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Oh no, Camp NaNoWriMo

Prompts vs. Word Count Challenges

By Hannah E. AaronPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
Oh no, Camp NaNoWriMo
Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

July. Camp NaNoWriMo. I was going to hit my 50,000-word goal across many genres. I was going to write so many poems. So many shorts stories. So many creative nonfiction pieces.

Alas, I must admit defeat in terms of word count. During the month of July, I may have written a little over 1,000 words. I thought about writing a good deal, but I must also admit that my attention was not solely, or even majorly, focused on writing.

In late June, I got a new job! I’m so extremely happy to be working where I am. It is a tea shop in the city neighboring the town where I live, and it has a tearoom where people are currently invited to have private events and have tea (the meal, not just the beverage).

It. Is. The. Best. I started drinking hot tea in high school, got into the different types of tea, starting collecting teapots and holding tea parties at my house, so I adore working there.

However, I have a really bad habit of being a bit single-minded when I have a job or when I am in school (which I think I am completely done with now). Unless an assignment specifically relates to writing, I have a tendency not to write a lot.

And this tendency came back in full force once I started working regularly again.

In the meantime, I got to read some excellent stories here on Vocal. I also made a discovery. Between Vocal Challenges, challenges and prompts created by writers on the platform, my new job, and Camp NaNo, I may have finally pinpointed the best method to help myself actually write when I want to. Or, at the very least, find ideas I want to explore.

Because ideas make me want to write. Numbers make me second-guess writing (at least where Camp NaNo is concerned).

I used to think word count challenges worked well for me. I thought that up until just last month. I’ve written 50,000 words in a month before for Camp NaNo. I’ve also tried to meet that goal during Camp NaNo and not gotten close (or even started). I’d shrug it off. (Or delete the evidence that I wanted to participate in Camp NaNo and failed to hit my word count.)

Having a goal to reach works fine. Every once in a while for me, at least. But it works better when I have inspiration, an image to flesh out into a full piece or a subject to expand upon.

For example: I popped onto Vocal while the 'Ode to the Ordinary' Challenge was ongoing.

Bam. I wrote a poem about a hummingbird feeder. I'm very unsatisfied with the poem and I doubt it will ever leave its Word document for Vocal, but I actually wanted to take the time and get the idea down before I completely disregarded or lost it.

There are many other writing prompts and challenges Vocal creators have issued that also inspired me. Here are a few I've found by some awesome writers. Thank you to everyone on Vocal who creates and shares challenges and prompts! If you've found or created a challenge or prompt I haven't listed here, please drop it in the comments! I'd love to check it out!

The #100 Things in 20 Minutes Challenge by Judey Kalchik

I found this challenge through the above post by Judey Kalchik, and I like the constraints, especially the timed aspect. Searching for it again, I see that many on Vocal have done the challenge and I want to read more of them! Then, I want to finally add my own to the challenge!

Book Review Haiku Challenge by Judey Kalchik

Another writing prompt introduced to me through Judey Kalchik's work! I actually did write and publish a piece with two book review haiku (Girl with a Pearl Earring and A Man Called Ove), and they were really fun to create and fiddle with until the syllables were just right!

Unsplash Inspiration Prompt by Ashley Lima

While I haven't started writing for this prompt yet, I did make sure to create a draft so I'd remember it along with the Unsplash picture that my first name brought up, which is the following:

By Atanas Teodosiev on Unsplash

I did not expect to see what looks like a Weimaraner as the first image connected to "Hannah," but am I pleased? Absolutely! Weimaraners are gorgeous dogs, and the composition of the picture gives me lots of ideas. Seeing the picture again makes me want to really get started on this prompt!

James and Oneg's Summer Writing Challenge Extravaganza

I found this challenge when the first prompt, the Sweet Summer Songs one, was issued. It caught my attention and ideas were forming. I just need to write them! It's been a bit since I've checked on this post to see the new prompts, and now I'm really intrigued by the horror one involving an ordinary object.

As someone who struggles with extended lulls in writing, finding all these prompts and challenges has really kept my writer-brain active and thinking. Now, I just need the writer-hands to get the memo, too!


About the Creator

Hannah E. Aaron

Hello! I'm mostly a writer of fiction and poetry that tend to involve nature, family, and the idea of growth at the moment. Otherwise, I'm a reader, crafter, and full-time procrastinator!

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  • Kendall Defoe 3 months ago

    The Book Review Haiku Challenge got some of my best work!

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