As someone who was raised Irish Catholic, guilt is a major motivator for me. The general wisdom that the best writers write every day is fairly high on my list of things to feel guilty about along with flossing, starting a Roth IRA and filing all the receipts in my bottom drawer. So I feel that the WriMo movement was created just for people like me.
WriMos started with the very popular, now 16 year old, NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. Every year from November 1st to 30th, over 300,000 budding novelists commit to completing a 50,000 word draft novel. The movement focuses on building a community of writers with a similar goal and provides online and local support groups, author mentors and a focus on diversity and student self-efficacy. There have also been success stories with high-profile books such as Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Wool by Hugh Howey starting as NaNoWriMo creations.
But what of those of us without room in our bottom drawer for a half-written novel? Well the original WriMo has spawned some other campaigns with equally tongue-twisty names but focused on different modes of writing.
Less defined than NaNoWriMo, AcWriMo – Academic Writing Month – hosted by PHD2Published, calls on academic writers to set a self-declared writing goal, in words, hours or projects. With the ever-present need to write and publish, #AcWriMo allows participants to think and talk about writing, build support communities and start good writing habits. The project helps you stay accountable to your academic writing goal primarily through social media but perhaps by even starting a local group to support your colleagues during and beyond November.
For my interests, DigiWriMo – Digital Writing Month – is one of the most intriguing. Started by Sean Michael Morrison and supported by Wisconsin’s own Jesse Stommel (who was recently on campus), DigiWriMo focuses on digital writing including blog posts, tweets, comments, and much more. The campaign focuses even more on community and collaboration than the other WriMos and last year’s biggest project was the collaborative writing of a novel in 48 hours. If you’re interested in learning more about digital writing or putting into practice some of the concepts discussed by Stommel last month on campus, this could be the WriMo for you.
As we move into November, think about how the support and motivation these kind of writing campaigns could bring to your writing and consider committing to one. Even if you don’t meet your initial goal, the process and community is often enough to bring new life to your writing
And it doesn’t end in November – there are a wealth of other WriMos out there – NaSoAlMo, NaNoDrawMo, NaPoWriMo, NaNonFiWriMo… I’m sure more than enough to keep me feeling
guilty motivated 12 months a year.