So with NaNoWrimo just mere weeks away, it’s time to makes plans! Plan your novel! Pants your novel! No one cares if it makes sense as long as you get the 50k in the kitty before November 15th it’s all good!
Also, plan to go to a write-in.
Wait, what’s a write-in?
A NaNoWrimo write-in is a public gathering of NaNoWrimo participants. Among many things done at these write-ins is participants type away on their laptops until they all get sick of each other or their work in progress.
Yes, you heard me, writers gathering in groups and typing away.
This may sound odd but it’s fun and you’ll find you get more work done in the end.
A brief background on myself, I started NaNoWrimo in 2004 in Rhode Island and gradually worked my way up to becoming an Municipal Liaison (ML) and in 2014 or 2015 stepped down so someone else got the fun job.
An ML’s job is essentially to herd cats, er, participants, send out emails to the region, hold a mandatory Kick-Off and Thank God It’s Over (TGIO) parties and schedule write-ins even if no one shows up.
A write-in is essential to your NaNoWrimo experience for several reasons.
First, so you know you’re not doing this alone. The comradeship helps as November rolls on and the writers who were hot to trot three weeks ago all of sudden dwindle to nothing by the time Black Friday comes round.
Second, because coffee shops.
I was never a really big coffee drinker in junior, high school and college. I’m one of this morning people that can roll out of bed at 6am and start working without the caffeine.
So, when I started to frequent places like Panera, Reflections, Brewed Awakenings, the now defunct Borders Café, Blue State and Elephant Room (now Schastea) and so on, I figured out what I liked and what I didn’t. This helps later on in life when you’re writing to make a buck and can’t get any work done at home.
Besides the drinks, being an ML is meant looking for places where if need be the entire group of writers (10-15 on a good night) could de-camp for three hours and write without ticking off the owners. Doing these events taught me to look for several things like seating, electrical outlets and parking.
Along with all this, I learned to keep a surge protector in my bag at all times just in case which has saved me on more than one occasion.
Thirdly, write-ins are fun because if you hit a brick wall you get to people watch and listen to for instance a comedy stand-up act about Muppets and fisting.
Lastly, it’s fun to see your fellow writers and swap war stories about losing a thousand words or how many words they gained. Word Wars are started this way and it’s fun to have someone nipping at your heals. This hobby can be very lonely at times unless you manage to hit pay dirt and begin a professional career out of it.
It’s what helped create the writer group I started some eight years ago and out of the core group, myself included, five of us have gotten short stories published or in my case published novel that took me seven years to finish because as much I as I thought I was writing it I wasn’t put my ass in seat, cut the cable tv, the PS4 and the twitter feed to finish it.
So, when November rolls around as it does every single year, check the regional calendar and see if there’s a write-in. Bring your laptop, the charger and your noise canceling headset and go to write-in. Get a lovely NaNoWrimo sticker for which the ML should have many and start typing.
You’ll surprised at how much writing you’ll get done with everyone else is tapping away on their keyboards.