NaNoWriMo 2019 | Was It Worth It?


NaNoWriMo is over and I am happy to have a 50K draft ready- for an untitled book. I find giving title is the most difficult part of the writing journey.

This draft is far from complete but it is a good first draft nonetheless.

So, how was the journey? What did I learn from this NaNoWriMo participation?

Let’s start with the challenge, shall we?

Challenge 1: Another Deadline? Gosh!

Yesterday, as I crossed the 50000 words mark for my draft, I started to wonder. Why did I do NaNoWriMo? I mean, I have enough stress as it is.

Being a software developer, I have enough deadlines set for me.

Being an OCD person, I have more chores added to my plate, and more timelines to adhere to.

Being a blogger, I have commitments to post a certain number of posts every day / week / month.

If this wasn’t enough, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. Another target to achieve – write 50,000 words in a month.

Needless to say, it added to the stress.

Con #2: I Am Not A Novel Kinda Person

Yep, ironic as it might be; I am not a novel kinda person. In all honesty, I prefer reading and writing short stories / novellas.

I mean, I can read a rather lengthy novel, but writing one myself is a bit of a challenge, for reasons I mentioned above in Con #1. Short attention span and lack of time for writing are two primary reasons.

And, there is another reason for writing shorter forms. The novel I wrote in NaNoWriMo 2018 “Crooning Techies“, is published and it is not earning me as much royalty as the short romantic novellas that range between 10K-25K words range.

Anyways, now that I have a 50K+ draft, I will have to finish this as well.

Pro #1: Almost Uninterrupted & Undivided Attention

Generally, I wake up every morning with three different ideas. By afternoon, I remember only one and draft a 100-200 words plot about it. On a good day, I remember and note down all three – 3 WIP scripts.

Then, as the day progresses, the existing work-in-progress manuscripts start to call me. Some of these manuscripts are as old as 3 years. They remind me of their existence, constantly.

I show great restrain and finish the office work first.

On the way back home, I randomly pick one, the one that is closest to finish line. However, it takes me an hour to recall the plot and characters details.

By the time I am well acquainted with the plot again, I am already home and have another to-do list to work on.

Post dinner, when I get to my laptop, I am tired and hardly get to work a few hundred words before calling it a night.

I start binge-watching after that, which continues till 4 am. While it gives me more ideas and some content for my blog, sometimes I feel that I am wasting the time.

Come NaNoWriMo, as I was working on a single story, I didn’t have to recall details. The characters, their arc, their backstories were fresh in my mind and I didn’t have to do a lot of back and forth. It saves a lot of time.

Pro #2: Observing Discipline

I am a pretty disciplines writer. I make sure that I write at least 2000 words every day, in one form or other. However, NaNoWriMo helps to observe the practice of writing every day more strictly. It helps me in the long run.

Pro #3: Winner Badge

I am a sucker for small victories. Although NaNoWriMo is not a contest in truest sence, getting that winner badge and an email with “Congratulations, Winner!” is quite a feeling.

I may bicker now, but come next year and I would be participating again, Insha’allah!

How was your #NaNoWriMo journey?

Shabana Mukhtar