It’s that time of year again everybody! The time where we stretch out our brains, max out our creativity, and eat our weight in Halloween candy or drink it in warm beverages. For this year, because I’ve been watching so many D&D campaigns I’m kind of playing with that sort of feeling. Right now it’s sort of switching between modern and fantasy type worlds. Maybe once I get a little further into it my brain will connect the two together. It also doesn’t really have any sort of structure at the moment. Normally, I have distinct chapter/character perspective set ups. But this time I just started writing in scenes.
This year is also different, not only because NaNoWriMo has changed their website, but also because I have switched up the way I do my NaNo tracking journal. For my journal I have taken something that Kerri Maniscalco had shared as her “How to Beat Writer’s Block” go-to. After every chapter, or every writing session she will write a quick summary of what she had done in a word document or outline so that she knew where she had left off. So I’ve started doing a day by day break down chart in a sketch book style bullet journal.
On the chart I write my word count goal for the day, the total project word count goal, and what NaNo says I need to write for the day to stay on track. At the end of the day I will write what I actually achieved for those statistics, and then I will write a quick summary of what I wrote that day broken down by scenes. Then at the beginning of the next day I will take a few minutes and plot out what my plans for the day are on a different page. that can contain summaries, descriptions, maps etc. So far I’ve found this to be very helpful in setting up my mind for the day ahead and remembering what happened in the days behind.
I personally use a sketchbook because it allows me to make the pages into what ever I want and gives me space to draw and make whatever I want it to be. Another thing I was very interested in trying out, but ultimately decided against it was The Rook and The Raven’s D&D journals, or Critical Role’s Cobalt Soul journal. Each had pre-planned pages for different things. I just liked the idea of being able to draw in my own boxes and heading spaces better than a pre-planned journal. If you would like to see what my journal looks like leave a comment or message me on the Facebook page (link in the About Me) and I’ll post pictures to the page.
Now let’s get into the new NaNoWriMo website. With every change there is always something unsettling that someone, if not everyone, is going to hate at first. For me that was the new Stats page. NaNoWriMo had updated their statistics page to make sure that you get a more real time, interactive, and informative writing experience. For the most part, this new page works and is TOTALLY awesome. But there are still some kinks to be worked out.
A while back I reviewed a writing site called Writely. This application website basically timed you when you wrote in a document that was in their app. It added the critiquing feature of Scribophile together with the timed writing style of any of those zen writing or Write or Die type websites and programs. The main problem with Writely was you had to write in their document for the timer to work and it COULD NOT be accessed through a phone very easily. Why am I bringing this up? Well, Writely would have been a very good tool for NaNoWriMo style word sprints if it had some of the features that NaNoWriMo already had and some of the bug fixes were actually worked out and now, NaNo seems to agree. So NaNo stepped up their game a little with their new site relauch.
For those who have spent time learning how to use it, the new site has some really cool and handy features. It’s much easier to communicate with your communities. It has notifications for when people have replied to you. And it forces people to request to be your buddy instead of just stalking someone’s pages and being a creep. It also added a timer feature. This will passively time your writing while making noise marking each time milestone you’ve reached. It still can’t be used on a phone browser, but for someone who writes using pen and paper usually, it is much better for timing your writing than an in browser word document.
This also allows NaNoWriMo to more accurately give you your writing statistics. Things like what time of day you write the most, how fast you’re writing and what type of mood you were in when you were writing. Because every time you add a writing session you have the option of inputting all of these details. It’s a fun new way to track your progress on the site and show your tiny community of writers how you’re doing.
Other things don’t quite work the way I had hoped they would. Things like the edit word count by day feature and the choose whatever word count over 50k feature are no longer available on the site. This is a little bit sad, as those were some of the features that I enjoyed on the old site. But I’m still excited to see the site grow and evolve as all of the growing pains and kinks are worked out.
And so, on that note, I will leave you for the day and wish you luck on Day 3 of NaNoWriMo.