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Camp NaNoWriMo

One Writer's Madness

Camp NaNoWriMo is an off shoot of the popular NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Both events challenge writers, both new and seasoned, to write so many words. The typical word count goal is 50k, but during CampNaNoWriMo writers can change that goal. I've tried to take the challenge at least once a year since I discovered this awesome community.

Still, it's truly madness.

The Challenge

Let's take a look at the challenge. For NaNoWriMo the challenge is 50k words. They do have a Rebel category, which basically means you're not going for the standard goal. For CampNaNoWriMo it's very different.

At Camp you, as the writer, have control over what your goal is. You can change the word count, or even change it to pages or lines depending on your project.

Both challenges have some pretty nice rewards for those who complete the challenge and verify their results. Verifying is just a copy and paste into their word/page counter. Rewards are normally discounts on writing workshops, software, or Camp gear.

Community

Camp NaNoWriMo doesn't really offer forums in the traditional manner. They have cabins where a dozen or so writers can talk. Campers offer encouragement and updates on their own works. It is also a friendly way to get to know other writers. Last year pets got brought up in my cabin, and another writer fell in love with my husky, Yepa.

There are traditional forums on the NaNoWriMo sites just for campers. These can also be a great way to reach out to other writers. Again, encouragement, success stories, and even fails abound. The forums on this site also cover a lot of other stuff that can help out writers of every genre.

The Madness

It's insane trying to pump out 50k words in just 30 days. I mean, really insane. That's 1,667 words a day. It may not seem like a lot just looking at the math, but it is a challenge. Coming up with that many new words a day is a daunting task. Still, there are many people every year that complete it, and have a fully written or nearly complete draft.

Camp lets you change that goal. If you're not a fast writer, or if there are just way too few hours in the day, you can set you goal lower, say 10k words. That's just 333 words a day. To be honest, that can still be a challenge. I've set that goal for myself a time or two, and still nearly didn't make it.

It's all about the challenge you're willing to set for yourself. I've set goals from 10k to 50k words, and sometimes I've completed them, and other times I haven't.

The important part is carving out the time to get those words written.

Carving Time

It could be an hour before work each morning, or an hour before bed each night. You might be able to find the time during lunch. Whatever time you can grab to write—take it!

There are community writing nights in the month of November (NaNoWriMo), but camp doesn't seem to have these. Connecting with local writers in your area, and meeting up is a great way to hold each other accountable, and encourage your own muse to flow freely.

Sometimes you can find virtual write ins. You log on at the same time as other writers from around the world, and you all write while chatting online. Note: The chatting tends to be pretty erratic as most of the people are spending more time working on their stories than really chatting.

The Story

There are no hard rules about how you prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo. As long as you only count the words you've written between the first and last of the month are all you count, prepare however you want.

Some writers like to write from the seat of their pants. Others like having outlines, character sheets, and any number of notes to help them along the way. Everyone is different. Do what works for you, or offer yourself a new challenge, and try it a different way. This may even help you expand your creative process.

At the end of the month, or once you've reached your goal, you can verify and celebrate completing the challenge, or just be happy you got a chunk of that story down.

The End

Once it's over you get to take a deep breath. If you completed the challenge that's going to feel awesome.

If you didn't complete the challenge that's okay too. You can try again. Just don't let yourself get caught in a slump, because you didn't complete this one. Not everyone does, but there is always tomorrow, next week, or next year to try again. 

Chin up, and happy writing!

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