A first draft is the origin for any piece of writing.  “Books aren’t written. They’re rewritten.” said Michael Crichton.

The First Draft Club is a live, interactive online writing community which will help you finish  the first draft of your (long pending?) work.

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box, so that later, I can build castles.

How this writing community works.

  1. Fill this form.
  2. Make a donation of INR 750 (more is welcome) to build the puppy rescue shelter home.
  3. With step 1&2, you become a member of  the February First Draft Club (FDC#11) and join our online community of writers.
  4. You set yourself a writing goal for February, and share your goal publicly.
  5. You write regularly through Feb and update your word-count on the tracker.
  6. You get inspired by a community of writers full of energy, inspiration and encouragement.
  7. You meet published authors/ other well-known literary people every Sunday at 5 PM.
  8. Remember, the Opening session is on Sunday January 29th at 5 PM.

Note : If you prefer to donate to Chirag, we’re happy with that too. You can make that donation here Click Here

 

All this helps you start 2023 with many more words than you might have written otherwise. Most important – by the end of this FDC writing is a habit.

Writers from earlier FDCs say they wrote a lot more. They said this was mainly because they weren’t writing alone, but as part of a writing community. The last February cohort had written over 4,00,000 words as a group.

The response to the previous FDCs has been great. So far, we have raised a total of INR 5 lakhs through FDC for the Chirag School. This helped the school educate many underprivileged kids here in Uttarakhand.

But for this cohort, we have decided to support another project which is very close to our hearts. The place that introduced to our Fia.

This is Fia. She’s become a mascot of THWR along with Poe.

Fia found us thanks to the kindness of Ela.S . She rescued Fia – the last of her litter – from the streets of Nainital. Legend has it the Himalayan Writing Retreat was built in Nainital because of Fia.

Ela has been saving puppies and other animals for 10+ years in the NCR. A group who help her is called the “corps”. Ela is now making it even more “pukka” by building a puppy rescue shelter and veterinary hospital. Ela can save thousands of Fia’s, and your help can make all the difference.

We are asking all FDC #11 participants (in February) to support Ela’s project generously. We still love and support Chirag School, but this once we’re supporting Ela instead.

The Himalayan Writing Retreat has NO stake /ownership / direct or indirect financial benefit from donations to the Puppy Rescue Shelter Home project. We know the work of the great work Ela Smetachek does (Thos of you who have been to the retreat know Fia. Ela rescued Fia). Supporting Ela makes us feel good.

You can learn more about this Shelter Home Project, and donate HERE.

We’ll accept a screenshot of the payment confirmation page with the form. Please don’t donate anonymously.

Through February, we measure our progress against the writing goals we had set. We encourage, chat, share snippets and push each other.  We learn. We discover. Most importantly, we write. 

Join the Himalayan First Draft Club to become a part of an amazing online writing community.


 

Please note: This is a community of writers – a support group. No formal teaching happens in this community.

If you want to learn Creative Writing , you can consider joining our Creative Writing Workshop. (This workshop is for people who want to write stories or memoirs).

If you are looking for guidance on how to write a non-fiction book, you can consider joining our Non-Fiction Writing Workshop.

If you are looking for guidance on how to write articles and blogs, you can consider joining our Blog & Article Writing Workshop.

Expert you'll meet Feb FDC

Sudha MahalingamEnergy Economist, Lawyer, Travel Writer and Photographer

Waving away the conventional life and skydiving into adventures is Sudha Mahalingam. This 70-year-old solo traveller has a full-time career and is a wife and mother! She has captured her travels in ‘The Travel Gods Must Be Crazy’ published by Penguin Random House. Sudha chronicles her passion for all things travel on www.footlooseindian.com.

Janice Pariat – Author and Poet

Janice Pariat is an Indian poet and writer. Boats on Land, her debut collection of short stories, won the 2013 Sahitya Akademi Young Writer Award for the English language and the 2013 Crossword Book Award for fiction. Janice is the first writer from Meghalaya to receive an award from the Sahitya Akademi for a work in English.

Bhairavi Jani Author, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

Writer of Highway to Swades, Bhairavi Jani is a successful logistics and supply-chain entrepreneur, a social-development enthusiast, a nature conservationist and a committed philanthropist. Bhairavi has been listed among ‘India’s 25 PowerWomen’ by India Today, and has been featured in Stree Shakti by CNBCAwaaz and Young Turks by CNBC TV18. She was recognized as a ‘SupplyChain Maven’ by Business Today.

She is the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders And was the national chairperson of Young Indians, the youth wing of Confederation of Indian Industry (2010–11).

Bhairavi is an avid traveler, a trained classical dancer and is passionate about the arts. Her own experiences of growing up in Mumbai, studying and working in the United States, running logistics ventures pan-India, working for developmental programmes and now living in a rural settlement in the Himalaya, gave her the unique ability to observe India’s journey as a young republic and an old civilization through multiple lenses.

A peek into the previous FDCs

FAQs

2020 was the first time we decided to become a part of NaNoWrimo as a community. This led to the creation of the Himalayan First Draft Club.

