Whether you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month or not, chances are, if you’re a writer, you suffer from procrastination and having the attention span of a squirrel on crack.
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When your writing time is limited, it’s important that you make the most of it! Here’s a collection of my favorite 5 tools to increase NaNoWriMo productivity.
- Moosti. This website is a timer based on the Pomodoro method–you know that thing where you work in 25 minute bursts, with a brief break. You can dial the time up or down, according to your personal preference. I tend to need a little longer than 25 minutes to really get going.
- StayFocusd. This one is a browser extension that allows you to nuke the internet. This one’s fantastic for those of us who compulsively surf the web when we hit a snag or just because it became IMPERATIVE that we find out what’s going on on Twitter or see what our friends had for lunch on Facebook. There’s a safe list for sites you need to access regardless. I have all my favorite ambient noise channels listed there. Now unless you install this on ALL your browsers, you can still get around the restriction, but this works for most people, I think.
- Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator. If you don’t want to nuke the ENTIRE internet, this one is good for locking down most of Facebook. You can still leave your own statuses and still access chat (handy if you’ve got word sprints going with buddies there), but you won’t lose hours to Buzzfeed posts or LOL Cat pics.
- Momentum. I actually just installed this this morning. It makes each new tab you open a pretty zen picture and reminds you of your daily goal. Good for giving you that extra bump to focus.
- Write or Die. This is not something I use on any regular basis. The lack of formatting bugs me (even though really that’s something that may slow me down, which is the point of it not having it). I actually have Write or Die 2, the desktop edition (paid version–worth the $20 if this kind of thing works for you), which has a lot more bells and whistles (I prefer being able to reward myself with puppies rather than punish myself with spiders or other creepies). You can still access the old, free web-based version here, though it is definitely not near as feature rich.
Lack of productivity is the reason I started writing longhand again.
Approx. 4 pages = 500 words for me, so I always kind of know where I am in my word count goal. I can hit my word count goal faster on paper than I can on the screen, because there are no internet or computer distractions AT ALL. When I’ve got my daily goal done (I’ve been blowing past it on paper), THEN I take it to Scrivener and transcribe it. At 65 wpm, transcribing doesn’t take too long, plus I end up light editing as I’m typing, making that first draft just a wee bit better.
Another advantage for me is, I can sit anywhere and write. Including in a nice sunny spot at the kitchen table next to a big picture window. Can’t write in the sun on a computer screen, because I can’t see anything. 🙂
Oh man, my wrist simply can’t take writing anything by hand for long. A grocery list makes my fingers cramp. Plus my handwriting is TERRIBLE (I’d blame it on hand fatigue but it was lousy even when I wrote stuff long hand all the time). But kudos to you for sticking with it!
I have the same problem of wanting to cruise Facebook every time I hit a writing snag. I use something called Anti-Social by 80 Percent Solutions. It does about the same thing as the browser extension you mentioned, only I had to pay $$ for it. To me, it was worth the money because it keeps me off Facebook but still allows me a quick research binge if I really need it. (Plus, I don’t use Google Chrome, though I probably should.)
I also have the same problem you mentioned with the traditional 25 minute Comodoro session. It’s sort of a relief to know it takes someone else longer than 25 minutes to get going. 🙂
Great post; good information even if I’m not doing NaNo. I timed it wrong and am in the last 10K of a novella. Then I have to plot the next novel, blah blah blah.
I just now got Momentum. Kinda cool. 🙂
Isn’t Write or Die the one where if you don’t get done what you’re supposed to, you lose everything?