Tag: writing

Camp NaNoWriMo: Like Camp But With Words and Deadlines

I’m super excited to be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this April. I’m primarily an essayist and poet, so I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo (the attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in November). But, I stumbled across the Camp NaNoWriMo website and saw that it offered the flexibility to work on a variety of writing projects including poetry, and I was intrigued. It’s free, fun, summer camp-themed, the t-shirts feature a Storysquatch, I’ll have an excuse to eat “working” s’mores — there’s nothing that could make me love this more.

Also, I’m excited to push my personal writing back to the front of my brain — to make it a priority again. I haven’t written for myself in a very, very long time. I know that if I don’t do it now, I’ll keep finding reasons not to do it ever again.

To be fair, I write all day, but it’s for other people. I’m always working on a press release, an article, a landing page, a blog post, or something that isn’t the thing I *want* to be writing. I love my job and I’m good at it, but I suspect I stay super busy on purpose — a bit of self sabotage.  I’ve committed to a 60 hour project (45 hours of writing) this month — so, expect some updates soon.

I’m also a graphic designer, so in order to really have fun with my goal, I created a camp-themed project sheet to keep on my desk and I want to share it with you!

** Go here for the printable high resolution pdf **

Free Printable Camp NaNoWriMo Project Sheet by Ava Love Hanna

I like to have a visual reminder of my goals in front of me, so the printable has a spot to write the specifics of your writing goal, make notes on your writing schedule, and has two sections for “rules” during the month. I used the left side to write the types of writing projects that I am allowing myself to work on: essays, poems, plays, blog posts, and articles. The right side is for the things that are prohibited during writing time: Facebook, Twitter, work, to-do’s, etc. I hope you like the printable and that it helps you to stay focused on your goal.

Well, I’ve got files to organize and s’mores to prep for my writing this month. Feel free to check in on my progress over on my camper profile here. And, if you need a little bit of fun, campy encouragement with your own writing, then sign up, print the project sheet I made for us, and come to camp with me!

Writer’s Block – Existential Edition

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
Thomas Mann

I love being a writer… most of the time. Here’s an excerpt of the type of conversation I have with myself pretty much every time I sit down to write. And, I’m a professional writer. So, this happens… oh, every day.

Me:  It’s time to update my blog again. Didn’t I just do this?? I need something to write about….You know what? What’s the point? Why do we even write? Everything that needs to be said has already been said by someone, somewhere, at some point in time.

Brain:  Hey. Hey, stop it. You’re doing it again.

Me:  Doing what?

Brain:  Philosophizing instead of just writing.

Me:  Shh, I’m thinking. I mean think about it. Every story has already been told. We just add our own flavor, but is it really necessary? The internet feels like so many people are saying the same thing just to hear their own voices.  Like this morning, I went to find a recipe for baked oatmeal and got 9 billion results for what was pretty much the same recipe.  The only real difference I could see was that this one was made by a stay at home mom with 3 kids who just had a book published about sock puppets, and the other one was made by a lady with blonde hair who has a fancy food blog.

Brain:  How do you know it’s fancy?

Me:  Look at the header, that’s a fancy black and white photo of some cheese. Everyone knows that photos taken just from the side – like you’re sneaking up on the food – are fancy. I think there are whole blogs devoted to sneaking up on pancakes. I should probably go look… Wait. That’s not the point.  What I’m actually saying is that the internet feels so… noisy. What’s the point of writing a blog post and adding more noise?

Brain:  Oh just stop.

Me:  Stop? I didn’t start, how can I stop? We are all born into this spiral of life mid-motion, there’s no way to stop anything is there? We are spinning on a planet that we can’t control. Our lungs, hearts, and brains work automatically. I can’t make the wind stop blowing, or my blood cells stop moving. I can’t “stop” anything. What am I anyway? Where did I come from? Why am I even here?

Brain:  Omg, no… please, not this again, not another existential crisis.

Me:  Don’t be silly. I’m just questioning why I’m even here or the point of my existence.

Brain:  Sigh

Me:  I think the thing is this… Maybe *not* saying anything is really the way to say something. You know? Like a silent protest against noise. Maybe I should just date a blank page and post that on my blog. Like an anti-blog. By saying nothing, I’m really saying that we should all take a minute to stop saying so much.

Brain:  You will do anything to avoid writing, won’t you?

Me:  Yes. Yes, I will.