Camp NaNo 2018 Week Four Sidetracked

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4 – Sidetracked

Posted July 27, 2018 by Amber in Writing / 6 Comments


As soon as validation begins during NaNoWriMo, I get nervous.

Historically, I am finished by now.

When you are American and do NaNoWriMo in November, there is the challenge of Thanksgiving to consider.  It’s difficult to write once the end of November rears its head, because there’s a lot of family stuff all of a sudden, and writing is difficult.  July is different, though.  July has no end-of-the-month distractions.


Except I’m not done.

This morning I wrote this:

Dude, what the heck?  Who is Lei?  Why is Arin not with the others? Why am I only in chapter twelve?!

I like to think of my characters as living, breathing people that just so happen to live in my head.  This means that I often write instinctively.  My characters sometimes wander off in their own direction, taking their own little side adventures.  Sometimes, these things end up on the cutting room floor.  Sometimes, these scenes shine.  Until I read the manuscript back with fresh eyes, I don’t know.

We’re down to the last few days, and word count is not an issue.  Plot progression on the other hand?  I’m only about 30% of the way in.

But we’ll talk about that a little more on the wrap up next week….


As I’m nearing 50k words and burning out, I’m writing less and less each day.  I’m still hitting my goals, but finding that stride is causing me a lot of grief.  It’s at this point that I’m grateful for my loose plot outline, because it gives me mini-goals to shoot for.

Day 21 – 1372 (total: 42072)
Day 22 – 1009 (total: 43081)
Day 23 – 1136 (total: 44217)
Day 24 – 2391 (total: 46608)
Day 25 – 394 (total: 47002)
Day 26 – 668 (total: 47820)


What makes you burn out in a story?

Do you write with character who run away from you?

My NaNo peeps!  Who’s still holding on?

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6 responses to “Camp NaNoWriMo Week 4 – Sidetracked

  1. I’m so impressed that you can stick to it and continue writing! I’ve always wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo (or Camp NaNoWriMo). My problem is that I’m a perfectionist, so when I don’t meet my writing goals or the words don’t come out the way I want them to, I give up right quick. What are some of your suggestions for sticking with it and not giving up?

    • Amber

      Honestly? I write through the pain. It’s been a long time reminding myself that it’s okay to write crap, because that’s what the first draft is for, so I can get it all out of my system. When I do a second draft, it’s a complete rewrite and I consider every sentence, so that’s when I can spend more time on the words. One of my favorite pieces of advice that I’ve heard about forcing yourself through from Kiersten White (author of And I Darken, etc.), something she wrote on her blog (I think?) yeaaaaars ago. In her manuscripts when she needs to write a scene but can’t get it right or needs research or whatever, she puts things like [GRUESOME MURDER HERE] or [KISSING] and moves on to what she’s ready to write, going back to add that part in later. Whenever I get really stuck, I do that… and it helps!

  2. Ali

    Holy cow I am SO IMPRESSED that you write 50K in one month! I did that in April on complete accident (I got obsessed with the story), but I don’t think I’d ever try to make that my goal. My target this month was 20K words, and I have 6500 left to write this weekend. Hopefully I hit it. UGH, but I am writing the sequel to my first novel, and MY GAWD sequels are so hard!

    • Amber

      Sequels are hard! I have 70k of a sequel written that was going nowhere and I haven’t touched in at least two years. I’m also *really* long winded – it’s something I need to work on.

      20k is AWESOME. And you’re going to make it this weekend – I’m totally cheering you on! You have a crazy life, girl, what with your job and querying and house hunting and blogging and bookstagram and your personal life and EVERYTHING. The fact that you ALSO have time to work on a sequel is soooo kickass, so … go you! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. My characters run away from me all the time. The other night when I was tired they all just started goofing around instead of getting on with the mission and they were practically rolling about on the floor laughing at each other’s bad jokes. I was like “What are you doing guys? You are all in grave danger!” but they didn’t pay me any attention. So that scene will be fun to edit. Anyway, don’t worry about how far you’ve come with your plot, that word count is amazing! You’ve written loads! My goal was only 15,000 so much respect for you. Good luck with the final couple of days.

    • Amber

      Thanks Tizzy!

      I love that you’re one to just let the characters do things when the flow is going strong – even silly things! I like to think that some scenes like that may make it past the edit monster – relevant or not, they’re just plain fun!