Karina M. Sokulski
Camp NaNoWriMo: Networking Anyone?
NaNoWriMo preparation involves rearranging your priorities and daily habits. Staying dedicated and responsible throughout the month is part of the challenge. An aspect of NaNoWriMo that is better accomplished through peer support. If you're on the prowl for a writing community, you still have a week left before the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo begins. In the previous post of this series (It's Dangerous to Go alone (and Without These Resources)!), we covered resources that can help you connect with supportive writing communities. Now it's time to really start networking in these final days before Camp NaNoWriMo.
Thousands of writing communities are available to use out there, but that number can be overwhelming. As a first step, cut down the overwhelming options by adding criteria to your search. What your ideal writing group looks like? Do you want a big group of writers? Or a tighter-knit one? Are you open to a group with multiple genres or do you want to surround yourself with a single-genre group? Are you looking for a group that meets daily? Weekly? Monthly?
Every gathering of like-minded people will have its own unique culture, and because of that no two writing groups will be the same. Plenty of groups will have kicked up since April's Camp NaNo session that are open to the public if you're in search of a one-time group. If you're in the market for a more permanent situation, the same links apply but with a little more digging. There are a number of places online (listed below) where you you can find these writing groups. All of which will require login information.
Before you hit the forums, hit the "home region" section of your dashboard. After you've set up your account, you'll notice the lower left corner of your dashboard is titled "home region." Plug in your town and that little corner of your dashboard will become an announcement board for in-person events happening near you. While the pandemic may have reduced the activity of your local feed, it's worth keeping a look out for any in-person meet ups that may catch your interest.
The Official Camp NaNoWriMo Forums
There are forums dedicated specifically for the Camp NaNoWriMo events, providing you with the best destination to find a camp cabin. You'll find listings here, forums for open discussions and so on. If you don't see any forums that interest you, as a NaNoer you can strike up your own cabin (or conversation) and let your fellow NaNoers come to you. You're welcome to share zoom links if you want to host a virtual write-in in the forum of your making. One the topic of virtual write-ins, here's a networking option you may not have considered.
NaNoWriMo's Official Youtube Channel
If you haven't done so yet, you'll want to subscribe to NaNoWriMo's Youtube channel. All official virtual write-ins and streaming activities happen here. You'll also want to refer to the official Camp NaNoWriMo calendar located at the bottom of the official page. All streaming activities that will appear on Youtube are scheduled there and can be input into the calendar app of your choice. Part of networking is staying in the know and there's few better ways than the official resources provided to you.
Social Media Groups
Let's get less official with this last suggestion. Social Media seems like the ultimate taboo if you're too prone to distraction, but for some it's just the right way to connect. Discord, Facebook and Reddit are all densely populated with writing groups. Some of these groups are public, some of them are private but all of them are run by writers eager to grow their communities. Like with critique groups, some online groups will be multi-genre and others will be genre specific. Some will be large groups, others tighter-knit. There's no shortage of groups when you go down this venue.
Taking on NaNoWriMo, or any writing project for that matter, is harder on your own. Having access to a writing community can benefit you as a writer, and there are plenty of resources available to help you find or create one. Narrow down your choices by making a list of what you're looking for in a writing community and begin your search! It isn't too late to join up with a group before Camp NaNoWriMo's July session, and you may be just what writing group has been waiting for.