NaNoWriMo and Goals

November has begun and winter has started. Or so it feels in the chilly suburbs of Chicago. [Where are you Fall? You were late to come and quick to leave!]

But November also marks the advent of NaNoWriMo mania- the time of the year where writers across the globe buckle down to attempt their masterpiece. I should know. I’ve had an account with NaNoWriMo from 2011 and also a few Camp NaNoWriMos. The point is simple. In 30 days, write 50K words. Just write. No editing. No second guessing. Write from your outline or write as you go. Zone in on the topic and genre of your choice. You can flow chapter-wise or jump from scene to scene or simply ooze the words as they come to you. Pen 1667 words every day or 50K on the last night. Every novelist is free to scribe as they like.

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Sure, the end result will not be epic. But this version will act as a suitable clay that can be moulded to the shape we like, as opposed to the annoying blank page. If you want more words of wisdom or motivation, sign up for NaNoWriMo now and get pep talks from the inspiring volunteers who manage and support the different regional groups in your inbox. There are actual meetups and virtual write-ins too, to bolster the feeling of community and cheer one other.

So, have I started on my next great novel? Maybe a sequel, prequel or series from my darling “365 Days of F(ib)B-ing“? Good question. Sad answer. Nope.

This year I shall only be a participant in spirit. Given the many study assignments I have, I realize that signing up would be certain “Yes-icide“. But, I am inspired by the spirit of buckling down and attacking a project with a set timeline. Timeboxing as we called in my software professional days. Laura Vanderkam puts it much better in her newsletter. [Susbcribe if you did not already!] Or you can read her past posts on the subject on her website.

To elaborate, I have decide that I shall tackle a long-time aspiration of mine. I shall craft thirty blog posts : ten each for my two personal blogs and ten for my newly created professional blog. I have, a few times in the past; had a queue of posts that served me well during travel and vacations. The surprising by-product was the freedom it gave me to write more and better. Without the dread of a deadline [even if self-imposed] and the agony of a blank page and possible writer’s block, it’s easier to draft a great blog post and also pander to SEO and other luxuries like Featured Images.

Especially for my professional data science blog, I have a bunch of portfolio projects that I plan to articulate. I have been meaning to convert them into blog posts to showcase my efforts and learning. November’s NaNoWriMo enthusiasm is the perfect setting to materialize those good intentions. After all, even the best of ideas wither away without action.

And if I meet my goals, who knows? It might just stir me up to attempt a night of crazy writing and complete NaNoWriMo too!

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All the best WriMos! May the Force be with You!

Share your plans in the comments below or tap me as a buddy. I go as ‘nirupamaprv’. Enjoy NaNoWriMo!

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Current Challenges – Revisited

I thought I’d give a nice update on my current challenges for August just like in July.

  • Schooling

T and I have been visiting the library and we are done with our Summer Program. We shall be collecting our gift soon. As of this week, T has read over 250 unique books. [Our reading count is higher since T likes to read her favorites over and over again. This is why we had finished the ‘1000 books before Kindergarten’ summer program last year with ~120 unique books. Not bad for a four year old!]

We are learning about time thanks to the Melissa&Doug clock from our library.

Cycling and walking are among our physical activities and making polite conversation constitute our social activities list.

  • Positivity

I finished more than three weeks of logging my positivity ratio; so, I have learnt what boosts my mood instantly and what automatically puts me in a slump. Accordingly, am trying to increase the good moments and avoid the bad ones. Read about my attempts at measuring positivity here and here.

  • Reading

I finished yet another book this week. Hurray! I am reading three books as of now. One is a physical copy, one an audio book and another an ebook. Having discovered how all the spare moments add up, I have resorted to having books around in multiple formats. This means that I can utilize every extra minute for absorbing a great book depending on the situation. Baby sleeping in my arms, go with the ebook. Ironing my never ending pile: listen to the audio book instead of songs. Supervising the li’l angel: read the hard cover. It’s not a perfect technique, but it works.

  • Camp NaNoWriMo

The one glaring blip on my list of challenges. I did NOT reach my target. No excuses or reasons. I am just glad that I learnt some useful lessons that will aid me in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Make an outline.

Flesh out story and characters beforehand.

Don’t think, just write, never edit.

  • Personal Projects

I finished my MOOC with 95% score. Yippee!!

My pro bono project is in progress. I need to finish that within this fortnight.

 

It’s amazing how simple, ordinary lives too have so many challenges, big and small! What are you tackling now? Leave your thoughts and challenges in the comments below.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

 

 

Current Challenges

This week’s post is about the current challenges of my life:

  • Schooling

School is out but teaching/ schooling never ends for a parent. So, I am trying to teach T at least an hour about world, nature, science, literature, Indian arts and traditions (since we are in Chicago; want her to know her roots as well)

  • Positivity

After reading Daniel Pink’s book, I am hooked on the concept of Positivity ratio. I even took the Positivity Test and found mine to be less than the ideal 3:1 ratio. I am determined to attempt it everyday for two weeks along with deliberate efforts to increase my mindfulness and positive mood.

  • Reading

While I am well past my Goodreads Challenge for 2017; I am trying to keep the pace up. Of course, easier said than done, with so multiple projects in my life right now. This is where every minute counts and synchronized readers come into play. Fingers crossed!

  • Camp NaNoWriMo

I am a participant in 2017 with a target of 10K words. I am still under 1K. So, this is something, I am trying hard to keep up with. The problem is not the words but fear of content. The stories in my mind are really close to my heart and just the thought of setting it to paper is making me feel too vulnerable to write. But I hope to conquer this fear and accomplish my target.

  • Personal Projects

This month, I am completing a MOOCs and doing a pro bono website design project. Hence, I have a full plate on time and creativity and coding front. [= no time but lots of positivity 🙂 ]

Who says ordinary lives are simple or boring? 🙂

Spare Moments – 2

I last wrote about Spare Moments here. This week I am adding my current activities in those spare moments. Like everyone knows, a few minutes here and there can add up to quite a bit. If used judiciously, they can be directed to completing small tasks of large projects.

So, below is my list of spare moment activities:

  • Read ‘To Sell is Human’
  • Peruse Twitter 
  • Complete reading articles from Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes, HBR that I have saved on my reading list.
  • Squats and stretches (not too often though)
  • Complete any super short task on my to-do list (if any)
  • Clear a corner or surface (plentiful of mess in our bustling home☺)
  • Answer a survey for charity on surveymonkey.com

Beginning July, I shall also be working on a novel draft as a Camp NaNoWriMo participant. Hooray! 

So, what are you spending your spare time on? Have a great week ahead!