Why I Love Camp NaNoWriMo

So, for anyone who doesn’t already know what this is, let me say I’m very glad to get to be the one to explain it. Of course, many readers here will already be a part of Camp, but if you aren’t, this is for you.

Camp NaNoWriMo is a branch of the larger parent group NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is an annual challenge for writers of all walks of life and genre to participate in. Traditionally, writers who accept the challenge must write 50 000 words in whatever work they so choose, and they must begin and end within the month of November. This is insanely difficult—it requires writing a massive 1  600 words per day, or around three full pages of text in your text editor.

Let me tell you, I’ve tried it. I didn’t get very far, though, and felt unprepared for something that big. So when I found out about the smaller, less intense counterpart to the challenge Camp NaNoWriMo, I was very excited.

Camp is an online community of writers who every July hold a mini NaNoWriMo. A few things are different between the two, though. In camp, you pick your goal. You’re not expected to write 50 000 words, as a matter of fact very few people do. Instead, at or before the beginning of the month, you set a word count goal. This July, mine is 30 000, but I see lots of people with goals anywhere between 5 to 10K.

Ok, you might say, but what’s so great about it? Can’t I set a monthly word goal for myself any month of the year? Why is Camp any different than that?

Well, in reality, it’s the community that sets Camp NaNoWriMo apart. At the beginning of the month, all campers have the option to be sorted into random cabins, or create their own. It’s really only a cabin in the most figurative sense of the word, but what it literally is is a cool group of random people who are writing in the same genre as you. Because you’re all in the same cabin, you can check each other’s projects out and have competitions to see who can meet their word goal the fastest. It’s kind of rewarding to be able to give and receive praise to and from multiple people, especially strangers you don’t know. It’s fun because everyone’s in the same boat—whether this is their first or tenth year participating, they’re here to write a novel, good and simple.

For those who are already part of Camp, congratulations on actually reading this article. For those who aren’t, what are you waiting for?




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