What is Camp NaNoWriMo?
Camp NaNoWriMo is a more relaxed version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words of a story during the month of November. You earn badges and achievements on the www.nanowrimo.org website for completing word count goals and other milestones. Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in April and July. The best part? You decide your goal for the challenge.
Unlike NaNoWriMo, you’re not locked into 50,000 words for Camp. Last April I kept track of writing minutes. Since the only option to track on the NaNoWriMo website is word count, I used the formula 1 minute of writing = 1 word for tracking. My goal was 1,800 minutes writing during the month, so on the website the tracker had an 1,800 words target. If you need to edit a project, you could track the number pages revised or minutes editing for Camp.
Another unique feature of Camp NaNoWriMo is the cabin system. You can search for other writers in your genre or partner with your friends to form an online cabin where you can post encouraging messages and hold each other accountable.
To sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo and more details, visit www.nanowrimo.org and create a profile. If you already have a profile from participating in NaNoWriMo, all you need to do is announce a new project on the website and select the option to associate it with Camp NaNoWriMo.
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How to Prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo
Here are some steps you can take now to prepare for Camp. Even if you don’t do everything on the list, completing some of these tasks will make Camp much more fun.
- Set a goal. Think about what you want to accomplish during Camp. Do you need to meet a word count goal? Do you need to work through edits? Are you trying to build a writing habit? Journaling might help you clarify what you most would like to work on during camp. After you have a general idea of what you want to accomplish, make your goal as specific as possible. It will make it easier for you to track your progress.
- If you will be working on a first draft, consider writing an outline or synopsis so you can start the first day of Camp with a clear plan. If you are new to plotting, a book on the topic I’ve found to be helpful is Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. You can find it here. You could also try the Snowflake Method, where you grow an idea from a one-sentence summary to a full outline. This post has a more detailed explanation.
- Catch up on your to-be-read pile, or pick up a book in the same genre as your project for inspiration. Use your local library if you’re on a budget. Many libraries are using curbside pick-up right now, and some also lend out e-books through Overdrive and Hoopla. You could also sign up for a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and access thousands of books for free, including my serial. Make sure to cancel your subscription before your trial is over if the service isn’t a good fit for you.
- Start building a writing habit now. Set aside 10 minutes a day to write so you can ease into longer sessions when Camp begins.
- Let your friends and family know about your plans to participate in Camp. They can cheer you on and hold you accountable. It also lets them know you have a project to work on and may not be as available for the month.
- Brainstorm easy meals to make and consider meal planning. Pinterest is a great resource for recipes. If you’re the main cook in your household, this will free up more time during the month.
- Look for writing prompts for inspiration. Pinterest, Tumblr, and Reddit are all great sources for prompts if you’re feeling stuck.
- Watch YouTube videos on writing craft. This lecture by Brandon Sanderson is popular with science fiction and fantasy writers.
- Take an online class. My favorite series of courses are on MasterClass. There are 80+ instructors of all kinds of subjects, including writing, acting, cooking, fashion, music, and more. This is a good way to get an in-depth look at a topic. For writers, aside from the benefit of access to a dozen writing courses, you could take classes related to your project. Notable writing instructors include Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, and Margaret Atwood. I recommend purchasing the All-Access Pass because a single course costs $90. The All-Access Pass is $180 for one year with unlimited access to all the classes. Even if you only take three courses, you’ll save money. You can find more information here.
- Don’t forget to sign up on the www.nanorimo.org website and announce your project!
- Look for cabin mates, either on the NaNoWriMo website or online.
- Join the official NaNoWriMo Facebook group for more support. The group is active year-round.
More Resources for Camp NaNoWriMo
In this blog post, I share ideas of preparing for NaNoWriMo in a bullet journal. Even though the demands of Camp NaNoWriMo can be less strenuous, many of the tips can still be applied. You can read the post here.
If you purchase anything from the links below, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!
I write more about the bundle here, but the Write Publish Profit 3.0 Super Stack is a wonderful resource if you’d like to take your writing to the next level. For $49, it includes my favorite editing software, ProWritingAid (normally $79 for a yearly subscription), classes, ebooks, and so much more, all designed to help you become a successful author. The deal ends on June 17th. You can find it here.
One of my favorite courses on MasterClass is Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling. The video lectures are a perfect pep talk if you’re having writer’s block or looking for inspiration. He covers everything from short stories to comics to novels. The class workbook is full of exercises and an extensive list of recommended reading to further improve your writing. You can watch a preview of his class here.
I already mentioned some of these books in this post, but here are some of my recommendations to add to your reading list. I’ve read and loved all of these books.
Good luck with Camp NaNoWriMo and have fun!