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Camp Care Package #4: Just keep swimming!

Author Dallas Woodburn is your Camp Counselor this week. Find all Camp Care Packages in Breaking News throughout the month of April, or learn more about Camp NaNoWriMo!

1) Just keep swimming:

Writing a novel seems to me like swimming across a giant body of water. The shoreline on the other side is often hazy, and even when I make a lot of fast and furious strokes forward, the end still seems far away. That’s okay—it’s a normal part of the process. All I can do is keep swimming, keep writing, and try not to focus on how much farther I still need to go. Like Dory famously says in Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming!”

Writing Dare: Write a scene about the first time your character learned to swim.

2) Stay true to you:

Elizabeth Berg once told me this advice when I met her at a writers conference, and I now have it on a post-it note on my bulletin board: “First, please yourself.” Yes, it is important to get feedback from others along the way, to help you make your writing project the very best it can be—but at the heart of everything, I believe you must stay true to your own voice and vision. Take joy in the journey of writing, not only the final stop of The End.

Writing Dare: Spend 5 minutes making a list of all the books, shows, etc. that you love and why you love them. Then, spend another 5 minutes making a list of all the things you love about your project and why you love them. 

author photo

Dallas Woodburn is the author of the linked short story collection Woman, Running Late, in a Dress and the novel The Best Week That Never Happened. Her work has been honored with the Cypress & Pine Short Fiction Award, the international Glass Woman Prize, and four Pushcart Prize nominations. She hosts the podcast “Overflowing Bookshelves” and heads the organization Write On! Books that empowers youth through reading and writing endeavors. Dallas lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.

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