With Camp NaNoWriMo almost here, it can be daunting to begin your project on the 1st of the month.
Over the four years I’ve partaken in NaNoWriMo, I’ve learned a few things about how to cope with the task of reaching your writing goals. NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo are such good ways at making progress on your writing project and I’ve found that it’s substantially helped me become more productive.
One amazing thing about both events is that there’s such a large community of writers who take part during this. Many writers organise groups and sprints together during the month. It’s just an awesome time to get to know other writers.
I hope you’ll join me!
One thing that differs from NaNoWriMo to Camp NaNoWriMo is that Camp allows you to set a more flexible goal, giving you the chance to set a certain amount of words, pages/lines or hours/minutes. Set your goal accordingly. If you don’t want to aim for certain words, aim for an hour a day which makes 30/31 hours!
This Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll be writing A Mirror Of Smoke and hopefully, finishing it either in July or August depending on how much I get to write! Hopefully, I’ll be able to churn out the words on my novel really quickly. I’m aiming for 35,000 words this July since school might get in the way but I’m hoping to do at least 60,000 if it’s a good month.
I will be writing my life away, haha!
If you’re a writer who struggles to be productive during Camp NaNoWriMo / NaNoWriMo or you’re wanting to participate for the first time, I have a few tips that could help you become better at writing during these events.
1 / Build your NaNoWriMo survival kit
Your NaNo survival kit is a vital component to success as it contains everything you need to succeed in the month. You can include anything you deem helpful to help you throughout the month, these include:
- Coffee or Tea AND Water
Important for energy and also to keep yourself hydrated during this month.
- Your favourite writing pens with notebooks. ( Physically writing stuff can be quite relaxing sometimes )
- Bullet Journal
- Your outline or your favourite writing pants.
- Chocolate or your favourite comfort food
- A Spotify / Apple Music playlist
- Comfortable working Clothes.
All of these might prove of some use to you, and you can even put them in a case if you want! My survival kit consists mostly of these items. If you have Twitter, share some images of your survival kits with #NaNoWriMo!
2 / Writing Sprints
Writing Sprints are a great way of racking up your word count. They’re regularly hosted over on Twitter with the #NaNoWordSprints, over on the NaNoWriMo site or perhaps you can gather a few friends to do one with you. Word Sprints are where you attempt to write as many words as you can within a certain time frame, usually 15 or 30 minutes. Usually, tweets you’ll see are like:
“Hosting a wordsprint from :30 for 30 minutes. Does anyone want to join in? #NaNoWordSprints”
I find that Word Sprints are always a way of keeping myself productive because unlike actual sprinting, I can actually achieve something — progress on my novel! Plus, finishing a Word Sprint always makes me feel really good and that I’ve avoided the danger of falling behind.
3 / Accountability Buddies
During the month of Camp NaNoWriMo, you have the option of being automatically sorted into a cabin where you can all keep each other accountable for reaching their word count every day! Otherwise, Twitter or the NaNoWriMo forums are a great way of finding other writers to be accountability buddies with.
Finding a friend or a fellow writer on social media to keep you accountable can be something good as well as you’ll be more eager to reach your word count goal. Plus, they might be a potential critique partner that you can switch manuscripts with once you start editing your story!
4 / Don’t edit. I mean it. We’re watching you.
NaNoWriMo is all about getting down your draft down without looking back. Don’t ever look back because you have to lock away your inner editor just before NaNo begins. I recommend using Scrivener to separate your story into scenes OR start separate word documents for each scene or chapter.
This will allow you to remain focused on what’s on hand rather than what you’ve written in the past. Once you’ve finished the draft, feel free to let your inner editor out and breathe, I’m sure they’ll appreciate the break you gave it. Plus, you’ll be writing with less stress as you won’t be worrying about the words you have written in the past, just focusing on the words you’re writing now.
5 / Spend spare minutes writing.
On lunch? On the bus home? Bored out of your mind and don’t have anything to do?
The spare minutes that you spend putting into your story is more progress made towards your goal. Using these minutes can be the difference between one or two thousand words at the end of the month. Spare minutes are just waiting to be used, so use them to write.
6 / NaNoWriMo is only the beginning of your story
NaNoWriMo isn’t the only time when you can start a story, and it’s also not the only time where you can finish one. By doing this challenge, you’ve also committed to taking this story on to the very end of the draft. While you may be able to do the thirty or thirty-one days of the challenge, the real aspect comes after where you are free to do what you please. I plea you to continue your story, continue the world you’ve created. Keep that story close to your heart, because you’ve created something special.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
7 / Schedule yourself, including catch-up days.
As a big planner and believer in schedules and to-do lists, I pride myself on being able to plan a successful writing month. (For writing years, I recommend you check out Kristen Kieffer’s Novel Planner, it’s a gem.) Schedules are great for knowing how much you should be writing on that day and also having a backup plan just in case things go awry. For example, I plan that Sunday will probably be my most proficient writing day since I have no commitments on Sundays, so I usually aim for 3-4k on Sundays. Otherwise, it’s the general 1,667 words.
For example, I plan that Sunday will probably be my most proficient writing day since I have no commitments on Sundays, so I usually aim for 3-4k on Sundays. Otherwise, it’s the general 1,667 words. If I miss a day, I take split that word count into next week’s totals and ensure that I catch up or overdo because there’s nothing wrong with that. Plus, with my accountability buddies, I feel like they would stop talking to me unless I reach my goals. So, I must succeed and get my golden ticket to finishing my novel!
8 / Quick fix? NaNoWriMo forums.
Don’t know the name of a character, or need a question answered? My best answer is to go over to here and pop your question in the relevant forum and continue writing with using a placeholder such as [character name]. Other people can help you with a story and provide you with ideas to bounce from while you’re still writing. Don’t worry if no one suggests anything you like, you can use them as inspiration and change them later if needed. It’s a way to quickly deal with something that might be getting in your way of writing.
9 / Reward yourself for milestones.
Reached 10%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 99.99% of your goal? Managed to write today? You are worth rewarding as you’ve managed to make your way towards a completed manuscript. Be proud of yourself, share your success over Social Media, show how proud you are of your work. I’m sure people would love to see your success as it might inspire them to succeed as well!
The writing community is amazing, where we can all continue to inspire each other.
10 / TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
During this month, it is super important that you remember to place yourself first before your novel. If you’re feeling sick and you physically can’t work on your novel then it’s ok. No one will blame you for putting yourself first before this challenge, and it’s important that you remember to eat, sleep and get all your other work done before this. Put your life before this, that’s extremely important.
11 / Don’t be afraid.
This is your story you’re writing, it will not be perfect the first time around. You will mess up, you will change your words a thousand times and you might not like your story at points. But, this is your story and do not be afraid to tell it. Do not be afraid to ask people to read it, do not be afraid to share it with the world. People will always be out there who are willing to help you fix your story to the best it can be.
You can do this, you can succeed and I wish you the best of luck.
Are you planning on participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? If so, what’s your project? I’d love to hear about the story you’re writing!
If not, then you can still sign up for Camp NaNo if you haven’t already, it’s totally worth it.