NaNoWriMo 2013 Tools and Tips

So you've decided to give NaNoWriMo a try? Afraid since it's already started you're too late? Nonsense! I started a week and a half in one year and managed to win. Granted I ended up shelving most of it because i thought it was garbage, but the point is you write. And write. And keep writing. Worry about editing later. Everyone that does this has said it, and I'll say it again because I know how hard it is to keep going. Write a little every day and it grows into a habit. Stop writing and it's hard to get your momentum back.


So why am I here? Tools. Everyone needs them, even writers. At it's most basic a Pen and Paper will do the job whether it's a cheapo pack of bics and a stack of notebook paper, gel pens and a moleskine or some sort of knockoff, or whatever. Handwriting is supposed to be calming and focusing for the mind, but I've never gotten past 'it looks like you broke your hand and you're still writing like your'e in the second grade' skill with a pencil. Seriously it's superbad to the point where not many people can actually read what's there without squinting and looking past it like those optical illusion puzzles.

Why not use a typewriter? Hemingway used one. Pretty sure so did Stephen King. I'd actually done a bit of typing on an electric in school and like writing there is a bit of a rhythm that gets established. Unfortunately Typewriters have the whole 'needs whiteout and going back and editing is an impossibility' thing going on. Granted not being able to go back and edit can be a plus.

The downside of handwriting or typewriter is that you need to verify at the end of the month to 'win', or at least claim the sponsored goodies and promo deals that come with. Still doable but you have to get somewhat creative. Plus you need paper and while having a physical copy for latter referencing can be nice I just see it as wasteful. If you disagree with me that's awesome, I'm not going to start a holy war over the matter. Trees are a renewable resource. Pretty sure ink is too... no matter what ink cartridges cost.

There's always the computer and your office word processor of choice be it microsoft word, libre office, abiword, or whatever. I like these, I use them for cleanup, but I end up getting distracted. Not a problem really since there's notepad variants, but what if you want something a little more full screen and with a few options that then get out of the way or something that gives a total of paragraph/page/word count stats?

Q10 used to be my go-to for such since it's portable, makes typewriter noises, light wieght. Thing is it's windows only so I've migrated to Focuswriter. It's not quite as lightweight, but you can customize the appearance, add in a few extra options on being able to write for x amount of time or have a target word count, and it can save in more formats. Plus it's up for windows linux and mac so you're covered pretty nicely.

Wait, what if you're on chrome OS and can't use either of these options? Well there is Google Drive, 260 Office, and ZoHo Office but what if you want to be able to do stuff locally and mimic Q10 and Focuswriter? I used to be a fan of Writespace because screen encompassing and it gave you a running word count, but you couldn't save anything. So I moved to Writebox. It lets you save locally or sync to Google Drive or Dropbox. It works offline uses Chrome's spellcheck, and other than the fact there's no typewriter noises I like it.

Pity about the whole Google NSA thing. Granted Microsoft is in the same boat but I'm just putting the information out there even though I consider the cloud poisoned.

Anyway. what am I missing here? Lots actually. There's more than just the tools that put actual words down. There's also the things that make music you listen to, madlib like things to generate plot concepts, other people that you can get suggestions from could be considered tools. I just decided to focus on 'things people use to write with' since going for everything seems a bit big as projects go.
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