Are you familiar with National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo? It is a November writing event where participants try to write a 50000 word novel in 30 days. Many participants have gone on to be published authors.
Camp NaNoWriMo is a July offshoot of the November NaNo. While the general goal is still the 50000+ word novel, you can commit to less. For example, I’m doing a 17500 word novella instead.
It helps in doing NaNo to have NaNo goals. Some people have as a goal they want to finish a novel for the first time. Others are trying out writing in a different genre.
A less noted goal is that of writer networking. It really helps for writers to learn to network with other writers. In Camp NaNo, the chief networking opportunity is that participants are grouped into cabins. You can find a group of people to form a cabin with on the Camp NaNo site. Or if you are in a FB writing group you could use that as the core for your cabin.
I ended up in a Catholic cabin. Mainly because I’m Catholic and find it distracting dealing with anti-Catholic bigots while I’m trying to write. YOU might find a group based on your religious faith (or your atheism), your politics, your genre, or your nationality. If you have Asperger Syndrome, you might start a cabin with only Aspies, but remember that Aspies lack social skills and so you might be better off in a cabin based on something else.
Especially for a person with Asperger Syndrome, it can be hard to learn the social skills you need to do writer networking. Here are a few rules. Learn them, live by them.
- Remember that networking is not all about YOU. Take an interest in other people’s writing project and their progress. Don’t talk about your own work all the time.
- Keep your messages on the Camp NaNoWriMo cabin message board short. Long messages may annoy other people.
- Think of yourself as a REAL writer. Because you ARE one, so long as you are firmly committed to doing the work required to produce work and increase your writing skills. Don’t tell other writers ‘I’m no good.’ They might believe you.
- Don’t be negative about the other writer’s work. Find something nice to say about it. Or at least beg off by saying you don’t read much science fiction erotica (or whatever the genre is.) Remember, don’t critique the work of other writers unless they ask for it— perhaps by joining a critique group with you. And even in a critique group, mention positive things as well as negative.
- Don’t be the thought police. If someone says something you believe should not be said, you shouldn’t go after him for it. Even if what the person said was ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’ or ‘homophobic’ or conservative/’right wing.’ Appointing yourself to the thought police just cuts off communication with other people.
- Don’t swear. Or use sexual words/imagery. It just puts people off and makes you look vulgar and/or ignorant.
- Don’t stray off topic unless the other person does so first. And get back on topic quickly.
- In polite society, we don’t talk religion or politics on social occasions. If you are not in a cabin based on your faith/nonfaith or your politics, be polite.
- Have fun. Networking with other writers isn’t a chore. It’s a new way to have fun.
- If you have Asperger Syndrome, don’t talk about any of your Special Interests (obsessive interests.) If another person shares an interest, you may respond on the topic, but limit each post to a short one— three sentences or less. Remember, going on about a topic that the other person isn’t as interested in makes you a bore.
So, are you going to do Camp NaNo? Have you set up your account or your cabin yet? Let us know how it works for you!