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.
GUYS. THE CABINS ARE AMAZING.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!)
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!
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.
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?
WHOA THIS SOUNDS SO AWESOME I NEED TO DO THIS ASDFGHJKLQWERTTYUIIOOPP
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!!!!!!!!!
YESSS YOU MUST DO JULY IT WILL BE SO AMAZING! What would you work on?
I’m actually planning my writing schedule based on NaNo now!!! I’ll work on my current WIP, The Palomino, and try to finish the first draft. Then in November I shall unleash my extremely exciting 2nd idea in time for the big NaNoWriMo!!!
YES, that’s exactly what I do! YAY, I hope you’re able to get all of your goals done!
Thanks so much!!M yes, I hope so to! Now that I have actual goals, maybe I can actually ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING XD
YESSSS, you can do it! XD
THANK YOU SO MUCH I HOPE SO ?
AAAAAHH I’M SO EXCITED FOR CAMP NANO BUT AT THE SAME TIME I’M PANICKING XD
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
EQIRUBGQPEIRBGU SAME SAME. XD
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
Great post! I’m considering doing camp in July, so this was super applicable to me. 🙂
Thank you so much! I hope that if you decide to do it it’ll be super fun! 😀
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?
YAY THAT’LL BE SO EXCITING. Your project sounds awesome! And sure thing — what’s your username so we can add you?
I am Tess315. YAY!
I just asked the leader of the cabin to add you!
I’m in! yay!
CAMP CAMP CAMP CAMP CAMP
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.
YES YES CAMPY CAMP.
Sounds like it will be! Just… don’t give up on LU forever please… ?
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!!! 😀
AHHH, you’re going to have so much funnn! 😀
Yes, I think I am! 🙂
HEY YOU MAKE THE CABIN HILARIOUS OF COURSE WE INVITE YOU BACK <3333
AWWW THANKS GUYS. <3
I did NaNo in November, and I probably will do it this April! This was super fun to read!!
You totally should — it’s so much fun! And thank you so much!
No problem! I’ll check it out right now!
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*>:)
AHHH YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUNNN! *squeals* Ah, yes. Heh heh. >:)
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!
Yes, it’s completely free! Ah, yeah, for sure :/ Hopefully you can in July!
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? ?
AHHHH YAY! Make an account on http://nanowrimo.org and then use your login for https://campnanowrimo.org. That’s it! If you’re in need of a private cabin, just let me know. ?
Thanks so much! I have an account from last November for NaNoWriMo, but have never done the camp. :3 It would definitely be awesome to join a private cabin with you. ?
I just asked my cabin leader to ask you!
Do you do NaNo in November?
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?
Hahha, cool. Woah congrats!! Yeah, but I find it pretty taxing and pressurising. But I like it at the same time. I’m so weird.
Haha thanks! Yeah, I totally get that. One of the reasons I love Camp so much.
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!
YAY, I’m so excited for you! What are you going to be working on?
It’s a rather undeveloped idea to be honest, something I came up with with a friend. I suppose I’ll see where it goes. ?
Wishing you all the best with it! I’m sure it’ll be amazing.
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!
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!
I’m glad you don’t have the same grievances with Camp Nanowrimo as you do the regular Nano! Everything is pinned!
AHH THANK YOU FOR PINNING EVERYTHING YOU ARE THE BEST.
ALSO if we could sprint together sometime in April….. I have like 10 characters you haven’t met yet ??
YES YES YES. I can sprint anytime after 10 PM!
Unfortunately, I’m not old enough for Camp NaNo, but it sounds like a ton of fun!
It is super fun! Maybe you’ll want to do it when you’re older!
I really hope I can!
I hope so too!
I really hope I can.
Oops. I think I posted that twice. ?
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!
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!
Yeah, that’ll give me some time to think. My birthday’s in April. XD
Happy early birthday, then. ?
Yes, thank you. XD
Oh my gosh, I didn’t know this was a thing!! I REALLY want to do this!! It sounds super cool! I’ve never done any kind of NaNoWriMo before, so it should be fun! Can’t wait for April!
AHHHHH, YAAAY! I’m so excited and happy! What are you going to be working on? Eeeeek!
Me too! Probably my story of the teenagers with various powers. (You know, the one I’ve told you WAY too much about. ?) I know, I’m super excited!!
Just a question: where do you write your stories? Just curious!
XDD I write in Word, save it there, and then copy it to Evernote, where I keep it all organized.
Oh, cool! Thanks!
I really should do this – I want to kick my motivation to finish my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt into high gear. Thanks for the awesome post!
You totally should — I 10/10 recommend Camp! ? Thank you so much for commenting!
I signed up! I’m so excited. Thanks for the inspiration!
YAY, that’s so exciting! I hope you have an awesome experience with Camp NaNo!
