NaNoWriMo: Write 50,000 Words in 1 Month
NaNoWriMo is the shorthand for National Novel Writing Month, which describes itself as a “fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing”. The idea is that on November 1, writers begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. “Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”
You may think the concept of writing 50,000 words in just one month is absolutely crazy, but you should see it as a motivating challenge. Even if you don’t manage that many words, having a clear focus will encourage you to be more productive than normal. I’ll wager you’ll write more in November than you did in October by a long shot. Many writers out there will see NaNoWriMo as a bit of a prompt; a reason to clear the diary and knuckle down to business with a supportive community of writers who are doing just the same. It may seem like a challenge too far, but whether you are brand new to writing, hoping to finish a project that you have started work on, or maybe you are just curious as to what you can really produce if you put your mind to it NaNoWriMo can work for you.
The key to writing productivity is… time Management!
Let’s be honest, time-management is a skill few have totally mastered, and that includes a lot writers. Just the thought of sitting down to write something can seem overwhelming. The great thing about NaNoWritMo is you are not alone. All over the world, other writers who are just as nervous as you are sitting down and giving it a go. There is a huge amount of encouragement from fellow writers on social media and real-world meet ups too. Don’t spend any more time procrastinating, spend your time trying to reach your daily word count. Committing to NaNoWriMo is one thing, but making sure you get those words written is another.
People often spend hours just convincing themselves to write something, only to be distracted as soon as they start. If you are not careful you could go from writing your opening chapter to watching 1o1 Most Hilarious Cat Videos on YouTube before you know it (true story). While modern technology has shortened our attention spans phenomenally, it has also provided the tools to help us stay productive. Below are some of our favourite productive apps that can help writers stay focused and get those chapters written this NaNoWriMo.
Productivity Apps: How We Tested Them
Our team of writers have put all these productivity apps to the test. We have ranked them according to:
Usability: Sometimes you download a productivity app to help solve a problem and it will it will create another one because it takes so long to work out how to operate it. We tested how easy it was to get up and running.
Time-saved: This is about efficiency – anything that saves you time or makes you more productive in your allotted working hours. As well as looking at how much more our testers were able to get done, we also evaluated the app’s ability to sync with other services like Google Drive and DropBox, and devices.
Productivity Apps: Our Top 5
1. Pomodoro Time
Available: Apple, Andriod
Time saved: 4/5
What is it?: Pomodoro Time is a must-have productivity app for writers. The app’s interval method is like mind-marathon that allows you to get the most done, without being burnt out, in the most efficient amount of time.
How does it work?: Writers set the timer for 25 minutes, type till they hear the bell ring, take a 3-5 minute break, and then burst into another 25 minute session. After four completed sets called “Pomodori”, the break interval increases to 15 minutes. Before you know it you would have worked 100 minutes or over an hour and half while only taking a 15 minute break. For many writers the inverse often happens, you’ll be on a “coffee break” for over and hour and only get 15 minutes of work done.
2. Dragon Dictation
Available: Apple, Andriod
Time saved: 4/5
What is it?: Dragon Dictation is a text-to-speech app, or in the literary world it’s A LIFESAVER. So many writers are on the go and the don’t always have access to pen and paper. Not to mention the fact that speaking is a lot quicker than typing, especially on a phone or tablet device. When you’ve got 50,000 words to write, every saved second counts!
How does it work?: Dragon Dictation literally allows you speak things into existence. If you have any ideas for a character, say it. If you working on the setting, say it. In the car and don’t want to text and drive, say it. Dragon Dictation will capture your ideas and transcribe them. It does the work for you. Some dictation software requires you to sound like a robot in order for it to transcribe your words. A simple sentence “I want my character to have brown eyes instead of blue.” turns into “I want my. Character to have. Brown eyes. Instead of blue.” Dragon Dictation captures your natural speaking voice and makes writing as easy as talking.
3. Mind Node
Time saved: 3/5
What is it?: Mind Node is a productivity app that appeals to the visual planners. If you enjoyed spider diagrams as a child, then you will enjoy Mind Node.
How does it work?: Brainstorming is such a huge part of the writing process and Mind Node helps to quickly streamline your thoughts by creating a simple and colourful visual display of characters, settings, storylines etc. Each “node” represents a topic, idea or task and each line is like a branch connecting those idea. Planning a story out with Mind Node feels less like a chore and more like opportunity to connect your thoughts.
Time saved: 4/5
What is it?: Things is a task management app that not only stores your tasks and projects but helps you to accomplish them.
How does it work?: By setting tasks, reminders, and due dates, Things creates S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals. SMART goals keep you focussed and makes bigger tasks easier to manage. Things is one of the most beautifully designed productive apps; it’s clean and simple interface and makes it easy to use straight away.
Available: Apple, Android
Time saved: 5/5
What is it?: Evernote is a writers-haven; it is the best place to take notes.
How does it work?: Evernote automatically syncs notes to all the devices it’s programmed on. Think of it as a scrap book for text, picture, audio and video that you can take with you everywhere. Unlike other apps where synchronisation requires other Apple products or services, Evernote also works on PCs, Blackberry’s, Firefox and Google Chrome. All of your content is stored on the cloud. So if you want to write a few pages whilst you’re on a packed commuter train or take a picture of the perfect setting for a scene whilst on your lunch break just “evernote” it and it will be waiting for you on your computer when you get home. Although Evernote isn’t the easiest productive app to use, it does save a lot of time once you’ve found your way around it.
We hope these apps save you time. If you have found any other useful productivity apps or have any other tips for getting the most done in NaNoWriMo, please let us know in the comments box below. Let us know how your NaNoWriMo is going on twitter throughout November. Can we do it? Yes we can!
If you can’t get enough of productivity apps, make sure to visit this post as well!