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Camp NaNoWriMo – a virtual writing retreat

by Eva Amsen

July is just another month once you leave school and university behind, but it has always been a bit of a catch-up month for me. There are no orchestra rehearsals, and all the TV shows stop for summer, so this is a great time for reading and writing. I have an almost-finished writing project that has been in that almost-finished state for a long time. I’ve promised myself that this is going to be the month I finish it. I have no excuses left. I even signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, so I won’t be writing alone.

Camp NaNoWriMo

A virtual writing retreat

Camp NaNoWriMo is the summer version of the big NaNoWriMo event in November, when people attempt to write an entire 50,000-word novel in one month. I took part in the November event a couple of years ago, when I wrote 50,000 words of a somewhat coherent novel. I never got past that first draft and left it unfinished. One chapter was particularly terrible because I had to force myself to write. With a large word limit like that, you’re really just aiming for a first draft. Camp NaNoWriMo is different. It lets you set your own word limit and your own goals. I’m not writing a novel this time. I’m editing the final bits of a non-fiction book proposal, and I want to get a head start on the next chapter.

My Camp NaNoWriMo goals

I set my word goal at 10,000 words, but I think it’s a bit optimistic. I don’t need that many words to finish the proposal. I’m probably about 500 words and a careful read-through away from being done with it entirely. Maybe another 500-1000 for a cover letter to send it out, and then I still have more than 8000 words left for anything else. I’m also working on some posts and other content for this blog, so I might count them towards the 10k. It’s a bit of a hodgepodge of writing tasks, but if I write 10,000 words in July, I’ll be satisfied. (I’m not counting this post – that’s too easy.)

Camp NaNoWriMo is also different from regular NaNoWriMo in that it has “cabins“, just like real camp. They have assigned all participants to a virtual cabin, which is essentially an online forum. You can only talk to the people in your cabin, but everybody has been grouped based on similarities in type of project, number of words, or age. I’ve been offline for a few days so I only said hello to my cabin-mates today. I hope they’re nice, because just like real camp, I’ll have to spend a whole month with them! Most of them have already started writing, but I’ll try to catch up this week.

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNo? How did it go?

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