Come write at Locus for NaNoWriMo on Sundays in November!

By Beth Green

“Um, why?”

That’s the question I hear most frequently about NaNoWriMo, the month-long challenge to write a novel in a month.
The implication is: Why try to write a whole novel in a month? Aren’t novels, you know, hard?

The question is usually accompanied by a blank, blinking stare as the other person wonders, belatedly, what kind of madness they’ve run across.

But that’s okay because National Novel Writing Month is one of these challenges that is, by design, a little extreme.
Like an all-weekend coding challenge, a vertical terrain race though mud, a bid to cook the world’s largest omelet, a challenge to drink a beer at the closest hospoda to each of Prague’s metro stations—NaNoWriMo is meant to help you push your own boundaries. Find your extreme, and hit it.

NaNoWriMo is here! I'll be hosting Write-ins (with official swag, yeah!) in Prague at Locus Workspace. Please join if…

Geplaatst door Beth Green Writes op Donderdag 1 november 2018

NaNoWriMo presumes that every one of us—and yes, gentle reader, that means you too!—possesses the tools we need to write a novel in the 30 days from November first to 30th. For the purpose of the challenge, a novel is defined as 50,000 words, an average of 1,667 per day.

That’s the why of NaNoWriMo, at least for me. It’s a place to believe in yourself, to believe you can reach that distant target and show it who is boss. (You’re the boss, if I’m not making myself clear).

If you’ve been to Locus on Saturdays, you might have heard the pleasant tap-tap-tap of the keyboards of the Prague Writers Group at their usual critique-free write ins. (They write from 9 to 5 with a break for lunch; all are welcome). And in November, thanks to Will Bennis’ continued support of our challenge and our big, wordy dreams, we’ll also be adding to our word courts on Sundays (in the big conference room, from 9 to 5, MeetUp links below). Locus Workspace is an official NaNoWriMo Come Write In location for the 2019 challenge.

Join us in November and find out your reason why!

About NaNoWriMo

Started by a group of friends in San Francisco in 1999, NaNoWriMo now has more than 400,000 participants each year. Each November the main 50,000-word-goal challenge is held, and smaller challenges take place throughout the year. All challenges are free to join. Sign up at nanowrimo.org.

About the Locus Write Ins

When: Every Sunday (Nov. 3, 10, 17, and 24) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Where: Locus big meeting room

Cost: Free

Organizers: Beth Green, Sonya Lano, Sarah Shaw

Planning to come? Let us know on MeetUp:

Making Dreams Reality with NaNoWriMo

Making Dreams Reality with NaNoWriMo

by Beth Green

Today is Halloween, so it’s an appropriate day to ask: What are you afraid of? What specific dread creeps up on you in the dark, when you’re alone?

Many Locus members, I suspect, share one of my fears: The fear of leaving a dream unrealized.

That one project you’ve always wanted to dive into; a pool of potential that only you recognize. Whether that’s a side business you know would be a hit, a spec project that could have real damn legs if only you could take the time to tinker with it, or a creative oeuvre no one is paying for (yet) but you just know deserves to be made real.

A few months ago, Locus Workspace owner Will Bennis sent out a survey asking us about these types of projects. As he called them, “the ones that stay in your mind for years.”  Exactly half of the respondents confessed that they had nurtured a project idea for years that they had not yet managed to complete.

It is for this half of the population that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was created. And is this group within Locus Workspace that I would like to invite to the NaNoWriMo Write-Ins that I’ll be hosting on November 4th and 25th in the big conference room. (OK, I lied. All Locus members are invited!)

What is NaNoWriMo?

In case you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, a quick explanation: It’s a 30-day event, held in November, in which participants challenge themselves to write the first, hilariously messy draft of a 50,000-word novel. In other words, it’s an opportunity and a blueprint for setting aside time to get one of these big projects out of your head and into the real world.

For most NaNoWriMo participants, this is a novel, but NaNoRebels may choose to write a series of poems, or essays, or work on a thesis, or storyboard an indie film, or whatever their beautiful, messy minds come up with. In the past 15 years, I’ve personally used NaNoWriMo for momentum to edit existing drafts and do a series of travel memoir essays in addition to novel first drafts.

Now do every one of the projects that the estimated 400,000 participants (last year’s numbers) take on turn into a masterpiece? Maybe not. But many do. NaNoWriMo projects that ended up as published novels include Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (later a movie), The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Wool by Hugh Howey.

Much like you might join the gym to help you get ready to run a marathon, or take salsa lessons to make sure that you don’t embarrass yourself at your cousin’s wedding next year, or any other kind of small incremental goal that leads up to something more significant, NaNoWriMo encourages you to think of novel writing as something that you practice a little bit each day to work towards one giant goal.

