Day 4 of the NaNoWroMo challenge – 50k words in 31 days. (These are figures from yesterday – I didn’t get time to post this on the 4th – see below)
As you can see from the stats above, I’m still doing well. I’m now 1864 words beyond where I should be at the end of day 4. This is good news, as I’m thinking that if I have a disaster on one of the days to come, I have some flexibility already built in.
One of the good things about this challenge, is that it becomes habit-forming. Knowing that I have to get home from work and sit down at my Mac and start punching those keys before I think about TV or XBOX or whatever, is working well so far. My average word count per day is over 2100, which is a number I didn’t think was possible 5 days ago. It is a much faster pace than I have EVER written at, but I like it, because it offers me no opportunity to self-edit, as I have to just keep hitting the keys, no time to look back. Not yet, anyway.
So that will be my NaNoWriMo tip of the day:
Write now, edit later. [TWEET THAT]
If you are typing on a PC or Mac, using Word or something similar, you will have noticed from time to time, that a squiggly line pops up signifying that you have made a spelling error or grammatical error of some kind. The temptation, when you see it pop up, is to just cursor back, or worse still, move your mouse pointer to correct the offending item (your hand comes away from the keyboard). My advice is: Don’t.
It slows you down. For a challenge like this, quantity is what’s called for. Quality comes later. Now I’m not a particularly fast typer – 40 words per minute (I’ve only got 1 good hand!) – but looking at the numbers, if I spend even 5 seconds out of every minute making small corrections (and I can easily do that!), I will add almost 6 minutes every day for me to reach my target for that day. Over the month, that means I would take over 3 hours longer to hit the final target of 50k. If you’re pushed for time, that 3 hours could really make a difference to winning, or not.
If you spend 10 seconds every minute making corrections, that works out to 6 extra hours, which if you have only 2 hours a day to spare, that would mean you would hit your target 3 days late (look, I like numbers, okay?).
How can I improve?
- Turn off the spelling and
grommetgrammar checks. – I use Word for Mac: open word and select preferences. Under the ‘spelling and grammar’ option you can choose which its to have on / off. For PCs check ‘proofing in the options menu.
- Type without looking at the screen – If that becomes too difficult, turn the monitor off or turn it round, or put something in front of it. That way, not only will you not see the spelling and grammar errors, you won’t even be able to see your last sentence!
- Give yourself a break! – Don’t worry if what your writing is not your best work. That’s what editing is for.
- Use shortcuts – Consider using one or two letters for a character name. Use numbers instead of words for numbers (2 instead of two), XXXX if you forget a name of something.
- Don’t sweat the details – If you need facts about WWII submarines, put a note to yourself to research later (use brackets for notes?). Don’t waste time researching now.
- Fill your coffee mug (other beverages are available) – Stick in the seat as long as you can.
- Get the toilet stops out of the way – Same reason as above.
- Pick your writing spot carefully – Are you a laptop and coffee shop person? Perhaps a home office / study writer? I write in the living room on my Mac, but i have great earphones and have listened to a lot of rain falling on a lot of tents.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you miss your word count – catch it up tomorrow and the next day (bit by bit) or ideally, build up a surplus of words, so you have a little bit of flexibility with your daily target.
We’ll finish with an MS (Multiple Sclerosis, NOT Microsoft!) update.
So far, I’ve been relatively lucky (touch wood). At work, I have had a new PA (Personal Assistant) start this week, so she has been saving me energy by doing simple things like load and unloading my wheelchair into the car, fetching me files and printing, making me a drink etc. This has meant that when i get home in the evenings, I still have energy to write.
Yesterday (3rd November) I only managed 1300 words. I didn’t get sat down till late, and I got really tired, really quickly.
I also had another ‘bowl on head’ moment. What’s that? you ask. Well, I was in the kitchen, using my walker to get around, but I fell down. Nothing bad, but I’m on the floor. In trying to get up, I reached up to one of the work surface to pull myself up. Now picture one of my children leaving a half-full bowl of soggy Cornflakes. Then picture me putting my hand on it and tipping it over my head. Oh how I laughed.
All in all, I’ve been staying up a bit later (not much), as I find writing in the early mornings really difficult. Still, I would say the last 4 days have been quite enjoyable. I tend to think that when I am feeling positive about things, my writing gets easier (not easy). I’ve even found time to get some blogging done, ands update my website!