More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This means war!

Trying to find a way to keep the spirit of NaNoWriMo alive all year? One of my writing groups, Club 100, is doing this with virtual write-ins, a/k/a “Word Wars.”

Not to be outdone by the Olympics, we've gone international. Our war last weekend featured five writers in three time zones on two continents. We had three writers in the U.S. Central time zone (in St. Louis and San Antonio); one in Portland, Oregon in the Pacific time zone; and one in Canberra, Australia on their Eastern Summer Time.

The word wars are conducted on a Facebook page specifically set up for that purpose, using the chat feature (when there are only two of us) or a discussion board. The page is open to members of Club 100 and other writers who have a Club 100 member willing to vouch for them. We post on the wall of the page to let each other know when we’re available. Some wars are planned in advance, but unplanned skirmishes can occur any time two members happen to be logged on at the same time and are in the mood to create. Usually each war lasts for 15 minutes, then we report back with our word counts and to offer each other encouragement. Typically we'll do three wars in an hour before everyone goes back to their own business.

One member of the group suggested we should have "Word Peaces" instead wars, because there's already too much war in the world. However, we ended up deciding that war didn't have to have a negative connotation, because we aren't at war with each other. Instead, the "war" is with our procrastination, our Inner Critics, and other bad habits keeping us from being our best writerly selves.

Sometimes armed with Write or Die, Dr. Wicked's fabulous writing productivity tool (, and/or websites featuring writing prompts, such as author C.M. Mayo’s (, our group is soldiering on to turn our works in progress into full fledged manuscripts. Peer pressure, support, and companionship are helping each of us to overcome the inertia that can so easily prevent writers for achieving the "butt in chair, hands on keyboard" state necessary to move our visions from our imaginations to the printed page.

Do you participate in any group writing activities? Tell me about what works for you!


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