Who’s Doing Camp NaNo?

Alert! Writers! Do you know what Camp NaNo is? If you don’t, then I’m afraid to inform you that I’ve just shot you with with an eyeball-super-glue-laser and now you’re not allowed to look away from this blog post until you’ve finished reading.

What is this weirdly-titled thing called Camp NaNo?

For those of you freaking out like, “I-can’t-go-to-camp-that-costs-money-and-there-are-buuuuuuugs!” Hold on to your unicorns. It’s a virtual camp. Online. Free. Like . . . a website. And guess what? It’s all about writing!


If you’re a writer, then you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo which stands for National Novel Writing Month and that’s in November. NaNoWriMo’s lesser known sisters are Camp Nano: April and Camp Nano: July. I’ll freely admit that I tend to get along better with the sisters.

Camp NaNo happens only two times a year. So here’s how it works in a nutshell:

  • You login or set up an account on CampNaNoWriMo.org
  • You “create a story” (which is basically you just saying what you’re going to work on.)
  • You set a word count goal. (Mine is 30,000 words. Yours can be…whatever you want. Even if it’s 1,000.)
  • You join a virtual cabin (you totally don’t have to, but it’s fun. So I’m making you.) — This includes 11 other people who are writing and trying to meet their goals and you all get to cry together, eat cookies, and talk about word counts that you stomped on. 😛
  • You write during April and keep track of your project! And cabin mates cheery you on! And try to meet their word counts.

So now you know what it is and essentially how it works. Your next step is this:

Join my cabin, Ninja.

camp_16_tentOne year ago, my fantastic super-ninja friend, Katie Grace, invited me to her cabin. I joined and then we word-warred and roomed together at Realm Makers and basically BECAME BESTIES FOR LIFE. That’s the power of Camp NaNo. 😉 Oh, and A Time to Rise would not have been completed without the help of my awesome cabin. For realz.

This year is looking a bit different. All my little camp ninjas are branching out and being good little networking minions, meeting new people and making new friends. *sniff* So proud! So . . . since we’re all committed to different cabins (or to staying home and not writing), I’ve decided to make my own cabin! It was a big deal. I think I pressed two — no, one — button to do it.

There are eleven (11) spots in a cabin. AND YOU ARE INVITED!

Here’s the deal. I’m not a 10k-words-a-day type of writer. I’m more of a 200-words-a-day-writer-who-weeps-uncontrolably-at-her-slow-brain. So if you’re thinking, “AH! I can’t commit! My goal is 500 words!” Then come anyway, my friend. I’ll let you know right now that I’m not even going to be in the country all of April. I’ll be gone a whole week, and then frantically editing some of the other weeks. So if you’re a busy writer mom who works a full-time job and homeschools seventeen kids, but you think you might enjoy being in a cabin and tackling a word goal no matter how minute . . . join me. (Or die! No…not really. But it sounded so dramatic and awesome.)

So if you’re even remotely interested in joining my cabin, shoot me a message via my contact page with your CampNaNo name. This means you have to go sign up and set it all up and all that jazz first. (See the list in the first half of this post.)

Camp Cabin

Why did I start my own cabin?

This is not a complicated thing, people. It’s not like I’m trying to rally a posse of minions to take over the world. I clicked “Create your own cabin” because I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS WRITING THING ALONE! That’s all. I’m not leading it. I’m not sending out a 9-step program of how to be good cabin mates. I just want to write, and I have 11 other bunk beds that are calling out feebly, “Please fill me with a writerly sleeping bag!”

How is Camp NaNo Even Good For You?

Oh, you want to talk about the pros and cons? Okay, I’ll indulge you.


