Camp NaNoWriMo, the name sounds weird right? Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo. I’ve mentioned them in a few posts, so if you’re curious as to what I’m talking about, read on.
The Basic Concepts
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place during November. The goal for NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.
Camp NaNoWriMo is a more flexible event that takes place during April and July.
You’ll join a cabin, where you’ll meet other writers, and you can participate in weekly virtual write-ins. Before Camp begins you can declare a project and choose your own goal, and then during Camp you’ll work towards reaching that goal, in order to win.
If you win Camp you can gain access to prizes, but at its core, Camp NaNoWriMo is about having fun by working on a writing project.
Choosing a Goal and Making a Project
After you make a Camp NaNoWriMo account, you’ll need to make a project and choose a goal. Think about the writing projects you want to do, and consider which ones could be completed in a month.
During April 2018, I was working on 2 main projects during the month. Even though you can only declare 1 project, I titled it and described it so that those who were looking at my project knew that I was working on multiple things.
Unlike NaNoWriMo, Camp allows you to choose your own end goal.
When choosing a goal, you don’t have to go with a word goal. You could choose number of pages, lines, minutes, or hours, depending on what suits you. I find that going with a word goal suits me best, since it’s what I’m used to.
Don’t stress too much about the goal you choose. At any time before the official winning of Camp starts, you’re allowed to change your goal.
Winning officially starts on 20th of the month. After this time, you’ll be able to validate your work, to show that you’ve reached the end goal. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have access to the prizes!
Cabins (a.k.a. the Best Thing Ever)
One of the best things about Camp NaNoWriMo is the cabins. Cabins are made up of a group of writers, with no more than twenty to a cabin. Each cabin has its own private message board, plus you get stats for the entire cabin combined into one huge goal.
There are two kinds of cabins, public and private. Private cabins can only be joined by receiving an invitation from the cabin creator. Public cabins are sorted groups of writers that have similar genres, ages, or goals.
If you want to be sorted into a public cabin, you can choose to do so. The website will do the sortings for the public cabins not too long before Camp starts. You could also create a private cabin for your friends, or join a private cabin by allowing invitations to be sent to you.
You can only join a cabin once you’ve declared a writing project and filled out your profile.
Q. What’s so great about cabins?
A. The community that they provide.
Over the course of Camp, you’ll bond with and support your cabin mates through the private message board. It’s a great place to chat, share advice, and ask for help.
During the Camp of April 2018, I was the creator of a private cabin for the writing friends I had made on the NaNoWriMo forums. During Camp I began to share random writing themes for them each day, which helped sparked motivation for all of us.
We also used the message board to organize word sprints among ourselves. Word sprints are fun writing activities where you try to write as much as possible within a short amount of time. They’re a great way to get closer to your goal, and are a lot of fun when done with friends.
A write-in is when a group of writers meet up to write together. During Camp NaNoWriMo, the NaNoWriMo organization hosts virtual write-ins, using YouTube livestreams. The write-ins are an hour long, and include 3 word sprints.
It’s a great opportunity to get writing advice and inspiration, so if you’re ever feeling stuck during Camp try and catch one of the virtual write-ins.
If you win at the end of Camp, you’ll receive prizes from the Camp NaNoWriMo sponsors. The prizes are usually discounts on various writing resources, such as word-processing programs, editing services, or cover designs.
Sometimes, winners also get free trials to courses, websites, or programs, so if you’re interested in saving some money or trying out something new, check out the prizes!
Tips and Tricks
While April of 2018 was the first time I’ve officially done Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve been doing it unofficially for a few years, and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way.
1. Word sprints quickly increase your word count
If I’m having a slow day, nothing gets the writing juices flowing quite like some friendly competition. So if you’re having difficulty writing, find someone to do a word sprint with you.
2. If you have the time and energy, work ahead of your goal
Camp NaNoWriMo offers a lovely statistic of how much progress you should average per day if you want to meet your goal by the end of the month. However, if you have the time and energy, go beyond that average.
Sometimes we get sick, sometimes life gets in the way. There will be days when you won’t be able to write, so getting ahead while you can will pay off on those bad days.
3. Get help and support from your cabin mates
If you’re stuck, need some help, or just want some opinions on something, ask your cabin mates! You’re all in it together.
4. Make things fun
Try and make things as fun and game-like as possible. Give yourself rewards for reaching certain milestones, have some friendly competition with another writer, and challenge yourself to go above and beyond. It’ll really help keep you motivated.
5. Beware of the 3rd week slump
At the 3rd week into Camp, you’ll most likely hit a slump. Every single time I do NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNo, I hit a 3rd week slump, and almost everyone else I know has hit that slump too.
During the slump, you’ll start to get tired more quickly, you won’t feel inspired or motivated, and you won’t be able to write as much.
To prepare, try to write extra during the 1st and 2nd weeks of Camp. Chances are, your cabin mates will be feeling the slump too, so organize some writing prompts and word sprints to help lift all of your spirits.
6. Keep writing, even after Camp ends
Even after Camp ends, you should keep writing! Taking a break for a few days can be beneficial, but write in between Camp NaNo and NaNoWriMo. Practice makes progress, and so consistent practice is the best way to make consistent progress.
For the longest time, I would only write during Camp NaNo and NaNo, and my writing suffered from it.
Are you going to be doing Camp NaNoWriMo? If so, tell me about your projects and goals by leaving me a comment.
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I blog about writing every Wednesday, so check back next week for some new content! If you’re interested in studying tips, tricks, and advice, check out my other blog: Study Buddy Blog.