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Archive for November, 2012


A Few Tips On NANOWRIMO #4: Them First Week, Low Wordcount Blues

NANOWRIMO started last Thursday. It is now officially Week Número Dos.

So, Nanonauts, how’d your first week go?

If you’re going at a steady clip of 1667 words a day you should be at 11,669. That’s more than 20% of your total. Good on ya.

If you’re blazing along you might be at 20K plus. Certainly possible. I know a few folks already at that point and beyond. Keep it up.

But what if you’re not? What if you’re at 2000 words? 3000? Or, god forbid, a big, fat, whopping ZERO?

Fret not you Literary Adventurer, you Wordcount Trailblazer! You can still pull this out of the bag.

You have 22 days left. Counting Thanksgiving, which I know some of you don’t celebrate, not being in the states and all. So let’s go with 22 days, shall we?

You will need 2273 words a day to hit 50K by the end of the month. Or, for those of you keeping score about 600 words more than if you’d started last week.

Totally doable. But, and this is the absolute, most important thing here. This is the thing that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO DO NO SHIT if you want to reach that goal.


Now if that’s a little harsh for you, well, tough. Because that’s the truth. I get that life happens. We have day jobs. We have family commitments. We have tragedies and birthdays and celebrations and mourning. We have to take out the trash and do the dishes. We have doubts and fears and question our ability to write. We wonder what the point is. We deal with depression, screaming children, pets that get sick, relationships going sour or getting started. We all have shit. We all have lives.

If you want to do this then you need to carve out the time. No one’s going to give it to you. No one’s going to let you do it. You need to take it. You need to lose sleep and piss people off. You need to shove and push and rip the time away from something else because there’s ALWAYS. SOMETHING. ELSE.

I have a full time day job managing a software team that has people in California, Texas and India. I’m working 7 to 5 just like the rest of you. Monday was my birthday. Know what I did on my birthday besides that soul crushing job?

I finished and turned in a fucking novel.  Well, that and ate pizza.

If I can do this, and believe me I am a goddamn slacker, then you sure as shit can do it.

2273 words a day, folks. You can still make it. But you’ve got to push.

No go forth and be awesome.


A Few Tips On NANOWRIMO #3: Ladies And Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

NANOWRIMO officially starts today.

You’re actually gonna do it? Really? Honest? You sure about that?

Okay, then. Before you buckle down and pump out some wordcount, maybe a pre-flight checklist is in order.

  • Did you sign up on the Nano site? Sure, you don’t have to, but you can find a lot of like minded fools crazies drunken optimists writers you can commiserate with in the Nano forums. Misery and desperation loves company. That’s why so many people hang out in dive bars. And Nano forums.
  • Do you have a distraction free place to write? Home office, corner at a coffee shop, the trunk of your car, aforementioned dive bar? No? Perhaps a look here is in order.
  • Coffee? Snacks? Leftover Halloween candy? Cheap hooch that you can cry into when you miss your wordcount for the day and realize you are a horrible, awful human being who should be fed into a woodchipper for your hubris? No? Then maybe you should have some groceries delivered. Don’t want to miss your wordcount just because you were out buying booze. And remember, nothing goes together like Ho-Hos and hubris.
  • Have a decent word processor? Word, Pages, something like that? No? Try Open Office. It has versions for Windows, Linux and Mac, will do everything you need and, this is the important part, it’s free.
  • Got a backup solution? Or are you so fucking tough that you can handle losing 49,999 words on November 29th when your computer shits the bed? Yeah, didn’t think so. Try Dropbox. You get 5GB for free. There is no fucking way you’re going to fill that all up with text, no matter how much detail you go into with that alien threeway you’ve been hoping to put into chapter 12. Yes, even if you get all Hentai about it. There are only so many ways to describe throbbing, turgid, sucking tentacles. Trust me. Grab your particular flavor of Dropbox and get to it.

And most importantly, do you have your confidence? No? Well, how about this then?

You can do this. Really. It’s not as tough as it looks. Stop looking at it as 50,000 words and start looking at it as 1667 every day. Look at it a scene at a time. An hour’s worth of writing. A chapter, a paragraph, a sentence.

Are you going to have a brilliant masterpiece at the end of it? Probably not, so stop stressing about it.

Sit your ass in that chair and just get it done.