The first time I heard the phrase, “Three Day Novel Contest”, my blood pressure skyrocketed. Just the thought of writing an entire work was terrifying, without having to do it in three days. But here I am, planning my third Labor-Day-Weekend getaway for that very same event. Let me give you some of the reasons I am able to survive this, and want to continue participating every year I can.
1. I have a great support system. In particular, the three friends I do the getaway with. We range from single, college-age to married college professor, but we all share one passion: writing. We offer each other encouragement, make each other take breaks when one of us is stressing, and even dish out some tough love if necessary (this usually manifests itself when one of us has had enough of the others’ shenanigans and needs to be isolated for a few hours).
2. We go to a relaxing location. Everyone has a different definition for “relaxing”, but for me it means my family’s cabin in the Pocono mountains. There’s no wi-fi or running water, and very spotty cell-power. This makes it impossible to be distracted by the ever-present internet, and allows us to fully enjoy the woods that surround us. I like to think the gurgling creek, the whispering of the wind, and the occasional wildlife we see all serves to inspire our writing in different ways.
3. I have a plan. Or, half a plan. This year I did a full outline of the entire novel I am going to be working on. It isn’t very complicated, just bullet-points of what needs to happen in each chapter, but it will keep me on task and remind me of where I’m going in the story, should I get lost. My end-goal for the book is for it to be somewhere between 50 and 60 thousand words. I’m aiming to get around 30,000 written over Labor Day Weekend. I tend to have a very short attention span, so I work in spurts, broken up by tending the fire, making food, catching crayfish, etc.
I do plan to actually enter the contest eventually…this year I was intending to, but we decided to start Thursday night of Labor Day Weekend because of Sharon having a wedding to go to. I didn’t want to waste all that extra time, so did not pay the fee. Maybe next year.
I look forward to this year’s 3DNC, and hope all the others who participate have as much fun as I will!