I Want to Be Like Garfield: Camp NaNoWriMo Day 30

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 30! At this point in July, I’m always grateful for the extra day in the month. While NaNoWriMo in November and Camp NaNo in April only give you 30 days to write, July has 31, and that extra day makes a difference!

I’m nowhere near making my goal of 45,000 words this month, so I don’t see myself “winning” Camp NaNo by the end of tomorrow. I so often wish I could be like Garfield in the comics and just fall asleep on books all the time instead of working. But I’m still glad I tried. Even on days when I didn’t write anything, Camp NaNo meant that every day, I was at least thinking about my novel. This makes a big difference for me, because it is otherwise so easy to get caught up in another full-time job and day-to-day life and forget to stop and daydream about your book.

A lot of work on your novel, at least for me, happens in your head, without you even touching the page or computer keyboard. I’ve worked out plot holes, added conflict between best friend characters, and overall improved my relationship with my main character. She feels more real than ever before, and when I reach that point in the story development, I know I can’t give up on her story.

I’m going to use the last day of Camp NaNo to write and have fun doing it. I’m not going to ignore my manuscript on the last day of the month just because I know I won’t “win” NaNo this time. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I’m going to keep creating, and keep slowly reinstating writing as a daily part of my life, even if it’s only a paragraph on some days.

Also, a life update for those of you that were here for my posts early this month: I no longer have to try to avoid using the “t” and “y” keys on my keyboard! I have a new laptop now, and it makes all the difference. You don’t know how much you’ll miss those keys until you lose them!

Today’s haiku:

This is my book, the
pillow I fall asleep on,
the weight in my purse

My Protagonist is Doing Things She Shouldn’t: Camp NaNoWriMo Day 28

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 28!

Recently, I went back through spiral-bound stories I created when I was eight. It was entertaining to see drawings of flowers with superpowers and every other character named Ashely (actual spelling).

However, going through my earliest writing helped me learn something about my own current writing style. In these old stories, the “Ashely” was almost always an ideal version of myself. She wasn’t me, but she was who I wanted to be at the time. And she had no flaws.

She didn’t make mistakes, either. In each story’s climax, the first thing she tried to do to solve the problem was always successful.

Since then, I’ve learned the importance of internal conflict and throwing my characters into situations they don’t always believe they can get out of. But I still sometimes feel myself holding back and making sure my protagonist is okay.

We need to know that our characters will not always be okay. They can face moral dilemmas and not know which way to go. They can experience depression and anxiety like us. They can make mistakes. Our stories become more interesting with these realistic complexities.

I’m trying to learn that I am not my character’s protector. My job is to throw things at her so she can struggle – and maybe succeed – but ultimately grow.

Today’s haiku:

I'm rooting for you
My little protagonist
Facing my fiction