On the positive end of the continuum, a great community can take all its members to places they never dreamed possible. There are different definitions of a community and, as access to the internet is increasing to more and more people around the world, more of our brethren have the ability to go online and, on top of the communities they live in, have access to hundreds, if not thousands of online communities which they would otherwise not have access to.
I feel this way about National Novel Writing Month, which is held yearly on November. It has allowed me to meet others who like me, have the writing bug. At its best, NaNoWriMo allows writers to walk together the path of writing. I have consistently heard that it allows writers to balance out the need to be alone when writing but always having someone available to chat when on a break.
The merging of two communities – the online, NaNoWriMo community and the community in which we live (itself a collection of smaller communities but let’s not complicate things too much here!) – seems to be an amazing way of making the most of two realities. Inspiration can be drawn by writers such as myself, who seek to contribute to the betterment of the world through their writing, from the communities in which they live, and this inspiration can be worked into a novel through online communities such as NaNoWriMo. Once again, moderation seems to be key; only being part of our communities would deprive writers of a rich source of feedback and experience with regards to writing, but only being part of an online writing community could strangle the very inspiration that got us writing in the first place.
I look forward to meeting many people this month as I attempt, despite a heavily loaded month, to write my 50,000 page novel, and hope that my experience will give me more insights about the working of an online community which I can share with you here.