Not counting, of course, Camp NaNoWriMo June 2011 or NaNoWriMo 2009 and the two novels that never made it past the first day. First of all, NaNo 2009 was my first and I wasn’t aware of anything other than I needed to write a novel. No goals, no planning, no motivation, so it’s not surprising that I abandoned it almost immediately. NaNoWriMo, in reality, is pretty awful. You have to trick yourself into it and continue tricking yourself until the end or you’ll never make it. You have to lie to yourself a lot, sometimes saying that it’s all about the word count or that plot holes don’t matter. I wasn’t smart enough to lie to myself that first year. CampNaNo in June 2011, I got a huge cold on the first day and then I had to go on tour with my high school orchestra. I pretty much maintain my speed throughout the month, so if I start out not writing anything, I lose all motivation.

Anyway, that isn’t what I want to talk about. Those months have nothing to do with my success months. This June 2012 was a success month, but it very nearly wasn’t. It didn’t start well. I didn’t make the word count for the first two days, but I picked up my act and made the minimum word count up until day 13. That’s perfectly acceptable, but it was looking more like the trends of my two failed months rather than my three successes. My first success saw my daily word count at 2k or higher every single day (I even wrote that NaNo novel with pencil and paper). I planned out the novel a month in advance and then I wrote according to the plan. Pretty straight-forward. The next success, the August after my failed June, saw me writing nearly 5k every day and finishing on day 12ish, though I think I was channeling my excitement about Pottermore into my writing and that helped. The November after that, I finished on day 14, with school every day and I even had a math class that trimester (not that math is particularly terrible, but I procrastinate like nobody’s business).

This June was nothing like that. My worst setback happened on day 14 when our family went camping. I even took a notebook with me so that I could write, which is a joke because I knew I wouldn’t do it. We left on a Wednesday and were supposed to come back on the Sunday after that, but of course I decided to visit some relative afterwards, not getting home until Monday with my older brother in tow. As nearly always happens when people come to visit me, I forget about all the things that I meant to do and instead end up eating far too much food and playing video games for hours. Plus, he brought the first three seasons of Castle on DVD with him and told me to watch them, so I did. Writing whilst watching Castle doesn’t work very well. At this point, I lost my motivation, though, after my brother left a few days later, I did get back to writing (though I was still watching Castle). Mostly, it was because I was very excited about the story-line and because I felt guilt. No surprise there.

Then, a lonely five days before the end of the month, I realized how behind I was and kind of panicked. Despite two more visits from relatives, one of them the last two days of the month, I decided that I was going to finish. Truthfully, I wanted to finish the story and if I didn’t finish in June, I would have had to let it spill over into my July and I really wanted to relax during July and maybe casually plan for August’s Camp, so I resolved to finish it in June.

This time, I only sat in the same room as the video games with my laptop on my lap and Castle playing in the background. Fortunately, I wasn’t really into the game my cousin and brother were playing, so it wasn’t hard to tune that out. I stayed up until 2am every morning except for my final day in which I woke up early and told myself that I could nap when I was finished.

My mistake was that I thought that I couldn’t write unless I started out fabulously. It nearly prevented me from winning, so don’t give up, NaNoers, even if you’re fifteen thousand words behind on the 25 day of the month.

The really stupid thing was the ending of season three of Castle. I can’t believe I almost lost Camp NaNo for it.

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