Camp NANOWRIMO Wrap Up: To The Future and Beyond

Camp-NaNoWriMo-2013-Winner-Lantern-Circle-BadgeThe stories of people coming out of the closet fascinate me.  Mostly, for the simple reason that I always find it interesting when people decide to be honest to themselves and everyone around them about who they are.  I find the stories of artists and writers who start late in life just as inspiring.  Both of these type stories always involve the moment.  The moment when the person looks at their life and says, “Is this it?  Is this what and where I wanted to be and is this all I’m going to have in the end?”

For me, that is the sign of truly being an adult:  Looking at your life and saying one of two things: I like where I am or I don’t like where I am.  And, if it is the latter, making a decision to do something about it.

I believe in a theory or conception of history called “horseshoe nails.”  I stole it from The Illuminatus! Trilogy.  I read this in junior high and besides being some of the funniest satire and parody I have ever read there is a small part in it about studying history.  I think I may have changed the intent of the book’s use of horseshoe nails, but the underlying intent is the same.

The name of theory comes from Richard III and “My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse.”  (I think I’ve explained this before, but I don’t care, I love the theory too much.)  Richard gets thrown from his horse at the Battle of Bosworth field because his horse throws a shoe, thus losing the battle, and ending the Plantagenet Dynasty.  The theory states that history is best studied by looking at all the little moments, decisions, and accidents that lead up to the big moment we all remember.

This is an interesting way to look at history that I’ve adapted.  It makes history more fun.  You go back and read the histories of the big moments there is always a progression of smaller moments that precede the big one like a highway line on a map.  It isn’t always straight and it sometimes seems to double back on itself, but it inevitably gets you from point A to point B.

I can look back at the decision I’ve recently made to (hopefully) go to grad school and get an MFA (if I’m accepted) and make writing a full time career and see the little moments that led to the decision.  The most recent is a friend (Terry Lankford, aka Eightball) sending me an email with a link to the NANOWRIMO.org.

National Novel Writing Month was something in the back of my head I thought about trying in years past, but I just hadn’t.  This time, however, I went to the website and explored it a for a day or so and signed up for the sight.  I got an email a week or so later and it mentioned the camps.  It said one was starting on April 1 and I just happened to have an idea for a book.  So, I signed up for the camp and here I am with my word goal met and one more (maybe two) chapter left to finish this skeletal first draft.

This whole experience changed how I view writing and to some extent myself and my life.  So, most free time between now and September will be dedicated to finishing the book, getting it published (self-published at the very least), and applying to low-residency MFA programs.  Time to finish these last two chapters.

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4 Responses to “Camp NANOWRIMO Wrap Up: To The Future and Beyond”

  1. That has been my experience with NaNo… it truly changed how I viewed writing. It also took it from this abstract idea, to something I could accomplish. It helped me stop trying to make every word perfect and just get words on the page… sure my first attempts were not great, but every NaNo event I participate in increases my knowledge and experience in writing! I like to think I get better each time. Not to mention I learn more and more about how “I” craft my writing, which has been the best thing of all!

    • cueball Says:

      Sorry, I took a few days away from the internet and blogging to let my mind recharge. I agree that the thing I learned most is to stop trying to be perfect and to just write. Trust yourself and just write what is in your head, you can fix it later. That is what editing is for. I’ve already started editing and I’m already changing some significant things. The act of writing this novel changed how I saw the novel and where I see the story needs to go.

      • Oh after NaNo especially you have to take some time to recalibrate yourself! I have just a tiny bit to finish before I start my rewrite process, but I never start “editing/rewriting” this early. I like to let it sit… distance myself a bit… although I am getting really excited to work on this piece, the changes in my writing from all I have learned sure does make it exciting!!!
        It is amazing, how “doing” “teaches” us so much!

      • cueball Says:

        I’ve started writing ideas down of concepts and such that I plan to add with the revisions. I’ll probably start next week. I read over some of it last week and I know what I don’t think works. This will be fun.

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