Every time I think I know the mysteries of the Nanowrimo forums, they surprise me. The Word Wars, Prompts, and Sprints forum is a good case in point. There are over 300 threads in that forum, and most of them center around a challenge, gimmick, or goad that can get you writing even when something is holding you back. I’ve hung out a lot on that forum, but I tended to stick to some of the popular timed wars during Nanowrimo or Camp Nano, and probably haven’t explored more than a couple dozen threads all told.
Yesterday evening, I knew I needed to get some writing done on a short fiction contest entry, and the forum was very quiet. There hasn’t been that much activity since April ended, but often when I poke my head in there are a few threads that have been updated in the last few hours. No such luck this time, so I went searching for challenges that I could do by myself, and found four:
- Sprint as Many Words as This Thread Has Replies. I was #242, and it took me a little over five minutes to get over 242 words. This wasn’t really an easy story to reach ‘creative abandon’ on, partly because of the contest deadline tonight. My inner editor insisted on a seat at the table, though I was able to keep him from dragging my muse to a standstill.
- Sprint to the Nearest Thousand. I was still under 1000 words for the story, so this became ‘sprint up to a thousand’ 🙂
- Song Wars. In this one, you pick a song, post the title, artist, album it’s from, how long it is, and how many words you got while it was playing. I did Six o’clock news by Kathleen Edwards, and that gave me a whopping 179 more words.
- Finally rounded the evening off with a 100 word sprint. I’d done these before during Camp Nano, when I wanted an easy way to get started for the day or a few more words before I gave up.
One type of thread I’ve noticed in the forum but never actually participated in is the theme marathon. To start one of these, you come up with an overall premise, (road trip, pub crawl, army boot camp,) and figure out how to slot other threads in as a part of that experience. So, for instance, if you want to include the ‘write to an hour of rain sounds’ challenge as part of a boot camp marathon, you say that it’s raining and everybody has to spend an hour in their tents. 🙂
If you’re trying to get some writing done in the Nano off-season, I’d recommend taking a look through this forum. You just might find the kick in the pants you need to get words on the page!