Off To Camp – July 2015 CampNaNoWriMo

(aka Campy Campy Camp Camp)

And so we meet again. Me, the de facto camp counselor and you, the intrepid Warm Weather Warriors of cabin-768716_640Wordsmithiness (I can’t help it, I LOVE unnecessary alliteration [I wanted to go with gratuitous but it didn’t alliterate as nicely]).

As we step forth and prepare for another month of crazed creativity it’s good to look back at our past.

What did we learn in April? Did we exceed our expectations or did we expect too much? Did we find brilliant ways to express our story or were we frustrated with limiting words?

Did we fly? Or did we fall?

Allow me to answer that for you (trust me, I’m a  professional*).

You flew! (Does flew look weird to anyone else? It’s right, I checked. Okay, moving on…)

YOU FLEW! I know you don’t think you did, but you did! You FLEW like a crazy Bird of Words. Remember, if you added anything at all, you did something. And something really and truthfully is better than nothing. It’s not just an overused saying. And seriously, I’m not just saying this to placate, enable, or patronize you.

YOU flew.FlashBuddy bald-eagle-521492_640

Writing is surprisingly difficult. Do you know how many stories have wandered through my head that were never written down? (You probably do, you’ve had them too.) So you know how hard it is to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, thumbs to phone. And then, if you manage that, you sit and tap your fingers, not writing, just tapping a surface, all words having fled the mind. Frustrated, you slap your hands on the table and get up and actually clean the house (we all do it, my house is never tidy, but in November things get put away – it’s weird). You stalk to the kitchen to do dishes or eat your frustrations (disguised as Oreos and Cheetos) then pace back to your chair.

Eventually you start with anything that pops in to your head (it might be the Cheetos/Oreos combination talking, but go with it).

A sentence or two is written. You’ve done it! It flows.

People who don’t write do not get it. They assume it’s so easy. How hard can it be? they mock. But they don’t know. They don’t understand how hard it is. You pour yourself out and hope that someone loves it as much as you.ClkerFreeVectorImages proud figure-25590_640

And you did that. You boldly got those words out of your head.

I’m so proud of you. :’-D

So as we move into July’s camp just remember

If you flew once, you can do it again. 😀

*Hehehe A professional what? (Okay, I am actually a Life/Nutrition Coach among other things. I’m sure this falls under the life coaching aspect.)


To Journal or not to Journal Part 1

journalBlah, blah, blah journal.

That was my view. But I kept hearing that it was really good for the brain and sorting mental and emotional clutter. Basically a big bucket you can dump all of the random garbage that blathers in your head. (Or am I the only one with that problem?)

And of course it’s “so important” for writers, so I decided to try.

You’d think it would be intuitive but I need to know what the rules are before I do something so I got online and took a class*.

I was surprised that there are a lot of different types of journaling and different exercises. It’s not just “sit down, bare your soul on paper, hope no one reads it.” You can do a Gratitude Journal (useful for accentuating the positive in your life), lists (great for clarifying), unsent letters (excellent way of giving your older siblings “what for” without hurting their feelings or getting your butt kicked). There are others and all have different outcomes and uses.

You may have heard of Julia Cameron and her book The Artists Way. (Don’t panic! journalcatYou, as a writer are an artist, but don’t let that stop you. Deep breath. You don’t have to be a hoity-toity “artiste.”) She suggests “morning pages” which is just free writing three pages first thing in the morning. Just babble and that’s it.

I did a technique called “Dialogues” and it was an enlightening experience which I’ll make you sit through in another post. Mwahahaha.

Have you journaled? How long have you done it? Has it helped you quiet the brain and focus?

* Spokane County Library District ( is partnered with Gale University to give its patrons an astoundingly wide variety of free and awesome classes. Check them out when you have a moment.

What Did I Get Myself Into?


Back in school, a dear friend referred to Underwater Basket Weaving as an “easy A” class. She made it sound so simple. But when I signed up for Underwater Basket Weaving it turned out to be much more difficult than promised.

I was so excited at the prospect of combining two things I loved, being in water and the decorative interlacing and interplay of reeds and wicker. I gathered my supplies: reeds of various sizes, goggles and snorkel, clippers for trimming the reeds and assorted other necessary items and found my way to my first class. Initially, there was nothing to it. We sat on the deck of the pool and learned some of the techniques we would need for keeping the shape of our basket. Then we practiced breathing with the snorkel. That was a strange experience. The noise the air made as it rushed through the snorkel was distracting and disorienting to me. But, I thought, it must get easier. This is an “easy A” class after all.

I was badly mistaken. We entered the water with our underwater gear and our weaving necessities and began.

word monster

I step in now to say, My friend was a big liar! There was nothing simple or easy about “Underwater Basket Weaving”! It was nearly impossible to keep the warp under control and the weave compact and the noise of my breath in my snorkel was so loud underwater that it really freaked me out so I took it off! Let me tell you. Static apnea is way harder too. I was literally and figuratively WAY over my head.

chapter 1

Now, as your Camp Advisor, I see that you have signed up for something similar to “Underwater Basket Weaving.” NaNoing looks like an “easy A” at first, too. You have your plot idea and that’s the hard part right? Writing is just stringing words together and you’ve done that since you were a little kid.

