Motto: Quantity, not quality!

Camp NaNoWriMo participant badge
Welcome to the camp for non-sporty writers!
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month; a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  The official event is in November, but there are unofficial events almost every month (and that’s not counting WriYe, which is year-round.)

Camp, as the name suggests, is the same thing but during the summer, in June and August, and you can participate in one or both.  A feature that Camp has that November doesn’t is cabins: you can be put in a cabin with 4-6 other participants as your own private little messageboard.  You can request your friends, be sorted by genre, or just ask to be surprised.

Note: You need to have at least updated your profile with a title to be allocated a cabin.


Who can participate?

Anyone! Of any age and any income, as it’s also completely free!

Those over the age of 13 are expected to complete the whole 50,000 word target.  It should be written solo, but that is the only requirement; it can be in any language and, as no one will be reading it except the wordcount robots that verify it, (you’re advised to scramble the text if you’re still worried) it can be as nonsensical as you like.

Those under 13 can still join in! The Young Writers’ Program lets them do the same thing alongside the main event, but set their own goals.  They can also write in pairs, or groups, or even as a classroom.

Of course, it’s all intended to be fun, so there are absolutely no penalties for starting and not winning (nor would anyone know if you wrote it with a friend if you could do it without feeling guilty), or even signing up and not starting if real life gets in the way!

What do I get?

Aside from bragging rights that you’ve written a novel?

All events give you a certificate, but November is the only one where “winning” gets you more: you have the opportunity to get a code that enables you to get free proof copies of your book (not including shipping.) This code is valid until the end of June, which gives you plenty of time to do at least one edit.

As your username is valid on all the related official sites, you could sign up and use your Camp novel to “win” and get a code, and publish that.


Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you for money.  And neither are they, although they do ask for donations if you can (which gets you a halo for your profile picture!) and there is a store with some rather enticing products.

The point of this section, though, is to tell you that you could use this as an opportunity to raise money for your favourite charity. Lots of people get sponsors and in the examples I’ve seen, they do it by uploading their work in progress to a blog or somewhere, but I’m sure you could find your own way.

Helping with charity has become an annual thing for the London nanoers, who participate in an event called Guerilla Novelling.  One day in November they all get together with their laptops/notebooks/signs/merchandise and walk around London, stopping in several locations to do a bit of writing.


If you do join, let me know! This is me: jozie. I’ll be doing the June event, probably November, and possibly even August.  I realize this is being posted far too late for you to want to do it in June (unless you have nothing better to do, anyway), but you still can, there’s no deadline!

Camp site (June and August)

November site

The Young Writers’ Program



    • Hi James!

      Even as someone who’s been doing NaNo since 2005, I won’t say I disagree. I’ve met some great people, and it’s been fun, but the novels that come out of it are definitely not ready for the world on December 1st. Of the following year, maybe. (By which point you’ve written at least one more…)

      I’ve never been one of the people who claim that what I’ve written is great. It wasn’t till NaNo 2010 that I decided (for the first time) that I’d actually get to The End, edit and *maybe* publish… I finished it in early 2011 and I’m still editing.

      I do think NaNo can be a good starting point, but just because you have a nice big document doesn’t mean you have a shelf-ready novel. The fact that the list of successful NaNo novels is so short, in comparison to how many participants there are, should be proof of that. And while I get that self publishing has been a great thing for deserving novels, it does let through everything that shouldn’t, too.

      What happened with your novel? Just realized how old your post is 🙂

      • My novel is finished. Now while I’m halfway through writing a second novel, the first is sitting in the slushpile over at Strange Chemistry. No rush, as the basic manuscript is also going through peer review. When peer review comes back, I’ll complete all my edits, which *should* be in time for Strange Chemistry provided they want to see the full manuscript.

        It took like half a year, off and on, from first word to epilogue. I would like to think that’s a decent speed to write a novel. But my angst doesn’t lie in the speed of novel writing so much as it’s Nanowrimo’s emphasis coupled with human nature. Nano’s concerned with quantity, human nature is concerned with their time and effort spent to mean something. What this means is that a person’s spend a lot of time and effort creating something of massive quantity (if not quality). No one wants a novel to languish unread and unpublished.

        Not saying every Nano writer’s going to cut out on the monumental tasks of editing and rewriting and hopefully peer review and more editing/rewriting. But it’d be crazy to think that every Nano writer going to let the novel sit on their hard drive or rigorously proofread, edit and rewrite or even that they all have the writing skill necessary to tell stories properly. I know, boo on me, no one likes Doubting Thomas… I’m just saying…

        • Good luck with it! I probably won’t ever be satisfied enough with mine to ever send it to a publisher, so you’re ahead of me 😛

          It’s true that there’s no “right” amount of time that anyone can say it needs to take, but it should at least be common sense that it won’t be perfect the first time, or very quickly. Doing this should just be getting about getting all your ideas down so it can be worked on at a slower pace; it could be a great story, but you need to acknowledge that it’s buried in bad writing. I decided to get my 2010 novel up to 100k and the latest version is down to about 60k.

          As impressive as it sounds, perhaps what would have been better is if it wasn’t “novel” writing month. That word has connotations, and like you say, if you’ve written one you want to show it off. I know that became my problem – when I started I was fine with wasting a month writing rubbish I’d never touch, but then I got more serious about my writing (and older) and last year was the first year I didn’t win – I wrote a whole story and then chose not to get to 50k just for the sake of getting to 50k.

          50,000 is a lot to write and a lot to polish afterwards, if it’d been a lower goal or “write a short story” month people might be more likely to do the afterwork (I know short stories do still get published, but it would keep nanoers away from the novel market while possibly giving them a better chance.) Or maybe “write 10 pieces of flash fiction,” that’d still be a challenge for most 😀


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