I became a first-time Wrimo this year when I signed up for the 30-day challenge that NaNoWriMo motivates one to take. This was, however, not my first time at deadline writing and definitely not my last one. As much as I enjoyed this thrilling ride with my Wrimo-friends and my own characters, I must say, the past four weeks have shown me enough of my own meddlesome virtues and prosaic dramas.
You have to write at least 50,000 insane words of your novel in 30 days which gives you no time for research in between, in case you want an excuse to stray.
You don’t consult with people, for the more you consult, the more confused you will be. You don’t let anyone read it, for you know it in your heart that none can understand your twisted plot but you. You can’t delay - the more you delay, well, the more you will delay. You can’t quit, for if you quit, you will forever regret it. All you do is finish all the superficial worldly work and write. You write and write and write each day.
Writing like a maniac and observing other Wrimos for the past 29 days has made me realize a few things.
Your plot will seem to be your BEST idea ever… just for the first week, though. Your October will be spent in thinking about your story, your characters, their names, their backgrounds, their choices, their principles. Mighty prep, I tell you! The first few days of November-writing are cool but then will come a time when you will wonder about other ways of punishing yourself and chuck Nano altogether ‘cause it’s too damn austere.
NB: Don’t let go of that story. It might be the worst thing ever written in the history of literature but just carry on. The day you finish it, you’ll be proud of that same silly piece that you wrote despite all those evil voices that cheered you to quit.
There will exist a killing relation between time and you. People procrastinate. Writers are people. Writers procrastinate. Deductive logic!
When you plan on writing your novel each day for, say two hours, do consider the time you’ll happily spend with the lovely internet and your pets and your daydreams and the internet again. You wicked master of words, accept it… you just need a reason to kill time. Even the guy with the best schedule will procrastinate.
NB: If you want, you can disallow yourself the pleasures of procrastination, there are articles at your service. Read and apply!
Writing a book is NOT easy. Even if you have millions of story ideas and your craft of expressing through words is beguiling, I feel very sad to break this out to you but writing a novel is not a cakewalk. I guess, I’d never be able to give a one-star to any of the books I read from now on just for the fact that their authors took the plunge and finished it. Well, okay, I will, if it’s too bad but you get the point. Having ideas is not the hard part, the hard part is to start and finish.
NB: Don’t let it bog you down. In the words of David Viscott, “If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.”Every word matters. No matter how large the fonts are, the number of words will not increase till you type them down. Of course, this is common sense but I was so pissed off by this universal fact that it just needed a mention here, didn’t it?
Bet on writing those 1667 words ‘every day’ and you’ll lose. One can plan to write everyday but it is not the same as actually sitting down to type those words out. There will be times when you’ll not know what dialogues to write, what conflict to add, which scene to focus on, which way to execute, or maybe just how to stop the darn Facebook. Each delay that you make will strike back like a furious girlfriend.
NB: You don’t really need to beautify anything. For now, just write!
November is anything but novel. November is not noble enough to let you write your pretty novel. It is the time of festivals. Gah! Society summons you, cleanliness calls you, your blanket beckons you and the internet invites you. Pretty valid reasons to keep your novel aside and excuse yourself. But, my friend, your novel needs you, too.
NB: If November is a month of distractions and responsibilities, so is every other month of the year. Celebrations or no celebrations, you have work to do.
Your inner editor is an ardent follower of your work. It is the capricious Tigger that will spring back and forth no matter how earnestly you try to shoo him off. Editing is not for November. November is for writing. You write and you benevolently give your inner editor a 30 days leave. Even if that snarky mister wants to hang out with you, you should know how to deal with him.
NB: A She inner editor is a tougher case to handle than a He.
You will want to quit… many times. Believe me when I say this but I wanted to break free of this ordeal almost each day of this month. I had to, in fact, promise myself some lavish chocolates and what-nots to keep writing. It’s undoubtedly tough to prepare for exams and do the Diwali chores and attend the Facebook notifications and, to top it all, create a whole new world and decide its dimensions and practicality all at the same time. Phew! Are people listening? Writers command respect. Now, don’t they?
NB: No, no, no! Do not quit! It’s easy to throw in the towel. Trust me, the first draft of your manuscript will give you more joy than you ever would have thought. Stay focused to experience that joy.
If you really want to do it, then you will. Despite all odds(and I don’t care if this sounds cliché) but despite all odds, you’ll achieve it if you decide it in your heart. That is why it is said, “It’s not about can you, but will you.”
NB: Neil Gaiman worded it for you, “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It's that easy, and that hard.”Whatever your word counts are, all you people who dared to step out of your comfort zones to fetch that coveted purple ribbon, you are no less than those managers that work in top-notch companies... rather, I'd say, you are better. You manage the chaos each flaming day without going to any B-School yet with such aplomb that you deserve a Masters in Time Management.
Kudos! Go, flaunt your progress!