Combating My Writing Slump By Handwriting (Camp NaNoWriMo Update #3)

Hello folks! It’s Monday, which means I’m back with another update on my writing.

If you do not know, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and challenging myself to write more this month. Originally my goal was 20,000 words, but that seems impossible now. In hopes to still “win” this Camp I’ve halved my goal to 10,000 words. To be honest, I’m not sure I will even reach that.

Currently, I’m at 2,597 words. I was only able to write 775 words this week, which is a small step-up from 0. There is only a week left in Camp and it will be a struggle to finish, but I’m hoping to get my shit together. I’ve finally found a way to combat this awful writing slump and that is hand writing.

That’s right, I’m writing the old fashioned way with a pen and paper. It’s something that I do occasionally if I’m stuck or without a computer. It seems like such a small and simple thing, but it really helps! I’ve crafted a small list as to why I think that is.

5 Reasons Why Handwriting
Helps Get You Out of a Slump

1. Handwriting Prevents Distractions

Whenever I’m in a writing slump, I subconsciously find ways to distract myself from writing. It’s extremely easy to do that on the computer with the internet being a click away. I know there are programs that block social media sites and the internet. However, technically the internet is still right there even if you can’t see use it. That is not the case when it comes to handwriting. It’s just you, your pen, and the blank notebook page in front of you waiting to be filled up with words. By not having these distractions you can strictly focus on writing and getting words down on the page.

2. You Will Not Fall Down a Self-Edit Writing Hole

It’s easy to find yourself in a self-editing craze, where you spend an hour on getting a paragraph exactly right. The backspace button makes it easy to rethink a sentence while you’re typing it. Self-editing along the way can be useful, but too much of it can prevent you from making progress on the first draft of WIP. Your first draft is really about getting your ideas down on the page. It’s harder to self-edit as you go when you hand write, which allows you to maximize your writing time. You will get a chance to edit your writing when you type your handwritten stuff up on the computer. I find that I edit more productively when I do this and my writing benefits from it.

3. Your Brain Can Think Things Through

Handwriting can be slow. While this can be seen as a con, as it prevents you from getting all of your thoughts out quickly, it can help you think through things easier. The “slowness” gives you time to collect your thoughts and figure out how you want the words to come out. It really helps me because I often don’t know how exactly I want to say something. I can self-edit a sentence to death, but handwriting helps me focus on exactly what I want to say. It makes me compartmentalize my thoughts, which makes it easier to work through my problems.

4. The Method is Calming

Okay, so this one might just be me, but there is something about physically handwriting that is calming. Sometimes I get anxious about my writing, especially when I’ve written like a sentence on Word and have no idea where to go from there. I find a rhythm with handwriting that makes it easier to go with the flow and see what happens. If I don’t like what I’ve written, I can always rewrite it when I eventually type it up on the computer.

5. Your Creative Juices Start Flowing

I don’t know what exactly it is about handwriting, but it never fails to get my creative juices flowing. If I had to give an explanation, I’d say it is a combination of the things I’ve already talked about and the freedom handwriting gives you. You don’t need to stick to a format or structure. My thoughts often come out jumbled. Sometimes I write a sentence that works so much better in a later paragraph. In a word document I’d have to copy and paste it, but in my notebook I can draw an arrow where I want things to go. Also you can doodle, make small notes, and just have fun with your writing.

Those are the five reasons why I think that handwriting is super helpful. It always helps me when I struggle with a section and has never failed to get me to write more. Most of the words I wrote this week were handwritten first. I plan to do some more of it this week, as I try to reach my goal.

If you’re in a writing slump, I definitely recommend giving it a go. It’s helped me and I know that it helps other writers too. I mean, what have you got to lose?

That’s it for this week’s writing update. The next time we chat about writing, it will be the end of Camp NaNoWriMo. Wish me luck as I try to write 7,403 words this week. How is your writing going? What is your preferred method of writing? Do you think handwriting helps you? Let’s chat down in the comment section below.

Writing Goals for the Summer |Camp NaNoWriMo Round 2|

I’ve been a bad writer…My productively level has gone way down these past two months. I really have not written much in the past two months. I think it has been a combination of my busy schedule and laziness. Since the summer is officially upon us, I figured that it’s time that I actually get back into my writing. What better way to do that then participate in Camp NaNoWriMo again?

If you are unaware, Camp NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge put on by the same people who run National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November. Camp is held in April and July, and you can work on whatever project that you want. It does not have to be a novel, and you can set your own goals for the month.

I participated in April’s Camp and while I failed in completing my writing goal for the month, I ended up writing a little over 12,000 words. This may not seem a big accomplishment for some people, but I think it was the most I’ve ever written in a month. It was also the most productive writing month I’ve had in a while. Even though I technically didn’t “win” Camp, I felt really accomplished. This July though, I’m hoping to accomplish a little more.

One of my goals for this month’s Camp is to actually reach my writing goal, which is 20,000 words. If you do the math that is roughly 645 words a day. It’s totally manageable even with my busy schedule. Or at least I hope it is. In order to accomplish this, I plan to overshoot the first week. I know that I will inevitably miss a day, so getting ahead will prevent me from getting too far behind.

The other goal that I have for the month is to keep up with this blog. In April, I definitely neglected my book blog in order to try and keep up with my word count. I don’t want to do that this time, because I really enjoy writing this blog, and interacting with all of you! I don’t want to let you guys down with my lack of posts. My plan to keep up here on WordPress is to set aside blog writing time, and pre-schedule as many posts as I can. Hopefully, it works. Thankfully, typing up my thoughts on books is a lot easier than writing my novel.

