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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Particpating in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

To admit to the sheer mismatch between the intention to post regularly on my blog and the fact that I have failed to do so would be overstating the understatement. But enough about self-broken promises of attempts to try and single-handedly keep my blog afloat, when I have obviously seen fit to let other things in my life take priority over my blogging attempts. Besides, as much as I like to share bits of interesting information that I have come across for the first time, much like every single child who ever goes to school and comes back having discovered the alphabet of the respective national/education-medium language, with whatever the latest mnemonic song of the age is, I was always more ambitious in my ability to churn out a work of writing that was more substantial than this blog. Don't get me wrong, the original intention behind this blog was one of being able to share with people, and to have them share with me as well, things of similar or dissimilar interest, but basically anything that will spark a conversation about what makes us who we are. It started out great, and many friends started their blogs all at the same time, so there was a bit of a closed-group community to be able to interact with. However, as we got older and more entrenched in our professional lives, like much else that we used to enjoy, blogging took a backseat. Some of us soldiered on, and personally, for a while between 2007 and 2009, I turned my blog into a bit of a photo-blog, taking pictures of everything that fascinated me, on my Sony Ericsson K-850i, no matter how small or insignificant it would later turn out to be, almost as a precursor to my joining Instagram earlier this year. I even attempted to interact with people and did a couple of interviews, and product descriptions of fascinating products I came across, but at the end of it all, what was missing was a sustained effort. Attempted a short story which was an exercise that ended up being shorter than I thought and initially had hoped for. Now, here I sit at the end of October, in the year 2016, hoping to make a difference to this. How will I do this? By getting my writing on!

Okay, so vague introductions aside, after many suggestions by people about what I should do with my writing, not only restricted to what I have attempted on this blog, I have finally taken up the challenge of attempting a novel in a month. Many thanks to Sioux Roslawski, author and creator of "Sioux's Page" (URL:http://siouxspage.blogspot.in/) for her ongoing support of all of the things I have put on this blog, but most of all, for suggesting that I participate in the "National Novel Writing Month" event which is held in November every year. I would like to say that I have given it some thought, and have even jotted down a few points regarding what I want to write about. But for me, the bigger challenge than being unprepared for this event is to begin with gusto and let it fizzle out into nothingness, something that I have done far too often in my life and do not wish to repeat yet again. I'm serious about this, and would like to be able to complete this task. Ironically, this does not bode well for this blog because if I am devoting time to writing something else, then it is hardly likely to result in more blogging also. So, here's to not letting things distract me and take priority over something that I like to do.

My so called preparation so far has been to understand the National Novel Writing Month challenge a bit better, which took about five minutes on a computer with an internet connection. But I let my research wander to tactics for preparation that others use, or had used, and what worked for them, or didn't, and why. Of course, some were more interesting and captured my attention better than others, but I just thought I would point out what my casual search had revealed, should any reader be interested enough to give this a try as well.

I like to get things organized, although you wouldn't share this opinion of my if you saw my home or office, but even so, I like chalking out a plan, no matter how cursory, just to help me see what I am dealing with, and how I would like to go about dealing with it. Looking this up on the Internet helped me discover "Using Excel To Outline Your NaNoWriMo Novel: Defeating the sprawl" (URL:http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2012/11/using-excel-to-outline-your-nanowrimo.html) on Karen Woodward's blog. As I read through this post, I discovered that she herself had received inspiration from another source, "How to Get a “God’s-Eye View” of Your Story in Microsoft Excel" by Jeffrey Scott, from AWN.com (Animation World Network) (URL:http://www.awn.com/blog/how-get-god-s-eye-view-your-story-microsoft-excel%20). You will notice that it isn't very fancy, and is therefore much easier to work with, and should any of us feel it necessary, to modify to our own eclectic preferences. So, I am currently putting one together in a way that suits me, but I have to say, even though I have used Excel to structure post templates with generic content before, I hadn't thought of using it for a longer piece of writing...strangely enough.

Of course, my initial curiosity about "NaNoWriMo" as this event is affectionately known, took me to their main website (URL:http://nanowrimo.org/), and their FAQ page (URL:http://nanowrimo.org/faq), as well as their Wikipedia (URL:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Novel_Writing_Month) and Facebook (URL:https://www.facebook.com/nanowrimo/) pages. Thereafter, I hoped to find out if there were any other interesting things that people had to say about this event, apart from the usual warnings about suddenly getting complacent, lazy, or instituting some other form of self-sabotage, and that led me to Surly Muse's "Hailstorm Approach" (URL:http://surlymuse.com/the-hailstorm-approach-prep-for-nanowrimo-in-seven-days-or-less/). An interesting approach, nonetheless, but I didn't see myself doing this for some reason. Certainly not in any sustained manner, mind you, no matter if it was for a seven-day prior deadline, which was more than apt for my current situation. 

A little further down this rabbit hole, and I came across varying numbers of "steps" to assist with NaNoWriMo success, such as Writer's Digest's "NaNoWriMo Prep: 30 Tips for Writing a Book in 30 Days", by guest author Jessica Strawser (URL:http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/nanowrimo-prep-30-tips-resources-strategies-for-writing-a-book-in-30-days), Robbie Blair's "12 Vital Preparatory Steps for NaNoWriMo" on LitReactor (URL:https://litreactor.com/columns/12-vital-preparatory-steps-for-nanowrimo), and finally, Boho Berry's "NaNoWriMo Prep 2016 + a FREE Printable!" by its creator, Karen Benz, (URL:http://www.bohoberry.com/nanowrimo-prep-2016/) who apparently will be attempting this for the first time herself, not to mention other related NaNoWriMo events. I liked this source the most because it attempts to do what I am attempting to do with this post, which is to be a source for as many useful tools as possible for the upcoming NaNoWriMo 2016. I wish her all the best in her endeavors, as do I all the people from around the world who will be participating in this writing event. Don't want to be too contrite by saying, "May the best writer win", because that kind of goes without saying. More importantly, and because I understand the difficulties of writing in all sorts of situations, and various writing tasks, I sincerely wish that through this process, all writers will find their voices, and their resolve to write to their heart's content.

Have a great NaNoWriMo 2016 everyone!

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