It’s been a crazy month, what with doing Camp NaNoWriMo and A to Z at the same time. I accidentally upped the ante by signing up for both the day before they started, so I had no time to prep or plan for either challenge, and I had only just started blogging (I think I have three blog posts before the two challenges started). It was very much a case of jumping into the deep end and sinking or swimming. I’m so glad that I figured out how to float!
Well done to all of you who made it to the end by the way. High Fives and pizzas all around. I feel like we should all hunker down around a rustic wooden table, with mugs of cider, and recount our various hairy moments of April, or simply sit in silence and ooze blogger worldliness and experience, like the blogging salty dogs we have become. You know, like that scene at the end of Lord of the Rings where Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry are sat apart from the rest of the village, silent and brooding, and you can see just how much they have changed compared to their fellow hobbits.
Ok, maybe a tad over-dramatic. Maybe just a knowledgeable blogger fistbump?
I’ll definitely do both challenges again next year, but I’ll do them differently. For A to Z, I’ll plan my posts ahead of time, and probably come up with a theme. As I mentioned in the U post, constraints can actually be a great way to stimulate creativity, and not having a cohesive whole into which my posts had to fit made it hard at times to come up with subjects. Hence some of the more random posts. Not having any time to plan my posts ahead of time did also make it hard to find the time to blog hop as much as I was planning to , so I’ll be playing catch up now that the challenge is over….Starting this blog with the A to Z challenge was a great way to prove to myself that I have what it takes to keep up a blog though, and whilst I won’t blog daily any more (far too intense!) I’ll definitely continue with it on a regular basis.
For Camp NaNo, likewise, I’ll do it again, but next time I’ll plan and outline the novel before I start. I had been working on another novel earlier in the year but it wasn’t quite working. I put it aside at the end of March, just in time to start Camp (I will come back to it as there is a concept at its heart that I really want to explore). This meant that I had no outline, no character sketches, nothing to start with other than the sprawling mess I’ve carried around in my head for years now. I managed to stick to the NaNo rule of not going back to edit, although I did take a long detour through worldbuildling and outlining, and then re-outlining. Not going back to edit means the story is full of glaring plot
holes craters, such as characters disappearing midway through (I don’t mean dead, I mean literally wiped off the page, because I decided they had no place in the story), and I’ll have to go back and address them. But that’s all in the spirit of NaNoWriMo: at least now I have a vaguely novel shaped thing that I can work on. It has a beginning, an end, and something that could pass for a middle. It is, in the crudest possible form, a novel (yes, alright, for now a magnificently sucky novel, riddled with lashings of adverbs).
If there’s one thing I’m taking away from this month, though, it’s the power of accountability. Knowing that I had to upload my word count every day over at camp NaNoWriMo did a lot to keep me writing on those days when I really, really didn’t feel like it. And likewise knowing that you would all know if I skipped a letter stopped me from slacking off (other than that one weekend when Game Of Thrones happened…). I’m therefore planning on coming up with ingenious methods to hold myself accountable in some way to someone other than myself, to make sure I keep up the good work. Because I am an epic slacker at heart, and I often have the attention span of a fruit fly on crystal meth.
That said, it is now nap and relax time. Looking forward to catching up with you all once life has gone back to normal!