One of the coolest features offered during Camp NaNoWriMo is the option to join a cabin with other writers. They can become your accountability partners, cheer squad, and support group if used correctly. Plus, they’re a lot of fun! If you’re a new writer and looking to make some friendships within the writing community, here are a few tips for supporting your cabinmates during April (or July) and staying connected after Camp NaNo is no more.
- Make a good impression. Like any form of social media, your Camp NaNoWriMo cabin is one tiny window of opportunity to make a good impression. Put your best foot forward and try to connect with people in an honest-to-you kind of way. Strive to be a positive voice while staying real.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s okay to ask the occasional icebreaker question. What house would you be sorted into at Hogwarts? What’s everybody’s favorite writing snack? What music do they listen to? Striking up friendly conversation is okay as long as you’re not being a distraction or a chatroom hog.
- Be inclusive about your writing struggles. Example: if I’m having a crummy writing day, I might suggest doing some group word sprints together to catch up and stay focused. Chances are good that 1) another writer in the group is also having a rough day, or 2) someone is willing to be a buddy and help cheer me on. It’s a lot more productive (and positive) than simply complaining about the problem.
- Pool your resources. The cabin is a great opportunity to send new followers to your favorite writers/bloggers, share helpful writing tips, and connect newbies to the support they need. Drop recommendations for things like your favorite writing craft books, Writer’s Life blogs, articles you’ve found helpful, Twitter accounts that you enjoy following, and tools or programs that you’ve found helpful and effective. And, of course, invite them to share their favorite resources, too.
- Offer your support outright. If you’re really connecting with the people in your cabin, offer everyone a chance to share their social media string and website/blog so that you can follow them in writerly support. I recommend not posting yours right away, since that tends to reek of self-promotion. Let them go first, follow, and then share your links.
- Offer to do another writing session together. If friendships are blossoming by the end of the month, it might be worth trying to set up another writing group through your favorite social media or a group-chat-friendly messaging app. Have a plan in place before taking the idea to the group. Suggest working through a word crawl over the summer, participating in a plotting session during Preptober, starting a support group for NaNoWriMo in November, or simply see if they’d like to share a cabin same time next year. Remember! It never hurts to ask, even if nobody’s interested.
What makes your Camp NaNoWriMo Cabin totally awesome?
Camp NaNoWriMo is hosted by the lovely people who created NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It runs during the month of April, and again in July. Find out more about Camp NaNoWriMo here, or sign up to join now!