Sunday, July 31, 2016

Camp NaNo Results

And there it is! All pretty and shiny. Freshly stolen of the page of some poor sop who . . . just kidding! It did occur to me that someone could take that off a Google search of someone else's social media post. 

If you remember, I set my goal for 10k words. To help with some perspective in the 14 months prior to July, I'd written approx. 20k words. Granted I was editing my first novel during that time, but I was definitely in a low in terms of non-editing writing. So when I set my goal for 10k I was really nervous. It was more writing than I'd done in a long time.

This was my first camp and I got lucky with my cabin. There were a large number of people from my writing group who wanted to give camp a try and we got together and formed a cabin. 

We did a lot of writing sprints, most in the form of 15 minutes of writing and then 15 minutes off. With my first book published and no need to worry about getting it to that point, I was able to focus all of my writer time on book 2.

Knowing I had that goal was part of my encouragement, but most of it came from my friends(in cabin and out). Being able to write in tandem with others and know that they were expecting me to write during those sprints if I said I would was like . . . they were counting on me! I said I'd do something and I had to do it!

That's how I looked at it anyway. And since I'm one who tries to do what she says and not let people down, bar things I couldn't help, I sat my butt down and wrote.

And here's my stats with 2 days left to go!

My first two couple of days I was like, wow, this isn't so bad. And then at some point I kicked it up a notch and I may have hit 10k by day 8. Yeah, I was super stoked about that.

Realizing how fast 10k words went, I decided to try and hit 20k. You can see I had a fairy level climb with a few flat days and a few super ambitious days. I tried to at least do 323 words a day(my original goal).

About the last week, I just burned out(which you can probably see). But, by that point I'd flown past 20k as well and was starting to see that 30k was possible. Honestly, it took more willpower to finish that last 5k words on my way to 30k, which I hit on the 29th, than it did to accomplish the first 25k.

I may do some more writing today, tomorrow I'll be at a birthday party and probably won't get anything done, so I'm wrapping up my post for NaNo today(Saturday) as I don't imagine I'll get much more done, if anything.

Overall, I've loved the camp experience, and if I'm in the process of writing when future camps roll around, I'll probably join. I can't see myself ever doing the Nov. NaNo. 50k words is way beyond what I can do. 

If you're looking for motivation, inspiration, or just people to write with for a month, I'd recommend joining camp! You can customize your goal(min of 1k words) and choose editing or writing. Camp ins't about whipping out a perfect novel in x amount of words. It's about seeing what you need to accomplish next and challenging yourself to do that within a month. Maybe it's your first draft, maybe it's editing your final draft. That short story you've been thinking of writing, or like me it might be that novel you're in the middle of. 

I'm hoping to drag even more friends to the next camp! Because that's the next best part of camp, seeing other people accomplish their goals and/or kick out a bunch of words in a month. (There's also the letters one of my cabin mates writes to her mom. They're awesome.)

Have you ever joined NaNo? What did you think? Did you join the July camp? How'd you do?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Reading Challenge Update #1

If you remember from this spring, I had set myself two reading challenges for this year. One a generic anything I want to read challenge of 35 books. The other was a little more interesting. You can read my earlier post here if you're interested in the full details, other books on my challenge list, or my thoughts on challenges in general.

This year it took me longer than normal to get to reading. I was halfway through the year with only two books read, neither of them challenge books and one of them my own book.

Despite the slow start, I'm still hopeful that I'll finish both challenges.

Smack dab in the middle of July, I have completed my first two challenge books and once I finish the book I'm reading currently, I'll be starting on my third.

When it came down to choosing what books to read first from my challenge list, I got into this really scientific method that involved planetary alignments, weather patterns, and the rate of corn growth in the area. Okay . . . so maybe I had three bored children that I dragged to the adult section of the library and grabbed the first three books on my list that I could find on the shelves.

My husband has been reading one of them, so I picked the one I've never read in any form, Pride and Prejudice.

I thoroughly enjoyed Pride and Prejudice. I've watched the BBC mini-series as I mentioned in my April post and I LOVE it. I've watched it over and over and over.

I tend to be very lengthy in my reviews, so I won't copy the review here. But I'll share the link if anyone is interested.

So my first book was a success. I flew through it. Loved it. Gave it five stars. Absolutely loved it and I'm so happy that it was on my list and that it didn't ruin the mini-series for me.

Full review here.

Next up came Little Women. It must be said that I grew up with an abridged version of Little Women and watched the movie as well several times. Neither of which prepared me for the reality of the original, unabridged, very lengthy book.

Simply put, I HATED Little Women. I will never ever, ever pick up that evil book again. I had the combo version of Little Women + Good Wives. I never knew the stories weren't originally one. My childhood version rolled them together and therefore I know the overall plot of both books.

But since I had only mentioned the one as a challenge book, I let myself off on a technicality and quit after Little Women. The book was shockingly boring, overly preachy, and so dry I think you could throw it in a full-size pool and it would suck up every drop off water and still not be soaked.

But, but Jo! I can hear you say it now. Yes, like you, and every other girl who read the book(or version of it), I grew up thinking I was Jo and we were bosom buddies. I have 3 sisters and I gladly found matches for them in Jo's sisters.

Turns out, yep, as I said, every single one of us did that, ladies! I can guarantee we're not all Jo's. I now know that I'm not a Jo, nor was I ever Jo. She was simply the best of the worst.

I had to force myself repeatedly to go back and keep reading the book. I fell asleep several nights while reading. I can't imagine how this book ever became popular, then or now. I wonder how much of its popularity is based off people like me who remembered reading the story(abridged or not) as children and zeroing in on Jo as the character we were.

Again, I have my full review here if anyone is interested in some more details thoughts into my dislike of the book. I gave it two stars.

Next up is The Count of Monte Cristo. I've read the abridged version of that, but never the original, so I'm both nervous and excited to see what's in store for me.

What have you been reading this summer? Any challenges you've tackled? What's been your favorite book so far this year?