Writing Camp

It’s NaNo time again!

In November, I took part in National Novel Writing Month, as I almost always do. This is the annual event that challenges participants to write a 50,000-word novel, or 50,000 words of a novel, all in the month of November. For 2020 NaNoWriMo, as it’s abbreviated, I deemed myself a NaNo Rebel and was actually working on a novel outline, rather than writing the actual novel. As usual during the November event, I had trouble finding the time and focusing, and my storyline wasn’t coming together. In fact, I was having so much trouble pulling the outline together that I pretty much gave up halfway through the month. Personally, I hate the fact that NaNo happens in November. With Thanksgiving and school holidays, the month just doesn’t work for me. I can seldom squeeze in enough writing time. And November 2020 was the worst so far.

Move forward to April, which is the month for a NaNo event I have had a lot more success with: Camp NaNoWriMo. Camp NaNo begins with the same basic idea as regular NaNo, but with a lot more flexibility built in. A writer can choose to outline a new project or to edit an old one, rather than to begin writing a new book, and can do it without being labeled a Rebel. It doesn’t have to be a novel; some Camp NaNo participants choose to work on short-story collections, screenplays, blog entries, or nonfiction writing. And the goal doesn’t have to be 50,000 words. A Camper can aim for, say, 25,000 words, or 10,000 words, if that feels more realistic. The goal doesn’t even have to be a word count. Camp NaNo writers can instead target a certain number of minutes or hours of writing accomplished.

All that said, for the first time in years, I’m being a traditionalist. I have now written a fairly complete outline of my next book, and I plan to jump into the writing beginning today. I am not aiming for 50,000 words in April. My target at this point is 20,000 words for the month, though I may revise my goal once I’m into it and see how it’s going. That’s 667 words a day, which should be easily doable. Well, maybe “easily” isn’t exactly the right word, but it feels realistic, given the complexity of my project and my other time commitments this month.

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