Wake the Writer Inside You With NaNoWriMo 2011

November is round the corner; so sharpen your pencils, stack coffee at your house, wake the writer inside you and brace yourself to enter a world filled with imagination, quirky characters, words and of course the pressure to write a 50,000 word story in 30 days – NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is back!

And for those who are wondering what the fuss is all about, let me elaborate. NaNoWriMo is an annual (November) novel writing project that brings together professional and amateur writers from all around the world. National novel writing month is an approach to novel writing in a month’s time. Enthusiasts around the globe sign up online and together take part in the race to accomplish a single goal- writing a 50,000 word novel from scratch in thirty days.

Always wanted to pen down a novel? Dreamt of winning the Booker prize but could never sit and write two words? Desired to create a world like J.K Rowling? Here is the chance for all struggling writers to prove a point – that we can write and weave a story and we can do that within a month.

So when I read an article on the same way back in November 2009, I was immediately drawn in. A one-month long writing project that I couldn’t say no to. So that night itself I signed myself up and pledged my November to the pursuit of the month-long novel.

Week 1

Now as I already had an outline to the story, the start seemed pretty simple. A week went by and words appeared on the screen effortlessly. I couldn’t have been happier.

Week 2

Clickety Click on the keyboard…the writer in me chugged along efficiently. I was pleased as punch.

Week 3

The myth of ‘writer’s block’ is not a myth. It seemed like the monster was hiding in a dark corner for the past 15 days with an evil grin wondering what a fool I had been to parade in front of the entire world about how easy it was to write.  I was stuck; worse, I was bored. I thought I was not cut out for something like this. I clearly remember not writing for five days at a stretch (and considering I had only 30, a 5 day break was not a good idea)

Then I finally took a leaf out of the many pep talks I kept receiving through mails from the NaNoWriMo team. It’s all about the breaks! Ten minutes of break and I was back to the desk to turn out a page. Another break and then back to writing and surprisingly the characters got out of the wagon and to my delight started doing things again.

Week 4

I started to realize what I had gotten myself into and a creeping sense of panic came over me. I thought I had a good start and I was somewhere in the middle but I was sure now that it was a pile of crap. To add to this, the end felt as far away as Pluto. I had these dozen reminders posted around my room of things/characters/situations that have to somehow find a way into getting inside the novel but I didn’t know how. And the worst of all was, whenever I examined the mess (we were warned not to do that. The aim was just to write, editing came much later) that was half created and half still alive in my mind, I got this horrible sinking feeling that my novel wasn’t actually any good.

And then came another pep talk and I found my way to deal with all the voices that constantly told me what a bonehead I was and how awful I was at writing and how doomed my project was.

But no matter what, on 30th November I was one among the many writers who had taken up the challenge and succeeded. The feeling? Delight, relief and a little bit of pride.

One of the best advice that I got from NaNoWriMo –  “Breathe. Be kind to yourself. Don’t panic. Take risks. Make messes. Decide every day that in your writing toolbox, next to the fear and self-doubt, you are also going to keep at least one tiny little seed of faith. That’s all you need to keep going—one mustard seed. Keep tight hold on to that faith, and keep writing.”

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