Right let’s get straight to the point – the Nanowrimo site is a fabulous resource during the month of November. There are genre specific forums on which you can ask questions, seek advice and connect with others writing similar material. There are also the regional forums in which you can liaise with others in your area also undertaking Nano and celebrate your successes on reaching targets or alternatively get a kick up the backside if you’re not cutting it. In addition, you will receive updates and motivational messages from Nano HQ. It’s all there right at your fingertips. And there in lies the problem, it’s right there at your fingertips – rather than your fingertips being on the keyboard typing your manuscript. I think you know what I’m saying.
Then add Twitter into the equation, checking your Facebook page and the time you need to review your emails and suddenly great swathes of time are eaten up and you’re wondering why you’re behind on word count when surely you’ve been writing all day. In fact, no you’ve not been writing all day, you’ve been reading about writing all day.
It is a lot of fun being part of this marvellous Nanowrimo community and I found it to be a hugely supportive and encouraging place. But, it is also a massive distraction from writing and if you’re like me, it doesn’t take much to distract you from the task of writing. Did you just say – biscuit? Oops there I go again…
So, have a think about when you’ll visit the Forums and get involved with Twitter. Will you be someone who only connects once you’re written the 1667 words per day? Will you discipline yourself to visit only first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Yes, I thought that too, but then it creeps up on you. Perhaps I’ll just go on to update my word count, perhaps I’ll just check out how my writing buddies are doing and before you know it, you’re back in.
My plan this year is to head to my local library to write. They currently have no Wifi available and so once you’re there, you really are committed to writing. The only downside is that there’s no coffee or muffins either – darn it!
I understand that there are a variety of Internet and website blocking software packages that you can install which switch off the Internet on your computer for a certain period of time. I’ve not ever used these. I’ve always been a bit paranoid that I might not ever be able to switch it back on again, but that probably says more about me than anything else.
So as with most things, it’s all about balance. Do use the Nanowrimo site to encourage and support you, particularly as there are likely to be days when you really need that support – usually for me around day 12 once the novelty has worn off. But do remember that you can switch it off too or at least limit your use and participation.
If you want to get more actively involved, head to one of the regional write-ins and actual meet some writers in the same situation as you. That way you can have a coffee, eat cake, discuss your characters and plot issues but most importantly you’ll also write while you’re there!