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We at Critique-Circle have long admired NanoWriMo and so we decided this year to become an official sponsor and in that way help in strengthening this important event even further. We also wanted to hear more about what drives the wonderful staff behind Nano and maybe get some tips on how to become a winner, so we called up Grant Faulkner, Executive Director at NanoWriMo and long-time Nano participant. Here is the second part of that interview.
Camp NanoWriMo seems to be a success. Are you happy with how that is developing?
“Very much so. Camp NanoWriMo is a much more casual event than Nano. In the beginning we started it to allow those who couldn’t do Nano in November to write novels at another time of the year than November. This year we had around 60.000 participating in April and July, which is 20% more than the year before. Camp is open to all forms of writing, so people can write short stories, scripts, poetry, anything. We are very happy with Camp’s growth because we also want to help people become year-long writers, and Camp is an important part of that effort.
Why do you think Camp Nano seems to be going so well while Script Frenzy didn‘t?
“Script-writing is in many ways similar to novel writing, but there are also many levels where it isn’t. Not every novelist wants to write a script. We decided to focus on what we do really well, which is to create a community of novelists. That is our strength and it is important to build on that as a writing community and as an organization.”
Do you know how many from the camp also participate in November?
“A significant number, I would say over 50%, which is just great. People also use Camp NaNoWriMo to do their revisions, so it provides a venue for people to work on all stages of writing. ”
Did you ever worry that Camp nano might have a negative effect on Nano in November?
“Camp Nano is thriving but it’s very different from Nanowrime. There is an infectious energy all over the world with Nano, and nothing can dilute that feeling—November is National Novel Writing Month. So I think both events can continue to grow, and even bolster one another.”
Do you think that being a member of a community of writers, like Critique Circle, could be helpful for writers when participating in Nano?
“Definitely. One of the most important things a writer can do is to find a community and I think that is part of the reason why Nano flourishes. Critique-Circle is a community of writers that I have admired for some time and I know that many of our writers belong to Critique-Circle. Being a part of a community helps writers in so many ways. I have seen many people mention, for instance, in forums that they have told their family or friends about their novel, and that people just shake their heads. Only other writers can truly understand what you do, so it's important to find other people who write. Not only for understanding, but also to get tips and help with your writing. Unlike what many people think, writing is not a solitary thing. Support is very important. And nowadays you can find communities of writers online, which is priceless.”
Finally, any words of advice for those participating in Nanowrimo?
Personally, I take part in Nano and if I over-plan or outline too much of the story, it becomes unexciting to write. It gets dull. On the other hand, if I don't plan at all, my story might quickly run out of steam. So I let the novel idea percolate in October. I jot down ideas, get to know my characters, let plotlines marinate, and stockpile ideas. But that’s just me. Everyone has different ways to prepare. I think that NaNo is a creative experiment unto itself, so I would suggest everyone use it to try something new, something different.
That said, it's good to be strategic about the time you will have in your life during Nano and plan when you are going to write. Most of us have to give up something to get that time every day, be it social media, TV, or something else. You have to be deliberate about this. Some people even prepare frozen dinners ahead of time so that they don't have to make dinner during November. Your house might even become messy. But ask yourself: What are you going to remember on your death-bed, your novel or your clean house?
I think people who invite their writer friends to write with them tend to do well. If you do that, you bring them into a bigger community and help them flourish at the same time. Also, it helps you to keep on track with your writing every day. We also have around- the- clock word sprints on our twitter account where people post writing prompts and dares. There are so many ways that being in a community of writers can help spur you on.
With that we thank Grant Faulkner for his time and hope to see you all in NanoWriMo next month. Good luck!