Okay, so this isn’t a real camp. You probably won’t need the bug spray or sunscreen unless you’re planning to write outside. You won’t need to pack that favourite stuffed teddy bear into your suitcase and hope none of the other campers find him, and there’s no need to try to roll up that annoying sleeping bag that never rolls up quite right. There are, though, a couple of things I’d recommend getting ready as you start your first day of camp.
This is my second year of Camp NaNoWriMo. I was insane last year and did it both months it was offered. This year, I’m only participating in June. Along the way, and as a NaNoWriMo veteran (I guess I can call myself that at this point), I’ve found the tools I need that help me get the work done. I thought I’d share them with you on our first day of camp.
Scrivener is amazing. I don’t really know how to fully explain it. You can set up a workstation for novels, novels with parts, nonfiction, short stories, or unformatted. I’ve only used the novel and novel with parts functions. You have “cork boards” to organise your characters, scenes, chapters, and research so you can keep everything together. I’d even recommend this for students working on their essays or papers. It’s a great way to keep track of everything. Best part? Scrivener offers a 30 day free trial. That means you can try it out during camp to see if you like it before investing in it. If you’re a regular writer, I can almost guarantee that by the end of the month, you won’t be able to live without it. Well, so to speak.
This is my favourite tool for on the go. With My Writing Spot, I can put drafts or write out quick scenes on my Kindle Fire, on my iPhone, or on any computer with internet access. It syncs automatically, so you almost don’t have to worry about saving. My favourite part is the syncing. If I write on my Kindle Fire and sync it, I can access that writing from my iPhone or computer, no problem. I can always get to my writing and work on it.
3. Write or Die
This is the cruelest tool out there, but sometimes during this Camp NaNoWriMo experience, you need an extra push. Write or Die will prod you into action, whether you like it or not. When you’re especially stuck, try the Kamikaze session, but only at your own risk. If you stop writing for a certain amount of time, your work will erase, and there’s no getting it back. I recommend sticking with the lighter settings, but if you need a real kick, use Kamikaze.
When I need to be completely free from all computer distractions, I turn WriteRoom on. It blacks out the screen entirely so I don’t see internet browsers, Skype icons, or anything else bouncing around trying to get my attention. It’s very old school. You type in green, which is fun. It reminds me of elementary school in South Dakota when all the computers the state gave us were these old 80s computers. We didn’t get much funding, and now the school’s closed. Anyway, it’s complete nostalgia to work in this tool.
5. A small pen and notepad or a journal
This is your most important tool. If, like me, you’re in the middle of work and can’t take a break to write out an entire scene even though the best idea in the whole world just popped into your head, you’ll need a way to remember it. I keep a little notepad and pen beside me all day at work and use it for every distraction, from something I need to remember to do but can’t just yet to what needs to be done at the house that night to scene ideas that I need to work on when I have a proper break. I quickly jot down the specifics of my scene idea, including what characters are involved, what is happening, how the scene should end, and what will happen because of the scene.
Well, I’m all packed up! As I mentioned a few posts back, I’m going to use Friday as my check-in day for Camp NaNoWriMo. All other days will be about crafting and knitting, as usual. I want to keep myself focused, and I think checking in regularly will help me make sure I meet my goals. If you’re participating as well, check in with me! We can keep each other on task.
Have a great weekend!