JulNoWriMo Forums

tips and tricks

sylvrilyn - 6-24-2007 at 11:50 AM

If anyone has pointers to offer on how you get to 50,000 words in a month, this is the place to post them.

I'll start.

Idea Capture

When you've got an idea, but there's no paper and pen/cil handy, what do you do? I've started imagining myself writing it down, very carefully, in detail. I pay attention to my hand writing each letter. When I discovered myself looking for the paper that existed only in my head, I stopped imagining that I was writing with a pen. I started using a carrot instead. It writes with a bright orange ink, kind of like an orange sharpie, only more translucent. So when I remember writing something down with that ink, I know not to go looking for the paper, but I still remember the words I wrote, and can capture them in whatever I'm currently working.

sylvrilyn - 6-29-2007 at 02:37 PM

Ooh, okay. I thought of another one yesterday. I was getting ready to leave for work, and all of a sudden plot started happening, and words flooded my mind for a novel I want to work on eventually (probably later this year). So I grabbed my hand-held tape recorder and made sure it had batteries. Then I realized that it probably wasn't a great idea to take it out in the rain, so I wrapped it in plastic wrap. Then I rode my bike across town talking to my tape recorder. It must have looked...odd. XD It turned out to be around 500 words of novel and notes when I got home and transcribed it. Whee!

dragonrhapsody - 6-30-2007 at 02:27 PM

OMG, That totally reminds me that I desperately need to get a tape recorder! LOL

watercolour - 6-30-2007 at 03:22 PM

I could do with one of those.

I've learned to scribble ideas on a pad, in block capitals, as I walk along the road -but not five hundred words.

Your orange-writing carrot would have been worn to a stub too sylvrilyn! ;)

sylvrilyn - 7-1-2007 at 11:26 AM

heh. Yeah, that would have been too much to remember with the carrot trick.

I've also thought of mounting some kind of clipboard pad on my handlebars, but I suspect I would become a major hazard to myself and others if I tried to write too much as I biked. Don't know, though....

Sobriquet - 7-1-2007 at 11:57 AM

I used the Notes feature on my phone (mobile/cell)... until I lost it, anyway...

I soon mastered the art of writing on that while not actually looking... its like touch typing, but not...

That's my favourite method. Also, I do take a pen everywhere.

There's always skin that can be written on, even if there's no paper.

Or, you could find a free newspaper and write in any empty spaces you can find.

A few tricks from Nanowrimo

thepianist2008 - 7-1-2007 at 01:40 PM

I found these searching the Nanowrimo boards a while back, and I feel that they need to be posted.

I've found it's really useful to make a daily list of word count goals to try to hit. I usually write them on a piece of paper and cross them off as I get to each one. I've explained how I do it below. It does involve a bit of math, but I find it fun!

n = the day of the month it is
w = word count before starting the day's writing

Figure out the following...
1. n x 1667 (the base word count goal per day)
2. n x 2000 (my preferred word count goal per day)
3. (n+1) x 1667 (the amount to be a day ahead)
4. w + 1667 (word count + today's base goal)
5. w + 2000 (word count + today's preferred goal)
6. w + 3000 (word count + pie-in-the-sky goal)

Okay, got all those numbers? Now arrange them from lowest to highest. Then write them all on a piece of paper, interspersed with all the multiples of 500 between w and the highest number.

So, an example: You are about to start writing on September 4 (n=4). Your word count as of the end of September 3 was 5213 (w=5213).

1. 4 x 1667 = 6668
2. 4 x 2000 = 8000
3. (4+1) x 1667 = 8335
4. 5213 + 1667 = 6880
5. 5213 + 2000 = 7213
6. 5213 + 3000 = 8213

So then your list of goals would read:
5500
6000
6500
6668
6880
7000
7213
7500
8000
8213
8335

As you got to each number, you could cross it off. I find that this is a great motivation tool, because I cross off one goal and then see that the next is only a few hundred words away so feel that I can get there easily. It has often led me to get more done in a day than I thought I would.

