How You Know You're Revising For Camp NaNoWriMo

How You Know You're Revising For Camp NaNoWriMo

Telltale signs you are editing your project this month
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Camp NaNoWriMo has begun! July is National Novel Writing Month's second writing challenge of the year, and any dedicated novelist, script-writer, comic artist or general creative spirit knows what this means...

WORK. Also, productivity. And of course, a little panic. But if you have explored all the facets the new website has to offer, the real gem comes when you choose 'Revision' for your month-long project. Out of all the options for creating a project, Revision is the only one where you know this month is going to be nothing like anyone else's experience with Camp NaNo.

Why? Well, here are some of the oh-so-telltale signs.

1. You must plan for a plan for a plan...

Have you seen Inception? Prepping for a NaNo Revision challenge is sort of like that, but instead of a dream within a dream (within a dream), you must form a plan to figure out what your plan is for your final plan (for the plan). Don't have an outline? You'll probably need one now. No story notes? Well, you will have some shortly.

But the best part? Planning for a plan is part of your word count. If you gotta sit there for forty-five minutes daydreaming of a better outcome for this scene, it still counts as work.

2. Your "word count" is now "hours."

The Camp NaNo site now allows you to log hours spent editing instead of converting hours into words. This is simultaneously satisfying and a tad frustrating. I used to log 1,000 words for each hour when I did editing challenges in the past, which meant that 500 words equaled one half-hour. Now there's no way to break up the whole hour, which means one must stay rooted for sixty minutes before getting to watch the progress arrow move. On the flip side, it's even better for getting more work done.

3. You spend most of your time reading.

It's a guilty pleasure of mine to read my own writing, but it's also an all-out torture session because I spend most of my time with my face in my hands thinking "this is why I edit." (Having to re-read something terrible you wrote can drive one to banging one's head off the table).

4. You're probably editing a project you've edited before.

This is especially true in my case. This month, I'm revising the book I revised last July, which I also revised November 2015 and which I started writing way back in March 2013. It's like it won't leave me alone.

It's like I'm being stalked by my own book.

Someone free me.

5. Sometimes you just have to yell at your own characters.

Most of the time, this involves me gesturing wildly at the screen and making high-pitched noses while screeching "Why wouldn't she have noticed that he has a metal arm? That is VERY noticeable!" before returning to banging my head off the table.

Anyone revisiting a book knows what it's like to watch a character descend into a spiral of illogical choices followed by inconsistent dialogue followed by a big choice which takes the book in a direction it probably shouldn't have gone. Which is why we're editing.

6. No matter how messy it is, you will always love this project.

Despite having to wrangle all the little details along side the big-picture stuff, you will always be in love with your project. This is something you threw your heart into when you started, and which you're bleeding the last of your creativity onto now. Someday, when it's completed in the distant (or not-so-distant) future, you will look back on these days and remember how much effort it took for you to craft perfection. All the hours spent changing dialogue, all the grammar you had to correct, all the big life choices you had to force upon the characters -- you will look back fondly and say "this is why I write." It's for the love of the whole process.

Any banging of heads on tables will (eventually) become endearing, too.


So until July 31st, all of us 'Revision' writers will be plugging away at our projects, hour by hour, line by line. Never give up on a project because it seems too big or daunting. No matter how many mistakes you think it has, it will always have that spark of YOU which distinguishes it from the rest of literature. Stick with it. Create your masterpiece.

Cover Image Credit: Patrick Tomasso

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