November is coming. To get ready, we’re taking a road trip to visit Wrimos from around the world, and hear about how their regions can inspire your writing. Today, Christchurch, New Zealand Municipal Liaisons Judy L. Mohr and Emmy-Lou James talk about their region’s history of write-ins and face-to-face interaction:
Christchurch, New Zealand has a strong writing community, with a long writing legacy to help back us up. But part of the reason that we are so strong is that everywhere you go, there are write-ins and discussion groups for writers.
Writing is a solitary activity for the majority of people. Many of us write in complete isolation, cut off from the real world around us, sinking our entire existence into our make-believe worlds. And to get the writing done, we tend to sacrifice our socializing times. As much as writing is solitary, we can’t do it alone. This is where write-ins come into their own—particularly during NaNoWriMo.
So, what are the benefits?
1. Write-ins are where you can meet other writers.
Sometimes, the issue with meeting like-minded people is the struggle of where to look. The solution is not always obvious.
For us, the MLs of Christchurch, we both started by joining a local writing group. Then suddenly we found another… and another… and another. Once we discovered the community, all the groups were suddenly there for us to connect with. Sure, each group might be milled with writers who write different genres, and many of us will be at different stages of our own writing journey’s, but that’s what makes these groups so magical.
During NaNoWriMo, many regions hold multiple write-ins. In Christchurch, we aim to hold multiple write-ins during the week. Writers need to connect with other writers, and write-ins are the perfect place to make those connections.
2. Write-ins give you the opportunity to learn from other writers.
Write-ins are often filled with writers from every neck of the woods, each with their own knowledge and experiences. In connecting with other local writers, you are given the chance to learn. Whether it is about the writing craft, editing, editors, querying, writing synopses, or where the best writing conferences are held, the lists are endless.
And don’t think that just because you might be new to writing that you don’t have knowledge to share. Perhaps you’re a whiz on the computer, able to code up a stunning spreadsheet to help keep track of word counts. Or maybe you know something about taking a stunning photo with your cellphone camera. Or maybe you know your way around social media, and are able to help another understand what a hashtag.
Whatever your skills, your knowledge will be valued by the writing community.
3. Accountability partners come in all forms.
How often do you write a chapter, put it down, then come back to it the next day and think, I’ll read it before I carry on today, only to find yourself spending a day editing rather than writing? Are you guilty of it? Because I know we are!
Write-ins are the perfect place to find accountability partners—that one person who will become your personal Jiminy Cricket, the angel on your shoulder who’s your cheerleader, urging you on even when the inner critic and self-doubting monster are chewing at your ear. An accountability partner is a writer who knows the pitfalls of writing and can talk you through the hard times in just the same way, you can talk them.
Because you’ve been there—together.
4. Participating in activities can help you work past writer’s block and other writing issues.
Meeting at local write-ins can give the opportunity to have open conversations about problems with writing. It could be writer’s block or a plot issue. Perhaps a character isn’t working.
The simple ability to be able to tease out your ideas can lead to the best stories.
5. It is important to be able to share your achievements and celebrate with others.
How do you celebrate your achievements? A glass of wine? An evening with a book and no interruptions? Do you take a night off and binge watch that Netflix series you’ve been holding off on?
So many of us forget to celebrate the little wins, overlooking our achievements.
By sharing your NaNoWriMo journey with other writers, you get to celebrate those achievements together. It might be simply hitting that word count, finishing a section of the book that you’ve been working on, or finishing that manuscript. Whatever it is, celebrating together with other writers is fun, and encourages other writers following the same journey as you to continue on too.
6. Sometimes, it’s good to change things up.
Writing in the same place day in day out can get kinda dull, and sometimes becomes a block for creativity. Write-ins during NaNoWriMo should be in public spaces, and that in itself can be the best writing fodder. By taking yourself away from your desk, or the four walls that you call home, you’re putting yourself in a different space, and that can prove invaluable for many writers.
And people watching is important for writers too.
Attend a Write-In this NaNoWriMo!
If you’ve never attended a write-in, why not make it your NaNoWriMo goal this year? Find out where your local write-ins are, or look into hosting your own. Writer friends are worth their weight in gold, so why miss out?
The MLs for Christchurch, New Zealand are Judy L Mohr (above) and Emmy-Lou James (below).
Judy L Mohr is a writer of thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction. She is also a freelance editor with Black Wolf Editorial Services (https://blackwolfeditorial.com), working on projects from writers around the world.
Emmy-Lou James loves anything romance. So much so, she writes contemporary romance stories based in small towns with holiday themes.
Together, they’re one hell of a ML team, coordinating various writing events throughout their region all year round.
Top image licensed under Creative Commons from Beverly Yuen Thompson on Flickr.