The ideas have sizzled and slipped through your mind until you finally decided to reach out and grab one. You have committed by taking that step and creating your story on the Camp Nano website, and you still have the rest of the month to plan and prepare for the coming adventure. But something is missing- you haven’t dared search for that illusive ‘perfect cabin’ to lay your virtual head. The quest for a cabin can be an undertaking all on it’s own.
The people that you choose to embark on this daring adventure with can make the difference between crossing safely through the Misty Mountains or getting trapped in the Shire with nothing to do but repaint your door. There is really nothing worse than being forced to admit to yourself that half of your cabin is dead on arrival after five days of virtual silence. And forcing conversation online is just as awkward as real life- take my word on that. So, how do you find the right group when you don’t have Gandalf marking you each for mutual adventure?
Truthfully, my methods seem to be hit or miss. Although I must say, I am not a huge fan of being randomly sorted. I had expected that it would be like Hogwarts- but in reality there was much less magic and a lot more voids of awkward silence with cabin mates who couldn’t be bothered to log back in once we hit the first of the month when we were set to embark. I have been a firm ‘custom cabin-er’ since they first started to allow them. The big problem though? Everyone is excited before the first day hits, they are full of a bright enthusiasm for their project. But once you get a few days in, the reality of the mountain you face starts to set in. People don’t want to give up their lives for an entire month. So they disappear into the ether- if they even show up at all.
Going through the message boards to find a new group is like combing through the classifieds looking for a blind date (that’s probably an outdated analogy- umm- tinder, is that what people use now? Swipe left…or is it right?) Most people are pretty specific- age limits, geographical boundaries, genres- I even came across one person who was making every prospective cabin mate fill out an application and copy an oath to participate as a binding cabin contract. Obviously, this is a person who had been burned by the MIA cabin-mates before. Now me, I don’t think I want to be that extreme- I understand the desire to find others as serious as you about their work. But Nano is also meant to be a fun experience. I don’t want to worry about ‘conversation quotas’ in my cabin chat room, or be biting my nails and in fear of a request to leave when I decide to take a weekend off from my writing. I want the balance. I want to enjoy this.
So, after combing tirelessly through the message boards and finding a few that only partially fit, I decided to try delving into other areas of my life first, on the search for the perfect cabin. I have a few writing groups I frequent, all Facebook-centered at this point. One of them was actually created by a group of us who met during Nano a year or so ago- it had been a good season. I posted in my groups and waited. I was surprised to hear that one of them had quite a few people who hadn’t heard of Nano before. I managed to get a couple who were interested. By no means do I have a full cabin, but it’s been fun sharing something that I deeply enjoy with these new people who just might catch the nano bug like I did.
So I would like to extend my invitation here- if anyone feels like joining a cabin for camp nano- leave me a message. All projects are welcome; we have novels, blog projects, possibly some editing work- our doors are open if you care to embark on a daring adventure with a group of humble writer/bloggers. What do you say? Do you feel like being brave this July?