Camp NaNoWriMo: Let The Writing Begin! (And May the Words Be Ever In Your Favor)

(The answers to last week’s 10 Truths & 2 Lies have been posted on that blog! Click to go see if you guessed right!)

April is one of my favorite months for many reasons. The flowers start coming out, the weather is in that pleasant phase where you can go on walks without turning into a sunburned lobster (can parasols please come back into style?), and IT IS TIME FOR CAMP NANOWRIMO. Perhaps your memory needs jogging. Last year I wrote a blog post about how amazing Camp NaNo is and why you should do it.

This camp happens in April and July, and it is the butter to my books. 😛 THIS is my secret to writing. 😉 I get my best word counts done during these months and they’re much more laid back than November’s NaNoWriMo. I shared my writing plan in my newsletter that went out yesterday, but in case you missed it: I am throwing everything other than writing out the window next month. Yes, even my lemon tree and my pet candle. It all goes. Only writing stays (well, and tea and music and headphones and Oreos. But besides those things…)

THE GOAL: 40,000 words

40k sounds less intimidating than the 50k of regular NaNoWriMo (even though I’ve never won NaNo) but it’s a nice goal that has to be met or else I (and my work-in-progress) WILL DIE.


I have many plans (that’s probably a bad start).

  1. Do not eat or sleep or think about anything other than WORDING.
  2. Clear my schedule of absolutely everything
  3. Pre-write blog posts
  4. Minimize my interaction on social media (I will not take it away completely because frieeeeeeends)
  5. Carve my name into my table at my coffee shop and charge rent to anyone who dares sit there.
  6. Plan out all the chapters. Then write them. (I have actually planned out most of them. Yay for diligence!)

Personally, I think these are great, foolproof plans! (Said the ignorant writer filled with naive motivation)


I expect burnout. I expect to hit the I-hate-my-story-and-I’m-a-terrible-writer wall, but I have made plans. Those plans are:

1. OREOS. ‘Nuff said.


2. Read really a really good book when I need to put my head in someone else’s story. The books on my list that always inspire me to write are Unblemished, Hunger Games, A Darker Shade of Magic, and more recently: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow. I will also put A Time to Die on that list because, believe it or not, that book always reminds me why I write and why I love it and what God’s done.

3. Watch all the writerly movies. Anne of Green Gables (sorry, hubby), Little Women, Miss Potter, Whisper of the Heart…and then if those aren’t doing it, watch the movies that I adore just for story: Lord of the Rings, Divergent, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Cinderella.

4. Reorganize my bookshelves. Okay, this is time-consuming, but it almost always inspires me. It usually makes me want to go read (which could be counter-productive to the writing goal), but maybe I can channel that desire to read into a desire to write. Or I’ll just go read and be inspired anyway.

5. Read writerly books. There’s nothing like feeling like your teacher is telling you to GO DO THIS WRITERLY THING and then wanting to go do it. 😀 I like to obey my teachers. My go-to writer books are How to Write a Novel Using The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson, The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke, and Storyworld First by Jill Williamson.

6. Listen to podcasts from past writer conferences (while reorganizing my bookshelf!) This one is foolproof. Especially if it’s James L. Rubart or Mary Weber or Allen Arnold talking. 😀

7. Read the Bible. This really should have been first. But I will read, read, read, and reorient myself to why I write and who is the original creator–the first author, the inventor of words, and the inspiration behind my stories.

8. Take a day off. THIS IS ALLOWS (even though I hear you gasping across the computer screen.) Breaks are allowed–Biblical, even! Taking a full day off is truly the best way I recover from being burnt out. 😀


I expect that I’ll start the first few days really strong. I’ll probably get some good words down.

I expect that this month will truly be “the month” that I do well at NaNo. Usually I try to write and do other obligations–like launch a book (*ahem* every NaNoWriMo the past three years in a row.) But I’ve truly cleared the schedule for April, I’ve told hubby and friends and all my newsletter peeps so that I won’t let the “people-pleasing” side of me take over.

I expect I’ll hit a wall after the first week. I’ll start thinking the “I can’t do this thoughts”.


But then I will have a burst of inspiration because I will be hopping on a plane for a four-day writer’s retreat with three very special author friends. And there’s nothing like camaraderie and all of us facing the same dragons to boost one’s morale.

I expect that halfway through I’ll remember THAT I HAVE TO DO THIS. The 40k really isn’t optional. And I’ll panic, which will somehow turn back into motivation. 😛

Overall, I’m optimistic about this month. I have the plan set and it’s time to put it into motion.


How well do you stick to your plans?

What are some of your tricks to recover from burnout?





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 aiming for 60k … in the first half of the month. Eek! Yeah … I’m a little … ambitious. Maybe I do deserve my Hogwarts house (Slytherin)! 😉

    I wish you the veeeery best! I REALLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYY want to read this new book!!! XD

  2. I’m aiming for 40k too! It should get me pretty close to the end of my current draft, so that I’ll have time to start the next one during the writer conference I’m going to, where I’ll get to meet Katie Grace for the first time!!! *squeals*

  3. Anna Bourassa

    Last year, I surpassed my wildest dreams, reaching over 50,000! It was amazing.
    But this year, I’m at war over which book to write. I’d be happy to reach 20k and ecstatic to see 30 k. Depends on the story. If I write scifi book 3, it’ll be “easy”. If it’s my modern-day rewrite, it’ll be PAINFUL. Not passionate about the project anymore.
    I’m excited for your month, though! 🙂 Good luck! Can’t wait to hear about your progress!

    • Wow! Bravo in completing the 50k! I’ve yet to accomplish that, but I still hope to someday! 🙂

      And maybe you just need to write both books this months! 😉

  4. I use chocolate like oreos, I force myself to write another 1000 or 200 words before eating another piece… and it does work, also taking days off like Sundays (because it is the day of rest after all). I just plotted out my story using the snowflake method and i’m so happy because I know what I’m doing usually I have no idea and it just happens or as the case may be doesn’t.

  5. I’m so so excited for Camp!!! I’m aiming ‘officially’ for 50k but honestly I’d like to get more so that I can finish the novel (but I have no clue how long that’ll turn out being, so yep. It’s all a mystery 😛 ).

    I never write on Sundays. I use it as my day of rest, so I can relax and re-focus what I’m on about, and I find it really really good, even though sometimes it makes me feel like I’m getting behind.

  6. I love Camp NaNo! You’re right in saying that it’s much more laid back than November. 😉

    I love StoryWorld First by Jill Williamson! It not only educates, but it inspires me to not only develop my world, but to develop allll the story things. 😉

  7. 40k sounds like a reasonable goal to me. Last time my end word count was 35k, and so I learned that 50k was waaay to much for me to handle.
    This April I really wanted to join in Camp, but I’m so busy with editing…it soaks up all of my time like a sponge…ugh. Maybe I’ll do my own version of Camp next month, instead. 🙂

    • Yes, 50k is still incredibly daunting to me, but I’m determined to grow as an author and someday (in, say, 40 years) DO IT!

      There’s another Camp NaNo in July–maybe that one will be better suited for you!

I love hearing from you!