A bit of competition. Had a month-long word war with my writing
buddy Kamu. She got to 50K
first, but I was never more than just a good day's work behind. It
kept me motivated.
Used my bread maker to keep me up. We eat home-made breadmaker bread
at home. I set the bread to cook every night so that it finished at
about midnight. Once that is done, I can't do to bed, otherwise the
bread will be soggy in the morning. I have to stay up to get it out.
This saved me from quitting early (for the night, not the month) on
more than one occasion.
Realised I can write 2000 words in a stretch without too much
trouble. Once that clicked, I knew that I could do it. Good days
could net me 4K or more, but I knew that on any one day I could the
minimum required without any trouble.
Made and kept to a writing quota plan. I set up a spreadsheet table.
Calculated how many days I had and how many words I had to write.
Each day was given a weighting: either 1 for a normal day, 0 for a
day I was not going to write at all or 0.5 for an easy day. It
turned out a normal day was 2.5K (see above) and 1250 words for a
lighter day and I had planned days off (eg Friday nights). I never
fell behind in my total plan (I kept track of that too) though I did
have a couple of days where I didn't quite make my required total
for that day. But because I knew where I was (and I had a great day
1, see #1 above) I could do that safely.
Almost killed myself in the first week due to lack of sleep (funny
how the headaches went away during week 2).
Listened to the podcasts. I even got my voice on one
episode! I was always looking forward to the next one coming out.
Plan. I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. It was good knowing
where the story was supposed to go, but I think with all the other
positive things that went right this time I might have managed
without it. For this year I am tempted to start blank with the
Mythic Game Master
Don't ask me to explain now, I've got a Mythic post in my drafts
be fair, I used JNW in 2007 and
yWriter in 2006 (when I
was still a Microsoft slave), so this is not a new thing. But I
could not have managed this without the appropriate software.
Mini-goals with cheese. What? I set myself little goals through
the night. "You can't have your first coffee until you hit 500".
"No toilet break until you finish another 100". "You can listen
to the podcast once you've done 1000". That sort of thing. The
cheese was Blue Castello
cheese. My favourite
(actually, red is my favourite but no one sells it!) and I couldn't
have any until I had done 2000 words.
Please don't take this as a how-to-win guide, you can find plenty of
those around the
This is simply a list of some of the things that gelled for me in 2008
and helped me win! Roll on NaNo '09.
Since November, I have finally read my novel and on reflection it is a
lot less pathetic than I first thought. If there are any masochistic
readers of derivative fantasy out there who would like a look, just
leave a comment to that effect.