Monthly Archives: October 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

I wrote previously that one of my 30 Before 30 list items is to “win” NaNoWriMo. It’s described as “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon” which was probably all I needed to read to be hooked by the idea. I’ve signed up and am now one of the Wrimos.

NaNoWriMo is a creative challenge: write a 50,000 word novel from scratch in the month of November. Anyone who meets the word limit is considered a “winner”. The idea is to force participants to churn out content – quantity over quality – and not get caught up in editing or over-thinking whether it’s any good. Quite simply: it won’t be. It’ll be absolute rubbish. But by the end of it, participants will actually be novellists! They can worry about editing afterwards.

This November is my first and last chance to win NaNoWriMo before my 30th birthday. I’ve heard that very few first-time NaNoWriMo participants make the winners list. In fact, it seems to be low numbers overall: in 2010, only about 19% of participants met the 50,000 word goal. It’s going to be tough but I’m feeling pretty confident about winning. I’ve had a plot forming in my head for several months now and I seem to be churn out 500+ word blog posts without too much trouble.

Really, when I add my daily blogs, emails, comments, tweets and other social media posts together, I’m sure I average the 1600-odd words required daily to meet the target 50,000 in 30 days ­čÖé

Plus, this is going to be fun! Melbourne seems to have a good NaNoWriMo culture – the endless caf├ęs probably help – and I know a few bookshops (including Of Science and Swords run by my friend Avi) that will be holding NaNoWriMo events. I’m looking forward to spending sunny November afternoons in Melbourne’s laneways typing away.

I’m going in prepared though. I’ll be spending the next day or two writing down the plot outline I have floating around in my head, and perhaps I’ll get a┬ábasic timeline down too. I’ll need to do a bit of research for a few plot points and I think that my┬ástoryline will┬ábe able to accommodate a few side stories, so if I need to top up my word count, I should have plot outlines for the side stories ready too. Overall, though, I’m feeling good about NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Participant

You know, before I decided that I would study and work in IT, I thought about journalism as a career. I’m glad I didn’t go ahead with it, especially now that I can see the state of both journalism and IT today. IT is a career that lets you be creative (including writing) but I still appreciate events like NaNoWriMo. It will be concentrated creativity: intense, caffeine-fuelled, sleep-deprived, inspired and potentially euphoric.

Literary abandon indeed.

I’m presenting at Grace Hopper India!

Back in April, I wrote about the Grace Hopper conference and how I had hoped to be a guest speaker in Dr. Catherine Lang’s workshop about the Digital Divas program.

Well, plans have changed quite a bit since then and now, Catherine and I will be co-presenting (along with my colleague Alana George) at the Grace Hopper India conference in Bangalore instead!

We will present our paper Win-Win-Win: a partnership model that fosters links between Academia and industry while promoting computing to school students and then have a panel session where we field questions and brainstorm with the audience how we can encourage and support more women into IT.

This is my first time speaking at a conference so I’m pretty excited! I’m also happy that I’m heading back to Bangalore where I can catch up with my old ThoughtWorks University colleagues and friends.

Will you be attending Grace Hopper India this December? Let me know in the comments.