As a child, I loved summer camping. Although I never got the chance to attend one of those fancy camps where you sleep in a cabin named "Wisheemeemoo" and swim in a lake for weeks on end, I did get to go on many Girl Scout weekend expeditions that I absolutely adored. Cherished memories include watching an owl glide past a background of stars while I watched from the safety of my sleeping bag, and the morning I gathered with Scouts and Girl Guides from all over the world to sing "Rise and Shine" at the top of our lungs. Camp was fun--a rare chance to run around in the woods, get dirty, and play with fire, aka learning to cook.
As an adult, I've retained the camping bug, but now days I prefer the ease of an RV and a proximity to five-star restaurants. If a camp site hasn't got an espresso bar and hair dryers, I'm ready to keep on driving. Which is part of the appeal of signing up for Camp NaNoWriMo: I can hang out in my blanket fort writing my heart out for an entire month with all the comforts of home. And the espresso is free.
I didn't intend to join my fellow writer-campers until this past weekend when I realized I'd finished up so many pre-set tasks from my New Year's list I had nothing to do (well, sort of nothing to do. My lists are essentially endless. . .). But cleaning out my home office on Saturday I realized I've got my manuscripts with agents; I'd completed the second draft of my Taiwan poetry as well as the accompanying series of illustrations; and I'd made so many pairs of earrings I'm completely beaded-out, for the moment at least. Hence the need for a new and compelling challenge. Welcome to Camp NaNoWriMo!
Sponsored by and similar to November's National Novel Writing Month, July's Camp NaNoWriMo requires a commitment to writing 50K words in a single month, but with a key difference: you can write whatever you want. Memoirs, poetry, screenplays, how to train your new puppy--it's all good. Heck, you can even write a novel if that's what your heart desires. In my case this is not what my heart desires--I have enough novels in various states of revision and submission to last me a lifetime, thank you, but I do very much want to write some short stories.
To get ready for the adventure I've:
- Joined an online "cabin" with nineteen other writer-campers.
- Prepared a new binder with a variety of writing prompts in the form of magazine photos, strange and obscure sentence fragments, and some outright commands, e.g. Write about a pair of shoes. I'll be using my prompts at random and keeping track of my progress by printing out my pages each day to file in the binder.
- Bought some new pens and a journal.
- Filled the freezer with Trader Joe's ready-to-heat meals and supplies.
- Cleared the decks of any marketing tasks for my other books. I need to stay focused.
Tip of the Day: Here's an idea: pull up a tent and join me for some writing! Even if you don't officially sign up for camp, July is a good half-way point in the year to re-evaluate. re-assign, and re-dedicate yourself to your creative goals. As a reward you can make yourself some s'mores. And don't forget your bathing suit. See you in the crafts room.