Friday, December 2, 2011

Lessons I learnt in November 2011

Ahem ahem. For those of you who haven’t noticed, the image to the right has magically changed from participant to…*drum roll*… WINNER!!! … I’m a NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner! Yippey! I wrote 50,000 words of my first ever novel in a month. Can you believe that?
I’ve been partying (in my head, at least) for the last two days and being extra extra nice to everyone at home. That’s to make up for the crazy mood I’ve been all month.

This was my first experience with NaNoWriMo and I so wanted to win. I told myself that I owe it to myself to write that novel. And I realized that all I needed was to push myself a wee bit.. and things just fell into place.

I’d like to tell you all about the experience...

1. NaNo taught me that I could be a novelist. Sure there were plenty of times when I felt what I’m writing is trash, no one but no one would like to read it… and I even thought of giving up. But that was the insecure writer in me talking. I got her to shut up by putting duct tape across her mouth, locked her in the cupboard and ignored her while blissfully typing away, dreaming of one day holding my published novel in my hands.

2. The thing most people will hear me say is, “I have no time!’ Which is probably true depending on how you look at it. But NaNo taught me what a fool I’ve been. I’ve got to make time! Kapeesh? If you want something enough, it is ALWAYS possible to make time for it.

3. People who just dream about doing something, then sob about not being able to make that dream come true and don’t make any effort towards their goal, such people should have the word WIMP stamped across their foreheads. Actually, I should have had the word WIMP stamped across my forehead. But not anymore. I have seen the light. And I believe in me. I CAN!

4. When you are doing something you love, you are at peace. November was a crazy month that flew past me in the blink of an eye. Every day was just about obsessively writing my novel and obsessively updating my word count at the NaNoWriMo website. But despite the lack of adequate sleep, I was able to enjoy myself. Because I was chasing a dream and loving the process as well.

5. I was able to really appreciate the things that I had. I enjoyed my playtime with my kids, spent quality time with the husband, and did a lot of other things, despite nano. This was possible because I scheduled time for writing. This way my mind was always focused on the task I was in, instead of thinking, ‘Damn, I need to start writing’, or ‘When am I going to get that assignment done?’ Nano taught me to organize my day better and set aside an hour or two writing every day, no matter what. I hope the habit stay throughout my life. It’s my ME time, where I let my mind soar and dream, with unlimited possibilities.

6. The most surprising and MOST IMPORTANT lesson I learnt from nano was the importance of a support system. I cannot tell you enough about how vital this is to a person chasing a dream. If it weren’t for the support and encouragement of my husband, I wouldn’t have won Nano. A few days before November began, I was wondering out loud about whether I was capable of doing this. Hubby was driving me back home from a Nano kick-off party when I voiced my thoughts. His expression was a mix of annoyance and disbelief. “I wouldn’t have driven you to and from this party, if I didn’t support you and believe in your abilities,” he said. He gave me a good half an hour monologue on how I needed to want this. He told me to stop making excuses and just do what my heart wanted. I usually hate people giving me lectures and end up slamming doors or just giving them the silent treatment for a while. But something clicked inside me when I heard him out. I only said ‘Thank you’. On that day and on 29th November at midnight when I completed my 50,000 words.

7. In continuation to the support system point, my family and friends who knew I had participated in Nano (thanks to Facebook status updates) also gave me much needed boosts and help me keep writing. My mom called everyday and checked on my word count. My husband’s brother, who is a dentist, kept asking me if there was going to be a dentist in the story. His wife gave me a huge congratulatory hug the morning of 30th November when I reached the 50K mark. My father-in-law and mother-in-law, what can I say about them? Nothing I say will be enough. Towards the end Papa asked if he should take a day off so that I could write and he would take care of the kids. He and Mummy told me how proud they are of me. I never thought they would take my writing so seriously. But they do. And I’m sorry for ever thinking otherwise.

8. Lastly, this post was a real inspiration on the night of 27th November when I was full of self-doubt, with an aching back and stiff fingers that begged for some rest. It’s wonderful, the ways in which God communicates to you.