July 6, 2014

On writing for summer camp

Well, here I sit, ready to catch up on my word counts for Camp NaNoWriMo -- and since it’s the 6th of July, and I’ve written hardly anything, I now have three thousand words to write.

Three. Thousand. Words. That’s like a college essay. You should need to have done some research, or have an outline, or a vague sense of something you want to argue for, for that much wordage. Let’s say I can type 60 words a minute -- which I can, though that’s more of if I’m typing up notes, not really when I’m writing from scratch -- that would be …. hmmmmmmm … 60 times 60 is 3,600. So that an hour if I’m speed writing. OK, maybe this isn’t so bad. And really, I have written 33 words already, from those few moments Friday when I managed to put ass to chair, as the saying goes -- so I really only need to write 2,967 words of my novel today.

In short, this is how my now-annual project to write just 500 words a day -- a measly 500 words a day, about 15,000 words for the entire month -- becomes untenable. There’s always an excuse. On July 1, we had a friend staying over. On July 2, I was happily exhausted and looking forward to devoting more time on July 3, my first day of the weekend, to the exercise. July 4: Holiday! No writing. Except for a few words here and there. (Even though we went nowhere, did nothing.) July 5: Went somewhere! Did something! And a tablet and keyboard are harder to lug around than a book for downtime. Besides, who can really write in 2-minute increments anyway, what with all the interruptions that take place while thousands of San Franciscans try to find their seats for an evening of free opera in the chilly, waterfront ballpark? No one, that’s who. Thus went my first five days of writing.

But here’s the deal: It’s Day 6, and I’m starting. For real. And thus, by Day 16, when I start my personal essay writing class (hooray!), I’ll be all in the groove, ready to devote time to being in this chair and to bettering my skills. Plus, Camp NaNoWriMo, with its adjustable word counts and fun prompts, is a pretty cool program.

Between here and there, I need to get through some busy days at work, attend a wedding reception and visit with some family. May the spirit of flexible writing be with me as I work to overcome such obstacles.