Remember in that glorious amber glow of happy childhood memories, packing up to get ready to head off to summer camp? Bug spray and swim suits, socks and plenty of undies. A bag of treats you weren’t supposed to be bringing. Your mom foisting off stationary and pens on you, as if you’d actually have time to write! A journal that would be as empty when you head home as when you head off. So many things, all pared down to a duffle bag.
Now that you are an adult, there is no more summer camp, no more summers off to just be a person. No, now we are parents and employees, maybe employers or any number of other things. Just not a kid.
I am stealing a bit of summer camp back, thanks to the people at The Office of Letters and Light. It is that time, writers, the time for Camp NaNoWriMo. Just like the official NaNoWriMo, it is 30 days of literary abandon, though for Camp, it is pared down to the bare minimum. Thirty days to write 50,000 words of a novel, with all the pressure a deadline creates, a community to support the insanity, but none of the bells and whistles. Sarah Mackey said it best, “All of the guilt monkeys, none of the November.”
We’ve been divided into our cabins, met fellow campers already, and are busy gearing ourselves up for this crazy month of writing. we’ve written outlines, come up with ideas, fostered off the plot bunnies, and are already having second and third thoughts. There will be no canoes, no campfires, no songs, no crafts, no horseback riding. There will only be a frantic dash to write.
So, how do I prepare for heading off to Camp that is nothing more than my rather overly fertile imagination? Well, I’ll tell you, simply because I couldn’t come up with anything better to plague you with.
I’ve done NaNoWriMo once, and I wont, finishing with over 90,000 words and a completed manuscript. It was a beast of a month. However, it’s given me a better idea of what to expect this time around.
My Camp Packing List
1. Scrivner file all ready to go, including my basic story board all done up on the pretty little notecards and cork board. (This time around, I’m rebelling and doing a rewrite, so all that was done. Shhh don’t tell.) I’ve learned that even if I don’t consider myself an outliner, having a direction, a plot arch, makes writing go much smoother for me. As I go, I fill it in on the notecards, as well as any scenes I might have planned in my head already. With such a hard and fast deadline, I need that to keep everything going smoothly.
2. Dropbox, because I am obsessive about backing up my work. I save to drop box, to my hard drive, and I upload a notepad document to google.docs. I don’t think it is possible to back up too often or too many ways. I’ve seen far too many horror stories, heard of far too many people losing their files or corrupting them or simply forgetting to save. So, back up, back up, back up dat work.
3. Enough coffee to give an elephant a heart attack. I need my caffeine.
4. Recipes for quick and easy meals to feed to my child. (I’m giving pocket meals a try… so far, success if mixed.) He likes being fed on a regular basis, so meals I can make either quickly and easily or that can be saved for more than one meal are a serious bonus.
5. My writers’ group on skype. I don’t know what I would do without them. They are support and cheer leaders and co-campers all in one. They are always game for a word war, to offer a bit of encouragement, to give that push or commiserate. We are all in it together.
6. Marshmellows. Hey, you can toast them over a candle flame!
7. Pre-determined prize to give myself for finishing. I actually chose two this time, one for reaching 50,000, another for actually completing the manuscript. They are goooood this time. When I hit 50,000, I get to read Nicole Peeler‘s newest Truniverse installation (convenient timing, it comes out on June 26th.) When I finish the manuscript, I get to buy myself a nice flat screen to use as TV and monitor in one, plus a stand up desk to work at instead of slumped on my couch. A girl’s gotta have dreams.
8. Camp playlist, including my favorite NaNoWriMo song! All the tunes I need to keep me pumped through the month and on course.
It might not seem like all that much, but that’s all I really need, other than a couple of hours to focus every day. Just like in November, my daily word goal is not 1667 words per day (the needed amount to finish 50,000 words in 30 days), but instead 2,000. Ideally, I plan to write closer to 3,000 per day to finish the manuscript, but I wont hold my breath on that one. Hitting that each and every day is like frying an egg on the side walk. I have no desire to burn myself out, I want to finish the novel.
Now all I have to do is stay on course and not change my plans before Camp starts. A much harder proposition than it sounds like.