Tag Archives: events

The Unique Panic of NaNoWriMo

I always panic a little every Halloween. Not for the typical reasons of haunted houses, spooky costumes, or ghoulish frights. I am panicking because it is Nano Eve, the night before the crazy month-long novel-writing marathon kicks off. I am panicking because the challenge seems insurmountable. It seems that way every year.

This year my particular panic is related to time. Or perhaps that’s misleading – it’s really more of a question of energy. I am still recovering from a bout of bronchitis which zapped almost all of October for me. Being sick stole all the time and energy I had reserved for actually outlining my novel and putting together character sketches. Instead of creating, I spent most of the month sleeping. In addition, I started a part-time job that I’m still quite new at and I will be starting a full-time job within a week. So while time (or lack thereof) is definitely a valid factor, I have always been pretty good at squirreling away little pockets of time to get my writing done. But after what could be 60 hour work weeks, I’m afraid I won’t have much of a brain left to do the mentally taxing work of plotting, characterization, and ya know, putting words together in coherent sentences.

My First Nano

I still count my first Nanowrimo as my best – partly because the whole experience felt so new and liberating. It was a whole different attitude toward writing than I had previously held. I used to slave away quietly by myself, agonizing over word choices and plot points. Back then I was more prolific than I am now – maybe the world hadn’t beaten the spirit out of me yet. Writing was a very serious business to me, to be undertaken seriously and to have serious feelings about. I was introduced to Nanowrimo in college by my good friend Megan. She knew that I loved to write, yet I’d been experiencing a block for a long time. She encouraged me to try it. I protested that it was impossible. She said, “Just try it.”

It was the Nanowrimo of legends, I’m telling you:  I came up with a premise the night before, and I flew totally by the seat of my pants. I think it was the first time I had ever tried “pantsing” – the Nanowrimo term that refers to just making up the story as you go along with no outline to guide you. I can see why some people are die-hard pantsers – it’s pretty thrilling if you can pull it off. Somehow, by November 30, I had dragged myself through 50,000 words. I guess in some way, I am still chasing that thrill because I keep returning to Nanowrimo year after year, hoping to recapture some of that magic.

How I’m Going to Get Through This Month

I don’t think I could do this crazy month-long ride without the support of the writing community. Nanowrimo is, after all, the unifying force that brought our local group together all those years ago. I keep coming back to Nano because it’s so inspiring. I love to hear other author’s war stories, to see them emerge triumphant on the other side clutching all the words they cranked out. I love hearing that Nano has helped them to write more words than all the other months. I love being able to complain about parts of the noveling process with people who have been through the same emotional slog. If you have never been part of a writing group, it is a hard feeling to describe. It feels validating.

During my first Nano, the door to the online writing community really opened up to me. I had been reading some author blogs quite regularly, but it always felt like a rather small pool and the mode was experts (published authors) teaching the beginner (me). But Nano was different. There are forums and group chats. You could find a writing buddy halfway across the world – some nocturnal wrimos like being able to chat with someone in a different time zone. And everyone was in the same boat for the most part – we’re all just trying to write as much as we can in a short amount of time and not get discouraged along the way. I love that there is a different forum for each stage on the Nanowrimo website. Whether you are racing along with the Overachievers (we have a couple of those) or lamenting the first 10k (you know I have been there), there is always someone right alongside of you.

Of course our local in-person write-ins are always a fun time. There is something about having an excuse to get out of my house that really motivates me to get work done. It’s hard for me to write at home these days – too many distractions – so I look forward to our many write-ins at different libraries and local restaurants. Hearing the tippity-tap of everyone’s fingers flying across the keys also gives me a competitive streak – I feel like I am not doing enough if my fingers are not tippity-tapping too. All the official write-ins are on the calendar, but members can always propose unofficial meet-ups any time during the month and see if anybody is up to join.

I love how inclusive Nanowrimo is. There is no punishment if you don’t win. No one strips you of the title of “author” or flogs you for not meeting your word count. You can write about whatever you want. There’s no pressure to publish at the end. I feel that Peowrimos is especially inclusive, because we are just happy if you wrote more words this month – whether it’s fiction, poetry, whatever! The word count doesn’t actually matter. It’s the fact that you put forth the effort to do something that’s important to you.

