It’s amazing what a change of scene and some fresh sea air can do for the psyche. This dazzling sunrise, over the turquoise waters of Cancun, Mexico, was my writing view every morning last week. What is it about beaches, anyway? I’ve come home to Chicago refreshed and ready to continue attacking the page.
Camp NaNoWriMo began on the 1st of July, and I’m one of thousands participating in this virtual writing retreat. I’ve chosen to begin rewriting a novel I started (and failed to complete) more than 5 years ago, with a goal of 1,000 words/day, and 30,000 words by month’s end.
Committing to a project and word count goal within a fixed period of time doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s been great for me. Currently at 24k, and with more than a week left in the month, I’m confident I’ll reach my goal.
Of course there have been ups and downs. During the first week, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. I had to force myself to quit writing each day, for fear I’d burn myself out. Naturally, some days have been more of a struggle, but that’s the writing life, defined by emotional and creative highs and lows.
Holding myself to a daily goal has produced an unexpected benefit: it’s kept my head in the story. “What happens next” is always lurking in my subconscious, and as a result, I want to write every day. The adage is true. Writing really does beget writing.
But the best part of the Camp has been the commitment itself. To reach my goal, I need to sit the booty in the chair, every day, no excuses. I’ve embraced the “Just Write It” mantra — get the story down, never mind the shortcomings. Problems are inevitable, and they can be addressed with revisions. Just keep writing. As one who struggles with crippling perfectionism, it’s been an incredibly freeing experience. I can do this.
Just keep writing…just keep writing…