Posted in books, writing

What to write? The clock is ticking.

Every November I take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which most of you who write know is an insane and fun way to kick your writing mojo into gear by writing a 50,000 word “novel” in just 30 days.

It’s always been a really fun part of my writing and I look forward to it every year. I’ve met great writers from all over the world, played goofy games with other writers on the NaNo boards and even managed to finish seven or eight of the annual challenges. I’m a big fan of it, can you tell? Many writers aren’t, thinking it a waste of time or something. But, for me, it’s perfect — by November of every year my writing desire is sagging. NaNo gives me that boost I need to move on.

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Last year the great folks at Office of Letters and Light (NaNo’s parent) decided to initiate Camp NaNoWriMo, offering the same contest to “summer campers” who were just itching to make their fingers bleed and their brains go zombie. I got through the challenge last year, barely. My novel was, as is true with most of them I’ve produced through NaNo, trash. I couldn’t even make something of it after the month was finished. At least some of the others I’ve gone on to edit and rewrite and rewrite some more. They have, or had, potential.

This year Camp NaNoWriMo was offered in June and will offer a second session in August. Since I’m off in August and likely to be slammed with work in November, I’m going to give it my best effort this summer. Which always prompts the question as to what to write.

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I think I’ve said here before that I’m seriously plot-deprived. I struggle, seriously struggle, to find a plot every year. The challenge is fiction and that’s just not my forte, which is probably one of the reasons the whole process is really good for me.

So, I’m open to suggestions. Help, the clock is ticking and I don’t have a story. What do you think I should try to write about this time around? (No zombies, please.) And, I’m curious to know if anyone else is packing up their gear for the August session of Camp NaNoWriMo.

PS, Lots of related articles posted here, because, well, lots of people have been writing about Camp NaNo.



I'm a writer making my way through life and offering observations as I go. Old enough to know better but that doesn't stop me.

29 thoughts on “What to write? The clock is ticking.

  1. I’ve done Nanowrimo for the last three years and have already started outlining this years book…it’s tough but rewarding to get to the finish line thene the mammoth task of edite=ing begins.

        1. I’d love to write mysteries. They are my favorite reading so you’d think I’d have a leg up. Not so. I can’t think of a stinking plot! I’m kind of toying with the idea of writing one novel into another one — like taking Great Gatsby and working it into Tom Sawyer or something.

  2. I haven’t heard of NaNo (having been under a rock for MANY years and only recently back to writing), so thanks for sharing today. I think I may join you at Camp NaNoWriMo in August – terrified, but might be the kick in the pants I have been needing.

    1. It’s really great fun. Be aware that it’s about getting the word count in, not necessarily about perfection. The word count doesn’t leave a lot of time for perfection! It’s a very fun community, too, online. Lots of boards to post on and share on and (my downfall) play on. Get signed up and start looking around. Befriend people from all over the world. It always puts the sheer joy of writing back into my psyche — refreshes me and gets me back to serious writing. Hope you enjoy it. Look for me there — my name is Kimmer. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. I’m down for August as well. I’m still unsure how the whole thing works. Whether I write and put down my word count or some other way but I’m ready for it. I’m starting on a genre that I have not tried, so completely fresh and new. It’s more light hearted, which I think ( make that hope) will be easier going for a month.

    1. Hey, I’m excited to have another WP buddy on board! Look for me, I’m “Kimmer” on that site. It’s actually pretty easy — sign up and start looking around. I think there’s an FAQ that answers most of the questions. Heck, if I could figure it out, so can you! Word count is easy. During the month you can track and report your own word count. (If you are working in Word there is a word count feature under tools.) At the end of the month or during the last week you can submit your whole document and it will be counted and you’ll be deemed a winner. My best suggestion is to always write a little more than 50,000 if you want to be sure to win because the counter is sometimes different than your own count. Ask me anything you want, anytime. And, have fun — that’s what it is really about.

      1. Brilliant Emma, thanks. The old FAQ…I really must read that lol. I’m Introvertedwriter, and I will go and find you. I’m looking forward to it. Great advice about writing more than the 50,000. I’m excited to try this new genre.

          1. LOL I have this plot for you right up my sleeve. How about trying something new, a switch from what you would usually do.

              1. I have then in a big box. I’m frightened to open it. I look away and stuff a new one in every now and then.

  4. Hi Emma,

    My daughter and I entered NaNoWriMo a couple of years back and thoroughly enjoyed it, so we thought we’d enter it again this November. The only thing is that I’m going to be a grandmother (for the first time) in December, so I thought it might get a bit busy around that time but I’m working on the outline and hopefully it will all work out.

    I look forward to hearing how you went in the August Camp.

    1. Good luck with it in November (and the prep). I’m sure I’ll be posting. My Day 15 post will probably read something like “still sitting here waiting for a plot idea. Word count: 0.”

  5. Another 60-something writer here, just found your blog today. I’m doing the August camp (my first). Gave up on the cabins, wanted others in my age or genre got neither…three times. LOL! Using a Facebook grpup and Twitter I guess.

    I’ll be watching…I’m struggling with my first chapter, trying to set the scene. I’m normally a plotter but I’m pantsing it this time. Gulp!

    1. What’s your name at Camp? Maybe we can stay in touch there on our own and encourage each other. I asked to be bunked with Introvertedwriter, another of my favorite bloggers here, but that didn’t happen, so we’ll just keep in touch on our own as well. Good luck! You’ll love it. Just have fun with it!

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