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Winning Camp NaNoWriMo

April 2019

My fellow WriMos, the month of madness has ended–for now. April has come to a close and so has Camp NaNo much to the dismay and relief of all campers. I did not do as well as I had hoped, but I did accomplish my main goal.

My goal this month was to finish writing all the reflection pieces for each of my journal entries. That would mean I would officially have a completed very rough first draft of my book! And I did! Yay me!!

I did not do as well with my word count, however. I started with the goal of 33,000 words. When I realized I probably would not have enough content left to write in order to meet that goal, I changed my goal to 17,000. Soon that proved to be a struggle, so I knocked it way down to 7,000. After a few days of that, I was feeling a little more confident in my writing so I bumped it up just a bit to an even 10,000 words total for the month.

The word count fiasco happened smack dab in the middle of the third week of camp. Things continued to get tough after that. It is not uncommon to loose steam on week three–I knew I was not struggling alone.

If you have read my previous posts covering my NaNoWriMo adventures–you know I have been trying to figure out new physical health symptoms. These symptoms made it impossible to do anything but sleep, let alone clean my apartment or write. Trust me, if I can, I use any energy I had to clean.

The fevers and everything else continue to get worse, especially the fatigue. I put off writing this article for three days. When I can usually get these posts done in an hour. I finally had a bit of energy to finally write this. At least I am alert enough to get something done, but I do not have the physical strength to get anything done right now.

The last day of NaNo came around and I change my goal again. At the end of the month, I was sitting at 7,000 words. The last day came around and at about 8:00PM, I realized–I still had 500 words to write before midnight. I grabbed my laptop, opened up Dabble, and scrolled down to where I had left off.

I could barely stay focused but I was determined to finish. I turned on some classical music. Mozart was my writing buddy for the month. I wrote another 150 words before I checked where I was at. Not even close to 500, but it was a start. That went on about every hundred words or so, with me taking a longer moment each time to close my eyes in between.

By 350 words, I was on the verge of passing out. I pushed myself just a little further. I had a measly 160 words left to write, for my physcial health I had to stop. I had to put it away and just call it for the month.

I copied my work, went to the Camp NaNo website, and pasted it into the validation box and declared myself a winner!

Even though I came up just 160 words short of my adjustable goal, I decided that I was a winner. I had already written about 82,000 words before the month began, so I did not have to worry about those extra 160 words. I needed to validate all the work I had done.

My main goal was to have a completed manuscript that was ready for editing by the end of the month. I had reached that goal in the second week. I did not have much left to write after November’s madness of 50K words. I decided that I had a successful month. Considering my health these past months, 6,840 words in a month was fine in my mind.

I love Camp NaNoWriMo because it is about your personal writing goal. You do not have to do a specific goal to partake in the fun. You can do 100 pages of a screenplay, or daily poems. That is the fun of it! You decide what you are going to accomplish that month. There are no limits to what you can do. I even thought of doing an art challenge–a drawing each day. A 30K word goal and you know what they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words. I might still do that in the next Camp NaNo this July. It may be fun to do something different. I need to practice my drawing skills if I am ever going to be good enough to make a living by selling it.

Through the struggles from April, I say Camp NaNoWriMo was a success. It is such a profound moment for me. I started my book last April. Over the course of a year of writing I have been self-reflecting and reliving my trauma has transformed me into a whole new person. I started this writing project for others that have experienced a similar situation as I have. I want to educate people that psychological abuse, mental abuse, and verbal abuse are real and traumatizing. It should be taken just as seriously as any other form of abuse. I want those people who are around the victims, especially if they are children, to be able to recognize what is happening.

I hope to bring awareness and put a stop to the things I experienced growing up. That no one cared, or fully understood what was truly happening, to do anything about. Over this past year, the project I started for others, became the most successful and life-altering therapy I have ever done. It became a vital journey in my recovery. I have made more progress in a single year, than in the past six years of weekly therapy combined. My outlook has completely changed, and I have learned so much about myself through this journey and made dozens of important breakthroughs that have allowed me to truly become the person I strive to be.

Stepping back and looking at what I have managed to accomplish in just a few months, and I can’t help but beam with pride. I did it. I was brave enough to face my past, my fears, and my feelings for my dad in the most intimate way possible. I ripped the band-aid off to reveal the deep, raw, painful wounds I have been hiding from for so long. I poured alcohol into those wounds with a fierce burning sensation to clean the deep wounds out, so I can heal properly.

I am impressed that I stuck to it, and I was open to looking at things in a whole new way, ways that I’ve been desperately hiding from for so long. My recovery is far from over, and the journey that this project has sent me on is far from over. I have proven to myself that I can do this, and I will. Even if my word count was constantly changing, I am a NaNoWriMo WINNER!

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