Letters from Camp NaNoWriMo, Day 1 — We Begin

Caro Kinkead
3 min readApr 1, 2022

Goal: 1667 words

Actual: 2194 words

Boots propped up on a rock while gathered around a campfire.

Dear Dad,

I was a good girl and I didn’t stay up until midnight to log my first official words. I try to in November when we gather for the kick-off, but the event has more of a sense of occasion. Plus, I might be on a bit of a sugar rush from what we didn’t pass out to Trick or Treaters.

Not that I managed to get to work first thing this morning. Back when I worked in the corporate world, I’d arrive at my desk having planned what needed to be done. Far too often, though, plans would be derailed by one thing or another. A request from my boss which took priority, or someone would ping me on messenger with an urgent need. I would get to the “first thing” some time after lunch.

This was my morning. My intention to start work on my Camp NaNo as soon as I sat down? Nope. Other things demanded my attention, with an hour and a half passing before I could write my first words. Which I hated, so deleted before being called away again. When I did sit down to the page, I turned out close to 2,200 words in three 30-minute sprints.

I said yesterday the excitement of diving into something new keeps me coming back to NaNoWriMo. Word count is the other reason. Back when I first began doing this crazy thing, writing a thousand words in a single day was a major accomplishment. Years of pushing for the elusive 1,667finds me faster, more confident about putting my ideas down on the page. Doesn’t mean I have confidence in them any other time, but in the moment? I’m there.

By the end of the third sprint, I declared my goals achieved because there were other things going on. Nothing big, important, or painful. One of the cats panicking ended up being somewhat painful, but everything should heal up within a week.

Where did we conceive the idea the life of a writer is glamorous? I know where my images came from: those classic Hollywood movies I love. Beautiful apartments, fabulous clothes, lunches with one’s agents and fellow writers with witty bon mots.

Perhaps these films portrayed the life the authors wished for. I’m willing to bet folks who scripted those screenplays needed to scoop the cat box, washed dishes, and dealt with malfunctioning razors. Or found their partner hadn’t done something they promised they would. They had days when no matter how much they wanted to show up at the keyboard, everything in the universe conspired against them. What made them succeed? They came back. They showed up the next day, fingers at the ready.

If you don’t put the words down on the page where others can read them, they will always remain tantalizing might-have-beens within your mind. There’s editing and polishing, all the things one needs to make certain the work is presentable. That won’t happen, though, if you from idea to some kind of concrete form. Even with all the craziness, I managed to get ideas down. It’s a small win, but in a day which hasn’t gone the way I planned, I’m grateful.

I’ll sign off now because I still have non-writing things to do. Talk to you tomorrow.


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash



Caro Kinkead

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