We got our start as a NaNoWriMo Community. For many, November is the core of the “Writing Year,” and as much as we’ve grown beyond NaNo, it is still a big part of who we are and how we support writers. Why? Well, NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel-Writing Month, is often the event that pulls writing lurkers into writing community members: the gatherings, write-ins, and webinars between draw writers away from their desks and out into the world. That’s how the majority of Guild writers find us: those months before NaNoWriMo are our biggest recruitment months of the year. We’d be fools to ignore that as an organization! So: our core programmatic season, rooted in free craft talks for anyone who can find us, is from September to December.
The majority of the Guild’s programming is online, but we do get together from time to time! We’ve worked hard to strike a balance for our writers: encouraging them to see us at online write-ins or cohort meetings, but also to come be social with us at Massachusetts spots like Lost Shoe Brewery in Marlborough, or a potluck at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. Folk always come away from events feeling surprisingly refreshed, which is funny because we’re mostly a community of introverts and it’s clear that many of us have to psych ourselves up to go and see people! Ultimately, it’s a good and joyful thing to have a community you can connect with comfortably at home and also tangibly be part of under the right circumstances.
For two years, we’ve kicked off NaNo Season with a week-long hybrid craft Retreat. The Guild gathers professional instructors to come and teach our writers. This year, thanks to amazing help from The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council, and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay Foundation, our Fall Retreat featured online sessions all week, a day of in-person sessions at MIT’s Endicott House
in Dedham, and a free social write-in day at Carson Beach in Boston! We were grateful for the support while we did the biggest, scariest, most expensive thing we’ve ever done: going to the Endicott House for a cool and fun event in an old mansion full of stories, ghosts, and weird things.
Seriously, the Endicott House is the perfect place for writers to gather. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that there are ghost stories abound in the house. But that’s not what makes it interesting: it’s the nooks and crannies, the little details that have been lovingly preserved. The big hug decor that transports you back in time (go find the giant moose head when you visit!), the fabrics and the carpets, and the actual structure of the home. If you have the opportunity to stay overnight (highly recommend!), the vibrations of the place pulse with story. This was a family’s home, sure, but now all of these other people have traversed the home over the years: brides, grooms, executives, students, and everyone of all sorts of walks of life! Story is soaked into the carpet and the wood! We can’t wait to go back!
And we will: The Guild is returning to the Endicott House in spooky season, October 19th and 20th! Save the date now, start saving up your conference money, and come join us for a fun event! We’re going to do a midnight write-in for sure.
Unfortunately, despite our hopes, our beach write-in at Carson Beach was rained out. The forecast was tricky and we tried our best to make it work, but 15 minutes into event, it started pouring buckets. Despite the weather, we met 7 new friends that day, which was really special. We’re grateful! We hope we get another chance to do that next year!
We’re so grateful to our sponsors and would like to thank again the Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton-Boxoborugh Cultural Council, and Better Beaches Foundation for their support of our event! We’re also grateful to our amazing Retreat instructors: Chris Tebbetts, Erin Dionne, Peter Medeiros, Susan J. Morris, Rashida J. Smith, Jennifer Funk, Erik Grove, Allison Pottern Hoch, and Ron MacLean!