So, you jumped into this endeavor with both feet, excited and filled with the promise of that “easy A”. But now you’ve hit the second week. This is where the task starts to really get daunting. Your characters have stopped talking to you and each other, you’ve discovered that there’s more to a plot that just the idea, the house has never been cleaner because somehow washing those walls is suddenly more appealing than sitting at your computer.

snorkel weaving

I’ll share with you what I learned in “Underwater Basket Weaving”. Stay calm and keep going. Yes, it’s difficult and at the moment it feels impossible, but it’s not. You’re at the part of the basket where you are moving from forming the base to forming the walls. Just keep at it. In a few rows and in a few days it will suddenly become so easy. The story will suddenly take on a life of its own and it will barely need you. Just come up for air on occasion and then get back to it. Keep at the task, round the corner of the basket, change your goal if need be (you can until the 25th), get past the difficult part of writing and you’ll be just fine.

Underwater Basket Weaving is no easy task and neither is writing, but what Worthy Goal ever is?

~ Pacifika

basket weaving badge

Welcome to Camp NaNoWriMo: April 2013!

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover (1)

Please get checked in and settle into your cabins. This will be a fun month of fantastic camping fun and activities. You are going to meet new friends and hang out with old ones. You’ll try your hand at new tasks like less word padding, finishing a novel, outlining for the next NaNo, or even writing your first script or graphic novel. That is what this camp is for.

So first things first. Let’s get your contraband. Come on, turn out those pockets. *Gasp* What is THAT?! That looks like an Inner Editor! Did you bring that in here?

Well, never mind. I’ll just take that. You can have it back when camp is over and you head back to your other life. Until then, that inner editor will be safely locked up in the office. No, don’t even bother asking nicely. You can’t have it back until then. There’s a good camper.

Look over the list of activities and decide on your target word count. Fill in your Camper info on the Camp website. Get to know your cabin mates. Drop into the lodge (aka our Spokane regional forum) and chat with some of the other campers and find out where to hang out and write. We have a few informal and unofficial write-ins for the month.

Off you go now. Change into your swimming clothes and go enjoy our first activity, swimming.

cartoon lakeLater, at the lake…

Okay, campers, listen up. This is where we all start. First we read the list of rules. Well, guidelines really.

1. No running on the dock. (Safety first, you know)

2. No foul language in the forums. (This is a family camp, after all.)

3. DO NOT try sneaking into the office to steal your inner editor. Trust me, it’s safer in there this month.

4. Have fun!!!

Now, campers, we are going to jump in with both feet. We are going to swim around and get our bearings. We are going to splash and swim and have fun in the big lake of creativity. We are going to get soaked in Word Count and we are going to drench our companions and fellow campers. We will laugh.

So this is it, campers! Get out there, have some fun and make some memories!

~ Your Camp NaNo Counselors:  Pacifika, Dichotomy6958, & Jaycegrae

Write-ins, Rebels and Cupcakes?

April Camp NaNo Screnzy is here! Or is that frenzy? Either way, writing is imminent! Can you feel the rush of excitement and the trembling of multitudes of fingers poised over their keyboards?  I can.

camp_nano_logoBut what is Camp NaNo you ask?  Camp NaNoWriMo, NaNo for short, is a relaxed get away in the comfort of your own home, perfect for finishing up that pesky novel you’ve been working on, or that manuscript you started last year positive it’s the next blockbuster movie of the season.  It’s a month-long vacation from the stress of writing 50,000 words (although you can write that many if you’d like), allowing you to set your own writing pace whether it be words written, pages written or even pages edited.

Because this is a writing challenge, there is a minimum goal of 10,000 words for the month, which works out to 334 words a day. That’s just over one page’s worth of words, double spaced with one inch margins using 12 pt Courier font.  Easy peasy!  And if you’re doing scripts, with dialog, that’s approximately 3 to 4 pages (Don’t quote me, I may be wrong. I don’t write Scripts).

Are you confused yet?  Simply put, Camp NaNoWriMo is an easier, relaxed version of November’s event with a variable word count goal you set yourself and allowing for all types of writing, including scripts. It starts April 1st and ends at midnight April 30th.  There is also Camp in July with all the same rules if April doesn’t work out for you.

typewriter old

Will there be Write-Ins?  Funny you should ask.  Just yesterday your NaNo Co-ML, Pacifika (aka Patti Mitchell), sent me a text asking if it was too early to post write-ins for April’s Camp.  (She directed Script Frenzy for years and is fearlessly taking on Camp NaNo in its absence.)  “Of course not,” I answered, “but you get to run them!”  Therefore, keep your eyes on the SRW google calendar, viewable in the Spokane Regional forums here, for weekly write-ins.  Details for each will be posted there.

wild cat

Rebels?  Rebel status is conferred upon anyone who participates in Camp by writing something other than a fictional novel.  Be brave!  Write a script, edit a current Novel-in-Progress or finish your thesis for school.  You’ll be in good company.

book cupcakes

What’s this about cupcakes? I want one!  Me too, so make sure you come to our last write-in where we will celebrate winning!  And don’t forget to subscribe to this website.  Patti will be posting Camp themed pep talks and more details on how to get those elusive cupcakes!

January Writing Challenge

“I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.”   Anne Rice

A bit late, but here nontheless.
Imagine the conversations held near this frost laden rope.
Are the speakers human, animal or alien?
Try writing the scene in nothing but dialog.

Courtesy of Annie Wirth via Facebook

Courtesy of Annie Wirth via Facebook

When you ask for editing…

… what do you really mean?  Save yourself some heartache and be specific!

Source: Original infographic from WinePress of Words.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Thanks to Samantha Warden for the discovery!