Camp Nano April 2022:
Finishing Developmental Edits
I had a single goal for the month of April. After years of restructuring my story, and months of suffering writer’s block, I was determined to finally finish developmental edits for my book. Between figuring out certain health issues (and removing stress factors) and random, but numerous life emergencies, I had fallen far behind on my goals. Whenever I was able to invest time in my book, I made little progress from being too distracted.
I needed something to get me out of the rut I’d been pushed into, and nothing seemed to be working. Distractions of all sizes kept popping up. Camp Nano was coming up and I made a firm decision that I was going to ignore everything that wasn’t absolutely essential and finish the last draft of developmental edits. I had no idea if I could do it, given my recent experiences, but I was determined to give it everything I had in me.
Preparing for Camp Nano wasn’t too difficult, since I’d already worked out the changes that needed to be made, but I drafted some new editing forms for my series bible and it made everything significantly easier to follow on a deadline.
I also made my Camp announcement on social media for accountability purposes, and then planned out a month’s worth of Instagram content to make it easier for me to check in regularly online.
The first week went a little slower than I’d hoped, but I was still satisfied with my word count total since I’d hardly written anything this year until that point. It takes time to get the ball rolling once it’s stopped and I made enough progress to feel excited for Week 2.
When I announced my goal, I estimated that it would take about 30,000 words to finish my draft but, once I actually dug into it, I had a strong suspicion that it would end up being closer to 40,000. While I was happy at the number of words I’d already written, I must admit I was also a bit daunted by the additional work that was likely ahead.
Week 1: April 1-8
Week 2: April 9-15
Having ended my first week on a Friday, Saturday was the beginning of the new week and I was sick for the first two days, getting almost no writing done. Thankfully, the rest were very productive and I caught up quickly. By Friday, I was 1,200 words ahead of my goal.
I was pretty pleased with the amount of work I did this week, because I was able to eliminate two whole chapters and merged the important bits into other chapters in a more natural way. I had previously struggled with this section of the story since the flow wasn’t very smooth, but now it works so much better.
Week 3 was very busy, but I finished editing three particularly wordy chapters, minus a few details that I planned to fill out later. We had so many things going on at home that I opted to keep the momentum going instead of getting bogged down in details that could easily be fixed in the world-building draft. I made a handful of notes and moved on.
One of the big changes that I made for this NaNoWriMo challenge was to log my daily progress, with current thoughts about the story, for motivation and direction. I found that recapping my day made it easier for me to stay on the right track, no matter how busy things became, which helped a lot this week.
Week 3: April 16-22
Week 4: April 23-30
I feel like I outdid myself for Week 4. I finished all but one chapter, which I completed the next day, and wrote more than 13,000 words. (I’m sure I’ve had bigger weekly word counts in the past, but this was impressive for where I’ve been recently.) I know the Camp Nano deadline pushed me to dig deeper and I ended April exhausted, but proud of myself.
I enjoyed writing the first draft, and I’ve always loved line editing, but developmentally editing the first book in a trilogy was a much bigger task than I originally thought it would be. Now that I’ve ironed out the kinks, I’m a lot more optimistic about starting the next draft. I think I’ll be able to keep a pretty steady pace now.
Thanks to the beneficial pressure of Camp Nano, I edited the entire second half of my book, which required a lot of restructuring and new content, and wrote nearly 8,000 more words than I originally planned. I feel a lot more confident about the strength of my story, as well as my ability to finish it this year.
My plan is to finish world-building edits and send the new draft to my first group of beta readers by the end of June. They’re all fast readers and I’m hoping they’ll be able to send feedback quickly so I can work on the next round of edits throughout Camp Nano in July.
Crossing the Finish Line!
I’m so glad that I made the decision to participate in Camp Nano as a means of challenging myself. I overcame writer’s block and imposter syndrome, pushed through new distractions and other urgent matters, and effectively set boundaries around my writing time. I know that some things in life can’t be ignored but there are so many little things that get prioritized over the big dreams, and for what reason?
Dreams are what keep us going through all the other stuff. If we let everything else come first, pushing down our aspirations for a “better time,” the soul-energy that keeps you going burns out and it becomes a struggle to keep up with even the little stuff. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down and make the time for the things that light that soul-fire. I’m grateful to be relearning this lesson, no matter how long it took to get here. The future feels bright again.