Leaving the turret – “Before you delete this email….”

This email is for everyone whose involvement with the Atlanta region is limited to these emails. This is to the people who have never posted on the regional forums and have never been to a writein and never been in the chatroom. This is for those who haven’t gotten a writing buddy, newbies who haven’t been adopted, veterans who haven’t adopted, and anyone else to sits by silently and watches the Nanolanta community from afar.

My question for all of you is… why not?

Do you know what makes November different from any other month? Why is it that so many novels get written then, as opposed to any other month? You may say “Nanowrimo” – but do you know what that is?

It’s a community.

Words get written in November because every year, people that want to write surround themselves with other people that are doing the same thing. No matter who you are, you can find someone that’s doing what you are: writing the same genre, writing at the same pace, writing in the same locations, writing about the same cat named Mr. Ian Woon who carries a shovel and rides a trebuchet. People use writing buddies to spur them on and compete with. People go to writeins because once out of the house, they can’t plop down for that latest episode of Bones. People join the chatroom because once a word war is started, there’s other people expecting them to write and do their best.

And words get written.

Even as early as it is, Atlanta already has a fair share of winners, and plenty more that are on track. Even those that aren’t on track yet have gotten a substantial amount written – 5k, 10k, 20k, and more. And this is the thing that often separates the winners from those that never plop down a single word, the same way NaNo separates November from every other month: *people write more with other people*.

It’s okay to be a reclusive sort. If you’re shy, we totally get it – most of us are too! I myself would probably have double the posts I do if I posted every time I thought of something to say before my innate lurker ability kicked in. But whatever excuse you can give yourself not to be drawn into the community, we can refute it. You WILL get more written once you get involved in the community, with other like-minded people that care about your progress. (And if you haven’t read this fabulous article on the OLL blog, Sarah Mackey agrees: http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/1490086332/leaving-the-turret ) I myself struggled my first year during nano, barely making the 50k on the last day. The next year, I met the guy who would later become my Co-ML for the region and a group of Nanoers who met at the local starbucks. That year I blasted through my 50k in half the time, and added an extra 15k to boot. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

So I’ve got a challenge for all of you that are taking the step to read this email. If you’re reading this, it means you’re affiliated with Atlanta, which means you have at least some small desire to be a part of this supportive community that will help you reach your goals. Come to the Atlanta forum: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/18 . Read a few threads. And then, make a post. You can post to any thread you like – RSVP for an event, post your wordcount for the day in one of the Adopt a Day threads to have a chance of winning a donation made in your name and a halo on the boards (and read their daily peptalks!) or just join in one of the discussions on the boards. Or if you’re feeling really daring, make a post yourself – ask a question, link to a writing resource you find useful, or start a discussion of your own.

If this bit of social outgoingness has given you a taste for community you need more of, I strongly encourage you to come out to one of our writeins – they are open to all! You can find a list of all of them on our Google calendar: https://www.google.com/calendar/render?cid=gvhth7e1egeb900ktiqulmo2v4@group.calendar.google.com&gsessionid=B_N3ccIXZjPrNcvMZp9wXw Anyone is welcome to come out! We’re a very friendly bunch (although some of us have strange senses of humor… namely, me). We also have a Twitter if you’re into that “social networking” thing all the kids are talking about nowadays (@nanolanta) and a chatroom (info at http://nanolanta.org/?p=34 ).

Whatever method you choose… please leave your turret for a little while. We’re waiting, and we want to get to know you. And your wordcount will thank you.

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