The general consensus for any activity is typically that it’s better done with more than just yourself. Sure, you can go it alone, but is it nearly as fun? And is it at helpful as having a good environment of people who help each other with the same interest?
Write-ins, held throughout the month by the municipal liaison (also known as a sort of leader figure for the region you’re a part of) and other wrimos in the area, can be about meeting others as much as about writing as much as possible in an environment that pulses with enthusiasm and encouragement.
They are especially great for extroverts and people who don’t mind the company, whether it’s simply having more presence or actively talking.
Even as an introvert, getting out and meeting other writers has always been exciting to me because sometimes, it feels like an exclusive club, and those who don’t write don’t exactly understand what or why I do what I do. Acceptance, a place that doesn’t make you feel left out. It’s nice, and so were a lot of the people I met at my first outings.
One thing that write-ins remind me of is a phenomenon seen in runners, where if you run slow, and you have a friend that comes along with that has a higher pace, you’ll see an increase in your own performance to keep up. It’s personal motivation to keep going: If the person sitting beside you has 10k words on the first day and still counting, it makes you want to push harder, and focus more.
Though there’s always the possibility of focus being lost. When you spend the time talking to others instead of working, mostly, it doesn’t entirely defeat the purpose, but it does hinder your wordcount.
Kick off parties, whether at midnight on November 1st or later in the day or week, are especially exciting, typically, and you might get some goodies for it (stickers, a calendar for what days you’ve completed as you go through the month, and other small things).
Most-all of these, by the way, are organized via the forums for your region on Nanowrimo.org.
Along with meeting new people at write-ins, you gain a support group, which can also hold true for the online community just as well, if you have friends all over the country, or even the world, who participate with you. You have people to trade experiences with and relate to, someone else to laugh with and bounce ideas and thoughts off of.
For this case, I remember an article from someone or somewhere about non-writers viewing your work and why it’s a bad idea… ( I have been looking for this godforsaken thing for thirty minutes and turning up empty handed still. I WILL find it. It will be here shortly…)
Of course, these gatherings are totally optional. You could spend all November curled up in the safety of your house without a care in the world, but it gives you a chance to get out and meet others if that’s what you like. Personally, knowing there are people like me, locally, who I can connect with, is exciting, most of my friends close by aren’t writers.
I did want to touch again on the online friend groups again, though, because the idea for this post sprouted from a facebook post that got some attention. I know a few people (and encouraged a couple) to do NaNoWriMo this year, and after becoming writing buddies on nanowrimo.org, I got really excited. For the first time, I had a group bigger than two or three people (myself included) that were going to write all through November. I have more people to talk to about the small writer’s blocks and the flash burn outs and the wordcount I surprised myself with, the writing frenzy I got into, or feeling stuck.
Friend is always there with me for Nano, of course, but sometimes, don’t you just feel the need to talk to people and geek out outwardly?
I guess in a way, that is the essence of Nanowrimo write-ins: to geek out with fellow writing geeks and to feel like you have a place to go, if you want.
Some people are more comfortable with staying in or away from it. For those who aren’t, November holds the potential for dozens of opportunities to meet, greet, and geek.
-The Novice Wordsmith