It was early October when I heard about it. Some kind of a cult. I was fascinated.
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a cult and an exercise in literary salvation. There are far too many people (including most bloggers I presume) who have that one story in mind to tell. But what happens to that story? It stays cocooned in layers of procrastination inside the deepest recesses of our gray matter. I didn’t have anything special to do in the month of November. So I promptly signed up.
A lot of reading followed to understand what exactly I needed to do. I got a fair idea about how to proceed. 50000 words of the novel that I have always wanted to write. I had written two chapters of that a year or so back. But that was about it. This was an opportunity to do it.
The NaNoWriMo site and other articles emphasize that a normal novel is far longer than merely 50k words. But for people who’re stuck or worse, haven’t started yet, it is as good a beginning as any.
To be honest, I had doubts whether I should write the story I had started or write something else, a different genre entirely. Ultimately though, I chose the existing one. The site asks you to do the background work on the novel in the month of October so that you can plunge headlong into writing come November 1. I could get only the last week of October for that and did whatever little I could.
November 1st finally dawned and I started on my mission to gain membership of the club. 50000 words in 30 days means you need to average 1667 words per day. After the first week, I was averaging 2000+ easily. Productivity was high. Suddenly, the rut stuck.
I’m a cricket buff and the India-England Test series started on 9/11. Not for me the checking of scores after every hour or two, no sir! I need to, absolutely need to, follow the whole match. That means every single ball bowled in the seven hours or so on a day, straight for 5 days. Hello cricketmania, Bye Bye productivity.
It didn’t help matters that a few plot points knotted themselves vexatiously. It was a double whammy. And then I had to travel across the country right in the middle of the month to attend a family member’s marriage.
Still, by the halfway mark, my train was back on the rails and I had started recovery. The mild trouble was that my average output per day after 20 days had come down from 2000-2200 to 1670 or so.
So with a righteous vengeance typical of Jules Winnfield, I sat down (at numerous places 😁 ) next day to write. 21st November became my first day with 3000+ words. Then it quickly pioneered the scaling of 4000, 5000 and even 6000 in a day. Whew! That felt so awesome I can’t even describe it.
Next day I did 5500 and on 24th night, crossed the 50k mark too. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure. But it was deeply satisfying. I never doubted I could write that much. The only trouble was, did I have enough crap in my mind to spread for that long? Turns out, I did.
NaNoWriMo taught me a lot about my interests, abilities and shortcomings. Mind you, there’s an awful lot of work yet to be done. For starters, I have to finish the story. But….but, I made a start. And I’m glad I did. It has made me cherish writing. I want to write more and more even if, after the dust has long settled, no one else even wants to read what I’ve piled up.
I’d like to clarify that NaNoWriMo isn’t the pinnacle of my dreams. This exercise is meant to be a start towards getting a book published. I intend to go the distance.
A special word here for a fellow blogger without whom this whole thing wouldn’t even have come to pass. Sona from writenlive introduced me to NaNo. Throughout the month, we encouraged, cajoled, exhorted, coerced and pushed each other to write. Both of us. I’m glad that I can call her my partner-in-crime. Here’s to you, partner 🍻 . We finally made it to the cult. Cheers!
Thanks for reading. Did you take the NaNoWriMo? Would you like to take it on next year? What do you think of this post? Sound off in the comments section.
P.S. – More than 90% of the NaNo task was completed on my phone. So if you don’t have a computer, don’t fret. The phone can work just fine. 😝