NaNoWriMo – An Exercise in Self-learning

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.

The Winner Certificate

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. 😝

Advertisements

28 Comments

  1. Fantastic achievement Bloggeray! I did NaNOwRiMo in 2015 but I didn’t do all the hard prep work in Oct and haven’t looked at my start of my novel again but it was a great challenge, I enjoyed it. I wish you all the success with conitinuing your novel. Take care

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Daisy. How about signing up for January and February, the “what now” months? You would be able to revisit your book and carry forward the good work. And you have a month now to prepare for that. What say?

      Like

  2. Congratulations on your win 🙂
    I took the challenge, and despite only writing 4/7 days a week, I ended with over 60000 words.
    I am nowhere near done: so I aim to write 50000 in December too!
    As for next year? If I finish this story by then I’d love to give it another go: the community and getting to know other writers was the best part 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! That is inspiring. 50k this month too. Yes!!! That’s the kind of inspiration I need right now. My story is asking me to come back and love her the way I did last month and I’m just not feeling like it.
      I’d say do write again next year, regardless of the destiny of this current work of yours.
      😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will admit the only reason that I’m still so motivated is because I listed a lot of plot points at the beginning of November, and still have so many scenes that I am excited to write about 🙂 I’m sure that the inspiration will come eventually: I know that once I am done, I will probably need a break from it all too!
        This year, I did Fantasy. Next year I will do a Science Fiction adventure. It’s decided!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow! I must say it is great to know that you have it all neatly planned out. This was my first time doing the NaNo. I guess I’ll return smarter the next year. How to plan, how to write etc?
          I concur with the fact that it is easier to write when you have scenes listed and you’re excited about them. That’s been my own experience too. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations 🎉🎉. I am planning to do NaNoWriMo next year so hopefully I would be able to do it. Anyway 50000 is a lot and it’s good to see people doing it. It makes me believe that I can too, one day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks man!
      I don’t know when. I gotta finish the story first. Then there’d be rewrites and more, the whole nine yards. 😁😁

      Yes it is a thriller. Crime. Killer and prey romancing. Ooh, that’d be saucy. 😝😝
      From what I’ve read on your blog, you like plenty of romance/YA too.😝

      Like

      1. I do like romance, I can write romance…but I’d love to write thriller too. I think I should try amalgamating romance & thriller in a story, hope it comes out well 😉
        I do love thriller/crime too…gotta work on being able to create scenes in my head and then writing them down. Difficult coz the romance kicks in somehow 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations! On being the super achiever and on being part of the ‘cult’ 🙂
    The NaNoWriMo challenge was a great journey and I enjoyed it immensely as your Partner -in-crime.
    Thanks for the constant encouragement and the suggestions and solving my writing problems even before I was aware of them myself.
    That 6k day is what I cherish too. Thanks for pushing me beyond the 4k 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. You were as much of an achiever as me. So no super there.
      I agree, NaNoWriMo was super fun.

      You’ve been a source of inspiration yourself. And I hope we can continue the crimes.
      Thank you, thanks a lot. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aah, no no. I think I didn’t make myself clear in the post.
      The story is incomplete. I’ve written 50,000 words but that isn’t enough. There would be at least 30-40k more here. And that’s the rough draft we’re talking about.
      Also, I intend to get it published as a novel. NaNoWriMo is meant to a beginning towards that.Let’s see how it goes ahead.
      What about you? You want to pen a novel?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha ha. I can tell you the basic summary. It’s a detective story. Two murders, no clues, a perseverant policeman and a deviant mind. How can you catch a criminal who leaves no traces of his identity at the scene of the crime?

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s