(Image: Author’s Own)
Last year after winning NaNoWriMo, I am so far confident about winning it this time. Not because I have found some secret winning formula, but simply because I know that I have it in me to write those many words in a month’s time. Call it discipline, call it determination, I simply know that writing can be done despite all the distractions that comes my way. All I need is that mindset. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo stands for the National Novel Writing Month. In the month of November, writers from across the globe participate in the NaNoWriMo challenge to write 50,000 words within one month. Why 50,000? Well, because 50,000 is the average number of words in a standard novel. In other words, we are expected to write a complete novel in a month’s time. If novel is not your thing, you can also write short stories or non-fiction, just make sure you write 50,000 words.
I recently read an article that gives some important reasons why winning NaNoWriMo might be more important than you think. No, those might not be your greatest words (in fact, chances are it definitely won’t be), but the more you discipline yourself to actually sit down and write those words, the more your brain is learning to listen and getting used to practice and persistence. Voila!
This might be the reason why even in sports people keep saying, winning or losing is secondary, you just have to play your best game. My current word count is close to 16,000 words in NaNoWriMo and though I know I’m a bit behind, I’m confident I’ll finish it. Why? Because I want to, so badly.
This month, there have been times when I’d worked for long hours and my brain simply refused to write anymore (a major part of my job comprises of writing business articles). But I told myself that, ‘Even if you write 200 words, you should not skip a day.’
Also, I found a wonderful tool that might help many of you. This website called 4thewords.com lets you play a game where you win stages by fighting monsters. You can only win if you write a certain number of words within a certain time limit. You can choose the difficulty level of your monsters. Also, you need to maintain a writing streak. And everyday, you got to write at least 444 words to maintain that streak. You might call it silly, but I find this game really useful in keeping me on track, even on those days when all I’d like to do is catch up on a TV series or simply crash. They even have a special ‘Carnival Zone’ for NaNoWrimo in their site where you can fight NaNoWriMo specific monsters. Go check it out, it’s super fun while helping you become super productive!
If you’re new to Nanowrimo, my only request to you is that please don’t give up! You never know what you’re capable of. I was almost sure of losing last time, but one day I amazed myself by writing over 7,000 words (my highest ever, till now) and then I won. I should give this credit to the virtual write-ins done by various NaNoWriMo communities. For example, I am a part of the Facebook group called Wrimo India and writing together in bursts helped me a lot last time. However, this year I’ve decided to be away from social media as I feel it’s hampering my creativity and productivity, especially since the time I started my novel. I only visit Facebook once a week and hence, I am not being able to participate in those write-ins. However, the 4thewords website is helping me immensely by making me fight monsters.
One thing is for sure. Social media detox is helping me maintain consistency in three very important aspects of my life.
Exercise, Meditation, and Writing.
The first two activities are immensely important for me to have a good writing day. When my body and mind feels cleared of junk, I write better. I sleep better too, and that helps me think of new ideas.
Anyway, all I’d like to say to you is go ahead and Win NaNoWriMo. It is all about building that writing muscle, it is all about maintaining the discipline to churn out 50,000 words in a month, it’s all about attaining that mental state where writing a 75,000 or 80,000 words length book doesn’t look like an insurmountable task. Earlier, every time I started to write a novel I’d feel, ‘What shit am I writing?’ In fact, that’s the reason why I ditched a novel at the beginning of this year after writing 30,000 words. But now even if I feel my words are junk, I can still go on. You know why? Because I know that there are one or two solid sentences within that steaming pile of shit that might never have seen the light of the day had I not written anything at all.
I can write and then edit this shit and write another few thousands of words, big deal! Thanks to all those authors who keep repeating the mantra, ‘You cannot edit a blank page.’ Precisely! Even if it is shit, let it flow. It’s making way for good things, just give it a chance!
Write. Those. Words.