I'm going to jump into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again. This is my fourth year. I reached the 50k word count my first two years in NaNo, but I was a shameful slacker last year...a mere 37k. To redeem myself, I'm reaching for at least 60k this time.
In addition to being an author, I also teach English. Two years ago, I encouraged my high school creative writing class to participate through the Young Writer's Progam in NaNoWriMo. Last year, my journalism class participated. This year, my sophomore literature and writing students will participate (they just don't know it yet). :-) It's a great way to get young writers involved in writing. They can set their own daily/weekly goals. I give them a little incentive at the end of each class period to encourage them to write outside of the class period. Another incentive is to assign a letter grade to minimum in-class word count production.
One of my former creative writing students (and NaNoWriMo survivor) recently introduced me to a wonderfully wicked writing gadget called, Write or Die, at this url: http://writeordie.com/ The tagline is "Putting the 'Prod' in Productivity". Isn't that fabulous? There is a free web version, or you can purchase the gadget for $10 and install it on your computer or iPad.
There are other writing task-masters available, but Write or Die has a special aspect that appeals to my don't-procrastinate-and-get-those-words-written teacher personality: You can set it to erase backwards (eat) the words you've written if you lapse in word production. Now that's high stakes writing.
As part of the whole NaNo writing-under-pressure experience, I'm going to employ this writing gadget myself and have my students use it, too.
There's a companion website - Editminion - at this url: http://editminion.com/ - for the editing stage of the story. I haven't tried this one yet, but after a cursory glance, it appears to check for adverbs, adjectives, sentence problems, etc. as you direct it.
So, with just a month before NaNoWriMo 2012 begins, now is the time to prepare for 30 Days and Nights of Writing. I hope to see you there.
May your word count be high and your backspace button be broken.
Until next time,
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