July is Camp NaNoWriMo. Many people in my region are showing interest already. (NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month.) Why, you ask, would you want to do two NaNoWriMos in one year?
First of all, Camp is relaxed, not an ordeal. You aren’t tied to anything more than loose goals. You can choose any kind of project, whatever word count goal you feel comfortable with, and there is no pressure.
Two years ago, I declared I would write 10,000 words, which turned out to be four short stories. You could declare your intention to write as few as 100 words.
The reason camp exists is that if you plan to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, you may find it harder to make time for writing than you planned. It helps if you develop some time management skills in advance.
Writing daily is more manageable once it becomes a habit. Making the best use of your time requires a little self-discipline, something we all could use a bit more of.
If you are interested in participating, the link for that is https://nanowrimo.org/what-is-camp-nanowrimo
To participate in Camp, just announce a project, then make sure to check “Associate with a NaNoWriMo Event” and select the current Camp NaNoWriMo event.
You can announce your project starting in June for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo session.
Once you’ve done that, you should be ready to start your project. You’ll be able to start tracking your writing on July 1 on their website.
When you reach your writing goal, the site will automatically confirm your win. You will receive a certificate celebrating your achievement, along with a bunch of other winner goodies.
Do you want to become part of the broader NaNoWriMo writing community? Check out the Camp NaNoWriMo forums.
Headquarters offers authors options to start or join an existing writing group. Check out the “Writing Groups, Assemble” forum for open groups, and more.
Whenever we begin talking about NaNoWriMo, I always feel the need to mention saving your files.
If you are a new author, or unfamiliar with using a computer or electronic notepad, saving your files is an important habit to develop. If you value your hard work, you won’t be lazy or slapdash about this.
- Even if you don’t have a title, name your manuscript with a good, descriptive working title, such as The_Dinosaur_Story. You can call it something else later.
- Never delete a manuscript. If you suddenly decide you need to make such radical changes that you need to start over, save it in the same master file but with a new descriptive name: The_Dinosaur_Story_version_2. Save each new version separately so that if you change your mind, you don’t lose work you might need later.
- Losing your files is a traumatic experience. Some authors lose several years of work in a surprise computer crash – an unimaginable tragedy. Entire manuscripts can go missing when a thumb-drive is lost, or a hard drive is corrupted.
You must save regularly. If you are using a Chromebook or working out of Microsoft’s OneDrive, this won’t be a problem. However, if you’re using an ordinary word-processing program such as Word or Open Office, you do need to be conscientious.
I use a file hosting service. I have a lot of images on file, so I pay for an expanded version, but they do have a free version that offers you as much storage as a thumb drive. I like using a file hosting service because my work can’t be lost or misplaced, and is always accessible from my desktop, laptop, or Android. I work out of those files, so they are automatically saved and are where I want them when I close my programs.
You can use any storage system that is free to you–Google Drive, OneDrive, or a standard portable USB flash drive.
Did I mention that you should save consistently?
Did I suggest that you DON’T put off saving to a backup of some sort? PLEASE, do it every day before you close your files.
The manuscript I am currently working on is set in the Tower of Bones world. I’m on Version 11, just so you know. Sometimes a significant section has to be rewritten as it doesn’t fit the original intent of the story.
All the previous versions are good but took the story in the wrong direction. With character name changes, two of my outtakes became novellas set in that world.
The option to repurpose work that no longer fits is why I never discard any manuscript.
Many of these things are basic, and perhaps you have your own system. Or maybe you prefer to write by the seat of your pants. That is the way I write poetry, so I understand “the joy of pantsing,” and I will talk about that too.
In my case, if I have the idea for a novel, good prep means I don’t lose sight of my story arc when I sit down to write it in November.