Thank you so much! I’m so excited. I got on a writing streak this morning – Pounded out 1,100 words. Fingers crossed it continues!
Whoooo! Go Laura! How did your streak go?
Between March 29th and 31st, I wrote over 2,500 words! Since April 1st, I’ve written about 1,400 more. I’m hoping to go on a big writing sprint tomorrow to make up for not writing anything the last few days – So many things, not enough hours in the day. Thanks for the encouragement!!
YAY!! So true — I have so many things to do and the day just isn’t long enough! I hope you’re able to write a ton during your writing sprint!
I spent most of the afternoon cooking, so I didn’t get to write at all yesterday. However, I plan to write for at least 45 minutes this morning. I’m determined!
OOOH! How’d you do?
I’m up to over 5,000 words now! I’m excited!
Hmmmmm….. I can’t do July, but I might be able to do April…can I be in your cabin? It sounds fun. ?
Most crazily, ~Olive
If you tell me your username and create a project, I’ll totally ask my cabin leader if she can add you!
I made my project, and my user name is Olive_dragon_queen . Thanks!
Most crazily, ~Olive
Thanks for the informative post! I have always wondered about the difference between NaNo and Camp NaNo, but have been too lazy to look into it. This sounds super fun!
(and if I did camp in April or July, is there a way I could be in a cabin with you or not?)
Thanks so much for reading it! Camp is hands-down my favorite writing camp. And yes, if you ever do Camp, just let me know what your username and I’ll ask the leader of my cabin if she can add you! I hope she’ll say yes if you do do Camp. XD
Okay, awesome, thanks for the info!
Okay Madi! You convinced me to do Camp NaNo this year! I wasn’t sure about it, but now that I know about the “set your own goals” thing, I’m definitely doing it! Is there any way that I could join your cabin?
SQUEEEEE! That makes me so happy! You’re going to have SO much fun. If you create an account and make a project, just let me know your username and I’ll ask my cabin mates if they can add you!
I created my account and I sent you an email with my username.
Okey dokey! I’ve asked if they’ll add you!
I think I’ll do Camp in April, maybe, probably, but July FOR SURE! I’d love to finish LEGIONish in April and rewrite it during May and June… to start Secret Project Number One (mwahahahaha) in July. 🙂 I love all da NaNo stuffs. *throws confetti*
Have you heard of the book Shadow Warrior by Tanya Lloyd Kyi? I heard about it recently and it sounded like something you’d enjoy. 🙂
YAY FOR CAMP! And all the NaNo thingies. So much fun.
And oh my goodness, it sounds awesome, but no, I haven’t read it! I’ll totally check it out. Thanks 😀
My parents wanted to see the website before I joined, so I’m going to show them this post. Maybe it’ll convince them to let me join.
If I’m allowed, do want to be in my cabin or something? I’d love if you joined.
I hope they’ll let you join! But I’m already in a cabin that’s full ?
I was already sold on doing Camp (done it for two years now and each year was different but amazing), but this double convinced me. 😉 My first year doing camp I think was 2015, but I wasn’t on the camp website, so mostly I just used it as an excuse to be crazy with a bunch of people on YWP NaNo. 😛 (We were the Fiction Writer’s Cabin.) (And very proud of that punctuation mistake in the title, lol, once we figured out it WAS a mistake.)
Anyway, I’m so glad someone is screaming this from the rooftops! I loooovvveee Camp NaNo, and I think every writer should do it! 😛
Yay for being double-convinced! XD HAHA, that cabin title. ?
YES, me too! Camp is just so awesome.
Hey there! I just nominated you for an award/tag over at my blog! (And sorry, this was copied and pasted… so… Yeah. XD) https://goldenfeatherssilverclouds.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/a-bunch-of-tags-and-awards/
Thank you very, very much, Chloe! XD
*raises hand* ME ME I am doing camp Nano!! It’s my first time but I’m really excited. 😀 Wow that cabin looks so fun!
YAY! I’m very glad you’re in our cabin! *hugs*
*raises hand* ME ME ME!!! I am doing Camp NaNo. WOW that cabin looks super fun! (did I comment that twice?)
YAY our cabin leader invited you!!
[…] CampNaNoWriMo is approaching and I’m very excited. In November, I participated in NaNoWriMo (A challenge where you try to write a novel in one month). Camp NaNo is a little different with writing groups and you can set your own goal. But I’ll let Madi explain it more. […]
I’m considering doing it, but I don’t know… would I have to have an outline to do it?
Ahhh I can’t believe I’m just now getting to this! ? Nope, you don’t have to have an outline to do it. It’s completely customizable to you.
That’s okay! 🙂
Okay cool! Thanks 🙂
[…] Grace asks if you should do Camp NaNo this April, and I loved this post because I’m thinking of doing Camp this […]