With all that said, the only way I’m gonna get through Nano this year is to commit. To dig deep, grit my teeth, and discipline myself to write. Nanowrimo is like a crucible in that way – there’s no time to wallow in self-doubt when you have a deadline to hit. I have always been pretty motivated by deadlines, even if they are just self-imposed and made up. So I hereby announce with the publication of this blog post, I am going to try my hardest to win this year.

Are you committing to Nano?

A lot of writers don’t like Nano because they feel constricted, pressured, or rushed. I see it as more of convenient shorthand – a quick way to say, “I’m making my writing a priority this month with a bunch of buddies.” It’s a quick way to let other writers know that you’re a little crazy, you may need a lot of support, and that you are choosing your writing first over all the other things you could be doing this month.

If you want to be my online buddy, you can find me on the NaNoWriMo.org website as natfee.

And if you’re wondering whether I’m going to use this blog post toward my word count:  you bet I am.

it’s not too late for the self-pub seminar!

Great news, everyone!

Due to the overwhelming interest in our self-publishing seminars, I got the okay from  the library to move the seminar from the conference room to the Civic Space. That means we can fit 7 more people in the group!

Sign up if you want to go. I know this is last minute notice, but I’d still love if you could make it.

Details on the seminar are here.

Register here.

Hope to see you there!

nano what now?

Happy December, writer-types!

I hope your NaNoWriMo went well. And even if it didn’t, I hope you’re doing alright yourself.

We have big plans for 2015, and we’ll have some more details for you as we get them figured out! But for now, let me leave you with some of our big ideas:

Workshops: we’re going to shift our focus from less of Barb talking at you, to a round table. In January, we’ll talk about self-editing, giving/getting feedback on your work, and the likes. Then in February-April, we’ll be discussing the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins from a writing/story perspective. You should be able to follow along without reading (or at least watching the movie), but to get the most out of it, I hope you’ll read the book.

Critique Circles: Once a month, we’ll try to meet and share each other’s work! We’re still working out some of the details on this, but look for us to update the guidelines page for an idea of what to expect within the group. A friendly reminder on critiques in general: the more you give, the more you get out of these experiences. So get involved in the group and be prepared to learn!

Seminars on publishing, self-publishing, querying, formatting: you asked, we deliver! Look for some events to be scheduled in the next few months that touch on how to get work from document to paper.

Happy Writing!

Write-A-Thon

Need to know more about our write-a-thon? Keep reading!

Write-a-thon

November 22nd, 2014

9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Fondulac District Library, Civic Complex

Come write with us! We’ll have donuts and coffee and snacks to get you started and keep you going.

The Civic Complex in East Peoria. It’s adjacent to the library, in the same building. There’s plenty of space and places to plug in your noveling device. Wi-fi is available.

Come and go as you have time! While the library is open, (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), the doors are open and we’d love to have you for as little or as long as you can make it. After 5 p.m., we will move to the Conference Room inside the library, and we’ll finish out the Write-A-Thon lock-in style (participants may leave, but re-entry will not be allowed). Throughout the day, we’ll be hosting friendly word wars (fifteen minute spurts of writing frenzy) and ice-breaker style games to keep your energy levels up.

What about food? There are a ton of places to pick up lunch and dinner near the library in the new and growing Levee District. We also have a sign-up thread going on the official nanowrimo.org site for people who volunteer to bring easy-to-eat foods and snacks. At lunch and dinner times, we will also organize a meal order, so if you wish to participate please bring some cash and include tip for delivery.

Please join us! We’re keeping track of all the words we write—our word count poster will grow and grow and grow all day.

virtual write ins for november

Greetings, WriMos!

Our calendar is almost finalized (barring tornadoes, snowstorms, and the wayward zombie apocalypse). Tabby and I just added the virtual write ins for this upcoming month. Here’s a few things you ought to know about our virtual write ins.

What is a virtual write-in, exactly?

I’m so glad you asked! WriMos are invited to log into chatnano.net while you’re writing to chat with us–you know, cheer other WriMos on, commiserate about your plot bunnies, and in general remind yourself that you aren’t alone in this great big novelling challenge.

