Camp NaNoWriMo is run every July and is basically the same as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which goes on in November. Writers from all over the world aim to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve taken part in it for four or five years and won every year.
It involves having to give up a lot of your life to get it done. The aim is to write 1,667 words a day which over the course of the month means you have written a whole book. Here are my five tips for a successful Camp NaNoWriMo.
1. If you fail to plan then you will plan to fail
I know it sounds like nonsense business speak because it is used as nonsense business speak. There is a lot of truth in it though. The way I work is to take the 50,000 words and break it up so it doesn’t seem so daunting. If you can divide it into ten then you can think of these as ten chapters of five thousand words. If you can give those chapters a title and a basis then it makes the task an awful lot easier. If you can break it to 20 chapters of 2,500 words then you can deal with approximately a chapter a day to make the word limit. This is the best way of ensuring you do not become overwhelmed by the task at hand.
2. Don’t stop
As a writer, whether you are new to it or not there is a tendency to go back, whether that is at the end of a paragraph, the end of a page or the end of a chapter. Just don’t. Don’t stop. Don’t edit. Don’t give yourself room to question what it is that you are writing. Hemingway famously said to write drunk and edit sober. Get pissed on NaNoWriMo.
3. Use resources
There is a wealth of information out there. My Google history during these projects looks like the workings of a serial killer. You would be amazed at the things you have to research for a book. I’m currently trying to understand Quantum Physics. In addition, Camp NaNoWriMo itself is really good. You are put into a cabin with others who are taking part. The one I am in already has a really nice community feel to it.
Use friends and cabin mates. Query things. If you get stuck then ask them to throw you a curveball or assist with the process of one of your characters. You don’t always have to take their advice but the option is there to work with.
4. Treat yo’self
There is a lot of work involved in doing NaNoWriMo. You need to take breaks. You need incentives. Mine is often caffeine. The idea of finishing for the day and having a beer or something nice to eat, going out with friends or however else you choose to unwind can often help as a driver to get that wordcount down. Make sure that you treat yo’self.
5. Back that shit up
I have never lost a project but I have lost other work through not backing up in some way shape or form. A lot of the time I choose to email a copy of whatever I’m working on through to myself so I know I can access it wherever I am and in case anything should happen to Hyacinth (my MacBook). I know people who have got 20,000 words in and lost their work. You’ll never be able to replicate it again. Your head was in a very particular space and it’s very hard to grab that again. Take the time at the end of your day to back that shit up.
Thank you very much for reading and if you have any other tips or want to discuss your project then please drop me a message.