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Camp Nano and Hitting Goals

Anyone doing Camp Nano right now? Not me. I’ve decided to give it a pass. I never get very far whenever I try to join these motivating contests. What works as motivation and drive for others usually just challenges me to complete immobility. It’s my rebellious nature. If I HAVE to do something, well, I’ll just prove I don’t have to do it at all. Deadline? Just an arbitrarily drawn mark I will gleefully ignore.

Thankfully, this never seems to affect the day job. My brain will take anything deadly serious that it is getting paid to do. Personal success might not be much of a motivator for me but cold, hard cash certainly is.

Needless to say, I’m not a champion at reaching my goals. I get there, but not the way I’m supposed to get there. Word count goals work much better for me than time goals. Hit 20,000 words? No problem, I’m on it. Within two weeks? Great, now I’m going to spend that entire two weeks fantasizing what will happen if I fail, what consequences I’ll face, and the pressure of the ever decreasing allotted time.

It’s the pressure of somehow not measuring up that really seems to lock my brakes in place. Without a deadline (whether imposed by myself or a third party, like Nano), I am unburdened by anxious worries and will churn out 6,000 words a day. Put that target over my head and I struggle to tap out 500.

Such are the joys of living with anxiety.

It’s still a process for me. I’m always striving to improve how I manage my anxiety. I am much better today than I was this time last year. But it still holds me back, I still allow it too much control over my creative process. One day, I promise myself. One day, I will have it locked in a corner and I will churn out novel after novel like a champ.

As for this camp season, I’ll be making an effort to finish a couple of minor projects, maybe a total of 10,000 words, and see where it goes from there. Anything I can get written is better than no words at all.

Speaking of goals, just where am I on my current projects? The novel has stalled for a bit. Too many things are occupying my mind right now to focus on a long-range work. I’ll be moving yet again next month. Once I’m resettled, that will open up a lot of free time to turn my focus back to Jezi and her exploits.

The short story collection is only 6 tales short of the target word count. I’m hopeful it won’t be too much longer now. A novella sits fully outlined and ready to be written as soon as the collection project is done. I try not to actively write on more than two pieces at once to avoid creative whiplash.

For the days when I simply can’t contemplate any story form at all, I’ve been slowly filling out a world setting manual. Manuals I can work on any time because they rely heavily on a nonfiction, informative style, even when detailing a fictional world. It’s all business, free from messy character journey entanglements I might otherwise have to exert real brain power over. At over more than half done, it will be completed soon and I’ll have to find another textbook-like project to fiddle with.

Despite my personal struggles and the amount of words still to be written, I am confident I will have adequate offerings to ring in the new year. I plan for 2020 to be my breakout. Perhaps not in any significant way when compared to best-selling authors, but my breakout into the “publications for sale” realm. Stay tuned for more updates in that regard.

What about you? What projects have you completed or will soon complete this year? Any tips and tricks you’ve discovered to help you crush deadlines and personal goals? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Happy Writing!

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