- courtesy of Kat from Nanowrimo and BethCutter(the inventor)

~and~

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
The 5000 Word Catch Up Day
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

It's a very simple idea, actually. All you need to do is commit to writing 500 words per hour *almost* every hour you are awake for one day.

Okay, this is a daunting challenge when you first hear about it, but it isn't all THAT hard and when your word count is direly low and December is rushing at you..Desperate times call for desperate measures.

It's best if you can pick a day that is relatively lower stress (such as the weekend rather than a work day, or an 'ordinary' school day instead of the one with two tests and the play rehearsal afterwards) AND that will allow you to be close to your computer (or acceptable substitute) most of the time.

Start as soon as you get up -- sit down at your computer and write, write, write like a mad(wo)man. In a sprint, ignoring grammar and typoes and other trivia, just get the words out. If you are even a halfway decent typist you can polish off 500 words in 10-15 minutes.

Once a wordcount check shows you are over 500, quit writing! Immediately. In midsentence even. The rest of the hour is yours to carry on with your Real Life matters: eat breakfast, put a load of dirty clothes in the washer, watch TV, walk the dog, run an errand...anything you like EXCEPT it shouldn't involve typing or writing.

Don't obsess over the clock, like don't set an alarm or anything. Suppose you did your first spring between 8:10 and 8:30, then started some house cleaning. As soon as you notice that it's past the next hour mark (as in, any time after 9:00 a.m. in this example) sit down and do your next 500 word sprint. Once those 500 words are done, stop typing and shift to vacuuming or go for a run or play catch with your kids. And when you notice that it's 10:07...back to the computer.

Repeat, over and over. Now there are likely to be a few hours when you simply can't do the writing sprint. Maybe you have to be at your son's cub scout meeting. Maybe cooking/eating/cleaning up dinner will take more than an hour. That's fine. Just pick up again the next hour you can.

The thing is, most of us are awake about 16 hours every day. Assuming you 'lose' no more than 6 of the hours to commitments, you will INEVITABLY finish the day with FIVE THOUSAND more words in your Nano. That is THREE DAYS worth at the default 1667/day rate.

In all likelihood, you will have much more than that. A) You may find you can do the sprints 12-13-14 hours during the day. B) You will almost always have some 'extra' words when your wordcount check goes over 500. Like, 513 or 576 or even 615. I did this catchup twice last year -- the second day I did over SEVEN thousand words.

The beauty of this sprint/break/sprint pattern is twofold. By not doing a horrendously long marathon you spare yourself wear and tear on your body & hands. No aching hands, no stiff back from hours sitting still.

Almost as good, all during your 'break' times your mind will be picking away at the story. You can't avoid it. All the time you are folding laundry you will be musing away. Hmmmm, you'll think. She could say this to her nasty coworker. He could do that. This neato thing could just happen... By the time you sit down for your next sprint, you will have the necessary plot/actions/ideas already lined up and ready to pour out.

That's pretty much the whole of it. Simple but amazingly effective, at least IME. So if you find yourself getting behind -- or maybe if you need to store up some extra words to offset the days you know you'll lose over Thanksgiving -- give the 5000 Word Day a try.

-courtesy again of BethCutter from Nanowrimo

Giltrap - 7-1-2007 at 02:25 PM

I've never done this, but I just came up with the idea while reading all the other ideas. The idea is basically a modification of the tape recorder thing.

The idea is to use what equipment you've got with you as a tape recorder instead.

There are two ways:

1. If you phone has a sound recorder utility, use that. Simple. If anything else has a sound recorder on it like an MP3 player, you could use that too. I could use my Camera, because for some reason that has a sound recorder O.o

2. If it doesn't have a voice recorder, set up your answer machine or get an Internet phone thing with a answering machine. Then phone yourself up and tell your future self what you have just thought of.

They're simple ideas, but they could come in handy if you are stuck.

