A few days back, I impulsively signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, which starts on April first.
Some of you might be scratching your heads right now. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is very much a November mainstay-and given how the yearly event has grown in popularity over the years, I highly doubt that they’ll be changing that anytime soon. Camp NaNoWriMo, on the other hand, is a writing program put out by the same folks that have made NaNoWriMo such an important staple in my writing life. Just like NaNoWriMo, it’s all about people coming together to tackle a specific writing goal over the span of the month. But beyond that, it can be quite different.
You don’t have to write 50k
The overall goal of NaNoWriMo is well known at this point: write a novel (which the program designates as 50k) in the span of one month. This is a task that many people (like myself) see as a worthy goal to conquer and surpass. Others may find the idea of putting down that many words in such a short period of time to be an impossibility.
If you’re in either of those categories, then Camp NaNoWriMo could be great for you, because it’s so damn customizable. Sure, you could do the traditional NaNo thing and write 50k in 30 days, but you don’t have to. Don’t want to write a novel? Then why not a script, a short story, or a work of nonfiction? You can even do poetry. Does the idea of writing something new, when you still have to revise your last NaNo novel sound inconvenient? That’s fine too. You can set a revision goal instead. And your success doesn’t have to be measured by word count. You can decide you want to write for so many hours or minutes. What about a page count/line goal? All options.
While NaNoWriMo is all about everyone working towards the same goal, Camp NaNoWriMo is about everyone working towards their own specific writing goals, while supporting each other. And that’s kind of beautiful.
Going to Camp
Take a look at the Camp NaNoWriMo website and you’ll immediately notice a Summer Camp, or writing retreat theme. And to that I’d say, have you seen the giant ass pile of snow still on my lawn?
Of course, this isn’t exactly fair. Camp Nanowrimo is a world wide event, after all. And given that the events also runs in July, I’m willing to suspend some disbelief.
As part of this Summer Camp-theme, you can be sorted into Cabins, which appear to serve as a sort of support group. The cabins can have up to twenty people. You can either set up a cabin yourself, or select to be sorted automatically. If you chose the later, it’s up to you whether you want the sorting to be completely random, or if you want to be placed into a cabin with people writing in a similar genre, with a similar word count goal, or of a similar age. If Cabins don’t sound like you’re thing (and I don’t blame you, human interaction of any kind can be kind of terrifying), then you don’t have to do one.
My Camp NaNoWriMo
I have completed (and won!) NaNoWriMo a grand total of seven times now, but Camp NaNoWriMo is a totally new experience to me. And in this spirit of newness, I am chose to do something different and not write a novel because fuuuuck that right now. I’m too focused on getting Red and Black published, and all the bells and whistles that come along with diving into indie publishing. Instead, I will be writing a novelette (probably 10,000-12,000 words) that takes place in the Red and Black universe.
As for cabins, I’m not sure what I’m going to do there yet. I want to take part in one, but I’m not sure if I want to customize it in anyway, or go completely random.
So while I was thinking that over, I’d thought I’d mention it here. Are you consider doing Camp NaNoWriMo? It sounds like a great way to get some writing done. If so, I’d be happy to set up a cabin. Just leave a comment here or send me an email at email@example.com. And if you’re looking for a genre specific cabin mate, I will be writing a superhero story (although it reads a lot like urban fantasy).
As someone blessedly fond of habits and repetition, I don’t do much (okay, anything) on impulse, but this sounded like so much fun. A nice way to flex my creative muscles in a time when I’ve been so focused on revising and publishing. I, of course, will be blogging the results of my time at Camp for any of those who will be participating, or are considering singing up for July, but aren’t sure as of yet, so make sure to follow here for the results.
And to my fellow participants, I will see you at camp!