Day 28: Camp NaNo Winner

It’s 28th day of April and I am pleased to announce that I met my goal of 50K words today. I am a winner! Drumrolls!!

Camp-2017-Winner-Facebook-Cover

My book, however, is far from complete. I still have 30K odd words to write before I can call it a finished first draft, but this is the first time I have been able to complete at least 60% of my novelling goal.

Congratulations to all fellow Campers who took part in Camp NaNo this April. Whether or not you met you goal, I am sure you spend time thinking about your writing project. Maybe you didn’t end up writing anything/writing only a little in the end, but the fact that you signed up for Camp is proof that you’re one step closer to your writing goals. Keep the spirit of the Camp alive in your heart and keep writing! To all the others who met their goals, when is the book launch party?

Here are a couple of things that helped me reach my goal:

  • An week of outlining – I was never someone who plotted before starting a project. I tried writing novels multiple times, but in the middle of a project, I wouldn’t know what to write anymore. Having an outline helped greatly. I spend the last week of March writing down the outline in a small pad. I didn’t follow it word by word, though – but in general, the theme remained same
  • A strong start – The fact that April 1 and 2 were weekends helped. I am not someone who writes everyday, so the two day warm up gave me a head start. I wrote around 5K on the first day itself. Once the habit formed, I found it easy to keep writing everyday
  • Writing almost everyday – I wrote for 25 out of 28 days in April. That is a big deal for someone who doesn’t write daily. I used to write in office every day after lunch – treating it as important as my other activities. I think once you get into the mode of writing daily, it is easy to keep up with the habit
  • Great cabin partners – As I have mentioned before, I was part of an amazing cabin this month. There were some really motivated people in there who kept going on towards their goal at an amazing pace. That boosted my writing like nothing else

That’s it for now. I guess I will go watch an episode of The Mentalist before I hit the bed. If you have some tips/learnings from your Camping experience, feel free to share in Comments below.

Until later!

 

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Day 22: Camp NaNo (April)

I was looking at my monthly mobile pack usage earlier today. I have this Vodafone plan which gives me 500 free call minutes and 1 GB worth of internet. I never end up using the internet, but the call minutes get used up fast. You’d think in the era of Reliance Jio why still hold on to ancient phone packs? Well, my phone is approx. 2.5 years old and does not have 4G. I know it’s slowing and is probably due for a change, but right now I have other financial priorities to sort out.

Anyways, the mobile usage report told me there were two days left before the plan would auto-renew. My bill renews on the 25th of every month and for a moment, I was shocked. I went on to check the date on my phone and there it was: April 22. Wow! It feels like just yesterday that I went to pay rent to my owner. And another paycheck will be in by this time next week and again I will start paying the recurring bills. Whew! Time is flying FAST. Sometimes, it indeed  feels like I am living from one rent payment to another.

Which brings me to my current NaNo Camp project. I am into the last 10K of my 50K goal. Whoo-hoo! I still have this weekend and the next to finish off, but I am hopeful that I might end up earlier.

As I mentioned in the last post, my current book is to be divided into two parts: 1) A mother’s POV 2) A daughter’s POV.

I hit a semi-‘The End’ moment in the project when I finished the mother’s POV on Friday. I was outlining the daughter’s POV this morning – practically going over the notes I had made in the last week of March and seeing if I could still stick to the same outline. So far, I think it is going to be fine if I follow it. I was writing until 12 PM and finished up two chapters of the daughter’s POV. Currently, my word count stands at 40.7K. Hopefully, I can get it to 42K by the end of the day.

I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks already into April. I have been really disciplined this time and have written 20 out of 22 days, at an average of 1800 words. The only thing which is bothering me a little is that I might lose some interest after April 30.

I was part of a wonderful Camp time this summer – we had some great discussions where a lot of my questions about novelling was answered. By now, most of my cabin mates have completed their goals and are also editing. I don’t think I could have made this far without my wonderful cabin-mates. I hope I can extend the energy until the project actually completes – for the first draft I foresee 80K words, an additional 30K over my NaNo goal. Need to keep myself motivated.

How about you? How do you keep yourself motivated at what you do? Leave me some tips in the Comments.

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Day 16: Camp NaNo (April)

Lots happened since the last post, not just in terms of writing, but my personal life as well.

Today was Day 16 of Camp NaNo. Sometime this week, I upped my NaNo goal from 25K to 50K. Unlike NaNo in Nov ’15, I find myself much more disciplined this year. I have been writing almost daily and have mostly been ahead of my daily goal. I try to get a lot of the writing done on the weekends – because the weekdays are too unpredictable.

