Going to Camp!

It’s a rainy day, cats are lounging in the Scriptorium, and I am sitting down to write. You know that means?

Happy first day of Camp NanoWrimo!

For those that do not know, Camp NaNoWrimo is an offshoot of NaNoWriMo, which is a collective journey to improve writing stamina by attempting to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Sometimes I accomplish this goal, often I don’t, but it’s a good way to invest energy in a passion that often gets neglected.

CampNanoWrimo is considerably more relaxed than its predecessor. Instead of having a singular goal within the community, writers get to determine what is feasible based on their own capabilities. This is great for a person like me who wants to write but has a lot of other obligations that make 1667 words a day not feasible (unless you count all the written communication that I compose….). Personally, with teaching, grading, and indexing, I do not have much time, so I have taken to only doing the Camps.

When setting goals, it is important to make sure that they are actually feasible. I don’t know about most writers, but I am a dreamer. What I want to achieve and what I can feasibly accomplish often do not co-exist. When I create writing goals, I used to end up getting defeated because the failure of not accomplishing them converted into feeling like a failure as a writer. Until I learned about the S.M.A.R.T. goals method. Kimberlee Leonard and Rob Watts have a great overview of this concept in their Forbes article titled “The Ultimate Guide To S.M.A.R.T. Goals.” It’s a great read for anyone wanting to get things done. Be forewarned: they include the benefits and drawbacks of the process, which shows that it is not an entirely perfect get rich with your goals quick scheme. It will require you experimenting with your goals, reflecting on them, and making strategic changes to the process.

Here is an example of how I broke down my Camp NaNoWrimo goal using the S.M.A.R.T. goals method:

Goal: Finish my novel

Specific: Compose 15,000 words in 30 days.

Measurable: 30 days/15,000 equals roughly 500 words a day.

Achievable: I have timed my average speed of writing/thinking during the drafting process, and it will take about 45 minutes to compose 500 words. I can incorporate that into my schedule if I add it to my planner.

Relevant: I consider myself a writer, so I need to invest time in the process.

Time-bound: Deadline April 30th, which concludes Camp NaNoWrimo. I will invest an hour a day on the weekdays, and two on Saturdays and Sundays, which should give me a healthy buffer if anything unexpected demands my attention.

Did I mention that Camp NaNoWrimo is a great opportunity to meet fellow writers and gain a support network?

Let’s be buddies! You can find my participation page here.


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