Last year the Wallace family purchased a trailer tent. We wanted to spend more quality time together as a family, doing things we all enjoy; getting out of doors, cooking over flames, exploring places we haven’t explored before. Both my boys are keen campers, both being part of Cubs and Scouts for many years, so a tent was a must. I hadn’t been camping since I was a child so the trailer part was a must for me! We had many wonderful weekend trips away last summer and met many like-minded families who, like us, looking for a bit of an adventure with their kids.
Now what’s camping got to do with writing? This is a writer’s blog, right? Stay with me, we’ll get there in a minute!
Writers spend much of their writing time sitting alone at a table; at home, in a café or at the local library, pen or keyboard at hand, emerged in worlds of their own creation. It is a wonderful process, but sometimes a little lonely and, like my family camping trips, I enjoy the company of other like-minded people. There are many writing groups out there, especially through Meet Up and other social media platforms, that organise writing sessions where everyone pitches up (see what I did there?!) at a specific location at a specified time and sit in silence writing together. I’ve thought about joining them, but for me I honestly can’t see the point as I live outside a main city and I would spend more time travelling to and from an event than actually being at it. I can use my time more wisely sitting at my table alone, tapping away in my own little world.
So how can writers come together and support each other, especially those who don’t live in a main city or those for whom travelling is difficult? As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I am signed up to the Monthly Writing Challenge. March is my third month, and I’ve sent myself a target of 20,000 and completion the of the first draft of Marnie Shaw and the Vanishing Man. As members we tweet our support to each other daily and logging my word count each day keeps me motivated. There is also National Novel Writing Month, known as NaNoWriMo, which is held in November, and where you pledge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Now that’s a commitment too far for me so, as well as the Monthly Writing Challenge, I’ve decided to join up with its younger sibling, CampNaNoWriMo (now you can the camping link!).
Unlike NaNoWriMo there is no word limit to achieve, so I’ve decided to write a shorter novel for 9-13 year olds, based on a short story I wrote in February called Moving Day. At the time it felt like the beginning of a story rather than a stand-alone one, so I’m going to pursue that idea during CampNaNoWriMo in April. Its set up like an American summer camp. You’re placed in a ‘lodge’ with no more than 11 other writers just like you, so I’ll be with other writers of children’s. We will then share experiences and encouragement throughout the camp month. I’ve decided to be allocated a cabin rather than setting up my own or joining with writers I’m already connected with. This way I meet more writers with similar interests. Although an American idea NaNoWriMo and CampNaNoWriMo are international, so it gives writers a chance to move within a global community, so important with the increase use of eBook downloads and self-publishing online.
So I’ll keep you posted on how I’m getting on at Camp, maybe even send the odd postcard or two!