Camp Nanowrimo – 5 tips for having a great camp & get stuff done!

First a little introduction in case you haven’t heard of Camp Nanowrimo before. It is an online ‘summer camp’-like event for writers, which encourages your to accomplish a project of your own choosing within either the month of April or July.
You could write a novel, edit one, accomplish a script or even draw and write a graphic novel. Unlike Nanowrimo, at camp you choose your own wordcount goal from as little as 30 to 1.000.000 words.
The older event Nanowrimo (National writing month) takes place in November every year and within that month tens of thousands work hard to write a piece of 50.000 words.

But how would you go about accomplishing this potentially big writing project? And how do you get the most out of Camp Nanowrimo?

Personally I’ve participated in Nanowrimo 5 times and won 3 times (latest 2015). So I’ve some experience with undertaking a writing project, which needs to be completed within a single month. But I’ve never actually participated in any of the camp nanowrimo events.
Drawing on experience from past nanowrimos, I figured writing this blog post would be as much a help to you as it would be to me.
Lets figure this out together! : D

Here’s five tips to having a great camp and at the same time get stuff done!

1. Turn off your inner editor
Your inner editor is the part of your who wants to edit things your write, it’s also the part of you who’re critical and at times even skeptical and outright doubtful.
You don’t need any of this during camp, unless of course you’re editing something, in that case please ignore this tip : P

But for people who are creating, having your inner editor staring over your shoulder, pointing out your mistakes or even worse making you doubtful about your entire endavour is not good.

The first draft of anything is allowed to suck at times, some would even say it’s suppose to suck.
A metaphor I heard once, said that writing a first draft is very much like gathering the sand you need for the eventual magnicifent sand castle. Gathering the sand is vital, you’re building the foundation onto which your brilliant story will stand
..so keep shoveling those words onto that page! : D

2. Try to write a bit more than your daily word count
When writing daily in order to finish a larger project within one month, unforseen cirucumastances, which prevents you from writing, can hit very hard!

Do damage control and prevent fallout by writing just a little bit more than you actually need to every day.
Take your overall wordcount, say 25.000. and divide it by 30 = 833,33.
For this scenario you could try to write either 850 words, 900 or even more.
However, it’s a good idea not to demand too much of yourself. Afterall you need to maintain steam for an entire month.

Bonus: If you aren’t prevented in writing at anytime throughout the entire month suddenly you’ll end up having written even more words in just one month … and that’s awesomely done!

3. Bring a notebook everywhere!
You never know when those pesky ideas will appear and beg to be realized, just as it’s sometimes hard to predict, when you’ll find time to write.

There’s nothing worse than having a really good idea and then later forgetting it and all you have left is this nagging sensation that you’ve lost something brilliant, possibly forever.
As a writer or generally creative soul it’s always a good idea to bring a notebook along with you.
So why not get into this habit during camp? : D

4. Make use of the community
This might seem a little obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind and at times you forget you’ve this amazing, helpful community at the tips of you fingers filled with writers knowing exactly what you’re going through!

Take to the forums or make use of the twitter hashtag #campnanowrimo or #nanowrimo to ask for plot advice, participate in word sprints (more on this below), complain out lack of coffee and much more!

Especially word sprints can come in handy and even become almost a lifesaver, when your motivation and inspiration is nowhere to be found.
If you’ve a hard time making the words stick to the pages, a word sprint might just be the thing you’re missing!
Within a pre-defined window of time and starting at an agreed minute (like :15, :30 etc.) you compete against others to write as many words as possible.
Do a couple of word sprints and suddenly you’ve reached your daily wordcount : D

5. Don’t be restricted by linear storytelling
Your story might need to be read cronologically, but it surely doesn’t need to be written that way!
This is especially important to keep in mind if you get stuck or simply cannot find the motivation to write the next scene or chapter, because you would much rather write the part, where they sneak into the dragon’s lair.
Well then I’ve good news for you. You go write the part with the dragon, you write whatever ignites the urge to create within you.
After the month you can comeback and put the pieces together, add that scene you skipped.
Right now it’s all about not stopping to write C:

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So those were my 5 tips for having an awesome camp and at the end of it having achieved whatever you planned to accomplish! Yay! : D
I hope they were helpful and if you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve, don’t hesitate to share them below.

If you’ve some questions regard the camp or nanowrimio events in general don’t hesitate to write to me on twitter, otherwise see tip no. 4.

We’re currently less than a week away from this year’s April Camp Nanowrimo, so don’t hesitate to join in on the creative madness!

Sign up here!

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3 thoughts on “Camp Nanowrimo – 5 tips for having a great camp & get stuff done!

  1. Awesome tips, Anita! I’m looking forward to using them at camp (except for the first one as I’ll be editing) 😛 good luck to you as well 😀

  2. Decide where you’re going to work on your novel during NaNoWriMo. Make sure your working area is clean and organized and that you have everything you’ll need.

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