To write-in or not write-in

There is a write-in on Friday for my nanowrimo region. For those that aren’t participating, a write-in is an event where everyone gets together and writes. They generally happen in libraries or other rented spaces. For some people they can be productive and inspiring. For others they can be super distracting. I went to the one last week because I had hit a roadblock in my writing. Nothing was coming out. I originally wasn’t going to go but I figured I can sit at home and get no writing completed or I could go to the write-in and maybe get something done. Turns out I did, in fact, get some writing accomplished. It wasn’t much but the general vibe in the room was enthusiastic and I fed off that. There is also the unspoken peer pressure. When everyone else is writing, you feel like you better be doing the same.

And that’s where the cons of the situation pop up.

At that particular write in, most of the people there knew each other so there was a lot of conversations going on. I don’t mean there were small groups in corners talking quietly. I mean someone would start talking and involve everyone. It’s kind of hard to stay out of a conversation when the person speaking makes eye contact with each person and expects it to be a two way street. I felt guilty when I was the only one not answering. That doesn’t sound terrible right? If the conversation is about writing you might learn something, or have something to teach. Words of encouragement are always a good thing. Too bad that’s not what the subject matter was. There was talk about husbands and jobs. A sprinkling of “what are you doing this weekend” types and…..shoes. You read that correctly, shoes. A 20 minute dissertation about one girls shoes and the problems with them. Another lady talked about learning to walk in heels, and several others added their own tidbits. At one point the conversation changed for 10 minutes. The first girl dragged it back to shoes at the first opportunity. I’ll admit, I’m a bit biased here. I hate shoes. I put on shoes if I have to go somewhere and buying shoes is pure torture for me. I own eight pairs of them and each has a purpose. So sitting there in front of my laptop listening to the pros and cons of wearing heels was no fun. At some point everyone ran out of things to say and silence descended. I put my ear buds in, turn up my hard rock Pandora station and got to work. Eventually I got pulled out of my music and back into another conversation. I had written all I could that night so it was okay.

I went home and at first I was irritated but then I really thought about it. I DID get something accomplished. It’s not like I didn’t know that it would be more of a social event than a true working thing. Yes, the shoe thing threw me off but maybe it helped someone else. Perhaps one of the ladies there now has a character that rocks six-inch heels that become a murder weapon. Also it’s no one else’s fault that I’m not into footwear. So now my dilemma. Going last time really did do something for me, but it also was a big fat distraction. Who knows what the one this week will be like? My tentative plan is if I’m on a roll and seriously pumping out material, I’ll stay home and keep it up. If I’m staring at my screen in horror or catch myself looking up memes, then I’ll go. Write-ins aren’t for everyone, but when you need a little encouragement or some constructive peer pressure, it’s the place to go. Also maybe at this weeks event there will be word sprints or other activities that are helpful. I may have to step up with that. We shall see.

I have two side notes to add. To any shoe lovers out there, I mean no offense and I know I’m weird for a woman. To the shoe girl in my nano region if you ever see this. I’m sorry if this makes you mad. I think you’re really sweet but I hope that conversation never comes up again.

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6 comments

  1. Haha. I don’t care about shoes either. Definitely not about heels. I guess whether you go back is dependent on what you would otherwise be doing. Would you go to a coffee shop and get more done? Or would you just be at home watching TV? There are definite pros and cons to writing as a group–but for me, I see writing as a solitary endeavor. At least, first draft writing is. Later on when I need input on a draft, then others come into play. 🙂 For that reason, I have yet to try a nano write-in.

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    1. I agree that writing is a solitary thing. Write-ins can be good during first draft if you’re stuck or like you said, just sitting at home watching tv. I suspect the best nano write-in to go to is the last one. That’s the one I will probably wait for. Oh and I don’t even drink coffee but going to a coffee shop seems to be the best choice for me. I am always super productive in that environment

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  2. Thats one thing that I’m not sure I’d be willing to try. I can see it going more negatively than positively. Just like you said, distractions. I’m super easily distracted. I’d also be worried that some people would play the “i’ve accomplished more than you” card and make others feel inferior. In my opinion, I think that social interactions beyond your normal group of people is only needed for certain stages of writing. Social interactions can help with finding inspiration, interviewing for information, workshop and critique, and (if your like me) watching people for their quirks or what makes every person unique. Anyways, theirs my two cents 🙂 I’d say, in regards to wondering if you should go again or not, it all depends on what your looking for.

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    1. The people in my nano region are generally very supportive and encouraging. There are a few of the bragging types but not too many, and they don’t stay around for long. The people watching part of it is awesome. Even the people I don’t care for help me when that’s what I’m looking for. I’m not really too much of a social person so I tend to find a corner but just being around other people occasionally is good for my writing. Not too much because I’m easily distracted as well.

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  3. *ads ‘murder by shoe’ to her list of awesome fictional kills* I don’t think I could do something like that. I’m really self-conscious about… Me, when I’m writing lol. I mean, I make faces when I write. People here at home have told me more than once that they can tell which character I’m writing for by my expression alone. Not to mention that if something horribly sad comes up there’s an 110% chance I’ll sob. I can’t be doing that around other people. Hell no.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing to remember about writers is that we’re all weird. Most of us are socially awkward and we all live in our own heads most of the time. If I saw someone making faces while they were writing I would assume they were writing really well because they were so into it. Also, imagine you were in a group and cried because you wrote something that emotionally wrenching. Every other writer there would be intrigued that you wrote something that moved you that much. That would make me interested in reading it. Probably all of them has had moments like that. I suspect you would get more understanding looks than freaked out looks.

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