Surviving NaNoWriMo

By Jamie W.

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So, it just so happens that “Three Books in Three Months” also includes the NaNoWriMo challenge this year. What’s NaNo, you ask? It stands for “National Novel Writing Month” and participants from all over the world sign up to write 50,000 words in one month. Sound crazy? Possibly! lol. Here are some of the things I think are essential for surviving the month of November for anyone who is new to the challenge…

  • Don’t look at the whole. Writing only 1,667 words a day sound much more manageable, doesn’t it?
  • Go to write-ins. These are amazing chances to connect with local writers and exchange ideas. These write-ins have led to friendships with some awesome people.
  • DO NOT procrastinate on backing up your work. I know we all got taught in school about backing up our work regularly, but let’s be honest here: how many of us do it consistently? Well, now is not the time to take risks with your words. Make sure you move the document to a flash drive, e-mail it to yourself, and/or upload it to services like box or dropbox. A little side note: For one of the camps they do, I had about 3,000 words written. I “saved as” onto my flash drive and went to open it a little later. I got “file is corrupt”. A call to my husband’s computer genius friend showed me the error of my ways. If you save a file directly to a flash drive rather than “sending to” or dragging it on there from your computer, it can corrupt the drive and ruin your document.

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One thought on “Surviving NaNoWriMo

  1. I’ve used Google Docs in the past for drafting.
    Pros:
    * It saves and backs up as near to instantaneous as possible — even offline. I’ve never lost a single word from crashes.
    * It’s totally free. And in Chrome, it doesn’t have to be used online, so you can use it while “disconnected” from distractions.
    * It’s a lot like MS Word, but striped down so it’s easy to use.
    * You can download as a .docx to send, share, or edit in Word (also .pdf and some other stuff).
    * It’s available — and syncs pretty darn well — across a wide range of devices so you can write anywhere you are.

    Cons:
    * When documents start getting long — over 10,000 words or so — it gets slow. Scrolling through a really long doc or typing in a long doc becomes frustrating. To get 50,000 words, I’d suggest breaking it down into Parts or Acts that you glue together at the end.
    *Can’t be easily converted to a .doc if you have an older version of word (though, if you don’t want to pay Microsoft, the free versions of OpenOffice will open .docx files and let you save as them to .doc files that older versions of Word can open).
    * Doesn’t fully support comments or editing notations. When you’re done with November’s draft, you’re likely going to want either Word or OpenOffice to do your editing in. (That is, if you plan to edit. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo for bragging rights only and plan to put that puppy in a drawer when December rolls around, this won’t apply.)

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