Chronicles of NaNoWriMo

I had aimed for 20000 words in 30 days.

I wrote 17025 words in 30 days.   

I had written 4463 words in 10 days. It was a slow start to the November challenge. Eventually, I found my rhythm in the next 10 days. By Day 20, I had added 5670 words crossing the 10000 words in 20 days.

I felt like I should have crossed that threshold in 15 days. I should have written more words.

Written faster, plotted better, stayed more focused on the project. I berated myself about it.

But then I remembered my summer challenge of 5000 words in 20 days and how exhausting it had been. I had been all over the place at the time. Back then I was overwhelmed with 5000 words in multiple projects and social media post design.    

Now, I was more organized, focused, and creative this month. Even though I did not go for the huge 50000 word count, I have achieved great progress.
This NaNoWriMo, I plotted parts of my fiction project. I planned my blogs. I wrote the scenes and drafted my blogs. I also designed each of my Instagram posts and shared it with the community. I received a lot of encouragement for my progress. I learned to manage my writing and self-care. It was a great experience.

This month gave me a ton of insight into my writing and I would like to share some of the lessons that I learned along this crazy ride.

1. Plotting every single beat is complex. 

Some days I had a ton of ideas about where my story was going to head. And some days, I stared at a blank page. And when I was staring at a blank page, unable to plot any further, I knew that ‘Today is the day to write what I have plotted so far’. 

2. Ideas are seeds that we plant in our garden  

I had started my current project a while back thinking it will be a short story. But now the characters and the world that they live in feel way bigger. It had started as a tiny sapling. Now it is slowly shaping into a vast forest as the ideas keep growing.    

3. Experiment with writing methods  

I began this project thinking I was going to pants the fiction all the way through. Maybe I could add a few notes here and there.  
It did not work. I got stuck. I used a lot of methods for the plotting part as well. I tried using the 27-chapter style. But it just didn’t seem to move forward.   

This time I used Save the Cat Beat sheet. I was worried about the genre and style when I was writing without the beat sheet. But now the Beat sheet style has helped me a lot. I came up with new characters that the Main Characters would interact with. I also added backstories to most of the characters.
Now when I sit down to write the scenes, I know where I want it to go which is a lot more productive and less anxiety-inducing than pantsing completely.

4. Replenish your creative well  

The day I cannot write a scene or even plot more ideas is the day I pause. I don’t consider it a writer’s block. The day I cannot move my fiction any further is the day that I work on my blog. I spill my thoughts on the page and it works. Sometimes it is like a complete rant but that’s where editing is the savior.

There were also times when I completely zoned out of the writer mode. I would only work on the designs for my blog and Instagram posts. It was a great way to replenish that creative well while staying productive. Through these blogs and Instagram posts, I got introduced to a huge creative community that boosted my NaNoWriMo spirits.     

Even listening to authors talk about their writing struggles helped me get back on the writing track. Knowing the painstaking struggle that people have gone through to give us the books that we cherish today is a good thing. It shows us the scrapes and bruises and not just the finished product.

undefined Until next writing challenge, 

And so for a time it looked as if all the adventures were coming to an end; but that was not to be. 

C.S. Lewis,
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Neil Gaiman Motivating My NaNoWriMo Goals

Listening to my favorite authors talk about their writing experience always gives me a sense of relief and motivation. Lately, I had been listening to author Neil Gaiman talk about his writing on a podcast. He talked about his writing habits, his ideas, and his techniques. It was a relief to listen to his experience, as he is someone who has explored a multitude of genres and mediums for his projects.

Here are some sunny bits of Neil Gaiman’s advice for cloudy NaNoWriMo days.

1. Writers Get Creative Freedom

As a creative individual with ideas brimming out of the brain, it feels reassuring to know that we can explore a wide array of mediums. Most days I write fiction. But some days I like to sketch my imagination and some days rant/blog about the absurdities of being a writer.

2. Writers Can Be Oddballs

We stick our butt in a chair and write about people we have never known and places we have never been to. We build realms that can make us dance with joy or scream in terror. But they are our realms.

3. Writers Explore with Detours  

There are plotters and there are pantsers. But either way, as writers we have a destination in mind. We might not see the entire map, but we can see at least a few miles ahead. Sometimes around a corner, we see many roads and the story goes on a different route. It will reach an endpoint. But it may surprise us which is just as great.

4. Writers Have A Secret Weapon

And it is called the Imposter Syndrome. It is a double-edged sword. Some days it drives us to learn more and grow our talent. And on some days, it cripples us enough to doubt ourselves.

He also talked about how he feels less of an imposter since he won the Newbery medal in 2009.  

As writers, we all move at our own pace and we know more than we did yesterday. As long as we keep creating new ideas on our page, we are growing. Imposter Syndrome isn’t our Medusa. It won’t petrify us. It will encourage us to write better.