Remember in November when I wrote about NaNoWriMo? (It’s ok if you don’t.) Well in July we have its fun summery twist: CampNaNoWriMo. For the month of July, writers from all around the world set specific writing goals and aim to complete them by July 31. For NaNoWriMo there’s a standard word count that all writers aspire to and it’s a big one (50,000 words). But with CampNaNoWriMo you can tailor the goal to your specific needs. Do you need to spend time polishing a specific section of your work-in-progress? Maybe you want to write a series of essays or aim for a smaller word count. That’s what summer is all about. CampNaNoWriMo also has some great resources and community so you can share your writing goals and progress.
Why participate in CampNaNoWriMo instead of just writing on your own?
- Community. Writing can be an incredibly solitary process. Camp offers a chance to connect with other writers. You can even join a cabin with 12 other (virtual) bunkmates; you can join a random group, find writers in your genre, age group, or with similar word counts, or create (or join) a private group.
- Incentive and accountability. It’s so easy to set goals on your own and then watch them slide past again . . . and again. I’ve been there. Camp provides a specific deadline and a whole community of people aiming for the same deadline.
- Resources. Tweet chats, virtual write-ins, writing product discounts. Head over to the CampNaNoWriMo site for more details on the resources offered. (National Novel Writing Month is also a legitimate nonprofit that supports local and youth literacy, and writers of all backgrounds and skill levels.)
So how do you get started with CampNaNoWriMo?
Set a goal.
Be optimistic but reasonable. It’s summertime so factor in a good dose of beach sitting, sun soaking and BBQ eating. Choose something that’s challenging but exciting. No one wants to be doing lame homework all summer. You love writing so choose a goal that gets you fired up. It can be anything from editing a certain number of pages to writing an entire novel.
Make a plan of attack.
Set mini milestones and times for writing. Check out the Camp site for details on virtual write-ins and Twitter (@NaNoWordSprints) for word sprint times.
Register at CampNaNoWriMo to include your writing projects and track your progress. Once you’ve signed up you can also request a cabin assignment and check out the forums.
My CampNaNoWriMo Plan
This July I’ve got a ton of other writing on my plate, but I want to restore a bit of that exploratory, joyful writing time. My goal is to write four essays/flash fiction stories—one per week. I want at least two of the pieces to be nonfiction, but I might try my hand at some flash fiction as well. I’m aiming for 2000 words for each. I have a ton of topic ideas—addiction, transformation, family profiles—so I’m just going to see where the month takes me. If I have some success, I’ll share some of my writing online. That’s even more incentive to get going. I’ll also be sharing my progress and resources on Twitter @ktogeretz if you’d like to follow along.
Get social with CampNaNoWriMo
Enjoy the ride. It’s camp, so you don’t need to exclusively focus on huge word counts. Have fun with it and make some camp friends. Sounds like a party to me.
Are you participating in CampNaNoWriMo? What are you writing about? I’d love to know so we can cheer each other on this month.