Claire and Jenn joined the MLs in London last year, but have been writing with NaNoWriMo since 2008 and 2007 respectively. We asked them to give us the Wrimo’s Guide to noveling in London, home to Dickens and countless other literary giants.
If you find yourself wondering where to write in the UK’s capital city, Claire and Jenn can give you the scoop on the best loose-leaf tea, tackling steampunk, and writing-without-permission at King’s Cross:
The London region rundown:
Best Local Writer Fuel — As Londoners, we have to say tea! We’re especially fond of the many loose-leaf blends at Yumchaa, in Soho, where we have our Tuesday write-ins. They also have delicious homemade sandwiches and scones.
Best Way to Beat Writer’s Block — At the cafe at the British Library, you can sit by entire walls full of beautiful leather-bound books and let the scope of the place inspire you. We also organised our first write-ins at the British Library, so we have a soft spot for it.
Regional Genre of Choice — We’ve seen a rise in Steampunk in the last few years. With a backdrop like London, it makes sense—where better to set a Victorian-era novel?
The Can’t Miss London NaNo Event
NaNoRilla, our yearly Writing Crawl! We took the concept of a traditional UK pub crawl, and applied it to writing. We travel by foot between London landmarks, stopping at each one to do writing sprints.
The name comes from the rather guerrilla approach we take—by which we mean we rarely ask permission. We tend to give places a try and see how long they’ll let us stay! In the past three years, we wrote on the bank of the Thames, in King’s Cross station, the Tate Modern, the British Library, the British Museum, and a few others.
The Runners-Up — The All-Night Write-In: we held our first-ever 12-hour writing marathon at the Big Green Bookshop, which has been incredibly supportive of us, over the last weekend of NaNo 2011.
The Municipal Liaisons
Our first year as MLs was in 2011, but we had been organising local write-ins for a few years before that, and that turned out to be invaluable experience when we became MLs. We joined London’s longstanding ML, Lily, who has been the voice of experience, and another new ML for 2011, Tom. (For 2012, Lily is stepping down and we’re welcoming Suzanne!)
Jenn found NaNoWriMo online, and did it for the first time in 2007, and Claire discovered it in 2008, just a couple of months after moving to the UK from France. For both of us, London is the only NaNo region we’ve been a part of.
A Guide to the Local Wrimos and Culture — Our favourite NaNoWriMo memory so far as been of all the people winning during our first All-Night Write-In! More than ten people won that night. Every time someone won, they got to give themselves a shout out, and everyone else stopped writing to clap and cheer for them.
The atmosphere was great—really supportive—and even the people who didn’t actually cross the finish line on the night got an incredible number of words written.
The Region In a Nutshell — It’s London. An inspirational city to write in, and a vibrant NaNoWriMo community to be a part of make it the only place to be in November! London Calling (but will you answer?)
Check out the region in November!