Why We Go To Camp
The wind whooshes around you, pulling at you and kidnapping your breath, holding it for ransom. Your feet do not touch anything, and though your eyes are open, you see only blackness.
Finally, you feel ground solidifying underneath your feet and the rushing wind slows, then stops. After blinking a few times, you are able to make out your surroundings; several stylishly rustic-looking cabins dot the area around you. A few trees are scattered here and there, as though someone walked past with a leaking bag of seeds, but your attention is quickly taken from the way things look, and given to the way things sound. You have been outside before, as most people have, so you find it unusual that there is no natural sound. No crickets chirp in the knee-length grass. No birds sing from the tops of the trees or the insides of the roofs.
Then you notice that the lack of natural sounds is not the only thing unusual. You can hear a clack, clack, clacking coming from the cabins surrounding you, a loud version, and a softer version that reminds you of typing on computer keyboards. Determined to investigate, you make your way cautiously toward the doorway of a nearby cabin. The door is open, so you step in.
It takes your eyes a moment to adjust to the difference in light, but soon you see with clarity the odd sight in front of you. Eleven people sit, stand, or pace in the cabin in front of you. Boys and girls, men and women, they have only one thing in common: the fact that each of them is writing. One writes at a typewriter; another with a pen; yet another dictates their words into a computer program.
If you are confused, reader, you might be pleased to know that you’re just walked onto a website labeled Camp NaNoWriMo. It should sound familiar to some of you, but to others it might be an alien term, so I shall explain.
Camp NaNoWriMo is what happened when the National Novel Writing Month branched off into separate sections, creating two smaller but similar challenges in April and July. A writer can join the website, set a word goal, and write for the entire aforementioned months to meet their goal. Whether their goal be big or small, whether the writer be walking, jogging or sprinting, many writers gather on one website to write their novels.
Separated into “cabins” of eleven people, the writers face writer’s block, lack-of-time, procrastination and distraction with each other for one month.
One of the obvious questions when faced with such information would be, “Why in the worlds would I want to do such a thing as that?”
Well, dear reader. I searched the internet for just such an answer, and Google told me several things that I think apply to writer just as (more than!) they apply to children.
Why Children and Writers Should Go To Camp
- To Try New Things
- To Challenge Themselves
- To Get a Change of Routine
- To Meet New People
- To Learn New Skills
- To Get More Active
- It Builds Self-Esteem
Most writers will know what’s best for themselves better than I do, and perhaps Camp is not right for everyone (talk to your doctor before using Camp, and it should not be used by young children or… ah, sorry. No.) but I know that I’ve grown substantially as a writer every time I did Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo. Whatever regular summer camp may be, whatever children might learn if they go to camp, writers learn when they challenge themselves.
Will you go look at their website?
Will you challenge yourself?