Drafting vs Editing – Camp Edition

Welcome to the second half of Camp NaNoWriMo for the month of April! Personally, this is the third camp that I’ve chosen to use the platform as motivation for my novels. However, I’ve only completed one NaNoWriMo in the month of November (shame on me).

I love the community on the Camp NaNoWriMo platform and being assigned to cabins! I always opt for random cabin mates, because you never know where you’ll find inspiration to reach your goal or a new friend who is a fellow writer.

With that said, let me clarify that Camp NaNoWriMo is much harder than we can originally anticipate. My first camp, I convinced myself that 50,000 words in 30 days would be a breeze.

Yes, it was very painful when I ran face first into a brick wall. Thank you for asking.

Until this April, I’ve only ever used the months of NaNoWriMo to draft a new novel. If we’re going to be honest with each other, I didn’t even intend to sign up for April’s camp this year.

Because of India – Finished 1st Draft

January of 2019, I completed the first draft of “Because of India”. This was the first full-length novel that I’ve completed, following a three year hiatus from writing. Writing this novel to completion was a HUGE accomplishment for me.

But it also solidified the return of a familiar demon from my past: editing.

I dread the editing process, primarily because I dislike the feeling of being overwhelmed when it comes to rewriting my novel. At first glance, this finished novel was perfect. It was only when I stepped away from the manuscript for a little over a month that I realized just how imperfect it actually was.

Enter the email advertising April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. In previous years, I’ve loved the feeling of updating my word count and seeing my progress throughout the month. I loved the community and the motivation that it gave me to keep climbing until I reached the center of the target.

So, I asked myself, what if I use the platform as a way to motivate myself through the first round of edits? Great decision on my part. Seriously. I created my project profile, set a goal for 60,000 words, and jumped right in.

Project Stats – April 17, 2019

While the revision process itself is still full of frustration and many late nights, Camp NaNoWriMo has certainly helped move it along. It’s incredible how the people in your cabin (who are complete strangers in my case) can believe in you to reach that finish line! Seeing my daily stats fuels that fire in me to keep going.

I’m definitely going to do this again in July. 🙂

So, do I think that the three NaNoWriMo months should be strictly about drafting a brand new novel? Absolutely not. This community is here to encourage you to remember why you’re here and why you’re doing this. If it’s your dream to write and finish an entire novel, then we’re here for you! But, if you’re goal is face the hardships of the editing process, then we’re right here along with you for that, too.

I’ve included my tips for drafting vs editing during NaNoWriMo below!

1. Use your time wisely during the months in-between

Use your time in between April, July, and November to plan your next novel idea! I’m not saying that you should have everything planned out ahead of time, because I wrote my latest novel with nothing but the image of the characters in my head and their names. But it’s helpful to at least keep a few notes of where you plan to go with this idea, so it won’t hurt as much when you hit that first wall.

2. Take advantage of the blank page

This is your chance to create something and leave your mark on this world. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of writing a romance novel since you were a teenager, or you’ve aspired to write the next best-selling sci-fi/fantasy. Experiment with your ideas and be courageous. You’ve developed this idea for a reason. Just write.

3. Don’t worry about writing the next best-seller

As Bryana Beecham once said, “Don’t write the market, write for your readers. It’s not about writing a best-seller, its about sharing something that can touch hearts and shift minds.” There is someone out there that needs to read your words, friend. Write for them.

1. Do a read through of your novel beforehand

Please, please, please do this! After taking some time away from your novel, you need to get an idea of where you’re at in this process. Do you need to add more to your story or cut back? This is absolutely essential when considering your word count goal, because it’s not realistic to want to add 10K if you’re cutting back.

2. Use your resources

Camp NaNoWriMo has a link to writing resources, right on the home page! There are tons of editing resources, and they can be very helpful when you hit a slump in your process. One of my favorites: The Big Bad Guide to Novel Revision –http://slitheringink.tumblr.com/post/60500258566/the-big-bad-guide-to-novel-revision

3. Keep in mind that this shouldn’t be your only revision

This is just my first. I plan to do at least three more rounds after this. It can be intimidating that multiple rounds of editing are necessary, but you will be so thankful that you put in the work when it’s all over. I think that it’s so incredible that you’re putting in the time and effort to finish your masterpiece in the first place.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! Leave a comment below if you’re also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month! 🙂

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