Satellite Write-In Guide for Virtual Events

This year, due to the pandemic, NaNoWriMo HQ has decreed that ALL write-ins and events must be virtual. Thank you for understanding.

When planning a write-in: 

1. The NaNoBoston forums: The best place to plan a satellite write-in is at the NaNoBoston Lounge in the NaNoWriMo forums, which are the most visited part of the site, and posting information there opens your event to all the local participants.

2. Search for existing threads: Check to see if there already is an event planned for your favorite platform or the date and time you’re interested in. If you find a thread in existence, there may be events already planned that you want to join, or you can state your intention that you would like to organize something.

3. Start your own thread: If you don’t find a thread, start one and include your chosen platforms in the subject line.

4. The NaNoBoston Lounge is open to all-ages: Please be friendly, polite, respectful, and encouraging when starting a thread, and try to avoid the use of things like sarcasm, which can be construed as threatening or offensive, even if you mean it playfully.

5. Best platforms: Choose something you are comfortable using that is easily accessible and preferably free for participants. Zoom, Discord, Slack, and Jitsi-Meet, are a few such places. Be upfront if folks need to get an account first just to join your event.

6. Schedule around official events: Your MLs put a lot of work into the official NaNoBoston write-ins and events. Please do not schedule a satellite write-in at the same time as an official NaNoBoston event. It’s okay to schedule one on the same day, as long as it’s not at the same time. 

7. Reach a consensus about the date, time, and platform: a.) Choose one or two platforms and dates/times that work for you. b.) Work with a select few people in person at another event to do the same. Recommend those dates and platforms in the forum thread and find out which works for the most people. 

8. Plot out activities: You may wish to discuss possible activities ahead of time, such as word wars, word sprints, icebreaker questions, planned discussions about writing, etc. Having activities makes the event more interactive, and perhaps less awkward for folks who don’t know each other to be doing nothing except writing silently.

Once you’ve chosen a date and platform for your satellite write-in:

1. Post information to the NaNoWriMo website: To avoid non-participants crashing your event, please ONLY post your event information, especially platform links and passwords, to the NaNoWriMo website (the forum thread where you announce/plan the event and our regional event calendar), where folks must sign in to read it. Please DO NOT post this information on any social media platform.

2. Make the following information clearly visible in the forum thread: The platform you are using along with an invite link and any passwords required, as well as the date and time of the event.

3.  Set up your event listing: On the NaNoWriMo website on the regional page, select the Events tab and click the SUBMIT AN EVENT button to schedule your event. Once the MLs approve your event, it will appear on the regional calendar. If the event has not been approved after 24 hours, email BostonNaNo@gmail.com to notify us.

4. Scout out the platform ahead of time: Make sure you know how to use the platform you have chosen by playing with all the bells and whistles before your event, with enough time to ask questions from someone should you need to.

The day of your official write-in:

  1. Double check everything: Make sure you posted any invite links and passwords to the forum thread and event listing on the NaNoWriMo website so folks can access your event at the right time without trouble.
  2. Dress appropriately: As event host, you are the face of NaNoBoston and NaNoWriMo. You don’t need to dress up in a suit and tie, but please don’t show up in your pajamas.
  3. Show up early: Be there about 5 minutes early, so that you can welcome folks to your event, and get to know them as they arrive. You can also troubleshoot tech problems should they arise.
  4. Remember, you’re the host: Make everyone feel welcome and included. If you notice someone is dominating the conversation, give them a gentle reminder to let others have a chance to speak. If you notice someone isn’t saying much, ask them if they have any thoughts or questions about your conversation or the activity you’re doing. It’s also okay to have some participants not participate in a word war or other activity but keep writing.
  5. Muting is golden: If you have a lot of participants, it may be useful to mute everyone in a video chat platform. Let them unmute themselves when they have something to say and then mute themselves again when they’re done talking. This helps when the sound quality is not great. The more videos and microphones that are on, the more bandwidth you are using.