Letter From Camp NaNoWriMo, Day 3 — Doing Sprints

Caro Kinkead
3 min readApr 3, 2022

(Which I originally published as Day 4. This shows what happens when too much is going on.)

Goal: 5000 words
Actual: 6476 words

Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash

Dear Dad,

Doing a bit better today, though we’ve got gray skies here to match my mood. Words churned out in the morning before we took my father-in-law to his services. We drop him off, enjoy a quick brunch, before picking him up when he’s done. We’d prefer to be attending our own services, but this is not easy in the season we’re in.

There is a rhythm to this, though, familiar with time. I’m the early riser, at my desk before the rest of the household is awake. Except the cats, of course. The cats know when it’s time for me to get up and feed them. Most Sundays, I try to deal with administrative tasks before we head off, but today I focused on the words. 2,025 in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Part of the secret is the sprinting. I set my timer and away I go. Time’s up, I take a moment or two, set another sprint, then off I go again. I do thirty-minute sprints lately. Works out fine, with my words done before the bulk of the day started.

Of course, now I want to rewrite the scene I was working on when I stopped, but this is a problem for tomorrow. Knowing my starting point is good because I don’t stare at the screen for ten minutes wondering what I need to do. Does not stop me from staring at the screen for ten minutes when I reach a block, but staring is all part of the writing life. If I can start momentum going first thing, the rest is much easier.

Getting the words done in a short amount of time is not a bad idea, either. This means the rest of my schedule is more flexible. I feel better about getting up from the desk to stretch or wander about, all necessary things I need to do. When I’m deep in writing, I don’t move enough, tied to the keyboard as the words flows. Or not wanting to move because I haven’t done what I needed and a temptation to not come back if I take a break.

That I sit in a comfortable ergonomic chair doesn’t make the sitting any easier than the piano bench I sat on to type while growing up. It is better than the times I haul the typewriter down to the floor and sit cross-legged. You were not happy when you found me in that position at 3 AM, trying to finish my senior research paper. I don’t keep those hours any longer unless I’m hit with a bout of insomnia.

I’m still in the easy phase of this story, writing out the things clear in my mind. Around Wednesday, I’ll start moving into more unknown territory, places where my notes are more “stuff happens” than concrete ideas. I’m averaging 2,100 words a day at the moment. That may slip lower as time passes. I’m hoping it won’t, that the story will catch fire and I’ll be inspired for all thirty days. I had a few rounds where that happened, but I also realize what I wrote today applies to writing as much as my female lead’s situation. “You couldn’t count on magical happy endings granted by a wish in real life.”

I wish I could. There’s a lot I’d change, but some things you can’t. One thing I can is not having words on the page. That’s what this month is about. My page has been blank for too long. Time to fill it up again.

Talk to you tomorrow,




Caro Kinkead

Writer of words, knitter of yarn. Owned by two adorable cats. writes slightly steamy, slightly sweet historical romance.