Camp NaNoWriMo: How to Choose the Perfect Target

Camp NaNoWriMo is one week away. (Did anyone else just squeak then?)

Whether you’re bursting with excitement or panicking over unfinished planning, don’t forget about one of the most important features of a successful NaNoWriMo: your target.

What’s one of the most iconic features of NaNoWriMo? The 50k word count goal. But Camp NaNoWriMo is different. Rather than aiming for a set target of 50,000 words, you can choose your own goal. It could be a word count. It could be a poem or story count. It could be anything, really. But how can you decide which one is right for you?

Project Category

Before you decide on any targets, you need to know what you’re writing. Is it a novel? A collection of short stories or poems? A script or non-fiction project? You can select which category your April project falls under on the ‘Edit Novel Info’ section of the Camp website.

Once you’ve settled on what kind of project you’re going to work on during Camp, you’ll have a better idea of what target to aim for. Speaking of which, the first is…

Word Counts

If you’re feeling traditional, a word count target is the way to go. Unlike November’s NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNo allows you to set your own target, anything from 10,000 to 999,999 words (and if you’re going for the top end of that range, I salute you).

How do you decide what word count to aim for? First consider how much you’d like to get done in April and how much time (approximately) you’ll have free to write. Both of these could affect the right word count goal for you.

If you want to write a certain number of words, then it’s pretty straight forward what target to set yourself. If completing a specific section of your project is your goal, then your word count will depend on how big or small that section is. If you want to complete a project in its entirety, then your target will be even bigger still.

How do you know what word count to aim for? That will depend on what project you’re working on. Here’s a general overview:

Once you have an idea of the overall length of a project, it will give you a clearer idea of what word count target to set yourself next month–and when you know what your total goal is going to be, you can break it down into daily sub-goals. Say you’re aiming to write 30,000 words of a novel during Camp. That’s 1000 words a day. Can you write that much each day, every day? If the answer is no, then maybe you should reconsider your overall target. It’s good to challenge yourself during Camp, but set the bar too high and you could easily lose motivation if you start to fall behind.

Another factor to think about when deciding on a word count target is the amount of time you’ll have available to write in April. If you have a very busy schedule, with little time to write, then giving yourself the target of 100,000 words could be too excessive. If you have lots of time to write, however, then aiming for a high word count could well be achievable. Give yourself a rough estimate of how much time you’ll be able to set aside for writing next month and use that to guide your overall target.

Alternate Targets

What if word count goals aren’t right for your project? If you’re working on a collection of poems, for example, then reaching the minimum word count of 10,000 words could be difficult. There’s a way to get around this though.

Firstly, think about what your target would be if you weren’t confined to word count. Poem count? Page count? A certain number of hours spent writing? Decide your overall target for the month in a similar way to the method mentioned above (e.g. how much could you write in a day and how will your available writing time impact this?), then set yourself a daily goal. It might be to write one poem, or two pages, or spend an hour writing–whatever works for you.

Next, choose an arbitrary word count to be equivalent to your daily goal. For example, one poem = 1000 words. If your daily target is to write one poem, then your overall target is to write 30 over the course of April. So, your equivalent overall word count target would be 30,000 words. Put that into the ‘Word-Count Goal’ section under ‘Edit Novel Info’ and, for every day that you write one poem, you’d tell the Camp NaNo site that you’ve written 1000 words. If you only manage to write half a poem one day, then you’d enter 500 words. Two poems in one day, then 2000 words. Et cetera, et cetera.

And that is how you can still win Camp NaNoWriMo, even if your project doesn’t fit the word count target boundaries set by the site.


What target are you aiming for next month? And how are the cabin assignments going? Have you spoken to your new cabin mates yet?


Here’s the penultimate Story Shuffle prompt!

Character: Owner of the famous Heaven and Hell nightclub of 1890s Paris. Also an ex-performer at the Moulin Rouge.
Setting: The centre of a black hole.
Year/Era: Cold War.
Item of interest: A cracked mirror that forms a portal between dimensions.

Remember: if you post anything based on any of the Story Shuffle prompts, from microfiction to whole stories, let us know and we’ll promote it to our followers. Enjoy!

One thought on “Camp NaNoWriMo: How to Choose the Perfect Target

  1. Pingback: Reaching Your Camp NaNoWriMo Word Count Goal | The Sprint Shack

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