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Payal put a gun to my head inspired me to sign up for Nanowrimo. With a bare outline and few pages of handwritten notes, I plunged in on the evening of November 1, dreading what was to come. 

To my utter surprise and astonishment, 1670 words later, I had overcome all the hurdles and spun out sensible prose that could not, if I flatter myself, be classified as patent crap. 

But there’s a secret of how I did it. I used a technique I had never tried before and plunged straight into it.

I wrote the entire thing in first person present tense. 

I’ve written first person in both my novels so far, but never tried the present tense simply because I don’t like it. But this time the writing flowed. 

All the stuff I had been carrying around in my head about the book just spewed on to the paper. My bare outline too served me well. But I was just amazed at how easily I got back into the groove of writing a novel. I had put it off all this time simply because of fear – of failure, of inadequacy and what have you. 

Now I’m glad I tried it even if I land up abandoning the attempt halfway through, simply because it convinced me that I shouldn’t wait for inspiration to strike and simply dive in. 

Maybe this was an outcome of my reading The Help which is written in present tense. But that’s my Nanowrimo tip – try writing in a different POV or a different tense and see if it fits the story. 

The other important thing is to resist all temptation to read what you have written so far. I haven’t yet peeked into my words written from the first, so come December 1st I will either suffer a rude shock or be pleasantly surprised by my output. 

What Nano tips and tricks are you trying out?


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