NaNoWriMo 2013 Edition

In just a few short days will begin another Nation Novel Writing Month where tens of thousands of people all over the world will make a head-start on their novel projects, aiming for a monthly word-count of 50,000. Thousands will fall way short. Thousands will make that target, and thousands still will surpass that and end up much higher. From personal experience, its been *relatively* easy for me to break past the goal. In my first year, in 2011, I ended the month with a word-count of 65,866. In my second year, in 2012, I ended the month with 64,001 words committed. But this year, its going to be much different.

There are certain personal things going on that make it a impossible for me to be able to carry on this level of productivity this year. And its not just one thing, its a lot of different things, none of which are the topic of discussion here. Simply put, I’m aiming only for 30,000 words by the end of the month and even then I’m doubtful if I can make it.

No, the topic of discussion here is the reaction of some published authors with respect to this yearly event. To sum, its derision and arrogance and dismissal of the efforts that people make in November every year for this event. And that is something I have a big problem with.

Two years on, and if there is one thing that NaNo has helped me with, its the supreme bursts of creativity. Last year, I worked on a novel submission for Black Library that was ultimately rejected, and a few short story submissions for the same with the same result. So by the time that I got around to working on my NaNo project, I was already in that frame of mind, writing to a set word-count and achieving it, by and large. In the year before, I attempted my first serious novel project and I was surprised at how much I was able to write.

In both years, I was driven by the fact that there were thousands of people making the same effort as me and I just pretty much fed on that creative energy in my social feeds. Last year I even had the benefit of working with some of my local Dubai-Wrimos, meeting and talking about my project and the mood was seriously infectious. Its amazing the kind of writing that can be done when you’re in a group and the atmosphere is completely positive.


This year, its no surprise to anyone reading the blog that I have struggled with my creative writing. Its gotten to the point that I’ve been depressed with it. Despite writing some seven thousand odd words for Project Cloak of Secrecy, I’m not happy with any of it. I feel like I should rewrite all of it because the wordage, essentially, sucks. Given my generally low levels of productivity this year, compared to the last, I’m counting on NaNo to push me through that slump. Its worked for me before for two years in a row, and I’m counting on it working again this year as well.

A general argument against NaNo is that its all very frivolous and that instead of focusing on writing for just a single month, people should write throughout the year. That’s what real writers do after all. In my social feeds, I generally see support from published authors for NaNo, but there are a few out there, authors I respect and whose work I enjoy, who talk about it with derision. They essentially look down on people who count NaNo for their big moments in the year.

See, the thing is that for these people, people like me, NaNo is a very important year. Writing is a solitary art pretty much, ask anyone. And most writers sit at home or office or in a cafe and they plug away day after day, getting that word-count in and turning out something that’s taken a long time to put together. For Wrimos, this month is about getting that head-start, to push ourselves and build up a base that we can use to work on further once the month is over. That is what I’ve been doing with Project Cloak of Secrecy after all.

I write in brief spurts of creativity and when there are external goals that I have to achieve, that’s when I write best. My novel submission from last year and my two previous NaNo projects are all about that sprint-writing. I’ve tried to put goals on myself for other projects, deadlines and weekly word-count targets. I’ve met with very little, very limited success. This is why NaNo is so important for me. Most significantly, for this one month of the year, I have several friends plugging away at their own projects and that shared creative energy is extremely infectious. Plus, it brings out that competitive streak, which in my case has been quite beneficial.

I’ve dabbled with too many projects this year. A novel. Several short stories. A novella. Very little progress has been made. Very little success has been achieved. That’s where I stand right now.

In a sort of effort to up my writing, I’ve started writing a lot of comics reviews these days, and doing more editorials as well, but it doesn’t address my core problem: creative writing. I just find myself unable to sit down and write with focus. My mind wanders off too much. I need a good hour or two straight to be able to write properly. I need mood. I need atmosphere. Its really odd. I used to be able to write without such crutches before, but for whatever reason, I’ve become dependent on them now and there’s no going back for me.

Hence, NaNoWriMo and an entire month of focused writing with like-minded people who are going to push each other to make those targets.

The goal of NaNo is not to write a full novel or anything. Its to either get a first draft down, if you are aiming for a 50,000-word novel, or to get a start on that more regular-sized novel. That’s what its all about.

This year, my project is a new novel. Yes, I know that I haven’t completed the novels from the previous two years and that they are languishing in creative hell right this moment, and its foolish to start on a third project. But, that’s how I’m doing it this time. We’ll see what happens!

The premise for the new project can be summed up as Star Trek meets Black Hawk Down. And the setting is going to be distinctly Indian. A majority starship crew of Indian descent in the far future, hundreds of years from now. They explore a planet, get into a tiff with the locals and things head completely south. That’s what it is going to be about, from what I have so far. I might even make it space operatic fantasy of a similar style as Warhammer 40,000 with demons from a parallel dimension. The great thing with that approach is that if I go that route, then I can even tie-in my Vikram Chauhan stories to this. It’d be a perfect outgrowth of the entire idea and the more I think about it, the more I like it.

But, its all in flux right now. All I know right now is that my NaNo project this year is going to be a space opera novel. That’s really it so far.

Only 3 days more to go!!

Posted on October 28, 2013, in NaNoWriMo, Original Work, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Love the idea for your story. And can’t agree enough with the things you have said.
    I’ll be using NaNo to try and get myself into a habit of writing. I am so sparatic about it and get distracted easily – always making progress but never at a consistent rate. On top of that I’m not even sure I’ll get a chance to sit down and write for the first few days.
    Hope to see updates on how you go!


    • I’ll definitely be updating, but updates are likely to happen on social media only. There might be just a single blogpost going up in the middle of the month, if that.


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