July is here. With it comes camp NaNoWriMo. Get inspired and learn my top 5 tips to get the most out of your camp.
What is camp NaNoWriMo?
Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in April and July, and allows you to set a writing goal for the month.
Unlike NaNoWriMo in November, you’re not locked into writing 50,000 words. Instead, this is a creative opportunity for you to set (and reach) your creative goals.
Camp NaNoWriMo encourages writers to support one another by writing together in the month. Encouragement from your fellow writers is extremely valuable.
Will I be doing camp NaNoWriMo?
I am going to attempt to work on my second novel this month. It’s a YA fantasy, the sequel to my first book completed in NaNoWriMo 2019.
I think if I could knock 10,000 words into this first draft that would be excellent.
While I did do NaNoWriMo in November last year, and achieve 50,000 words in the month, for camp I want to take it a lot slower.
Why? My writing and editing business has really taken off in the last few months. While this is excellent, it’s left me renegotiating my available hours to work on creative projects of my own.
I’m still working on editing my first novel, as I write the sequel. Hence giving myself some space to exert creative energy over that manuscript.
I’m curious to see how things have changed this time around, and to see how my attitude towards achieving my creative goals will impact my writing. Now I know I can finish a book draft, I should be able to do it again, right?
We’ll see how we go! I’ll check back in and let you all know how I’ve gone at the end of the month.
With my preamble over, here’s my tips that I’ll be using this camp NaNoWriMo?
1. Give yourself sign-posts
Sure, you might have a fantastic idea for your story. It all might flow out at first, but in my experience, that initial fizz of excitement fades and you soon find yourself lost in your own plot.
Sustaining a writing habit is hard, especially when you don’t know what’s happening in your book at all.
Give yourself a few points of your plot, you don’t have to do a detailed plot outline (though if you want to, go ahead!) but at the minimum, a few points of reference is helpful for keeping you on track.
You might end up going completely away from your map, but I find it a helpful point of reference to return to. Especially when beginning.
2. Get connected to other writers
This goes beyond just this month. Grow your craft and be encouraged by sharing the writing journey with other writers.
I have learned lots from other authors, and am constantly encouraged when they share their writing story. The highs and lows will both come. Some times you’ll love your book, other times you might want to close the file and hit delete.
Persevere and surround yourself with those who encourage you to continue. Find those in your real life, as well as online life, who can hold you accountable.
Camp NaNoWriMo has great resources for connecting you to other writers.
You can also find and connect with fellow writers on Instagram, Twitter and in Facebook groups. Writing is usually an individual experience, but you don’t have to be isolated.
I’ve recently connected with a a group of writers on Instagram. The encouragement from one another is excellent motivation!
3. Set deadlines you can reach
The freedom of Camp NaNoWriMo means that you can set a goal that you can be confident you can reach.
Take a look at the time you have available to write in, and be realistic. It’s far better to set a slightly lower goal that you reach easily, than one too high.
Why? Achieving small wins is important. It will drive you to want to write more. Be proud of what you manage to accomplish, even if the word count is lower than others.
4. Focus on the habit
NaNoWriMo encourages you to set a word count goal, but doing so can be both a blessing an a curse.
A firm goal is helpful for measuring your progress towards it. At the same time however, know how you work best.
If I focus too much on the words I want to reach, the pressure can be too much.
I personally prefer to focus on building my writing habit in the month. Setting a specific amount of time in the day to sit and write. It doesn’t really matter how much I write, at least not at first…
The process of developing self-discipling and writing when you don’t feel like it is more beneficial to you long term. That was my true success of my NaNoWriMo experience.
Don’t be bound by ‘writers block’ but work through the problem. Don’t wait for motivation to strike.
What do you have to lose? I regularly speak with people who say they’d love to write more. Worries and self-doubt hold them back. They’ve held me back in the past.
But everyone begins somewhere.
You can begin, and improve, today.
Just sit for a period of time and try to write without fear. Don’t look back on the days writing until tomorrow. Or even the end of the month.
The distance and practice is important. We need to allow ourselves to try, rather than let fear of failing hold back our words.
I hope you find today’s post helpful for camp NaNoWriMo, but also for developing your writing habit.
Will you be writing this month? I always enjoy hearing about what my readers are working on, so let me know by commenting below or contacting me.
Find out more about Camp NaNoWriMo
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Tip #1 is pretty darn useful, even for pantsers (ESPECIALLY for pantsers), because it’s easy to write yourself into a corner and hate yourself after that. As a pantser myself, I must say I’ve begun outlining more, just to reduce the pain of the rewrites. Thanks for sharing this, Steph!
Hi Stuart, thanks for reading! I’m glad you found this post helpful. I’m a pantser at heart too, but I’ve grown to appreciate outlining more over time. Direction keeps me focused and, as you rightly say, reduce the pain of rewrites later on. Happy writing!
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