Now, most with even a curiosity about being a writer have heard about NaNoWriMo also known as National Novel Writing Month. Taking place every year in the month of November, it is somewhat of an accountability challenge. You agree to do 50,000 words and so you strive to do them. You come up with a title, a genre, add an excerpt and sometimes get another member to create an amazing cover for your masterpiece. You don’t have to post your entire work but you do have to validate that you did your part at the end. What is this validation? Copying and pasting your work into the sites word counter. If you hit 50,000, guess what? You win. If not, well there’s always next year. The novel you write does not have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be clean. It just requires that you stick to your goal. If that means 50,000 words consisting of a few rambling chapters some character notes and a really amazing battle, so be it. But once you put in 50,000 words, it is very unlikely that you’ll stop. In that way, I believe that NaNoWriMo works to ensure you have a finished manuscript that you can be proud of by the end of it.
And of course, there is still support after November ends. Like I mentioned, there are many graphic designers who participate and after NaNoWriMo ends you can use one of their many forums to ask for a cover. There are also benefits winners receive such as discounts on writing software and such. You will continue to get encouragement from the NaNoWriMo group. They also give you assistance and tips on how to get published. Do people get their books published? You may wonder if people can actually get published and be successful but the answer is a definitive yes. Marissa Meyer wrote many of her books as a NaNoWriMo project. Cinder, that amazing cybernetic retelling of Cinderella wouldn’t be the same without it. And that series has become a staple for young adult readers. There is also Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern and Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth.Keep in mind, these are merely the bestsellers but there have been dozens upon dozens that have been published and sell well.
But, I digress.
One of the other cool things about NaNoWriMo takes place during the month of April, this month. It is called Camp NaNoWriMo. It is a more relaxed version of the November project. How? I’m glad you asked. Camp NaNoWriMo is not as solitary as its big sister. You are separated into cabins, 20 people to each cabin. These cabins can be random or they can be based off of similar age (to you, not your target readership), genre of writing and more. There are also private cabins which take an invite to get into. In this way, your cabin acts like a writing group. You post messages of encouragement, tell them what you are struggling with and can see everyone’s status so if there are projects that are beginning to fall off, your group can assist with pulling them back up.
Camp does not require 50,000 words to win it either. To win Camp all you have to do is stand by the goal that you, yourself, set. Yes, that’s right. During camp you choose the goal! Before April 1st you have to create your project. You have to have a title, a genre and a blurb. That is when you set your goal. You can have a word count goal, which is the norm, or you can have a writing hours goal. I believe that the second option is well-suited for planners, those of us who write out character relation diagrams, full character backgrounds, maps of the world your creating (if fantasy), things of that nature; pieces of information that assist and inform your story but have no actual impact on word count.
This year, I chose a 25,00 word goal. Why so low? Well, I write by hand and type everything later so it was a pain for me to try and type more than I could handle. (Typing is the bane of my existence.) There is also the fact that I have just been busy. But either way, I enjoyed my cabin and accomplished my goal with over a week to spare. I won Camp! And as a winner, I feel pretty darn good. I still reach out to my cabin mates of course, I want them all to be winners as well. Each camp winner this year gets great prizes. There are writing software, writing workshops and the like. As always, a winner can buy merchandise that labels them as such. Don’t try to get around it. You can’t buy “winner” merch if you didn’t validate your goal.
Validating is so important! Last year, I wrote so much and typed it all up, enough for my collection of short stories but I forgot to validate my 50,000 words by the end of November. It was quite sad. No mug, pin or t-shirt for me. No journals or subscriptions either. Ah, the life of the lone writer. But anyway, this year Camp was extremely fun and I just had to share with you all.
If you have any questions, comments, social criticisms, concerns or answers feel free to comment on this post or contact me using my contact page. Have an awesome day!!!!