Saturday, November 2, 2013


November is the month of NaNoWriMo, a project that gets writers together with the aim of completing a full novel in 30 days. Sure, it’s not intended to be a perfect final version, but rather an exercise to force out a crappy first draft. If you’ve co-authored something with another person, you know that it’s often much easier to do the editing than to set down the initial draft.
NaNoWriMo helps with motivation by connecting authors with one another for encouragement and with tools for keeping track of your progress. The concept has gone beyond the novel writing goal, being coopted by many different communities. One such is AcWriMo, which is geared for academic writing projects. It’s described here 
For me, this is a perfect time for such a writing push, as I have multiple projects that need transforming into papers. I have one that really just needs an introduction and discussion, so that’s first up. But the other projects maybe still need an experiment or two. What better way to see what’s truly needed than writing them up- and getting the inevitable “why didn’t I do THAT experiment then?” feeling?
I tried something similar back in 2009, which crashed and burned- add another notch to my failure case (must be room somewhere). No matter, it’s a new year, and I’m in a much different place personally now. So, let’s see what I can really do. How much writing I can produce in a month?
An important part of NaNoWriMo is to set clear goals, but make them lofty. For the novelists, it’s fifty thousand words. For AcWriMo, it’s more personalized, given the variety of academic disciplines involved. Whatever your goals, try and push the limit. Looking through my writing output that I’ve tracked in the past few months, I’m in the range of 300-400 words per day. That’s not full-time writing, as I’m doing experiments as well. But I think a goal of 750 words per day is good- ambitious yet attainable.
I’ll keep track of my progress among nine different files, each for the writing software Scrivener. It’s a great program, and I’ve been using it for about 6 months. Probably it’s worth a later post on how it’s improved my writing output- and my experimental output). And yes, I said nine different files. That’s what’s currently in my open-loop writing wise. I did say it’s a good time for AcWriMo. I’ll prioritize them of course, but progress on any of them will count towards my goal. Everyday I write, I’ll tweet my word count, with the #AcWriMo hashtag. Maybe I’ll also post periodic updates here. And, I’ll take all the high-fives and hells-yeah folks can spare. So if you’re on Twitter, or here, I’ll take any and all kind words.

Oh, and how many words did I write today? Well, including this post (hey, it counts. It’s my goddamn AcWriMo, and I say it counts) I wrote 744 words. Not bad, considering I also raked fifteen 30 gallon bags worth of leaves, played Wii with the boy, hung out with the girl, and went to the movies with the family. I got this.