Report on Camp NaNoWriMo

Hey, Everyone! I’m back! Camp was great! I’m a little sunburned and a lot tired, but I had a wonderful time!

Seriously, though, I’m glad I went to Camp NaNoWriMo this summer. I learned a few things:

  1. It’s easy to say you’re going to write 25,000 words (or whatever your word goal is), it’s hard to actually do it.
  1. Writing every day is hard. (I wrote most days, but not every day.) I’m not a multi-tasker, so finding the time to write at least 807 words a day was difficult. I knew it was going to be—that’s one of the reasons I signed up to do Camp NaNo—I wanted the accountability to force me to write more than I’ve been writing lately.
  1. Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.51.46 PMEven with a deadline like NaNo, I don’t write every day. While I wrote something most days, I didn’t work on this project every day. I worked on my Camp NaNo project in chunks on certain days when I had more time (or made more time, which seems more accurate to me.)
  1. Some things had to fall off my To-Do list in order to accomplish this goal. Most days I feel that I’m only doing the things I really need to do, but I had to cut the list even more in order to make this goal.
  1. 50,000 words in November may not be a realistic goal for me right now.

I’ve been looking forward to winning NaNo (the official NaNo in November) ever since I had to bail on it in 2009 when I had my son (who was due at the end of November) on October 29th. But I don’t know if I can write 50,000 words on one writing project in November. If I sign up for NaNo, I want to win. So I need to really think about whether or not I can accomplish this goal this year.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 2.36.39 PM

I’m proud of myself for meeting my word goal for Camp NaNo (25,000 words) and I’m even more proud of the fact that I’ve won NaNo (written 50,000 words) twice in the past.

I’m going to print out my current project and start editing while I consider whether or not I’ll keep editing or attempt NaNo in November.

Did you meet your writing goal for July?

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon, MD, is a writer, blogger, life coach, and family physician. You can find more of her writing at




30 thoughts on “Report on Camp NaNoWriMo

    • Hi hallenterprises132,
      I still havent’ decided and it’s October 22nd! I just don’t know if I can give the time, even the time to write quickly without editing. I still haven’t ruled it out, thought. Thanks for the encouragement!


  1. Glad you made your goal! I don’t know what happened this year, but this Camp was a rough one. It’s a mini miracle I reached my goal of 50k. lol

    Hope you can take part in November, but if not that’s understandable. I keep saying I won’t do it every year, yet I end up taking part. Good luck with your editing and NaNo if you decide to give it a go. 🙂

    • Hi cpbialois,
      Congratulations on reaching your goal for Camp NaNo! Are you going to do it next month? I’m still on the fence. I have to decide soon.

      Good luck to you!


      • Thanks, Diane.

        Yeah, I decided to take the plunge once again. The bad part is I have four stories that are begging to be written, so I may lose my mind by the end of November. lol
        That’s cool. Best of luck if you decide to take part. It’s been a nice kick in the pants for me. 🙂

  2. Great post and I encourage everyone to do the nano challenge. It is easier if you are part of a group. Here in Ireland the country is divided into regions and when November starts the war of the words as each region wants to have the most word written and the largest no. Of writers to finish with 50000 words. So start dreaming of a plot now and when the time comes it will be simpler than you thought.

    • Hi mudpilewood,
      Thanks for the encouragement! I’m still on the fence but I’ll probably do it. Good luck to you!


    • Hi philosophermouseofthehedge,
      It turns out I wrote in big chunks every few days. I’ve already calculated how many words I’d have to write in November if I only write for 20 days in the month. 2500 words. I don’t know…

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


    • Hi symplysilent,
      I LOVE graphs! I used to have one for NaNo that showed my word count as a bar graph AND a pie chart!

      Thank you for your kind words.


  3. Things fall off my to-do list all the time when I write. And I feel a little guilty about it too. I wish I didn’t. I have a little inner dialogue about writing time and usually win out over the guilt, but it’s still there. Does that happen to any of you? I don’t know, it feels like I’m being selfish or something when I choose writing over other should-do tasks.

