While I’m fully aware I need a story idea for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I also need to ensure I have the required tools of the trade. At a minimum, a word processor with a word count functionality.
I can tell you one thing, after using it to (painfully) churn out my doctoral thesis, I will not be using MS Word.
Instead, I’ve just re-installed WriteRoom on my devices.
WriteRoom is an excellent, distraction-free word processor for Macs and iOS devices. You can sync your files automatically via Dropbox, so when you have a spare few minutes, you can access your opus on your iPad and clack out a few hundred more words.
I know, I know. Not a great way to write quality fiction. But a great way to ensure you hit your daily word count goal and actually complete NaNoWriMo. Editing comes much later, way after November 30th.
WriteRoom allows you to focus on the task in hand, with a full-screen, distraction-free interface – now with themes. I prefer white text on black screen, as it’s easier on the eyes – especially at night.
As for research (yes, research is required) and plot outline (there will be one), Evernote is the ideal choice. It’s great for grabbing content from the net (thank you, Wikipedia) and quick notes on the go. Last time I tried – and failed – at NaNo, I used it to collect maps of cities featured in the story, common names from different countries and even, at one point, the complete line of succession of the British Monarchy.
The plot point never came to fruition…but it was interesting all the same. And might resurface this year.
So, if you’re considering the madness that is NaNoWriMo, at least do it with some tools that make things easier. The last thing you want to encounter when pounding out the words late at night is some god-awful Microsoft piece of non-functionality that either deletes your progress or makes concentration so difficult you might as well be trawling Twitter.
Now all I need is a plot, some characters and 50,000 words and I’m good to go.