April 2020 Camp NaNoWriMo Plans

April has arrived, and that marks the first 2020 session of NaNoWriMo!

I could wax on about my love for this event, but I hold a very particular fondness for the Camp sessions. I love how relaxed they are, and I love that I can set my own goal. Of course, the traditional NaNoWriMo event has also taken a cue from it’s more chill, Camp cousin, but I think the biggest thing that Camp NaNo has going for it is the timing.

November can be stressful because it’s a hectic time of year – exams, holidays, and the like. The weather is colder, and I just want to relax when I can, rather than spend all my free time trying to write 1667 words. But when it happens in April and July? That’s a completely different story.

I’ve participated in almost every April Camp event, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence – when the sun starts shining and Spring is on the way, I just naturally feel more rejuvenated and creative. When Camp hits in April I’m ready to get writing!

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Marketing is Hard and Other Indie Publishing Problems

So, this year is not going how I expected it to.

Maybe because I’m riddled with indecision. Maybe because society is crumbling around us. Who really knows what’s going on, but I’ve had some time to rethink what I’m doing with my year.

It was about a year ago that I revealed my plans for self-publishing my first novel, a STILL untitled sci-fi mystery about an eclectic amateur sleuth who loves history, hates technology and is forced to work with an android partner. If you can believe it, I’m still working on that story, but after battling with the aforementioned indecision I keep changing my mind on the direction I want to take it. Or rather, the story I write is pulling away from what I originally envisioned, and so the problem becomes what needs to change – my original vision or the story I’ve actually written?

Any feeble sort of writing routine I had since last year has completely broken down, and while I’m trying to fix that, it’s still taking a bit of trial and error (and a truckload of discipline) to find.

Beyond the writing issues, continued research from other, far more experienced indie authors suggests that I need to work on my platform and build my email list – problems I knew I’d have to tackle but have struggled to tackle in the most effective way.

It’s been an interesting year since I made that announcement, so I thought today I’d break it down for you and reveal what I’ve learned, the struggles I’m facing, and what I’ll be working on going forward.

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I Have No Writing Routine & Other Writerly Problems

I’ve realized something a little unsettling this week – I don’t have a writing routine anymore. I don’t think I ever had much of one – I usually wrote early in the morning or late at night, for unspecified periods of time. I wrote when I had the motivation. Which is not productive enough for someone who wants to be published.

Any attempt at a writing habit was squashed during the holidays – I get too busy and it’s hard to find the motivation to do anything when all you want to do is catch up on sleep.

I really want to be productive this year, and I find I’m not spending enough time writing. More than that, I struggle to know what I should be working on.

And I should be writing a lot more than I am. Especially if I hope to make a living. I have to treat this like a business and not a hobby, and I’ve got some bad habits lingering in these first few months. A quick look at my writing tracker reveals how shameful my efforts to write have been.

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Story Prompts & Plot Generators for Struggling Writers and Newbie Wrimos

It’s a new year and we have a whole new round of NaNoWriMo sessions ready to help us write all the words! The first of which, Camp NaNoWriMo, starts in only a few weeks on April 1st.

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is technically in November, but there are two slightly more casual ‘Camp NaNoWriMo’ sessions that run in April and July. Anyway, as you might be able to tell from the name, it’s a whole month dedicated to writing a novel – specifically fifty thousand words of one. That works out to about 1,667 words every day for thirty days, which is also a lot harder than it sounds.

Anyway, more than once I have found turning to writing prompts and story generators really helpful for triggering new ideas and getting myself unstuck when I’m writing a story. It can bring some much-needed randomness (and I mean that quite literally), to a story that feels predictable, or one that you’ve just grown tired with.

With that in mind, I did a little digging all over the internet to pull up what I think are some of the best plot generators for writers. Whether you jump into Camp NaNo with no story at all or you find yourself stuck in the middle of April, July or November, hopefully some of these story prompts will get you back in the groove.

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Book Chat: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

I love to over-analyze the heck out of a good story, whether it’s a movie, a video game, or of course, a novel. It might be because I’m an English major, or because I’m myself a writer, or because I’m such a huge nerd, but there is something deeply satisfying about unpacking the events of a novel and peeling back those layers to understand the narrative on a deeper level.

I’ve posted lengthy, rambly analyses before for trailers and movies, and in 2020, I really want to write some word nerdy analyses for amazing books, but I’ve also mentioned that I don’t like ‘reviewing’ books. I can only give my thoughts and impressions, and I certainly don’t like assigning them a rank. So if you were looking for a review, this might not be quite what you’re looking for. Still, I hope that I can find and discuss great books, and maybe you’ll want to read them too.

We’re starting the bookish fun with The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski.

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The Currency of the Creative Mind

I have a lot of ideas and sometimes I take it for granted. It’s the currency of the creative – our ideas, and our imagination. It’s what we pride ourselves on. It’s what sets us apart – the fact that we can have so many ideas floating around in our heads. That’s what makes us creative.

Right?

And I realize that not everyone has trained their brain as I have to create and capture new ideas. For some, those ideas that they are passionate about are few and precious. They’re overwhelmed with their busy lives and don’t have the same luxury that I have. I’ve heard it said many times before.

“You have so many cool ideas. It’s because you’re so creative.”

Of course, I don’t think coming up with ideas is something exclusive to the ‘creative person’. I think anyone can be creative. What matters is opening yourself up to those ideas. You have to work at it.

But here’s the tea: ideas are cheap.

It’s the execution of those ideas that really matter. It’s the difference between talking about doing something and actually doing it. Talk is cheap. Actions are what matter.

Everyone can imagine their ideal life. But not everyone has the courage to work for it.

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