SF Benson  

Camp NaNoWriMo Time!


Do you have your project ready to go? No. Don’t worry. Neither do I. I’ve done Camp NaNoWriMo twice, but not this year. I’ll be writing, but I’ll also have some editing jobs taking priority.  

If this is your first year doing it, congratulations on the decision. I thought I’d share some tips on getting through it. 

First, what is Camp NaNoWriMo? 

It’s the spring version of National Novel Writing Month featuring virtual cabins for writers. You don’t have to belong to a cabin to participate, but it makes it fun. 

What’s expected? 

Finishing the ROUGH DRAFT of a 50,000 word novel. Last year, I used it to start a novel that would have more words. After I reached my goal, I added to the finished count.

What’s the deal with winning? 

Winning simply means meeting the goal of 50,000. But here’s the thing… You win if you set a goal and put your butt in the chair each day. Committing to a writing routine is the point of NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo.  

What if I don’t reach 50K? 

So what. Seriously. It takes 1,667 words to reach 50K in a month. If you only get 25,000 or even 40,000 words done, keep at it. You’ve done more than a lot of people who say they’d like to write a book.  

Can I publish after I’m done? 

Not right away. NaNoWriMo is about getting down the bones. Your writing will be exceedingly rough, especially if this is your first time. My first book, Regress, was written during NaNoWriMo 2014. It was my first year, and I completed it, but it took five revisions to reach a final manuscript. 

Any tips? 

If you’re unable to write 1,667 words at one time, don’t sweat it. Break it down—write half or even a third—walk it off and come back later.  

Don’t edit while you write. I like listening to music while I write—some don’t. Find what works for you and just write. And don’t pay attention to social media while you work. 

I write in Scrivener. When I reach 50K, I export to Word. Why? One, you need a copy that you can upload to verify your word count on Day 30 (you can verify as early as Day 20). Two, you need a real word count. I’ve always noticed a big difference (3-5K) between my copy in Scrivener and what gets uploaded to NaNoWriMo. What I do is export to Word and look at the count. Then I add another 3,000. That usually gets me to the 50K. 

Biggest tip? Just have fun! Remember, not everyone is doing what you’re about to do.

Good luck! 

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