Camp NaNoWriMo begins July 1st! If you haven’t heard of it, NaNoWriMo is ‘National Novel Writing Month’, though it has since become international. The goal is to write a brand-new 50,000 word novel in 30 days. November is the main event, with two ‘camps’ in April and July. The camps are a bit different, in that the goal is flexible. Most opt for a smaller word count or to continue a previous project. I usually do new projects for Camp, but this month I’m opting to finish my November novel. Here’s why I love NaNoWriMo so much…

The first time you win a NaNo is such a heartening experience. To know that you can finish such a big undertaking in only one month makes writing seem more possible. To see that we can still write with full-time jobs and all the usual responsibilities. It can be hard as hell, but writing 1,667 words a day adds up. It proves that we can just throw ourselves into a project, and the stars don’t need to be perfectly aligned. The first draft is a wild mess that needs plenty of revising, but spontaneity can make it more fresh and creative.

I’ve done NaNo many times (over ten years) but I still have so much fun with it. The structure is helpful– this is time to WRITE! I can’t dilly dally line-editing and fussing around. I enjoy writing with friends and get most of my words during ‘sprints’ — races to see who can write the most words in a set time. Peer pressure works!

A few years ago an infamous article complained that NaNoWriMo produced too many amateurs who would somehow junk up the scene and obscure more talented writers. That ‘real writers’ would write on their own. This is hogwash; how is more art in the world a bad thing? Writers are infamous for their lack of confidence. We’re surely missing so many wonderful stories due to their authors’ bad self-esteem. So how does it hurt to give people some encouragement? Not everyone has to be a published ‘professional’ either. As I mentioned in my previous article, there are many reasons to write, even if no one reads a word of it.

I’ll post more about NaNoWriMo, but I’ll end by saying I recommend everyone give it a try. Stick with it for the whole month, even if the goal feels unreachable. Even if you don’t win, you’ll have more words at the end of the month than you would have otherwise. If you are participating, let’s be friends!

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