Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Did It!!!!

Yep, I barely sneaked in under the wire at the last possible second, but I did it!!

I wrote 30,000 words during the month of April for Camp NaNoWriMo. :)

For those of you not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, hundreds of thousands of people around the world sign up to encourage each other as they tackle a unique goal: writing 50,000 words during the month of November. I've "won" (met the goal of writing 50,000 words in 31 days) in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012.

So what happened in 2010 and 2013, you ask? Well, in 2010, I knew I had a crazy-busy November, so instead I chose a different writing goal: The Editor-in-Chief of The Poet's Market, Robert Lee Brewer, hosts a PAD (Poem A Day) Challenge: writing a poem a day following the prompts given on Robert's Writer's Digest blog, Poetic Asides, for the entire month of November (and he offers another PAD Challenge in April). I'm not sure if it was less time-comsuming to write a poem a day or write 1667 words of fiction a day, but I did accomplish the PAD Challenge in November 2010.

In 2013 I had another crazy-busy November ahead of me, so instead of wisely choosing another writing challenge, or more wisely yet, not taken up ANY writing challenge that crazy month, I tried NaNoWriMo...but only made it to just under 12,000 words.

So I promised myself that when I had a break in teaching, I would catch up on NaNoWriMo. And I did, with one of NaNoWriMo's two Camp NaNoWriMo events, held each April and July. We set our own writing goals for this "Writing Camp" and we aren't limited to novels only--any kind of writing qualifies.

So with 30 days in April (including a two-week Easter vacation from homeschooling and a co-op Expository Essay class working feverishly on their MLA Research Essays which means no grading of their essays for me !), I planned to write 30,000 words--1,000 per day. Not too difficult, right? Although April was half-free of the daily routine of home education and I didn't have loads of essays to grade for our co-op Class Days through Heritage Christian School, I was still juggling one of the Brave Writer family workshop classes, namely the Shakespeare FamilyWorkshop. But as this class is fully prepared because I have taught it before, it requires minimal time and effort, mostly just responding to questions and posts from the families.

So I hunkered down and began Camp NaNoWriMo, starting with new chapters for my current novel, Only by Moonlight, and on a story that started as a dream in the novel but took on a life of its own. So the dream turned into 10,000 words of a new novella called An Enchanted Evening. I moved the setting of the novella from the dream taking place in Chicago during World War I in Only by Moonlight to the Regency era in England--London, to be precise--the time period and general location for Jane Austen's books.

It didn't help much that on April 30, the final day of Camp NaNoWriMo and also the deadline for a writing contest on one of the sites where I post my writings, we had the strongest winds we've experienced since moving to this mountain village in 2001. With winds topping 101 mph in Julian, another mountain town, and our own town experiencing winds of 90+ mph, we lost electricity starting at 5:45 AM. And the power wasn't restored until 5:45 PM. Thus out of the final 24 hours of Camp NaNoWriMo, 12 hours were without power.

I used my laptop's battery power to do a final edit on the unposted three parts of An Enchanted Evening, having posted the first three parts of the novella on April 29. Utilizing my smart phone's FoxFi app which provides a WiFi hotspot for getting online (but drains my phone battery very quickly!), I managed to post the final three chapters just before both my phone and my laptop ran out of battery power. Once the power was back up, I continued writing for Camp NaNoWriMo once I had caught up on my neglected e-mail inboxes and responded to the various posts for my online Shakespeare Workshop, but I knew I was cutting it close on completing the 30,000 words I needed to meet my goal.

And I posted precisely 30,001 words at 11:59 on April 30! When I added 11 more words for a total of 30,012 words a few seconds later, I was denied a chance to update; midnight had arrived, and Camp NaNoWriMo for April was over and gone. That's how close I was to NOT completing my writing goal for the second time in four months.

Now that I completed my goal, Camp NaNoWriMo offers some lovely "prizes" for "winning"--and chief among them is a free printed copy of my work--which I'll think about doing if the printed copy of my adventure story/romance is REALLY free as I study the fine print of the offer.

So Camp NaNoWriMo has been a success, and I'm thrilled that I not only have two new chapter to add to Only by Moonlight, but that I also have An Enchanted Evening ready for some final edits and tweaking.

After enjoying such a productive month of writing, I couldn't resist adding two new writing quotations to the Quotation of the Week in my sidebar, and I'll include them here as well:

"I am a galley slave to pen and ink."

~Honore de Balzac (1799-1850)

"Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish."

~John Jakes (1932--)

So now I'm off to start editing my latest chapter of my novel and embark on yet another busy week of teaching writing, squeezing my own writing endeavors into the corners of my busy homeschooling days now that school is back in session and we begin the final week of the Shakespeare Family Workshop with an overview of the Bard's tragedy plays, focusing later on Hamlet in particular.

Have a lovely week!!

Writing with you, 

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