Saturday, June 9, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo

Have you ever heard of NaNoWriMo before? If not, that's okay. Personally, I never knew what it was until a couple of years ago. This crazy little acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place in November. Within that month, you're supposed to write a novel of at least 50,000 words. I remember the rush of excitement I first felt when I saw the poster tacked up on a bulletin board at my college. My thought was that this was it. This was the push I needed to finally finish writing that novel that I'd been obsessing over in my head. didn't happen that year, and it didn't happen the next year either. Each November, I logged into the website (found here), typed in my novel information, wrote about ten pages and promptly gave up. That's when I realized just how hard it is to write a novel in a month, especially when you're dealing with school full time and a part-time job that you always seem to be rushing off to. My dream of becoming an author remained just that: a dream.
Earlier this spring, however, I found out that NaNoWriMo has a summer version of their November writing festivies: Camp NaNoWriMo. It's basically the same thing as the original idea, but it takes place in June. It's actually kind of cute. They place you in a "cabin" with "cabin mates" that serve as a way to get inspiration or a source of encouragement as you trudge through writing that novel you've been promising yourself you'd finally create.
By May, I'd already written a good amount of my current project, The District. I was starting to really feel serious about this writing thing and thought, Why not? Yes, I know, I'm sort of cheating since I started writing in April, but who really cares? It's not like you get any real prizes when you win NaNoWriMo events other than bragging rights, so I can't feel too guilty about it. It's kind of exciting to watch your word count rise as you continue to write a little each day. I feel accomplished because this is the most I've ever written (and I might actually win this year!). The best feeling though is that my dream is starting to feel more and more real every day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writer's Block

I'm not going to lie, while I love writing, it can be a real pain sometimes. The good times are when the muses decide to deign me with their presence. They fill my brain with their inspiration so much so that my fingers fly over the keyboard in a frenzy. It's exciting and the stuff that comes out in the end usually ends up surprising me. I sit back and ask, "Did I really just write that?"
But, sadly, those pesky muse creatures don't show nearly as often as I would like. These are the times that it becomes hard, and the dreaded writer's block rear's its ugly head. I become stuck. The thought of sitting at my computer and staring at the steadily blinking cursor makes me cringe. This is when I feel more overwhelmed than any other time. It's like being in one of those dreams where you want to run, but you can't quite move fast enough. I hate this part about writing. This is when the doubt takes over and I feel like I'll never get this story written out.
The bright side, however, is the joy I feel when I overcome these rough patches. I might be simply thinking about an unrelated part of my story and then BAM! There it is! The perfect solution and my writer's block is gone. I grab a piece of paper and, in my excitement, scribble it down so fast that my handwriting is usually almost illegible. I then, again, remember why I love writing so much. Sometimes it's easy, but most of the time it's hard. I love the challenge that it poses for me. I love getting past that doubt and fear and coming up with something amazing in the end. There is truth to that old notion: there's a solution for everything; sometimes you just have to look for it.