How do I register for chatnano.net?

Before you can actually get into our chatroom, you’ll need to register your NaNoWriMo name for the chatroom’s client. Instructions:

*****WRIMO REGISTRATION INSTRUCTIONS*****

WriMos who used the chat rooms last year should go to the login page. Newbies need to register first.

WriMos go to this URL: http://chatnano.net/IrcUsers/register_wrimo

  • Fill in Nick (same as here only with no spaces)
  • Choose region from drop-down menu
  • E-mail address
  • Password
  • Click Submit

​Once they are registered they ALWAYS login at http://chatnano.net/IrcUsers/login.

Put in the Nick and password they registered with.

If they prefer a client to Mibbit, they need to point their client at irc.kydance.net, port 6667, and login using the name they registered at the first URL given. If they are logging in using a client, they will need to enter their password when they do so. The command for this is /ns identify PASSWORD where they change PASSWORD to their actual password that they registered with.

What’s this Espresso Shot and why does it seem like Barb has a caffeine problem?

I plead the fifth, but I’m happy to tell you about Espresso Shots. On Friday mornings, I pledge to spend thirty minutes furiously writing. We’ll do some fun stuff, too, like weekly progress reports and the usual moral support.

What else is there to these virtual write-ins?

That’s it. A virtual write-in is us going into a chatroom. That’s really all there is to it. It may not sound like much, but writing can be a lonely venture, and writing a novel in a month even more so. A virtual space is important.

But if we’re chatting in a chatroom, we’re not really writing…

You got me there. That’s why no one is expected to spend the whole time yammering. Just sign in, say hello, and keep the chatroom running in the background so you can pop over to celebrate your victories and ask questions. Stay as long as you need, or just drop by to say hi if you like.

I hope to see you there!

Happy Writing!!

peowrimos regional partnership

Hello, writer-types!

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and we’re happy to announce a partnership with two other NaNo-regions, Fredericton, New Brunswick and Seoul, South Korea!! We’ve got some fun stuff in store–virtual write-ins, word wars, and frenemy match-ups.

Want to sign up for a frenemy aka writing buddy from either Korea or Canada? Great! We have the link for you right here.

Stay tuned for more great NaNoWriMo events. 🙂

Regional Newsletter

Here’s the latest news from PeoWriMos:

Dear Writer-Types,

We’re working hard to come up with some awesome events for PeoWriMos this year. The calendar isn’t blocked out completely yet, but as we get reservation confirmations from local businesses and libraries we’ll add them. What’s new this year: we’re partnering with libraries big time. I sent a spy in to Peoria Public Library’s North Branch location (and by sent a spy, I mean a WriMo works there), and she is setting up some great stuff for us, and for the young writer’s program! Oh, and we have another ‘spy’ at Fondulac Library (that would be me). Now that FDL has a nice big building, they have space and brainstorming ideas to make this NaNo the craziest ever. Check out our calendar at peowrimos@gmail.com to see the events we have so far! (link: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=peowrimos%40gmail.com&ctz=America/Chicago  )

In other news, who’s this we I keep mentioning? I’m so pleased to announce that tabby-mattheessen has joined the dark side–er, I mean the volunteer team at PeoWriMos as an official ML. Make sure to welcome her the next time you see her (hopefully at this Sunday’s workshop!). I’m really happy to have her on board. She’s a hard-working writer (with a new book out and a blog) and she has some great ideas for events for us in the coming months. Say hello and send some novelling vibes!

It’s tempting to remind you how many weeks left until NaNoWriMo officially starts, but I’d rather not scare myself. So, let me just remind you about some of the great stuff we’ve got from now until November:

September 14th. Writing Workshop at Fondulac from 1-4. We’ll discuss antagonists.
October 12th. Writing Workshop at Fondulac from 1-4. We’ll discuss another aspect of storytelling craft.
October 22nd. Meet & Greet at North Branch McKenzie Room from 6-8. Meet us! Greet us! Get pumped for NaNoWriMo and make sure to get your sticker! Whee!

We’ll be in touch, writer-types. Stay tuned for another email when we get our calendar all official and full. I can’t wait to write with you.

Happy Writing,

Your ML Barb