Camp Nanowrimo Project — day 7

Current wordcount: complicated. The total is 37,275 (which I hope to get up to 38,000 before quitting for the night) but the total without the remaining deleted scenes is 33,226, which is still a more than respectable total for day 7. I’ve reintegrated all the deleted scenes I’m going to be able to, so the other ones are only being kept in to pad the wordcount. I’ve promised myself that I’ll take them out permanently when I reach 35k without them, which should hopefully happen sometime tomorrow.

I wanted to talk today a bit about writing communally. One of the things unique to NaNoWriMo and, to a lesser extent, Camp NaNoWriMo is the community surrounding the event. During November the forums are bustling with activity. Countless writers are all gathered together to commiserate, celebrate, help each other out, and just have fun together. It’s not like any other group atmosphere I’ve ever been part of, honestly. Not only are we all drawn to the same place through a common interest, but we also have a common goal and that goal gives us things to talk about and ways to connect. During June the forums have been less active, since there are fewer people doing the event, but there are still the usual dare and adoptable threads, as well as wordcount shoutouts and lots of commiseration and enthusiasm for those falling behind. More interesting, for me, are the chatrooms that have also sprung up. I discovered the joy of writing chatrooms several years ago, but had drifted away from the people in the one I used to frequent and so didn’t have one. That made doing word wards trickier, and left me with only my tumblr to use for random novel complaints or triumphs. Tumblr is an excellent format for that kind of thing, but it does lack the real time feedback of a chatroom. That feedback is, for me, the most important part of writing communities.

We tend to view writing as a solitary pursuit, something done alone at a computer or notebook, cup of tea on the desk and books scattered haphazardly everywhere. And many people, myself included, often do write this way. It’s odd to write with other people, even if they’re writing too. It feels awkward and distracting. Definitely it takes some getting used to. But I’ve found that learning to write while talking with other writers is among the most rewarding things in the world. Talking with like-minded people allows you to put your own struggles into perspective and reminds you that you’re not doing this alone. It’s much easier to encourage someone else than to encourage yourself and, in that same vein, it’s easier to accept someone else’s cheerleading than to try to do your own. Having a readily accessible community of writers gives you a support network which can double as an alternative to google. It’s surprising how many esoteric facts many writers have floating through their heads, regardless of their chosen genre.

It’s also far more fun. Writing, no matter how much you love your project, can be soul sucking. It’s especially hard at the speed that NaNoWriMo events require. Having other people to share the experience with helps ease that pain and keep the event fun. And really, we should all be doing this because we love to write. If the event isn’t fun, then there’s no point in putting yourself through it. Finding a community definitely helps to keep it fun, regardless of whether that community is a smallish chatroom or the entire NaNoWriMo forums. Writing communities are hugely underrated, but they really change the whole experience of writing for the better.

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