Camp NaNoWriMo isn’t your ordinary summer camp. There’s no capture the flag (the last time I played the game, my braces ended up going through my bottom lip); no bug juice or grilled cheese made with Kraft singles; no saggy bunk beds or outhouses (yes, my summer camp did have an outhouse!). In other words, Camp NaNoWriMo has none of the good stuff. Just kidding!
Last November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). Basically, a bunch of people (256,618 to be precise) get together as an online motivational writing group to each write their own 50,000 word novel. Many people aim for much higher word counts. Me, I squeaked by with just under 51,000. But I did it! Along 36,843 other people, I was a NaNoWriMo winner.
Basically, I completed the first draft of a young adult novel that I am now actively revising with the help of my critique group. The process of cranking out 50,000 words in 20 days (yes, I finished early) was fascinating. I woke up early and wrote for 30 minutes. If my son played by himself, I spit out another 350 words. When he napped, man, I could sometimes get in 1500. And of course I wrote into the night. I sent daily email updates to family and friends, and the accountability (and some good whip cracking) kept me going. I loved having the deadline and luckily my story flowed out. Of course, now comes the hard part. Revision.
But I’m putting that project aside so I can do Camp NaNoWriMo, a slimmed-down, summer version of the November event. I’ll still post my word count online, but I’m not planning on being as aggressive. (I’m writing this blog now, for example. Last November, I barely spoke to my family). The way I see it, there’s no point in not trying to complete a first draft. So, today as my sick son took his nap at 8:15 am (!!!), I typed out the first 879 words of my new, untitled WIP. Now, last November I managed over 3000 on my first day, so I’ll have to be okay with a slower pace.
I strongly encourage you to experiment with one of these events. They are free to participate in, you get some great discounts on all sorts of writing related things/services, and it’s just darn cool to say that I wrote a novel (albeit a bad one) in a month. Camp NaNoWriMo has two sessions–June and August. What respectable camp would have only one? And of course, you can join NaNoWriMo in November.
Hope to see you there!