Summer Camp Writing Challenge

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Ah, nothing says summer better than sweaty armpits and chafed inner thighs.

And here in Massachusetts, we’re in for a long stretch of hot, humid weather over the next 10 days.

If you’re crazy like me, you probably can’t wait to step outside into a swamp. But if you’re not, this might be a good time to go camping.

Camp NaNoWriMo, that is.

For anyone who is new to the challenge, as I was, it is “An idyllic writer’s retreat, smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life.” And it takes place during the month of July.

Unlike November’s NaNo, you get to choose the type of project you want to work on and how your progress will be calculated.

Want to write a screenplay or a poem? No problem. What about a series of short stories or a piece of non-fiction? You can do that too. You can even set up a revision project.

You also get the option to track your progress by word count, hours, minutes, lines, or pages.

No longer are you constrained to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days because this is summer, and in the United States, July is synonymous with freedom and independence.

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I signed up for Camp and entered my project to finish a work-in-progress novel. It remains to be seen if that’s actually the piece I’m going to work on–I kind of want to write a fun murder mystery beach read (because nothing says fun quite like a murder in a beach resort town) or finish my World of Warcraft fanfiction serial. But it would be really nice to finally have this novel finished.

If you’re thinking maybe you should jump start your own prolific writing career or need a little motivation to try a new medium or genre, I encourage you to sign up too.

Another great feature of Camp is that you can choose to join a cabin of 19 other like- or maybe-not-so-like-minded writers for inspiration.

I’m planning to create a private cabin, so if you want to be bunk mates, send a request to clblacke for an invitation through the Camp NaNo message system and be sure to let me know you’re responding to this post.

Writers of all genres and mediums are welcome. You don’t need to be a mystery or young adult writer to join my cabin.

So grab your marshmallows and bug spray and meet me at Camp!

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Regrets, I Have a Few

Summer’s over and I have regrets. As I always do when I realize another season has passed that I didn’t take advantage of. And after each one is gone, I tell myself that I will write a list of everything I wished I’d done so that next year I won’t be such a slacker.

This is my list for Summer:

Pick strawberries, raspberries, blueberries

Buy fruits and vegetables from local farm stands and actually eat them

Rollerblade on the Norwuttuck Rail Trail every weekend

Visit the beach at least four times or, hell, even spend a week there to write my island murder mystery

Read more Ameila Peabody mysteries

Run in Stanley Park

Bake breads, cakes, cookies, and pies with the flavors of the season

Vacation in New Orleans to drink washing machine strawberry daiquiris, visit cities of the dead, bayous, and plantation homes while working on my psuedo-vampire novel (no, they’re not all the fluffy bunny sparkly sensitive types), and with any luck take in a Roller Derby game.

Sit on my flower-laden balcony on weekend mornings sipping hot chocolate eating freshly baked strawberry almond bread and enjoying the quiet of the morning while pretending I’m eating beignets

Sit on my balcony in the evenings sipping iced tea and eating cool lemon cookies with powdered sugar

Walk to the park to watch the city’s 4th of July fireworks

Get drunk off Watermelon-Lime Coolers and Raspberry Spritzers

Clean my house more

I think this is a good start for now. Luckily, New England has four somewhat distinct seasons, so there’s always something different to do every three months.

Maybe I should start working on my Autumn list now.