Virtual Camp 

I signed up for a virtual writing camp a couple of days ago. The idea was to settle into my virtual cabin in the virtual woods and write for a month.

I set my target for the project at 30 000 words, which I calculated from the comfort and safety of my bed this morning worked out at just under 1000 words a day – 964 to be exact – and that should be achievable technically. I lay in my bed with a cup of tea and contemplated a few ideas to outline the structure of the story and a few crazy ideas to add to the mix. If the idea of one intense month’s writing was to do what some people refer to as a ‘vomit pass’, ie getting anything and everything down on paper to start with, then I think I had enough ideas for a good bucket of it.

Then I remembered that I had promised to help a colleague by providing her with feedback on a job application she was writing, so after I had walked the dogs I settled down to do that before starting the writing. The weather was filthy and pouring with rain so I was not planning on going anywhere.

An SMS from my husband put paid to that. He was going to have to work away tomorrow so could I pick him up some chocolate cake slices, some iced coffee and some cash, please?

Well of course I could. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than getting out of a warm dry house and driving through the thundering rain to go shopping. I closed my laptop and headed out.

As I circled the cold aisles of the supermarket, my phone went off again.  This time it was a message from the dog sitters who wondered if they could come over and meet our dogs tomorrow afternoon? I messaged back to say that sounded fine, while mentally runnng over a checklist of the mountain of mess I would have to hide within the next twenty hours.

When I got back home, my colleague had revised her application and I spent an hour or so going over it and making notes again and then I took the dogs for another walk. When I got home it was dark and so I loaded a movie that I had rented ages ago and which only had 20 hours left before it expired.

So not too good a start to my first day of writing. I have a title, I have the idea for the opening chapters and main characters but I have written not one word so far. My 30,000 word count target stands tonight as it stood this morning: untroubled by any achievement in lowering it. I do not need a calculator to work out that with 30 days left now of the month, my daily word target has gone up to 1 000 a day. That is 36 extra words a day every day for the rest of the month, already.

But I guess that is the beauty of a virtual camp. I can do some virtual writing while I am there, right? And failure to do any real writing is only virtual failure.


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