Camp-2017-Participant-Profile-PhotoYsbaddaden and the Game of Chess (sequel to The Thirteen Treasures of Britain) is not making much progress. I had written about 7,000 words earlier this year, and then the Great Life-Altering News of 2017 happened: I found out I was pregnant. Again.

(Right. You see, I had a baby in October. THIS past October. 2016. So. Now we’re having “Irish twins,” a term I was unfamiliar with until the pregnancy test I took in January, and so here we are.)

Pregnancy, as it always does, makes me a grumpus in the first trimester, so I have not been inclined to work. (Okay, let me be honest: I slacked off. I got soft. I cherished the extra hours of sleep instead of being a highly disciplined word warrior who got her butt out of bed at 6:00 a.m. and got some serious writing done before the kids woke up. In my slight defense, I wasn’t getting much sleep since Mr. Baby [henceforth known as PJ] decided he wanted to start waking up every hour on the hour so we could put his pacifier back in.)

Anyway, Ysbaddaden suffered. The manuscript languished. I got lazier and lazier.

And that’s why I’ve decided to do Camp NaNo this month. I know I won’t finish the draft this month, but at least I’ll make some progress.

Because the beautiful thing about NaNo? Even if you don’t win — if you simply participate, if you write words you wouldn’t have written otherwise, if you get some inspiration, if you get re-energized and recharged, if you find a community of like-minded writers — then NaNoWriMo will be a success.

And what I need more than anything right now is some re-energizing. Let’s be honest: NaNo is simply fun. Camp NaNo even more so. The cabin assignments, the care packages, the slightly-kitschy camp-themed graphics and merchandise, the badges: it’s a place where writing ceases to be a solitary endeavor and instead becomes a communal celebration. NaNoWriMo is like one big writing party. And Mama needs a party right now.

For those who are doing Camp NaNo this month (or for those who are thinking of joining), my words of wisdom are these: Rediscover the fun of writing.

Camp is often a place for kids to rediscover nature and the spirit of camaraderie. For Camp NaNo participants, let’s rediscover what it’s like to be a kid. Let’s have adventures. Let’s tell stories around the campfire. Let’s create legendary moments that will live on in our hearts forever. Let’s delve into the depths of the lake, or search the wilds of the forest. Let’s eat lots of junk food and pull some pranks. Let’s sneak out at night and get into mischief. Most of all, let’s be wild and unfettered.