This is my second year in the NaNo World of Awesomeness. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. With everyone’s already busy lives, it’s a testament of creative perseverance when NaNoWriMo’s been going strong for over eleven years now. Short for National Novel Writing Month, the annual collective writing phenomenon held in November has gone global–for now. I think we should get those peeps up at the Space Station to do some writing. You know, if they’re not busy doing other astronaut-type things this April, but I digress.
Last year, Script Frenzy (RIP) a much loved sibling to the elder NaNo gave me the opportunity to write an Alternate History Thriller Screenplay. Considering I’d never tried the format before, it was interesting. We went to Hawaii, at the time, and I remember using Celtx on my iPhone during in-flight turbulence, just so I could get the pages done.
I missed last June’s Camp NaNoWriMo. I’d like to think of Camp as NaNo’s awesome cousin. Imagine my delight when I joined Camp for the first time last August. We got an extra day for good behavior–and also, because that’s just how August rolls–and I hammered out an MG Urban Fantasy, the first in a series.
The actual NaNo was a beast, but in a good way. Brewing holiday cheer and writing insanity are like rebels on the dance floor. Out of that, I have a YA Thriller, also the first in a series.
Like I said yesterday, revisions, sure. They’ll happen. But if you get an opportunity to have thousands of people cheering you on to write as they simultaneously unleash their creativity into the world? Do it. And when it happens three times in one year? DO IT THRICE.
Here are five reasons–of many reasons–why YOU NEED TO GO TO CAMP THIS APRIL:
1) GET IN THE ZONE. Some say Camp NaNoWriMo is NaNo Lite. Not true. Think of it as easing yourself into November. Incremental genius, at your own pace. The fact that this year they’ve gone rogue with the NaNoRebels, you get to write anything: poetry, stage plays, screenplays *sigh*, comics, graphic novels, short stories, non-fiction, you name it. With adjustable word counts, Camp is tailored to maximize your creative output. The only person stopping you from doing this is you. The only thing you have to lose is time, and we’re all using that stuff up anyway. Join. Write.
2) LIKE-MINDEDNESS. Cabin Mates. Writing Buddies. Global Support. Hey, if there’s anyone who’s going to understand the craziness you’re about to endure it’s all the other people about to endure the same craziness. Together, you can celebrate, commiserate, and conflagrate (metaphorically speaking). Appreciate the artist within you. Within all of us. Same boat. Better together. Need convincing? Go on Twitter and join the #CampNaNoWriMo conversation. You’re not alone. The world is buzzing about Camp. Join. Write.
3) NETWORKING. Those people who share your thirst for creativity and penchant for masochistic writing schedules? They know people. You know people. People get to talking. Connections are made. You never know that a person you’re brainstorming with could have the next bestseller. Better yet, they could be interested in your next bestseller. NaNoWriMo isn’t a casual event. There’s nothing casual about churning out the words until your hands are numb, your vision blurs, and your head’s about to burst from exhaustion. Moral support, feedback, crit partners, beta readers, mentors. Anyone who understands NaNoWriMo understands the passion behind it. Anyone you network with will help you become a better writer. That’s a fact from personal experience and a promise. Join. Write.
4) COMMITMENT TO YOUR CRAFT. You can tell people you’re a writer, but it means more if you show them. Accountability is a big deal, not just to save face, but to keep you motivated. Reach those word count goals, Exceed them. The act of committing to a massive project such as writing a book in a month, it shows you mean business. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not meant to be, but you can refer back to numbers 1 to 3 and you’ll be okay. That’s what the community is for. Am I saying that every single entrant reaches their goal? No. And believe it or not, that’s okay. The fact that you tried is what matters. You need 2,000 words today, but only reached 700? Don’t feel bad. Life happens. Just remember you have 700 more words than you did yesterday, 700 words closer to your finished draft. NaNoWriMo ignites that desire to reach the goal. As long as you keep moving forward, you’re already a winner. Join. Write.
5) SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. This really is a no brainer. I remembered typing my last word as Camp NaNo came to an end. My fingers tingled. I had such an adrenalin rush. I just finished a story. Now, I’m not saying that you should drop it on an editor’s desk then and there. The purpose of NaNo is to help get the words out of you and onto the page. After that, the real journey begins. Editing, revision, more critiques and beta reads. Agent or no agent. Traditional publishing or indie publishing. Marketing. Promotion. The road is long, but you’re already traveling once you’ve gotten that first draft written, but what do you need to do first? Join. Write.
I’ll be a happy camper in April. What about you?