Yes, I have done it. I’ve signed up for another marathon writing session at Camp NaNoWriMo. I know! Every time I do this, I say “Never Again.” But when writing drags, this is one of the best ways I know to get back in the author groove. This year, I have started writing the sequel to last year’s novel, Henrietta’s Journal: A Life of Compromise
. The new book moves ahead twenty five years to 1861 and the beginnings of the Civil War. I’m about 30,000 words into what will probably be a 110,000-word novel. I won’t come close to finishing it in April, but I’m hoping to add another 30,000 words so that I can say the first draft is over half-way finished.
Can I do 1000 words a day? Sure! Easy, provided I manage to get the seat of my pants into the seat of the chair every day. But that is the problem, of course. It is spring, and my office is hot and stuffy. There are other things I'd rather be doing, like planting tomatoes. I am covering some unfamiliar territory, so I need research breaks. A friend wants to meet for lunch. You've heard the excuses before, and you'll hear them again. But somehow, I am determined to make myself do this. And if all the silliness and hype of NaNoWriMo helps me do it, GREAT!
As March comes to an end, I’ll go to the grocery store to stock up on Hershey's Kisses, which will become my rewards. I’ll lay in a supply of frozen lunch entrees so that I won't be tempted to go off on some wild cooking spree in the middle of my writing day. I’ve already checked the house and replenished supplies of toilet paper, kleenex, bottled water, toothpaste, cat food, stamps, printer cartridges, sticky notes, and colored pens. I am not taking any chances on being lured away by a desperate need for one of life's essential elements.
I’ve cleaned the house (well, most of it!), tossed out some penicillin-producing left-overs, and paid all the bills. I pulled the weeds and dead blossoms off my little row of front porch planters and poured this month's supply of baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water down the drains to make sure they don’t clog up on me. I’ve tackled my writing office, blowing away the month's accumulation of cat fur, emptying the trash, picking up cat toys, finding all my vital reference books, and bringing my new April calendar up to date with the deadlines I have set myself.
What else do I need before the marathon starts? I have a Camp NaNoWriMo shirt in the closet, just waiting for the big starting date. The NaNoWriMo camp counselors randomly assign participants to writers' cabins, but this year, I’ve joined a private cabin made up of other successful writers and FaceBook friends. I am eager to get to know more about my cabin mates. These are the people to whom I will report each day as we strive to see who could get the most done.
So I’m ready, I think, Bring on the campfires!