Forming a writing community isn’t always easy, especially when you’re new in town. That’s what today’s guest poster, Municipal Liaison Kasey McElroy, overcame. Here’s her story of how making friends through NaNo helped her writing:
In 2016, I participated in NaNoWriMo, and it changed my entire view on the writing community. Prior to that year, I had been living with my mother and grandparents in the tiniest town you could possibly imagine, about an hour and a half from Houston. NaNoWriMo didn’t really exist where I came from—it was something I did, and something I talked to my friends online about. But it wasn’t a group I was “in”—I was in high school, where the writing community was virtually non-existent to outsiders.
During my first two years, I couldn’t really get into NaNoWriMo. I tried! I had been taking on this writing challenge for years! But with the changes in my own life, and the amount of other, “real adult” expectations I had, who had time for that? Not me, most certainly. I would get through the first two weeks of NaNo before, slowly and surely, falling off the bandwagon.
That all changed when I moved to San Antonio.
On November 1, 2016, I decided, You know what? I’ll go to that kickoff party. I want to get to know these people in this area. I wanted writing friends. After all, what was the worst that could happen—they wouldn’t like me?
Going to that kickoff party turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
I found myself involved in an active writing community. I made friends, and we ended up meeting up throughout that year and into the next, spending time with each other and pursuing our creative goals together. It helped me learn a lot of things about my own writing—about how I wrote, and what methods of writing worked best for me.
“To me, the most important part of my NaNoWriMo experience was the ability to grow alongside a community of writers.“
For instance, I tried writing by hand instead of typing. It made me realize that, despite the fact that I can churn out the pages on a computer, writing by hand helps me slow down and organize my thoughts better. It helped me realize how I could develop my own writing, figuring out where my plot holes were and how I could fix them.
This year, I (accidentally—long story!) became a co-ML of the San Antonio Region, and I found myself helping develop our writing community. Our region came through strong—we formed some pretty good friendships, and they’ll continue to blossom throughout the year. Some of us have exchanged manuscripts for editing and peer review, and we even meet up on Saturday mornings to write together.
To me, the most important part of my NaNoWriMo experience was the ability to grow alongside a community of writers. They help keep me accountable for my creative process, which in turn helps me improve my writing. I’ve learned and grown and developed my own style over the last few years. I attribute much of that growth to my NaNoWriMo community, for which I will forever be thankful.
And now that I’m starting to think about editing my novel, I’m once again looking to this community to help me out. Honestly, when it comes to the editing process, I’m a little clueless! But I’m sure that, with the help of my friends, I’ll learn.
An ML for the Texas :: San Antonio Region, Kasey McElroy spends most of her free time screaming, probably. Or trying to remember what she was doing mere seconds ago. When she actually has her life together, Kasey spends a lot of her time writing—her goal this year being to get her novel actually edited, for once. When not writing, she also enjoys crocheting and making her planner look pretty, so that she can forget to use it later. One day, she will hopefully publish a book, but that hasn’t happened yet. In the meantime, you can find her on twitter as @NotAMouseh, but she forgets it exists a lot.
Top image licensed under Creative Commons from Pedro Szekely on Flickr.