On some weekends, amazing authors like Damyanti Biswas ( Author of You Beneath Your Skin- Simon & Schuster India, 2020) and Jenny Bhatt( Author Ratno Dholi- Harper Collins India, 2020) joined us. They shared tips on writing and also talked about their own experiences of NaNoWriMo.

In April 2021, we had best-selling authors like Vish Dhamija , Kiran Manral, Arjun Raj Gaind and Kanchana Banerjee joining us on weekends and sharing their journeys as writers.

In November 2021, the guest speakers included poet, fictionist and translator Rochelle Potkar, Shreya Punj (Commissioning Editor, Penguin Random House India), Dipanker Mukherjee (Publisher, Readomania), and author Tanushree Poddar. 

We loved it so much,  we decided to host it four times a year instead of just once.

So, we created the Himalayan First Draft Club which is held in February-April -July-September

It is fairly simple.

Step: 1

You sign up for the Himalayan First Draft Club through this form.

Please note, you will have to clearly mention your commitments in this form.  So, before clicking on the form, think about these questions:

  • What are you expecting from this exercise?
  • How many words can you commit?
  • At the end of the one month, what do you see as your achievement?

We request all the writers who want to participate in FDC # 7 to make a donation to educate underprivileged kids at the Chirag school, a wonderful school in the Uttarakhand Himalayas. Please donate a minimum of INR 250/- (more is better). This will help poor students in a Himalayan village get a great education.

The Chirag school is a cause we support. Please donate a minimum of INR 750/-  (more is better) to the Chirag School. This will help underprivileged students here in Uttarakhand get a great education. 

(Note: The Himalayan Writing Retreat has NO stake /ownership / direct or indirect financial benefit from donations to the Chirag School. However, we know and believe in the work it does. Know more about our Community Work.)

You can learn more about the school, and donate HERE.  

The school may take up to a day to acknowledge the payment. So we will accept a screenshot of the payment confirmation page attached with the form.

Please note, this donation is to participate in the current FDC. Every FDC needs a separate donation to be made to the Chirag School to participate. 

Step: 2

We will evaluate your application and confirm your membership to the club. (Yay!)

Furthermore, we will add you to the WhatsApp/Signal group created exclusively for the members to share regular updates. (You will not be added if you have opted out of it in the form in Step:1.)

And you are done! (Well, not yet but almost there.)

We will share a Google sheet which will basically be a tracker. You will have to update your word count in that tracker on a regular basis for us to keep a note of it. 

The focus of this group is to make writing a habit. You will discover fellow-writers who dabble in the same genre. You might also find valuable critiques for your writing.

As a member, you have a chance to interact with some of your favourite authors apart from finding writing buddies who could be dabbling in the same genres as yours. You never know, you might end up creating a writer’s group in your own city after discovering fellow writers around you. 

Join us every weekend on Zoom to discuss and share our experiences of writing during the week. These sessions will also have some inspiring  authors as guest speakers, where they will share tips and tricks on writing effectively.

We will share a weekly dose of positivity ( a.k.a updates and writerly motivation) to keep the demon (Writer’s Block) away. 

This is a Writer’s Support Group. There is no teaching involved. 

You can connect with writers to find a writing buddy. ( Know more about it here: Discover a Writing Buddy at the Himalayan First Draft Club), create a local writers group of your own (based on people living in the same city), plan meet-ups (physical or virtual) and find your tribe!

Fia, our brown-tan dog,has
become a mascot of THWR along with Poe.
is Fia.

Fia found us thanks to the kindness of Ela.S . She rescued Fia – the last of her litter – from the streets of Nainital. Legend has it the Himalayan Writing Retreat was built in Nainital because of Fia.

Ela has been saving puppies and other animals for 10+ years in the NCR. A group who help her is called the “corps”. Ela is now making it even more “pukka” by building a puppy rescue shelter and veterinary hospital. Ela can save thousands of Fia’s, and your help can make all the difference.

We are supporting her, and ask you to do the same by signing up for FDC #11.

We are asking all FDC #11 participants (in February) to support Ela’s project generously. We still love and support Chirag School, but this once we’re supporting Ela instead. To join FDC #11 and support this beautiful cause, please donate to https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-the-puppy-r… and send us a receipt.

We share recordings only after the FDC month is over. So we will share the July FDC sessions in August of the same year.

As of now, you can watch FDC # 4 – YouTubeFDC # 5 – YouTube  and FDC # 6 – YouTube sessions. 

Yes, you can.

We have had poets, novelists, essayists, translators, and screenplay writers participate in the previous FDCs and they have found it productive. At the same time, writers have been working on their revisions, second, third or even the umpteenth draft in the FDC too.

The goal of FDC is to make writing a habit. You could be working on anything or are planning to. You could join in to find some writerly energy or work on the writing prompts we share to tickle your inspiration.

INR 750/- is the minimum donation requested by us. You can donate more also if you are comfortable. INR 2350/- is the figure required to sponsor a child’s education at the Chirag School. However, they also welcome donations in any amount.