Start Your New Year Off WRITE!

Experiencing July’s Camp NaNoWriMo by Lily Schultz

Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Blog, Fresh Ink | Comments Off on Experiencing July’s Camp NaNoWriMo by Lily Schultz

Every November, the online writing community starts humming with urgency as thousands of writers from across the globe rush to meet the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month. The event has been going on since 1999, when twenty-one writers from the San Fransisco Bay Area had an idea.

That idea has expanded a great deal in the subsequent eighteen years. In 2011, Camp NaNoWriMo was born — a more flexible spinoff of the official NaNoWriMo, boasting customizable word counts, no rules about what you have to work on, and the optional (but highly recommended) support network that comes with the cabin system. Camp NaNo, as it is lovingly nicknamed by participants, also happens twice a year — once in April and once in July.

As a student, I favor the July camp. Without the added pressure of school, I have more time and energy to focus on my novel. Both April and July, however, operate the same way.

The days and weeks leading up to a NaNo event — be it a camp or the November marathon — are often spent writing up ideas, outlines, and character sheets; all of the groundwork for writing a novel. The next month is spent working fervently to reach the goal.

In earlier years, I would deliberately create a space and a ritual for writing, and I wouldn’t write unless those specific conditions were met. Between school, homework, and a rudimentary social life, however, I simply didn’t have the time. So last April, I took a different approach — I uploaded my novel to Google Docs and worked on it whenever and wherever I found the inspiration.

There wasn’t a single day I didn’t meet my word count.

Granted, my word count was only 850 words a day, which was less ambitious than previous projects, which demanded upwards of a thousand words a day.

That April kickstarted my current book, which is almost finished — Twisted Mischief, a young adult novel about three teenagers who hang out in old Spanish tunnels underneath their hometown and die because of it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), death isn’t the end of the mess. The plan is to have it published by mid-October at the latest.

NaNoWriMo is a vital tool to get authors to kickstart their novels. For many, it is the key to the first draft — and everything that springs from it.

I hope to see you all in July!


Lily Schultz is a high school junior volunteering with San Diego Writers, Ink. She enjoys writing, drawing, and video games, and runs a small blog on how to write injuries and fight scenes. She plans on going to college for interactive media design and turning her writing hobby into a career.