Thankfully, I have managed to write for about 30 minutes after lunch during work days as well. I think of it like an extended lunch break. At any rate, I do not have much of a life outside of work, so the writing bit keeps me sane.

I am currently at 32K words, pretty close to my target of 50K (yes, having written 32K, 18K feels like a cakewalk). So far, I am proud of what I have achieved in terms of my current project. I have never been this far into any novel. I am almost halfway through the story of Sukriti – a housewife whose husband is alcoholic and whose young daughter blames her for everything that is wrong in the family. The second part of the book will be from the daughter’s POV. For some reason, I feel writing the daughter’s POV is going to be more challenging for me that the mother’s. Somehow, inside my head, I can feel Sukriti, understand her motives. I do not know yet if I understand her daughter, Maya, so well.

I have to outline her side of the story soon, because I see myself reaching the finish line with the mother’s POV soon. And unless I have a plan for the daughter’s POV, I am going to be stuck and the word count will suffer.

On the personal front, I have been going through some tough times. Had to take a hard decision in terms of relationships this week. So far, I stand by my decision and I hope that I will see myself through it.  I need some big changes in my life right now.

Thankfully, I spoke to a lot of people this weekend, which helped me keep my mind off the immediate worries. I spoke to a lot of people who I had not spoken in a long, long time. So that way, good things are happening.

When I was younger, I was okay with loneliness. I even cherished the silence around me. I cherish it now as well. But as I move into my twenties, I realize that I am craving relationships and support more. I feel the need to connect to people, speak to them and be in touch.

Hopefully, I will be at a better place by the end of this year – have some clarity in terms of what I want to do with my life.

What’s up at your end? Did you visit some new place this weekend? Tried out some new dish? Share with me bits and pieces of your life in the Comments below. Like I said, it feels great to be connected.

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WORLD OF FREE!

Both my books, Bound by Life and How I tamed the dragon named fear, will be available for FREE on Amazon over the coming two days (10th Apr – 11th Apr, 2017).

If you have not downloaded a copy yet, this would a great time!

91igPfS6LfL._SL1500_Bound by Life, my first venture into self-publishing, is a collection of ten short stories. The protagonists are from different walks of Indian life: from tea-vendors on the pavements of Salt Lake, a leading IT hub in West Bengal (Manorama Tea Stall) to a young village boy performing in a circus in a city. The stories are simple tales of day-to-day lives of the common man. If simplicity is your thing, I am sure you’ll enjoy this collection.

cover2How I tamed the dragon named fear is my first venture into non-fiction. It is a self-help book centered around overcoming fears in our day-to-day lives. In this book, I talk about the things that have worked for me over the years in dealing with my fears.


Book Links:

Bound by Life | How I tamed the dragon named fear

I eagerly await your feedback upon reading both the books. As always, your feedback is what makes my writing better, so a review would be the best gift from you to me.

Cheers!

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Day 8: Camp NaNo (April)

It was a good first week of Camp NaNo. I am slightly over halfway through my goal for this April: 25K. I wrote about 1.9K words today. Will be doing some more writing in the evening. By the end of the weekend I expect to have at least 75% of the goal done. Besides, I am having a really good time in the Camp. We are a bunch of pretty active people: I love to log in to the NaNo website and see how have the word counts changed for my fellow campers. It a very fulfilling experience. Besides, we have some very good conversations going on, which I find very educating.

The book I am currently writing is about a two women: a mother and a daughter. There will be two different POVs set in two different time frames. The daughter’s POV is based on present times. When I set out to writing this for this NaNo, I did not intend to go beyond 25-30K. I have faced difficulties writing too long books with my last two books as well – and for me anything to write beyond 20K sounds too long.

However, today I was researching popular word counts and it appears that for a novel, 80K is the commercial standard. I am a little uncomfortable with that because I don’t know if I have enough to say in a book to make it 80K words long. At best, I am targeting 60K words. Would publishers even consider me? Haha.

Thing is if I at all complete this book, I will have completed 3 books in total. And for this 3rd book, I am actually considering being published traditionally. I have published two books directly through Amazon KDP program. I have realized that as a writer, at the moment I want to focus on bettering my writing skills. I require more time to understand my own writing: identify strengths and weaknesses and work accordingly. Besides, being accepted at a major publishing house is a validation of sorts. It is less about the money I make than the fact that somebody considers my writing good enough to put into publishing.

