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Camp NaNoWriMo Starts Next Week

Want to write a novel in April? You should take the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge next week.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place every November, but the organizers created the online camp to give writers an alternative time for the writing challenge. Here are some of the new features:

The Word-Count Archery Range: Maybe, for whatever reason, 50K just wasn’t the right fit for you. Thankfully, you can now adjust your targets and take aim at a word-count goal anywhere from 10K to 999,999. …Your Camp Cabin: Do you need silence to concentrate on writing your novel? Or do you find flashes of genius in the chatter of your fellow cabinmates? Choose your bunkmates based on age, shared genre, similar word-count goal, activity level, or by name! … The Arts and Crafts Tent: We’ve got some beautiful web badges ready for you to trumpet your participation at Camp.

On the Morning Media Menu last year, we spoke with journalist and author Nora Zelevansky about how the writing marathon changed her career.

Zelevansky talked about how NaNoWriMo helped her focus on her debut novel, Semi-Charmed Life. She also shared advice for writers taking the writing challenge this November. She explained:

It’s something that feels good every day, like an exercise routine. You work for whatever the allotted amount of time is for you and you feel like you’ve accomplished something. For me, it’s not unlike morning pages (if you’ve ever done The Artist’s Way), a chance to clear your head and take yourself outside your everday life and immediate world, and immerse yourself in a fictional world. It’s super freeing.

She also offered this advice:

If you have a day where you don’t get to your 1,600 words, my advice is not to be too hard on yourself. You have to do what you can do. There will be days when you write more and days when you will write less. That’s really an okay thing. We get exhausted, we get sick, we get burned out. And that’s okay. That’s my biggest piece of advice.

She also explained how she applied these lessons to her second novel:

I’m following the rules that would apply anyway during [NaNoWriMo]. They keep telling you during that process that the plot will just come. I thought it wasn’t possible and I didn’t believe it, but it really does just come out. And that’s a fantastic thing. It happens whether you do it in November or some other month helps.

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