If you’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo 2021, you may be all set and ready to go. You might be like some of the staff here at MockingOwl Roost who have no issues prepping and readying themselves for a month-long marathon of creative writing. Most folks, however, need a little help getting started. It’s a daunting task, this 50,000 words in 30 days! That’s why we’re talking about writer’s groups to get you started.
I’ve personally participated in NaNoWriMo for twelve years already and won eleven years (meaning I completed the 50,000 words on a brand new novel or rewrite of a novel). So, I thought I’d share some insight on my own preparations that hopefully will help newbies or long-standing NaNo-ers who’ve perhaps struggled a little.
Today, we’re looking at writer’s groups and their value during this time.
First off, I am a part of three active writer’s groups, two of which I run. Two focus on fiction writing and one on nonfiction writing (memoir). I’ve been a part of two other groups in the past as well.
That definitely sounds like a lot – and kind of is, especially knowing I work full-time, am in Seminary full-time, and volunteer regularly with a couple of groups. But all three groups are well worth the time to me. They help me focus, create goals, hone my craft, and more.
And when it comes to NaNoWriMo writing groups, they are exceptionally helpful. With these groups, I do writing sprints, set daily word and other goals, and have an active community with which I can interact and receive feedback.
I’m a prolific writer. For my job, I typically write between 20,000 to 100,000 words each week. Add on papers for grad school and we’re looking at another 5,000 to 10,000 bi-weekly. For the MockingOwl Roost? Probably another 5,000 to 10,000 weekly. On my own time? My writing scale is anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 words.
That’s a lot. Anywhere from 40,000 to 220,000 words per week. Every single week.
So, though it sounds like I don’t deal with motivational issues, I actually do. All the time. If it weren’t for those writer’s groups that I’m a part of, I doubt I’d get much of my own writing done each week. It would just be for work and school.
So, even prolific writers benefit from writer’s groups.
Unless you’re excellent at being your own accountability, motivational coach, and non-self-editing driver, a writing community could be the way you find success this year as you embark on the NaNoWriMo journey.
You can find writing groups in a number of places.
NaNoWriMo itself offers some ways into this. There are groups set up all around, so check your region for in-person and virtual write-ins.
The first two writer’s groups that I ever joined were local groups I found on Meetup. There are tons of them whether you live near a big city like Chicago or not.
Almost every local library I’ve ever visited has some kind of writer’s group or connection space. If they don’t already have one, you can contact the library and ask about the possibility of them starting one. You may be asked to volunteer to keep it going, but if you’ve got any leadership skills (or administrative skills, in some cases), you’re qualified.
There are also tons and tons of writers’ groups on Facebook. Simply go to the search bar and look for some. If you’re more comfortable working with people you know, though, you can always put out a call on your profile, asking if any of your friends are fellow writers and would be interested in a more personalized writing group.
There are many websites and forums dedicated solely to the function of supporting writers. A few of the best I’ve seen include the following.