The Happy Camper’s Guide to Camp NaNoWriMo

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April is right around the corner and most writers know what that means: it’s time once again for Camp NaNoWriMo!

Described as a virtual writing retreat, Camp is considered a toned-down version of November’s National Novel Writing Month, where writers from all around the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word manuscript in thirty days. The point of this torture (did I say that?!) is not to end up with a query-ready manuscript. It’s a means to get the words down with the intention of going back to fix them later. Because having a completed first draft is half the battle when it comes to dreams of publication.

April’s challenge is a wee more laid back than November’s. Writers can choose to stick with that hefty 50,000-word goal or aim for a different target altogether—one they feel might be easier to obtain. Does announcing a word count to fellow campers sound too intimidating? Try hours, lines, or even pages—it’s completely up to you! The only thing that matters is that you’re writing.

Another thing that’s different about Camp is that each participant is placed in a  virtual cabin. There are three ways you can end up with cabin mates: you can be sorted randomly (which is a good way to meet new friends and cheerleaders!), sorted according to age, genre, or word count goal (do I see new critique partners in your future?), or you can create or be invited into a private cabin where you can share this writerly experience with up to twenty of your writerly friends! Cabin assignments are sorted before the event begins and continue on a rolling basis throughout the month. Used to writing alone? Involving others in your journey helps hold you accountable, because no one has mastered the art of procrastination like a writer (come on, you know it’s true)!

So, how do you join in on all the fun? Just head over to Camp NaNoWriMo and open an account! It’s simple. It’s free. And it’s one more opportunity to connect with the ever-growing, and always encouraging, writing community.

And if you’re in the market for a few survival tips, this here is a post I wrote for NaNoWriMo a couple years back that might be of some help.

Best of luck, happy writing, and may all of your writerly dreams comes true!