I remember my first summer at camp as a child vividly. A group of 8 girls who didn’t know each other were plunked down in the middle of the woods and expected to get along or perish. For the most part, we perished because we didn’t get along very well. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but rather we were all so strong willed that none emerged as a leader. Instead, we ventured out on our own and became parts of other groups. At the end of each day, we would drift back into the cabin and ignore each other. Sure, there were occasional conversations that ended in awkward silence, but at least there was no blood shed.
Fast forward to adulthood. I have grown up and have been labeled “Runs With Scissors” many times. No doubt my native American ancestors would have given me a similar name! Being a brave individual, I decided to jump in feet first and embrace everything, including cabin assignments during my first Camp NaNoWriMo. I thought that it couldn’t be any worse than my childhood summer camp because after all we were all adults, right? Wrong.
We may all be adults, but the same problems still exist. Everyone wants to be a leader, not a follower. There is no room for Miss Congeniality, nor is there for a Peacemaker (with the exception of the gun variety). It is every man or woman for themselves, torpedoes be damned, stay out of the path of speeding vehicles lest you be run over!
What ever happened for niceties? Be pleasant to new people who enter your life, support other writers, offer a helping hand or words of encouragement. Have we all become so entrenched in the quest for our own success that we’ve become blind to each others basic needs? Social media is rife with trolls and people who love to stir the pot, so it was unexpected to find similar behavior in my virtual cabin with fellow writers. <<Sigh>>
Eventually I became bored with my cabin mates, and since my novel wasn’t going to write itself, I simply quit the cabin after weeks of unsatisfying interaction. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait for my parents to show up in their station wagon to haul my cookies back home.
I really do enjoy working with other writers and helping them to succeed. I’ve created a business to do this (IndieAuthorBookTours), have spent a tremendous amount of time reading and reviewing books, as well as responding to personal requests for assistance in one form or another. However, I don’t have time to try and reform writers who only want to take and never give back. Like summer camp, I have no intention of participating in virtual cabin assignments again.
My advice for those of you struggling with your cabin assignments during Camp NaNoWriMo: don’t spend a lot of time trying to rally the troops, nor asking to get reassigned to another cabin. You would be better off focusing on writing your novel, or better yet, gather together a group of your favorite writing buddies and form your own cabin. You’ll be more successful if you surround yourself with like-minded individuals and those who will cheer you on. It is okay to ditch those people around you who don’t want you to succeed. Let them place their own canoe in the water and paddle away by themselves.