Should You Do Camp NaNoWriMo this April?

I almost missed the most amazing writing experience of my life last April.

At the mention of “Camp NaNoWriMo,” I scrunched up my nose. I had heard of NaNoWriMo in 2016, which I didn’t do but planned to in 2017. What was this Camp NaNo and why would I have been interested?

I was deep in a plotting project and wasn’t ready to write anything yet. But once I learned what Camp was really about, I jumped right in.

Camp ended up being one of the best writing experiences of my entire life. 😌

But why? What made me decide to jump on board, and why was it so beneficial to my writing journey? Most importantly, should you be doing Camp? Why should you?

Why, I’m so glad you asked. Because otherwise this post would be absolutely pointless. 😂

How Camp Differs from Regular NaNo:

1. You Set Your Own Goal

This was the kicker for me.

I wasn’t writing quite yet. I was plotting, and I didn’t know how to document my progress.

Unlike regular NaNoWriMo, in which come November you aim to write 50,000 words (a novel) in 31 days, your Camp project can be literally anything your writing heart desires.

Because of the different writing projects there might be—plotting, outlining, editing—instead of just documenting your progress in words, you can choose hours, minutes, line, or pages. I chose hours last year.

No matter what you’re doing that’s writing-related, you can do Camp NaNo. You don’t have to be aiming to write a novel.

2. Cabins


I met some of the best people on planet earth in these cabins! Unlike regular NaNo, in which your only community is the NaNo forum, cabins are unique to Camp.

You can be placed in a cabin with up to 19 other writers. You can choose to be placed randomly, be invited to a private cabin with people you know or start your own, or not be in one at all.

Community is very important. Even if you’re one of those self-motivated, lone-wolf writers like me who can roll just fine without people:

One chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.
(Deuteronomy 32:30)

There is strength in numbers, and in a cabin, those numbers happen to be people you all share something in common with: you love to write.

In a cabin, you’ve got fellow writers who are there for you and offer encouragement, advice, and general support. They can help out with motivation, brainstorm problems, or painfully endure your spammy posts in which you rant about some cool plot point your highly questionable brain conjured up at 4 A.M.

(That’s what my cabin mates have to deal with. I wonder why they even invite me back. They deserve medals.)

3. Camp is Twice a Year

While NaNoWriMo is every November, Camp is every April and July. I’ve participated in both and try to schedule my major writing projects to land on those months.

I believe that’s all I have to say about that.

The Pros of Participating in Camp

1. Customization

Outlining a small short story? Editing a historical fiction epic? Plotting the next book in your series? Or wanna try that 50k again? Camp is for you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of a writing project; you can still do it. Just have your goal be what remains of your project. If you’re 5k in to that 30k novelette, your goal can be 25k.

2. Progression

Camp is a wonderful opportunity to quit procrastinating, join other like-minded people, and get some work done on your project.

I’m a self-motivated person, so I’ve been shooting big before anybody knew about my goals. But for a lot of people, procrastination is a big issue. When other people are shooting for their goals alongside you, it’s a lot easier to get yours done, too.

I’m begging to be pinned. Just hover over me!

3. Community

The cabins in Camp give you just that. Especially if you start or are invited to a private cabin; you’ll likely know a few of the people there, make new friendships, and end up with some absolutely epic writing buddies.

I was acquaintances with Chloe and Josie before Camp started, but afterward, there have only been about four or five days that we haven’t talked to each other every. Single. Day. I even met Chloe in real life and it was AWESOME (beware, Josie, I’m coming for you!)

4. Experience

2017 was the best year of my life, and April’s Camp just kicked it off. Oh, it was AMAZING.

Staying up until 4 A.M. and then getting up at 5 A.M. to listen to super incredibly epic music and brainstorm awesomeness? Then finishing my goal before winning even started and using the remaining time to write a 33k novelette? I WANT TO GO BACK AND RE-DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.

If you haven’t experienced Camp before, don’t let the chance pass you by!

5. Discipline

Your goal can be custom to your needs, but it should still be something higher up, something you aim to achieve.

A goal is a dream with a deadline.
– Unknown

Camp helps out with that. You’re still aiming to complete that goal by the first of the next month. And you’re not alone, remember? Your goal is easier to complete with other people there to encourage you.

I’m begging to be pinned. Just hover over me!

The Cons of Participating in Camp

In my post outline, I sat in my chair for a solid ten minutes at this. Cons? What cons? I couldn’t think of a single one. I’ve never had a negative experience with my Camp NaNos. But I finally landed upon a possible one:

1. You Might be Tempted to Think Small

There’s no pressure to do 50k words. The minimum is 30 anything, so you could just put 30 minutes, waste time roleplaying with cabin mates, and call it a day.

With regular NaNo, however, you go into it expecting to come out on the other side with 50k (well, if you do the Young Writer’s Program NaNo, you can set your goal lower).

But 99% of people going into Camp won’t be like that so let’s just say THERE ARE NO CONS HEHE.

If you have any writing projects going on, Camp is a no-brainer. You can progress what you’ve already got going on, or finally have a reason to start on that story idea—surrounded by an awesome community of cabin mates.

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo this April? Why or why not?