  • It’s not NaNoWriMo. I have this evil vendetta against actual NaNoWriMo (November) because it forces you to set a goal of 50,000 words in one month and I’m just not as cool or diligent as Marissa Meyer, okay?!?! I like CAMP NaNo because I can set my own goal. And usually meet it. (I’m really only grouchy because I’ve never succeeded at normal NaNoWriMo before.)
  • It gets me writing. You’d think that an author who love stories and loves writing and has deadlines would, you know, write a lot. But I have a terrible time squeezing writing in between my editing jobs. And I’m not even a homeschooling mom of seventeen kids! Camp NaNo has this magical pixie-dust ability to make me buckle down and write, no matter what. And it’s so fun knowing that other NaNo-ers are on in the torture dungeon with me. (*fist bump* Suffer together!)
  • There’s accountability. See my paragraphs about the cabin and cabin mates. This doesn’t mean you suddenly have eleven other people breathing down your neck, hissing, “Meet your word count! Meet your word count!” This means you have eleven other people to throw virtual confetti over you when you manage to just sit in your chair and think about writing. No one judges. No one pressures. It’s just plain fun. And we talk about cookies and donuts . . . a lot.
  • It’s SIMPLE. This isn’t another one of “those writing websites” that is now going to take over your e-mail inbox and then pressure you to return to their site every day. Nope. It only runs in April and July. Then it’s like a normal camp. Closed down. You can’t enter. Roped off.


  • Um . . . you have to sign up? That can be annoying to some people. 😛
  • It might make you want to write all the time. This could plague your brain and keep you from sleeping.
  • There’s virtual confetti. If you join my cabin, there will be virtual confetti and glitter. Some people hate this stuff. Too bad.

That’s about it. I think I dragged this post on longer than it needed to be. That’s what happens when I attempt to anticipate all your questions. For all I know, you could be a pro at Camp NaNo (I’m talking to you, Katie Grace, miss 10k-a-day girl!) and this post was just redundant (or rejuvenating? Hm…)

Any questions about CampNaNoWriMo?

Are you doing it next month?

ARE YOU JOINING MY CABIN?! (If so, tweet about it!)

About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. I’m doing camp NaNo! And I would totally join, but I’m in a cabin with my critique partner, cousin, and critique partners friends, soooo I can ditch them. xD Are you going to be writing your new story?

  2. EEEP!!!! I desperately need to sign up now… I’ll be doing it for sure, and I may or may not sign up. But now I really want to… 😀

  3. Coolio! If I was doing it, I’d love to join you. But I’m not, so there’s that. Haha. 😉

    Here’s to a fun and productive month!

  4. You definitely have a way of making that sound like a blast!

  5. I know right Isaiah!? You had me at cabins. I loved camps as a kid. What is better than a virtual camp with CABINS where we write? ‘happy dance’

  6. Oooh! It would be so much fun to do camp NaNo with you! But, alas…. I’m in a cabin with a few friends already, too. But if they all randomly quit the cabin and then you have spots left I’ll join ^_^

  7. I write way to slow for the normal NaNoWriMo but this sounds really great!

  8. Anna Bourassa

    This sounds amazing! Thanks for the blog. As soon as I get a break and can grab my laptop, I’m gonna sign up. Hopefully I’m not too late. . .

  9. I signed up to do it! Thanks Nadine for the blog. I could use the motivation to keep committed to a writing goal. It’s so easy to get distracted. 🙂

    • My pleasure! I’m glad I could share the motivation. That’s one reason I love this time of year so much. April is always viewed as a “writing month” in my mind.

  10. Thanks for taking the time to explain this. I knew what NaNoWriMo was and didn’t feel brave enough for that last November. Besides, it’s November. Like the worst month ever to try and write 50k?! Now I am seriously thinking about giving this a shot. I’ll probably wait until the July one though, because March has already been a killer and I’m supposed to be editing, too . . . 🙂

  11. EEK this looks really cool! I’ve been dying to do Camp Nano for a while, but… one question.
    Do you have to have a new story idea? Or can you just set a word count goal for a project you’re already working on? 🙂

  12. Oh, I’m so excited!! I sent you a message, Mrs Brandes! 🙂

  13. Hey! I’m a new fan of yours (your books are absolutely, insanely amazing!) and I am a new writer! I did try NaNoWriMo last November, but I had no idea how to write on it! I am currently writing a Christian historical fiction…slow process. Thank you so much for your inspirational books! Hopefully, I can try camp nano this summer!

I love hearing from you!