The crazy, month-long challenge that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is enticing, but once you’ve signed up, writing 50,000 words in 30 days may seem insurmountable. Don’t let the apparent difficulty discourage you! There is plenty of support available as you write your way through the month of November.
Local Groups & Municipal Liaisons
After signing up for NaNoWriMo, you can associate yourself with a region. This allows you to meet other Wrimos in your area and get information about kickoff parties, write-ins, and other NaNo events. Events may be held at various venues around the region throughout the month.
Each region has a municipal liaison who is responsible for setting up these events. The ML is the glue that holds a region together and keep in touch with regional Wrimos via the forums to ensure that everything runs smoothly. MLs also get to hand out fun bits of NaNoWriMo swag, like stickers and buttons, to Wrimos during November. If you’re interested in becoming the municipal liaison for your region, you can visit the NaNoWriMo website for details.
The most common NaNoWriMo events are write-ins. How many get organized depends on the size of your region and the involvement of the ML. Sometimes Wrimos from far-flung corners of a region will organize smaller groups to make sure that everyone gets some communal writing time.
The general idea of a write-in is to allow Wrimos to get together and work on their novels in a group setting. This is sometimes more of a distraction than anything else, but that’s part of the fun of NaNoWriMo. Having other people right there to bounce ideas off of and ask questions when you get stuck can help advance your novel beyond pesky plot hurdles that might otherwise leave you feeling ready to give up.
If meeting in person isn’t your thing, support is available online through the NaNoWriMo website forums. The forums are also a quick way to get in touch with your ML and other regional Wrimos between write-ins. There are individual forum topics for just about every NaNo-related concern, and several dedicated to procrastination and off-topic discussions. Wrimos from all over the world can share ideas, ask each other’s advice, or kill time together as they try to avoid the next crazy stretch of writing.
Sprints & Dares
Word sprints are a fun way for Wrimos to increase their word count. The idea is to see how many words can be written in a given frame of time. The great thing about sprints is that they can be held in person at write-ins, or online in the forums. The official NaNoWriMo Twitter feed will also occasionally prompt writers with a sprint via Twitter. This gives Wrimos a little friendly competition while simultaneously helping them reach the final goal.
Wrimos also post dares for each other on the forums throughout November. Dares usually consist of a type of character, an object, a situation, or a character trait for writers to try to include in their NaNo novel. It’s up to you how many or how few you choose to incorporate; a dare can make a good prompt when you’re feeling stuck!
With all these opportunities for meeting and interacting with other NaNoWriMo participants, November can be one of the most fun months of the year. By participating in local events, you have the chance to meet people that you may want to stay in touch with even after NaNoWriMo is over!