Those are really my only writing goals for the month. The project that I am working on for Camp is my novel. I don’t feel like going into it too much now. You can read my other “Becky Writes Stuff” posts to learn more about it (though I am still vague so nobody steals my ideas). I’m so close to what I’m calling my reevaluating point, and I really hope that I can get there this month. To be honest, I’m not sure exactly how many words it will take me. Maybe it’s 20,000 words. Maybe it’s more or less. It would actually be hilarious if I hit my reevaluating point before 20,000 words. If that happens, I have no idea what I’m gonna do (aside from celebrate). Only time will tell, I guess.

Do you have any writing goals for this summer? Are you also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month? Let me know down in the comment section below. Also let me know if you would be interested in reading weekly check-ins from me? I definitely plan on doing a post summarizing my experience, but beyond that I’m still undecided. Until then, wish me luck!ย 

Writers Block Sucks Ass!

Happy Friday everyone! I thought it would be a good time to update you on my writing progress, or rather lack there of. After having a pretty successful writing month last April, I was hoping to also be super productive in May. Unfortunately, I’ve come down with the worst case of writer’s block ever!

Writer’s block is a curse that keeps coming back to haunt me. I have yet to find a good way to cope with it. Usually I avoid writing for a while, then come up with a new idea and work on that instead. Eventually I find my way back to the original thing I was working on. That could take anywhere from 1 to 8 months. I’m literally the worst when writer’s block hits me.

I think this dreaded curse has found me again for a few reasons. The first is that I have been quite busy lately and I think I’ve spread myself a little too thin. When I find time to write, I am so tired that all I want to do is watch TV, read, or sleep. Another reason is that I’ve gotten to scenes that I haven’t thought much about. I’ve only got 1 really figured out. The 1.5 are definitely vaguer in my mind.

The main reason writer’s block has found me again is definitely due to the current scene I’m working on. It has drastically changed from my original outline and has been throwing me off. The 2 characters the scene revolves around are 2 of my favorites, so it’s surprising and frustrating that I can’t get through it. I think what is hard is figuring out their slightly weird relationship to each other. They’re sort of friends, but one character is slowly subconsciously falling for the other. This is the start of that happening and I’m struggling with how exactly to play it.

Thankfully, I think I’ve made a break through. However, I can feel the writer’s block lingering and wantย it to just disappear.

Have any of you guys experienced writer’s block before? How do you typically get over it? Any tips for this is welcome. The only one that has worked for me is to find what isn’t working and fix it so I can move on. Any new tips are welcome, since I clearly need better ways to cope.ย 

Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up (April 2017)

When I originally signed up to do Camp NaNoWriMo and set my goal to 25,000 words, I did not think it would be too challenging. I could totally write 25,000 words in a month! It would be a piece of cake. After completing Week 1 of the challenge, I immediately knew that this was going to be SO much harder than I thought.

Last time I checked in with you guys it was the end of Week 1. I had written a total of 4,583 words and knew that I was about to get far behind thanks to my trip to Boston. After I came back, I tried and failed to catch up. So I decided to knock 5,000 words off of my original goal and go for 20,000 words instead. It sounded way more doable, right?

My lazy ass kept pushing off writing and soon it was the last week and I had 10,000 words left to write. Some crazy part of me thought that I could do it. I started writing like crazy that week. I wrote during my lunch hour and every moment that I could. I purposefully did not write blog posts, knowing that I should be using that writing time to write my novel. Unfortunately, I never did catch up to either of my goals.

I wish I could tell you that I came really close to 20,000 words, but I didn’t. I did end up with more than half that though. My final word count was 12,197. While not 20,000 or 25,000 words, I’m still super proud of all the writing I did get done in April.ย It is probably the most I’ve ever written in a month to be honest.

If you break those 12,197 words down, I completed a total of 5 scenes and started a 6th. I only have 2 and a half more scenes to finish before I reach one of my most anticipated chapters yet! After that chapter, I have one more and then I’m at my re-evaluating/halfway point (which is probably a little more than halfway when I think about it). The end is in sight guys! Something that I have never been able to say. It makes me so excited, and I feel so accomplished. Who cares if I didn’t technically “win,” I’m still counting myself as a winner.

This writing challenge has taught me so much. I’ve learned that I need to find time to write every day. Even if that means writing during my lunch hour or my commute home from the train. If/When I get stuck, all I need to do is sit down with a pen and paper and work through it. When in doubt, get into the character’s brain. Don’t worry so much about the problems, I can fix them later. I also have fallen in love again with my characters again. God, they are just so cool and my favorite one just keeps switching.

I’m so glad that I challenged myself in April. It has really paid off and has inspired me to write just as much, if not more, this month. I have about 52,675 words written overall for my novel, which is insane when I think about it! Now that I can see my re-evaluating point, my goal for this month is to actually get there. Something that is completely doable!

I also am planning on participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again in July. Not sure what the project will be. I’ll let you know when I get there. For now my focus is still my novel, that I’m still so proud of even if I end up being the only one who wants to read something crazy like this.

If you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, what was your final word count? Did you complete you goal? If not, don’t sweat it! You still wrote something and you should be proud of yourself for that. I sure am. Let’s talk about our experiences down in the comments below.