For those of you who’ve known me for a while, you know that every November I drop everything and attempt to write a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month. There’s something about spending the long, dark, chilly nights curled up in my computer chair, typing furiously to capture every detail of a story before the plot bunnies interfere. Some years turned out better than others, especially 2010 and 2011, where I actually hit my word-count goals (and, in the case of 2010, blew past them!), but no matter what the word counts, no matter how early I ran out of steam, I enjoyed myself. I’m ridiculously passionate about NaNoWriMo. Which is why, this year, I find myself checking into a cabin at Camp NaNoWriMo.
Last year, when Camp NaNoWriMo was introduced, I was a little skeptical. I was a NaNoWriMo purist! NaNoWriMo only happened in November! How the heck could it happen over the summer? Part of what fuels my writing is those chilly temperatures, the obscene amounts of Halloween candy, the allure of writing in a dim coffee shop while the snow falls outside. I never really thought about flat-out writing outside of November. Maybe editing, yes, but not creating something new.
Then I remembered all those times as a teenager, where I’d be sprawled out on a sleeping bag in a tent in my mom’s backyard, writing fanfiction into a spiral-bound notebook to be laboriously typed up later (have you seen my handwriting? even I have trouble deciphering it sometimes!), writing at any time of day or night about the adventures of Sailor Moon and her companions, or what would happen if Princess Peach got rescued by Link instead of Mario. (I said I wrote fanfiction – I didn’t say it was good!) And I thought to myself, if I could do it then, why not do it now? Why not pull out your laptop this time, instead of a spiral bound notebook, park yourself on the porch, or outside Starbucks, or out doing some REAL camping, and write? Write with abandon, like you did as a teenager, soaking up the sun and the fresh air?
And that’s what I’m doing this year. I’ve set myself a low goal for this first Camp NaNoWriMo – 25,000 words – but the plan is to write some short stories during April camp and August camp that help tell the story of the characters in my 2010 winning novel, Love, Lies, and Sand. I figure I can easily write a number of little stories that help give my characters life, help the reader see why the characters act the way they do. And maybe during the course of all this, I’ll figure out exactly what to write for a sequel to Love, Lies, and Sand, as the original sequel was… well, I’m not quite sure how to put it aside from rushed and scrambled, like a bad omelet.
So, here’s to noveling when it’s bright outside! Here’s hoping I can recapture the magic of writing when it’s warm out.