And that’s a takeaway for all of us.

OK, What’s a Write-in?

Though the NaNoWriMo founders maintained that everyone could write a novel with just the scraps of free time that we have when waiting for the tram, for rice to boil, for the conference call to be over, most of us find it helpful during the month to set aside longer chunks of time to write.

At the write-ins on Nov. 4 and 25, we’ll have a quiet, welcoming space (and coffee and donuts! And official NaNoWriMo swag!) for anyone who wants to come and work on their writing project. Often, we use Pomodoro sessions to help focus, and sometimes we set group goals or talk over plot problems. (For more info, check out my blog post from last year’s write-ins)

You are welcome to come to our write-ins, even if you’re not participating in the full NaNoWriMo event. The more, the merrier!

Happy writing!

RSVP links

Sun, Nov. 4th, 10:00-4:30
Sun, Nov. 25th, 10:00-4:30
http://meetu.ps/c/LTHg/jl88s/f

Other Opportunities to Write at Locus

Interested in other opportunities to work on a big project with the moral support of other writers? The Prague Writers’ group holds weekly critique-free writing sessions on Saturdays at Locus. Learn more at:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/263394070348958/

Member Profile: Beth Green

Beth Green is a freelance writer and cherished member of Locus Workspace. She comes from the western United States and has been living overseas since 2003. We wanted to find out a little more about Beth’s journey – as a traveler, a writer, and an avid participant of National Novel Writing Month. Read on to learn more about Beth’s passion for writing, her take on Locus Workspace, and the impact National Novel Writing Month (and writing in general) has had on her life.
What is your occupation?
I am a freelance writer and most of my clients come to me for copy writing, copy editing, or proofreading. I also do some consulting for small businesses. I really enjoy doing a variety of projects, ranging from writing brochures to grants to proofreading academic papers. Basically, if it has to do with words, in English, I try to help.
How did you get into this field?

I trained as a print journalist. I worked at a newspaper before I moved abroad. I actually taught English as a Second Language for about ten years. Teaching, however, takes a lot of energy. I started getting burned out and saw that I wasn’t benefiting my students. Then I decided to take the skills from journalism and teaching and channel them into communications.

 

Was writing a passion of yours all along?
Since I was maybe eight years old, I knew I would be a writer. After I moved overseas, I kept a travel blog pretty faithfully for about six years, and that was also the first niche for me as a freelance writer. I don’t do that kind of writing so much now.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am working with a grant writer in the US, helping her with research and editing grant documents, which has been rewarding. I have other clients and projects, but some have to remain private. I also have an ongoing relationship with the First Medical Faculty at Charles University. I review papers for a group of research scientists before they send them out to journals. I should also remember to say I have been lucky enough to get business by word of mouth through Locus and assisted several Locus members with their projects. Thanks, guys!
What is a fun fact about you?
I have the cutest cat in Prague (pictured below). Her name is Nymeria (character from Game of Thrones).
Bonus fact: I grew up on a sailboat.
 
How did you get into coworking?
Well, I’ve lived in Prague twice. I came back the second time for my husband’s job, and it was a bit rushed. We slept on a friend’s floor for a couple months before we had our own housing. Needless to say, her apartment was not the best working environment, so I looked into workspaces right away. During that first year back in Prague, I kept full-time Locus membership. Now I am a virtual member, but it is nice to be able to switch memberships since my work flow tends to change depending on the season. I like that the space is here when I need it.
Why did you choose Locus Workspace?
I joined Locus in 2013. There were two clear choices for me at the time (both of which I found online), but I liked that Locus seemed more geared towards English speakers. When I toured the space, everyone was really friendly.
What is your favorite part about working at Locus?
I really like meeting people and that the space is clean and well-lit, the desks and chairs are comfortable, and there’s a kitchen. I feel like it removes all the stress that can come from working in a café (like the power plug problem, the wifi connection problem, etc.).
If you could use one word to describe Locus, what would it be?

Welcoming.

 

On Writing and National Novel Writing Month

 

What motivates you to write?
This is the eternal question for a lot of writers and it is not easy to answer. Though I’ve been writing since childhood, I didn’t see myself as a fiction writer for a long time. Just about the same time I started NaNoWriMo, I started writing fiction. Writing a story that is long and completely from your own inspiration is really daunting, especially at the beginning. This is one of the reasons I like NaNoWriMo, because the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month pushes you and gives you a space to experiment with this long-form, imaginative writing.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
Most of my fiction projects are crime fiction – mystery, thrillers, suspense. A big theme I tend towards is cross-culture topics, not necessarily having to do with borders but also people who are outside of their norm and trying to survive in an environment they are not comfortable in. For example, I have a story about an inept assassin that was published in an anthology earlier this year and it is about this woman who tries to do a job she really is not suited for.
 
