Or, in other words, How I spent November writing 50,000 words while having exams, Eid-ul-Adha, and other things!
I remember the last post on this blog very clearly — though not to the exact wording. It was the end of October, and I was confused. I want to do a creative challenge, but both NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo looked so good I was tempted to try doing both.
But I knew that I wouldn’t be able to manage that — looking back at the history of my blog posts and the blogs I had before this one, which I deleted to start over with this one, I didn’t want to continue with those because they were so old, and I was afraid that if I didn’t start over once again, I’d be tempted to not post except every other month or longer, due to no one reading them. So I thought a lot about it.
Maybe spent a few hours thinking, but by the time I had finished writing my blog post here, I knew what I wanted to do: NaNoWriMo. I actually didn’t believe I can do it, but I thought, if I do fail it, at least it wouldn’t be like failing NaBloPoMo, which everybody reading my blog would be knowing about.
I’ve a long history of ignoring all About Me boxes wherever I can, but miraculously, when I signed up for NaNoWriMo, and started filling in my profile details, I found myself actually writing an Author’s Bio! I was astonished at it, I did backspace a bit on some things while writing, but I eventually posted one. It was like preparation for the 30 days of writing and writing endlessly.
On the eve of 1st November, I collected all my notebooks and copies that had notes and things about my old novels that I started and never ended up finishing, and read through a couple of documents I was able to retrieve from my crashed Windows OS, and put together a plot. It was my first ever plot to be so detailed and not having too many side characters and new characters appearing all over like my previous attempts.
I waited for midnight to come. I thought I was going to start then. But I didn’t. Midnight came, and whenever I opened up my Libre Office document, I didn’t feel like writing. So I went to sleep.
When I woke up, I wrote about 1,000 words. I had a hardware failure, and I lost 90% of what I had written. I managed to get to what I had written by midnight, but I didn’t hit 1667 words.
On day 3, I exceed quota by 467 words. I was exhilarated. (Yes, I’m using that word for the first time!) I regained some confidence in my making it to the end. The very next day, disaster struck. Well, not exactly disaster, but in terms of NaNoWriMo, it was a disaster. It was Arafah Day, the day preceding Eid-ul-Adha. We went to Makkah for the day, and I didn’t manage to write a single word. That continued on for the next four days. I used to get a little bit of free time, open up my Libre Office document, but I didn’t write anything. On day 8, I wrote a few hundred words. I thought I would never make it.
I already had another more awesome plot trying to con me into dropping the novel I had already started on and write it. But I was not going to give in to it. I resisted for a few days, then one day, I wrote 1,000 words non-stop on the background of this new plot. It was driving me so crazy I couldn’t sleep, so I wrote them down. Then the next day I went back to my NaNovel, because I HAD to finish it for 2 reasons. I wanted to win NaNo, and I was writing it towards preparation for my IGCSE exam in Arabic.
On day 10, I made it to 7,117 words. I thought, ‘quota, here I come!‘ Little did I know that I would write only a 800 words the next day, putting me yet another 1,000 words more away from quota. Within four days, I hit 21K. It was the most impressive number of words I had written ever since. On day 15 alone, I wrote over 5.5K words. Then procrastination set in again. Over the next 4 days, I wrote only 1.2K words. I thought ‘this is it. I’m not going to make it to 50K on time.‘
On day 20, I made the best word count for the day ever. The record is still unbroken as of today. I wrote 6.1K words in 24 hours. Barely making it to 29K before midnight. I hit 30K the next day. Then, again I slowed down, but not as bad as the previous two times. This time, I managed to hit 40K by the 26th day, without having to write over 3K in one day.
I panicked then. I had only four days left, and another 10K more to write. On day 27, I managed to hit 42.8K. I was determined to make it to quota the next day. But I fell short of it by exactly 600 words. This time, I didn’t think I was going to fail. On day 29, I wrote only a little bit over 1,000 words. I managed to hit 47K before midnight, but I couldn’t stop. I continued writing, and at 1:40 am, November 30, I hit 50,213 words.
I was checking my word count every 15 minutes or so, so I wasn’t surprised. But I must say that that was the longest amount of words I wrote in such a short time. I also was amazed at how I managed to do it. I’ve had a horrible reputation of not being able to stick to deadlines, but this time, I did it. I WON NaNoWriMo the first time I did it. And I managed to learn great things all the way long.
November 2011 was an awesome month for me. I gained confidence in myself, I established to everybody who knew my history with deadlines and knew that I was doing NaNo that I can stick to deadlines. My typing speed in Arabic improved. I was able to hit 1K within 34 minutes. But towards the end of NaNo, I noticed a lot of bad grammar. Sometimes I mixed up feminine and masculine a lot. Other times I felt I couldn’t understand what exactly I meant by the last few words I had written. My inner editor forced me to rewrite the latter. But I forced it to shut up on the former.
Now, I have two-thirds of a novel written. What I hope to accomplish before the end of 2011 is finishing up that one-third that’s left over. I haven’t touched it yet, but I can tell you that I’ll be doing many things this December, and finishing up that first draft is one of them.
I hope to share my tips and tricks to surviving NaNo in a few days’ time. Until then, best wishes to everybody,