I visited the NaNoWriMo site today, just to see what’s up, and was immediately hit by a Camp April pop-up. I wasn’t sure if I should participate so I created this list to help me — and YOU — decide.
(If you’re unfamiliar with NaNo, you could read this introductory post I made about it first.)
1. It’s a camp… online!
I’m not the camper type. I’ve never been on a camp and the thought of sleeping in the dark, surrounded by insects, doesn’t appeal. I get enough of that on our summer cottage, thank you very much!
But Camp NaNo is online. It’s clean and warm and dry, and there are no mosquitoes around. Instead you get all the cool stuff: roasting the virtual marshmellows on the virtual fire, sitting around the campfire with other writers, telling horror stories in the dead of the night… What could be better?
2. The rules are… there are no rules!
In contrast to the regular November NaNo, Camps ride on the fact that there really are no rules. You don’t have to get 50,000 words. You don’t even have to write a novel! Sure, the November NaNo has the option to rebel, but in Camp you can do whatever you want and it’s okay.
The important part is to set your own goal and then stick to it. For me, Camp April would probably revolve around editing instead of writing something new.
3. Daily goals!
The whole point of NaNo is to create a writing habit. Working on your target every day is the soul of NaNo (and also crying and wailing over not reaching the target… but that’s another issue) and I have to admit I haven’t been writing every day after last November NaNo. Having the Camp to support my daily goals would therefore be helpful.
4. Your own community!
What really sets Camp apart from November Nano are the Camp cabins. They are essentially chat rooms for 2-12 people and their purpose is to create a campy feeling. The people in your cabin are your camp buddies and you’ll be spending the next 30 days with them. More than enough time to make new friends!
The cabins usually try to stick with one common point, be it the genre or your age or your location, but whatever it is, you’re all there because you want to write.
5. Accountability & Assistance!
So, the Camp is all about your own daily goals and the wonderful cabins full of other Campers. And by “other Campers” I mean “people who’ll kick your butt if you slip.”
The NaNo community is great and peer pressure can work wonders, but I’m not that active on the forums during November NaNo. If I miss my target, no one really cares — except for me, but a piece of chocolate is often enough to make me look the other way.
When you’re in a cabin with only a dozen other writers, they’ll notice if someone starts lagging behind. Not only do you have the added pressure of keeping up with your goal, but you also have several people who’ll be ready to help you. Set up a word war, brainstorm ideas or simply wail together when writer’s block comes to visit. Whatever it is, at least you won’t be alone.
And with that list of 5 reasons to go camping, I’m starting to get convinced that I should. I’ve never done it before so perhaps it’s time to try.
Are you doing Camp April? If yes, have you thought of a goal yet? Will you create a private cabin with people you know or just enter a random cabin with new acquaintances?