Interested in Beth’s work? Take a peak at her anthology here.
When and why did you start being involved in NaNoWriMo events?
I’ve been attempting NaNoWriMo since 2003, and with each attempt I became more convinced I could actually do it. I think if you got a group of ten people together and asked them if they ever thought about writing a novel, probably all of them would say yes. Everybody has an idea for a novel or screenplay or some sort of story that they would like to tell and so of course I had that too. NaNoWriMo gave me a space to experiment. Not all of my projects from NaNoWriMo have been spectacular, but all of them helped me learn something, either about myself or about writing.
What has been your favorite/most impactful experience during NaNoWriMo?
I moved to China in 2006, where I lived in a town with few foreigners in it. Because NaNoWriMo is web-based, I was able to connect with other people, both foreigners and Chinese who were English speakers. After two months of living there, I was a little bit lonely and so it was really nice for me to meet other people that shared passion for writing with me. We all went to Starbucks, something familiar, and got together to write novels. It was really nice to know that I could find something I enjoyed in Prague, in the United States, anywhere. I think that is something very cool about NaNoWriMo, that no matter where you are in the world, you can find other people who share your interests.
What advice would you give to people who are interested in NaNoWriMo or writing in general?
A lot people get hung up on the rules of NaNoWriMo – the idea is that you are supposed to sign up and write 50,000 words in a month. A lot of people look at that, and think, Oh my goodness I am never going to write 50,000 words. But, I think that you need to approach it as guidelines rather than rules and I think those people with self-doubt about writing that many words should look at it more like an opportunity to write more than they would have without the challenge. Maybe you won’t write 50,000 words, but if you get to 10,000, that is 10,000 more words than you would have written otherwise. For example, my goal this month is to get to the end of the story arc and if I happen to write 50,000 words along the way, that’s great. So to me, NaNoWriMo is a self-improvement exercise as well as a creative exercise.
Want to hear more from Beth? Read her blog post on NaNoWriMo here.

Come Write at the NaNoWriMo Write-Ins in November!

You don’t have to write alone! Come to the NaNoWriMo write-ins on Nov. 12 and 19!
byPhoto by StockSnap via Pixabay w/ CCO license

By Beth Green

The first time I experienced the spirit of coworking was about 14 years ago, right here in Prague. Someone I knew had roped me into this crazy challenge—we were setting out to each finish a novel in a month by writing 1,667 words a day.

Now of course I, like many of you, had always dreamed that one day I’d write a novel. But was “one day” really turning into “today?” And a novel in a month? Preposterous!
The first few days of the challenge, I pounded away on my keyboard dutifully. The words started to accumulate. The story started to take shape. But as work and life intervened over the course of the first week of November, my drive started to wane. I was ready to quit the challenge. The goal was to write 50,000 words—and I was about 45,000 away. But my friend convinced me to come to a meeting she was holding—a “Write-in,” saying she’d re-energize me and my story.
Nervous, and quite skeptical, I entered the small café in Nove Mesto my friend had chosen. I was late (people, I’m always late) and so a lot of writers were there before me. Laptops and notebooks were spread everywhere and beer mugs and wine glasses filled in the rest of the space. I chose a chair, pulled up the manuscript I was working on and stared at the blank screen like usual.
But instead of being alone at home where the voice of my “inner editor” could taunt me by pointing out that my rough draft was really, you know, ROUGH, I was in a place where everyone seemed to blissfully ignoring their own self doubts. They were typing and scribbling furiously, all trying to create something out of nothing. (Well, except the guy at the end of the table. He was drinking beer and hitting on the waitress by telling her he was a Writer. You know, that guy.) And soon, I was in The Zone too—writing pages and pages of my new draft. Ideas came more easily and what the folks at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) call the “plot bunnies” were all working in my favor.
Since then, I’ve attended NaNoWriMo Write-ins in countries around the world, in noisy coffee shops in Hong Kong and China, weird basement restaurants in Thailand and, of course, right here in the comfortable meeting rooms of Locus Workspace.
Locus NaNoWriMo Write-in 2016
Photos by Beth Green
This November, I’d like to invite the other members of Locus to join me, the Prague Writers Group, and NaNoWriMoers from around the city to come to Write-ins at Locus and tap into that creative coworking spirit together.
Though writing is generally a solitary activity, Write-ins (and the NaNoWriMo community online) help make it a shared endeavor.

