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Camp NaNoWriMo

Announcing Novel in November 2017!

It’s that time. Can you believe it?

Camp NaNoWriMo is next month!

Which means that right now, all across the globe, tens of thousands of aspiring & already successful authors are getting in gear to write 50,000 word draft of their novels in the 30 days of November!

Bri & I absolutely Love this time of year. Like so many of you out there, we have become Camp NaNo junkies & true believers in the magic that happens when you have add a strict deadline & a sense of camaraderie to writing your novel. In fact, we love it SO much, we started our own spinoff called Novel in November last year.

This year, for Novel in November, our aim is to help you not only win at Camp NaNo (winning, by the way, simply means completing the challenge, not competing against other writers) but to wind up with 50,000 words you can be proud of… maybe even 50,000 words that you can brush up & send off to agents, publishers, or publish yourself in December!

But to do that, you’re going to need to do some preparation over the next 20 days…

Now is the time to GET READY!

To help you get yourself geared up & ready for success, we’ve put together a list of some of the best NaNo advice out there — from writers we admire & some from our own experience. Don’t get overwhelmed! It’s all about the baby steps. Aim to follow these, one step at a time, over the next week.

  1. Get intentional! Bri’s article Where Do You Start? will help you literally set yourself, your schedule & your space up for success.

2. Capture your idea & LOVE IT! Here are some exercises to help you with that.

3. Outline your story’s plot. Trust us on this. If you want to save yourself grief during NaNo and produce a coherent story you won’t spend months editing, a little planning goes a long way.

Not sure how to structure a story? Here are some great resources:

Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn shares 7 tips for writing your novel, including how to use classic story structure. She also explains the Snowflake Method of building your story’s structure scene-by-scene. And so many more goodies besides!

Nick Stephenson of Your First 10K Readers is co-hosting a webinar on story structure this Saturday. I highly recommend signing up to his email list for more details!

If it’s books you’re looking for, here are the two we recommend & why.

Finally, if you’d like to join us on this journey, you can sign up for Novel in November & get emails with our top tips & updates!

Happy Prepping, everybody!

Mez & Bri






Mini Camp NaNo update

Alright, who’s been messing with my calendar… and apple clock… and Greenwich Mean Time? It can’t really have been two weeks since my last NaNo update, can it? This is all one big April Fools conspiracy…

… or not.

If you haven’t guessed from my stalling tactics, things have not progressed massively from my last NaNo update. In fact, here’s exactly what my progress looks like (no shame… *gulp):

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 12.20.38

This month of April has remained impossible to pin down for writing purposes. But I’m still not totally despondent about it. Why? Because there are some big positives to mention from the past two weeks:

  1. I’ve gone from 0 words to 7,350. That’s actually a fairly good chunk out of my goal of a meagre 25,000 words, and technically, finishing is still doable by the end of the month. But I’ve just about nearly come to the conclusion that using the remaining days to carefully plot out my novel so it’s spiffingly ready for May will ultimately prove more beneficial than just hashing out words now… though I’m still tempted.
  2. I’m going where I’ve never gone before as a writer & making a scene-by-scene SPREADSHEET!!!! I never thought the day would come! But I must say, throwing my tangled thoughts into a table to sort out is much easier than trying to rearrange them into some sort of order in my head, or even on multiple sheets of paper. So I’m trying it. Stay tuned for conclusions to this experiment.
  3. I got to meet up for a juice with THE Abi Elphinstone (authour of the Dreamsnatcher series). She was brilliantly encouraging, inspiring & just down right nice, & I came away from our meet-up with renewed determination to keep pressing forward with this crazy dream of mine. **If you are American or otherwise not British & are not yet familiar with Abi’s books, look her up here: & get ahold of them by any means possible (except piracy!)

So lots to be thankful for this month, even if things haven’t gone all to plan. And I’m still loving my baby dragon of a story as it grows, little by little each day. Now it’s back to plugging away into my spreadsheet! Any tips? I’d love to hear them!


Are you participating in Camp NaNo?
Good bits, hard bits? Any little victories along the way?

Camp NaNo Diaries: week 1

Happy April! It’s Mez, and I’m here to talk about what happens when – as a writer or just in life – your best-intentions go right of the rails, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Officially 1 week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and de-railing has defined my experience of camp so far. Last year in preparation for our Novel in November campaign, Bri wrote an excellent post about making sacrifices for the sake of sticking to your novel-writing goals, things like saying “NO” to social invites, requests and perhaps even your ever-growing laundry pile.

I support her advice 100% – if you’re ever going to achieve those goals, you’ve got to take responsibility for them & carve out the time to let the magic (aka. countless hours of hard work) happen. 100% essential. 100% true.

plot bunny

BUT… (brace yourself. Important life lesson ahead!)

Sometimes things come up in life that you simply can’t, or shouldn’t, say ‘no’ to. When you weigh them up even to the importance of sticking to your goal, they win out in importance. I’m talking about REALLY big stuff, like when you lose someone close to you & you need to be there for the friends & family who are grieving… or when a close friend invites you to her wedding in a far-off destination… or when family in another continent suddenly surprise you with a visit… or when a family member is at wit’s end & really needs you to step in & lend a hand with her kids.

All of those examples & quite a few others have unexpectedly flown into my path this month of Camp NaNo. And do you know what, whilst I passionately want to finish my novel this month & it hurst to see my hopes melting away like cotton candy dropped into the pool, it’s actually O.K..

Writing books is what I want to do with my life. But it isn’t & never will be the end-all of what my life consists of. More important than my career & passions are the people who bless my life. While I may often have to say no & dissapoint them for the sake of meeting a deadline, I never want to sacrifice my relationships to my writing. This Camp NaNo has taught me to prioritise, to realise that I’ve got to work for your goals, but I’ve got to live for more than achieving them. Namely, when real needs arise, you’ve got to put the people in your life first. And ultimately, that’s living, and what do we write about if not life?


What now?

The other lesson I’ve learned (for the umteenth time) this NaNo is not to give up when you hit hurdles in the road. Having made peace with not achieving my original goal this month, we are yet only 1 week in! I can still re-caliber my expectations and work towards a new, trimmed-down goal (that’s one of the joys of Camp NaNo.. you can revise your goal up to the midpoint of the month!).  I’ll let you know how that’s going in a couple weeks’ time! Meanwhile, check in next Friday to hear about Bri’s Camp NaNo experience so far…

What about you?

Are you a NaNo Camper this month?

Have any unforeseen life events interrupted your writing goals?

What do you do to keep on going, even when you get derailed?


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