Picture of woman's hands as she looks at a script with Arkadina.com Art Deco logo and saying NaNo ... but as a Play?

Lights up on a frazzled woman hunched over a tablet in PJs. It is 1st April. Playwrighting begins.

I began this month with the awesome (and by awesome I mean completely stupid) idea of chronicling my camp NaNoWriMo adventures in the format of a stage play. I thought ‘okay, could be tricky but it’ll be fun’.

I got to day three before realising it was neither. Never one to be daunted by a challenge, I persevered. It took me until day 24 to draw the conclusion that this just wasn’t going to come together. You’d have thought the 19 days without writing a thing in this blog would have been a hint. 🤷‍♀️

So instead of that minor crime against blogging, here’s a little bloggy run down of the last 30 days, first from memory and then I’ll take you along as I go.

Day 1: NaNo time means a NaNo project. And I’m not sure what I’m going to write yet. Way to prepare! Undaunted, I set a word count goal anyway. Just 5000 words, hope it will be enough to help me re-form the writing habit. I’ve been skimming through a few of my old projects asking myself if I want to finish something old or start a new play entirely. My only preparation was to count up my unfinished projects. There’s a grand total of 7. Yikes. So, probably best to go with an old project, but nothing’s really calling me. Time to re-read a few things.

Day 2: I’ve reread the three smaller projects I’m contemplating and am halfway through the larger Queen Bitch (working title). Shit. Two of these things have some pretty decent parts. Now to narrow: two are flimsy so I discard them immediately leaving me with a short monologue concept with four lines written and a 3/4 finished full length play. The play’s calling me. But it’s historical and I think I’ve forgotten a fuck ton of info and need to go back to research. I then realise I can’t find my original sources. Bugger.

Day 3: I finished rereading the full length play and spent the day searching for my sources. Catharine Edwards why is your work so hard to find?!

Day 4: Wholly failed to find what I’m searching for, although I do have about 6 youtube videos and a dozen podcast to listen to. Overwhelmed. Give up entirely on that idea. If I want to finish writing something this month I need to get to the actual writing. Monologue it is then.

Day 5: Intended to begin writing properly. I have lost the inside of this woman’s head. Managed 74 words, fml.

Day 6: Do I include other people speaking, as part her dialogue or by adding in others and turning it into a short play?

Day 7: Sticking to one person. It’ll save confusion and works better with the reveal I have planned for later.

Day 8: Today happened. I have no idea what though.

Day 9: Decent-ish word count, but not enough to reach my goal by 30th. My overall word goal is small, so I don’t need to achieve huge counts to reach it but still feels good to get close to it. Feel like I’m just getting a handle on what’s happening and then it drifts away. More swearing.

Days 10 – 15: I honestly don’t recall much from these days. I got words in. I know this because my word count on the NaNo site says I did. Beyond that … I guess we’ll never know.

Day 16: I can sense I’m nearing the end and I’m already getting jittery at the thought of another looming decision. I have a firm idea of what needs to come with this though and it’s flowing pretty nicely. Best writing day yet. Or at least, the most productive.

Day 17: Should I have colour coded this? I decide no.

Day 18: I should have colour coded this. Went back and changed font to colours representing the other characters in my MC’s mind.

Day 19: Finished it! The first draft of ‘Flamed’ is done. It definitely needs some work, there are some structural issues; grammatical things (pretty sure I messed up a fair few tenses) and some inconsistencies but overall, I think it’s an okay first draft. It has potential, I think hope.

Day 20: And now it’s decision time again: do I edit straight away or move on with another draft. They all need research.

Day 21: I found one of the documentaries I was using as source material for one of my old projects. Watching that again counts as work, right? Right?

Days 22-24: Watched some YouTube vids. Made a few notes. Wrote nothing. Well, 38 words. In three days. *le sigh*

Day 25: That’s it, No more procrastination. I’m forcing myself to do this. Reread the section of the play I’m working on again and bit the bullet. And it actually flowed pretty well. Why have I procrastinated for so long here? I think I’ve been putting it off because I really like what I’d written before and don’t want to ruin that — it’s been a long time since I last worked on this (8 years, I think) and I don’t trust myself or my research to match the work.

Day 26: Another nice writing day. The notes I took are actually helpful, allowing me to pick up where I left off with ease and keep moving forward, even if I’m not completely sure of things. Is this what planning feels like? Why don’t I do this with every project?

Day 27: I Won! I hit my arbitrary goal. A full 5000 words. Not much by the grand scheme of comparisonitis but I’m a happy bunny now. So happy I stopped when I hit my goal.🙊

Day 28: Still feeling the ‘Okay … what now?’ vibe of ‘winning’. Oops, still a long way to go on this one. Let’s knuckle down.

Day 29: Discovered my Audible subscription comes with some free courses, including ‘The Great Courses’ series. There’s one on Ancient Egypt that looks relevant. Yes M’Lovelies, I’ve moved from Rome to Egypt … but still no nearer in time. Anyway, I went ahead and downloaded it, listened and now I’m confused, especially about timelines. Much googling ensued.

Day 30: Research mode: 100. Clarity mode: 0.

Sod it, I’m writing on anyway. This is my character’s view, she doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, hold the same view as her sister or victor-written history. So I’m running with the irksome bits. They make sense in the context of this and I’m calling dramatic license.

Did you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo? How’d it go?