Camp NaNoWriMo starts on Friday, and once again I’m participating. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is the annual event in November where millions of crazy people attempt to write a novel (or at least a work of fiction 50,000 words long). Camp NaNoWriMo happens twice a year as a month to either finish a story you started in NaNoWriMo, or to practice writing a smaller amount to get in the habit of writing every day, or just to work on any writing or writing-related project that strikes your fancy.
You set your own goal and if you achieve it, hurrah! You win. The Camp website has a couple of different features that aren’t part of the regular NaNoWriMo, chief among these are virtual cabins. You can set your account be randomly assigned to a cabin, or you can form one of your own and invite your friends to join. Or not do it at all. The cabin is simply a small chat forum that only members of the cabin can post to and see. So it’s a place you can check in for encouragement or to ask questions, or simply report on your progress.
I’ve enjoyed myself every time I’ve participated. I haven’t always hit my goal during Camp. But I do a better job of staying on target for the month than I do at other times. It helps having a goal and people encouraging me.
Every time that I try to recruit folks I know, there are always some who are reluctant because either they tried it before and it didn’t work, or they don’t think they’ll hit any goal, or the like. And I get it, I do. But missing a goal isn’t failure, it’s just missing the goal. We’re too focused on never making mistakes, and forget that the way you learn is to try, and when you don’t succeed the first time, try again. The analogy I’ve used before is a toddler learning to walk. We don’t remember how many times as toddlers we fell down attempting to walk. But we didn’t give up, we kept trying. And now we do it without even thinking.
Learning anything works that way. Maybe you won’t hit your word count goal. Or maybe the story’s plot won’t go in quite the direction you planned. But that’s okay. You tried, and if you let yourself learn from it—and most importantly, try again— you’ll get better next time.
So, wanna join me at Camp NaNoWriMo? If you’re still in doubt, may I suggest this video to help you decide?
Shakira – Try Everything (Official Video)
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)