• Karina M. Sokulski

Camp NaNoWriMo: The Perfect Victory-Jitters Therapy


Let's face it, NaNoWriMo feels like a mountain until you achieve your first win. November. Write fifty thousand words in thirty days. November. Smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. Plans to get together with the family, schools closed for the holidays--'tis the season! The doubts settle in and the inevitable, unwelcome 'what if's' arrive in our minds: what if I can't manage my time? What if I can't reach fifty thousand words? I didn't get a victory last time, what if this time will be the same?

Not winning NaNoWriMo doesn't invalidate the words you did write over the course of the month. So what if you didn't reach the word count goal? The purpose of the challenge is to encourage you to write. To shift your priorities so writing has a place in your schedule. Winning isn't everything, but writing is. The real victory of NaNoWriMo is making progress you haven't made before. The real focus of NaNoWriMo is personal achievement. That's where Camp NaNoWriMo comes in.

As the title of this blog suggests, I like to refer to the two camp NaNo sessions as "victory-jitters therapy." Victory-jitters are the worst when it comes to any challenge. We get lost in the challenge rather than the journey itself. Camp NaNoWriMo is far more tailored to self-imposed goals rather than a set word count. You don't have to shoot for fifty thousand words. You don't even have to shoot for writing if you want to edit or habit-form instead. Yes, you read that right. Camp NaNo is a comparably customizable experience to November's annual challenge. You'll find the official break down of Camp NaNoWriMo here {X}, but I'll give you the short version and their "victory-jitter" benefits:


  • Custom Word Count Goals: The writer chooses the overall word count goal. Instead of 50,000 words the writer can instead set a goal of 30,000 or 100,000 and so on.

  • Victory-Jitter Benefits: This customization option is great for someone new to NaNoWriMo who wants to work their way up to 50,000 words. Alternatively, this option is great for a writer who wants to go further than 50,000 words all together.

  • Editing Goals: In these challenges, word counts will be calculated based upon how many words on the page were edited.

  • Victory-Jitter Benefits: This challenge is great for the writer who struggles with self-editing. Everyone has an overly-critical inner editor and this challenge teaches you to overcome and ignore it.

  • Time Goals: Instead of tracking words, the writer tracks minutes of non-stop writing. One minute equals one word and the writer inputs the accumulative total.

  • Victory-Jitter Benefits: This challenge is great for the writer who struggles with sitting down to a writing session. A writing session's worst enemy is interruptions. This challenge will force the writer to dedicate uninterrupted time to their writing.

  • Page Goals: Instead of tracking words or time, the writer tracks productivity increase. This requires the writer to multiply their word output by a number of their choosing.

  • Victory-Jitter Benefits: This challenge is great for the writer who wants to increase their productivity. Say you average the recommended NaNo words per day in a session: 1,667. Let's keep this example simple and say you're going to multiply it by 3. Your daily word count goal is now 5,001 for the rest of the month.

And you know what the best part is? Camp NaNo gives you two tries at any of the challenges listed above. Maybe you assign April as your "time management" month and follow up with a much-needed "29-day editing therapy." Set a goal that feels more accessible to you. Focus only on the victory-jitter that's stunting you in November. Form new habits, stretch creative boundaries and prepare for our next topic: routines.


Happy Writing!

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