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Yeah, I'm gonna try that again next month.

So NaNo? As per usual, not happening for me. I have spontaneous amounts of energy for it, and then just peter out because I feel like I'm not writing enough. Writing requires a groove, and trying to force that many words per day is just not going to happen for me. I'll be resetting the bar at 500 words a day (ongoing, not just for December) as soon as I'm back from my holiday trip.

(On the bright side, the story is moving along fine, and I'm happy with what I'm getting out of the keys — it may not be happening at a 50,000WPMonth rate, but it's going nicely!)

90% of the time I write in NoteTab Pro, with occasional forays into gEdit (if I'm in Linux) or Google Docs (if I'm on one of Grant's computers), or, God help me, NotePad (if I'm on one of Grant's computers with no Internet). When something gets long enough I need navigation tools (outlining, chapter breaks, etc.), I'll switch to Word — but I delay that for as long as possible, because Word documents aren't nearly as small, light, and portable as good old text files. When I do use Word, I shut off almost every single autocorrect feature it has (everything from smart quotes to correcting and formatting text as I type), and I kill spell-check and grammar-check highlighting, too — too distracting to have on as I'm working. I do love Word's styles, though, which have made formatting for ebooks immensely easier over the last few years as I've gotten to know them.

As for breaking myself out of slumps, I have a few different software programs for that. Well, first of all, I have paper — sometimes the most effective way to break myself out of a slump is to grab a 1/2" binder, a sheaf of loose-leaf college-ruled paper, and a Bic Atlantis ball-point pen, preferably black, and try writing by hand.

But if I'd rather be on the computer, for whatever reason, I have had some really good results with DarkRoom. Generally I set it up to look as much like WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS as possible (or even further back, just amber monospaced text on a black background), and that seems to connect some circuit in my brain that says "COMMENCE WRITING NOW".

I've recently discovered TextRoom, though, which is very much like DarkRoom except that you can (but don't have to!) set countdowns to word goals and get a running count of your words. Those are great features (a constant countdown is great for me when I'm starting to work my way up to word count goals!), so I'm really looking forward to working with that program when I'm back from my trip.

What are your magic bullets for productivity? Do you have go-to software programs? Particular kinds of pen? Some kind of physical activity? Music?

Posted in Monday post.


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