I absolutely love Nanowrimo and Camp Nano. Even if I don’t meet my goals, it’s the best way to get words down on a project and get the worst part over with, which is the beginning. Now for me, even with 50k, my novels are usually no where near done. My novels usually average at around 100k or higher (Hi, I’m Celeste Harte, and I’m an over-writer), but it gets me beyond the beginning and middle. Then I only have 50k left, which may only take me a few more months compared to having to do the whole thing over the course of a year. A great time saver all around, no matter how far you reach in the month!
For those that don’t know, Nanowrimo is a “competition” where you try to write 50k in a month (or for Camp Nano you set personal goals). It happens in November, but they now also have it in April and July and call it Camp Nano during those months.
For more information about it, you can check out the websites at Nanowrimo.org and Campnanowrimo.org
I say “competition” because you’re not trying to reach a certain goal before anyone else, you’re just challenging yourself. And they actually have prizes for completion as well, so you may want to look into it if you’ve never heard of it!
Try to figure out your best writing times
For me, my brain can do work stuff better in the morning, but expecting creativity out of me at that time just doesn’t work at all. However, at night is the time I work best for all of my creative projects. The darkness and the silence help me zero in on my work and get those words out.
You’ll have your own schedule and convenient writing times, so take the time out to plan out when would be the best time for you to get it done. Try to be realistic about how long it’ll take you to get it down, because if you set out too little time, you’ll get frustrated with the tight constraints or if you don’t meet your goals.
But at the same time, if you need to crunch, maybe participate in a writing sprint to help you just get words out without worrying about anything. They hold those on Twitter on the Nanowrimo sprint account: @NaNoWordSprints
You can also hold sprints on your own, just set a timer for twenty minutes and write as much as you can. I like to sprint with friends and just mark the top of the hour and then 20 minutes from there.
After several 20 minute sprints, you might find you’ve met your goal for the day!
If possible, break your writing sessions up through out the day
Another method to getting to those pesky 1667 words is to have several short writing sessions through out the day. This can be done in several sprint sessions, or just whenever you get the chance to jot something down. If you can get in a few hundred words each time, those can add up by the end of the day! This is a great option for if you have a busier schedule and don’t have more than ten minutes to spare each time you get a break.
This also helped me through less-than-inspiring days when I was just crawling through the words and couldn’t even dream of getting to 1k in one go. Splitting it up made it a lot more feasible.
Do what you have to do to concentrate
I love listening to music to help me just slip into the worlds I’m writing, but this doesn’t work for everyone. Just find out what gets you in the mood to write! This may be finding a quiet corner somewhere, going to a library, getting some all important writing snacks. Do whatever it takes to center you in your world.
My own writing routine includes listening to a pre-made playlist on Spotify I specifically created for that project. Then I grab a snack, something to drink, usually a tea, and try to make sure my session won’t be interrupted. If needed, I log off whatever social medias that’s stealing my attention. My notifications are usually muted, but if not, do that too.
Then just put one word in front of the other! Work at it, focus, and get ‘er done.
Take advantage of inspired days
One of the things that helped me survive Nano the two times that I won were the days that I was super inspired. When the words came easy and the scenes just kept popping up in my head, I tried to write as far past my word count goal for the day as I could. Not so much that I burned out, mind you. But enough so that I’m ahead. 2.5-3k max. Anything more, I tried to leave for the day after.
But if you write ahead whenever possible, you leave yourself room for days you can’t write. In case something comes up, or you just hit an inspiration dead zone and can’t manage to meet the goal. Hopefully, you’ll still be ahead. Or at least you won’t have much to write if you have to catch up.
Root each other on!
On the Camp Nano website they already allow you to join a cabin when you join the competition. Talk it up in the chat if your fellow cabin members are willing, or if not, look into places like Twitter or Facebook for others participating. I’m sure if you look in the Facebook Nanowrimo group or hashtags like #nanowrimo, #campnano, or #campnano2019, you’re bound to find fellow campers.
Complain together, cheer together, root each other on. Finding a group is a great way to hold you accountable for writing. I find that it even keeps me inspired for writing to have others that are just as excited for me to finish as I am for them. We all want to see each other win as if they were our own projects, and no matter if we succeed or fail, we’re glad we participated together.
Which brings me to my next point.
Compete with yourself, not others
Camp Nano and Nanowrimo are challenges for yourself, so that you can see what you’re made of. So that you can get ahead on that project you’ve been meaning to start and get a good couple thousand words on it.
But don’t get discouraged by how fast everyone else is going, or if someone wins and you don’t. Try to celebrate with them instead of getting down about it. The game is all about your writing journey with yourself, and about finding others with the same passion. You “win” by meeting your writing goals, but really? You win just by participating.