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Camp Care Package #3: Give yourself small wins.

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

1) Are you stuck? 

I used to panic about falling behind, thinking of how I’d have to work twice as hard the next day. In reality, my brain needed a win. Rather than saying “I need to write 3000 words today to catch up!” I started setting smaller, achievable goals, like “Let’s try to write 100 words before noon.” Those little goals turn into bigger achievements once you’re on a roll.

2) Change up your font. 

“Margaret,” you must be thinking, “graphic design is not our passion, writing is.” But trust me, changing up fonts can jolt your writing brain out of a rut, or just help you spot prose that needs more work. Some of my favorite common fonts for writing are Georgia, Garamond, Cambria, and Palatino.

3) Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. 

Even if you sold your manuscript tomorrow, you’d still have a year or two of editing ahead before it goes to the printers! If you can’t come up with the exact right description, or aren’t satisfied with dialogue but don’t know how to fix it yet—you have plenty of time to revisit it later. And you may find it’s not as bad as you remember when you come back!

Writing Dare: Set a goal for how many words you want to write in the next 10 minutes. 100? 500? Then, set a timer and start writing! If you need an extra challenge, see if you can use the words "horse," "violet," and "elbow" in your scene.

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Margaret Owen was born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail and has worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned. She now spends her days writing and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. She is the author of the Merciful Crow series. In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations. She resides in Seattle, Washington.

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