In one sense noveling is a solitary pursuit, in much the same way as we are each alone inside our own heads. But neither our solitary existence, nor our writing ventures should take place in a vacuum. NaNoWriMo creator Chris Baty strongly endorses the social side of the NaNo experience.
“Ah, friends and family. The compassionate souls who will be your cheerleaders and voices of reason; the ones who will pick you up off the floor and set you gently back at the computer keyboard. And also the ones who are most likely to poke merciless fun at this ambitions, artistic plan you’ve dragged home.
Whether those closest to you love or hate the idea of you spending a month slaving over a novel, it’s essential that they know about your plans. In the same way you wouldn’t think about going on a long trip without checking in with your loved ones, you should make sure you brief everyone about your literary agenda.
…Novel writing is the perfect social activity. Granted, it is a social activity where no one is allowed to talk.
…..Writing with a partner (or three or four) helps all parties tap into the pool of competitive energy that forms when several people are working toward the same goal. When noveling with someone else, you have a pacer, a motivator, and a sympathetic ear for sharing the triumphs and tragedies of your novel. It’s more productive and a lot more fun.” (pp. 48-49)
Baty also has some ingenious ideas for the sorts of support one can solicit from family and friends. More on that topic tomorrow.
For now, think about announcing your intentions to novel in November. One caveat, revealing your noveling pursuit in the workplace may or may not be a good choice. There can be some drawbacks related to people’s expectations about whether or not you are doing the actual writing at work, not to mention that it’s difficult to relax into writing there. Never let your novel touch your work computer; it could result in confusion about the version. You would also be leaving an access trail, so name your file something business-like such as “accounts”. You could also create a cover file to alt-tab to for privacy. ….but that all sounds way too nerve-wracking to me!
Think also about acquiring a writing buddy or a stable of buddies. Here is a link to how-to info at the NaNo site: http://nanowrimo.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/329157-how-do-i-add-or-remove-a-writing-buddy. It is also possible to go to the search function, select “forums” and then type in “buddies”. Many pages of conversations will be returned. It is possible to add search terms to narrow the results. I tried adding “romance” and “lgbt” and got different results each time.
I’m open to the idea of sharing the experience with buddies. Maybe I’ll see you around.
Baty, C. (2004). No Plot? No Problem!. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.