And So, it Begins: Camp NANOWRIMO


      Every November, there is something I become insanely excited about. By the time I’m done blabbing everyone’s ears off about it, my family is begging me to stop. I hole up in my bedroom for the entire month, candles lit and soft Celtic music playing as I convince my family I have become a hibernating bear. If you realized I was talking about NANOWRIMO and not Thanksgiving (ugh), you probably understand exactly what I mean.

      However, NANOWRIMO always ends in tears and frustration for me during the month of November. As much as I try to plan and plot and force it to work out, November is a nonstop month of chaos for me and unfinished drafts end up littering my hard drive. Between Thanksgiving and family visits, the twins’ birthday, and my always slammed school schedule I seem to be lucky if I get 25,000 words down in the month. I always end up kicking myself, telling myself I’d be amazing if only it weren’t in November.

      Enter Camp NANOWRIMO, also known as my saving grace.

      I found out about Camp NANOWRIMO earlier this year. As if someone heard our pleas, they created two month-long summer sessions (or “camps”) with word counts and project types picked by you. Score! You also get sorted into a “cabin,” or a group of people writing in a similar genre to you. Socially active cabins are a great way to network with other writers and provide that little boost of motivation you need in the middle of a challenging writing session.

      I participated in a camp for the first time in April, and I had a blast. Now, I’m sure what you’re all really wondering is if I actually finished 50,000 words. In the spirit of honesty, no…at the 36,000 mark I got distracted by sections that needed major editing (which then turned into rewrites). That novel is still in the editing phase, though it is not the one I plan to crank out this camp session.

      Something about the month of July and Camp NANOWRIMO feels like the perfect time to work on a new YA novel idea I’ve been toying with. In true Ivy Leahill style, it involves some genre blending I’m not sure will work out in the end, but I’m excited to give it a go! What are your creative projects this summer? Are you participating in NANO? Drop a line!

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