished the scene I was working on.


One thing I do when I finish a scene at the end of my writing day, is write the first few lines of the next scene as well while I’m still in my writing groove. That way, when I start today those first couple of lines will act as a writing prompt and will hopefully make it so I can dive right in. Hopefully.

In other news, my cabin mates are doing very well. They’re all WordPress bloggers as well, so if you’re participating in nano or you just like reading about it, then head on over to their pages and give them a follow. Also, if you’re participating in nano this month and would like to join a cabin of 9 awesome WordPress bloggers, leave your username and I’ll send you an invite. My cabin mates are (with links to their blogs): Sierra (Permashift), Victoria (Coffee. Write. Repeat), Jay (I Read Encyclopedias for Fun), Winter Bayne, Caroline S. Sibley, JR (Ellipsis), and Phil (The Phil Factor).

Total Words Written in July: 1080
Goal for this point: 957
Manuscript total: 68,393
How I feel about writing today:

Now I want to hear from you! How is your writing going? Did you make your word count?

How I Get Ready For Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp starts tonight at midnight! I’m ready. I’ve got my bug spray, trail mix and everything I need to finish my novel in a month!


As I mentioned in my previous nano post. I won’t be starting a new novel for nano. Instead, I’m using nano to push me to finish the final act of the novel that I won November nano with.  My novel is called Pup and it is currently 67,313 words long. I figure 30,000 should be a sufficient goal to finish this first draft. It may even be more than I need but if I finish short than I will rewrite some scenes from another point-of-view or add additional scenes so that I have plenty of material to work with in revision.

Based on my experience with November nano, here are the nano essentials I can’t live without:

1. A nanowrimo calendar for my desktop wallpaper that tells me what today’s word count goal is. Since I couldn’t find one for July, I made one myself. If you like it, I’d be happy to adjust the word count to whatever your goal is and email you a copy. Just leave me a comment below and let me know.

camp nanowrimo calendar

2. Scrivener & an outline
. If you don’t have it already, download the free trial of Scrivener. It is hands down the best writing program I have ever come across and has increased my productivity exponentially. You can also get a discount on Scrivener if you win nanowrimo. In this one program you can write your manuscript, outline, format, take notes–and so much more! I made my outline a few months before November nano in Scrivener. I have a process for making my outline. If any of you are interested, I can make a tutorial on it. Here is a screenshot of my outline for act one.


3. Write or Die & Written Kitten:
I love Write or Die. It is a program that you can use free online. Simply enter your word count and your level of difficulty and start writing. If you stall too long between words, the screen will start to turn red and then a loud alarm will sound (you can choose from many horrible sounds–I use the crying babies one). WOD also has a neat feature called word wars where you can challenge a friend over the internet and compete for the highest word count. There is now Write or Die 2 as well, which I haven’t tried yet but has loads of new features. WOD is highly motivating for my word sprints, but if you’d prefer a kinder option there is Written Kitten. Same concept only for every hundred words you are rewarded with a new picture of a cute kitty.


4. Snacks:
Now in November, I was unconcerned about healthy eating. I fed the writing machine whatever it craved so long as it continued to produce the words, however, for Camp Nano I’m trying something different. My writing buddy, Adrian and I are drying fruit and making trail mix as a healthy alternative to chocolate and potato chips. There will also be coffee….lots of coffee! And some ice water. Hydration is key. Snacks are also a highly motivating reward. Last November, my writing buddy and I had Daiquiri Fridays where we would reward ourselves with a strawberry daiquiri for every 1.000 words written.


5. A Playlist:
When I’m writing at home alone, I prefer the quiet but when I’m at a coffee shop or writing with a friend, I am easily distracted by the smallest of noises. At these times, I cue up my playlist and pop my headphones in. Listening to music also helps inspire me when I’m stuck. For Pup I’ve been listening to a lot of Apocalyptica.


Now I want to hear from you! What are your Camp NaNoWriMo Essentials?

Grab the Smores, We’re going to Camp NaNoWriMo!

I’m going to camp! Okay, I’m signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s a lot like regular nano where participants attempt to write a novel in a month, only in Camp Nano, you get to choose your own word count. It has to be at least 10,000 words, but is still a far cry from the hefty 50,000 words needed to complete November NaNoWriMo.


I began the first draft of my current work in progress, an urban fantasy novel called Pup, last November. I won NaNoWriMo with just over 50,000 words. It was a huge accomplishment for me, but I’ll be honest, I’ve been a very lazy novelist since last winter. I have worked on Pup, but not nearly as much as I should have. Currently, Pup is 67,313 words long and I still have the third act and some fill-in scenes to write. I figure that if I set a goal of 30,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo that should be enough to finish the draft. An average novel is about 80,000 words and I like to overwrite my rough drafts so that I have plenty of material to work with in revision.

With a nano goal of 30,000, my daily goal will only be 967. Unlike November nano, where I shut myself indoors and didn’t have any sort of life outside of writing for the month, I’m relatively sure that I can meet this goal and still have time to blog and read.

As an added bonus, my 9-year-old son will be unofficially participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. He’s too young to sign up on the site and 10,000 words is a bit daunting for him but he will be writing every day right alongside me. His goal is 2,000 words. He’s writing a middle-grade fantasy called Damon the Demon. I’m very proud of him and am looking forward to spending this time with him.

I am also excited to share this experience with all of you. I will be posting about my progress, but more so I am hoping that those of you that are also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo will join my cabin. There are three of us in the cabin so far: myself and fellow WP bloggers Victoria Davenport (Coffee. Write. Repeat) and Sierra Carrillo (Permashift). My username on the Camp NaNoWriMo site  is hayleyknighten. You can also find me on the regular NaNoWriMo site where my username is also hayleyknighten.

If you are also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, leave your username in the comments below and I’ll send you an invite to our cabin. See you at camp!