Camp NaNoWriMo is a go! Whether you’re a returning Camper, or brand new to our virtual writing retreat, we’re ready to guide you through this month of writing-madness. We’re taking the SURVIVAL acronym from a wilderness survival guide, and using it to lead you through the depths of the forests, lakes, and crags of your writing journey:
- S – Size Up the Situation
- U – Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste
- R – Remember Where You Are
- V – Vanquish Fear and Panic
- I – Improvise
- V – Value Living
- A – Act Like the Natives
- L – Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills
When my sister was younger, my mom used to say that she was “full of good intentions and bad sense”: I wanted to know if it really was safe for her to jump off the banister from halfway up the stairs?
"Sure," she’d say. "Actually, if you get a pillow, I should be able to do it from the top."
Her best friend wanted to have a wasp-smashing contest?
"Sure," she’d say, "But anything but bare-handed is for kids."
I was in desperate need of a bathroom, but was stuck in karate class?
"Here’s the thing," she’d say, "Just go a little bit to relieve the pressure."
All of these were bad suggestions. And yet I’d continue to consult with her again and again. There was just so much confidence in her answers. Not only in the certainty of her tone (and boy howdy, did she speak without a quaver), but a confidence in me.
Because, really, the question was always, “Will I survive?” And her answer was always, “Yes.” She’d put a hand to her chin, compare your ability to the difficulty of the situation at hand, and never find you wanting.
She definitely reaped a few negative consequences from her certainty as life went along. You know: she dislocated her shoulder, endured a sting or two, gulped down a laugh when I turned my white-hot glare on her after thoroughly wetting my gi. We all get bumped and bruised, and when confronted with a particularly unfamiliar challenge, we learn to hesitate a little longer, to be a little less certain.
You may be staring up at the steep stretch of month ahead of you, wondering if you’re going to make it to the top with a manuscript in hand. Maybe you’re sizing up the situation and feeling yourself hesitate, remembering the ache of old bruises.
There are really only two important questions at the beginning of this journey to help you size up your situation; to assess your fears and remember your goal in full flush:
- What are you afraid of?
- Why do you want to write your story anyway?
You can do more than survive this month. Because, here’s the thing: we know just how hard and nerve-wracking it can be to tell your tale. We also know just what you can do, Wrimos, and how far your abilities go… It’s the most confounding thing: whenever we weigh your ability against the challenges lined up against you, it’s impossible to find you wanting.
We’ll see you at the peak.
Photo by Flickr user landrovermena.