Preptober 2020

 In my last post, I detailed my first attempt (and win!) at NaNoWriMo 2019. I’m gearing up for participation again this year, but it’s 2020, so everything is different.

I’ll start with the bad news. One of the most enjoyable things about NaNo was the group participation. Meeting up at libraries and cafes to write sitting next to people cheering each other on was a mood boost for sure. We’re all in lockdown, more or less, so virtual write-ins might happen. I spend all day on video conferences for work, so am not excited to spend more time on them even in the pursuit of fun.

Positive changes for 2020 are based around the fact that I’m a much better writer than I was last year! The process of editing last year’s project with critique partners and beta readers opened my eyes to how much I had to learn, and I’m now much improved. I’ve also figured out how to write productively on a keyboard, so won’t have to hand-draft my project this year.

Tools that have helped me are:

  • Scrivener - I got a discount code with last year’s NaNo win. The lack of temptation to switch to another browser tab is one of the real value adds. If I’m not in a browser, I can focus on writing not distraction, hooray!
  • Hemingwayapp.com. This tool highlights complicated sentences, adverbs, and passive voice. It’s great for focusing attention on certain aspects that may warrant a second look.
  • Accessibility tooling to read text aloud. Hearing the text, even in a stilted robot voice, brings up issues with flow/voice that aren’t obvious when reading to myself, and again forces me to focus.

There is a common theme with all of the above, and that is anything that helps me focus in different ways helps a ton. Drafting is probably my favorite part of writing, but even that gets hard sometimes and Twitter is so much easier. Editing is a challenge for me, so finding new ways to look at the text and find issues makes a daunting process manageable.


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