Some people are solitary writers. They need absolutely no distractions in order to get the thoughts out from their heads and onto paper (or screen). Others have no such qualms, and may find that being around other writers keeps them accountable. They see where other people are at and vow to catch up. Or when they start to lose steam, they look over and see a friend typing furiously, which inspires them to keep going. It’s also helpful for writers with busy lives, so they can set aside a time for writing. Plus, having someone nearby to turn to and ask something along the lines of “what’s the name of the vegetable that looks kind of like a tiny cabbage?” is way better than trying to google the word you’ve forgotten.
During most of the year, a writing group may serve this function. However, during NaNoWriMo, you may want to have a write-in. A write-in is an event specifically dedicated to writing for hours at a time. One of the most well-known write-ins is The Night of Writing Dangerously, largely because it is also a fundraiser for NaNoWriMo. Attending The Night of Writing Dangerously may be beyond the means of your average NaNoWriMo participant, but you can certainly host your own write-in.
Here is everything you need to host your own write in:
If you’re going to have an event, you need a place to host. If you have space in your home, that may be a suitable venue. Just make sure you have enough seating for all of your guests. If not, see if you can use a room in a coffee shop or rent a space.
You’ll need at least a few writers in attendance to make the event work. Are you in a writing group? Invite them. Were you able to find other writers in your area through the NaNoWriMo website? Invite them too.
Food and drinks
Nothing makes a party like food and drinks. Make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone to nosh on while they write. Pro tip: caffeine will help fuel the writing. Looking to cut back budget-wise? Make it a pot-luck. If everyone brings something to share, there will be more than enough to go around.
Chances are your venue won’t have enough outlets for everyone to plug in their laptops at the same time, especially if you’re having a lot of guests. Make everyone’s lives a little easier and invest in some power strips.
Blankets and pillows
You want your guests to be comfortable. Blankets and pillows are a great way to make them feel cozy while they settle in to write all night long. This is especially important if you are using your home as a venue, but less possible if you’re at a coffee shop.
This helpful tool will help writers who get stuck partway through the night. You can prep these beforehand, or you can ask each guest to write a couple upon arrival. Alternatively, you can download some of these apps onto a tablet that your guests can use.
Some people like to write to music. Some like to block out the noise and focus. Headphones can be a great tool for the people who usually prefer more solitary writing but don’t want to miss out on the event. Many might bring their own headphones, but it’s a good idea to have an extra few pairs just in case.
Have you ever been to a write-in? What other essentials do you recommend? Let us know below!