July is here, school’s out, and, all of a sudden, it feels like summertime. Which can only mean one thing: Time for Summer Camp.
Summer Camp wasn’t a big thing in the U.K. when I was growing up, so I have little experience with cabins, camp counsellors, or having my sheets shorted. When I was about nine years old, I did go to Band Camp at a holiday camp in Minehead in southwest England. (I played trombone, in case you were wondering.) I remember we had to wear matching red, white, and blue knit caps, so we could be easily identified. We went in March, not summer, and it rained almost the entire time and was freezing cold. It was also my first time staying away from home for an extended time and I was horribly homesick. Not exactly the stuff fond camp memories are made of.
So, this time I’m not actually going away to camp. Instead, I’m attending Camp NaNoWriMo, a virtual camp for writers, run by the folks behind National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that, during the month of July, writers around the world set a personal goal for their novels-in-progress, and team up with fellow writers for support (and perhaps a teensy bit of competition.)
My goal is to write 25,000 words of a brand new idea. It’s a reasonable goal, considerably less than the 50,000-word goal for National Novel Writing Month, but given I’ll be busy rewriting my third novel this month, it’s still going to be a stretch to make it.
One of the hardest things about a new project is committing to that first sentence from which everything else will unfold. It can be daunting to stare at a blinking cursor with infinite possibilities ahead. Having a challenge like Camp NaNoWriMo removes the temptation for procrastination and overthinking. If I didn’t start on July 1, I’d be impossibly behind my goal by the end of the first week. So, despite having a full holiday weekend planned, and despite the typical day-to-day nuisances that conspire to interrupt my writing time (e.g. dead internet, squirrel invasion, power outage) my brand new project is now officially a work-in-progress.
I don’t want to say too much more about it yet, as so much can change during the writing process, up to and including the entire idea being thrown out as useless. But I’ll keep you updated on how it’s all going and if I survived my month at camp.
Hope you’re enjoying your summer (or winter, if you’re reading from the Southern Hemisphere.)
P.S. I’m going to be appearing at several book events over the summer. First up is Redwood Writers Author Launch in Santa Rosa on Sunday, July 8. You can find out all the details, plus information about the other appearances on my Events page.