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?