How I survived the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014? To be honest, I was clueless bout the UBC Writing Challenge spanning over 31 days during the month of July.
It was the first day on July. The routine task of hanging on whining my time on Facebook was going to pay big time. It was a chance encounter when I stumbled upon Corinne Rodrigues (http://everydaygyaan.com/) status bout' registering for UBC. I wondered, 'What's that?" and out of sheer curiosity, I clicked on the link.
The very thought of posting every single day. was scary and sent shiver down my spine. No! Not possible! At the same time, my pal Meghna pinged on Gchat, 'Orkut is closing down.' After all, Orkut was and remains my first love when I discovered something called social networking. It was the tube light moment.
We discussed on the possibility off saving our scraps, testimonials and pictures on Google drive. My fingers magically typed a message to Meghna, 'I am doing a love story, a kinda novella with Orkut as the backdrop..my way of paying tribute to Orkut.' I was wondering, 'Doing a novella for 30 days and let's see how I fare.'
It was pure bliss. Opened Microsoft Word and in a jiffy, wrote the first chapter. It was quite an easy affair and one thing led to another. It struck me that I need to pre-plan my posts, saving them in a word document and hit publish the next day. Finally, on July 30 for Day 31, I couldn't believe that I've sealed it. A cute novella, set in Mumbai where a boy and a girl meet on Orkut, separated by the sea. There was break up and like in many fairy tales, they fell in love all over again..the classic happy ending. I kept it light. Short chapters, at times, not exceeding my standard yard stick, varying between 500 to 700 words. I had no reason to make the chapters lengthy and boring, to scare away readers.
Writers' block? Quite surprisingly, I didn't struggle a lot to write. For sure, at times, I fought to become more creative with the romance, fighting over laziness for the novella to take shape. I didn't want it to drag endlessly and, initially, was toying with the idea of 24 chapters plus 7 short stories. But, glad I wrote 31 chapters on 31 days. I lagged behind only twice or thrice, if my memory not failing me but with proper planning for the first time, I was able to keep up with the challenge. UBC taught me one thing: Discipline and consistency matters. Everyday, I would pen small chapters and saved them to be published on the next day.
What UBC taught me?
-Writing is one big party. One can never know when the next big idea will strike like thunder. There are so many amazing writers around the globe from which you can learn a lot in terms of narrative, scripting and sketching character. It doesn't go without saying that reading blogs goes a long way in not only earning you comments, followers and friends but also teach you how to hone cum polish your craft.
-Be open to criticisms. Taking criticism in a positive vein goes into teaching you a lot how to buck up your writing and tighten your narrative, grammar and spelling. I was fortunate that some bloggers, including established writers dropped honest words how I should firm up my writing, make someone read the final draft and avoid grammar confusion. Honestly speaking, it was the first time I was writing fiction in the present tense and was quite confused at times. Thank loads, People.
-Motivation. UBC is a huge, huge motivation at a time when you are writing crazily every single day, keeping up with your hectic work schedule. I would warm up to the motivating words of fellas, telling how much they enjoy the stories weaved. It's such a huge high. Trust me, you may be toying with the idea of abandoning the whole challenge but such encouraging words keeps you going from strength to strength. The more, the merrier.
-Comment on blogs. The UBC page elaborated a strategic but effective rule. Paste your link and make sure you comment on the above links. This way, each blogger is ensured to get at least two comments so that their work is not only read but shared among folks. I always make it a point to comment on blogs which runs like a circle, spread some happiness and it will come back to you. You learn so much by commenting on each other's blog. The challenge may be over but I will keep commenting on blogs I may have missed. I intend to do it for the next five days.
Yay!!! Yippie! I can't believe the challenge is over. It still seems like a dream to me. But, yeah, I've done a rom-com novella. The best thing is that I made so many good friends during the challenge and many of them are on my facebook. Time for a short break from blogging to be back with a bang. Hope to see all of you for another month of blogging. This time on my other blog, www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com
Yeah! We've all done it with a bang. Congrats everybody:)
Finally, Big Hugs to everyone taking part in the challenge and, of course, the new friends made. I am not taking the names of specific people. They know who they are. Nevertheless, drop in to see the amazing work of writers on the FB Page:
Drop on write tribe to read amazing posts you may have missed:
Loads of love N See you, soon
Disclaimer: So many asked me and assumed that 'An Orkut Love Story' is about my life. No, it's not. The novella is pure fiction and I drew analogies from the life of fellow blogger, in terms of mushy and cute love stories that happened in their lives. The rest is fiction.