Giltrap

[Edited on 1-7-2007 by Giltrap]

CelticxConnections - 7-1-2007 at 08:54 PM

I dont know about everyone else but I think there is nothing more daunting than a blank page in Word, I mean there is NOTHING on it. On the other hand if you just get out a piece of lined notebook paper there is something on it. I've found that If you just want to get something started write on that paper. It also seems to help if you have writers block. Plus you can doodle off to the side.

shiki_danna - 7-2-2007 at 03:53 AM

Quote:
There's always skin that can be written on, even if there's no paper.


Amen to that.

I allways take my favorite pen with me. Nothing gets me as creative as my favorite pen. It seems to be running out, though... :(
As for memory I try to remember key words, and then I count how much I have, to know if I forget some. :)

Sobriquet - 7-2-2007 at 06:07 AM

I always have a pen in my jeans, and also in the front of my bag for when I go out.

But the words idea is good too.

I'm going to have to try some of these, but for that I'd have to go out...

:D

thepianist2008 - 7-4-2007 at 10:21 AM

Here's what helped me get to where I am. I look at the list of authors and their word counts and see who's ahead of me. Then, I try and beat 'em. My apologies to sobriquet and Beccaa.:D Let's see if I can catch ace-of-wands!:angry:

Sulwen - 7-4-2007 at 11:45 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by thepianist2008
Here's what helped me get to where I am. I look at the list of authors and their word counts and see who's ahead of me. Then, I try and beat 'em.


I do this too. It's much easier to keep going when you only need a few more words to move up a spot or two!

Sobriquet - 7-5-2007 at 12:18 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by thepianist2008
Here's what helped me get to where I am. I look at the list of authors and their word counts and see who's ahead of me. Then, I try and beat 'em. My apologies to sobriquet and Beccaa.:D Let's see if I can catch ace-of-wands!:angry:




Heh heh.

That's cool.

I'm doing it to you, too. I'm fighting to stay in the top three, but I'm content in the to five.

So I'm fighting you too.

The competition does me a lot of good.

strangedaze - 7-5-2007 at 01:38 PM

top thirty for strangedaze.

my strategy is to concoct inane facts about any and all characters that appear in the story. so if youre wondering why u know about the janitors wookie sex fetish, its the word count, baby ;)

colorbird - 7-5-2007 at 01:49 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by CelticxConnections
I dont know about everyone else but I think there is nothing more daunting than a blank page in Word, I mean there is NOTHING on it.


When I start to write, I put the title, my name then space down three or four lines and write "the end".

Then I move up three lines and start writing. I never start with an empty page. :D

bouncy_girl - 7-8-2007 at 09:28 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by thepianist2008
Here's what helped me get to where I am. I look at the list of authors and their word counts and see who's ahead of me.


I do that! I've been slowly making my way up the list. I doubt I'll catch the people who are way ahead of me, but I'm doing much better than at this point last week. It's really sad that's such a good motivator for me. *headdesk*

L - 7-13-2007 at 05:08 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by thepianist2008
Here's what helped me get to where I am. I look at the list of authors and their word counts and see who's ahead of me.


I'm doing that right now. I'm trying to get passed snapes_angel and yarnsome right now.

Spreadlight - 7-13-2007 at 10:21 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by colorbird
Quote:
Originally posted by CelticxConnections
I dont know about everyone else but I think there is nothing more daunting than a blank page in Word, I mean there is NOTHING on it.


When I start to write, I put the title, my name then space down three or four lines and write "the end".

Then I move up three lines and start writing. I never start with an empty page. :D


...

I do something like that, too. I once read somewhere to never stop writing at the end of a page. Always end in the middle, so you have something on your Word document. And even better--stop writing abruptly in the middle of a turning point, climax, anything exciting, so the next time you pick it up again, you can't wait to keep going. If you do that, you won't be sitting for hours staring at the computer, procrastinating, wondering what to write...
:) Hope that helps!