ten days into Camp Nanowrimo, here we go!

Hi all! I’m sorry for the late post-Camp started over a week ago. But I thought to dedicate the rest of April to camp. -tips, hints and advice on surviving camp whether you win or lose, and also my mediocre advice on writing.

Seriously folks, you should not be coming to me as first choice for advice on writing. But I’m glad you’re here anyway and I’ll try my best to impart my knowledge and wisdom, without sounding like I’m just saying good common sense that any writer would know anyway. Here we go!

Before you even start to write, you need to tick off everything from the checklist below. It’s best to do these things the week before camp starts but if not, that’s okay. Just do it as soon as possible.

Checklist before you write:

  • set up a profile on Camp Nanowrimo
  • Do you want “cabin mates” or do you like to bunk it alone? -Note on cabins: It’s not really that fun in my experience because everyone’s so busy writing their story that they might not reply to you or give you advice. It’s just generally not really a good time. It’s best if you have friends whom you know and arrange a cabin with them.
  • Set up the story on Camp Nanowrimo-eg. Do you have a title, a little synopsis (optional but interesting), a word count goal. I suggest a range between 20 and 100 K words. I’m attempting for the first time, 100k word count goal because I want my novel to be a fully fledged novel, and because I’m cheating a little bit in that I’m writing on top of a story that I’d already written. (more on this later).
  • What’s your genre? Use this time to research both for the content and plot of your story, but also your genre. If you write in a specific genre, then you have rules to follow. These rules can limit and squash you, but they can also be used as restriction to play around and work with. It depends on your outlook. In my experience, a little direction goes a long way in creativity.
  • Who are your characters? -normally for any kind of nanowrimo, you don’t need to plan a lot, if at all. But it does help in the long run (because it can be a very long and gruelling month), if you have an idea of who you are writing about, why and for what kind of audience. Just saying, it helps in the long run in terms of, getting back on track, concentration and motivation. You will probably trip over yourself at some point this month but with a bit of planning written down, you will have more chance to trip over yourself less.

So there you have it! My quick checklist of things to do before you write. And really, no matter when we write, whether it’s during Camp Nanowrimo or a normal month, we should plan ahead, at least a little bit. We need to have knowledge before we write, otherwise, we’d be using things we’ve seen in the movies. Those movie plots don’t make the best books.

What’s your checklist? Is there anything you would add or take away from the list? What’s your checklist of things to do before you write a blog post?



Mothers aren’t naggers

I went to week one of Camp Raglan April holidays 2018 from 14th to 21st. During this time, I learned a lot about Moses, the exodus, what it takes to be a great leader and how to best look after children. I learned that sometimes it’s okay to break a child’s trust if it means asking for help. I also learned courtesy of my team of girls, that mothers don’t nag, they help.

I had to tell these 9-year-old girls every day the same instruction. Make your bed properly. Put on your shoes outside. It seemed I was telling them off for doing or not doing the same thing every day. This got me frustrated which led to me telling them off even more for the littlest of things.

At one point, I felt broken inside. Broken out of frustration that they weren’t listening. But also broken because I had to scold and scold and that wasn’t the kind of leader I wanted to be.

What my role was to these girls reminded me of my mum and how I don’t usually listen to her instructions either. I reminded myself every day, “when I come back home, I’ll listen to mum. Really listen and do what she says.”

When camp finally ended, I went back to my church. My mum was waiting for me and we said our goodbyes to the other campers and got in the car. While in the car, we talked about lunch. It was at this moment that I realized something very important about my mum; she was not a nagger. No, she was bestowing upon me words of wisdom and advice more valuable than the finest gold.

Mothers aren’t naggers. They’re wisom bearers. (Why not tweet this for Mother’s day?)

This revelation made me feel better about myself and how I acted as a leader. After all, I wasn’t nagging them, I was bestowing words of wisdom and advice. Even if I didn’t always do this with a cool head, but I believe I did learn and grow as a leader while I was at camp. That is a priceless lesson and one that I will take with me every day of my life and in the next camp too.