    • Hi onehopefulyear,
      I’m always having that inner dialogue. Sometimes I leave the breakfast dishes on the counter and go write instead of do dishes. Then I do all the dishes at once later in the day. No one cares except me but it’s still hard to do. There’s always going to be a “should-do” task, so if you wait til their all done, you’ll never, ever write.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  4. Thanks for a reminder on this. I think I am going to do it this year. You should too! I read the guy’s book who started the NanNoWrimo-thingy (can’t remember now) and one of his great tips was just write, like good/bad just push through to the end. Taking that “leap of faith” is the whole point, fail or succeed, progress will be had. Good luck.

    • Hi amcmulin914,
      Here it is October 29th and I still haven’t decided. I’ve been writing more lately, but I know I’ll stress about the 50,000 word deadline, so I’m still on the fence.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Good luck with NaNo!


      • November is sprinting right for us, isn’t it? Well if this random person in the internet’s opinion means anything to you, I say do it! Just let go of the fear of failure, even of the deadline itself. Like Yoda said, “There is no such thing as try, only do or do not.” The second your truly decide to do it, it is done. I give up the fear too in the sense that if I go on a writing sprint (more like a marathon with NaNoWriMo) I accept that a lot of my writing, a whole hell of a lot, will be garbage. But maybe you end up with a decent idea, and some characters, and that’ll be a huge victory in itself.

        You also get to confirm to yourself, “you can do it!”, which is just about the spirit you need to gird up for winter, and prepare for spring. Anyways, that’s my NaNoWriMo rallying call!

        One more thing, I have found that once you really get running in your writing, you can basically just keep going and going, so despite that it’s like a lil under 2k words a day, if you hit the first two weeks like a crazy person, I don’t think it would be too hard…wait, no it will be crazy hard, but you can do it!

  5. Good post. I am prepping already for NaNo this year. It is a great way to create a pile of words. This year I will be using Scrivener. I plan to work from an extensive scene list. It will be the first book of my Ridgeback Gang series.

    • Hi Cynthia Franks,
      Very exciting! Best wishes with your book. I hear good things about Scrivener. Some of the bloggers here use it.

      Happy writing!


  6. Congratulations Dr. MacKinnon,

    I participated and complete last month’s Camp and It was my first completion since I began blogging. Your personal blog along with Live to Write and Write to live blog sites were one of my first blogs I followed.

    My journey has been incredible, discovering many writing adventures. I’m still drawn to visit the Northeast in the coming years to participate in the many writing events offered.

    Again congratulations!

    • Hi Retirement Lifestyle/Nomadic Adventurer,
      Congratuations to you, too! Your first NaNo win! That’s an exciting accomplishment. Come visit! There’s a lot going on with regard to writing here.

      Thanks for your kind words and for reading and commenting!


      • Hey, Diane, it has been a great year so far. I have expanded my blog to include short stories, poetry, and photography. I spent the past two months with an online modern poetry class that has exposed me to so much more to writing. I have been preparing my outline for NaNoWriMo set to begin in a couple of days. ​

  7. I was at camp too. I am happy to say I finished but ashamed to say that it was because of last minute panic. I also tried to write everyday and be consistent and stuff but there just wasn’t any time. I remember 2 days before the deadline I was thinking I wasn’t going to finish. That day I wrote in spurts of 1000 words followed by a break. I’m pretty sure I wrote 6000 words that day.

    • Hi enetteventer,
      Wow, sounds like quite an adventure! No matter how good my intentions are, I end up doing the same thing! I love my daily word counts, but I always end up missing them and banging out thousands of words in the last weekend. I’m still not sure I’m up for this year. I haven’t decided yet.

      Good luck to you if you’re doing NaNo again. Even if you’re not, happy writing!


  8. Pingback: Writing Fears | Live to Write – Write to Live

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