The first time I heard about NaNoWriMo was in August this year when I took the Blogging 101 course and one of the participants had mentioned it. I looked it up and was amazed to read that NaNoWriMo is an annual event held every November when writers get together to write their novel within the month. As amazing as the concept seemed, I was sure it was something I could NEVER (note the bold caps, that’s how sure I was of the fact) do! Hell, I was not even sure if I could ever write fiction until my good friends from this blogosphere cheered me on at my attempts. If I was unsure of my writing capabilities then how on earth could I even think of participating in something as glorious as NaNoWriMo? This was me back in August!
Then, Blogging Uni happened and along with it came the Writing 101 course. Joining this course was one of the best decisions I ever took. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to attempt different forms of writing. It aided in developing my confidence for writing and had me realize that I am indeed a writer! Perhaps, it was this newly gained confidence that had me consider signing up for NaNo. So, on a fine day in the month of October I signed myself into the NaNoWriMo website. Afterwards, I looked through the rules for participation and winning. Instead of listing out the rules that I read, I will briefly say that NaNoWriMo is the event that requires the participant to write 50,000 words of a new novel in 30 days, which means an average of around 1,670 words every day.
After making such a huge commitment, it was important that I research thoroughly for tips and tricks to succeed in NaNo. I had a plot and a pretty good idea of the story I wanted to tell, but I was not sure if I could spare enough time every day to write the required 1670 words. That is when senior NaNoWriMoers came to my rescue, they had many ideas to effectively work on your novel without it taking up all of your time. Out of all the different methods available, I decided to follow the Reverse NaNo process. This is a concept where you begin with writing more words on the first day and end with just one word on the last day. To me that seemed like the best option for a couple of reasons. One being I could use the enthusiasm in the first couple of weeks to write as many words as possible before the enthusiasm starts wearing off and exhaustion starts taking over. Secondly, this option afforded to take some time off as you would always be ahead of the required word count.
Thus, I was ready to start writing my first novel. As predicted, I had this overwhelming enthusiasm when I started and I wrote about 4000 words on the first day which was more than the required number of words. I wrote diligently for the first few days and then took a break. Although my intention of taking the break was to rejuvenate, I was not entirely happy with some of the chapters I had written and was dying to read and edit it. But I thought it best to listen to the advice of the experienced writers.
“Keep your inner editor locked up during NaNoWriMo!” they said.
This was one of the most common advice I read across the help forums in NaNo.
During NaNoWriMo, it is recommended to write everything that comes to your mind and not to bother with editing. Your NaNo novel should only be considered as the first rough draft. This information helped me relax and lock up the perfectionist inside me that kept threatening to break out any minute.
I continued to write using the reverse NaNo concept for two weeks and by the end of the second week I was half way through at 25000+ words. I was also starting to wear off not so much from the writing but my hectic schedule. I had started working on a new project at work around this time which meant extended working hours and endless client meetings. By the time I got home I was so exhausted that all I wanted was to crash into the bed and fall asleep. So, for almost a week I wrote nothing more than a few hundred words. I had to even neglect my blog during this period! (Not proud of that)
Well, that short break helped ‘coz the on the third week of November I wrote on and on, about 6-7000 words almost every day. The result was that on November 20, 2015, I validated a word count of 50,850 words in my NaNo account!
I rarely allow myself to feel proud of my accomplishments, there isn’t much anyway! But, when I validated the word count on NaNo and saw that little winner badge, I couldn’t be prouder of myself! My novel is not finished yet, but participating in NaNoWriMo has helped me establish a pattern or a schedule, rather for writing. Now, I have developed a writing discipline which I never knew existed. I am confident of completing my novel and then start the tedious job of editing and polishing it.
I am yet to decide if I want to publish my work, but I can’t stress enough on how glad I am to have embarked on this journey. While I had fun doing it, it has also helped me much to find my calling as a writer!