There’s something magical about camping. From setting up a tent to sleeping underneath the stars, the experience pulls you away from the day-in, day-out monotony of life and helps you realign your spirit with nature. Can you smell the roasted marshmallows? Hear the crackling of the campfire? Are you there? I am.
Virtual camp is no different, though it’s less about roasted marshmallows and more about realigning the spirit. I’ve never felt more like a writer than I do right now. Ten days ago, the idea for my Camp NaNoWriMo novel didn’t exist, but over the course of the last week and a half, I’ve watched my non-idea grow to over 16,000 words. I’ve participated in the birth of a novel several times during the past two years, but this time it’s been a deliberate act, from the moment I forced myself to write something, to a few moments ago when I realized I’m on my way.
I will admit: I’m a numbers person. I like the Camp NaNoWriMo page because I can plug in my word count and look at a graph that tells me just how far I’ve come. There are statistics – proof of my accomplishment. But a 50,000 word completed NaNo novel does not yield a finished product. So, why do I feel such a sense of completion only a third of the way into the challenge?
The answer is simple: I’ve realigned my spirit. I am in tune with my sense of self-discipline. I have become reacquainted with the motivation needed to actually complete a novel. The NaNoWriMo challenge has prompted me to write with absolute abandon. There’s no outline, no structure, no editing mid-chapter. The only rule is this: WRITE.
The challenge has made me accountable, not only to a cabin, but to me. I’ve set a goal. I’ve made a promise, if only to myself. WRITE. Don’t look back. Don’t worry about plot holes and sentence structure because that can be fixed during revisions. Don’t think about who’s going to read it. Don’t worry about eventual publication. Write for enjoyment and fulfillment. Write because I love it. Write for me.