Camp NaNoWriMo: Doing the Prepwork

On Monday, the last Camp NaNoWriMo of 2013 begins. You’ll have thirty days … okay and maybe one extra … to write something awesome. I’m on holiday but wanted leave some words of wisdom for those planning on joining me on the summer’s biggest novel-writing adventure.

It’s not about the words.

Camp is a lot more chilled than the November Edition. After all, it’s apparently summer (though here in the UK it’s basically rained non-stop) which means good intentions to sit inside at a computer are often derailed pretty early on. Camp is about writing something; it could be a novel, it could be a short story or just some flash fiction. If you’ve never done it before then go forth and sign up, this is the idea time. I like to think of it as the rehearsal run for November but with more, erm, sunshine.

Plan. Plan. Plan.

As much as I enjoy winging it, NaNoWriMo is never a good time for that. You’ll lose steam halfway through. If you’re writing a novel or even a short story, sketch it out now and you’ll thank me for it around July 15th.

It’s okay to miss a day or three.

Don’t stress if real life forces you to take a backseat. It happens. The trick is to not let it browbeat you into giving up. Just set your target low and see how you go, you can always change it later.

Get out and about.

If you can, don’t sit inside all day staring at your computer/tablet/blank page. If you can, go sit in a nice park or on the lawn. Personally I will be found in Starbucks on St. Stephen’s Street, Norwich, for much of the month with my dog and my laptop. Follow me on Twitter (I’m @LesleySmith and will be using the hashtags #campnanowrimo and #ststarbucksnorwich) and I’ll try to post helpful tips and updates as we go.

Don’t forget your pen – and a notebook!

I carry a Moleskine wherever I go, in my case one of the awesome Evernotesquared ones as it fits perfectly in the pocket of my jacket. You never know when you might want to sketch out a scene, note down some interesting names or words which pop into your heads and, it’s sods law, that it always happens when you don’t have anything to write on. Yes, the pen is more important than the paper.

Start thinking now.

Rather than wait till Monday, go sign up for Camp now. You can fill in your profile, find your friends (I’m LesleySmith) and even upload a cover if you’re graphically inclined. I’d also, if you’re planning on joining the pros, bookmark the word count page so you can easily update your stats and there are also banners for Facebook and badges for your blog. I’d also suggest lining up a good playlist or just a pile of DVDs to provide background noise.

Don’t panic!

Seriously people, chill. It’s summer, there’s no point in getting too hot under the collar. Drink plenty of water, eat regular meals, take your cats for walks and don’t take this too seriously. I know first hand that killing the fun makes anything a chore.

So what am I working on?

I’ve got 45k of The Changing of the Sun down already and, while there’s no fixed deadline, there is. I’m planning a Kickstarter to raise funds and hope to put it live in August. So, erm yeah, the first draft sorta needs finishing. 50k in thirty one days it is then.

I really hope you’ll join me on what is, no doubt, going to be an adventure. Remember, it’s a month of magic and mayhem that must be repeated. I hate it and love it, I swear at it and complain but I’m back each year without fail.

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