Way back in the day when I joined NaNoWriMo, things were a little different. The year was 2002. There was no Facebook, no Twitter—heck, there wasn’t even a MySpace. Many of us were still connecting to the internet using dial-up, and laptops were a little harder to come by. (I was not wearing an onion on my belt. This blog post is making me feel about a million years old. 30 is the new 20, right? I’m still young and hip, I swear!)
We still had the website, of course, but things weren’t quite as slick then as they are now. And with only about 13,000 participants, the regional forums weren’t as hopping as they are today. So when I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo, I figured the best way to ensure I wasn’t doing it on my own was to attempt to recruit pretty much everybody I knew.
My friends got the hard sell. They were used to it by then; whenever I become a fan of something I pretty much flail around at my friends until they decide that trying it is easier than putting up with me. (Previous incidents include but are not limited to: Mac computers, TiVo, various television shows, Twitter, and Disneyland. My track record is excellent on all those items.)
A healthy brigade of my friends signed up that first year, and although none of them have participated every year, they’ve all written novels on and off. As time went on, I recruited more of my friends, including Karen, who eventually became my co-ML. (That was my secret plan all along, as I knew Karen would be a much better ML than me. She’s pretty much the most organized person on the planet.) We enticed Karen’s husband Paul a few years back as well, and now he, in turn, is recruiting others.
Partially as a result of Paul’s efforts, this year is the first year in a while that several more of my friends have decided to take the plunge. Maybe they got tired of never seeing me or Karen in November, or maybe we sucked them in with all our posts on Facebook and Twitter about how fun it is. Whatever the reason, this year is the first year in quite some time that we’ve got new blood in our little group of friends, and I’m excited. We’re already buzzing about novel plans on Twitter. We’ve been notebook and pen shopping (always a key step), and one of my friends is halfway through No Plot, No Problem! already.
There are a lot of new Wrimos out there, especially as we creep ever closer to that November 1 kick-off. The absolute number-one tip I can offer? Get your friends involved. Take a close look at the people in your life, and decide who would be most easily convinced to take this wild ride with you. There’s nothing like a real-life noveling buddy to keep that motivation high, and once you start recruiting other people, you’re really on the hook yourself!
Have you recruited your friends to the NaNoWriMo madness? How did you do it?
Screenshot from the 2002 NaNoWriMo website, featuring the tippy typewriter (I loved that thing) and Chris Baty commenting on his 29th birthday. Those were the days!