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Getting Ready for Camp NaNoWriMo

Updated on September 21, 2015
Kathy Stutzman profile image

Kathy Stutzman has a passion for creating meaningful connections. Author, facilitator, leadership coach, public speaker, workshop trainer.

I got some funny looks in the line at the bookstore when purchasing some of my reference books

What do serial killers, partners in crime, sex-offenders and sign language have in common? Research for NaNoWriMo 2014.
What do serial killers, partners in crime, sex-offenders and sign language have in common? Research for NaNoWriMo 2014. | Source

Everyone Has a Story

Time seems like the greatest excuse or reason that is used to keep our stories unwritten, or untold. NaNoWriMo and Camp WriMo help us intentionally set aside a little bit of time every day to tell that story. Look for tips to find more time below...

Write, Write and Write Some More....

When I write, I get lost. I get so lost in the words and the process that I often lose track of time, forget appointments, meetings and sometimes (albeit rarely) I forget to eat...it's happened! All of the advice I have been receiving from others is to just write, write and then write some more. When I am writing for a client or a large project, I can usually schedule the time during the workday and can block out my calendar. In those cases, I will set an alarm or a timer to "bring me back" to the office so that I can continue on with the remainder of the day.

When I am writing for myself, my blogs, my books or proposals (anything which requires my time prior to securing funding) I typically write outside of business time, or when I have large blocks of time available without anything scheduled so I can get lost. With the exception of my thesis, I haven't just free-form written 50,000 words. And even my thesis was like a lot of my professional writing, report, research and evaluation - scientific-based, not really free-flowing.

So I am anticipating just diving into this project of writing a novel in the month of November. But knowing I can easily get lost requires special preparation so that I continue to have food in the house or even the electricity to power my computers...so here's what I have been doing to get ready so that the anticipated interruptions will not be such a distraction...

Someone is not happy that I have cleared my desk

Not sure what I am going to do with her while I write, although when she starts banging on the keyboard, the word count goes sky-high.
Not sure what I am going to do with her while I write, although when she starts banging on the keyboard, the word count goes sky-high. | Source

She went from sulking to helping...not

My cats can always tell when something is up and NaNoWriMo is no exception. Here one of my cats thinks she is helping me write...but not really!
My cats can always tell when something is up and NaNoWriMo is no exception. Here one of my cats thinks she is helping me write...but not really! | Source

Getting Rid of Those Nasty Distractions

Like getting ready to run a marathon, or birth a baby, the preparation for NaNoWriMo 2014 has taken on some similar characteristics, so I am in familiar territory. A few of the methods of minimizing distractions include:

  • cleaning my office
  • cleaning all of the closets and drawers surrounding my office
  • organizing the garage
  • taking the recycle to the recycling center
  • removing extra "stuff" and donating it to my church, to the Salvation Army and on Thursday, the Epilepsy Fund who will pick up the final remnants
  • paid all of my bills for the month (or at least written the check and put them in the corresponding envelopes with stamps and a sticky note telling me what day to send them
  • made a menu and shopping list for each week
  • stocked up on things I don't want to run out of like tea, note cards and good pens
  • found a funky hat to wear while I am writing to indicate to others around me that I am "thinking" and not to be disturbed
  • picked up a lot of research related books
  • hung blank poster board all over my office prepared to receive my story lines and character analysis
  • cleared my calendar as much as any self-employed person can reasonably expect to (I am accepting projects during this time still)
  • finished a number of projects that were hanging over my head
  • completed thank you notes that I needed to send out 6 months ago
  • got my hair cut

This process has been great - I should participate in NaNoWriMo each year just to get my office and house cleaned out!

The Genesis

While sitting on the deck of this cabin this story was birthed..with a little help from my friends. Grannie's cabin will be the setting for several scenes
While sitting on the deck of this cabin this story was birthed..with a little help from my friends. Grannie's cabin will be the setting for several scenes | Source

Have Fun

My experience with any marathon-type experience is that the more I prepare, the more fun I am going to have. And the great thing about preparing is that it is just clearing the way for the experience to come at me and for me to be immersed in the experience and I am about as ready as I can be. I am sticking to the spirit and the rules of the event and am not planning on writing until 12:01 on November 1st - which is when I am usually getting started, I should be able to get 4 hours in before I pack it in for the night. But sticking to the spirit of NaNoWriMo means that I have to hold the words that want to tumble out inside for a few more days...which also means that I am dreaming about the plot, the characters and the mysteries that keep unfolding in my brain.

I love projects, I love dedicated experiences and I love writing. Thanks for being part of this experience by reading, for without readers, the words fall short - so y'all keep up the reading and I will keep up the writing - what a great way to create meaningful connections! Tomorrow I will continue to let the characters reveal themselves, but until then, here is a picture from one of the scenes...enjoy

3 Tips to Help You Find Time

Use a recording device to record your story while driving or on breaks at work. To record hands free, use a voice activated devise and just start telling your story.

Don't know where to begin? Pretend that you are in the future and telling your grandchildren, or the neighborhood children about...

If you spend any time watching television, playing video games or computer screen time, carve out just 30 minutes from that time to write - the news will still happen and the games will still be played.

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