It’s March 27th, which means Camp NaNo is just a few days away! If you’re not familiar with it, Camp NaNo is basically the same thing as NaNoWriMo, but with a camp theme because springtime I guess? Anyway, it’s as good an excuse as any to write as many words as possible. If you’re thinking “I’ll write for NaNo in November,” do keep in mind that November is months away, and April is four days away. Why not do it now?
If this is your first time doing one of these month long writing binges, Camp Nano is where you should start – because while it’s basically the same thing, it is different in a few key ways.
Here’s why Camp NaNo is better than NaNo, especially for newer writers.
1) Set your own goal.
The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in a month. The reason for this goal is that is the minimum amount of words that constitutes a full novel. It’s a great goal and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to reach that word count…but if you’d previously only been writing 5,000 or 10,000 words a month, or if you usually don’t write enough to make counting by month worthwhile, it’s kind of like running a marathon after being as sedate as…well, as my lazy couch potato ass.
Camp NaNo, on the other hand, lets your set the goal. I’m currently shooting for a rather standard 50,000 words, which should be just enough to wrap up my two main WIPs. Other people I know are setting different goals – out of the writers I work with normally, I have several with a goal of 20,000 words, one other with a 50,000 word goal, another with a 60,000 word goal, and a third who doesn’t have a word count goal but instead is shooting for 45 hours worth of writing.
This flexibility lets your tailor your monthly goal to whatever works best for you. It’s far more adaptable, and therefore less stressful, than a hard and fast 50,000 words.
2) It’s not in November.
Last year, during NaNo, I realized how damn inconvenient that time of year is for writing. It’s the point where all the annual projects businesses have start coming due, it’s the time when finals are going on for those of you that are in college, it’s when everyone is gearing up for the Holiday Season – including Thanksgiving for those of you in America – and it’s just…a really tough time to commit to 50,000 words.
Meanwhile, Camp NaNo runs twice a year, April and July. April, before the finals are in full swing for students, before summer is in swing for the parents. It’s basically a dead month – nothing happens in April that disrupts normal life for most people, except for Easter or Passover if you celebrate either – and Easter is nowhere near as time intensive as the winter holiday season, in my opinion. (I can’t speak from personal experience for Passover, my father only celebrated it once with us)
The second camp, in July, is also perfect for writing. Nothing major besides the Fourth of July here in the states. If you’re a student, no classes. If you’re a teacher, you…well, let’s be honest, you’re still busy as hell, but you’re probably less busy than you are doing the school year. Sure, you might say that you could go outside and enjoy the warm weather, but let’s be honest: you were going to sit inside watching Netflix with the AC on max. You’re a writer, which makes you slightly less sunlight adverse than a vampire. Slightly.
3) Cabins are a fun twist.
So one thing that makes Camp NaNo different is there are cabins you join with other writers. Here’s a screenshot of what they look like.
It lets you have other authors to give you some friendly encouragement or well meaning peer pressure. Nothing quite motivates like seeing others accomplishing their goals, and it lets you vent about how things are going. The people in my cabins are fellow authors from a Discord server I’m on, but you can absolutely find random people to write with.
It makes the whole experience more communal than NaNoWriMo is. It’s not just sitting alone with your computer, banging out the words. You’re connected with people when you do it, and that shared effort is just more fun than writing alone.
Are you trying Camp NaNo? Let me know in the comments below!