I’m here to say that although I didn’t complete my Camp NaNoWriMo goal in time, I did actually complete my WIP which was my actual goal!!!
The draft ended at about 58k and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have finished just in time for a vacation. I’m hosting my sister (and nephew!) here in Seattle and I won’t be prioritizing my writing, so it is the perfect time for a break!
What Did My Progress Look Like?
Camp NaNoWriMo pulls together these awesome graphs for you during the challenge month. I wrote about 7k before the challenge, 44k during the challenge and about 7k after. This is my progress graph from during the challenge:
In the beginning I did a relatively good job of staying on track. But come the week 2-3 time period, I had A LOT going on in my life and so I got distracted from buckling down and writing.
I really came back with an online writing “retreat” with a few of my Author Mentor Match friends where we encouraged each other to draft over the course of the last weekend of April. I pulled off about 10k of writing that weekend and it was awesome!
Although I didn’t technically “beat” my Camp Nano goal, it was still a HUGE win because it helped me finish my draft and boy does that feel good.
But HOW IN THE WORLD do you write so much so quickly?
I’ve had a few people ask me this and fast drafting is definitely a skill I’ve developed over time. Here are my suggestions to those who want to try it:
- Have a plan/outline. I know not everyone is a plotter, but in fast drafting it really helps to have (at the very least) a direction before you start. Maybe just jot down a few high level bullet points or at least ideas for your next few chapters. And then as you continue, keep writing down your ideas until you have a chapter by chapter outline at the end!
- Even if you don’t feel like writing… WRITE. If you only set aside an hour or two a day to write a novel in a month, you can’t dilly dally and waste your writing time by staring at a blank page. Do your thinking and planning when you’re not at your computer. And if you *really* can’t think of how to write the next words, jump to the next chapter that you DO know what happens and write that instead. It’s totally cool to jump around and write what you know rather than forcing yourself to write a scene that you’re unsure about.
- Instead of doing other extracurriculars, you should write. If you’re wanting to fast draft, you need to prioritize your writing. That means instead of watching TV, reading, napping, or any other lazy activities, you should write instead. If you replace all of your “down time” activities with writing, you’ll be surprised with how much you can accomplish.
- Most importantly: Allow your first draft to suck. I know this may sound ridiculous, but a first draft doesn’t have to be beautiful, it just has to be DONE. Do not let yourself to go back and edit no matter how tempting it may be. Once it’s on the page, that’s it. Leave it until next time. Allow yourself to write something that’s not perfect and let those words flow. It’s really freeing, trust me!
And lastly, if fast drafting isn’t your thing or it doesn’t work for you, that’s ok! Everyone has their own writing preferences and their own writing speed. What works for me may not work for you, but I just wanted to share my process in case it helped a few people.
Best of luck on drafting your next novel! I’m going to release a breath I didn’t know I was holding and go on vacation for a week. And congrats to everyone else who made awesome writing progress during Camp Nano this month. This high five is for you!