Camp NaNoWriMo wraps up today. I’m not participating this year, but Camp NaNoWriMo is the origin story for this podcast.
For the uninitiated among you, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, thousands of writers from around the world take on the challenge of trying to write the rough draft of a novel (50,000 words or more) in the 30-day month of November.
It’s a crazy challenge. I’m not doing it this year due to a travel schedule, but I’ve attempted it three times and succeeded (in hitting 50,000 words, anyway, let’s not talk about what they were) twice. As someone who has struggled with churning out consistent content, I can’t recommend it enough as a jump-start, but there’s more to NaNoWriMo than November. In April and July they offer Camps, where you set your own goal, to write or revise or push yourself forward in whatever project you like. Last April I signed up for Camp with low expectations…the new mom I was in November 2014 had burned out badly doing NaNoWriMo. Camp let me fit writing into my life and without feeling strong enough to handle a big project, I started scribbling short stories and here we are.
NaNoWriMo is a community. Access to online forums and in-person regional write-ins add to the fun. Published writers I’ve talked to have loved doing it, stepping out of their usual process to try something totally new. And for a friend who has done it and won once, she tells me whatever happens to her project and her writing future, she wrote a novel. That’s saying quite a lot.
So give it a try! You don’t have to wait until November to jumpstart your writing…give yourself a challenge right now, or seek out your local NaNoWriMo region and look at what prep events they have for this fall. Of course, if a month is too long for you, there’s always the 3-Day Novel Writing Challenge. I’ve not been crazy enough to attempt that one…yet.