Everyone has a book in them, they just need help in getting it out.
By Nicholas Harvey
Writing a novel used to be such a solitary endeavour. The would-be novelist slogged away at a typewriter, never guessing there were others who knew the same turmoil and triumph writing could induce in equal measures. Now, there is another way.
Join Camp NaNoWriMo this April and July and be a part of the online writing phenomenon that provides the support, progress tracking tools, and finish line goal to help you write the rough draft of your novel in a month. Think it can't be done? Think again.
Last year I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo. I have always secretly considered myself a writer, even though I never managed to put more than a few hundred words to paper. My bio on social media always included writing as one of my favourite activities, and it was true, no one could write a shopping list quite like me. But, stories continued to clang around in my head for years, restlessly hoping for some outlet to purge them. Then I happened upon an article very similar to this one and thought, “why not?”.
I joined a cabin and met other would-be novelists with similar histories and I flourished in the very real community created by the virtual “camp”. Cabin mates take an interest in each other’s progress and add a sense of camaraderie to the day to day challenge of meeting that word count goal. Seeing the graph of your daily progress gives a unique kind of motivation as well as a glorious sense of accomplishment. I finished the 50,112 word rough draft of my novel in 30 days and became what I always wanted to be; a writer in deed as well as thought.
Camp NaNoWriMo is based on November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where participants write 50,000 words in a month. It is the project of the Office of Letters and Light, the nonprofit organisation that helps bring free creative writing programs to nearly 350,000 kids and adults in approximately 100 countries, 2,000 classrooms, 200 libraries, and 500 NaNoWriMo regions every year.
No plot? No worries. Camp NaNoWriMo is more interested in quantity than quality, believing that getting over the fear of writing a horrible first draft will get you writing and give you a chance to edit your finished draft into something better. And this year, you set your own word count goal, so if 50 thousand words seems just too scary, or too big a commitment, 10 thousand words is a more achievable end.
Joining is easy and it's free to participate. Visit CampNaNoWriMo.org to sign up. You can also donate to the Office of Letters and Light if you so desire, or you can sign up for a fundraising page and get your friends and family to make a pledge towards your writing goal. Whatever level of participation you decide upon, now is the time to make that leap into the reality of being a writer.