Most of us have heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Many of us have participated it in some form or another (me included). In fact, the novel I’m editing right now was born from the 2014 NaNoWriMo. Over the past few weeks, I’ve started noticing posts about Camp NaNoWriMo in my Instagram feed and decided to check it out. What I found is a pretty cool way to get motivated on your writing projects in a faux “rustic” setting.
What it Is:
Camp NaNoWriMo is a virtual writer’s retreat where writers are welcome to tackle whatever project they choose: short stories, scripts, novels, poetry, etc. Instead of November (which is always a pretty crazy time in everyone’s lives!), camp takes place in April and July. Word count goals can range from 30 to 1 million. To add to the fun, you can even choose to be part of a cabin, which is a virtual writing group where 20 or so writers can “bunk” together to create a cozy little community. Once you sign up for camp and create your profile, you can be sorted into a random cabin or specify that you want to be placed in one that features camps in your own age group, genre, or with similar word count goals. Or, you can invite a group of your writing buddies to “bunk” with you in your cabin and create your own tribe.
How it Works:
During each camp session, Camp NaNoWriMo has lined up a variety of authors ready to encourage campers and offer words of wisdom and support through scheduled Tweet chats. There is also a calendar chock full of virtual write-ins and chances to flex your creative muscles with non-writing projects.
The goal is to make the journey seem as much like a fun summer camp as possible. I read one blogger’s story about how he used the camp one year to write 70,000 words of his novel and another time he committed to writing 20+ blog posts with an average of 750 words each. You can customize your goal to whatever your main focus is at the time.
Sometimes being held accountable for your goals is the little push you need to get a project completed. NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo provide you with like-minded writers and other experts who are there to support you, cheer you on, and help you complete a writing goal you can be proud of. Plus, there’s also a fun camp store where you can pick up some pretty cool swag! (That alone is enough to tempt me to participate this year—who doesn’t love swag?)
The website also keeps an archive of useful advice, such as articles on research, making expositions exciting, etc. from previous camp counselors under their “Writing Resources” page.
To learn more, visit campnanowrimo.org for more information.
Are you itching to attend a virtual summer camp this year? What project would you focus on?
Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor whose short story, "The Polaroid," won the Suspense/Thriller category of the 2017 Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards. If she participates in this year's Camp NaNoWriMo, she'll focus on a new novel idea or work on a series of true crime posts for her blog. Visit her website at FinishedPages.com.