How To Keep Momentum During Camp NaNoWriMo

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Stay motivated during Camp NaNoWriMo and beyond!

The Basics

If you love to write, there's a good chance you've heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short), a yearly event that encourages people to complete a 50k book in November to "win." Camp NaNaWriMo came a bit later. Happening twice a year in April and July, Camp NaNoWriMo offers writers much more flexibility than NaNoWriMo. Rather than just writing a novel, Camp NaNoWriMo also allows writers to:

• set their own word count

• write poetry

• write scripts and screenplays

• work on revisions of what they've previously written

• write a certain number of pages

One thing that separates Camp NaNoWriMo from NaNoWriMo is you get sorted into virtual cabins with other people writing in the same genre as you. It's pretty awesome being able to talk to people working on similar projects and to encourage each other. As I work on my novel, I'm having a lot of fun interacting with the other writers in my cabin.

To "win" Camp NaNoWriMo, all you have to do is have your stats entered on your account by 11:59 on April 30! The prize itself isn't tangible, but you do get the satisfaction of having completed your goals. And some pretty cool writing related programs offer purchase discounts if you participate and even bigger ones if you win!

Now we're going to get into the hard part: keeping up momentum during Camp NaNoWriMo!

1. Figure Out How You Write Best

Talking to writers, you'll find they usually describe themselves as either a planner or a pantser. They either tend to plan their novel out with outlines, character notes, and more, or they write by the seat of their pants. I fall somewhere in the middle. (A plantser perhaps?)

You may already know if you're more of a planner or a pantser, but if this is your first foray into a long writing project, it may be a good idea to figure out what type of writer you are and how you write best. However, riting is more nuanced than just being a planner or a pantser.

Maybe jotting down notes as you get to know your characters better through writing them works best for you. Perhaps talking to someone aloud about your ideas and getting some feedback will allow you to articulate what you're thinking onto paper. The more you write, the easier it will be to figure out. And while it isn't crucial to know, it can be useful knowledge to have.

2. Talk to Your Cabinmates

There's a reason Camp NaNoWriMo gives you cabinmates. Sure, it goes along with the theme, but it also gives you the chance to engage with writers writing in the same genre as you. It's always helpful to talk to other creative minds, whether it's about your novel or simply shooting the shit about your favorite TV shows.

Your cabinmates are also there to bounce ideas off of, help you work out any problems that come up while writing, and to even give you a nice distraction from writing too. Don't overlook how great an opportunity it is to talk to other writers.

3. Don't Compare Yourself to Other Writers

One downfall about having cabinmates is you can see how far they are into their project. It sucks to see that Dougie's already written 20,500 words while you've barely managed hit 5,000. Who cares! Dougie probably still has a lot more free time than you and you'll both be in the same editing boat once you finish your novel anyway.

Unless you're someone who is motivated by competition, comparing your project to another person's project isn't going to get you anywhere. Instead, try to focus on that fact that you've written 5,000 words while working a full time job, getting chores done, and trying to find time to sleep.

Everything you get done is nothing short of an accomplishment. Don't ever sell yourself short.

4. Don't Give Up!

Camp NaNoWriMo is going to get hard at times because writing is hard. It might make you want to give up, throw your laptop across the room (we don't recommend this), and cry your eyes out in frustration.

You're probably going to want to give up at some point, and that's okay. No one has to know that. Take a day off and have some time for yourself, and then see how you feel. If writing is making other things in your life slip, you might have to rearrange things a bit. It's okay to lower your goal if it means completing Camp NaNoWriMo and not letting the dishes pile up!

At the end of the month when you complete your project, you're going to proud of yourself. The bragging rights will be totally worth it!

Let's Keep the Conversation Going...

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month? Will you participate in July?

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