The Camp Manual: Choosing Your Own Adventure

March 17, 2014

The biggest advantage of Camp NaNoWriMo’s grounds being virtual and fueled by imagination? They can be anything we want them to be—with verdant hills so verdant, a crystalline lake so crystalline, and that pod of plesiosaurs lounging on the shore.

Everything about Camp NaNoWriMo is an exercise in choosing your own writing adventure. But is Camp right for you? Let’s find out…


1. Writing is cool. If you agree with this statement, skip to #2. If you disagree, skip to #3.


2. Correct, writing is cool. Thinking writing is cool is cool. By this logic, you are cool.

Congratulations on your coolness. Follow-up question: Do you consider yourself a writer? If yes, skip to #4. If not, skip to #5.


3. Please write us a 150-word explanation of why writing is not for you. (See what we did there?) We are reluctantly interested in understanding your bizarre ways. Once complete, please see #6.


4. Awesome! Please excuse as we slip these sunglasses on: your coolness is, like a sunlit glacier, dazzling.

Now, do you have a writing project in mind that you’d like to tackle? If yes, skip to #7. If not, skip to #8.


5. But wouldn’t it be cool to write something? Possibly that one idea you had after watching that truly terrible movie about the moon-based robots? You know, the idea that would have made that story actually palatable, and exciting, and character-driven?

If you just remembered that script/novel/memoir idea that’s been lingering in the back of your mind, skip to #7. If you’re still sure you’re not a writer, go back to #3.


6. Be honest, you had fun writing that manifesto against writing. The ideas were flowing, you got to use words like “dilettante,” “tepid,” and “cockamamie”. You put your point of view down on paper, and got a little rush knowing that someone would read it.

Admit it: you’re a writer, and writing is cool. (Go back to #4.)

No? You’re sticking to your writing-hating guns? Sigh. Skip to #9.


7. Perfect! We’ve been waiting for you! (Not in a creepy way, we promise. More in the way your dog waits by the door when you’re at work. You know, endearingly desperate for your company.)

Camp NaNoWriMo’s word-count tracker, virtual cabins, and writing resources are ready to help you reach any creative summit. Declare your project (thesis, script, pop-up book—it’s all gold), adjust your word-count goal, and please do not feed the plesiosaurs any dairy. They’re going vegan.


8. That’s tough! A writer without a project is like me without a smartphone. Directionless, irritable, and overwhelmed with a feeling of missing out on entire worlds of stimulation. Unlike my problematic smartphone addiction though, a writer’s lack of project can be easily cured!

Check out the forums, dust off an unrevised draft, or challenge yourself to try a brand-new genre or style. And honestly, the best way to find inspiration is often just to make the commitment to write in the first place.

Once you’re ready to commit, go back to #7.


9. It takes all kinds, we guess? We certainly will not spend the month writing a short story in which a thinly disguised version of you meets their muse-come-to-life, falls madly in love, and writes desperately to make up for their neglectful ways. How weird would that be.


10. Why are you on this number? This is totally against the rules,

Tim Kim
Editorial Director