Remember going to camp as a kid? Leaving your parents and siblings, heading off to a place filled with new people and new experiences? The campfire songs, the friendships formed, the homesickness, the potential exposure to poison ivy,…I must admit, I preferred the camps not geared towards exploring nature. My ideal camps were the ones considered by many I’m sure as geeky, the camps where I got to spend my days not canoeing or hiking or basket-weaving, but writing. Poetry or prose, back then it didn’t matter. I just loved the time allowed to study the turn of a phrase, the poetic cadence of a line, the descriptive power of a paragraph. And so I’m [mentally] packing my bags now for Camp NaNoWriMo!
But what you ask is Camp NaNoWriMo and is NaNoWriMo even a word? First, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is held annually in November. This is a description taken from their website for those of you uninitiated into this challenge:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
I participated in NaNoWriMo several years ago, before I had children, but on my own terms. I’m not sure why they chose November as the month to perform this challenge, but with Thanksgiving and travelling to see family or having family come to us, November was not a good choice for me. Plus, why not pick a month with 31 days? Seems smarter to take advantage of that extra day, don’t you think? So I chose to do it in March. And it worked out perfectly.
And now they have two summer “camp” sessions: one in June and one in August.
I love signing up for crazy challenges like this. I mean, who writes a book in a month? Technically, 50,000 words is a bit short for a novel, but with a good rewrite it can certainly have potential.
Breaking it down, 50,000 words in 30 days comes out to about 6 pages a day. And when the muse is willing, six pages can be cake. Rich, velvety, calorie-laden chocolate cake. With lots of smooth, decadent icing. And ice cream because I just adore ice cream and know of no reason to have cake without also having ice cream. But when the muse is stubborn and hiding in the deepest, darkest, most obscure places, well, six pages can be sheer torture!
This time I have no idea what I’m going to work on, which could prove troublesome for my word count. And we’ve got guests coming for a visit so that could mess me up a bit. Plus this new blog needs careful nurturing. You, my dear, kind readers, could forget all about me in that time and I’m just getting to know you! But no matter these obstacles. I’m going to shoot for 50,000 words and hope to reach…75,000! Might as well make it challenging!
Anyone want to join me on this crazy journey? Camp starts June 1st!