The goal of the Write-ins is to simply write. Show up, put your fingers on the keyboard or your pen on the paper and let your creativity do the rest. At the beginning of the meeting you can state goals for the session, if that helps you. I’ll also bring donuts and NaNoWriMo stickers for the people who get there early, so there’s also that. 😎

Check it out! I got some writer goodies to pass out at our Write Ins next month! #nanoprep #NaNoWriMo17 #amwriting pic.twitter.com/q3TSNS6Oar

— Beth Green (@Bethverde) October 26, 2017

Though we’re holding these Write-ins for NaNoWriMoers to get closer to their goals of writing 50,000 words in November, the time is open for any Locus member who wants to come and write or work on another creative project in solidarity with the writers.
When: Sunday Nov. 12 and Sunday Nov. 19 from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. each day.
Where: Locus big meeting room
Cost: Free
Let me know you’re coming at one of the event links:
November 12th:
November 19th:
What is NaNoWriMo? Learn more at nanowrimo.org

Locus Does NaNoWriMo

A November 2013 blog post from Sarah Tatoun that was mistakenly never published. As relevant now as when it was written.
—————
Born in the same year- 1999- National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and coworking have, at first glance, nothing much more than that in common. A deeper look, however, shows a common origin: both were born out of the recognition that people are designed to work in communities. Cut off from others, most of us flounder, while often the mere presence of others, even without any active attempt at cooperation, can make the same activities easier- even fun.
The difference between the processes in writing my first two novels  – twenty-five years apart- is a case in point. The first one, written in my twenties, was done at a time in my life when I was particularly isolated. I was living in a new place and had few friends. The only structure I had was the one I tried to build: forcing myself to sit down for a daily two to three hour writing stint. I had some advice from professional writing friends, but they were distant and, in those days before email, not readily accessible. Taking a writing class gave me some contacts and more structure in the way of deadlines and the demands of professional formatting. Still, the whole thing was excruciatingly slow and painful.

Twenty-five years later I was living in a whole different world. I had moved back to the US after nine years abroad- but, via the internet, I was still in touch with friends not only in the Czech Republic, but across the US, Europe and Asia as well. And I had made new friends locally, too. When I heard about NaNoWriMo in 2005 I thought maybe it was time to dust off my writing dreams and an old plot that had been lying around all these years and give it a whirl. So every day for the month of November, I sat down dutifully and churned out my 1667 words- on my way to writing the 50,000 words that mark the lower bound for a work to be called a novel. Only this time, instead of one or two people offering encouragement- and more who were tired of hearing me talk about it- I had an army of thousands of people around the world, all aiming for the same goal, egging each other on with ‘word sprints’ and challenges, complaining to one another, or offering advice. It still wasn’t easy, but it was satisfyingly hard, like running a marathon for which you’ve been training for for months, not painful. And the story I was writing opened up into something new and unexpected. Five years later, back in the Czech Republic, I used NaNoWriMo again to write a ‘prequel’- only to decide that what I had was actually a series of at least five novels.

NaNoWriMo turned out to be just what I needed for writing- but there was still the problem of revising. Once again I was stuck in isolation, trying to put and keep myself on some kind of schedule and finding it hard going. And that’s where coworking came in. I started coming occasionally to Locus for various events: movie night, lectures, poker… It hadn’t even occurred to me to become a member- until the Friday Critique-Free Writers’ Meetups got started. Usually there were at least three or four of us in both the morning and afternoon sessions. After saying what we hoped to accomplish we got down to writing. The sound of everyone else clicking away was enough to keep me on track. I found I was getting more done in a single day at Locus than the rest of the week put together. It wasn’t too long after that that I decided to become a member. I bought a ‘virtual membership’ – one day a month- and paid for extra days so that, with the Friday Writers’ Meetup, I was coming two days a week. About six months later I began helping with the management in exchange for a full time membership.

The presence of other people working is always a stimulus to getting things done- still, I find what helps the most is being in a group, all there for the same purpose and with a clear goal for the day’s work. So this year for NaNoWriMo we threw open the doors of Locus every Saturday for the month of November to anyone and everyone in the Czech Republic doing NaNoWriMo. Some people came from other cities, most were already living in Prague. Some came every time and some came only once. A total of around fifteen people came to at least one meeting- and three of our members that I know of – perhaps more- ‘won’ NaNoWriMo in 2013 by writing at least 50,000 words on their novel. And yes, I was one of them, writing the third of my historical series- set, fittingly enough, in 18th century Bohemia.