How I Get Ready For Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp starts tonight at midnight! I’m ready. I’ve got my bug spray, trail mix and everything I need to finish my novel in a month!


As I mentioned in my previous nano post. I won’t be starting a new novel for nano. Instead, I’m using nano to push me to finish the final act of the novel that I won November nano with.  My novel is called Pup and it is currently 67,313 words long. I figure 30,000 should be a sufficient goal to finish this first draft. It may even be more than I need but if I finish short than I will rewrite some scenes from another point-of-view or add additional scenes so that I have plenty of material to work with in revision.

Based on my experience with November nano, here are the nano essentials I can’t live without:

1. A nanowrimo calendar for my desktop wallpaper that tells me what today’s word count goal is. Since I couldn’t find one for July, I made one myself. If you like it, I’d be happy to adjust the word count to whatever your goal is and email you a copy. Just leave me a comment below and let me know.

camp nanowrimo calendar

2. Scrivener & an outline
. If you don’t have it already, download the free trial of Scrivener. It is hands down the best writing program I have ever come across and has increased my productivity exponentially. You can also get a discount on Scrivener if you win nanowrimo. In this one program you can write your manuscript, outline, format, take notes–and so much more! I made my outline a few months before November nano in Scrivener. I have a process for making my outline. If any of you are interested, I can make a tutorial on it. Here is a screenshot of my outline for act one.


3. Write or Die & Written Kitten:
I love Write or Die. It is a program that you can use free online. Simply enter your word count and your level of difficulty and start writing. If you stall too long between words, the screen will start to turn red and then a loud alarm will sound (you can choose from many horrible sounds–I use the crying babies one). WOD also has a neat feature called word wars where you can challenge a friend over the internet and compete for the highest word count. There is now Write or Die 2 as well, which I haven’t tried yet but has loads of new features. WOD is highly motivating for my word sprints, but if you’d prefer a kinder option there is Written Kitten. Same concept only for every hundred words you are rewarded with a new picture of a cute kitty.


4. Snacks:
Now in November, I was unconcerned about healthy eating. I fed the writing machine whatever it craved so long as it continued to produce the words, however, for Camp Nano I’m trying something different. My writing buddy, Adrian and I are drying fruit and making trail mix as a healthy alternative to chocolate and potato chips. There will also be coffee….lots of coffee! And some ice water. Hydration is key. Snacks are also a highly motivating reward. Last November, my writing buddy and I had Daiquiri Fridays where we would reward ourselves with a strawberry daiquiri for every 1.000 words written.


5. A Playlist:
When I’m writing at home alone, I prefer the quiet but when I’m at a coffee shop or writing with a friend, I am easily distracted by the smallest of noises. At these times, I cue up my playlist and pop my headphones in. Listening to music also helps inspire me when I’m stuck. For Pup I’ve been listening to a lot of Apocalyptica.


Now I want to hear from you! What are your Camp NaNoWriMo Essentials?


28 thoughts on “How I Get Ready For Camp NaNoWriMo”

  1. Hmm. I’m not going to participate, but if I were, I’d whip out my copy of Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. I generally work from outlines, but I suspect many here don’t. Applying a Hero’s Journey will at least give your book structure, some idea of what the turning points are, and where to go next. Mythic structures resonate with readers on a deep level.

    1. I have that book and agree that it is a good one and used it along with Karen Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days. The title is ridiculous but she incorporates the hero’s journey and her guidelines are both thorough and easily adaptable.

  2. I find your posts inspiring! You sound really organized and motivated 🙂 The Scrivner program sounds really awesome. I’ll look into that. I think the way to write is the one that works best for you. I could not do the “Write or Die,” program personally because I end up stopping quite often when I can’t figure out what to write, lol. A friend of mine used that for a bit, but it became counterproductive for her in the end. I’m not doing NaNoWrMo this year, and I haven’t ever done it actually. In previous years the goal was 50,000 words in a month, wasn’t it? Now they let you make your own goal, but I’m still recovering from a hip surgery, so my writing goals are pretty fluid right now. Maybe I’ll feel like doing it next year. I didn’t write at all in 2013 because of my health issues, and I just didn’t have it in me to write anything. So I have a word goal of 200-500 words a day, and that’s pushing myself XD I keep hoping I’ll get faster, maybe in time. Caffeine definitely helps with the writing process. I love caffeine in any form, coffee, tea, energy drinks, crystal light energy drinks, etc. Good luck and I hope you finish your novel during NaNoWrMo!

    1. Thank you 🙂 NaNoWriMo in November is still 50,000 words. Camp NaNoWriMo lets you pick your own word count but it has to be at least 10,000 words so this is perfect for my current project since I only need about 30,000 more words to finish the draft.

      I understand about Write or Die. It’s not for everyone. Sometimes the stress gets me into gear and helps my productivity, other times I just shut down. Those are the times that Written Kitten is better instead. No stress, no timer and you get rewarded with pics of cute kitties! I don’t use Written Kitten often. Usually, if I’m going with a reward method, I will reward myself with daiquiris for every 1,000 words 🙂

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