people—Community. And productivity. Wait, that’s two words…
people—Community, productivity, and inspiration. Okay… this isn’t working.
National Write a
Novel Month holds a special place in my heart. It was not where I started
writing. (I was an eleven-year-old kid under the covers with a flashlight
adding love stories to The Outsiders.) It wasn’t where I went
professional. (Thank you Romance Writers of America for that.) But NaNo is
where I found my grove.
I’m a fast
drafter. I can write a 1000 words in an hour if I press. Sixty percent of it
will be “was,” “had,” and redundance sentences, but I can do it. I’m also a
plotter and usually have my entire novel thought out. (Not the details.
Characters tell me stuff all the time as I draft, but they rarely change the
plot.) But I don’t write every day. I can go months without new words for a
fiction piece. (I’ve been good with these blogs. Crap, now I’ve jinxed it!)
streak likes to peek its head out once in a while. I’m not malicious, but I
love to win things. I like to be first. It goes without saying that eBay is a
problem. But I digress. I remember working alongside another new author with my
first book. For me, it was a race to the finish (though I tried NOT to be
competitive about it). NaNo used to let me compare myself to other writers
through the Buddy view and another add-on program. Those features are disabled,
and that’s a good thing.
What it boils
down to is NaNoWriMo is great for me.
What about you?
Are you looking
for writing partners? Buddies, Groups, and Forums will help with that. Find
your friends, find local authors, find writers from around the country and the
globe. Connection is as easy as responding to a forum post. I’ve found that
most authors who participate in NaNo are down-to-earth and approachable. You
won’t find the elites who disparage certain genres or types of writing. If you
post in a forum something like “I’m drafting an erotic witch story about a bus
driver with political aspirations” no one will poo-poo your idea. They may brainstorm
with you, ask questions, and cheer you on, though. That’s pretty awesome.
Do you need
inspiration? Search for the wonderful messages NaNo sends out from professional
authors. They talk about the industry, the head work, the real meat of writing.
In our Albany group, our MLs send out inspiring messages all the time. And it’s
not just a November thing. The National site has talks and things going on all
year round. Again, check to those forums to ask for ideas, encouragement, and
support. If you have a local group, read their forums, Facebook, Twitter,
Do you need to be
productive with your own writing? NaNo is a great way to get moving forward
whether you are starting a project, finishing one, or dealing with a saggy
middle. Besides the November push for an entire novel, there are two “camp”
sessions. These mini NaNo events allow you to create your own goal. Rather than
fifty thousand, you can choose another number, an editing goal, or even time
spent working on your project. The site uses a summer camp theme to inspire
authors to write. Look for these events in April and July.
On the same note,
having a designated time (month, week, etc.) dedicated to your writing can help
you work through blocks, find your story, explore a new genre. In other words, use
November to be productive as a writer. I know it’s tough with Thanksgiving in
the middle, but check out this list
of books written during Nano. If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know
I keep singing
the praises of my local group, which has blossomed in the past few years.
Thanks to the effort of our ML, Shannon, and later by her two co-MLs, Grace and
Rose, the Albany group has grown into a wonderful family. Perhaps your local
group feels lacking. My advice is to stand up and help the group grow.
Community is one
of the best things for writers. Finding other professionals (and amateurs, of
course) who love writing, adore story, and want to share. Be a part of it. Put
yourself out there. If you are nervous, this is a great year to do it. Since
all events must be virtual this year, host a Twitter or Facebook event. You
don’t have to turn on a camera. Merely post “Start” and “Stop” to begin. Ask
people after a sprint how it went. Begin small or big. Just start.
I could go on
(and I have!). In short, National Write a Novel Month can seriously help you as
an author to build a community, be inspired, and get that book finished (or
started). Please participate!