Category: camp pep

We’re in the last week of Camp NaNoWriMo! The clock is ticking. How will you make the most of the final countdown? Today, NaNoWriMo Participant Rosario Martinez reminds us to leave our excuses at the door and put that pen to paper/fingers on the keyboard:

Many will say there is no trick to writing other than to sit and write.

It’s hard to do that sometimes. Life will happen. We all have valid reasons not to write. It’s true. There are things, people, and situations that will make us think twice about writing. They deserve our attention because they are too important to us. But you know what? The real trick to writing is this. If you didn’t already know, let me be the one to tell you. Your story is important. Your story is important because only you can tell it.

No one can tell your story the way you know it — no one but you.

The heart of your story is you. 

At this moment in time, only you know your story, and it is important for that very reason. The way you see it when you close your eyes, feel it as your fingertips press the keyboard, or the tip of your pen glides across the paper, your story exists only because you made it so.

That excitement that made you want to write in the first place, that spark? It’s still there hiding—waiting for you.

The words you write matter because only you can write them. The act of writing can sound daunting sometimes, even more so when there’s a word count involved. Sometimes those are the things that keep us away from writing rather than inviting us in. But your commitment isn’t to a word count. It’s to the story you want to tell. The words that are tugging inside your head, begging you to write them.

Be flexible, write when you can, write what you can, but keep writing. 

Even when you don’t know what comes next: write. Even when it doesn’t make sense: write. It can be anything. You never know where creating a character’s backstory might lead you to their inner conflict in your story. One thing can lead to another. It takes one word to set everything in motion. Setting time aside, it can be just minutes at a time. Bite-size. You’ll surprise yourself. You can make your word count because you can always change it. Don’t think about what hasn’t been done or how much time you have left. When you remove those restrictions from your writing time, you’ll think clearer, and the story will pop up again. What matters is that you tell this story

Think of the way your story comes alive when you think about it. Think of the words and watch them jump off the page as you’re writing them. Think of how much you want to know your characters. Who are they? What are they hiding? And why do they want you to write them? Your story is important to you, and someday it will be important to someone else, too. What is this story, your story? Remember that you are the only one that can write it. Only you.

Let your words lead you down the unexpected, the bright and dark corners that you wish to explore.

This story, your story, can only be told by you.


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Rosario
Martinez is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She lives in Dallas,
Texas with her husband and their four sweet but demanding cats. She’s
currently working on her debut YA fantasy novel. She has too many
flannel things and believes a good bowl of nachos is life. To follow her
journey to publication, visit her literary lifestyle blog (https://lemmonavenue.net) or find her on Twitter @rosariomwrites and Instagram @rosariomwrites

Top photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash.

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Howdy, Campers! Welcome to Week 3. If you find your pace slowing down, or your epiphanies drying up, don’t despair. The answers are out there. But you can’t find an answer without first asking a question. Today, NaNo Participant K.S. Trenten reminds us that sometimes questions are the answers:

Wish to put some words on the page? Here are some questions to ask yourself so you can take those first steps.

What do you want to write? A short story? A novel? An essay? This will give you an idea of how long to make your project (and define your word count goal). 

If you’re writing a story or a novel, who is your main character? What do they want? This is a way of pushing your protagonist forward, reminding yourself of this. Their goal should be something that’ll hold your interest.

Allow them to tell you about what they want and why they want it. What events led up to this? 

You may have an urge to start writing when you ask yourself these questions. Give into it. Let your character talk. Allow them to relive events which shaped them and their goals. They might decide to pick a fight with another character or simply rant. Allow them to. 

Don’t worry if you’re coming in at the middle of the story. You can add the rest later. 

Start thinking about the obstacles between your main character and their goal. Are the obstacles other characters? What are their goals? Are they connected with the events which shaped the main character’s goal to begin with?

Feeling like writing again? Go for it.

Don’t just answer the questions, explore them.

Let your main character collide with these obstacles, with other characters’ goals. Don’t worry if you end up with a bunch of disjointed story fragments. Keep playing with them and you’ll think of ways to connect them. 

A third set of questions to ask yourself is: who or what supports your main character’s goals? Does your protagonist have friends who encourage them or an enemy who says the right thing at the right time? Is there a place or an object the main character draws strength or resolve from? 

Explore all of this when you’re getting started. You may already have an idea of these things, but they’re worth considering when you propel characters who’ve been floating around your head into a plot with a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

Are you still looking at a blank page? Don’t give up. Get up and walk away from your writing tools for a moment. Do something else while you think about these things. Just keep asking yourself these questions. 

None of this may apply to you if you’re writing a poem or an essay. You may need to ask yourself different questions, such as: 

What do you wish to communicate in your writing? What do you want to express? 

What’s on your mind? A problem? Or a situation you’re trying to describe? How would you like your readers to react? 

Never stop asking yourself questions. Answering them can get you to fill the pages when you’re stuck. They can renew your energy when it falters. 

Remember, this is just the beginning. There are no constraints other than the word count. You’re not being edited. You don’t have to stop what you’re doing or shy away from anything that sounds bold, reckless, and beyond your limits. 

You’re free to put what you want on the page.

Enjoy that freedom. Explore. Let your thoughts, feelings, and your characters take you where they want to go. Let them surprise you. 

It may be frightening, beyond your control, and lead you into undiscovered territory. That’s half the joy of creative journey, finding out just what you’re capable of when you’re writing. 

Good luck!


K.S. Trenten lives in the South Bay Area of California in the United States with her husband, two cats, and a host of characters in her imagination, all shouting out for attention. Her published works include Seven Tricks; A Symposium in Space; Fairest (part of the Once Upon a Rainbow LGBTQIA+ fairytale anthology) and At Her Service (part of the Once Upon a Rainbow 2 anthology); and The Closet (part of Queer Sci Fi’s Impact, a collection of flash fictions). She also offers weekly samples of her work on Mondays and Saturdays at the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration, Wednesdays at the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron, monthly blogs at cauldronkeeper.livejournal.com, rhodrymavelyne.dreamwidth.org, and is the author of Queer Sci Fi’s Sources of Inspiration column.  She can be found on Twitter, tumblr, LinkedIn, and has a Facebook Author Page, which reflects the contents of both Cauldrons. 

Top photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash.