NaNoWriMo--or National Novel Writing Month--is upon us once again, and this year, I'm participating for real, which is why you might be hearing from me a bit less frequently this month. For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it's pretty simple: you commit to writing a "novel" during the month of November, and if you do it, you win! For purposes of the challenge, a "novel" is defined as 50,000 words or more. I'm currently at 12,200 words, which puts me more or less on pace to get to 50,000 by the end of November. 50,000 words won't be enough to complete the book I've been working on for the past couple years, but it's going to go a long way towards getting the entire story out of my head and onto paper. (Link here to my author profile if you want to follow along on my progress.)
Last year I tried to commit to NaNoWriMo, writing entirely by hand. It didn't work. In order to hit the 50,000 word mark, you need to produce a daily "quota" of just under 1700 words. If you can type even reasonably well, I've found it a heck of a lot easier to manage that much writing using a computer rather than writing longhand. As much as I enjoy handwriting, I can type 70-80 words per minute once I get in the zone, and I don't have more than an hour or two per day to devote to this project. That's not to say that I don't have a ready supply of pens, pencils, and paper (primarily Field Notes) at hand to make notes and work through some thorny plotting problems, but this year Scrivener and my Vortex One have been my friends. (Story for another time, but I exchanged the Matias Tactile Pro keyboard. The white Vortex One has the same great "classic Mac" aesthetics in a much sturdier frame, although unfortunately without the Mac-specific keyboard layout of the Matias, which I loved.) If you end up "winning" NaNoWriMo, you qualify for some sweet discounts on writing software such as Scrivener, Storyist, and Aeon Timeline. You can also demo the full version of Ulysses until well into December.
Twitter is awash in NaNoWriMo status updates, so I know many of you readers are participating. What are you relying on to get your writing done this month?