Camp NaNoWriMo + The Four Tendencies 

[read time: 5 minutes]

Hi, everyone!

I wanted to remind everyone that Camp NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow, the first of April, 2022. 

What is Camp NaNoWriMo? 

Some of you may be familiar with NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. It is held every November, and the goal is for writers everywhere to come together to cheer each other on and write those dang novels we have floating around in our heads. Ideally, the participant writes 1,667 words every day in November and completes the month with a 50,000-word novel. 

Camp NaNoWriMo, on the other hand, can be used for any writing project (that is, not just a novel) and your word count goal can be any amount. The Camp runs every April and July. 

I joined NaNo this past November and ended up making it 21,375 words into my novel. In other words, I did not finish

Not only did I not finish, but I never continued to write it – not even once – since. 

However, that time away from the story let it percolate in my head and I think I’ve got the plot totally figured out. I feel confident about my idea and how it will go. 

That means that for the month of April, I will attempt to write 28,625 words and finish my book! That averages out to roughly 954 words/ day. (I’ve written longer essays than that in one sitting for university – I KNOW this is an achievable goal!)

However, being a single mama means that time is not always on my side, and that is exactly why I failed NaNo in November. 

But: the idea of using NaNo again to achieve my writing goals is what inspired me to write this post today. 

Those of you who know me well know that I am a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin. She is affectionately (and cheekily) called “the happiness bully” – her bestselling book was titled The Happiness Project. In this book, she spent a year tracking her happiness to see if she could increase it. Did it work? You’ll have to read the book to find out. (Spoiler: it did.) 

Rubin went on to write more books. One of them is calledThe Four Tendencies, and my goodness – it really helped me understand a lot about myself. In fact, when I finally figured out my tendency, and thus what drives me, a LOT clicked into place. 

So, what is “The Four Tendencies”? 

It begins with this question: “How do I respond to expectations?” How do you respond to your own inner expectations – do you give in, or ignore them? What about to outer expectations? Do you do something because someone tells you to? Or not? 

Rubin discovered that there are four groups of people who respond to inner and outer expectations differently. 

First is the Upholder. They respond positively to both inner and outer expectations and likely will do both with little to no complaining. I like to think of this Tendency as the Type A of the four. 

Then comes the Obliger. They respond to expectations when someone else has requested it, as they do not want to let that person down. For example, an Obliger might say yes to going on a walk in a group, but will not be motivated to go for a walk by themselves. 

Next is the Questioner. This person may or may not respond to expectations  – depending on answers they get from evidence. For example, they may want to go on a bird watching hike, but only after reading literature on where they best birds can be found. 

Finally, there is the Rebel. THIS IS ME. I was shocked – shocked – when I took the quiz and this came back. In fact, in true Rebel fashion, I decided I did not believe it – for a while. Then, as I critically examined how it came to this conclusion, I knew the outcome was true. I was, in fact, a Rebel. I don’t respond to inner OR outer expectations. That fact alone is exactly why I only work for myself now; I can’t abide by the rules of being expected to do something. I want to do my own thing. 

The thing about being a Rebel is that it’s the most complex of the four. This is because the Rebel has something called a Rebel Identity, where, despite their resistance to expectations, they can pass off as an Upholder, if that is part of their Identity. (Or could pass off as an Obliger or Questioner.)

I can say with one hundred percent certainty that this is true. Someone may view a Rebel as lazy if that Rebel cannot get their stuff together and be bothered to be at work on time. 

But for me, being early to work or activities is part of my Rebel Identity. So it may look to outsiders that I’m a Type A Upholder, when really I don’t want to be there at all but hey, I’m still there early

Rubin concedes that people can be a slight mixture of the Tendencies in certain situations, but generally most people are only one and will stay that particular one for their whole lives. 

Knowing this, I highly recommend you take the Four Tendencies quiz for yourself so you can also see what motivates you. 

So – what do Camp NaNo and the Four Tendencies have to do with each other?

Well – isn’t it obvious? Camp NaNo is a fantastic way for all us writers to be held accountable for something we say we are going to do. To me, knowing I have an audience and a goal influences the amount of writing I strive to achieve. 

In true Rebel fashion, once I announced at the end of November that I failed writing my book but WOULD continue to write it regardless, I in fact did not continue. 

And, everyone, that is why we are here today. NaNoWriMo, when I participated in November, was a fantastic way for me to hold my Rebel self accountable for all the lovely novel-writing that I was going to do. It worked. Because it worked, I’m holding my butt accountable again. 

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo, Camp or otherwise? I’m curious to see if it helped you out. Leave me a comment below! 

Published by Erica Black

Erica was born with a rare disease called an arteriovenous malformation in her right leg. She is now an advocate for those with disabilities. She left the corporate world in 2016 to pursue a career as a high school English teacher and began to blog along the way. She has a BA in English Lit and minor in Creative Writing. Her writing has been featured in The Martlet, The Globe and Mail, Heroica, and more. She enjoys cats, reading, and her daughter.

3 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo + The Four Tendencies 

  1. Never have participated. I have seen the abbreviation a few times, wondering what it stands for. Thanks for explaining that, haha 😂.

    Writing a novel. Hmm. It’s an interesting idea. A challenge. I have no story in my mind yet (or in fact, too many to focus). Do I really need to write it in April? Can I be a rebel and write in November? (Rebel here, too)

    Liked by 1 person

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