On October 1st, we relaunched our website with new features, new, squeaky clean forums, and more. The site reset is a physical reset, but for a lot of people, it’s a mental one, too. For many of our participants, the reset is the sign that NaNoWriMo is here, and the panic and planning begin in earnest.
The most valuable resource NaNoWriMo provides is its community. And I’m not just saying that because I manage the aforementioned community, either! Time and time again, people have told us how the community has transformed their writing, and I’ll be honest: I’m one of those people! For me, writing was something I did alone, in a corner, scribbling madly in a notebook or behind a textbook where the teacher couldn’t see me.
Mind you, I had writer friends, and we talked about it. Maybe we even shared work now and again. But write together? Madness!
NaNoWriMo changed all of that. I was suddenly surrounded by a community of thousands, all writing together, with a common goal and deadline. The community was sheer magic. It drew me like a moth to flame, and today, it’s quite literally my passion and my career.
So how can you leverage that magic for yourself?
First and foremost, if you don’t have an account, create one. Many people do the event on their own, or know it’s going on and kinda write along with us, but never really use the site. That’s great, but you’re missing out on a rich community of writers who want to help!
Once you’ve created an account, head straight over to the forums. That’s where the main, international community resides. Forums exist for just about every writing-related issue you can think of, and then some. There are age groups, genre lounges, tips, tricks, and more. There is also a regional community for most areas. You can find that under Local Events.
So you do all of that… now what?
Well, what’s your need? If you’re having trouble with naming things (one of my favorites) you can pop over to the Appellation Station. If you need prompts, or competitive word sprints, you can hit Word Wars, Prompts, & Sprints. If you’re looking for filler characters, chapter titles, motives, or just about anything, Adoption Society will have a thread to find one. You can find commiseration in the NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul forum, or check out the genre lounges.
The most important thing is to engage. Ask questions. Help others. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve improved a piece simply by looking at what others are doing, and getting inspired, or realizing what I did wrong… or any number of things. Sometimes, the process of typing out a question will solve the problem by getting me thinking in the right direction.
What do you have to lose? Well. I’ll be honest. Time. Your soul. NaNoWriMo (many a novel has been lost to the Games forum.) But you might just gain something instead. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
When life settles, I’m dashing in, because this venue is one I’ve longed to do for quite some time.
I love the events and forums on Nano 🙂 I don’t always finish, but it’s always fun to have a chance to online-meet a bunch of people equally interested in writing as I am, and the Toronto nano group always has a great bunch of people, and a whole bunch of activities. And no-one judges when I take a nap on the couch midway through the ‘all night write-in’ they host every year. Thank you for your work on Nano 🙂
I wish I had recall sooner that this event was coming up so I could plan for it. NaNoWriMo is exactly what I need to actually start and most of all FINISH! I’ll still think about joining and see where it goes from there.
Planning is totally optional. Do it anyway! Plenty of folks jump in with a wing and a prayer, and go on to win! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Got a point there! Thank you 🙂
I would love to join forums- but if Facebook is anything to go by, I will never write my novel. I’ll have a look these last two days, but come November 1st, I think I’m better off staying away from any distractions at all!
You can always stick just to the regions, which tend to be a bit calmer than the regular forums. 🙂
Great article by a friend of mine. Way to go, Heather. Lexy, you’re right; meeting people online and in person sharing the journey makes the grueling parts more fun, and I’ve yet to meet a judgy fellow WriMo’er. CL, lots of people “write by the seat of their pants” at least once to see where it takes them, or give themselves a portion of time each day for planning and a portion for writing (I tend to do the latter since I have to include some historical facts and can’t keep them in my head long). Patti, I understand completely because I was that way at first, but once I collected some buddies (through the forums and in my local group) who encouraged me to keep writing, I learned to only let myself check online AFTER my writing goal for the day was achieved. Hope to see y’all there.
Heather, I never knew that NaNoWriMo had such a huge support community. Is it available all year long or only in November?
Seems like you’ve all jumped in the same sweet jelly bath, tasting and savoring all together. What fun!
Absolutely, Sharon. It’s a little less busy, but in some ways, that’s better; less overwhelming. We even add more forums for dealing with post-novel life, like publication and editing.