NaNoWriMo Winner Shoutpost!

posted in: NaNoWriMo, Updates, Writing | 11

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,

11 Responses

  1. confessionsofateenagenerd

    This is great, I am so glad that you managed to complete the challenge -and it is great to see how you managed to do it with so much else on your mind 😀
    I’ve heard about the IGCSE’s although I don’t know anyone doing them, good luck for them

    Emma (From the fb forums)

  2. Marie Furst


    I want to say something profound about what you wrote, but I can’t. I can’t because your story is the story of every REAL writer. That struggle, that trying to hit goal, meet deadlines, find just the right voice, the right balance of character driven plots taht is really so much of yourself that its hardly possible to slip a sheet of paper between the two.

    Your post here is the post of a writer becoming. These are the words that describe us as we struggle with the reality of life and the dream of having the life of a writer. That you have mannaged to make it through the struggle to put on “paper” your vision is a mark of someone who will find if not success (you know 8 weeks on the NYT BS list) as a writer at least satifaction (publication by a valid house).

    You are on the path and you are a writer the words here prove that, congradulations

    Marie F

    • Bouchra

      Marie, I appreciate your encouraging words. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

      Your post makes me want to finish up that first draft. My NaNo experience has changed the way I look at certain things in life, and I believe that it still will play a role in many decisions I will be taking throughout the course of my life.

      Once again, thanks for your words. You surely know how to motivate a person.

      Best wishes,

  3. amino

    Now I want to learn Arabic… just to see what the masculine and feminine are like. Perhaps I should actually finish learning French and Spanish first, though.

    I’m really happy for you that you managed to finish NaNo– it’s a hard challenge, especially when a person has as many things going on as you do!

    Congratulations again!

    Maria D.

    • Bouchra

      Hey Maria! Thanks for dropping by = )

      I can teach you Arabic if you really want to.

      Congrats to you too, you had much more than me going on and you managed to win too. I would like to do that one day.

      Best wishes,

      • amino

        Ack. I suck at checknig things. XD

        I’d LOVE it! At the same time I teach you Romanian, eh? ^_- That way I might actually finish half the things I want to do. Maybe in July or something, when you’ve finished all your exams and such?

        I’m looking back now and trying to figure out how I was so busy. Really, I think that you were MUCH busier than I was. THough I was gallivanting all through China and Tibet and even Nepal… I was also playing Civilization V and watching movies.

        Yeah… I have a fantastic procrastination method.



        • Bouchra

          Me too, lol.

          That’d be wonderful. I hear Romanian is a romantic language, and I’m a bit of a romantic person at heart. Sounds suitable to me. (I have the feeling that I’m mixing things up way too much here =D) Maybe before July, just let me register for my exams so I’ll know when the exact dates of the practicals and all are so I can make my schedule more refined.

          Oh no, I wasn’t that busy. Just had my SAT IIs, which I actually shouldn’t have done, two English papers which I didn’t need to prepare much for (just a couple of writing and reading techniques articles were enough to make me breeze through the exams, dunno how good though, results didn’t come out yet), and one multiple-choice core Biology exam, which was also very easy. And I did a lot of procrastinating by browsing through the NaNo forums, watching movies and talking about the world’s political issues with mum over meals to lengthen them.

          Not as interesting as playing games and traveling, eh?


          • amino

            Romanian borrowed a few words from French in the 19th– we say mersi as an informal ‘thank you,’ and so on and so forth. But it also has a couple of more Slavic words in it– Romania is surrounded by countries like Bulgaria and Hungary and such, so we have some of their words too. But they’re all latin-based, thankfully. XD

            That’s good with me! Maybe by that time I’ll be able to hammer down my schedule… just now am realizing that writing 31 short stories in a month doesn’t leave much time for editing AND novel-writing AND reading AND deciphering foreign languages. XD

            Oh… but MUCH more productive. XD Which make it aaallll good.

          • Bouchra

            Well, good to hear that they’re all Latin-based, makes it much more easier to learn = ) English also borrows French words, deja vu, for example. I believe that languages are all inter-related, especially nowadays.

            Yeah, hopefully I also will be done with scheduling by then. I’m way behind on Chemistry. Been procrastinating a bit.


          • amino

            Yes, it certainly does. Like minuet and

            Oh, have you found any dictionaries you’ll be using heavily for learning French? Or are you relying on the internet?

Your thoughts on this will be appreciated!