100 words for 100 days

I missed the end of 100 x 100.  Hell, I missed the last half thanks to my family’s and my own health issues.

But it was a glorious ride.  I wrote a phenomenal amount in the first half, 45,000 words in 50 days.  If I’d managed to finish, I would have been close to 100,000 words.  That, my friends, is an entire novel.

Kerryn and Matt both wrote summaries of their experiences, which I think you will find interesting.

Distractions are my writing kryptonite. Whenever I tried to write, even with a timer, surrounded by other people or the TV I couldn’t sink into the story and the words would be stilted and slow. I tried blocking the distractions out with music and sitting with my back to the TV but still my super-human hearing caught onto the other storyline. I have to physically remove myself from distractions so it’s just me, my story and my timer.

Kerryn Angel – 100 x 100 – Thank you

Before I did this challenge, I was aiming to write every day, but I just couldn’t manage it. This challenge really made me accountable, and I quickly got into the habit of writing every day without fail. If you have trouble writing daily, get a friend to keep you accountable. I found that it only took me a couple of weeks to get into the right habit.

Matthew Dodwell – 100 x 100: Lessons Learnt

Drop in and see what other lessons they have to share.

So, will I run 100 x 100 again?  I’m not sure.  If there’s interest out there I might.  Otherwise I will add it to the list of tools-that-have-helped-me-write, which also includes the Novel Push Initiative (NPI) and 750 Words.

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Handy tools for #NaNoWriMo

I’m not participating this year, but I thought I’d put up a quick list of handy tools to help you make it through the month.

1. WikiMindMap

No time to research!  But if you need to find fast answers, Wikipedia is the way to go.  And the way to read Wikipedia is through WikiMindMap.  From the site:

WikiMindMap is a tool to browse easily and efficiently in Wiki content, inspired by the mindmap technique. Wiki pages in large public wiki’s, such as wikipedia, have become rich and complex documents. Thus, it is not allways straight forward to find the information you are really looking for. This tool aims to support users to get a good structured and easy understandable overview of the topic you are looking for.

For example, say your story is set in Paris.  You’re writing away frantically, and need a location.  But your character has already been to Eiffel Tower.  Where else can he go?  Pop Paris into the WikiMindMap search box, and voila! Click on ‘cityscape’ and you have many wonderful locations for a chance meeting between two star-crossed lovers.  Or click on ‘transportation’ to find out how your main character gets to the docks in time to stop the villain from escaping.  Click on ‘cuisine’ to find out what dish the ambassador is eating when the terrorists burst through the glass doors, guns blazing.

2. Astrodienst

Need some fast character motivations and goals?  The folks at Astrodienst have a number of horoscopes which can help.  Choose a personal portrait for a character overview, entering your characters name, birth city, DOB etc.  For quick inspiration, choose a daily horoscope to see what’s influencing their actions in the scene.  Or use the Short Report Forecast to see where your character is headed.

3. NaNoWriMo word tracker spreadsheet

Get the NaNoWriMo Tracking Spreadsheet from Nidonocu and keep a careful eye on your progress and look at all the pretty graphs of your progress.

Or, if you want a more functional (but more complicated) spreadsheet that shows you how much you need to write each day to make your goal, get the Zotuku spreadsheet instead.

4. Liquid Story Binder for NaNoWriMo

Liquid Story Binder is also a great tool for NaNo, as demonstrated by Ann-Kat at Today I Read.

5. Random Generators

No NaNo event would be complete without random generators.  Names, towns, ideas, organisations; all created at the click of a button.  You can choose from a number of great sites offering a range of generators; Seventh Sanctum, Feath’s Bookcase, Namator, SkyEye (for star names), Serendipity, the Story Idea GeneratorCallihoo and The Speculative Fiction Muse.  If you can’t find what you need from that list, time to hang up your pen.

Good luck!

Techniques to get you writing, Part 2: working with goals

Read Part 1: The Psychology of Failure here.

If, like me, you are relatively green when it comes to writing novels, you’ll find that your brain is not yet willing to work with you through the hard times, and has to be coaxed, cajoled and occasionally threatened into cooperating.

As Thomas Edison said, “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”, and never a truer word was spoken.  All the good ideas in the world will go nowhere if you don’t have the perseverance to keep going until the end.

Procrastination usually sets in around the point where the momentum from your brilliant idea slows down, and you find yourself having to think about what you are writing.  This is the point where “inspiration” becomes “perspiration” and, if you don’t recognise this and work to overcome it, can result in yet another unfinished manuscript.

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