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I, like many of you, have found myself with extra time on my hands since quarantine began. Looking for something to do on the internet, I stumbled across Camp NaNoWriMo. 

I heard about NaNoWriMo a few years ago through some people I watch on YouTube. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is a month-long event that takes place every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month. I was never able to participate in it before because November always seems to be a hectic time of year for me.

However, Camp NaNoWriMo is a little different. It takes place twice throughout the year, once in April and then again in July. Another change is that you can set your own writing goal, meaning it doesn’t have to be 50,000. The other difference is that you don’t have to write a novel if you don’t want to.

When I decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo this year, I figured I might as well go all in and try to write 50,000 words of the first draft of a novel. I’ve drafted a novel before on my own; it is a Young Adult Realistic Fiction story. For this new one, I wanted to try something a little out of my writing comfort zone. I found the inspiration to write a New Adult Psychological Thriller.

Prior to the beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo, I made a pretty vague outline of events I needed to include in the story. I just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be rowing up a creek without a paddle when I would be on such a time crunch. I also wrote about 6,000 words of my project to work out some of the kinks in initially getting the story across.

Come April 1st, I sat down at my computer, ready to start on this new project. In order to hit 50,000 words at the end of the month, I needed to write at least 1,667 words a day. To start things off on a high note, I was about 100 words shy on the first day. I figured it was all going to go downhill from there.

To my surprise, failing to meet the word count on the first day served as a major motivator for me to make sure I didn’t fall below the minimum again throughout the whole process. Day after day, I impressed myself because I was able to write over 2,000 words each time I sat down to write. According to the tracker on the website, if I continued at the pace I was moving at, then I would even finish early. I became determined to not only hit 50,000 words but to hit it before the end of the month. 

I’m very pleased to say that I accomplished both of my goals! On April 25th, I officially won Camp NaNoWriMo because I wrote 50,001 words of my second novel in the month of April. When I wrote my first novel, it took my multiple years to finally reach the end of the first draft. It was a completely different experience this time around, which turned out to be a very good thing. 

So there will be another Camp NaNoWriMo held this July. If you find yourself still having extra time on your hands and want to let your creative juices flow, then you might want to give writing 50,000 words of a new project a try! Heck, I might be ambitious again and join you this July!

Nickie Johnson

George Mason University '22

Nickie Johnson is a junior at George Mason. She is majoring in history and hopes to one day become a school librarian. This is her second year writing for Her Campus, and she has loved every minute of it! She is involved in GMU's Honors College and the George Mason Chapter of Educators Rising Collegiate. In addition to writing, Nickie loves watching movies and reality television, performing showtunes in the mirror, and reading.
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