Writing, as so many books and other sources like to tell us, is a solitary activity. We think of the “great” writers, holed up in their studies, never seen for days at a time, chain-smoking and drinking their absinthe and tossing wads of crumpled-up pieces of paper onto the floor in an ever-growing pile.
Maybe that worked for Hemingway, but if you’re going to participate in Nanowrimo, if you skip out on the social aspect of the event, you’re missing out.
Part of the energy of Nano comes from that fact that hundreds of thousands of people are doing the same thing at the same time. If you’re dragging, it picks you up and takes you with it. It’s easy to find someone if you need to bounce ideas off of someone or need a challenger in a word war. There’s always someone to reassure you when things are going poorly, and someone to cheer you on if things are going well.
So what can you do to integrate yourself fully into the madness (and I highly highly recommend that you do):
1. Kick-Off and Thank God It’s Over (TGIO) parties
Almost every region (or sometimes combinations of regions) will have a party at the beginning and the end of Nano, normally outside of November so you’re not actually sacrificing any writing time. These allow you to sound your plot ideas off of willing compatriots, get to know the other
crazies Wrimos in your region, make friends, and hopefully eat a ridiculous amount of sugar. Some regions also have halfway parties sometime around November 15th where you can socialize (and eat candy) or type desperately to try to catch up to where you should be.
These are the backbones of Nano. Hopefully there is at least one near you that you can make on a near-weekly basis. A write-in is where a group of Wrimos, sometimes but not necessarily accompanied by the Municipal Liaison (ML), invade a coffee shop or a library or a 24-hour breakfast place or a bar or anywhere, really, where you can sit and type and giggle for several hours and not get kicked out. These are useful for a variety of reasons. MLs often have goodies from HQ to hand out, you can participate in word wars (races to see who can write the most words in a specific amount of time), and if you find yourself stuck, you can address the group at large for help. Plus sometimes it’s good to get out of your own head and see other people.
3. Regional Forum
When you register, the website asks you to select a Home Region. This connects you to the Wrimos closest, geographically, to you, lets you know what events are being planned, and helps you plan meet-ups with other people. It’s also the region you give your words and any money you might donate to, allowing them to fight other regions to the death. I mean, uh. Regional wars are fairly common, so don’t be surprised if you occasionally get emails from your MLs asking you to crush Glasgow. It’s all in good fun and gives you bragging rights.
4. Nano Forums
The Nano Forums are where you can reach out to your fellow Wrimos all over the world, help with plot issues, browse the Adopt-a-Character thread, accept Dares, and see what madness people have come up with for this year. There’s also a variety of forums to help you find new friends, from the Newbie forums to the Age Lounges to Clubs to the Rebels Forum. The boards can be a bit overwhelming, but find a few places that you like and you’ll be fine.
5. Twitter and Chat Rooms
Nanowrimo has two twitter accounts, one for announcements and one for Word Sprints. I suggest you follow both. Your local region may also have a twitter account specific to your region. There’s also several chat rooms across multiple services if you need social support at any time of the day or night. You can find some of these through the forums. Your local region may also have a chat room.
Of course, the amount of social interaction you crave is completely individual, but I’ve found that participating and interacting with your fellow Wrimos makes it a lot easier to keep your motivation up and get across the finish line.
Anyone have anything they’ve found helps, or recommend any additional hangouts?