My first NaNoWrimo

It’s hard to believe, but 2010’s NaNoWrimo begins tomorrow.

For the uninitiated, National Novel Writing Month is a “seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. (…) The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”

Furthermore, “NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.” I am quoting from the NaNoWrimo.org website.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? It also sounds like a lot of work. To make my life somewhat easier, I’ve given a lot of thought to the setup I’ll use in the next 30 days. It includes:

1. Scrivener 2.0: It’s not for sale yet, but NaNoWrimo participants can take it for a spin—a free spin at that. I’ve been using the previous Scrivener version for the past two years and I would never consider relying on a different piece of writing software. Here’s a screenshot of my NaNoWrimo project:

As you can see, Scrivener is more of an outlining tool than a simple word-processor. In fact, the term “outlining tool” doesn’t do it justice—I’d be hard pressed to explain all the things Scrivener allows you to do. Suffice to say, it enables you to include all your data—from character bios to research, including webpages, pictures, and even movies—in one project. That alone, I find, is a killer feature.

2. Evernote and Nozbe: Evernote is perhaps the best note-taking tool out there, simply because it allows you to create and incorporate notes from anywhere, be it via your iPhone, BlackBerry, Mac, or PC. It scans handwritten or printed text, accepts audio notes, clips webpages, and more.

Nozbe, on the other hand, is a GTD-friendly web-based task manager that synchronizes flawlessly with Evernote. I’ve long been using both to implement my GTD system. Of course, NaNoWrimo involves so much writing that I won’t have time for much research. Nevertheless, should I find myself forced to do more than cranking out 1,667 words per day for the next 30 days, I’ll create the actions and/or projects in Nozbe and the notes in Evernote.

3. PlainText (iTunes link) and Dropbox: Lately, I’ve been typing more often and with more ease on my iPhone 4. In fact, some of the text in the screenshot above was created in PlainText, an iPhone app that synchronizes with Scrivener 2.0 via Dropbox, that amazing web-based file hosting service. This enables me to jot any sudden ideas, or even work on a chapter, wherever I am.

The tools are ready. The plot is a bit more vivid. The characters have a bit more than just names. Now all that remains is for me to write my ass off.

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One Comment on “My first NaNoWrimo

  1. If you’d like a tool for managing your time and projects, you can use this web-application inspired by David Allen’s GTD:

    Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage and prioritize your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Comes with a mobile version too, and with an Android app.