Why Taking A Break In The Middle Of Camp NaNoWriMo Is A Good Thing

My vacation is just about over. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be on a plane on my way home. I won’t be getting back to work until Thursday, but it’s kind of weird to think that a week has already come and gone.

I have to admit though, I think I’m ready to go back to home and get back to writing.

Why taking a break during Camp NaNoWriMo is a good thing | Creative Writing | NaNoWriMo | RachelPoli.com

I’ve always found it hard to take a break in the middle of a NaNo session and then get back to the writing. Usually during November if I skip a day or two, I get flustered. My OCD doesn’t like the fact that my stats chart didn’t change for a couple of days.

Plus, depending on how behind I end up getting, I lose motivation to finish because I feel as though I’ll never be able to catch up.

It’s good to take a break though. It’s a good idea to pace yourself, allow your mind to rest and recharge. A week seems like a long time during a NaNo session, but since I’ve been working on so many projects this month, I think a break was definitely needed.

I wasn’t feeling burned out at all from any of my work either. I left for vacation late on the 10th so I had only been cramming words into my work for a little over a week. I’ll start writing again on the 19th and I’ll have another 11 days. This vacation was planned well right in the middle of the month allowing me to work during an even amount of time.

I certainly feel refreshed, though a little tired from walking too much and all the excitement. I don’t want my vacation to end, but I am ready to go home and get back to writing.

My only hope is that I don’t lose steam once I get back.

Do you take breaks during Camp? Or do you go all month long? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Why Camp NaNoWriMo Is Great For My Writing

I’m pretty good at writing. When I say that, I mean the act of writing. Not the actual writing part. Not at first, anyway.

Throughout the years I’ve whipped out a couple manuscripts. I have a good amount of completed first drafts. I will most likely never touch them again. They will most likely never see the light of day again.

Ever since I started writing during NaNo though, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve found a new appreciation for my work.

Why Camp NaNoWriMo Is Great For My Writing | Creative Writing | NaNoWriMo | RachelPoli.com

NaNo allows me to finish what I start, which is something I don’t do often. I’ve gotten better at it, but NaNo has helped me evolve as a writer and has taught me a lot. I know there are people out there who don’t agree with NaNo or it just doesn’t work for them and that’s totally okay. For me, though, it works.

I’ve never been one to be a “rebel” during the NaNo sessions though. I like to take up the challenge that’s already presented to me. Of course, Camp is a little different. It’s flexible in what goal you want to set – words, time, pages – and also what you want to write – a novel, short story, script, poetry.

For a few sessions, I still wrote a novel at 50,000 words because that was what I was used to and I knew I was good at it.

Now, I use this time to get done whatever I need to. Sometimes it’s writing a new novel. Other times, like this month, I take it to catch up on some projects I’ve already started.

This month is the first time I’ve decided to work on more than two projects at once and also it’s the first time I’ve set my goal higher than 50,000 words. And guess what? It’s working. I honestly think part of it is the stats chart and the fact I’m in a silent competition with the other people in my cabin.

This month I’m outlining a new novel, writing flash fiction, writing a short story, editing a mystery novel, and prepping a novella to be published on Wattpad (April 23!)

I’m working at every stage of writing – outline, write, edit, publish – all in one month for various things and it feels so good. I’m actually confident with what I’m working on and excited about each and every project as well.

NaNo is honestly one of the best things I’ve ever come across and I couldn’t imagine life without it.

Why do you love Camp NaNo? Has it changed your writing? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 208: Kickstart

Short Story: "Kickstart" | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

            Becky stared at her computer screen in anticipation. She had logged onto a brand new online computer game and was waiting for her friend to finish making his account and log on.

She had heard of this game through the grapevine known as the Internet. She read articles and updates on the project’s progress and release date. She thought that it was such a great idea that she even donated to the kick starter to get the game up and running with hopes that it would take off and be a big hit. Good indie games were hard to come by.

After another moment or two of waiting, a notification popped up on Becky’s computer screen. She leaned forward in her chair to read what it said. Howard321 wanted to be friends with her. She snorted a laugh. Howard was never able to come up with a good username for himself.

She accepted the friend request and, since he was online, a chat messaging system popped up on the right side of the screen. Becky said hello to him and Howard responded immediately. He was enthusiastic to get started on the game and so was Becky.

They each had to make a character first.

Becky went into the character creation mode, the chat remaining on the right hand side of the screen. She was pleased that she was still able to talk to Howard through the whole gaming process instead of just certain points in the game.

She had decided to make her character a knight. She felt as though there could never be enough female knights around. Howard, on the other hand, decided to make himself a red mage. He absolutely loved fire and couldn’t wait to see what kind of magical spells a red mage would be able to have in this brand new game.

It took them a little over an hour, but both Becky and Howard had finally perfected their own characters as best as they could. They figured that it was about time they start playing the actual game.

When Becky hit the “play” button, her knight spawned in the middle of a small village in plain clothes, the clothes that she had picked out for her to wear. Becky had said that her character wanted to aspire to be a knight, but she had to work her way up to that rank. Becky would have to help the other villagers, go on small journeys here and there, and complete side quests in order for the king to recognize her.

It was the same for Howard, except his character was going to have to work on different things in order to become a mage, let alone a red mage.

Still, they were able to travel together as they worked on different things. In the end, when they both reached their ranks and worked for the king in the castle, they would be able to form a team and go on adventures together. That would be where the real fun begins.

Becky and Howard wandered around the village and explored some of the outside world together. Their characters died a lot, but in real life they had a lot of laughs and had fun with the game. They couldn’t wait to go on real adventures once they were appointed to knight and red mage.

Before Becky knew it, her mother was calling her down for dinner. She didn’t want to stop playing, but dinner meant that she and Howard had been playing the game for about seven hours.

