So things are going to be a little different in November.
Since I do Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) every November, my primary focus will be to write like a madwoman until the end of the month (or until I reach 50,000 words), whichever comes first.
So WIP Monday will probably change to Word Count Monday.
I’ll still be knitting, but that will be scaled back, as the same free time I use for knitting will be used for writing. I’ll still post if I complete any knitted items, and I will still post randomly when the mood strikes. But those will probably be mostly writing-related. And I’ll probably descend into madness- you have been warned. Nanowrimo is hard.
This week (the week before the madness starts), I will be preparing. You can do everything short of actually writing your novel. You can do character synopses, or outlines. You can research any particular diseases or poisons that you know a character will have/use. Or maybe how to survive falling off a horse.
I have tried outlines, and I cannot do anything beyond a vague one. My characters rebel if I get too detailed. I mainly use this week to make sure I have all my supplies. So let’s detail my supplies!
Most years I use my Alphasmart Dana to write on.
The Dana is a fabulous piece of low-distraction awesomeness. I bought it back in 2012, and I have used it (and a spiral notebook) every November since to write my 50,000 word novels. (Click here for more on the Dana and more Alphasmart/RenLearning products.) None of the products are offered anymore, so you will need to get them secondhand. Usually on Ebay. If you are looking on Ebay- check out my post on what to make sure the seller includes: Things to Know.
This year I will try writing my novel on my Samsung Galaxy Note Pro.
It’s supposed to be a productivity powerhouse, so I’m really going to test that. I have also bought a case with a wireless keyboard. Now- I do not have a lot of disposable income (and what I do have usually goes towards yarn), but my tablet-y awesomeness was made possible by my wireless carrier. They have moved to a month-to-month system, where instead of paying the whole price up front- the price is broken up into manageable monthly payments. So I can manage $25-$30 bucks over what I already pay them monthly. If the tablet turns out to be too much of a distraction (Ravelry… email… games… various internet rabbit holes… ), then I will move back to my Alphasmart.
As backup (because you cannot take the tablet-y awesomeness everywhere), I will also have my normal composition notebook. That notebook will also be used to capture ideas, character profiles, and maybe experiment with a flow chart or something. If you will remember from this post (Back to School), I also have a stapler, some Post-It Notes, and various colored pens at my disposal. And trust me- they all will be used. In addition, I plan to free up a few flash drives to use for data backup. If I’ve learned anything from doing Nano- it’s save early, save OFTEN, and save in multiple places. Also do not overwrite a past save. For instance- if you save your file once a day- name it 01.doc. Then when you save on November 2nd- name it 02.doc This way you have every version saved. Why? Say you think a particular piece of dialogue is really bad, and you decide to delete it. But later- you decide that parts of it are usable- you still have the original to work from. Then once you have that saved document- copy it on the flash drives. Also email a copy to yourself. This may sound paranoid, but I’ve had everything happen to me from a laptop with a bad charging port (that also wouldn’t use outlet power), to a blown motherboard, to a virus that corrupted 3 of the 5 backups documents I had. Anything that CAN go wrong during Nanowrimo, WILL.
I generally cannot write at home. Too many distractions. So all my writer-y goodness happens outside of the home. Usually on breaks at work, or at a cafe. The white noise of normal people interaction is perfect for my creativity. Panera Bread Bakery/Cafe is usually my favorite source for uninterrupted writing time/caffeine/sugar. I think they are used to people camping out for a couple of hours, because the only time they get disgruntled about people staying for hours, is during their peak busy times. So just be aware, and be willing to leave, if you’re taking up real estate during peak hours. I also try to buy something every hour. Even if it’s only a pastry- I don’t feel like I’m freeloading as much. I also like park benches. Just be careful with food around animals. Squirrels will steal your food when you aren’t looking. So will pigeons.
So, if you decide to participate in Nanowrimo, you need:
1. Something to write on.
2. Something to write with.
3. A totem to carry around to remind you to write (a cute little stuffed animal or bobblehead doll works just fine)
4. Lots of caffeine
5. Lots of sugar
6. A place to write
7. A partner (or many people) to keep you accountable. (Nano is more fun with friends!!)
8. Understanding family who know they will not see you much during November.
And if you need an internet friend to cheer you on, I am adais on Nanowrimo.org. Feel free to add me as your Writing Buddy.
I didn’t know you wrote too! Do you have a separate writing blog? I’m not participating this year (I do the poetry PoWriMo’s) and family matters took precedence but I’ll be all about supporting folks when I’m back on track.
I thought about it, but I think I would have a hard time keeping up with two separate blogs. So this is the one where stuff will appear. I should post excerpts from past Nanos, and maybe if this one goes well- excerpts from this one. 🙂
It IS a pain to keep up more than one! I didn’t want to scare my Craft people away and vice versa, so I do keep more than one. I’ll look forward to all your posts 🙂
This post has amazing timing…. I’ve literally just decided to do it this year. The plot ideas keep swarming and won’t stay quiet. Have you started planning yet? 🙂
I love the idea of the alphasmart, something to type with minimal distractions from Social Media and Facebook and being small enough to take in my bag would be awesome!!
*heads off to EBAY to start hunting*
I believe the Office Of Letters And Light has a few available for loan every year for NaNo. I also bought like five of the Alphasmart 3000s. My plan is to get AC adaptors for all of them, and loan them out. I just didn’t get that done in time for this year’s NaNo.
I don’t really plan. This year’s idea came from an extremely vivid dream I had. I wrote it down, so I’m ready to go! 🙂
That’s cool 🙂 I’m over on the UK though 😦 so not sure if that would be an option for me… love your story idea 😉 I’m diving trough my journals to get enough ideas together to firm up a plot line 🙂
Oh, and don’t let those Ebay sellers overcharge you. Do not pay more than $40 for an Alphasmart. No matter which one. They know us NaNo-ers like quirky things like that, and the price goes up the closer you get to November. I like to buy them in January, when the prices go back down.
That’s good advice. If I don’t win this one I’ll hold off until then. 🙂 I always get to excited about these things…
Well- if you do win, the UK Renaissance site still has batteries and adaptors for the UK versions. So at least you’ll have a little product support.
Thanks 🙂 thats really helpful 🙂
I lost the Alphasmart – Someone pipped me to it in the last 60 seconds and the price when to more then I wanted to pay 😦 So will wait as you advised 🙂
How’s your planning going?
I can send you one of my 3000s, if you want to give it a whirl and see if you like it.
Thanks for the kind offer. But don’t worry. With the chaos in the house, I don’t trust that it won’t get lost!
Enjoy the month! I’ll be working on wrapping up existing projects but am looking forward to watching you produce from the sidelines!