Oct 11 2012
So, I would really like to participate, but I am kinda clueless about the concept. Here’s what I grasp: Aim’s 50000 words in 30 days, but what else what I have to do? Am I expected to participate meetings and writing parties in my area?
Can somebody enlighten me? Please?
This is a very common question which is why I figured I start with it. To put it as simple as possible, all you need to participate in NaNoWriMo is to write as much as you can (preferably 50,000 words) in 30 days. Participating in the community (online or off) is completely optional but can only enhance your experience.
To go into a little more detail, once you sign up on the NaNoWriMo website, you can write your novel without ever interacting with another soul. Heck, if you’re feeling solitary, you can write your 50,000 words without even signing up on the website (though I personally think you should just so the nice people behind the event have a rough idea of who is participating).
The goal is to write a novel in a month. You’re a winner if you write at least 50,000 words. Ideally, you want to push yourself to get to The End of your novel which would be well beyond 50,000 words but, if it’s your first time, just try to write as much as you can and don’t stress over the final word count too much.
As for community, there are events both online and off. Once you sign-up, you’ll be asked to home yourself to your local area where an ML such as myself (ML stands for municipal liaison which is just a fancy phrase for local volunteer) can point you towards any local events such as write-ins. These events are usually at a coffee shop or library and are very chill. They just involve a little socialization and sometimes word wars which are a fun way to get more writing done by adding a little competitive spirit into the mix.
As for the online community, there’s opportunities for chatting, word sprints and more starting on the NaNoWriMo forums and continuing onto social networks like Twitter. If there’s nothing local that you’ll have the chance to attend, it’s a nice opportunity to connect with other participants without leaving your chair.
As to whether you *have* to participate in the community, it’s certainly not a requirement. But, speaking as someone who used to go it alone for many years, the community, especially the local events, really enhances the experience and makes it a lot more fun. It’s also a great way to make friends who live nearby and connect with other writers in the area that you can later form a writing or critique group with if you so desire. I’m personally very glad I got involved locally because it added a whole new level to the event.
For those considering trying NaNoWriMo this year, please feel free to post any questions you have about the event below (or, if you want to be anonymous, email me) and I’d be happy to try to answer as best as I can.
For those of you that have done the event in the past, how has the community (online or off) effected your NaNo experience?