Category: writing

6 Reasons You Should Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo (Even If You’re Not a Writer)

Camp NaNoWriMo is happening soon! Today, we have the pleasure of reposting this article from blogger Rebekah Joan about reasons to participate in Camp, even if writing isn’t your jam:

Every April and July, writers from across the globe participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. They pick up their pens (or open up their laptops) and go on an adventure-filled journey.

Camp NaNoWriMo is a writing competition (against yourself + time). No one gets first place, but if you hit your word count, you “win.” You have an entire month (either April or July) to write your way to the end of your story.

With Camp NaNoWriMo right around the corner, writers are gearing up with plots, outlines, character sheets, and all the motivation they can find.

But what’s the point? And why should you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo—even if you aren’t a writer?

1. You get prizes.

That’s right. Even if you don’t win, you can get some sweet deals on writing software, etc. from the Camp NaNoWriMo sponsors. While Camp NaNoWriMo doesn’t have quite so many offers as the November event, there’s still plenty to keep you motivated.

2. You get to join a community.

When you participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, you’re put into a cabin with a handful of other writers. It makes for a great support group. You can share writing prompts, encourage each other, and make some new friends along the way.

If you’re looking for a cabin full of enthusiastic writers, you can search on the “Finding Cabin Mates” forum. Cabins can hold up to 20 people!

This article here explains the details of joining a Camp NaNoWriMo cabin.

3. Camp NaNoWriMo forces you to set a routine.

If there’s one thing writers have learned from NaNoWriMo, it’s that you can’t win unless you set aside time to write. There are plenty of ways to make time to write, like getting up early in the morning, writing in the in-between times of your day, or actually scheduling time for it.

You have to find what works for you.

Setting a routine in your day will help you to boost your productivity. Everyone needs a bit of structure in their life, and Camp NaNoWriMo is a great place to get it from. Whenever I give myself structure in my day, I get way more done, I’m happier with myself, and I feel way more satisfied about how my day went.

4. You can boost your creativity.

Some people hate writing. Absolutely, totally despise it. And you know what? I used to be the same way too—until I tried my hand at creative writing. Now I love it in every form! You just have to get past what school taught you to hate. Writing (or any creative process, really) is a great way to explore your imagination, de-stress, and learn things about yourself that you didn’t know.

And for those afraid of Writer’s Block, there are plenty of ways to get rid of it:

  • Having an outline will give you a clear path on what to write.
  • The Amazing Story Generator will give you endless (and fun) prompts + ideas.
  • Skipping to a different scene can get your brain moving.
  • A change of scenery can help boost productivity + clear your mind of cobwebs.

5. You can get excited about something.

When was the last time you got excited about something? Like, REALLY excited? Starting your own writing project will give you bursts of inspiration, giddy thoughts about creating backstories, and tons of excitement. Plus, you get to be a part of a community of thriving writers.

Now that’s something to get excited about.

6. You get to set your own goal.

Here’s the thing:

NaNoWriMo has very few rules, but the most important one is that you write 50K words in 30 days.

Camp NaNoWriMo is different.

Instead of having a terrifyingly high target word count assigned to you, you get to choose your own. As I’m working on this blog + freelance writing + starting married life, I set mine at 20,000 words. That’s less than 1,000 a day. Anyone can do that. You can do that.

So what do you say?

Are you ready to jump on in and join Camp NaNoWriMo this time around?


Rebekah Joan is a lifestyle and travel blogger. She’s also a fiction writer, a photographer, a NaNoWriMo fanatic, a pizza lover, and a freelance writer. You can follow her blog at www.rebekah-joan.com.

prompt 1071

Write a story about a homeless man who carries three small pots with him, each containing a sapling.

I will take every star from the sky until your heart is full again.Lola S

I will take every star from the sky until your heart is full again.Lola S

Camp 101: The Basics for First-Time Campers

What in the world is Camp NaNoWriMo?

