Friday, November 16, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update - Halfway!!

Word Count Goal - 25,000
Actual Word Count - 31,580
2011 Word Count - 10,060

We're officially past the halfway point in this insane marathon. Last year, I was just over 20% complete by this time with 10,060 words. This year, I have over three times that word count and still going strong. I figured out that getting ahead early, even if only by a little, takes much of the pressure off and allows for more relaxed writing. The downside - it becomes much easier to take a break and start to slide behind again. Anytime I notice a lack of motivation keeping me from writing, I rely on some friends, both old and new.

The Old
The chatroom and the Box of Doom. Without these two, I would probably have about 500 words right now.

The friends I've made in the chatroom are a great source of inspiration and fun. They keep this whole thing from becoming a chore. I know I can rely on them to provide some comic relief, words of encouragement, and sometimes the needed level of insanity that keeps me sane. (You need some insanity in your life; if others don't provide it, you'll have to provide it yourself.) I've spent quite a bit of time in the chatroom getting to know new friends and just enjoying some conversation. That even includes everyone's favorite psychotic AI, Timmy the chatroom bot. It just wouldn't be NaNoWriMo without Timmy throwing the occasional pillow or fridge or pushing someone out a window. (Sometimes himself. Oops.) If you find that last sentence confusing, you haven't spent enough time in the chatroom.

Box of Doom

When I just need to get words on the page, there is nothing better than a good word war with the Box of Doom. This is a lovely sadistic torture device used at the write-ins, made virtual for those of us in the chatroom. At the write-ins, each person draws a number from the box and has to try to write that many words in 30 minutes. There are three levels: easy, average, and hard. As the difficult increases, the word count increases. Simple enough? In the chatroom, we have the virtual Box of Doom. Simply ask Timmy (see above) for a word count that is easy, average, or hard. Did I mention that Timmy is psychotic? Timmy also hates me. Despite my clearly worded "average" request, Timmy thinks I need to write at least 1000 words every 30 minutes. Last night it was 1180. In 30 minutes. I hate Timmy. He needs to die.

The New
Two new useful additions to my writing arsenal are WriteTrack and Spotify. I'm liking both of these very much. Partly because they are both useful and very cool. Mostly because they are not Timmy.

This is a neat little tool created by David S. Gale. It's a calendar and word counter. You tell it your word count goal for the month and it tells you how many to write each day. But wait, there's more. You can weight each day so that it knows what percentage of a normal day it is. For example, I don't write on Fridays so I put 0%. I write double on Sundays so I set them to 200%. It then calculates each day's total. If you give it your NaNoWriMo username, it automatically updates your word count from their site and calculates on the fly for the new total. It's very cool.

Where has this been and why haven't I known about it sooner. Spotify takes the best features of iHeart Radio, Pandora, and iTunes and combines them into one nifty program. It allows you to listen to anything from its library of millions of songs, as well as anything on your hard drive, flash drive, etc. It will read your iTunes or Windows Media Player playlists as well as allowing you to create your own. When you create a playlist, it can include music from your local drive, or from Spotify, or a combination of both. It even allows you to share playlists or songs with friends that use Spotify. If you link it to Facebook, it will tell you if any of your friends have shared playlists. It is quite simply, awesome. I can now listen to just about anything that strikes my fancy as a good soundtrack to my writing.