And she still had homework to do.

Words: 599

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Beast Within: A Tale Of Beauty’s Prince by Serena Valentino [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince | Fairy Tale Retelling | Fantasy | YA | RachelPoli.com

I bought the book.


A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp–like a beast’s! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

While the cover is pretty simple, I absolutely love how they did the hardcover. The sleeve is the beast as a beast, but when you take it off, it’s Prince Adam as a human. I thought it was clever. As someone who always takes the jacket off as they read, it was a nice surprise.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I love my fair share of fairy-tale retellings. It’s not often you get one of the villain (even though the beast isn’t technically the bad guy). So this is something I wanted to try out.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

The plot is simply Beauty and the Beast but through the Beast’s eyes. There are a few changes here and there, but for the most part, a lot is similar to the Disney movie.

The majority of this story is a flash back as the Beast searches for people to love after he’s cursed. Instead of one witch cursing him, it’s a group of sisters who do the deed after the Beast breaks up with one of their sisters. It’s certainly an interesting twist, but it didn’t really do it for me.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

Aside from the witches and Beast’s girlfriends here and there, the characters were all the same as the Disney movie. The difference being that I cared more about the characters in the movie than I did in this book.

Some parts seemed like they were taken straight from the movie, losing all originality for me. The witches were annoying and none of the characters seemed to develop at all… except the Beast, but we already knew that.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The writing was too dry for me. I realize that sounds harsh, but there wasn’t any feeling behind the words. The dialogue was flat and the description could have been better. I appreciated the world the author tried to build, but it just didn’t work for me.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This book isn’t what I expected. It was either way too similar to the Disney movie or it was way off the marker. It’s good to try new things with a world that’s already been built for you, but when it’s such a classic, you have to be delicate with it. And it just didn’t work for this.

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince by Serena Valentino gets…
Book Review Rating System | 2 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 2 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“To die, one much first have been alive. And the Beast could finally say that by finding love, he had lived.” –Serena Valentino, The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince

Buy the book:


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Set The Scene 8 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a sentence starter. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now check out this week’s prompt:

Time To Write Set The Scene | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | RachelPoli.com

Write a story based in the setting suggested above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing!

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Why I Love The Cabins [Camp NaNoWriMo]

One thing I love about Camp NaNo as opposed the session in November is that you have cabins. The forums on the main site are great, yes, but your comment can easily get overlooked. Not to mention having everyone on the same thread instead of 20 or so people can be a bit overwhelming. You can miss a lot if you miss a day of checking the forums.

Why I love the cabins in Camp NaNoWriMo | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

I remember when Camp NaNo first became a thing. The cabins only held 6 or 7 people. Give or take, but it was under 10. Now the cabins hold a lot more people – I don’t know if that’s because the number of members grew or if the NaNo staff thought the more the merrier.

Including myself and my sister, my cabin has 20 people. It’s a lot since I’m pretty sure we only had a grand total of 16 or so last session. I’m pretty sure this is the biggest we’ve had.

I love the cabins because it allows me to get to know certain writers. I don’t have to go scrolling down a large forum homing a million people. I can also set my cabin settings to be placed with people my age, who have similar goals than me, or who write in the same genre as me.

I’ve always been the youngest my whole life. I’m the youngest of three, I was the baby in my graduating class (then I went to college a year early, so I was two years younger at least than everyone else), and I was always the youngest at my workplace as well. I don’t know how that always worked out to be, but I’ve never minded.

Needless to say, it’s hard to find people my age. So I usually set that as a cabin preference.

I also love the collective goal you have to reach together. The site combines everyone goals and adds a second chart to the stats page. I have never been in a cabin where we actually have reached our collective goal, but I’ve always done my part so I can’t complain.

The only downside to the cabins is that sometimes you get people who don’t talk at all (one year I was literally the only one making conversation… one person replied on occasion but that was it). Sometimes you get people who don’t write at all (sometimes they talk, sometimes they don’t) so it’s hard to bounce ideas and do happy dances with them when you or they make any sort of progress.

Still, I absolutely love the cabins. My cabin this month has been great so far. There are a few quiet people, sure, but that’s the way it goes I suppose. I enjoy the company anyway.

Do you use the cabins a lot? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Prepping The Blog For Vacation

I’m going on vacation again! It’s kind of weird to be going out of town about a month after a weekend getaway. I rarely travel so it’s been weird, but fun. This time though I’ll be away for an entire week.

I had 100s of blog comments and tons of notifications from most social media just from being away for 4-5 days. Trust me, I appreciate it. In fact, I loved it! Still, I can only imagine what may happen when I’m away for 8 days.

Prepping The Blog for Vacation | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

I always schedule my posts in advance because it makes life easier for me. I’m never rushing to get a post done or wondering what I should write about next. I plan the posts a month in advance and (try to) write them a month in advance as well… at least the ones that are able to be written in advance.

Knowing I was going on vacation for a week and also it being Camp NaNo, I knew April was going to be busy and fly by pretty quick.

My blog posts for April have been written and scheduled. Buffer is full with my social media posts. The only thing I can’t really do is read, comment, and share the posts on your blogs. Sorry, but I won’t be reading them for a week.

I’m sure I’ll be popping in the comments once in a while and I’ll be on Twitter and maybe Instagram on occasion, but I won’t be allowing social media to take over my time away from the screens to be with my family.

Until the 19, plan on hearing from me scarcely. It’s going to be weird for me, but I need a break from blogging, writing, Camp NaNo… all of it.

I’m off to go soak up the sun, relax, and enjoy myself and my family. I’ll see you all next week and I hope you enjoy the blog posts I’ve scheduled until then!

What do you do when you leave your blog home alone? How do you prep? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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