Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why I decided to NaNoWriMo

One month ago, I didn't know I was going to do NaNoWriMo this year.

Then one day three weeks ago, I decided I would. It was only a question of choosing one story from the two outlines in mind.

For a person who took two years to write 50K (I love repeating this every now and then), NaNoWriMo is going to be a real challenge. But then, for my first book, much of the thinking was done between the writing. The plot and the storyline were very vague when I started, and today it looks nothing like what I imagined in '09. I took long breaks intentionally and otherwise, that helped me improve the flow and reduce the rewriting effort.

Thinking out the entire flow beforehand is definitely good, which is the best thing I see about NaNoWriMo. Today I have a fair enough idea of the story I am going to write. That part of the homework seems to be fairly done.

I would not have decided to attempt NaNoWriMo this year had I not confidence that I have enough material to fill in the 50K. I have heard others say they 'wrote 50K with no plan, even though much of it was crap'. I don't think I can write 50K of crap in 30 days. I'm not that good.

Much has been said about the pros and cons of NaNoWriMo novel-writing. I would not dwell on those. I believe the quality of the MS that emerges at the end of the month depends on the effort put in before it begins.

As far as I am concerned, NaNoWriMo is just an excuse to keep me from procrastinating. There are always other things to do whenever I begin writing. This exercise probably would keep me in Focus. It should, given that I have announced from the rooftop about my participation, and people are bound to ask.

I am not quite used to the concept of 'writing without thinking or editing', the idea being the thinking should happen before November and the editing after November. The very thought gives me the jitters.

There's a lot of "Make sure you do this before you start" guides on the Web. I try to keep away from them - coz they intimidate me. But I still take a peek - what if I overlook some vital preparatory activity and get stuck in the middle of the writing?

Then I tell myself, even if I reach only 30K, I would still have achieved 30K. I will be closer to the end than if I never participated.

Preparation for NaNoWriMo is not only about planning and plotting the story or developing characters or jotting down notes. It also means we're going to give less of our time & attention to other things in life - family, job, medicines, food, hobbies, friends,... I did some planning on that front too - trying to do some things in advance, identifying the days on which I will not be able to work as much as required, allotting time for daily chores, etc.

Bangalore boasts of unexpected & unscheduled (as well as scheduled) power supply failures during the day. Being a so-very-Bangalorean, I am prepared for such interruptions to my daily dose of 1667 words.

That's all there is to it. The rest of the stuff I hear about writers surviving on coffee and chocolate for one month - I have no clue on those yet. When (and if) I do figure that out, I still will be going for tea, not coffee.

As to what happens after NaNoWriMo, who can tell? Maybe I will continue to work on the story. Maybe I will abandon it and start something new. Whatever happens, I am sure the effort will not be wasted.
It will be another lesson learnt.


  1. All the very, very best Jeena! It's a gutsy move and I look forward to reading how it went in your subsequent posts :)

  2. Thanks a lot, Purnima. :)
    Experienced NaNo folk tell me there will not be time to post blogs in between. But I guess I will write about it once it is over! (maybe post updates on Twitter. I don't know)
    Have you ever attempted NaNoWriMo? I'd love to read your experiences.

  3. Lovely piece, Jeena! Can I post it on my blog? xx

  4. No, I haven't ever tried it. Mostly because I don't have a novel in me yet...but maybe next year, who knows :)

  5. i'd done it twice..2007 and bigger sense of satisfaction than submitting it in the end and getting the award certificate