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

Plantser’s Preptober

This year I am dipping my toes into the NaNoWriMo pool for the first time.

Listening to podcasts and authortubers (Joanna Penn, Kristen Kieffer, and Alexa Donne to name a few) talk about their preparations for the most exciting and dreaded month of the year, I figured I needed to prepare in my way.

Since this is my first NaNoWrimo and I am not a 50000-word writer yet, my primary goal for this NaNoWriMo is to be productive and balance writing fiction and blogs.

My target is 20000 words in 30 days.

The word count will include both fiction and blog content. So 680 words a day is a realistic target for achieving that balance.

The next step is to outline the fiction that I will be writing next month. I tend to oscillate between plotting and pantsing. Sometimes I have too many ideas about what the character will do next that I don’t know which path to take. And sometimes I get too focused on the trees to notice the forest. So a few plot points would definitely help me write faster next month.

And most important of all is remember to value what I write.
No matter what it is that I write about – whether it is the monsters I create or the ones that go bump in the night in our favorite books – I will value every word I write. Now it won’t be all gold and most of it will be removed in editing. But every word counts.

“A word after a word after a word is power.”
― Margaret Atwood

Writer’s Roadblock: Point of View

Whose head have your words been entered?

Not to be confused with the Shania Twain song ‘Whose bed have your boots been under’. I am talking about the conundrum that we face as writers when we introduce too many characters in a story.  

While writing a thriller story, I found that adding new characters and exploring their different storylines can be a great way to begin world-building in fiction. But the flip side to adding new characters was that I would write what each of them was thinking and add their perspective to the scene. So, any scene with multiple characters involved a lot of “headhopping”. It wasn’t until I had finished writing the scene that I would know whose perspective was more important to the scene.

Every time the main character would interact with a new character, I would end up using the new character’s perspective as well. 

She thought the black terrier was adorable. He thought it was a hellhound ready to drag him into a nightmare. The terrier looked at his potential owners, thinking he needed to put his best show to gain advantage over the others. The other dogs thought the terrier was a people pleaser.

Too many heads have these words been entered!!!

Now I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. But I do believe that as writers, we face a ton of roadblocks along the way. 

The route that I discovered around this roadblock was Just Write. 

I knew who was the main character once I had written the scene. Discovering the characters is one of the joys of writing fiction. The point of view can be edited once the words are on the page. After all, you cannot edit a blank page. 

Ultimately, here is a gem of an advice that removed this roadblock in my writing journey.