Images of a sweltering summer romance:
A hammock slung between two shade trees.
A secluded sandy island beach.
A tiny parasol floating in a fruity alcoholic drink.
A pair of rhinestone flip-flops in the sand.
A string bikini flung onto a bedroom chair.
Make you want to have a summer fling, or at least read about one? Or better yet, write your own story after get insider tips on crafting a steamy summer synopsis at a writer’s retreat?
“A retreat sounds great,” you say. But how can you possibly pull off an idyllic getaway set smack dab in the middle of your crazy life? Maybe you’ll have to settle for reading this summer instead.
But no, it can be done! So says the coordinators of Camp NaNoWriMo, the same organization that created National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing that takes place every November, with participants striving to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days
According to the coordinators, Camp NaNoWriMo is a “light” version of the November event, but instead of asking campers to pledge to write a 50,000 tome, participants can set their own count. Last year more than 57,000 writers signed up for the camp.
Sounds good so far? No long airline security waits, no overpriced hotel rooms, no lost luggage. And even though you won’t be sitting around the camp fire together, participants have the option of inviting specific Wrimos into their cabin to bunk up, join a cabin with participants of the same age, activity level, word count goal, or genre, with up to 11 other writers. Joining a random cabin or being a hermit are options too. Once registered, campers are directed to set up a camper profile and can even purchase camp-y t-shirts. Anyone for a rendition of “Kumbaya”?
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo, organizers say, this program is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel. Although, the lure is to nurture any writing project, whether you’re tending to a second draft, planting the seed of a new story, or branching out with a script or poem.
For those interested in signing up, Camp NaNoWriMo starts on Friday, July 1. For many, that will be a long weekend with the 4th of July on Monday. What writer wouldn’t be inspired on America’s favorite pyrotechnic day by creating fireworks between their own fictional characters?
For me, after participating for the first time in last year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m enthusiastic about attending this year’s writer’s summer camp without the threat of contracting poison ivy. And although I didn’t write, 50,000 words in November because of a demanding day job, I did produce over 8000, more than a I do in a typical thirty-day period. Plus, the collaborative global effort gave me a sense of community, held me to a level of accountability, and infused my daily writing activities with a dose of excitement.
So if this you avoided summer camp, that pubescent rite of passage full of social awkwardness, this is your time as a writer to reclaim the nostalgic possibilities through the safety net of a virtual experience.
We’re on the cusp of Summer. Are you ready for Camp? I’ve got the sunscreen.