This year has been pretty good for me. I'd had some business problems that only started getting resolved this year. Further, my business was classed in the essentials category, so I was operating through out. Despite the lockdown, there was no fall in revenue. I hope this does not sound callous given how the year has been hard for most people. I have achieved more this year than I have in a really long time. The Iron Noder is one of such achievements. I had a little bit of writing talent as a kid. It won me prizes in secondary school and I wrote for a few campus magazines in university. But I have never been disciplined enough to put in the hard work required to produce a novel or short story or anything of literary merit. Part of the reason was because I wanted to write a book like Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy. Or Mario Puzo's Fools Die. Or Kurt Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus, and I thought (while knowing that I was deceiving myself) that such a work would spring fully formed from my mind. Nothing that I wrote this month approaches the quality of my aspirations. But the discipline required to write daily was an achievement itself. It is the kind of discipline required to exercise everyday. There is very little that I wrote in the month that I really liked. Further, many times, after posting, I see how I could have written the piece in a better way. But I am too lazy to edit the writeup.

One reason why I decided do the challenge is because I read a lot this year. Normally, I read about 15 books a year. Slightly over a book monthly. This year, I read a lot more. As at today, I am on my 33rd book. One reason I read so much is that I began writing reviews of the books and posting them on a Whatsapp group that is supposedly for literary people. However, most of the discussion is about politics or sex or people just flirting with each other. I posted the reviews partly to encourage others to do the same so we could have a more literary group (even if the conversations would not be as interesting) and partly to show off. Eventually though, I began writing the reviews because I enjoyed it. I read with a more critical eye because I was planning my review as I wrote. So, by the time Iron Noder came along, I was already pretty confident on my ability to write steadily.

Like tiger cub, I drew up a list of things to write about. I think I wrote about half of the titles on that list. However, it got boring. And difficult. I overcome that by adopting a solution like Estelore's - node shells. I would keep clicking on Random nodeshells until something that I felt confident about came up. One thing about the challenge reinforced something I had felt since joining the site. I don't think I am a writer. At least not a writer of fiction, seeing how fantastic some people's imaginations are. But that is not a bad thing. It is good for self appraisal to be honest.

I came to this site after lurking on ubersite for about 6 years. I was too afraid to write there because the way people on the site treated newbies can best be described as hazing. But here, everyone was so nice and helpful. I lurked for about a year before posting my first piece. It is something that I was quite proud of when I wrote it. Now, having come on here nearly daily for 10 years, I see that my radical ideas have already occurred to others. It is humbling, annoying and comforting in equal measure.

I am undecided about doing this challenge again, but let us see how it goes. If I do choose to try next year, I will make the decision early so I can prepare better writeups. There is a lot of fantastic content here and I want to add to that quality. It would have been nice if there were enough active users for the possibility of a good piece getting the hundreds of votes and tens of C!s that some of the older write ups have. But, I am not here for accolades. I am here because the content is fantastic. And I hope to improve my writing by contributing to that content.

Iron Noder 2020, 30/30