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NaNo particles

As of November 10th, I have written 16,748 words for NaNoWriMo. After a frenzied couple of days of being behind, I’m back on track. Here are a few of the tricks that are helping me move forward and keep my internal editor napping soundly.

An outline. I’ve mentioned this before, but I spent about six weeks playing around with the story and characters before I finally had a decent vision of my major plot points and some of the necessary scenes in between. This has been an absolute lifesaver when I finish a scene and think, “Now what?” I check the outline and get back on track.

A change log. This isn’t for tracking revisions I’ve done, this is for tracking revisions I need to make. For small items that I want to come back to, I’ll either annotate the section (using Scrivener’s annotation feature), or mark it with a ZZZ (for which I have a saved search in, yes, Scrivener), and find it later when I’m in edit mode.

That’s what the change log isn’t. It is a document where I make notes of things that I need to fix in earlier scenes so that they match what I’m writing now. For example, halfway through the book, I decide that a reporter needs to be at the funeral in part one of the book for my current scene in part two to make sense. In the past, I would have gone back and fixed all the relevant scenes before moving forward.

Now, I note it in the change log and keep writing. Two big advantages here. One, I don’t lose my momentum with the current scene. Two, if I change my mind again later, I have just saved myself a lot of unnecessary time.

A tea timer. I’m trying to write in one hour chunks without interruption. Then at the end of each hour, I can take a (quick!) break to read email, play on Twitter, or read a blog. Or, you know, eat, work out, talk to my kids. This way I get a reward for my hard work, but don’t get sucked into the Internet vortex for hours on end. For this, I like the Tea Timer widget on the Mac because it travels with my laptop.

Understanding family and friends. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you where to find them, but I’m lucky enough to have my own set. The Engineer may not understand my love of writing and my addiction to books, but he respects it, and puts up with dirty bathrooms and dog hair on the floor. Or he cleans it himself! 😉 See, there’s that practical romance thing again…

So, those are my not-so-secret weapons to pounding out the words during NaNoWriMo, or any other month of the year. What are yours?