Monday, November 14, 2011

Keeping Track

NaNoWriMo comes with some lovely stats pages so you can see where you are and where you should be by now in your wordcount.  But I realized that I'd forgotten my own personal tracking method which works as a surprisingly good motivator.  I figured I'd share it here (nearly halfway through the month--go figure) in case anybody else might benefit from it.

My amazing high-tech word count indicator and motivation device consists of a sheet of graph paper from a pad I picked up somewhere for cheap and still haven't used up.  There are fifty lines to a sheet and forty-one squares to a line.  I mark off a block of forty-by-fifty and notch it at intervals of four along the top and intervals of ten along the side.  Each time my wordcount advances by twenty-five words, I put an X in one of the squares.  Four boxes adds up to one hundred words and each line of forty adds up to a thousand.

Twenty five words isn't much.  Twenty five words can be something as simple as:
"Can you take me back?" she asked.
"I can, in theory, yes," he said, "I'm not entirely sure that would be the best thing for you." 
 Which is actually twenty-six words, but I didn't want to cut things off abruptly.  But that's the beauty of this technique--each time you nudge things forward by twenty-five words, you wind up adding just a few more words and then, hey, it's only a few more words to the next box checked off and then, oh look, you just wrote three paragraphs.  Or you wind up plowing through an entire scene and when you come up for air you realize that you have a lot of boxes to check.

I suppose you could give yourself little rewards after you check a certain number of boxes, but I've found that the simple act of checking off a wee box on a sheet of paper does nicely in terms of pinging my brain's reward system and providing me with a sense of progress.

By the way, even if you're already a good ways into your NaNovel, it's not too late to use this technique.  In point of fact, I just drew up this year's sheet this very morning (and man, did I have a lot of boxes to check to catch up on!)  I may be posting pictures of my progress periodically, at the very least on Twitter and possibly here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some words to write and boxes to check.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The M.A.R.T.A. Write-In

So today, the crazy folks at NaNoLanta have organized the Mad Authorial Rampage Through Atlanta (M.A.R.T.A.) Write-In. I've decided to sign up. I'll be tweeting when I can (@wonderbink) with the hashtag #NaNoMARTA and if I can get to a WiFi signal, I'll be updating this entry on the fly.

It starts near Lindbergh Station and ends near Dunwoody Station, which means I can catch the 5 there and catch it back home as well. Too perfect to pass up.

I'd better start by packing up the laptop I'm typing this on, so . . .

Friday, November 4, 2011

Two Things That Happened on November the First

The first, of course, being the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, my favorite November pastime.  I have again submitted myself to the process and I'm about five thousand words into a novel called Dave the Wanderer and the Circle of the Sun.  Dave's a character who showed up in a notebook of mine about fifteen years ago.  Just now I'm getting to write about him.  He's a hell of a lot snarkier than I expected him to be.

The second being the official publication (or maybe just the first day I was able to be sure it existed, I'm not sure) of Catbooks and Other Methods on the iTunes Bookstore.  I've been a bit bad about getting the word out, but I guess I'll have to become That Gal Who Won't Shut Up About Her Book On The Interweebs.  Apologies in advance for that.

I'm about a day behind on my NaNo efforts since I've done very little in the way of wordcount what with grocery shopping and laundry and taking advantage of early voting.  However, I'm embarking on a rather insane adventure with the folks from NaNoLanta which involves writing on and around MARTA for most of Saturday.  That should give me a chance to catch up, I think.  If I get close enough to some WiFi, I'll try to post updates during the day.