Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday check-in; abstainers and moderators, Write or Die

REMINDER: today is the last day to enter the critique contest. Get over there and post a comment, if you haven't already done so! 

How did you guys do this week? I'm embarrassed to admit that I fell off the NaNo wagon, badly; my word count is days and days behind schedule. I'm not going to admit just how bad it is here, as I write this on Thursday, because I have hopes of rectifying it (somewhat) before I go to bed tonight. I need to get my head back in the game.

Gretchen Rubin, who I've talked about here before, argues that when it comes to facing temptations and exercising self-control, there are two basic techniques: you can be an Abstainer, where you just give up the temptation entirely (this is the model for all twelve-step programs, at their heart), or you can be a Moderator, where you keep the temptation in check without resorting to strict rules.

Here's her most recent post on the subject. Gretchen is an Abstainer-- and I'm starting to think that might be the best fit for me, too, at least in certain things. How about you?

For the rest of NaNoWriMo, I'm going to do everything I can to get at least a few words written, every single day. I still want to hit that magic 50,000 words, if I can, but perhaps a better, more achievable goal would just be to write daily. No days off.

But what if you find yourself just staring at the screen, or constantly toggling between browser tabs, losing hours on the internet?

My client Shoshanna Evers is a big fan of an app called Write or Die. This is a program that, as their tagline says, "puts the prod in productivity." In the utterly brutal Kamikaze mode, which I think is what Shoshanna uses, if you stop writing for too long (a few minutes of no activity, or however you set the program), the program literally starts deleting words. By her account, it really seems to work; her daily word count would blow most people's minds. Every month is a NaNo month, let's put it that way.

I'm going to give it a shot and report back. Care to join me?

Also, it's Friday: time to brag or complain about your NaNo word count, if you're so inclined. Tell me how it's going.


Jessica Brockmole said...

I desperately want Write or Die to work for me, as I'm amazed (but not surprised) at the productivity people have while using it. Will be curious to see what you think of it, Courtney!

Kara said...

I'm scared to death to try Write or Die...but if everyone I know keeps talking about it, I'm going to take that as a sign that I should try it. And if I take a good look at my word count numbers this month, I think it's about time I try something drastic, anyway....Good luck with it! I'm anxious to hear about your experience with it.

G.M. said...

I can't write 50K words in one month, so obviously NaNo isn't for me. I can do it in about four months, the first draft. No harm done if you can't finish it in November. February is also a good nice. Another option is to co-write your novel with another author. Two authors can finish a novel quicker and better, especially if they have different strengths. One plots well and the other writes well. There are clients co-writing on another agent's website. I'm surprised that co-writing isn't more common, because writing a book is a lengthy process.

Tone said...

I liked the Gretchen article. I am an abstainer.

Courtney Miller-Callihan said...

Okay, I think I'm sold on Write or Die-- I just did 15 minutes in kamikaze mode. 588 words. Who cares if they're any good?

Kaye Draper said...

I think I agree with the first comment on the moderator/abstainer blog post. I'm finding that trying to force yourself into a mold (either one!) is more stress than it's worth. In any aspect of our life (dieting, writing, you name it) I think we should do what makes us feel good and stop over analyzing. For me, being happy with my choices is better than stressing over them endlessly. Does that make sense?
Anyway, the thought of Write or Dies terrifies the pants off me! Deletes your words?! Are you kidding me- I can't live with that kind of terror :) Great job though Courtney! You can always edit later right? Writing in kamikaze mode versus editing as you go should yield more creative results!

Amy said...

I know this was a Friday post, and I know it's now Tuesday... ha, sorry for the late catch up!
Friday and Saturday I was ahead in word count, which was great because in the first several days of November it was impossible for me to write (standing in the cemetery for Day of the Dead!). Anyway, then I allowed myself Saturday off entirely, and Sunday and Monday I wrote a little, but not as much as I wished to (again, time issues). But I'm hoping and planning to jump ahead again...