Camp NaNoWriMo

Hello Everyone!

With today technically being the first day of my blog, I wanted to do a post that was different from my introduction post. I thought that it would be a bit of a waste to wait to talk about this since it is a cool opportunity.

Most people know what NaNoWriMo is. November is National Writing Month and many people sign up to write 50,000 words during that time. The idea is that you can write an entire novel in a month. There is a competition involved – but I don’t want to get too far into that since it doesn’t happen until November.

What I do want to talk about is Camp NaNoWriMo which happens every April and July. This is kind of like a warmup for NaNoWriMo, so goals here don’t matter as much and it’s more about building up habits than it is to reach your goal – but it’s amazing if you can do both! Goals for camp can look like words, hours, or pages so the goal can really be whatever you want it to be. For someone who is struggling to carve out time in their schedule, I would recommend doing a time related goal, but for everyone else I would go for a word count because I think that would really help build an endurance for writing.

I attempted to do the camp in April, and everything was going well, but once school started up again in week 2, I was pretty much a goner. I had signed up to try and reach 10,000 words, but only ended up writing about 2,500 which all happened in the first week.

Something that is awesome about Camp NaNoWriMo is that everyone is split into cabins. You can be assigned to a random one or find someone who is hosting a cabin and request to be put into theirs. I am hosting a cabin since I didn’t like the idea of being thrown into a random cabin. I reached out to some writing group members that I have and they have joined my cabin as well as my sister, Morgan, who you will all meet in the second Book Club of July.

The cabins work as a support group. Anyone can post to a discussion board if they are stuck or need encouragement and from my experience, it can be helpful to see the progress that others are making, and it can help push you forward in your own writing endeavor.

It’s important to know that the camp doesn’t ask for you to submit anything, you just upload how many words you wrote everyday and it calculates how many words you need to do a day to finish. At no point are you required to submit anything, so all your writing is safe. You do have the opportunity to put excerpts onto your project file, but you don’t have to. The same goes with the synopsis of what you’re working on. You can decide how much information you want to give out to your cabin mates. Something nice about being apart of a private cabin is that you have the security of knowing some, if not all, of the people who are involved in your journey.

If you would like to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, all you have to do it go to this website:

https://campnanowrimo.org/

The registration process is just like everything else and it only takes a minute to set up. Since today is day one, I would recommend signing up soon, but you can join a cabin at any point if they still have room. Before you can join a cabin though, you must have a project made. This just means that you have decided on a genre for your work and picked a goal for the month. Nothing else must be decided at that point.

Planning for this is a bit of a must. Having a random outline of what you want to work on is highly recommended. Try not to go in blindly cause that can cause a huge writer’s block very quickly, but don’t put in so much time on the outline that you feel like you must stick to it. Writing is something that will change. Start writing and see where the story takes you. You’d be amazed at how quickly a story can change direction after you start writing it. Don’t let yourself be trapped by an outline. Plan for maybe ten chapters knowing that it will change by the time you get there. A starting direction is a good thing to consider. I regret not having one during the last camp in April and I ran out of ideas for my story quickly.

The last thing that I want to talk about is setting a goal. Everyone says to be optimistic and to say that you can do 50,000 words right off the bat. I think that it is good to be realistic about what it is that you can do. What do you have time for? Is this the first time you have really written in a while? Have you ever written with a goal in mind? What are your priorities?

All those things should influence the way that you approach this. If you have never written before, 5-10,000 words is a great goal. That’s only a few hundred words a day. My goal is 20,000 because of working two jobs, blogging, and catching up on some reading. I have been writing almost every day since the beginning of April, but my priorities have shifted since then. I’m looking to build habits this month rather than finish something.

I really don’t want to discourage a large goal – because for some people they can do it. It’s easier to fall behind though the larger your goal if you miss a day. Missing three or four days can crush your goal and your motivation which is the last thing that you want. This is just a suggestion from my experience.

If you have participated in Camp NaNoWriMo and have any thoughts or comments about it put it in the comments below. Also if you have anything you’d like to share about your experience with NaNoWriMo, then put that in the comments too. Finally, I would love to answer questions on Camp as well as answer general questions.

If you’d like to do July’s camp – I still have about ten spots open in my cabin, so if you create a project and want to participate, put your username in the comments and I’ll let you know when your added.

I really like the set up of the camp and I think it’s a great way for people to encourage one another in a safe place. I highly recommend this program to everyone no matter what their experience in writing is.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it probably a thousand times. Writing is a community thing, not a solo event.

Till the next chapter –

Amanda C.

Snomageddon. Washington, February 2019.

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