Sunday, August 21, 2011

Abandoning Camp, But Not CampNaNo

This time last year, my local NaNoWriMo friends and I were already psyched for November's annual National Novel Writing Month. This year, as we were getting nostalgic and missing each other, but not really thinking about whole new novels, the Office of Letters and Light launched Camp NaNoWriMo, which brings the same crazy writing challenge to any month of the year! As hectic as this summer has been, I had no intention of starting a novel in July. But as we tossed the idea around in our Facebook group, a few of us decided to dip our toes in for August. Including me.

No, I wasn't ready for a whole new novel - yet - but I needed a push to get back into my wip. The CampNano theme is really inspiring: "An idyllic writers retreat, smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life." I got into the camp spirit and dragged a mattress into my sun room where I could open up the windows and hear all the critters at night (and enjoy the cooler air during one of North Carolina's hottest summers), without having to battle real mosquitoes.

"Crazy Life" is right. Distractions, appointments, meetings, and family crises have abounded this month. Although I won't be anywhere near 50K words, ANY WHERE NEAR, I still wrote a little more than I might have otherwise. My virtual cabinmates are historical writers, which is fun, and something about posting my wordcount online just feels satisfying, even if those numbers are pathetically low (you can only count new words, and I'm revising).

While I enjoyed listening to tree frogs and crickets all night for a couple of weeks, I had some wicked strange dreams. Followed by ... a wicked backache. Last week I abandoned my makeshift campsite and moved back to my bed. Tomorrow I go see the doctor.

C'est la vie. I like changing things up a little every now and then for a creative boost. It's been a little like a real camp, where you come home sunburned and sleep-deprived and missing some socks, but your imagination has been recharged.

Here, have a marshmallow!

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