You probably already know about National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. It’s all about writing a novel in a month. But twice a year, in April and June, there’s a version of NaNoWriMo called Camp NaNoWriMo. The basic idea behind the April Camp NaNo is that you spend the month of April working on a specific writing project, one that can be anything from 30,000 to 999,999 words, hours, lines, or pages for your project.
What’s more, “project” doesn’t have to mean “novel.” In the official Camp NaNoWriMo FAQ regarding What genres can I write in? Can I write non-fiction or poetry? it says that Camp NaNoWriMo welcomes
open-ended writing, including scripts, poems, and more! You can specify the category of your work on your Project Info page.
People write novels, memoirs, humor, scripts, poetry, outlines . . . pretty much anything. You set your own goals for your own project, and can track them via the NaNoWritMo Camp website.
Another thing that differentiates Camp from NaNoWriMo is that participants are assigned to a “cabin”: a group of up to 20 other writers who serve as a mini community to cheer you on (and commiserate). Think of cabins as an online writers’ group; you can even create your own private cabin for you and your Camp participating friends. Cabins include a small message board for cabin members only.
You can join Camp NaNoWriMo here. Right now is a great time to start thinking (and planning) what you’re going to write about during NaNoWriMo Camp. You can jot down random idea, write a detailed outline, start gathering inspiration in the form of pictures and character descriptions . . . If you look at the list of resources compiled by the Camp NaNoWriMo staff (scroll way down to the section under Non-Novel projects and you’ll see that people have taken advantage of NaNoWriMo Camp to write all sorts of things. There’s even a resource guide for people writing non-fiction during Camp NaNoWriMo. Some people use NaNoWriMo Camp to research and plan, with the goal of writing a detailed outline.
I’m thinking hard about giving Camp a try, since non-fiction is OK. It’ll be my first time at NaNoWriMo Camp, so feel free to offer suggestions. Any one else planning on camp next month? I know there’s a thread about Camp NaNoWriMo at the Absolute Write NaNoWriMo forum.