By | 2018-03-10T19:58:09+00:00 March 12th, 2018|Writing, Writing Tips|41 Comments

About the Author:

Hey! I'm Madi, a blogger, writer, doll collector, & minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can learn more about me by clicking here and more about this blog by clicking here.


    I probably can’t do April since I have a lot going on and stuff but I WILL AIM FOR JULY DEFINITELY! I was undecided but now if my parents agree, CAMP NANOWRIMO HERE I COME!!!!!!!!!

  2. Danielle March 12, 2018 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Madi, you’ve dissapeared from the cabin and I desperately need someone to rp with. XD
    Awesome post! Camp NaNo is amazing, even though I never reach my goal. XD

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:10 pm - Reply


      Ahhh sorry! I’ll be really active during April. XD

      Thank you so much! Hey, at least you ended up with more than you started with. XD

  3. Olivia @ Purely Olivia March 12, 2018 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Great post! I’m considering doing camp in July, so this was super applicable to me. 🙂

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much! I hope that if you decide to do it it’ll be super fun! 😀

  4. Tess (blackiesunshine) March 12, 2018 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    I am doing Camp Nano this year! I will be rewriting my story (well not totally rewriting) and prepping it for beta readers!! eep i’m excited. I really wanna be in your cabin this year – please pwetty?

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      YAY THAT’LL BE SO EXCITING. Your project sounds awesome! And sure thing — what’s your username so we can add you?

  5. Josie March 12, 2018 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Ahem. XD I’m doing camp this year! It’ll hopefully provide a nice break from my novel so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:07 pm - Reply


      Sounds like it will be! Just… don’t give up on LU forever please… 😭

  6. Kendra Lynne March 12, 2018 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    I’m not going to do the April Camp NaNo, but I am doing the July Camp and the November NaNoWriMo. I’m so excited!!! 😀

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      AHHH, you’re going to have so much funnn! 😀

  7. Sarah @ paper-ish March 12, 2018 at 2:08 pm - Reply


  8. Arabella March 12, 2018 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I did NaNo in November, and I probably will do it this April! This was super fun to read!!

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      You totally should — it’s so much fun! And thank you so much!

  9. Rebcake March 12, 2018 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Ooh, awesome reasons! I’m doing camp this year (and literally jumping around and squealing in my excitement) — it’s the first time I’ve seriously undertaken the challenge, and I’m excited to see what it will be like! And what’s even better, I’m in a cabin with you. *smirks*>:)

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      AHHH YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUNNN! *squeals* Ah, yes. Heh heh. >:)

  10. Katie March 12, 2018 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    NaNo sounds really cool, is it free? I’ve been curious about this, but sadly I don’t think I can do the April Camp 🙁 I’m going to be SUPER busy for a while and I’m having a hard time keeping up with what I already have to do, but hopefully in July!
    -Katie 🙂

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Yes, it’s completely free! Ah, yeah, for sure :/ Hopefully you can in July!

  11. Julia March 12, 2018 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been wondering what Camp NaNoWriMo is. 😂 I’ll totally have to participate in it!! Where do I sign up? 😉

    But literally, where do I sign up? 😂

  12. Starling March 13, 2018 at 2:59 am - Reply

    Do you do NaNo in November?

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      I plan to do it some year, but I’m always outlining / structuring / researching during that time, not actually writing anything. I haven’t done November’s NaNo yet, but I’ve written over 50k in a month twice before, so I really want to. 😆 Do you?

  13. Mukta March 13, 2018 at 4:18 am - Reply

    Oh yes, I’m all for camp! I heard about it last year but had no writing projects on. AT ALL. But I have some ideas for this time and I’m really excited!

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      YAY, I’m so excited for you! What are you going to be working on?

  14. Zella T March 13, 2018 at 7:33 am - Reply

    That’s it. That’s….that’s it. This summer, this July, I am DOING CAMP! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY

    I want to join your cabin-thingy pwetty pweeeease!

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      YAYAYAYAYAYYYY! You are going to love it!! *dances*

      For sure! Just remind me when July comes and I’ll ask if we can add you to the cabin!

  15. Blue (Lisbeth) March 13, 2018 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I’m glad you don’t have the same grievances with Camp Nanowrimo as you do the regular Nano! Everything is pinned!

    • Madison Grace March 13, 2018 at 10:33 am - Reply


      • Blue (just Blue okay) March 14, 2018 at 10:44 pm - Reply

        ALSO if we could sprint together sometime in April….. I have like 10 characters you haven’t met yet 😏😉

        • Madison Grace March 17, 2018 at 2:35 am - Reply

          YES YES YES. I can sprint anytime after 10 PM!

  16. Anna|From a Doll's Perspective March 13, 2018 at 11:07 am - Reply

    Unfortunately, I’m not old enough for Camp NaNo, but it sounds like a ton of fun!

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      It is super fun! Maybe you’ll want to do it when you’re older!

  17. Kirstyn Todd March 13, 2018 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Help. Me.

    I WANT to do it (especially if I get a cabin with you), but what do I even write for it? IDK if I’ll have K. M. Weiland’s books to prep my book, and I literally have no other ideas. Somebody help. I need inspiration!

    • Madison Grace March 14, 2018 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      If you have no idea what to write for Camp, then it might not be a good option for you until you actually have something to write about — there’s always Camp in July, though!

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