Why I prefer Camp Nano to Standard Nano

It’s March 27th, which means Camp NaNo is just a few days away! If you’re not familiar with it, Camp NaNo is basically the same thing as NaNoWriMo, but with a camp theme because springtime I guess? Anyway, it’s as good an excuse as any to write as many words as possible. If you’re thinking “I’ll write for NaNo in November,” do keep in mind that November is months away, and April is four days away. Why not do it now?

If this is your first time doing one of these month long writing binges, Camp Nano is where you should start – because while it’s basically the same thing, it is different in a few key ways.

Here’s why Camp NaNo is better than NaNo, especially for newer writers.

1) Set your own goal.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in a month. The reason for this goal is that is the minimum amount of words that constitutes a full novel. It’s a great goal and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to reach that word count…but if you’d previously only been writing 5,000 or 10,000 words a month, or if you usually don’t write enough to make counting by month worthwhile, it’s kind of like running a marathon after being as sedate as…well, as my lazy couch potato ass.

Pictured: Things you will never see me doing.

Camp NaNo, on the other hand, lets your set the goal. I’m currently shooting for a rather standard 50,000 words, which should be just enough to wrap up my two main WIPs. Other people I know are setting different goals – out of the writers I work with normally, I have several with a goal of 20,000 words, one other with a 50,000 word goal, another with a 60,000 word goal, and a third who doesn’t have a word count goal but instead is shooting for 45 hours worth of writing.

This flexibility lets your tailor your monthly goal to whatever works best for you. It’s far more adaptable, and therefore less stressful, than a hard and fast 50,000 words.

2) It’s not in November.

Last year, during NaNo, I realized how damn inconvenient that time of year is for writing. It’s the point where all the annual projects businesses have start coming due, it’s the time when finals are going on for those of you that are in college, it’s when everyone is gearing up for the Holiday Season – including Thanksgiving for those of you in America – and it’s just…a really tough time to commit to 50,000 words.

Wouldn’t you rather be doing this when you’re not shopping or planning or studying or dealing with family?

Meanwhile, Camp NaNo runs twice a year, April and July. April, before the finals are in full swing for students, before summer is in swing for the parents. It’s basically a dead month – nothing happens in April that disrupts normal life for most people, except for Easter or Passover if you celebrate either – and Easter is nowhere near as time intensive as the winter holiday season, in my opinion. (I can’t speak from personal experience for Passover, my father only celebrated it once with us)

The second camp, in July, is also perfect for writing. Nothing major besides the Fourth of July here in the states. If you’re a student, no classes. If you’re a teacher, you…well, let’s be honest, you’re still busy as hell, but you’re probably less busy than you are doing the school year. Sure, you might say that you could go outside and enjoy the warm weather, but let’s be honest: you were going to sit inside watching Netflix with the AC on max. You’re a writer, which makes you slightly less sunlight adverse than a vampire. Slightly.

3) Cabins are a fun twist.

So one thing that makes Camp NaNo different is there are cabins you join with other writers. Here’s a screenshot of what they look like.

Names blocked out because I’m too lazy to get permission.

It lets you have other authors to give you some friendly encouragement or well meaning peer pressure. Nothing quite motivates like seeing others accomplishing their goals, and it lets you vent about how things are going. The people in my cabins are fellow authors from a Discord server I’m on, but you can absolutely find random people to write with.

It makes the whole experience more communal than NaNoWriMo is. It’s not just sitting alone with your computer, banging out the words. You’re connected with people when you do it, and that shared effort is just more fun than writing alone.

Are you trying Camp NaNo? Let me know in the comments below!

12 thoughts on “Why I prefer Camp Nano to Standard Nano

  1. November NaNoWriMo is way more communal! All of the live events and writeins and the online writeins for your region! My region hosts daily online writeins! As an ML, I know what amazing work everyone does, and the requirements for regional leaders.
    Camp is nice because it is waaay more laid back, but I have never had good luck with the cabins.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an excellent point! I’ve always felt a bit overwhelmed by the writeins, both in person and online. Joined a discord server my region’s leaders hosted last year and just found it… Intimidating? I think the more cozy nature of the cabins just appeals to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah discord is just too much for me to. But try your online region, or elsewhere region. You may find that more to your liking. I love the writeins, but I tend to live in a rural area so I’m lucky if 3 people show up.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the tip!
    I haven’t heard about this before, but since I read your post this morning, I’ve been pondering. This “Camp-thing” might perhaps be “My-thing”? To urge me to write at least something every day, and since I just managed to write a piece for Diana’s #Writingprompt, I actually have something completely new to continue working with. It sounds like a perfect task!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you did! 😀
        Oh, so right you are. There’s nothing like a newborn story. Getting to know new characters, experience new events, finding out what is happening next.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It really is the best. It combines the joy of reading with actually getting to find out. You ever do that thing where someone says “I can’t wait to see what happens next” and you’re like “I know, right?” 😛

        I read your prompt response over on your blog, but it wouldn’t let me comment. Super interesting premise though – the whole thing is incredibly evocative.


      3. Oh. Yes. I. Do. !!!
        All the time! Have never a clue how a story will end. After writing a scene, I ask: What will happen now? I even talk to my characters.
        I’ve tried, but it’s impossible for me to decide first everything what it’s all about – and then write.

        Oh yeah! Fourteen days – then no comments. Sorry. To many spams on old posts…
        Thank you so much for your comment now! No wonder I want to continue that story, I just have to find out who they are, where they are, what they’re gonna do – and what is it with that eclipse???


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  4. Camp Nano last year was the first time I participated, and I loved it. I did camp in July and Nano in November, and I agree about the timing thing. April and July are perfect for really getting into the zone because there’s not much else going on. I used November to work on a second draft, which isn;’t ‘traditional’’, but I think they’re relaxing that expectation. The flexibility to set your own goal appeals to a lot of people, I think. It’s almost here… Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

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