April Writing Challenge

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Camp NaNoWriMo

I like the idea of goals.  Having specific goals with deadlines can give you the motivation and drive to keep going. This can be a so-so thing for me. I often make goals that end in failure. Either I set my sights too high or, more commonly, I just didn’t stay focused on the goal.

One thing that did work for me was NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing month. This is a month long writing challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel set in November. I decided that this was my year when I signed up in November. And I was right. Yes it was difficult but I learned a lot and found a group of people who shared my goals. Validating my novel and “winning” was the best reward I could have ever asked for. At least until my novel gets published.

According to the NaNoWriMo.org site, April is time for another challenge. Its time for Camp NaNoWriMo.

The rules are the same – 50,000 words in 30 days or whatever your goal is. I had great success in November. Well, by great success, I mean I finished my novel and got it validated. That doesn’t mean I wrote a great novel. There are splashes of greatness in it but they are small and in terrible need of editing. My goal is not to repeat my November success but to edit the words that came out of that endeavor.

The whole point of most writing challenges is to get words down on paper (screen, whatever) and this one is no different. The website touts Camp NaNo as an “idyllic writers retreat smack dab in the middle of your crazy life.” Somewhat less serious and possibly a bit more fun than November but no less effective.

It is easy to sign up. Go to http://campnanowrimo.org/.  If you were a NaNoWriMo participant, Camp NaNo uses the same login information.

Once logged in, its easy to set up your profile, which includes all the usual stuff.

As with the main challenge, the next step is to enter your novel information. Whether you are a planner (light outlining or heavy, it doesn’t matter) or a pantser (one who flies by the seat of their pants while writing a novel), everyone must enter some basic information about your novel. Title, working or actual, word count and a synopsis is all they are asking for. It is required for the validation process.

I was able to change my word count from 50,000 down to 20,000. November was intense and I’m not sure I can handle that much with everything else in my life. Setting a goal that is doable for you is important to reach success.

The last step for set up is to give cabin preferences. The majority of those signing up are separated into cabins of 12 writers. You can chose to opt out of cabins if you prefer to go it alone. The idea is to connect in community for support and the encouragement to get things done.  It is even possible to chose your own cabin if you already have a group of writer friends that are all doing Camp. I chose a random cabin assignment. I like interacting with new people.

Once signed up, novel information entered and cabin assigned (or not), the only thing that needs to be done is to wait for April 1st to begin.

I would encourage anyone who has never participated in this or any of the NaNoWriMo events to find their way to the forums. There are specific Camp forums to answer any of your questions.

The cool thing about these types of challenges is that you are only competing against your self. There are others who are along for the journey but the only one who matters is you. And if you only get 100 words written in April, well, that is 100 words you didn’t have before.

You can do this.

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