Friday, May 1, 2015

A NaNoWriMo Challenge

I hope your writing has been going well! Mine has, because this month I did something I’ve never done before: participated in the “Camp NaNoWriMo” challenge during April. National Novel Writing Month takes place in November and involves challenging yourself to write 50,000 words (the accepted minimum number of words to make a full-length novel) on your fiction project. It encourages and empowers beginners to try creative writing. Also, many established writers use it to either get a jump start on a new idea or make huge leaps on a work-in-progress. I’ve never done it, as I am not a fast writer, but my ears perked up when I heard about Camp NaNoWriMo, a smaller-scale event that occurs during the thirty days of April and the thirty-one of July. You set your own word-count goal, a little closer to your comfort zone, and still get to see the neat “novel stats” that show your progress on a bar graph, or tell you your words-a-day average, or let you know how many words you have left, and so on. You can connect with other writers in “cabins” and compete with each other (not against each other), and your cabin has stats to watch as well because everyone’s word-counts are pooled together. You can chat and encourage each other.

A writer's retreat from the comfort of your own home. (Note: photo is not associated with Camp NaNo logo)


Camp NaNoWriMo really helped me focus on my writing this month and taught me how to continue being industrious and prioritizing it, even more than it has been. I made it a point to exceed my daily goal every day, because I was never sure when a day would come that I couldn’t write. So I finished early and had the opportunity to catch up on other things that I’d put aside for the time being. But it was easier than I thought and so motivating! For example, if I would write just 500 words a day, that’s 182,500 words a year … the length of three short and two medium-length novels.

Having a goal like this, where you are beholden to write a certain amount in a certain length of time, does wonders for actually getting your book written. I believe it’s what sets the serious writers apart from the dabblers (and I’m talking to myself here!). You don’t have to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, but establishing some sort of self-discipline is key to successfully finishing a book. If there are seasons you can’t write, take advantage of the ones in which you can. Author Alicia G. Ruggieri says this: “Consistent writing every day, whether I feel like it or not, generally yields the best fruit. Sometimes it’s boring, but it’s always worth doing what God has led you to do—and to do it with all of your might.” I heartily agree! If you are writing for the Lord, being diligent is your service to Him. Obviously there are times when you simply can’t, and He understands that and holds your times in His hand (Psalm 31:15). But when you are capable of it, work hard to eliminate distractions (online distractions are the worst!) and go for that goal!

Have you participated in any NaNoWriMo challenge before? Did it help you establish good writing habits once the month was over?

Kelsey Bryant is an author, blogger, and copy editor who loves the Lord. She revels in many things: the beauty of God's Word, the music of English, the wonder of nature, the joy of creativity, the freedom of motion, the richness of literature, the intrigue of history ... and much more. To learn more about her, visit her website or blog

6 comments:

  1. No, I never have participated in a NaNoWriMo before, but I did get motivated this year to set a weekly goal for my word count and see if I could make it. I decided on 5,000 words a week, but in Feb. and March I reached 8,000 words a week. It's been a lot of fun watching my stories turn into books at such an amazing rate! I know there will be weeks I won't reach 5k, but having a goal has helped me keep writing on the days when I really didn't want to write at all.
    Great post.

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    1. That's great, Rebekah! It's amazing how consistency translates into books. Some days can seem so slow on the writing front, but if you keep going even when your mind is dragging, you'll get somewhere faster than if you had waited for inspiration.
      Keep up the good work! Thanks for commenting!

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  2. I've never done a NaNoWriMo, but I've done the November NanoWriter a couple times and I've always enjoyed it :) Lately, I've set a schedule for myself. I don't write every day, but there are several days in the week that I really work on it. It has worked well for me, and I find that sometimes on the days I didn't plan to write I'm typing away :) If I don't write on a day, I might do some research or something like that so I'm not totally putting my work aside.

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    1. Good job, Olivia! Schedules are so helpful for getting writing done instead of trusting to the winds of "whenever." And that's a good idea for you to do some smaller side-jobs on your story on the off-days. :)
      Thanks for your comment!

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  3. I find that the area of scheduling is one I need to improve in, especially since I have several projects I'm working on right now.

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    1. I'm sorry I did not see this earlier! Scheduling is one of my writing weaknesses, and that was why setting myself to a schedule during April was so helpful. I hope you discover a good way to schedule yourself to be the most productive!
      : ) Thank you for commenting!

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