The Beauty of the Live Write In

It has been decided: This is going to be the most awesome NANO ever. Are you in?

Last year, all the write ins were taken online, but that did not stop either our usual fun or getting down to serious work — all the while cheering each other on. NANO decreed we’d do all our parties and meetings on line again in 2021. That should not be a bummer. We’ve all gotten used to a little online visiting – whether using Face Time or Skype with family, Google Hangouts with friends or Zooming for work.

WriNoShores is meeting via Zoom this year, as it seems easiest and most universal for all.

And why not aspire for this to be the best ever? The silver lining to the pandemic was that during lock downs many contemplated who and what’s really important, and looked at what we spent our time on, and how.

Did you? Was writing on your list? It was front and center on mine. Turns out what I’d regret in life if I hadn’t done it was to not have finished editing my Nano project from 2016-18! And to complete several compilations of shorts and essays I had begun.


If getting words on the page is important to you, National Novel Writing Month is a super-special opportunity for the sole purpose of focusing on your dreams, your priority, supported and encouraged by the collective energy of like-minded peeps around the globe, who are doing the same. And of course your home group – all of us here at WriNoShores.

There’s no perfect way to do NaNo, but TO do it. Some may find they do this just fine alone. After all, writing is a largely solitary pursuit, right? I’ve spent my fair share alone scribbling away at hidden desks in a library nook, or holed up in my room. But what I learned when I started doing NaNo about 12 years ago is that attending the Live Write-Ins super charged my productivity. All I had to do was show up. And now that I am not driving to write-ins, I save that round trip time to write, and can do more on days when adding driving and parking time would make it impossible to fit one into my day. Online write-ins are so much more convenient and time effective.

On days I am dragging or feeling uninspired, a write in makes me show up. Often if I tell myself, just sign on for 15 minutes and you can hop off if you’re not feeling it. I end up staying for the entire time —and have words to show for it! Yessss! But even if I sign on late and hop off early, I still end feeling accomplished. I showed up.

Then, as others begin to accumulate words, it’s catching. I’m not a competitive person, but when others are getting more and more words racked up, it inspired me to do push for more words too. And there’s nothing but encouragement. People cheer on 200 words as well as hitting a 5000 word milestone.

And that is a two way street. Did you ever think your presence at a write in actually is an act of inspiration and support to your compatriots? Others do better because you are there! Another reason to give it a try, and see if it works for you.

We all have imaginations -here’s a good place to use them. Look at the Write Ins like meeting at a big library table (or coffee shop, or someone’s living room). After an initial hello from the host, we get down to business, and for the most part remain quiet – writing, or trying to. People can join in or hop off at any time. You’re still writing in your own space in quiet, but feeling the presence of others, or seeing their heads bent, engaged in the same thing, can make a motivational difference that pays out in usable words.

Some meetings do a few word sprints -20 minute segments to help. And that’s what this month is really all about. Getting words on the page that were not there before, giving way to your unique voice, all of which can be edited after November.

If you’re new to Write Ins, try more than one. If you haven’t been in a while, why not try again? Each has a different vibe – a mix of people and the host leading it. We have one every day this year. Check out the calendar of events on the NaNo site, on our regional page (sign in to see this link). Hope to see you there!

By Rochelle Joseph

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