(Adrift in the Post-Camp-NaNoWriMo Waters)
A friend asked me, yesterday, how it felt to have "won" Camp this year, and I gave her my honest answer: yes, I was glad to have put the work in, and it felt good to have the words on the page, but now that it's through and the cabins are closing up until July, I can only ask: "Well, what now?"
During any NaNoWriMo event, the goal is clear: write unto the brink of exhaustion, and then write, write some more. But then the goal is gone, which is both freedom and damnation. "You're done!" My brain rejoices. "You can do whatever else you want!"
"I can?" My creative heart thrills. "Oh! Oh! I can draw! I can edit! I can start planning the next bit of work! I can work on that virtual tour of Aviario or organize my notes! .... GASP. I can organize my desk!"
Then, of course, my brain decides that is far, far too much to choose from, and I do none of those things. (Well, maybe not none. Last night, I totally organized my desk. True story: one of my pipe dream jobs is 'professional organizer'.)
I have a feeling I'm not the only one who has this problem after a NaNo month. There's something grand and purposeful about having a goal with an official tracker, an amazing group of people supporting and rooting for you, and lovely Winner Swag once you're through. It's a bit like going through withdrawal once you've finished out the month.... and my creative heart, well, it likes all that pomp and circumstance. It feels validated, the way my brain does at "The Real Job" when it crosses things off the to-do list and works with my team on projects.
If you're suffering from a post-Camp slump and feel the way I do, don't despair. I have a revelation to share with you: it's all still there. If you have friends you've made through the forums or cabins, reach out to them: find their Twitters, Facebooks, Tumblrs, Instagrams, Snapchats, or whatever internet poison you prefer. I assure you: they'll still be just as awesome. Need a tracker? Make your own! Grab a journal or a spreadsheet and start plugging away. As for the swag: it's true, we can't all print our own t-shirts or mugs or what-have-you, but think of it this way... your finished product is something no one else can make. If you need a little badge that says "I Did The Thing", well, there are plenty of image generators that will help you Make A Thing that says you Did The Thing.
And if you can't decide which Thing you want to Do? That's okay. Hop around from Thing to Thing until you find the one that really makes your creative heart sing and your brain say "Hey, wow, yeah, I can really work with this, right now." Eventually, you'll have found your next project.
That's where I'm at right now: just like Cinderella up there. I know that eventually, I'll have both my shoes back, but until then, I'll run with one. The project I'm meant to focus on will catch up with me soon enough.
Until next time,
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