NaNoWriMo

It’s about that time that everyone is talking about #NaNoWriMo, so I figure I should talk about what I’m doing this year.

Last year, I used NaNoWriMo to write most of “Manifestation.” I had actually started the novel mid-September, and continued writing until December. But that’s because the total novel length was around 140,000 words for the first draft (I’ve since cut that down to closer to 120k). I wrote over 60,000 of that just in November, my single most productive month.

You might have noticed the little Word Counter widget on the sidebar there ——>
That’s the progress I’ve made so far on “Contamination,” the second book in my series. I’ve only been working on it sporadically, because I’m focusing most of my effort on “Manifestation.” There’s not much point writing the sequel before the first book is revised and published, after all. When I have worked on it, it’s mostly been because I was away from home. See, while I have a laptop, I don’t carry it to the store, the laundromat, or the mechanic most of the time. It’s not as light and portable as a tablet (one reason I want to switch to a tablet soon). I also never bring it to my (soon to be behind me) pizza delivery job. And since I don’t bring my laptop most of these places, I can’t work on revisions unless I’m at home or at school (the one place I always bring it).

I do, however, bring my smartphone everywhere (I’m writing this post on it right now). I have the ability to read Word documents on my phone, so I could open the novel here. However, the app I use to write with (simply called “Writer”) can only create plain text files. That’s fine for first draft writing, but no good for careful edits of a large document. It also lags if I use it for an especially large document, such as my novel. I can use a better app for read-only on my novel, but not for edits. So far, I haven’t found any free app that I’m satisfied with for edits, so the only thing I do on my phone is first draft writing.

That means that if I’m at the laundromat, or standing in a long line at the store, or waiting at work for a pizza to be ready, I can use my phone, but only to write new content. Pretty much every word of the 36k I’ve written on “Contamination” was written in this way.

So that’s been my method for the past year or so: edit “Manifestation” when I’m working at home, write “Contamination” when I’m out.

I still want to focus most of my efforts on “Manifestation,” but NaNoWriMo isn’t about revision. It’s about pumping out raw words and getting the novel done. So, I want to use it to get “Contamination” done. Or at least, get that 36k up to 86k. Then, when I finish with “Manifestation” (which at this point, may not be until early next year), I’ll have the sequel ready (or mostly ready) for its own edits.

The majority of “Contamination” will likely still be written on my phone. NaNoWriMo just means I’ll be setting goals and trying to crank out more words per day on it. I haven’t been focused on “Contamination,” so I don’t work on it every day (or even every week). That’s going to change during November. I can churn out a huge number of words when motivated, easily averaging over 3000 per day when working steadily on a project. I MAY be able to hit the 140k first draft estimated length for the novel before November 30th. I’m going to hold that as my goal. That means a double-length NaNo, hitting 100k in the month. I can totally do that.

So if you’re also doing NaNoWriMo, maybe we can be NaNo buddies?

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7 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo”

  1. We are now buddies. Muahahahahahahaha. And also, how on EARTH do you write on your phone? It’s a challenge for me to compose a simple text message without making about 16 spelling errors and having to physically restrain myself from shattering said phone on the sidewalk.

    1. There are two apps that make it possible. One is called “Writer.” It creates text documents I can save on my phone, then copy to my computer. I had tried other note taking apps, but they had severe word count limits or other issues I couldn’t deal with. “Writer” on the other hand is basically a mobile version of Windows Notepad.

      The second is called “SwiftKey.” It’s a keyboard with an intuitive autocorrect that learns from what I type and offers predictions with startling accuracy. I can type faster on SwiftKey than I can on any other phone keyboard I’ve ever seen. Plus since it predicts words, sometimes I don’t need to type at all.

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