Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?
If not, then you definitely should! You'll honestly be a little behind in the writing challenge, but if you don't work weekends, you can make up for lost time. For those of you who do work weekends, find some extra time to make up for lost words or... Just write anyway! It's better that you spend the remainder of the month writing something than writing nothing!
Not sure what NaNoWriMo is?
Don't worry, I got you covered. Last year I had an ambitious plan to succeed in NaNoWriMo. I explained what NaNoWriMo was and I also have a series titled Planning for NaNoWriMo which can definitely help cut time. These planning tips include brainstorming your topic, narrowing down your focus, and outlining. It's invaluable because sometimes halfway during NaNoWriMo you realize you hate your original idea or have no clue on what happens next in your novel. By planning ahead, you prevent all of that mess (and lost time!).
My Progress for NaNoWriMo
Let's get down the the "meat" of this post. My progress. Last year I spent a lot of time planning and not enough time implementing. This year I have a looser plan, but my implementation has been excellent. As I'm writing this post, I am on Day 7 of NaNoWriMo. My current word count is 11,312 and I still need to write about 1000 more words to complete the desired word count for the day.
Lots of numbers to remember huh?
Well I use NaNoWriMo's website to keep track of my progress. On the upper right hand corner of the screen, you can add your word count as you do writing sprints and that has helped me a lot. The best part of their website is that they are free to use and only request donations out of the kindness of your heart every 5k word sprints you achieve.
What I've Been Using
My story is currently being housed in a Google Doc. This is my preferred method of updating my story and compiling everything I write. I enjoy using Google Doc because I can access it on my laptop, on my phone, and even on my grandmother's tablet on the rare occasions that I use it. It's a free web-based program that you can use if you have a GMail (which is also free).
For writing, I use three different programs. The reason for this is because it's easier for me to keep track of my individual sprints. I just write in the programs listed below and then copy and paste it into my Google Doc after updating on NaNoWriMo my latest sprint.
In the morning during my commute, I use DayOne. It is useful since I can quickly pull up the app on my phone and immediately start typing. While it doesn't keep track of my word count, this new piece of the story doesn't mix with my already counted text. DayOne also syncs seamlessly with my laptop so when I get to work, I can copy and paste my hard work with everything else.
If I use DayOne, I'll copy and paste my text into Word Counter. It quickly counts my word count so I can add the total on NaNoWriMo. Then I'll finally paste it into Google Docs. Sometimes, during my short 5 minute breaks, I'll type directly into WordCounter to get rid of an extra step.
The final program I use for typing is Write or Die (the free version). My settings vary depending on whether or not I'm writing during my lunch break or if I'm typing at home. I tend to stick with 30, 25, and 15 minutes for Write or Die. One setting that I constantly use is called "Stimulus Mode" since the other modes punish you for writing and "Kamikaze Mode" will go as far as delete your progress.
Participating in NaNoWriMo via Twitter
While it seems counter-productive, I've been spending a bit more time on Twitter for this month. While I make sure to make my daily sprints to achieve my word count, I do like to "hop on" twitter and see how others are doing. I use the hashtag #NaNoWriMo to encourage others to maintain their word count or to encourage them to continue. Why? Well the best part of doing NaNoWriMo is knowing you aren't doing it alone.
I have been following NaNoWordSprints for inspiration. They do word sprints frequently throughout the day with various people hosting them. They time people on Twitter for word sprints and provide prompts for each one in case you are experiencing Writer's Block. Even if you do not participate in all their word sprints (or any at all), I highly recommend adding them. Their tweets will be reminders for you to start writing.
What's Your Story?
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so you should comment below on how your first week's experience was or simply tweet at me.
I would love hearing from others who are doing this creative challenge. That's the whole reason why I have been following the hashtag on twitter.