A CampNaNo Retrospective

This past month was the first of this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo events (the other is in July).  I participated, and won, writing 62,826 words and beating my goal of 60k.

One of the cool things about Camp this year was that you could choose your own goal.  I don’t remember the full range of goals possible, but I saw some as low as 25k, and think it went to 500k.  That level of customization is quite awesome, and something I’m glad they did for Camp.  As to whether or not it shows up for NaNo, I’d not be upset if it did, but don’t think it at all necessary, and it could detract from the currently cohesive goal.

Also of note, this is the first positive experience I had with Camp, on my third or fourth time participating.  To be fair, the first time was basically a Beta event, without any cabin functionality, but every cabin assignment since then (until this one) has been bad.  Last year, I even requested multiple people (who all requested me and possibly each other) and still got only random people.  I get the difficulty of the cabin assignment algorithm (from the developer perspective), but with bad cabins Camp basically just became a way to track my progress, and I have a spreadsheet for that.

Basically, if this Camp had turned out poorly, I probably wouldn’t have done one again.  I write outside of November anyhow, and both have and am developing tools for tracking progress.  Community is what draws me to NaNo/CampNaNo, and I’m glad I saw how positive it can be.  All in all, I definitely liked this experience, and would recommend it.

That said, my own performance was rather lackluster.  True, I made my goal, but there were also about a dozen days that I didn’t write any words.  That’s a third of the month with zero words.  A third of my words were written over three days (the penultimate three), so consistency was right out.  That’s one of the things I was hoping for, and something I’m still struggling with.

The story itself, though, is decent, certainly for a first draft.  I have 15k or so left, which will put the final word count around 110k.  It’s fully novel-length, though I don’t worry about that much on first drafts – that’s what revision is for!

The current plan is to finish it up this week (hopefully), and then set it aside for a while.  I’m focusing on programming this month (see the challenge here), and then I have another novel I’d like to write, but I might be able to come back to this after the next Camp NaNo.  I hope so, because I’m looking forward to editing it and cleaning it up/making it better.  It is the start of a trilogy, so I’m split as to whether I should write (or at least sketch) the other books first or edit this, but I’ll figure that out.

So what about you guys?  Did you do Camp, and if so, how was it?


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