To Edit, or Not To Edit…During Camp NaNoWriMo

Hey all you WriMo’s! How’s the first week of Camp NaNoWriMo been treating you? How are your word counts looking? Steadily inching toward your goals?

Well, I have a small confession to make…my word count is at a heartbreaking ZERO.  Yeah, it’s pretty bad. We’re what? 5 days in now? This time in November I think I was already nearly 10k words deep.

But it’s not all horrible. I promise I’ve been productive. Even if I haven’t been writing my intended Camp NaNo project, I have been working on another project. But just not writing…more along the lines of editing.

Yeah, it might be fudging the rules of Camp NaNo a bit much, but since I’ve been working on releasing my ebook next week, I had a flurry of last minute editing sessions. In total, I think I edited through nearly 30,000 words (what with all the re-reads) in the last three or four days.

Now, I’m definitely going to get to work on actually writing later this month during NaNo, but the real question is: can I count some of my editing toward my word goal this April?

I know I’m not the only one doing something like this. Many people enjoy using the energy and excitement of NaNoWriMo to get more non-traditional projects completed. So while many people are scribbling away, there are quite a few of us who are frantically deleting and slashing words from our manuscripts.

But that brings up another question: HOW do I count my editing toward my NaNo goal?

There are various ways of doing this, so lets take a look at some options we have here:

– Keep track of how many words you cut from your piece (but beware, setting a goal of 25k and then deleting more and more words just for the sake of winning Camp NaNo can be detrimental to your story)
– For every hour you spend editing, give yourself 1k words toward your word count goal on Camp NaNo’s site.
– Set a word count goal – something like 5k – then divvy up the piece you’re editing into 5 parts (or one part per thousand) and only give yourself those words on your word count when you’ve finished editing each section.

There are a lot of other ways you can approach accounting for your editing while doing Camp NaNo – just find one that works for you and keeps you accountable to your editing throughout the month.

And keep in mind that you will have to validate your word count at the end of the month in order to “win” Camp NaNo. If you’ve reached your editing goal (and be honest with yourself, because you’re the only one you’re hurting if you don’t do any editing and then say you did), then just copy and paste enough of your newly edited story into the validator.

I do hope to get a significant amount of actual writing done this month, but I’ve been riding the wave of Camp NaNo energy during these power-editing sessions this last week and think my word count should reflect all that hard work.

And for all my fellow NaNo editing rebels out there, make sure you’re stocked up on red pens. It’s going to be one hell of a month.


What are you working on for this round of Camp NaNoWriMo? Are you editing, writing, or doing something else entirely? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to join us on Twitter for sprints to help you reach your word count (hint: you can edit during word sprints too)!

5 thoughts on “To Edit, or Not To Edit…During Camp NaNoWriMo

  1. Working on a new novel. I worked out the general plot a couple of months ago and did some research but I just couldn’t get started with the writing. I’ve been using CampNaNoWriMo to get me past the fear of the scope of this novel (which involves a round-the-world search) to the actual writing and have found myself incredibly energized by that. Later I will return to editing my previous novel.

    • The classic approach to NaNo! Can’t go wrong there! :) I did use last NaNo to get through a rough draft – somehow powering through writing seems much more stressful than powering through editing.

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