With Camp Nanowrimo right around the corner, many of us are elbow deep in the prep work necessary to be Camp Winners.
For those of you who don't know, Camp Nano is a miniature version of Nanowrimo that takes place during the summer months. For Camp Nano writers can choose any goal they want whether it's a word count or page count goal.
But most participants, including myself, want to set a big goal for the month.
That's why I have decided to list the top three techniques I have found work wonders for finishing big writing goals. Whether you're going to go all out and shoot for 50,000 words next month or keep it at the minimum 10,000, hopefully, these tips will help you out.
#1 Be Specific About Your Goals
Any coach will tell you that having specific goals is the first step in any successful endeavor. It's just too easy to get discouraged or distracted without them.
Like seeing the finish line at the end of a race spurs runners to finish strong, having a specific destination in mind is a great way to help anyone stay motivated.
And I'm not just talking about the main focus of our goals either. The 10,000 or 50,000 word goals are a great start but the baby steps necessary to get to the finish line are just as important. A marathoner doesn't wake up one day, go to the starting line, and get running. No. First, they spend weeks training, building their muscles until they're strong enough for race day.
For us, the baby steps are our daily goals. The little pieces that add up day by day until the end of the month when all of it accumulates in our big win.
So whether your working with a word count goal, a minute a day goal, or a page number goal, take a second to break it that goal down into a schedule that specifies how much you need to get done each day.
#2 Plan The Next Days Work In Advance
It's not always easy keeping the creative juices flowing. Sometimes the well just dries up. This is often the case with bigger writing projects.
One way to prevent this season of dryness is to decide what you're going to write about in advance. And I don't just mean overall plot outlines. Figuring out what will need to go on the next page is the first step to actually getting there.
So, every night, after you reach your daily goal, take a minute to figure out what you're going to be working on the next day.
Make an outline, write out a few lines of dialogue or action, something to help you get started on the right foot. Then set it out on your desk, or wherever you write. This will save you a ton of mental energy the next morning, letting you get right to the meat of your story as soon as you sit down.
#3 Partner Up
Big goals can be overwhelming. Most people start out strong but then find they have trouble keeping on target at the halfway point.
I found this out the hard way during my first Nanowrimo attempt the year before last.
The solution is to find a friend, or a couple of friends, to team up with over the month. That way you can challenge each other to words sprints, brainstorm each others stories when inspiration runs dry, and have a source of accountability when the finish line seems too far away and the old quit monster is whispering in your ear.
Camp Nano is a great way to turn a WIP into a completed project. It's so exciting to see that progress bar get closer and closer to the 100% mark. And it's a lot of fun.
What do you think about my tips? Do you have any great advice for writers tackling Camp Nano this year? As always I'd love to hear from you!
I hope to see you all at Camp!