When I started outlining the book in the last week of March, I was thinking of going the self-publishing way only. But as I progress into the story and the word counts pile, I feel like if I am able to manage a decent word count and finish a story which feels complete when read, why shouldn’t I really go to a traditional publisher and try out my luck?

Well, wish me luck! Will keep you posted on whatever happens.

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Day 1: Camp NaNo (April)

downloadHello folks! I have been missing from the blog-space for a while now. Hope you all are good!

Today is the first day of the April Camp NaNoWriMo. This time, I have set myself to write a 30K word novelette, along with a bunch of other writers in our cabin in the Camp, including fellow blogger, Joynell. I had last participated in Camp NaNo in July, 2016 which had given a huge impetus to complete my second book, How I tamed the dragon named fear.

As a writer, I am constantly challenging myself to do something different with every book that I set to write. My first book, Bound by Life, was a book of short stories. My second was a self-help non-fiction on Fear. But the book that I always wanted to write was a novel, and hopefully this attempt at Camp NaNo will take me closer to that goal.

I have tried my hands at novel-writing in the past as well, unsuccessfully. I found it very difficult to stay in a story for a long time, especially because I write in the moment and do not really plan beforehand. This time, I changed my tactic. Through the last week, I have been outlining the novelette in the small time that I get after work everyday. I have a good head-start that way. All I have to do now is stick to the plan, take one chapter at a time and nail it down.

As it happens, it is already midday in India and I am done with 4.3K words. I have the rest of the day to myself. Hopefully, I will be able to utilize the time and finish a large share of the word count today itself.

With the kind of work hours that I have currently, I might not be able to write much during the week. Hence, a good word count in the weekends will help me still reach the goal. Although, I feel the most important part to NaNo is to keep writing everything,no matter how little it is.

Are you Camping this April? If yes, what is your project about? Drop me a note in Camp messages. I am more than happy to meet new authors this way.

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You and Me Tag || The Blogger with a Recorder

Her forehead still bears proof of the overload of vermilion dumped on it on her marriage day. Her hands jingle with the sound of the conch shell bangles they put on the same day. Her always-bare hands are suddenly full of marriage jewelry. At times she still gazes at her hands and wonders if it all really happened.

The beach air is lusty on her face, playing havoc with her hair. The waves are lapping at the shore. Vacationers, foreigners in bikini, roam about, laze about on the white sands. She looks ahead to her husband, who seems busy in building a sand castle in the distance. She smiles at his dedication.

The stranger sits a few feet next to her. He is wearing a flower-print shirt and military green shorts. He has a small device in his hands. He switches it on and lays it on the sand. He then looks far ahead into the sea, a look of content in his face.

“Hey, you!” She calls out.

The stranger looks at her. “Hey, yourself!”

“Don’t mind my asking, but what are you doing?” pointing at the device.

The stranger gives a short laugh and walks over to her, picking up the device.

“It is a recorder. I am recording the sound of the waves. It relaxes me.” He holds the small, black thing out to her.

She holds it in her hand, presses the little red button and the sound of the waves start spilling, only barely audible above the growl of the actual waves.

“Wow! It’s amazing how the waves tone out every other noise. Is this a hobby or something?” She asks.

“Well, sort of! I use the sound for my website too. I am a blogger.”

“Ah! Well, I am one too… or rather, I used to be. Don’t get much time these days. I knew someone who used wave-sounds in his website as well.”

“Oh, you did? The waves are fascinating. And calming. It is a significant part of us who live by the shores.” The stranger extended his hands, “I am Savio. And you are?”

She met his hands, “Arpita here. But wait, you’re Savio? I think I followed your blog! The extra mile or something… with a lot of a’s?”

Savio beamed. “You bet it is! Wow, it’s great to meet you, Arpita! How’s your vacation goin so far?”

“Honeymoon, actually. Goa’s lovely!” she smiles a shy smile. She points at her husband, who has now completed building the castle and is busy taking pictures of it. “That’s my husband.”

Savio gets up and gestures her to do the same. Arpita follows. “Well, let’s get to know each other then,” he says as he starts to walk towards her husband. “I am happy to be your  local guide too, if you’d like.”

“Yes, of course. We’d love that,” She smiles. In her mind, she thinks, “What a small world!”


Inspired by the You and Me Tag post on Savio’s blog.

@Savio – I mostly read all the followed blog-posts on the reader itself, so I had no idea how absolutely refreshing your blog theme is. And the wave sound part was amazing – I had no clue you could add sounds to blogs. I literally finished writing this blog-post to the sound of the waves. Hope you enjoy reading it!

Copyright © 2017, Arpita Pramanick

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