Writing is a solitary act for the most part. No one can do write my novel for me. I create my ‘world’ and populate it as I choose. That is daunting enough but when you add a writing challenge as National Novel Writing Month does it becomes even more challenging. How can someone actually be sane and attempt to write 50k works in one of the busiest months of the year?
But thousands of people try it. All of us succeed. We succeed in that writing even one word toward a novel is more than all those aspiring authors accomplish no matter how much they talk about writing.
In my experience of National Novel Writing Month I appreciate the volunteer coordinators, called Municipal Liaisons, who coordinate events, monitor the region’s forum, pump out encouraging emails. These individuals not only actively attempt to write their own novel they also help challenge me to reach my goals.
Some of the tools the Naperville, Illinois, MLs use that help me include:
A graph (thank you Tim, our technical expired and fabulous veteran ML) which show me where I place in the raking of those in the region who want to be on it. I find it very motivation to see where I place among the active members of the Region. (For what it’s worth I’m currently in fourth place on words written.)
Write-in’s are times when members of the region get together to write. Although we socialize we also have our word wars in which we sprint to add as many words in 10 or 15 minutes. Tim and Katherine have modeled how to facilitate a good write-in and now others host them. I always get a lift to my writing participating in a write-in.
Prep sessions. Our Region usually hosts three or four prep sessions usually in October. Our MLs, Tim, Katherine, and Frank have all facilitated those sessions helping us to focus on plot development, mood, and characters.
Daily writing prompts. This year a new tool, which I am finding most gratifying is the daily writing prompt. Katherine collected this prompts at our Kick Off party and I have undertaken the goal of incorporating each of these prompts into my writing. What a wonderful challenge to creatively attempt to seamlessly weave these prompts into my story so they don’t seem artificial and may even stay in the story on editing.
Let’s Party! I don’t want to forget the parties. We have both a kick off and a TGIO (Thank Goodness Its Over) party. Not only do we eat (and eat well), we mingle, play party games, sing our Regional Song (well that may not be the highlight but it is tradition), and Tim does a fabulous job of presenting awards as well as special crafty prized for an annual 18k word writing challenge to help us finish strong.
The regional MLs enhance my chances not just of reaching my 50k words for the month but for my long term goal of developing a writing life.
Thank you Tim. Thank you Katherine. Thank you Frank.