Writing can be erratic. One day you might have tons of ideas, and
get 1,500 words down. Others, you’re too busy and creatively drained to even
think about writing more than two or three words. I often find that how much I
write depends on the day.
If I know I’ve got early morning classes one day, I know I’m not
going to write as much. Similarly, if my first class doesn’t start until noon,
I’ve got an extra three hours to use for my novel. My weekends are typically
open, but I do need to keep in mind that I should at least attempt to have a
This is where a website like Pacemaker Press comes in handy. The site has more application than novels; it can be used for essays,
dissertations, speeches, and even diary writing. Seen here is a brief example
of its functionality for this very journal. According to this graph, I should
write one section a day. If I were to change it to, say, a goal of 2,000 words,
which was the amount I wrote for last week’s journal and labeled it as
“oscillating” words written per day, it would appear like this:
There’s another section of options that’s used to make your graph
even more personalized (although you don’t have to use a graph—there’s also
table and calendar options). With these tools you can set the intensity (how
rigorous the writing sessions may be) or skip certain days because you know you
can’t write on that day. The graph can also be set to change, depending on what
you’ve actually done, or kept the same to check your progress. There’s even an
option to “reserve free days” to give you editing days. In fact, you can even
pick several days during the month that will allow you to write more or less if
you can’t make it to the keyboard that day.
Press is a great find, and can be integrated with iCalendar and Twitter,
something which I believe can help hold me responsible for any missed dates.
There’s also something about seeing my little green line of actual word count
creeping above the blue estimates that keeps me going. The settings on my
dashboard are pretty specific. I’ve made sure to add more workload to weekends,
keep my Tuesday word count light, and make my birthday weekend less intensive.
I’ve also asked for a “Hard Core” intensity level because I’m writing about a
topic I love.
Writing is often considered a lonely profession, but thanks to
NaNoWriMo, it’s actually a very communal experience and reminds me that authors
benefit from sharing their work with others.
I’ve already talked about local communities-they’re great because you
have the option to meet in person and talk about region-specific topics, or may
even know them already. However, wider communities can also be great.
It’s hard to tell who’s a “Wrimo” when everyone’s tapping away on
their keyboards. However, you can always take to the internet to discover the
wider community of authors by making some posts on social media about your
progress and connect with tons of people from around the world to help cheer
you on and keep you accountable!
The official NaNoWriMo website also encourages “writing buddies,”
which is similar to having friends (or enemies) that you compete with and track
their progress against your own. Writing buddies can also tell you how far
along anyone else is. The website tracks which region and genre is ahead in
word count. As of now, Germany is the top region with 30,641,541 words.
Meanwhile, the Fantasy genre currently tops the leaderboard at 292,196,323
words. Getting a quick overview of how well a general population is doing can
help you gauge how well you’re doing.
Most important, however, is that your write at a pace which is
comfortable for you, and of course, fun. If writing becomes stressful, take a
Occasionally, time gets away from you. This past week I’ve frequently
found myself sitting in front of my computer with only two additional words
since the day before. I’ll have nothing written for this journal, and zero
Sometimes it’s hard to feel like writing when you feel empty. Today
was one of those days for me. Instead of pushing myself to add more to my
story, I messaged a friend on Facebook, who just so happened to be playing “Pretend
You’re Xyzzy,” an online Cards Against Humanity game. As a CAH enthusiast, I agreed,
and spent the next couple hours playing this and video chatting with two of the
It helped a lot to take my mind off of my novel and just have some
fun. After the last round, I found myself even more creative than usual, and
broke the 15,000 mark!
The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.