- There will be a new site for the camp experience.
- The challenge isn't set in stone to 50,000 in 30 days, like NaNoWriMo normally is; the exact words I've read are, "It's not limited to months with 30 days, I'll tell you that much." I gather from that that rather than the event being a month long challenge, it's a summer challenge. You stick around for as long as you want. You don't just pop along for a month and then go away until November (or do two months in a row...). But like I said, it's not set in stone.
- There is no free printed copy of your book when you "win"; the sponsors have to offer that, and so far they haven't.
They like the community experience, right?
They like the way the website keeps track of their novel as they go along?
So why not just do that themselves? There are these new things called Blogger, Wordpress, Twitter and Facebook that allow people to tell their friends how they're doing. People want a community? There are loads there. There are writing forums dedicated to regular people writing whatever they want. I ran one for two years. Last summer I wrote about 60,000 words. I didn't need NaNoWriMo to get me to do that. I just wrote, and I posted stuff on Facebook to say how I was doing.
This summer? Well, I'm not waiting for Camp NaNoWriMo. I've already started to write a book, and I'm enjoying it. If I finish it in time to "go to Camp", then I will. But I won't organise when I write around a single time of the year. And do you know why? Because I like writing. I like to do whenever I feel like it, and not just as part of some challenge. My first and third novels that I completed were done outside of NaNoWriMo. My novellas were written last summer. My current book is being written despite Camp NaNoWriMo on the horizon.
And you know what? I'm not the only one who writes like this. I'm not the only person who writes because they enjoy to write, and who does it whenever they get the time, not when a website tells me to. One of my college friends texted me the other day to say she'd stayed up all night writing half her book. Darren Shan, popular children's author, writes a minimum of ten pages a day. Most authors on the bookshelves all around the world wrote their books when they wanted to, when they had the time, and not when a website told them to write. If everyone waited to write then, then there wouldn't be so many books in the world.
I'm not downplaying the importance of NaNoWriMo, of course. I'll still enter, if I find my time not-so-consumed this year. I'll do my best to write a book in a month, like everyone else. And that'll be for the fun, for the competition. But that doesn't mean I'll stop writing once NaNoWriMo is done, never to write for the next eleven months until it starts again. No, when I stop writing after NaNoWriMo, it'll be because I'm preparing stuff for teaching practice and putting the finishing touches on my final assignments for the semester. But once I'm free of all that work, I'll be writing away again. It's my hobby, all year 'round. And, you know, hopefully it'll be my job. Most people don't just work for a single month, then edit a few months later, then call it a day. Most writers can't afford to do that. They have to write continuously just to buy food to put on their tables.
Write for fun, all the time. Sell for money whenever you can. Don't get trapped in a cycle of writing and editing whenever a website tells you to. But, if you must, take advantage of the encouragement to get the writing done. It's still a worthwhile task, so long as it's not your only one.