Camp NaNoWriMo is a bi-annual online writers’ retreat that takes place in April and July. Camp gives you the opportunity to set your own goals and work on any writing project in a supportive environment with lots of writers’ resources. Camp is a great time to test run any writing project, whether it be a novel, comic book, graphic novel, memoir, screenplay, travel guide, cookbook, thesis, epic poem, one-act play, or anything else you can dream up! 

Campers from all around the world come together online (and often in person) to share their daily progress, and cheer each other on! No matter what project you choose to work on, no matter what stage of progress you’re in, your fellow campers will be able offer some useful advice and encouragement along the way! The best part is that Camp is fun and free to all! And you never know who you will meet—maybe even the protagonist of your new novel.

How do I do Camp?

It’s OK to feel nervous and excited. Everyone feels that way on their first day of Camp. But, don’t worry. It’s super simple to get started. All you have to do is sign up, pick a cabin, and create your project! Piece of cake. You can do it! Don’t be shy. We are all in this together. And just in case you get lost out on the trail, here is a step by step guide to help you arrive at Camp safe and sound.

  1. Create your profile so your fellow Campers can connect and cheer you on! (If you already have a NaNoWriMo profile, you can just sign in to the Camp NaNoWriMo website with your regular username and password.)
  2. Create your project as early as March (you can change it later). Give it a title and you’re good to go!
  3. Join a cabin with up to 20 fellow Campers

    to communicate and share encouragement during a Camp NaNoWriMo session. You are assigned to a cabin based on the preferences you select in “Cabin Settings.” Or create a private cabin and invite Campers with similar projects or interests.

  4. Snag some flair to show your Camp NaNo pride on your social media profiles and let others know that you’ll be participating.
  5. Get inspired with pep talks, blog posts, and events—plus, some sage advice from your Camp Counselors, published authors who volunteer to share their experience and offer support.
  6. Update your word count, or whichever method you choose to mark your daily progress on the Camp website and watch your project climb to the finish line!
  7. Claim your win by validating your project starting on April 20th and through the end of the month. There’s no cash prize, but you get bragging rights, special sponsor goody rewards, and your very own novel!)

What are some tips?

If this all sounds pretty daunting, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Luckily, the NaNoWriMo community is full of writers happy to share their wisdom and tips for tackling Camp in style. Here’s a few tidbits of advice from last year’s #CampNaNoAdvice tweet chat:





When my mind is away, wondering about everything, and I see your face in the crowd, suddenly, my…

When my mind is away, wondering about everything, and I see your face in the crowd, suddenly, my…

Don’t you ever mistake that my solitude is replaceable by love. If the idea of loving carries…

Don’t you ever mistake that my solitude is replaceable by love. If the idea of loving carries…

My dearest, I have never experienced a heartbreak so strong I feel heavy weights crushing down my…

My dearest, I have never experienced a heartbreak so strong I feel heavy weights crushing down my…

Read, Write, and Know the Character

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Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! Now that March is here, we’re starting to think about gearing up for our next writing adventure. Today, NaNoWriMo participant Vrushali Khadilkar shares a few tips on creating strong characters, as well as a book recommendation:

When someone asks me about how a writer finds their own voice, I always say that you have to read books in order to understand the tone of the characters and voice. You have to understand the scenes and you have to get totally into it. 

When you are not a traveler and can’t visit different places now and then, but you still want to explore new cultures, then you must get your hands on books. When you read books, you go miles away from the place you are. Once you understand this, you know how and what needs to be written down in order to create impact!

For a writer, it’s very important to understand the psychology of the characters you’re creating and how they will behave. Before getting on the journey to write, you should consider what genres you love to read and write about.

Challenge yourself to explore different genres. Get a hold of books from many genres and start reading! Notice which books you engage with and which books you never finish reading. Your habits and likes will change and make your writing style unique. 

What’s important is that you have started reading. It doesn’t matter how early or how late.

