Commonly known fact: it’s April.
Not-so-commonly known fact: it’s Camp NaNoWriMo.
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo–the once-a-year crazy writing frenzy that results in a flurry of novely things (some are more novel-resembeling than others). But you may not have heard of its summer-loving sister, Camp NaNoWriMo, so here is the breakdown of these two events:
Not for the faint of heart, this event is an epic 30-day journey through wild literary lands. Think ‘mad scientist hiding in the basement, only resurfaces for caffeine and/or chocolate’. The good, the bad, and the weird all hang out together and use guerrilla tactics on unwary writers.
Occurs During: November
Word Goal: 50,000
Cool Things: You get to choose your writing buddies and only talk to them if you want to. There are fewer ways to procrastinate on the site (unless you seek out the forums). You can’t change your word count goal, so literally: “Do or do not, there is no try”. You can also win virtual badges on the way to writing your novel!
This event is the social butterfly of the NaNo family. Think ‘tea party in the garden with cake’. Motivation depends largely upon the dynamic of the group, and everyone’s commitment will vary widely. The occasional mad scientist can still be found scribbling away in corners, but the majority of writers will be playing croquet and marveling at the birdsong. The biggest enemy is procrastination, but it’s only dangerous if one strays from the path.
Occurs During: Usually April and July.
Word Goal: You get to choose. Alternatively, you can choose the number of hours, minutes, lines, or pages to complete.
Cool Things: Writers work in cabins, which are virtual chatting spaces where you can hang out with your cabin mates. You can be either randomly assigned to a cabin or create one with your friends. I’ve been told that you can decide on a name for your cabin too, but I haven’t seen that feature in action yet. Camp NaNo sends you daily ‘care packages’ with advice and the occasional prompt or dare to help with your writing. You can also choose what you’re working on: nonfiction, poetry, short story, script, or revision!
Either road you choose to travel down, you won’t be alone. You also won’t be bored.
If you do try to dip your toes into one of these events, I wish you luck!