camping it up

summer tree cropEver heard of NaNoWriMo (Nation Novel Writing Month) ?

In case you haven’t, it’s an annual, online creative writing challenge to write a 50,000 word novel between the first and the last day of November. It’s been running since 1999 and attracts participants from across the world.

It describes itself as: “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing… for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” Basically you write (crazily fast) throughout the month, entering what you’ve written into their secure site where the words are counted (but never seen by a human eye) and logged. If you hit the target by the end of the month you are declared a winner. And maybe you’ll be able to get your novel published at some point in the future – over 250 NaNo novels have been traditionally published since its inception… and counting!

Sounds fun? A bit mad perhaps? Well yes. I toyed with the idea of taking part in it last November (for all of two seconds before deciding: “Who am I kidding? I couldn’t possibly do that – I haven’t slept for nearly a year!”) and am vaguely considering doing it this year.

But then via my friend Chrissie who is a total NaNoWriMo enthusiast (I think she may have done seven of them… possibly more) I became aware of an offshoot of the main event: CampNaNoWriMo which takes place twice a year in April and July. This is a less pressured event that you can enter with anything upwards of 10,000 words (and you can write short stories and scripts and things – it’s quite flexible).

So, I’ve decided to take part next month! I’m all signed up with a target of 15,000 words. If I manage that (and if I hit my 10,000 target for this month) my novel will have reached 45,000 words by the end of July.

I’m quite excited! But it does mean I need to write fast to finish my target for this month. I also need to leave myself time before July 1st to do some preparation work because basically I’ve got to the point where I need to plan more of my book before I can write more of it. Yes, If you’re a fastidious planner you can read this and feel smug because my novel is barely planned at all. I only really have a vague outline and am mostly making it up as I go along. Tsk.

On that note, I’d better scarper.

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