A Camping I Will (Possibly) Go

The last day of the month is exciting for us bujo types, because that means new month. For those of us starting a now notebook/journal/planner (no, this is not a post about notebooks. I promise it isn’t; read the title) it means we get to break out all the good stuff: pens, pencils, rulers, stencils, stamps, washi tape (oh so much washi tape) and look at our vision of the ideal month ahead. Looking past that month, to the month that follows, only makes sense. In this case, that next month is April, and April, for many of us writer types, means Camp NaNoWriMo or at least it could.

Normally, I don’t do NaNo anything, because, although I like the idea in theory, if I focus too strongly on word count, I get paralyzed, and every day, fall farther and farther behind, which means everybody else is a better writer than I am, why did I do this, oh woe, etc, etc. You know the drill. So why is it, this year, that I had the thought float into my mind, “I think I might like to try camp this year.” The April version, specifically. Jury’s still out on July. I don’t remember when the idea first slipped in there, but, yesterday, at my weekly breakfast with N, I put it out there, to test the waters.

Me: I’m thinking for doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April this year.

N: (after ascertaining that I had not A) been replaced by an alien doppelganger, B) somehow managed to get my hands on a funny bagel, or C) sustained a head injury: Will you be working on Her Last First Kiss, or Drama King, or something new?

Me: :deer in headlights stare: Um, I don’t know.

Because I didn’t. The hazy idea never got that far. Now that I actually accidentally signed up for this session, while trying to see if my account was still valid, I still don’t. This is not like me. I am the opposite of a pantser. One would think that would mean plotter, but not always. I, personally, identify as a puzzler; this scene over here, that idea over there, this kind of character would be fun, I’ve always liked that other thing, so let’s put them all on the table and see how they fit together. I want to know where I’m going, how I’m going to get there, and when I should expect to arrive.

Now that I am apparently in for April, I should probably figure out a few things. Which project I want to work on, for one. The dreaded word count for another. My best guess is that I will set the bar low, so it’s an easy “win,” because these sorts of things awaken my competitive side. When I belonged to a once upon a time RWA chapter, we had an annual NaNo-ish exercise, where we competed to see who could write the most pages in that month. Challenge accepted. I think the month could have been January. I don’t remember, but that feels right-ish. Every year that I participated in that venture, I either took second place (said chapter had some very prolific writers while I was there; probably still does) or won, and it was never any problem. I felt energized, not paralyzed. I’m not sure why that was.

I have a few theories, though. It’s much less intimidating to count pages than words. Any pages counted, and it didn’t have to be a brand new project; ongoing works were fine. I do know the rules for Camp are looser than for NaNo proper, and the ability to set my own goals very much appeals. What I’m looking forward to most is the community. At some point (after I have created a project, because I have no idea what my WIP will be for the duration) I will be sorted into a cabin, whether by choice or by chance, and I can talk to other people as neurotic about the whole process of shooting for a specific number during a specific calendar month.

This is dependent on me not finding a way to delete my account in the month before Camp starts in earnest, but I think I want to go ahead and see what happens. Probably. Possibly. In a way, it feels like being a little kid on the edge of the high dive, my toes curled around the end of the board, taking a couple of experimental bounces, and looking at that water, far below.




:sounds of polite throat clearing from people behind me:

Sure, there is the possibility of climbing back down the ladder and getting a cherry popsicle from the snack bar (which, to be fair, one still can do when one gets out of the pool, after diving: but that would A) tick off all the people waiting in line, one of which may already be climbing the ladder, even though the lifeguard is blowing their whistle and advising against premature climbing, and B) if I don’t try, I won’t know.

So, maybe I won’t dive. Maybe I’ll jump. Jumping is fine. Jumping can be fun. The important part is coming back to the surface. The important part is swimming. Which, oddly enough, is an activity often associated with going to camp. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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