In case you didn’t see my post 3 Tips for NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month”, which takes place every year in November. I originally got into this event via my friends, who are very into writing. Their energy is contagious and I got sucked along for the ride! Now I very much enjoy it, and I’m even writing this blog post as part of my 50,000 word goal for NaNo this year.
Without my friends, I would have had a very difficult time navigating the NaNo community. That’s one of the great things about this month – you aren’t the only one working towards this goal, and there are so many options out there to help motivate you. I also know friends who first got invested in communities after they moved by getting involved in Nano events. I even had a friend meet people abroad at an international NaNo event! Not to mention, a lot of my friends nowadays I met at a NaNo write-in.
The first place to start is the NaNoWriMo website. Create a username/profile, and introduce your upcoming novel to the world. Some great features of the website include:
- Writing buddies – Here you can link up with your real-life friends and track their progress throughout the month, while you share your own!
- Word count – This is where you post your word count each day, and where you verify if you’ve reached 50,000 words. If you reach that many words, you get a nice “you won!” message.
- Forums – I’m going to be honest, I’ve never really had the courage to use the forums. But my friends love them, and even if you don’t ever post anything, they’re great for coming across ideas. They’ve got tips and strategies, and ideas for everything from characters to plot points to names. There’s also forums organized by genre you’re writing, your age group, and your region.
The next thing to do is go to a write-in! If you go to Regions>Home Region on the website, it should take you to a calendar of NaNoWriMo events in your area. The events are typically one of the following:
- Kick off party – This is usually held on October 31, leading up to midnight where everyone pulls out their laptops and notepads and starts the month off with a leaping head start!
- Write-ins – These are the most common. Usually it’s just a bunch of people with laptops at a coffee, house, writing away. This is a great way to meet writer-friends. Depending on the crowd, it’s also a great place to share about your novel and bounce plot points and ideas off other writers.
- Word Wars – These usually occur at write-ins, or virtually via Twitter. Basically a time is set (say 15 minutes) and you all write at the same time- trying to see who can get the most words written in this time! It’s designed to get you out of your head and force you to stop writing. It can also bring back focus to an overly chatty write-in. (Although I’m not against those usually, since meeting people is just as important as writing.)
- TGIO – Thank Goodness It’s Over party! This is on December 1. I’ve never actually been to one, but I’m sure it’s great. 🙂
If you want another way to stay connected with your NaNo community, social media is a great option.
Facebook – There are usually a group for each region on Facebook, and they often post events here as well. This is also useful as you can actually converse with someone if you get lost on your way to the write in and can’t find anyone. (Or don’t know anyone yet.) I’ve also seen people use this to share writing tips and motivation.
Twitter – My friend knows how to navigate this scene much better than I do. A lot of virtual events happen via Twitter, including word wars.
Do you know of any other ways to get involved in NaNoWriMo? What has your experience been with write-ins or other NaNo events?