My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I won NaNoWriMo again!

I won NaNoWriMo for the second time! This year was much different, and even though I ended up crossing the 50,000 word finish line in the same amount of days, 28, it was actually a lot easier this time around. I was usually 2 days ahead in my word count throughout the month of November. This was due to waking up early on the weekends when everyone else was asleep and cranking out around four thousand words or more. Those little boosts really helped me throughout the week. I had quite a few days where I didn't write a word, and it was only thanks to my buffer that I only fell below the line once on the 24th. I thought it was going to be much harder, because last year the only way I was able to make it was using an app on my Blackberry where I could talk into it and it would convert my words into text. This year I just recorded my voice into my phone instead and then when I had time I would write out what I had recorded. I started doing this because I no longer have internet on my phone, which the app required; but I think it ended up being much faster - I just had to find the time other than my commute to write. I could get to the 1,667 words for the day off of less than ten minutes of recorded audio. If you've never written this way and have a long commute where you can't write because you're driving, you should give it a try. If you haven't tried NaNo, look into it and give it a try next year, it's the most fun you'll ever have writing. The main reason for this is that there is a community writing along with you. It was fun this year to post my wordcount and then challenge my friends to try and catch me. It was encouraging to get back to the keyboard and write more when I saw that they had passed me up. So click on the link above, and check it out. Now to finish Part II of that short story and get it recorded so you won't all be left on a cliffhanger anymore :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 2010 Update

Download the .mp3
(Right Click, Save Target As...)

Happy holdiay wishes, why part II of the short story hasn't dropped in the feed, and what all I'm working on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNoWriMo Tips & Tricks

NaNoWriMo is going pretty well for me. Lately I've been getting around 1K words a day, but I'm not worried about it because I've remained a couple days ahead in my overall wordcount. I'm hoping to repeat last Saturday where I woke up at 6:30 and had a good couple hours where everyone else was asleep. I ended up writing almost 5K words! This thrilled me and I was giddy for the rest of the day. One way I've been able to crank out more words is to use my commute time to write. I know what you're going to say, "but Dan, I drive to work! I can't write while I'm driving!" What's my answer to that? "Yes you can!" I drive to work myself, and no I'm not taking my eyes off the road to write. What I'm doing is recording my voice into my phone as I drive. You should be able to do this with your hands free device, I don't want you getting pulled over for holding your phone up to your ear; "but officer, I wasn't talking on the phone, I was writing my NaNoWriMo novel." Yes you have to transcribe this when you get home, but you had to use that time to drive to work and not write as it was. Now when you get home, instead of writing off the top of your head, you're simply typing out what you already wrote; and trust me, the wordcount will fly out from your fingers much faster this way. So if you're able to try this method, I suggest you do and I hope it helps your wordcount.

Another thing I have been using is a really simple text editor called Dark Room, which you can download and begin using in seconds for free. This thing is so cool. I'm a PC guy, and I've always written using the most simple text editor out there which is Notepad. I don't care if something is spelled wrong, I don't want to see the little red squigly line; I don't even want to see extra menus or sidebars, or anything for that matter. I just want to see the text. One thing I don't like is writing on a widescreen monitor (most are these days) with Notepad maximized because then my lines of text are extremely long. So I started having my notepad window take up half the screen or less. This is no good because I can then see my desktop on the rest of the screen which is quite busy visually. Enter Dark Room. Here's what their site has to say about it: "Dark Room is a full screen, distraction free, writing environment. Unlike standard word processors that focus on features, Dark Room is just about you and your text." Perfect! The screen is black and your text is green, like the Matrix. You can change these colors but I've found this to be very easy on the eyes. Also your text is in a nice neat column. You can adjust the width of this, but I've found that straight from the download it seems to be set up perfectly. There are arrows to help you scroll up and down, but other than that it's just the text on your screen; I love it!

One last tool I'll throw in here is something I don't plan on using but have seen staggering wordcounts tweeted from fellow NaNo writers for short periods of time. It's a program called Write Or Die. Basically if you're not writing bad things start to happen. Your screen starts to turn red, very annoying sounds start to come out of your speakers. There's even a kamikaze mode where if you're not hitting your goal the software starts deleting your text one word at a time! You set a wordcount goal, and a time you'd like to write those words in and you're off. Here's the software in their words: "Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences."

Ok, now stop reading this, use the tools if you like, I hope they help, and get back to writing!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo is here!

What's NaNoWriMo? Why it's National Novel Writing Month of course! The first day of November has passed, and I am happy to report that I was able to crank out 3,978 words on my first day! The goal is to get 50K words in the 30 day month of November; which ends up rounding to 1,667 words per day; so I'm ahead of the curve as of today. I'm hoping to do some extra words while I'm still all energetic about it so that when I have those busy days where I can only manage like 400 words I'll still be on track. This is my second year doing NaNo, and you can read about the novel I'm writing a couple of posts back from this one here. It's tentative title is: The Time Musicians. I'm really excited and really determined to get the 50K words on time again this year and win NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row. Wish me luck, or even better, sign up now and become my writing buddy. That link will also bring you to my NaNoWriMo page where you can see my wordcount progress.