Today is the start of National Novel Writing Month - or NaNoWriMo, as it is more commonly called. Writers from all over the world have signed up and pledged to write a 50,000 word novel in ONE MONTH, starting today and ending Nov 30. (Thank you, Eagle Eye Emily, for catching my 31-day typo! I should have counted the months on my knuckles the way I usually do!)
I am one of the NaNo's this month (wish me luck!).
As those of you who know me already know, writing fast is not my gig. I'm a slow plodder, often struggling to clock 1,000 words a day. Part of the reason for this is that I edit, edit, edit when I should be writing, writing, writing! For the last four years, I've been trying to adapt my process, trying to write more good pages faster. So far, everything has failed.
Then my friend sent me a link to a program called "Write or Die!" from Dr. Wicked's Writing Labs.
Write or Die is a software program written by a procrastinating writer for procrastinating writers. It's quite diabolical, really, in its simplicity and sheer "No Quarter Given!" demand that when a writer sits at the computer s/he should just WRITE!
Or, as Dr. Wicked says on his website, "Write or Die puts the PROD in Productivity!"
The program is quite simple. You say how many words you plan to write and how many minutes you have to write them. Then click WRITE. A text window opens, and writing begins.
The top of text window keeps two real-time meters running - "completion bars" showing how close you are to completing your word count, and how close you are to running out of time.
There's a bit more to it than that, and here's where the motivation comes into play. On the main screen, you define your "grace period" (ie, how long your keyboard can remain idle - no keystroke) before you begin to see Consequences. There are three modes of Consequences (or, as I prefer to call them: "productivity motivators") in the version of Write or Die I downloaded last week:
- Gentle - A popup message appears, informing you that you are wasting valuable writing time.
- Normal - Your writing text window turns a (user-definable) warning shade. After your grace period runs out, obnoxious music begins to play from your computer speakers.
- Kamikaze - truly diabolical. If you don't write and keep writing, when your grace period runs out, your words start UNWRITING THEMSELVES!!! Holy motivators, Batman! Talk about pressure.
There is a fourth Consequence on the current version called "Electric Shock." I don't have that version yet, and I'm really rather frightened to give it a try! ;)
Does it work? Well, unbeknownst to me, I'd somehow enabled Kamikaze mode this morning. I gave myself one hour to write 600 words (about 2 pages in my manuscript). I usually write a whopping 1 page per hour. When I realized my words were erasing themselves, I kept that keyboard humming!
I wrote 601 words in 32 minutes.
Yep, I was motivated, all right!
Now, in all honesty, those 600 words weren't great words. They certainly weren't polished words. But they were words. 601 of the precious darlings that never existed before. 601 shiny, sparkly, brand spanking new words that later on I can edit, rework, reword, flesh out, and mold into beautiful, shiny, flowing pages of prose.
Am I happy?
And now, back to writing :) I hear a Kamikaze calling my name!
To check my progress and cheer me on, you can visit my NaNo page. I'm participating as FeyreisaWrites If you are a NaNo participant, feel free to buddy me, so we can keep each other motivated.
(Note: My 50,000 word "novel" is acutally the remaining 150-200 pages I have left to write on TAIREN SOUL, Book 5 of the Tairen Soul series, which concludes Rain & Ellysetta's story. I'm keeping the NaNo count separate for the competition's sake, but the words will be added to the existing manuscript pages.)