Camp NaNo – WRAP UP (July ’17)

So, this was my first time to do Camp NaNoWriMo, and I was going to be working on my first draft for Will: The Homeschool Kids.

But it has been a busy month. I don’t know what the deal is, but my summer is most always busier than my school year. So when all of my school work is finally finished and done, I don’t get much of a break. And this summer was no exception.

This month in particular, though, I had church camp, my birthday trip, helping with Terrific Tuesdays, and then publishing my book. Which, by the way, I had not thought I was going to be able to finish by my goal, so I hadn’t thought it would interfere with Camp NaNo. Well, when I got home from camp that first week of July, my almost completed wip was the first thing I touched. I honestly hadn’t seen it being possible, but I got quite a bit done that second week. My original goal had been July 15 (or publishing before I turn 16). I didn’t meet that exact goal, but I was able to have it all wrapped up and done by July 16 instead!! So, that was exciting. I’m officially an author!

So, being busy was one reason I kind of failed Camp NaNo.

But, I also realized some things.

This book I just published being my first, I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was doing. I was new to the whole writing thing. So I didn’t really have a process or plan for myself? It went a little like this:

I got the idea for Daisy: The Homeschool Kids back in like, the fall of 2014. And it really wasn’t much of an idea. Just a couple of characters. But in early 2015, I actually started writing out small scene ideas. Not really an outline, but I guess that’s all I could think of to do. Then in, I think March, I typed out the first draft. And thennnnn….

I didn’t touch it. Like, all summer. So picking it up in the fall? I hated the story. But I tried to do some revising (again, probably not in an organized, careful fashion). And you know what? By the spring of 2016, I actually thought I was close to publishing. I told that to several people, too. I look back at that one and laugh…

I think I wrote a couple more drafts in the middle of the year, again, doing what I thought was revising. And then I don’t think I touched it much late in the year.

So that’s why in January of 2017, I decided to hit the ground running. I ‘edited’ (again, probably no clue, though I knew more earlier this year than I ever have, I guess) my whole book, going chapter by chapter. And I started sending it off to a writer friend in batches starting in May.

Let me just say, her feedback was so helpful. It’s crazy what a reader will notice, and it’s just like…oh….yeah….that needs fixing. It’s definitely a better story because of her suggestions. And then, of course, I published earlier this month.

Ok. I do not want to go through that process again. It ain’t a good one. So when I started writing the first draft for WTHK (and I really did try doing better this time- I had an outline…kind of…), I realized I really wasn’t sure what I was doing. Like, I could’ve been prepared a whole lot better if I’d taken more time with the outline.

So, I kind of stopped. And earlier this week, I got Outlining your Novel by K.M. Weiland. And I am LOVING it! I’m only on like, chapter 4, but gosh is it good! Guys, if you need outlining help, get this book!!! I seriously love it. And it’s also helped me see the importance of an outline. It’s important.

So, I’m gonna take my time with this one, and do it right this time around. I have learned a lot in the last two years, and I plan on putting it into practice. My goal is for this book to blow the other one out of the water, lol! (And it probably will- if I really work hard to practice and work on some things [like description to be specific…], I’m certain it’ll be a whole lot better.) And that’s really my plan for every book I write. I want to see my progress.

Not sure how long outlining will take, given I’ve never really done it before. But I’m gonna work at it until it’s done. Then I’ll kind of get a plan worked out doing my first draft and beyond.

So what do y’all do when writing a book? Do you have a process you’re comfortable with? And help me out- what is your next step after the first draft? I have no clue what mine is… Happy writing, guys!

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