National Novel Writing Month · Writing

Getting ready for Camp NaNoWriMo: Five Fundamental Tips


Yesterday was June 1st, which means that we are less than one month away from the start of the July Camp NaNoWriMo.

If you haven’t heard about Camp NaNoWriMo, it’s basically very similar to its November sister project; you write a lot of words in a short amount of time. The difference with Camp is that you can choose the amount of words you want to write – anywhere from 10,000 to 999,999.You can write a novel, nonfiction, revise, do some poetry, write a script or a short story AND, you get to do in all in a Cabin of like-minded writers – which is such a great motivator to keep going!

I have done NaNoWriMo twice before and I absolutely love doing it. So I thought I’d do a little weekly series on my blog in the run up to Camp. To start off, I am going to talk about what I think are the fundamental tips so that you’re NaNoWriMo experience runs as smoothly as possible.

  1. PLANNING. If there is one thing that will make NaNoWriMo so much easier, it’s planning. It doesn’t need to be detailed, and it definitely doesn’t need to be set in stone but just having a little note saying where your going in your writing makes things so much easier. I also find that planning helps get my head around characters and themes and sub-plots.
  2. Just keep going! It’s so easy to get disheartened during the month – you are writing so many words everyday – not all of them are going to be good. In fact most of them are going to be complete rubbish and accepting that is probably the biggest hurdle you will have to jump over as you are writing. So don’t worry if your characters names have changed, or if you have massive plot hurdle, or if nothing makes sense – It’s completely normal
  3. If you don’t reach your word count, don’t beat yourself up. Some days I struggle to get 100 words out. Other days I’ve written 3000 before lunch. You can always catch up, and even if you don’t it’s not the end of the world – the beauty about CampNaNoWriMo is that you can adjust your word count. And anyway, in the end it’s not whether you reached the word count, it’s that you tried.
  4. Use the NaNoWriMo and other campers resources. This is one tip I am definitely guilty of neglecting, but this year, I plan to rectify that. Not only do you have your cabin and the forums on the Camp NaNoWriMo website, but you also have twitter and tumblr and blogs to help out. There are bound to be countless writing sprints, helpful tips and other motivating tweeters on twitter – just search #CampNaNoWriMo. The same goes for tumblr – there will be countless other people completing the challenge, and following the Camp tag is sure to provide some inspiration.
  5. Finally, and most importantly: HAVE FUN. Camp is meant to be enjoyable, challenging yes, but ultimately it should be a rewarding experience. So have fun writing, plotting, planning, talking with other campers and lamenting over plot holes.

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo this July? What are your biggest tips for success?

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