NaNoWriMo November: Are you participating?

It’s that time of the year again. Autumn is slowly showing signs of breaking through, which means NaNoWriMo is almost around the corner. Are you participating? Let me know!

What is NaNoWriMo?

The National Novel Writing Month is an international writing event where you write, in your own favorite writing place, 50.000 words of your novel. It starts November 1st, 12:00AM and ends November 30th, 11:59PM in your own timezone.

Why Participate?

NaNoWriMo offers you the possibility to just write, ignoring all mistakes you make (shut out that inner editor!), just keep on writing. It helps you to get  into a daily habit of writing.

Additionally, there are literally tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of people participating at the same time. You will get support through the forums, Facebook, Twitter and more!

HOW much do I have to write a day?

50k words translates to 1,667 words per day. I know, it’s a lot! I’ll give you tips on how to break this down and start a daily writing habit before November 1st. If you have any tips, share them here!

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is an event where you can join a virtual cabin with 19 other writers and enjoy a month of writing frenzy, inspiration and much more.

What is camp all about?

The main thing, of course, is writing. You’ll set up a goal you want to reach this month and try to achieve it. And you meet up with several writers in an online cabin.

Your goal

Your goal can be set in words, hours, minutes, lines and pages, unlike in November, where the only goal is in words. You can chose a lesser amount than the normal 50.000 words NaNoWriMo November has. And of course, if you really wanna go for it, you can choose an even greater goal.

What will you write?

During camp, you’re free to write anything you want. While the goal for NaNoWriMo November is to write a novel, during camp you can edit your drafts, work on world building, plot your next novel, do research or basically anything else you’d like to write during Camp.

Cabins?

What are these cabins about? I’ve heard that question often. Basically it’s a virtual cabin where you group with 19 other writers. At Camp NaNo you enter your project details and you state if you’d like to be added to a cabin randomly or you can set up your own cabin. If you don’t want to start your own cabin and do not want to be entered to just some cabin, you can also look on the forums for a cabin to join.

Camp activities?

Are there any camp activities? Well, that all depends on the group. In the groups I’ve been in, we have regular chats in the weekends and we’re quite active during the week as well. Once camp’s over, we even have our own (closed) Slack group where keep in touch.

NaNoWriMo newbie guide

With Camp NaNoWriMo a mere week away, I was asked to explain this event and I’m happy to oblige 🙂

Introduction

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. This is an event that takes place three times a year: April, July and November. April and July are called the Camp months. These are easier and nice to get into the habit of writing or to prepare yourself and/or your project for November.

Origin

NaNoWriMo originally started as a challenge in a small group of friends in the USA. Their goal was to write the first draft of a novel of at least 50,000 words in the month of November. It didn’t have to be a finished product, but it would be a start from which you could move on to a complete finished product.

Current state

By now it has grown into an international phenomenon in which writers from all over the world participate. Several well-known authors have started at NaNoWriMo! And not only has it grown into an international event, it has also expanded with two more months: The Camp months. Let me start with those.

The Camps

The camps are in a virtual cabin at http://campnanowrimo.org. Each cabin can hold a maximum of 20 people and basically consists of a chat function that’s on the site.

Goals

Camps are easier than the main event, because you can set your own goals. You pick one of the following:

  • Words

  • Hours

  • Minutes

  • Lines

  • Pages

and set the goal for it that you want to achieve by the end of the month. Do you think you won’t be able to make the default 50k? Start with 25k or 10k even. You free to choose your goal 😀 And…… If, for example, halfway through the month, you discover you can’t reach your target, you can adjust it. Of course you can also up the target!

Each camp runs from the first of the month to the last day of the month. The start and end times are from your own time zone, so there’s no stress about checking the time in another zone.

The site has a counter which you can adjust to display your goal count. The counter helps to display a graph of your progress and the progress of your cabin.

How will you know you’ve won?

When the time comes to validate your project, there will be a validation tool to validate your project. It is a simple pop-up field in which you paste the text of your project, if your goal was to write a certain amount of words.

I don’t know how the other goals are validated, because I have never done those goals for camps, but I do know there are ways to validate those as well.

Mind you, Camp, nor the main event, stores your novel. The validation process will only check the amount of words and then delete the whole text again. The basic information of your project (the info you fill out in the project info, is kept)

What can you win?

You’ll get a certificate 😀

Besides that there are several offers from sponsors that might give you discounts or even free access depending on participating and winning. For example:
Scrivener gives you a 20% discount coupon for participating. But if you win, you’ll get a 50% discount coupon. If you haven’t worked with Scrivener before, there is a free 30-day trial which of course is handy to use during either one of the events.