One of the books I’ve read that has helped me deeply engage with and understand the character’s motivation is John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. It’s a young adult novel and I strongly encourage you to read it!

Just experience how well the author portrays the unique experience of being in this young girl’s mind:

“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person and why.”

Even if you’re not a teenage girl in love, you can relate to the experience that she’s having in this book.

Why wait? Pick up a novel today to see what kind of character voices speak to you!


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Vrushali Khadilkar is a commerce graduate and currently a freelancer. She writes on range of topics on her blog, which is turning20web.wordpress.com. Visit Instagram @april_autumn12 to find links to her podcasts and lots more.
Vrushali has been participating in NaNoWriMo since last year and it’s been an amazing experience. Thank you NaNoWriMo for providing this amazing platform!

Top photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash.

prompt 1070

To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most. 

                                                             ― Michel de Montaigne

To Write or Not to Write: Is That the Question?

Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! Now that March is here, we’re starting to think about gearing up for our next writing adventure. Today, NaNoWriMo participant K.A. Magrowski shares a few tips on determining whether you need to take a break from your manuscript, or if you should keep keep pushing through:

To be a successful writer (in whatever way you choose to define that) means writing even if you don’t want to. But is it okay sometimes not to write? Of course it is! Sometimes the answer is to do something else, like go for a run, or read, or even play a video game.

However, before you skip that writing session, you need to determine why you don’t feel like writing. Are you unsure of how to advance the plot? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Feeling like the story is not how you imagined it and you’re disappointed? Or is your head still filled with non-writing worries and anxieties from a bad day at work or other non-writing problems?  

For me, it’s so easy to look at the amount of work needed and say, Oh I don’t feel passionate about this or I think this sucks, so I’m going to play World of Warcraft (yes, still playing). The road to procrastination is paved with side quests. The trick is being honest and saying either:

“I just can’t dredge up the words because my mind or body is overwhelmed. I need a break to do something else today.”

or…

“I’m at a tough spot and it’s going to be rough, but I’m going to focus on this story for one hour and see what happens.”

For the first option, getting out of your head for an hour or an evening may be the answer. Let your mind rest and do something physical or social. But for the second, the best thing to do is buckle down. Sometimes the hardest work, where I’m thinking deeply about my writing because I’m having trouble with the scene or the character, is the most fruitful. It’s also the toughest point to start writing because there’s that fear that I won’t be able to produce anything worthwhile and that I’m a fraud and a hack.

“The road to procrastination is paved with side quests.”

This is when I have to dig deep. Can I do 30 minutes? 15 minutes? Can I write just one paragraph? I tell myself I can delete it when I’m done. These tricks (yes, somehow I can trick myself, which is pretty darn amazing. Brains are weird) of time and short bursts of writing lend a sense of impermanence to the writing, which may be what I need at the moment. After all, if I pretend it’s not “serious writing,” then there’s no pressure. I can delete it and move on. I’m often pleasantly surprised by what comes of letting go of the pressure to perform.

If all else fails, I switch tracks completely. Last week, feeling conflicted and overwhelmed about working on my projects, I let myself write a few poems. No one has to see them, I flexed some creative muscle, and also worked on brevity and imagery. A win all around.

At the end of the day, it helps to remember that 10 minutes of writing is better than nothing. You don’t have to create a masterpiece each session. Just write and let go for a few precious moments.  You will be amazed at what will flow once you open the faucet just a bit with no expectations.


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Gamer / Geek / Triathlete / Bibliophile / Cat Lady Extraordinaire, K.A. Magrowski hails from the haunted wilds of South Jersey, home of the Jersey Devil. Fueled by coffee and wine, she writes speculative fiction for children and adults and is the former president of the South Jersey Writers’ Group. Her short work has appeared in magazines, and various anthologies including Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey, Reading Glasses, We Walk Invisible, She Blended Me With Science, as well as online.

Top photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash.