For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an annual writing event. You can learn more about on their website here. Camp NaNoWriMo is an twice annual offshoot event featuring virtual “cabins” with up to 20 participants. Learn more here.
I’ve participated in Camp NaNoWriMo seven times now. In the past, I’ve had both cabins that were active and others that were inactive. I’ve found cabin activity critical to staying motivated.
The NaNoWriMo forms have some good tips for finding cabin mates, but today I’m sharing some things I personally have found result in an active cabin.
Disclaimer: This is only what has worked for me, and most of this post is speaking in general terms. No doubt there are exceptions, and your results may vary.
Private cabins are more active.
The camp NaNoWriMo website allows users to choose to not get put in a cabin, get sorted with other campers based on private criteria, or create/be invited to a private cabin.
Many people who plan to participate in Camp NaNo won’t write a single word. It’s like new years resolutions. Many people don’t complete their goals. Therefore, the best bet for an active cabin is to meet other enthusiastic people on the NaNoWriMo Finding cabin mates forum.
The earlier you join a cabin the better.
Some people will join camp late. However, in general, more active people will be excited to find a cabin as soon as possible. This leads to a greater chance of more active members if you start looking early in the month.
Barriers to entry lead to more active members.
This mostly applies to those who are starting their own cabin by looking for people in the forums. The forums allow people to specify criteria for the participants they’re looking for.
By barriers to entry I mean specify certain criteria. This can be anything from an age range to a specific genre or time zone.
Specifying you’re looking for people who have done something that requires them to have taken action at one point, like winning NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo in a previous year, can be even more effective because it requires people to have a track record of active participation.
Just make sure these barriers to entry are not so high as to be unattainable by the majority of people because that could lead to a lack of interest.
Overestimate the number of people you want.
20 people seems like a lot, but it’s likely some people will disappear throughout the month. Yes, even following these tips. So, add more people than you think you’ll want to your cabin. This will allow you to have enough people left to stay motivated at the end of the month.
Have you participated in Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo? Are you participating in July? Do you have any tips?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!