Posted by on Oct 26, 2010 in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) | 1 comment

We’re all writers, right? But the sneaky little fact is that most of us are totally nerds too.

I’m a total nerd about NaNoWriMo. You probably guessed that when you saw my NaNoWriMo Advanced Word Count Calculator. (If you want to see my nerdiness up close, take a look at the calc in Google Docs which includes a bunch of very nerdy stats and graphs for your enjoyment). But I think that NaNoWriMo is a really great way to learn something about how you write all the while you’re working on writing a novel in a month.

Here are my tips from one nerd to another on how to treat NaNoWriMo as an informative lab study into your writing habits:

  • Become a little more meticulous with how you keep track of word counts. While many people prefer to only keep track of their total word count for the month (that’s how the NaNoWriMo website prefers it as well), I highly recommend keeping track of your word count daily or even based on the exact times that you started and stopped writing. While that may seem insane, you’ll never get a better opportunity to examine your writing habits in such detail and doing it over the length of a project (such as an entire novel) is an excellent way to see where you need to improve and where your strengths lie. Keeping track of your word counts based on exact times especially lets you find our your average words per hour over the course of the entire month which can be a very handy thing to know about yourself for future projects.
  • Visualize your progress with graphs and charts. I love me some graphs! Sometimes the numbers blur into gobbledygook but graphs and charts give you a visual look. Track your word count progress per day to see what days are your best writing days and when you need to work harder. A nice pie chart of words written vs words left to go is a fun way to motivate and charting time spent writing vs words generated can help you to work more efficiently. Take your numbers and transfer them into a more visual form for a literal picture of your writing habits. 
  • Rate each writing session once you finish. Sure, we are only supposed to look at quantity but sometimes its fun to track quality as well. Rate each day’s writing with a number, say 1 to 5 based on how you felt about it. At the end of the month, you’ll be able to see some powerful info. Do you like your writing more when you write more words or less? Did you usually like what you wrote in the morning better than at night? Best of all, once the challenge is over, you can have the priceless experience of rereading everything and realizing how you love the sections you labeled as 1 and would like to disown some of the 5s. 😉

That’s how I’m nerding it up this NaNoWriMo but what about you guys? What are your nerdy little NaNoWriMo habits and tips?