Camp NaNo Challenge: Writing Tips and Tricks

Camp NaNoThis month I decided to sign up for Camp NaNo. What a disaster.

In 10 days, I’ve managed to write 500 words toward my project. Have you ever been this far behind? What did you do about it?

For anyone not familiar with Camp NaNo, it’s a summer program associated with National Novel Writing Month. The main challenge, to write 50,000 words in a month, takes place in November, but Camp NaNo is a chance to try writing at a less hectic time of the year.

At least, that’s the assumption.

The folks over at the Office of Letters and Light who run the NaNo programs have organized two summer camp sessions, one in April, one in July, both completely online.

April was a very hectic month for me and I wasn’t able to do much more than register my project on the Camp NaNo boards. I don’t think I added any words to the project itself. I chalked it up to starting a challenging new job and getting accustomed to the workload. July would be better, I told myself.

Well, July is here and I registered my project. I spent a week in June deciding which one it would be. Energized by the added push of coming across a likely publisher looking for new titles, I knew this would be my month. I set my goal at 2000 words per day through the month.

It may seem discouraging to have had such small success in my writing so far,  but I look at this as a challenge.

The thing is, there are very definite reasons why I have not been able to work on my novel up to this point in the month. Four major projects at work were due and I spent the first week of the month getting two of these wrapped up.

While these are simple facts that actually did have priority over my personal writing since they pay the bills, the reality is that everyone has challenges to getting their writing done. The question is, how do you assign your priorities so all the important ones get the attention they need?

Now that I’ve rescued myself from the overwhelm, it’s time to reassess and retarget.

To hit my goal at this point, I’ll need to write 2500 words a day just on my novel – not really that much higher than my original goal.

Looking at my schedule ahead, I know there are some days that are just not going to work. I redistributed the numbers across the available days accordingly which gave me a sense of how much time I would need to accomplish the goal. Here’s the most important part – I actually crossed out the time on my calendar.

I know, it’s all very mathematical and not highly creative. But it’s what it takes for me to get things done.

What strategies work best for you? Let me know in the comments.

Wendy Strain

My entire life is full of writing and creativity. Whether copywriting for exciting new projects, crafting web content for creative companies, ghostwriting, editing, coaching, or exploring my own imagination as a fiction writer, I am constantly engaged in stretching boundaries and exploring possibilities.

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