May the fourth be with you.

Honestly, I didn’t plan on writing my April recap post on the fourth just to use this title. [But since I procrastinated this long, I couldn’t resist.]

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April’s Camp NaNoWriMo was a success. In the end, I changed my writing goal from 40,000 words to 20,000 words, but I’m proud of what I’d written over the course of thirty fourteen days. Had I stuck to my writing schedule diligently—meaning call out of my overnight shifts and write in lieu of sleeping—I could have reached my 40,000-word goal and finished the novella, but at what cost? In the end, when I discovered several plot holes that I could fly a plane through, I had to take a step back and realize that finishing the story in a month wasn’t worth it if I turned around and had to trash it. I decided it was more important getting it right the first time. Or at least as right as a first draft can be.

The biggest thing I noticed during the month was that constant longing to sit at my computer and type. I genuinely wanted to tell the story, solve the murder, and give my characters closure. That’s not always the case. Sometimes, I drag my feet through the first draft, and you’d think that I hate to write because I’d grumble the whole time. [Or I’d say screw it and write whatever came to mind, regardless if it made sense.] To come to the IHOP booth, since that’s where I wrote 90% of the words, excited and ready to dive in and further explore the world was both a relief and a joy.

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The takeaway I got from this Camp was that success is rarely linear. I have all these ideas and goals and action plans, but life doesn’t always accommodate them. Each day, I’m forced to decide between my goal and something else. Sometimes that something else is really important, like an appointment for my kids, and sometimes that something else is a mindless distraction, like binge-watching an entire season of a show on Netflix in two nights. Either way, it’s life, and I’m learning to not get hung up on what the journey looks like but on where it leads. In this case, it led to a half-finished manuscript that began to take shape. [Not to mention tons of morale points for accomplishing a goal.] I’m trying to bring that mindset of how I define—and constantly redefine—success into May and the rest of the year.

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Looking at May is a little daunting for me. Most of you know I’m also an editor, and May is completely booked with projects. [I’m starting to question my sanity and time management skills.] Even still, with multiple manuscripts needing to be read, critiqued, and returned, I’m working toward finishing this novella by the end of the month. Supposedly, as long as I’ve got fourteen days, I should be all right since I’m about midway through the story. If I finish early [yeah, right], the next project on the horizon was inspired by a Ray Bradbury quote:

Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.

Maybe I’m trying to challenge him and debunk his theory, but I’d like to think I’m trying to work on improving my storytelling skills and find a kernel of talent hidden away. I’ve opened an account on Wattpad that I’ll link to the blog when I’ve published the first of fifty-two short stories so I can share those stories, however bad they may be at first.

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What was your favorite moment about April’s Camp? What are you looking forward to in May?

 

 

 

 

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