How To Use The Nanowrimo Forums
We've all been there, standing on the precipice of hitting send on our message, finger hovering as the cursor blink blink blinks back at us and we wonder whether this is a bad idea -- maybe the worst idea we ever had. If you haven't been there, or perhaps this is your first Nanowrimo, welcome to the fear of posting in the Nanowrimo forums!
I know some people don't have anxiety about this kind of thing -- I've been blogging for so long I know I shouldn't but, to be honest, blogging always feels like I'm talking to myself most of the time and this is my home where I can not get dressed and only eat Lucky Charms if I want to -- but I have a particular fear of the Nano forums. I side-eye them in the darkest of night, reading every inch of them but never once really posting anything of substance. Lurking. The very worst habit I have picked up as an adult as a result of my anxiety. I lean over the internet's shoulder and I watch the world.
For those of you, like me, who experience this fear (perhaps also like me on a YEARLY basis in particular) here are my top tips for getting stuck in. Maybe one of these years I will listen to myself and actually get over my fear enough to post on the forums.
1 Nanowrimo'ers aren't scary
Don't get me wrong, the primal part of my brain says all people are scary and therefore so are these people but Nanowrimo forums have some of the friendliest threads I've had the pleasure of lurking through. They're excellent. If you're going to start talking to any writers, you could do so much worse than the gems and superstars in existence on Nanowrimo threads. The support is overwhelming, and ooozes out of your laptop even in the coldest of nights when it feels like the whole world gets to sleep and all you've ever been doing is writing and perhaps that's all you'll ever do and yet your word count is so low. The people on this forum do everything they can do make you feel comfortable. There's are threads discussing worldbuilding. There's a place where people leave characters and plots and things for you to adopt. There's even a thread to talk about pets!
2. The more you talk about something, the better you can do the thing
Our brains work in mysterious ways but, essentially, the more thinking you dedicate to an activity or idea the better you can get at it, even without ever doing it. Practice is important, yes, but so is just being in a community and talking. Nanowrimo threads are so good at offering you the chance to talk.
3. If you, like me, can't see Nanowrimo'ers IRL for reasons this is your chance to have virtual write-ins!
If you've never written 50,000 words so quickly (or even if you have) nothing can replace the support of real people in this endeavour and, because of the Nano forum, you don't need to go it alone!
4. If you get the fear, why not ask a question of other people instead? Perhaps help other people with their novels to pull attention away from yourself?
Do you see what I did there? Hilarity aside, there's something so great that comes from helping other people -- not just that warm fuzzy feeling but also an understanding of how writing works. Sometimes helping others helps you look at your own stuff objectively. It empowers you. There's no better time to feel empowered than during Nanowrimo!
5. You might meet friends you keep with you for the rest of your life
Despite my anxiety, I know I met a lot of my buddies on forums about writing and finding passionate writer buddies is just... it's just the best, okay?