How do you get into the cabin?

Once you have created a project, you have several options:

  • you can tell the system to sort you into a cabin

  • you can search the forums (http://nanowrimo.org/forums/finding-cabin-buddies) for a suitable cabin and ask for an invite

  • or you can start your own cabin and post about it on the forums to get fellow campers in your cabin

My experiences with camps

The first time I was in a camp, it was a rather quiet cabin where halfway down the line no one participated any more.

After that I set up my own cabin (NaNoEUFantasy), which I have now been successfully running since April 2017. We have a steady group of veteran camp members who are very active. And not only during the camp months, but also afterwards.

We stay in touch through Slack (We’re probably moving to Discord after Camp July) where we talk about everything writing related (and sometimes about things like GoT, the frustrating or worrying weather – which can be an excellent input for your world building! – or just rant because things don’t go the way we planned).

We intentionally do not invite people in the Slack/Discord channel who haven’t been with us in the cabin before, because we want to get to know each other first. We have build up a certain level of trust that gives us the freedom to say a lot of things we might otherwise not say. And we share a lot about our novels as well. That is the way it can grow when you’ve got an active cabin 😀

Our cabin always fills up very quickly, but it’s not suitable for everyone. When Camp is in full swing, the chat can be very active resulting in sometimes a couple a hundred of message you might have missed if you’re not there for a day or two. A few of my local writing friends, for example, found our cabin too active.

Cabin leaders & participants

A cabin during camp stands or falls with it’s leader and a few steady participants. When no activities have been organized (or you feel you don’t have the freedom to organize activities yourself), you might find a cabin is rather quiet. That is good if that is what you prefer, but if you’re looking for a bit more activity (or if for any other reason the cabin doesn’t seem to fit you), you’re free to leave the cabin and search for another.

In our cabin we start with a pre-camp chat, a kick off on the first day of camp, themed chats twice a week during camp and regular word sprints. So, those are a LOT of activities!

Most importantly a cabin should be a fun experience for you. If you don’t feel at home in the cabin of your choice (of the auto-selection the camp has done for you), feel free to leave the cabin and join another one. You’re not obligated to stay in that one cabin during the whole camp.

The main basics

November is a bit different from camps. This time you’re challenged to write 50.000 words. There are no other options available. If you want to be very strict:

  • it has to be a completely new project without any words written yet (besides the preparations like outline, world building, character development, etc).

  • You can’t include any new words written for world building, character development and everything else that is not the story

NaNo Rebels

But there are lots of people who are the so called rebels. They will continue with a novel they’ve already started before (or write the nth draft), they might include all their world building notes, or they might write articles for their blog instead. So there’s a different kind of freedom in November

Not for the faint of heart

Mind you, it’s not for the faint of heart. It can get tough at times. 50,000 words in a month means 1,667 words per day, every day. Usually the first week is pretty doable for everyone. The week after that is the hardest week. It is the week where doubt often sets in. This is the week where support from the forums, social media and loved ones comes in very handy! The third week is usually a bit easier than the second and the last week is really the week of getting that home run.

There is a way to make things a little easier on yourself and that’s reversed NaNoWriMo (https://www.wikiwrimo.org/wiki/Reverse_NaNo). This is where you start out strong with double the daily amount and starting halfway through the month you only need to write less and less than the daily amount, ending with 1 word on the last day!

Social life put on hold

The main event can be a strain on your social life. After all, often this is something people do besides their normal daytime job, the household, the care of children, etc. Staying in touch with friends and family can become hard if you also want to reach your target. A few things participants often do are:

  • prepare meals upfront and put them in the freezer (family only needs to warm them up!)

  • Buy/make a large supply of drinks and snacks that you can have during your writing (you’ll get less cranky!)

  • announce upfront to all and everyone what you’re going to do in November and apologize in advance for not being reachable

  • Get up half an hour earlier than normal to write. That way you already have some words under your belt before the day normally starts.

  • Take a holiday break from work for a few weeks (it’s what I always do. I always pick the last two weeks of November as a holiday.) That way you’ll have to time write and stay in touch with friends and family.

Local activities

Local ML’s (Municipal leaders) will often organize a kick-off a few days or a week or so before November. You won’t write that day/evening, but you’ll get in touch with others who will participate, maybe have dinner, exchange care-packages and more. In the Netherlands we always do this in Utrecht and we have a huge gathering!

