Dawn Montgomery

The End of Camp

In #amwriting, Challenges, Goals on July 31, 2013 at 5:11 am


PWCicon2We did it. We reached the end of Camp NaNoWriMo. I didn’t make my 50k goal, but I managed 34,266 words for the month of July. Not bad on top of edits and submission for a 94k novel. 😀

When I was in the military it seemed as though my every waking hour was spent preparing for, fighting through, or recovering from one exercise, real world disaster or wartime effort. While I don’t miss the tempo, I did pick up a few bits and pieces that might help you the way it does me.

There’s this thing called a “Hotwash”. Not as sexy as it sounds, I’m afraid. It’s a summary of an event which shows preparation, actions leading up to the event, event response, lessons learned and followup actions. I use the same theory for each book I write and every event I participate in. Don’t worry. It’s a much simpler format for our use. 😀

July 2013 Camp NaNoWriMo Hotwash

Prep for NaNo

  1. Figured out what I was going to work on
  2. Web prep and documents ready
  3. Cleared the plate of all other works in progress before the event began

During the Event

  1. Planning for the edits with Thunder and Roses didn’t prepare me properly for the sheer wordage of the novel. I lost five days on NaNo.
  2. I was able to finish and submit two books (working on the third today).
  3. Checked in almost daily with the Camp crew and my writing group
  4. Averaged about 1300-2000 words or so a day on the days I wasn’t working on edits or submissions. (YAY me! I usually average about 500 a day)
  5. Middle of summer burn out with the kids contributed to some tough hurdles
  6. Four days of post-military medical evaluations and traveling wore me down for almost an entire week.
  7. On the days I was writing, the words were like magic.
  8. On the days I wasn’t writing, I was still working on the book.
  9. When I hit the last week of NaNo, I was tired. Beyond tired.

Lessons Learned


  1. Touching base with everyone made me write until the last day (today I’m exhausted)
  2. My word count went up
  3. Finding creative solutions when I wouldn’t be at my desk during NaNo


  1. Poor planning on the part of summer vacation.
  2. Expecting to waltz through edits, submissions, and physically exhausting events.
  3. Went off track on my story so often I don’t recognize it anymore.

Future Planning

  1. On the months were I get to choose my own word count for NaNo, don’t expect 50k
  2. Give myself rest days after large mind and body drains like edits and evaluations
  3. Take the time to put myself back on track when I veer off in a story. It’ll save me headaches later and I might stay motivated enough to keep going.

#ROW80 update: Month’s Summary

ROW80LogocopyRemaining on the list

  1. Private Cowboy was written, edited, polished and submitted
  2. Thunder and Roses edits came back to me from the beta readers. I spent five days on those before writing up the synopsis and submitting the novel for publication.
  3. Spirit Lake is one click away from the dead wip file. I’m so frustrated with it, I don’t know what to do. I thought I had a break through, but was completely wrong. I think I’m going to set it aside for a week or two and see what else I can do with it.
  4. Voodoo Carnival is trudging slowly. I’m still happy with it and completely ready to keep moving forward.
  5. The Collector was one I expected to be done earlier in the week. I didn’t plan on my total exhaustion or the insanity of the middle of summer vacation circus my home has become.

Still wishing I would have set my word count goal at 30k. While I know I can change it on the CampNaNo site, I won’t. Stubborn, I know, but I figure doctoring it up to make me feel better will just give me a reason to do again. No bueno.

Goals for August

  1. Submit The Collector by August 1st
  2. Finish and Submit Voodoo Carnival by August 5th
  3. Work on the super secret pulp fiction project (goal is 20k by August 31st)
  4. Submit Feral Hunger by August 31st
  5. Work on chapter one for Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest.
  6. Polish up (and update) a novella I wrote back in 2008. Submit it for publication as soon as it’s ready.

That’s FOUR submissions for August. Wowza. Granted, one will be done tomorrow, and two of them are already written, but still…

Expected non-writing moments for August

  1. My anniversary with SuperChef on August 1st!
  2. Back to school shopping, prep, and first week jitters
  3. Frantic need for children to live life on the edge until school begins again
  4. Potential visit from Gamma
  5. Birthdays for Lil B and Gamma

Expected bonuses for August

  1. When the kids go back to school I can write during the day
  2. Better concentration (fingers crossed) since I’ll already have book submissions in the queue

Well, that’s it how I did for Camp, what happened in July, and what I have planned for August. I hope you found it entertaining.

I’m part of a fantastic group called A Round of Words in 80 Days, and if you’d like to see how everyone else is doing, check out the list HERE.

Would you like to be a part of our writing challenge? Check out the rules HERE.

Keep Writing!

  1. Flippin-heck, Dawn. You are one crazy worker bee! And where are you submitting all these treasures? I presume you’ve done all the research, or that you have a publisher or agent already. Or do you mean self-publish? Either way, well done on a fabulous, if exhausting, July, and best of luck for an equally wonderful August. 🙂

    Shah X


    • Outside of self publishing there are four publishers I have the honor of working with. My short stories (less than 4k words) go to Cleis Press. Ellora’s Cave gets Feral Hunger since it’s book two in a series I already have with them. Voodoo Carnival will depend on when I get it done. 🙂 And the contemporary novella I wrote back in 2008…I’m not sure yet. 😀

  2. That’s amazing Dawn, could feel my jaw dropping as I read your post! That’s one serious workload but you have the right approach to keep it under control. Well done for such huge achievements and good luck for the next round of ROW80. 🙂

    • The beautiful part about ROW is that the list is always fluid. It keeps me from panicking. I won’t look at the list again until it’s time to strike through them as the projects get done. One at a time! Most of my works are novella length and shorter. Thank you for the luck wishes and support! *hugs* 😀

  3. Great list–I especially liked that you put in notes about Lessons Learned and Anticipated Non-writing distractions… Sometimes it’s too easy to set an arbitrary goal without thinking about the ups and downs of daily life.

    I love it when I get to your blog, Dawn. You’ve been very helpful with your insights and observations.

    • We spend so much time looking at our best writing days and comparing all others to them. It’s like hosting and building a holiday dinner for a dozen people and having everything go perfectly and then losing your mind when you have trouble other times. The thing is…most of the time there are struggles and perfect writing days are rare gems.

      I’m so glad I’m helping. I never know how it will come across since all I know is what works for me. LOL.

      • Rare gems indeed–and they cost us almost as much to achieve as the rarest gems.

        I’m not sure all your hints and ideas work for me, but they give me more places to work from–and that is good. 🙂

      • I’m not sure all your hints and ideas work for me, but they give me more places to work from–and that is good. 🙂

        If it’s encouraging you to figure out how you work and make you a better writer, then I’m good. It would kill me if I discouraged anyone. 😦

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