Day 31, Midnight – 10 Things I Learn in the July 2015 Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s been an interesting month. I’ve had Camp NaNoWriMos before where I had limited access to the internet, but this was pushing it. Shortly after 1 AM, Central Standard Time, I validated my word count goal. It was the first and only time since validation began on July 20th that I was able to access the internet. Since I won’t have the chance later today, that will be my final word count goal, 53,164. Not bad considering the downward trend I have been dealing with on my NaNos lately. I could have done better, but I definitely accomplished a lot with it.

This month has been a little chaotic and for my writing it was more about figuring out the characters than it was about figuring out the story. I don’t do pansting well. I do pantsing. I just don’t do well with it. Here’s some little tidbits I learned this month either about the story, the characters, or writing in general:

1. It’s a lot easier to write characters you already know rather than figuring out new ones. I mostly already knew this, but this was the first time in a long while I have written a story with an almost completely undeveloped cast of characters. Jaymes and Maci, two of Todd’s nieces may have been the only characters I encountered this month whom I have spent any time writing before. It was a little disconcerting.

2. Not knowing a character’s name is really annoying. Along with an undeveloped cast I had a host of characters with no names. Some of them have managed to find names over the course of the month, but I still have a lot of (NAME), (SURNAME), and one (ROOM), because I wasn’t sure what the room was called. It might be a sitting room.

3. Writing in a car on a tablet of any sort is difficult. Add a cooler squishing your elbow and it can be downright insane.

4. There is no internet while camping. I know, this should be a no brainer.

5. The camping is worth is anyway. We went to several camp sites over the course of the month and Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite is still my favorite place to camp, but they were all so beautiful. Personally I think Tuolumne Meadows is more amazing than anywhere else in Yosemite. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend it.

6. Dan, one of my characters in this story, has a very bizarre family. They are nothing like I expected. Well, Lexus might have been around what I expected, but no one else.

7. Time moves quickly when you aren’t on the internet. It has come as a little bit of a surprise to me how very much I miss by not being on the internet much over a three week period. A lot of things are only available for a few days, sometimes even less than that. They are free, provided you have enough time to do this or that within a very limited amount of time otherwise they are gone. Well, they are gone regardless. It is rather disconcerting, especially if you are already so far behind you will never catch up.

8. When I work on Misfit it’s going to be a lot more complicated than I expected. One of the upcoming books I have planned for is called Misfit. This month has revealed some things related to that. The fate of two new characters I wrote about this month, Bailey and Bryce, will be revealed in that book. It should be interesting.

9. I never liked cursive, but I’m glad I know how to do it. My niece was watching my write and she commented on the fact that my writing didn’t look like cursive. This was surprising since she is six and does not know how to write in cursive herself. Thanks to learning how to write in cursive many years ago at the age of eight, a skill I mostly use these days for signing my name, I was able to impress her by switching over to cursive for a bit.

10. People like my handwriting. I have seen some gorgeous handwriting in my life and I have not at any point considered my handwriting to be nice to look at, but one thing it has going for it is that it is legible. I feel like that’s a pretty low bar since if I am writing something I really need to be able to read it back later, but I really do appreciate those people who have told me they like my handwriting. Thanks!

If you’ve ever done NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, or a similar challenge, what are some lessons you learned while doing it? Did you make your goal?

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