& Fridays: Read and Write Together

Sometimes it isn’t enough to curl up with a good book at home every night, or write the occasional short story that you never show anyone else, ever (guilty). Sometimes you want to find other people who like the same books you do, who are also fiction or fantasy writers and geek out over character name generators like you do.

Enter events. Book clubs. Gatherings of like-minded nerdy/geeky people who like what you like, and/or can introduce you to new authors or tools you had never heard of before. I’ve always been a bit on the fence about book clubs. If a book is not to my taste, I have a really hard time continuing it. It feels a bit like assigned reading for a class – read this within this time frame and have something to say about it the next time we meet. Perhaps if I had total control over the book club and got to dictate what everyone else read…

But I’d be willing to give it a try. My local independent bookstore hosts a fiction book group as well as a sci-fi/fantasy book group that I have considered joining. Social media apps and websites like Meetup are great as well. And hey, maybe someone out there reading this has a great book club in the Portland, Oregon area. Let me know 🙂

And if you’ve ever been around my blog near November, you know that I participate in this crazy thing called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. You write 50,000 words, the equivalent of a short novel, in 30 days for the month of November. It doesn’t matter if you are behind the entire month (been there!), or if you write twice as much every single day – you win NaNoWriMo if you submit a document of 50,000 words on November 30th. The writing community is very cool on the NaNo website. There are forums for finding the perfect character name, for titling your novel, even for submitting cover art for your finished product. You can be noveling friends with someone, motivate each other as you submit word counts each day, and more. If you’ve ever remotely been interested in writing in a longer form, or if you just have this idea that you can’t shake that you think would be great as a book, I encourage you to join this year (and be my noveling friend!)

I participated in a cool writing contest a couple years ago in Portland called the Sledgehammer Writing Contest. It started with a real scavenger hunt through the city, with clues leading to various restaurants and businesses. At each stop, you received a writing prompt that you were required to include in your final piece, which you had 24 hours to write and edit before submitting. The best piece (voted by readers of the website) received cash prizes and incentives. I didn’t win that year, but it was a ton of fun doing a scavenger hunt in Portland and then writing feverishly into the night. I remember one of the prompts was “doughnuts”…

And finally, my newest discovery…every year in the months of April and October, some marvelous people throw a 24-hour Readathon. Yup. Dewey’s 24 Hour Readation (http://www.24hourreadathon.com/) starts at the same time for everyone, and goes for a full 24 hours. The goal is to read the entire time, whether that’s listening to audiobooks while you cook or shower, curling up in your favorite reading chair all day long, or re-reading your favorite series of graphic novels. Along the way, people who signed up as cheerleaders cheer you on via social media, and Mini-Challenges get posted on the main website, with fun activities to do and blog post ideas for those with blogs. I am ALL ABOUT THIS, so get ready, because the 24-hour Readathon is NEXT WEEKEND, October 22nd! Keep a lookout for some posts on my reading list for the day, and all day posts about how its going (and the mini challenges bloggers post to keep things interesting) I already have some ideas on which books will be in the roster…

What about you? Have you come across a book club/writing competition/generally awesome book thing that you want people to know about? Let me know!

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