Afterwards there may be the TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) parties. The turn up there might be small, because people are tired. I know in the Netherlands it’s not always easy, because for us it’s usually around Sinterklaas (December 5) and thus often enough weekends are already fully booked with dinners and something we call “Pakjesavond” where we exchange gifts (children of course think Sinterklaas has come to pay a visit!). But the meetings are fun nonetheless 😀

How will you know you’ve won?

It’s the same as with camp.

What will I win?

Like with camp there are several sponsors. Some may post something upfront while others will only be shown to you when you’ve won. Mostly it’s coupon for discount or free lessons, for example.

And of course, you’ll get a certificate as well.

In conclusion

Is NaNoWriMo something for everyone. No. At least not the main event. If you have never tried it before, my advice is to start with camp. See how that goes for you. If you like it, progress to November 😀

But… Every word written, whether you reach your goal or not, is more than what you had before, so you always have progress! Keep that in mind 😀 You have never lost!

Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know!

Camp NaNoWriMo April Write-in #3

Write-in

Are you participating in CampNaNoWriMo and do you live in the Netherlands? Would you like to come to write-in and be inspired by other writers? The Tilburg Write-In is just the event to go to in April!

What are write-ins?

At a write-in a group of writers gather to do live word sprints, discuss anything writing related (and sometimes other things as well!) , drink a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate or any other beverage of your choice and have a pleasant day or afternoon together.

Where is it in Tilburg?

We come together in Gianotten-Mutsaers. Due to remodelling of their usual building, they are now in a pop-up store on the other side of the building. It’s easy to find.

When?

The first write-in will be at April 17. We start at 1PM. There is a small café inside the shop where you can get something to drink and eat.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Camp NaNoWriMo April Write-in #2

Write-in

Are you participating in CampNaNoWriMo and do you live in the Netherlands? Would you like to come to write-in and be inspired by other writers? The Tilburg Write-In is just the event to go to in April!

What are write-ins?

At a write-in a group of writers gather to do live word sprints, discuss anything writing related (and sometimes other things as well!) , drink a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate or any other beverage of your choice and have a pleasant day or afternoon together.

Where is it in Tilburg?

We come together in Gianotten-Mutsaers. Due to remodelling of their usual building, they are now in a pop-up store on the other side of the building. It’s easy to find.

When?

The first write-in will be at April 10. We start at 1PM. There is a small café inside the shop where you can get something to drink and eat.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Camp NaNoWriMo April Write-in #1

Write-in

Are you participating in CampNaNoWriMo and do you live in the Netherlands? Would you like to come to write-in and be inspired by other writers? The Tilburg Write-In is just the event to go to in April!

What are write-ins?

At a write-in a group of writers gather to do live word sprints, discuss anything writing related (and sometimes other things as well!) , drink a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate or any other beverage of your choice and have a pleasant day or afternoon together.

Where is it in Tilburg?

We come together in Gianotten-Mutsaers. Due to remodelling of their usual building, they are now in a pop-up store on the other side of the building. It’s easy to find.

When?

The first write-in will be at April 3rd. We start at 1PM. There is a small café inside the shop where you can get something to drink and eat.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is an event where you can join a virtual cabin with 19 other writers and enjoy a month of writing frenzy, inspiration and much more.

What is camp all about?

The main thing, of course, is writing. You’ll set up a goal you want to reach this month and try to achieve it. And you meet up with several writers in an online cabin.

Your goal

Your goal can be set in words, hours, minutes, lines and pages, unlike in November, where the only goal is in words. You can chose a lesser amount than the normal 50.000 words NaNoWriMo November has. And of course, if you really wanna go for it, you can choose an even greater goal.

What will you write?

During camp, you’re free to write anything you want. While the goal for NaNoWriMo November is to write a novel, during camp you can edit your drafts, work on world building, plot your next novel, do research or basically anything else you’d like to write during Camp.

Cabins?

What are these cabins about? I’ve heard that question often. Basically it’s a virtual cabin where you group with 19 other writers. At Camp NaNo you enter your project details and you state if you’d like to be added to a cabin randomly or you can set up your own cabin. If you don’t want to start your own cabin and do not want to be entered to just some cabin, you can also look on the forums for a cabin to join.

Camp activities?

Are there any camp activities? Well, that all depends on the group. In the groups I’ve been in, we have regular chats in the weekends and we’re quite active during the week as well. Once camp’s over, we even have our own (closed) Slack group where keep in touch.

NaNoWriMo2017 Prep: expanded outline and loads of world building!

NaNoWriMo2017 Prep Part 4: Outline

How are you doing with your preparations for NaNoWriMo2017? I hope everything is going well! I’ve worked on my outline again and I’ve done some more world building. Things are looking good!

Incredible what a day at work can bring. That is, if you’ve got a job like mine. I’m an interior cleaner. Yeah, it’s not the greatest job in the world, but hey, it pays the bills. And a very nice side effect is that I can think about my story while I’m doing my job. How nice is that? It’s exactly what I did today.

Outline

Although I’ve written stories without any outline, I felt from the start that with this story, or rather series of books it is turning into, I NEEDED an outline. I just didn’t want a fixed outline that wouldn’t give me any freedom. Which is something I’m kinda used to from high school and college. It was something I HATED!

When I found “NaNoWriMo for the New and Insane” by Lazette Gyfford, I found my solution. Not only does she give a hilarious, mostly accurate, view on NaNoWriMo, she also presents a, for me new, way to make outlines: the phased outline.

Phased Outline

A phased outline works with key words and key phrases. Perhaps even a quote you’d like to include in your story. And that’s it. A couple of dozen words can turn into a full chapter in your story. And that is what has happened for me ever since I started using that method.

A few sentences, sometimes not even more than 15 words can turn into whole chapters of thousands of words for me. Apparently a little spark is all I need to go on.

Book I

As you may have seen in my checklist I still have to finish my first draft of my first book. That’s okay. I don’t mind that. Although I’m slowly starting to realize I might not be able to finish it I do get more and more ideas for both my world and the stories within it. At the moment I’ve added several phases to the outline of book I. Nothing yet for book II, but for that to happen I need to have at least the outline of book I finished. At the rate it’s going now, I hope to have the outline finished in a few days, cause it’s developing fast!

World Building

While I was at work today, I’ve also come up with several additions for my world building. At the moment I can’t tell you any specifics, but I can tell you that a few things in my book and my outline now make more sense. Not because I made the world to fit around it, but because the world grew like this and the book and the outline turned out to fit neatly in the world with perhaps a few small changes, but nothing “life changing” sorta speak.

Later on I’ll write more on world building when I’m going through the steps of The Magical World Builder.

Suffice to say that my world turns out to be older than I thought and the civilizations turned out to be older as well. And there were more civilizations before the current ones. The current ones grew from the older ones, as you see happen often, of course.

Enough said

For today, this is it. I’ve made quite the progress and I’ll continue to make much more progress if things keep going the way they are now. And I’m happy with it.

How do you build your outline? Do you write each and every change? Or are you more like me? And world building, how does that go for you? Do you imagine a large new world filled with wonders, adventures and dangers for your characters to travel through? Or is your world more or less like Earth? Let me know in the comments!

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NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep: Progression

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How far are you with your preparations? I’ve made some progression today! Follow me on my journey of preparations towards November!

With a little over 31 days to go, I’ve worked on my preparations for November today. And I have made progression!

The goal?

I’ve made quite a list of preparations, as I posted yesterday. Today I worked on the first goal:

Complete the outline of the 1st draft of book I

Even though this story has been in the making for over a year, I still didn’t have a finished outline. So, working on this is quite essential.

My progression

It’s not easy to finish an outline for the first draft, while I already have lots of ideas for the second draft of this same book. Because of those ideas, I decided to pretend to continue with the story as if several things already had happened. Things I still have to write. Scenes that will be in the second draft and not in my first.

That decision made it easier to continue with my outline for the first draft. As a result I’ve added six scenes at the beginning of the book to the outline of my second draft (yep…. you read that right!) and added some information for more details (like: tell something about the life in the city, tell something about the surroundings, etc). I’ve noticed those were things I had almost left out. Which of course doesn’t work.

Additionally I’ve adjusted several phases I hadn’t written yet and added about five scenes to the outline of my first draft. With these adjustments I’ve written in some things that actually haven’t been touched in the first draft yet, but will be present in the second draft, so that’s okay.

That’s it for today

Even though neither outline is finished yet, I’ve made a nice progress, so I’m happy with the result. Especially since today was a day of Grocery shopping (yeah, those things have to be done….), friends who visited and a sleep in because I was still tired of the weekend in Scotland. I really need to catch up before November starts!

How about tomorrow?

Tomorrow I’m going to continue on this path. I really want to get more into the outline. And I hope to do some more world building. I’ve drawn a very rough map for my story and I hope to be able to work on that a bit more with Inkarnate.

One thing I’m definitely going to do is test Aeon Timeline, if only because my trial period is coming to an end in a few days. I want to have it tested before that.

How are you doing with your preparations for NaNoWriMo? Have you made any progress? What are you most looking forward to in your story?

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NaNoWriMo Prep 2017: Are you ready?

NaNoWriMo Prep 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017 starts November 1st. Are you ready? Or can you use some more ideas? Join me in my journey of NaNoWriMo Prep to get ready for THE writing event of the year!

The international event National Novel Writing Month 2017 is around the corner:

It seems like a long time (32 days at the moment of writing), but it’s here before you know it. This year I’ve decided to take the route of the PLANNER instead of the PANTSER/PLANTSER with a bit of pantsing built into it.  Which pretty much means I’ve got a lot to do still.

What is NaNoWriMo?

But let’s start with what NaNoWriMo actually is.  Basically the National Novel Writing Month is an international writing event where you write, in your own favorite writing place, 50.000 words of your novel. It starts November 1st, 12:00AM and ends November 30th, 11:59PM in your own timezone.

So, a NATIONAL event is INTERNATIONAL? How does that work?

Well, in the beginning….. there was a group of friends in the USA who wanted to challenge themselves to write a certain amount of words in 30 days. It didn’t take long before more people joined them.
And soon after it was a truly National event, it became an international event, because writers from all over the world joined in this event. They kept the name, but it truly is an international event.

Why Prep?

To NaNoWriMo Prep or not, that’s the question. For me, I’ve found I need some preparation to make sure I’ll be able to complete my NaNoWriMo goal. Even though the story I will be working on, if all goes well, will be a sequel to the story I’ve been working on this past year, I still have a lot to do.  There are things I need to have in my possession to write, not limited to my computer, cause that’s what I’ll be using to write. And there are things I need to keep me going through November, be it food, inspiration or otherwise.

My NaNoWriMo Prep

A few things are important:

  • Writing Stuff
  • Food & Drink (you gotta eat and keep yourself hydrated during this event!)
  • NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

I’m going to keep a checklist here to see how far I’ll get in my preparations.

To do Finished?
Outline 1st draft book I complete  
1st draft book I complete  
Outline 2nd draft book I complete  
Outline for Book II complete  
Outline for Book III complete (preferably)  
Outline for Book IV complete (preferably)  
Outline for Book V complete (preferably)  
Get into daily writing habit  
Finish 30 Day world builder process  
Define names of all main characters  
Finish character interview Ayla  
Finish character interview Dany  
Finish character interview Séamus  
Finish character interview Mícheál  
Finish character interview Ruark  
Finish character interview Ciara  
Finish character interview Aunt 1  
Finish character interview LotV  
Create an Excel histogram with:

  • NaNo Daily Word Count goal
  • Reverse NaNo Word count goal
  • Achieved word count
 
Make a Meal plan for November  
Pre-cook several things for November for in the Freezer  
Test Aeon Timeline  
Create NaNo Survival kit  
Create world map  
Make/buy a box for the NaNo Survival Kit  
Create Care package (after October 15th) (In the Dutch forum we’re doing care packages this year)  
Update Scrivener (last week of October) (If you use Scrivener, be sure to update it before NaNo starts!!!)  
Optional  (loads of this is already in the back of my head. I just need to put it on my digital paper 🙂 )
Finish history of the Dragon Riders  
Finish history of the Protectors of the Realm  
Finish history of the first True Seers  
Finish the Parabataì history  
Finish the Soulmates basics & history  
Finish Seer Council Description  
Finish Dragon Riders Council description  
Create timeline based on outline (adjustable during writing)  

Make a start with the story’s languages:

  • Seers: Based on Scottish Gaelic (maybe mixed with some Latin)
  • Dragon Riders: Based on Irish Gaelic (maybe mixed with some Latin)
  • Common Tongue: English
  • Specifically for: Rituals, Names, etc.
 

Conclusion & Accountability

Yeah, I know. I said I would report my daily word count and I didn’t. That was not good. Luckily I have been writing, but it was mostly world building and some small scenes for later books.

Now that it’s almost October, I’ve decided to allocate several hours a day for my NaNoWriMo Prep. And as you can see in the list above this also means writing.

I’ve got a lot left to do, but I’m confident I can do it. Now that the MyPeakChallenge gathering in Scotland is over and I don’t need to do any preparations for that anymore, I can devote my time to my writing. Now all I need to do is do all the preparations BEFORE I watch any of my favorite television series.

Leading up to November 1st, I will record my progress on my preparations here. Let’s see how far I can get before the writing frenzy starts! Are you with me?

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, how do you prepare? Are you a planner or a pantser or perhaps something in between? What are you favorite writing tools? What are the things you absolutely can NOT do without during NaNoWriMo? Leave a comment below!

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