It’s our favorite month of the year: NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who haven’t yet sacrificed your entire November to hitting that 50,000-word goal. Here at Quirk, we know that NaNoWriMo is exciting and invigorating. But we also know that writing a novel is hard. And lonely. And easy to give up on. All month, we’ll be sharing advice on how to finish that novel – and still have friends come December 1. So, gather your writer friends, stock up on snacks, and pull out your fluffiest pillows. Because you’re about to have the most productive party of all time.
Invite the Writers in Your Life
Whether your friends are fellow participants in this NaNoWriMo adventure, poetry hobbyists, or hard at work on their screenplay, all are welcome at this writing party. The only requirement is that everyone is there to work – and to hold each other accountable. This is a great opportunity to bring together acquaintances and dear friends alike, so go ahead and invite the best friend you convinced to write a novel with you. But make sure you also reach out to that introverted colleague you’ve noticed journaling on her lunch breaks.
Establish Some Ground Rules
The whole point of a writing party is to provide a supportive and quiet place for everyone to work on their respective projects. But everyone needs breaks between writing sprints. We recommend writing in thirty minute sprints, taking a five-minute break after each half-hour writing session. You’ll find that you can get a ton of writing done when your time is limited. And make those breaks super fun. Have an energizing song queued up for your party guests to dance to. (Lots of Beyoncé, please.) Savor that living room dance party, friends.
Stock up on Snacks
Every writer loves a good snack, so make sure there are plenty of keyboard-friendly treats available. Veggies and hummus are a fantastic jumping off place, but it doesn’t all have to be healthy and wholesome. Chips and popcorn are great, but stay away from anything covered in cheese dust. Your QWERTY will thank you later.
Invite your guests to attend this writing party in their softest pants and coziest sweaters. Writing can be an uncomfortable experience. There’s no reason to add to that discomfort by wearing restricting clothing. Add to your guests’ comfort experience by putting out lots of pillows to lean against and offering your kitchen table to writers who prefer a more traditional desk setup.
End with a Toast
Set aside a half hour at the end of the party for folks to download and vent. Your guests will want a moment to decompress – especially if a character is being a jerk or the structure is taking over the entire project or the dialogue is way too cheesy. But make sure you take a moment to recognize the success of the night: everyone wrote. And we all spent time with other human beings. Celebrate how fantastic that progress feels.