Thursday, November 20, 2014

Odometer-Driven Writing (NaNoWriMo November 20th)

One finds motivation for writing wherever one can. In the month of November, the Words So Far bar, Stats graph and Words Written Today numbers on the NaNoWriMo website can provide a powerful drive to reach a particularly tasty number. 

I'm thinking of the kind of numbers that excite you when they appear on your car odometer. You know the ones. They end with 000. Even better, 0000.

After an ordinary day of increasing my word count, the discovery that if I could just write twenty more words I'll pass another milestone is enough to keep me typing. If I look at the graph, and today's line doesn't touch the par line, I have to keep writing. Just have to.

I thought it was just me. Then I read a couple of other comments and posts that cited the same impulse. Aha! here is another, sneakier part of the NaNoWriMo' plan to encourage writers, disregarded in favor of advice to write an excerpt, create a cover and use the tricks for breaking through a writers block:

The tracking tools themselves provide incentives to write. 

This isn't the first time I've wished the site's tools were available outside of November. The problem with having them all year round, though, is that the incentive doesn't have the same "oomph" without the community of WriMo eyes to give it value. 

Truth is, the Written?Kitten web site I use already rewards me for word production, and gives me a running total of words written in the window. But when it is only me looking, even odometer numbers are not as motivational.

So while I have the benefit of the NaNoTools, I'll keep watching for those odometer numbers. 

Tomorrow I swear: 40000!

Total: 38,074 words.