Now that we've been writing for about a week you may start to feel what in the NaNoWriMo world is known as the two-week slump. Week one you're flying high and your story has no boundaries every path is open to discovery. Then week two you have established certain promise to the reader that you have to keep. It's not as much fun to write but it's necessary to push through.
My favorite way to get past writer's block or the two-week slump is to write, write, write. It's really the only way I know. Eventually, you'll have a breakthrough and it'll feel like surfing. You fight the waves waiting for the perfect one and then it comes rushing at you and soon you're riding high and the adrenaline is pumping in your ears.
When I hit the two-week slump during NaNoWriMo I usually head to Twitter to join in a word sprint or twenty with @NaNoWordSprints. But during the rest of the year when they aren't doing word sprints continually I used to turn to Write or Die. If you haven't tried it out before I suggest you do. It is a great way to pump out words. You set your goal number of words and the time you want to write (i.e. 500 words in 10 minutes) and then up pops a blank screen with a text box. You must write continuously for those ten minutes or the site will start to turn red and blare annoying horns at you until you start writing again. This tool was very addicting when I first started out.
But then I got tired of the negative reinforcement. If you buy Write or Die for $20 you can customize it more so that instead of blaring loud noises at you, it will positively reinforce you by rewarding you with a picture of a kitten or a puppy or a critter.
But if you're feeling poor Written Kitten is a free online tool where for every 100 words you write a new picture of a cute kitten is displayed. Or a puppy or whatever you want. All you have to do to customize it is change the URL. Http://writtenkitten.net/?search=puppy <--just change the word "puppy" to whatever you want. The pictures are all from Flickr. However, I found that I easily tired of all the cuteness and I wasn't writing as continuously as with Write or Die.
Just recently I found out that a site I had previously used to set and track writing goals had added a word sprint feature. myWriteClub is awesome for setting goals because it is super customizable. You can do word count, pages, timed, scenes, chapters, the list goes on and if you don't see the option you want you can make your own. But now they have a word sprint feature. They have a global sprint option that starts every half hour and goes for 25 minutes and every 100 words you write earns you a black star. For every thousand words, you get a gold star. And a progress bar tracks your word count for each 100 words.
There is also a custom word sprint option where you can invite your friends to write with you and turn it into a competition. No one can see your words only your word count. Now that they've added these features I plan to use myWriteClub often. For some reason, the stars and writing against/with other authors pushes me.
Dr. Wicked, creator of Write or Die, created a similar feature called wordWar where you can sprint against other people but someone has to create a room and only people with a Pro account can create a room. You can leave the page open and be notified when a room is created but I have not tried it out.
Update: NaNoWriMo now has a word sprint feature on their website to be used year round! As well as goal trackers. I will have to fiddle around with these features a little more to get a feel for them but from a cursory glance you can do your own personal word sprint or you can do a group sprint with other writers which is fully customizable. You can also track your goals year round for editing, revising, and writing. I will dig more in depth and maybe post about them later. The word sprint feature is found under the "Inspiration" tab when you are signed in and the goal tracker is under the "My NaNoWriMo" tab.
Which of these or other tools do you use? Is there another program out there that you prefer? What features do you like the best? Have you tried out NaNoWriMo's new programs? How do you like them?
K. A. Jairl
My name is Kim and I'm glad you stopped by. This is where I post my triumphs and my downfalls as I fight the good fight of being a writer mom everyday.