Yeah, we do this thing. We wouldn’t have a book (series) if it weren’t for NaNoWriMo.
Here’s a list of some sites which can be very helpful in your NaNo adventures (outside of the main NaNoWriMo site). They range from the helpful/necessary tools for writing a buttload of words in a month, to places that can distract you without letting you stray much from your goal.
And a plug for the fundraising page I set up for this year to give back to NaNo. You should not feel obligated to donate (though go for it if you want), but please encourage others there
Helpful Links, Informative Distractions, Inspiration, and a Dash of Fun
Roadtrip to NaNo
This is a tagged section of the main NaNo blog with posts focusing on prepping for NaNo. For those who haven’t done it before, or have done it and felt that creeping failure bug catching in the first week, these posts are really, really informative and helpful.
It gives you one word, each day, and you write for one minute based on that word. It’s like a word sprint with some direction, and a very short limit. You can also sign up and read what other people write. It’s productive, challenging, and fun.
(If you did this once each day in November, assuming you could crank out forty words in a minute, you’d garner an extra 1,200 words by the end of the month — more if you let those words keep going with whatever else comes into your head)
It’s basically what it sounds like. you sign up, and each day you’re sent an email reminder to go to the site and write at least 750 words. That’s just under a half of your daily word count. It keeps track of your typing speed, and runs analytics on your writing mood as well (which can be helpful if you’re trying to achieve a specific tone in your writing). It stores your writing online, but there’s very little in terms of formatting, corrections, etc. You write it, and it’s done. This can be a great tool to silence your inner editor.
There are some professional sites sponsoring NaNo which you should check out to see if any will work for you (Yarny, Scrivener, etc). For myself, my best writing pal is Google Docs. It’s designed like Word (and easy to import/export as such), easy to manage, label, categorize, and share (if desired). It’s also portable (so long as I’m logged in to Google, I can access it). I generally start a new document for every day of writing and/or for every section I work on in a particular day (i.e. – some days I’ll be going strong and write 2-3 sections, but for different parts of the book, so I’ll put each section in its own document).
Find out what site and method works best for you. It can be a bit of trial and error, but it comes down to what makes writing comfortable, easy, and accessible.
It’s the industry standard magazine for writers. If you don’t already subscribe to their email list, I recommend it. This is a site that can be distracting, interesting, informative and entertaining, while not dragging you away to another plane of thought when you need something else to focus on during breaks and blocks.
Equal parts distracting and motivating, 8tracks is a free playlist site where users create music playlists and tag them. So, say you want to write to creepy carnival music. Those are tags you can search and find playlists of them. Or the music played around Disney parks. Or all the classical music from Hannibal. Or mystic zen drum beats. Or angry ethereal wizard music. If there’s an adjective and a genre, odds are someone’s made a playlist combining them. It can lead you down a rabbit hole of music, but it can also save you time trying to build your own playlists.
In addition to mentoring this year, I set up a donor page for people to donate to the Office of Letter and Light (the non-profit on which NaNoWriMo is founded). I’m working on adding broke-ass-creative-person rewards for anyone who donates, so encourage your friends, family, colleagues, and anyone who’s encouraging you on this journey to give back to the organization running it, as well as put a smile on your mentor’s face. (It’s all tax-deductible as well.)
There are many communities out there for participants of NaNo (above and beyond those available directly on the site), and you should feel free to explore them. I’m pimping the reddit forum because, well, I love reddit and (generally) love redditors. They’re geeks. They’re snarky, yet can be amazingly supportive. They like posting/creating distractions. It’s a good, safe place to lurk. The biggest danger of reddit is getting absorbed in it — so just be sure to limit your time allowance. (There’s also r/worldbuilding if you’re working on pre-planning)