If the is one thing in the world that I loved more than anything else, it would be NaNoWriMo. Why? It has helped me to get four stories up to novel status – I’ll admit that none of them have been finished – and it gives me a fun challenge to take on in my free time.
For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a nonprofit organization that helps writers to, well, write. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it officially takes place annually during the month of November. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a story that is 50,000 words or more, and the emphasis lies on the thought that quantity over quality is what you are shooting for. Finishing a rough draft is more important than having a polished off draft – after all, that’s what revision is for, right?
Camp NaNoWriMo is the summer equivalent of November’s NaNoWriMo, only it either occurs in April and June or May and July. In addition, during Camp Nano you are able to set the word count to whatever you want it to be. You just want to get that novel off the ground? Set the count to 10,00o-15,000 words. You want to write an entire manuscript? Set it longer than 50,000 words. It’s a great tool and a great way to kick of the warm weather by sitting back and pounding out that new story.
Camp NaNo officially ended a week and a half ago and I have to say, it was no walk in the park. I set my word goal to 10,000 words because I knew I would be writing on limited time, but I still wanted to challenge myself to write. I’m ashamed with how often I push off my personal creative writing in order to watch one of my shows or play games on my iPad or some other type of bull reasoning.
If I was able to help my current novel get off the ground, it was going to be through Camp Nano. And I was kind of right. It both worked and didn’t work for me. As I’ve said before, I’m a busy, full time, college student and at the end of the day I’d rather kick back and watch something entertaining versus sit down and make myself write. (I’ve been battling writers block for a good year and a half now, and I have to say: it’s not going down without a fight.) However, I was able to get my story to 8,000 words, but I wish I could have gotten farther!
One of my biggest challenges falls to the fact that I had outlining. I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but outlining a paper or a story is one of my least favorite things to do. But through Camp NaNo I found the program Scrivener and that has made outlining a gazillion times easier. And when it comes to writing a novel, you definitely need that outline in order to keep all of your facts and characters straight. That is a hard lesson that I’ve learned after trying to write five novels and only successfully finishing one of them, due to having a co-author.
But if there is one thing that Camp NaNo succeeds in, it’s helping writers to connect with other writers across the nation and maybe across the globe. Camp NaNo has a cool feature where you’re put into a Cabin of other writers who either have a similar word count goal as you do, or are writing in the same genre. Immediately you are connected with other writers and you can talk about the writing craft, host word sprints (timed sessions of 5-60 minutes where you just write without stopping) or word wars (timed periods of nonstop writing where you compare your word count against that of a friend who competed against you). It’s a great way to make writer friends via the internet!
If you are a writer and are looking for a challenge, I highly recommend Camp NaNoWriMo! The next session kicks off in June and I know I’m ready to be able to work on my novel again. Hope to see you there!
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou,