Posted in Writing

An introduction to Camp NaNoWriMo 2017

It’s almost April which means it’s time to get ready for Camp NaNoWriMo, a smaller, more flexible version of November’s National Novel Writing Month, styled as a virtual writing retreat.

Where the regular NaNoWriMo has everyone aiming to hit 50,000 words, Camp lets you define your own target – in words, hours, lines or pages – and teams you up with a set of bunk mates in a virtual cabin.

This will be my first Camp and the first time I’ve done NaNoWriMo at all in over 10 years.

Cabin life

A major feature of Camp NaNoWriMo is the cabin system and whilst you can opt out, this is the big selling point for me. You can join a private cabin (with people you know, or through the forum) or let the Camp assign you one.

Cabins provide a more tight-knit support network than the regular NaNoWriMo. Accountability is a great tool to help you hit your goals and you’ll have a group of people who understand your commitment. Some past Camp attendees stay in touch with their bunk mates and share cabins again in subsequent years.

The activity levels in cabins can vary massively as can writers’ views on what makes a good cabin. An ‘active’ cabin might chat, do word sprints (where you see how much you can write in a set amount of time) and update each other regularly on their progress. Some writers are super committed to smashing their goals, others see it as something to aim for, but not a big deal if they don’t quite make it. The benefit to finding a cabin through the forum rather than taking a random assignment is that you can find one to suit your needs and expectations.

I know that for me, with my high target and good availability, I need a busy cabin and people who can sprint with me during the British daytime. I’d like bunk mates who accept, and ideally share, my commitment to writing diverse characters. I don’t want a group that primarily uses Facebook or Discord because I’ll be too easily distracted by my other friends on those platforms.

I’m still hunting for my cabin right now, but fingers crossed I’ll find my bunk mates soon!

Next week

I will be writing about how I get on with Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s another way of keeping myself accountable and I enjoy having a record of these things. Since there’s still over a week till April 1st, I’ll post about my ‘packing’ and goals before then so you can see what I’ve done to prepare for heading off to Camp.

You should tell me if you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo too!

Credits: Camp & trail icons by Linseed Studios, Ornette font by KlapauciusCo, Trail Ranger font by JoshuaRed Designs


Multi-purpose geek. Mum. User Experience Designer. Retired WoW player. Reader and writer of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

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