Ah! April of 2020! With corona quarantines, for us writers (especially you Camp NaNoWrimers) the only type of write-in most of us are attending these days is virtual.
Now, I don’t know how your write-ins work, but these are the guidelines I follow, to get the most out of any write-in — virtual or not.
Some write-ins are just people sitting there, online or not, typing away. But, most of the ones I’ve hit (maybe because this ambivert is a social creature) tend to be a mixture of social and writing.
5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of A Write-In
- Pick a modest goal
You’re here to write. And socialize. Sure, you can ignore the other people, but if so, why are you even there? (Okay, it’s probably peer pressure, to keep on track. No shame there).
Most of the write-ins I’ve attended, I’ve ended up spending about half the allotted time writing, and half the time socializing (or being weirded out at how super quiet it was, then falling down the rabbit-hole of research or cleaning up my google drive folders).
Long story short — expect to get as much writing done during 2 hours of a write-in as you would during 1 hour by yourself.
- Break your goal into discrete tasks
My most productive time at write-ins tend to be during writing sprints. Someone will set a timer and then we’ll write for 10-20 minutes. After, we’ll chat, get snacks, then refocus and go again.
How I make sprints work for me is I pick a discrete task:
– create a list of names for characters
– edit the rest of this chapter
– find out how long it takes to travel from Loxley to Sherwood
– decide what the next scene will be about
– write that scene
– write the dialogue
You get the point. Something zoomed in and focused. Maybe it’s 50 words, maybe it’s 500. Set a goal that’s within your reach.
- Be competitive
Make that peer pressure work for you.
If you’re the person who likes writing/editing more words than you did last time (or at least not dropping below your average), race yourself.
If you’re the person who likes writing/editing more words than other people, try to best the rest of the group (or at least beat the person you were closest to last time.)
- Embrace the breaks
You’re at a write-in to write — but also to socialize, to network, to make friends (and potential critique partners). You’re there to hang out with people who understand why getting the story of some imaginary people RIGHT matters so much to you.
Accept that the time won’t be 100% on writing, and welcome the friends you can make.
- Make Sure Your Equipment Is Ready
If you’re in person, make sure you’ve brought everything you need — be it pen and pad, or laptop, power cord, extension cord, and mouse.
If it’s a virtual write-in, test your microphone — and if needed, your video camera — ahead of time. Adjust the lighting, the equipment, your setup location for comfort — and productivity. Make sure you know how to use the app and that you’ve got the time right, or you’ll lose time you don’t want to tech support.
In both places, you may want a drink and a snack. (Or maybe that’s just me.)
Even if write-ins weren’t your thing, if you’re feeling isolated, you may want to try them again.
If you’ve never attended a write-in, or had a bad experience, try it again. With the
write right group, it could be exactly what you need.
Do like write-ins? Do you hate them?
Tell me about your write-in experiences!